Don’t judge draftees too early

“DON’T judge a book by its cover.”
It’s a phrase that you hear in everyday life, and heavily applies to the sporting world.
The biggest example of this is New York Knicks basketballer Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis was booed by New York fans after the Knicks selected him with pick four in the 2015 NBA Draft.
However, the back story to the booing stemmed from other ‘draft busts’, like Darko Milicic and Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who had come from European backgrounds.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Yahoo! Sports that Porzingis knew about the attitude of the American public towards “young, long European teenagers”.
“He comes to the NBA with the full understanding that popular basketball culture declares him guilty until proven innocent of the basketball crimes of Milicic, Tskitishvili and Andrea Bargnani,” he said.
Since that draft day, Porzingis has proven to be one of the Knicks’ best selections.
He appeared in 72 of the side’s 82 games in 2015/16 and finished with averages of 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.9 blocks per game.
He concluded his debut season by finishing second in the NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting, and scored a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Fast forward to the current season, and he has had the best ever start to a season for a Knicks player, scoring 300 points in just 10 games.
If this form keeps up, Porzingis could very well be in the discussion for MVP.
So, with the AFL draft coming up on Friday, the same message applies (and I need to take my own advice here as well).
My boys, Port Adelaide, have been linked with former North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas and, to be quite honest, I punched my desk when I heard the news.
But, since then, I’ve reflected that it may not be such a bad investment, when we are giving up next to nothing for him.
Realistically, not all sports personalities will have the mental strength of Porzingis to actually perform, and turn around an entire fan base’s opinion.
Some players will respond negatively, and may give a terrible output.
So to all sports fans, support the jumper and the players wearing them – and don’t find them guilty of crimes against your club without, first, giving them a chance.

Jack Hudson

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Growing up in Gawler, Jack has taken on a variety of journalistic roles while still studying for his Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing degree. He began his career at The Bunyip as a weekend football writer, before taking on roles with The Footy Budget and The Cricket Chronicle and then earning his first part-time gig at the Barossa Herald. Now returning to The Bunyip, Jack also has a keen interest in footy and soccer, as well as a passion for gaming and reading.

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