Commentary

Weak draft calls for change of system

Updated: June 24, 2011, 9:55 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

There has been a lot of talk about this year's draft and the talent level of the players involved. Honestly, I feel that the talent level is probably as weak as I've seen in my 30 years at ESPN.

I think there are a few reasons for that. Let's start by looking at some of the players who decided to return to school and pass on this draft. A lot of people thought Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones and Terrence Jones would hear their names on draft night. Those upper-echelon kids would have been high picks, but they decided to come back to school.

[+] EnlargeKyrie Irving
AP Photo/Julio CortezAfter possibly the longest five minutes of his life, New Jersey's Kyrie Irving became the No. 1 pick of the 2011 draft.

Over the years, we have seen very few seniors go early in the draft. In fact, we have seen underclassmen dominate the draft. Think about this: the potential senior class could have included the likes of Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo and on and on.

You never know how these kids will develop. This draft featured a number of standouts at the point, right at the top with Kyrie Irving going to Cleveland. That is a trend you have seen with the likes of Rose and John Wall.

To show how the draft doesn't have the same early impact, just think about last year. Only three players from the 2010 draft averaged double-figure scoring last season -- Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Jordan Crawford. Only four players started 60 or more games last season: Wall, Cousins, Wesley Johnson and Landry Fields.

That's right -- 38 players went before Landry Fields, but he made the All-Rookie first team.

Seven of the 14 lottery picks from the 2010 draft averaged fewer than seven points per game. They were not exactly changing the face of the sport. Do you remember when a lottery pick was a major factor?

I think the whole landscape of the game of basketball would improve if it were to adapt the rules of major league baseball. It would help the draft with more mature players going to the pros. A handful of guys are ready out of high school. Let them go. But once you step onto the campus in college, you have to stay three years.

My friends, it may take three to five years to truly evaluate this draft. Don't expect too many players impacting teams in their first season. And let's hope they don't also have to worry about a potential lockout, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.