Fall Over Parade
I find it possibly amazing that Gerald Wallace is in the All-Star Game and Josh Smith should be. We did it. We made it. Our choices have been just. Note: I forgot Durant was a first-time All-Star yesterday because, in my mind, he's been on since Texas. Say that what you will about my love with this game.
Oh wait, Josh Smith didn't get in, it stings me right down to the bone, and you can read all about my feelings and history's folly (committed upon its own head, no less), in this precious column of mine.
I ended up cutting a paragraph that might have been all figurative economics too dry for those parts, so I lay it here. Or at least its essence. Think about this: It took time for hs-ers and Euros (in the wake of KG and Dirk) to become automatic presences in the high lottery. There was still a little bit of lingering skepticism, or at least hesitance. And these were the consensus best few teens the world had to offer. Thus, in theory, in the beginning there was a de facto cap placed on what hs/Euro picks made it in. It was only the cream of the crop, those generally agreed upon as the "next KG" or "next Dirk."
However, it didn't stop there. Once these players moved all the way to the top, the floodgates were opened for the "Maybe Next KG" and "Possibly Maybe Next Dirk." This is how you got Josh Howard and David West going at the end of the first round; high school/Euro picks weren't boom-or-bust by nature, they were made to look this way by a willingness to, in effect, scrape the barrel and push the very logic that had made teams pursue them in the first place. The best ones were gambles on great potential, which had built into it some sense of security. It was much more like the risk built into drafting a college player, just with a different form of assurance. The latter ones gambled without any safety net.
This description is remarkably inexact. But what would have happened if teams had never decided to cross that line and go from the relatively safe teens to those with less and less to recommend them as solid pros? When people talk about some sort of committee that would decide when a player could jump from high school, it seems like what they're really talking about is this alternate reality where all these other prospects never snuck in the cracked door on account of equivocation.