NBA Draft 2012: Why NFL Will Always Trump Basketball's Draft
The NFL draft is one of the most compelling sporting events of the year, and there isn't a lick of football being played.
The NBA draft is pretty cool when there are high-profile prospects at the top of the draft, but for the most part, it's a pretty bland event when compared to the NFL version.
The obvious question remains: Why the disparity between the two drafts?
Familiarity, for one. For as popular as the NFL is, college football isn't far behind. Football fans know the players that declare for the NFL draft, namely because they get to watch that prospect play for at least three seasons at the college level before being eligible to declare for the draft.
Meanwhile, the NBA draft is littered with college freshman and foreign players, players the average fan isn't terribly familiar with. Do you really have a true idea of how good Austin Rivers or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be in the NBA?
No, not really. One season of college ball is rarely enough to accurately project a player at the next level. Sure, the talent level is there, but will their games evolve? How will they handle adversity? Will they continue to work hard so as to improve, or will they rest on their laurels?
It's hard to answer those questions after one year.
The NFL draft is also so interesting because there are so many positions to fill, which brings into question which positions should be valued higher than others, leaves teams with multiple holes to fill and adds a lot of speculation to the process.
Should the Minnesota Vikings take Matt Kalil to protect their quarterback or Morris Claiborne? If the two are graded equally by the team, should they value a franchise left tackle or shutdown cornerback more? Which position has more value?
With seven rounds of action, you never know what your team will do, when they'll address certain areas of need or where they may find a diamond in the rough.
In the NBA, there are five positions to fill and only two rounds to do it. You need a center, you hope one falls to you. You need a guard, you take the best one available.
It's not nearly as intriguing.
And sure, the NFL has star power at the top of the draft, and every year there are those can't-miss prospects.
But there are also the players like Tom Brady, guys who fall between the cracks and surprise everyone when they blow up at the next level. Trying to figure out who those players might be makes the NFL draft that much more interesting.
In contrast, most NBA drafts are top-heavy. There may be one superstar per draft, a franchise player or two and a handful of very good players, and then there are a whole lot of average players.
Most years, if you don't have a top-10 selection, the chances of drastically improving your team through the draft are pretty low.
That's not to say there aren't some good players who are taken later in the draft, but think about the stars in the NBA for a moment—how many of them weren't top-10 picks?
Which league has the better draft?
And ultimately, that's the biggest thing. Every fanbase in the NFL gets excited for the NFL draft, because stars can be found everywhere.
The New York Giants may have the last pick in the first round, but that just means they could land a player like Mathias Kiwanuka (2006), Logan Mankins (2005) or Drew Brees (2001), all players who were taken with the 32nd overall pick.
In other words, good players can be had all over the board. Hope springs eternal (or at least over the course of three days). The NBA can't offer that. And it's just another reason why it will never compare to the epic spectacle that is April's NFL draft.
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