Achilles post became the basis of a long post on the ESPN's College Basketball Nation Blog today. The key graph
This post from Bruins Nation -- in which BN visited an NBA draft camp and overheard media types discussing former UCLA guard Malcolm Lee -- goes ahead and calls it the "UCLA Factor." Whether that name is widespread among NBA front offices is beside the point. The concept itself is. A few months ago, I was talking to an NBA front office executive, and he brought up the very same notion without much prompting from me. UCLA players may not have flashy stats in college, he said, and they may not always look like high-flying freaks, but they enter the league as ready to play as any alumni in hoops. They know how to defend. They rebound. They, to put it vaguely, "get it."
First Kudos to Achilles. Second, notice to recruits, NBA Execs want the "UCLA Factor. "
More after the jump
It's hard to overstate how important this is. Getting drafted early is easy compared to how hard it is to last in the NBA. And yes, while the rookie salary scale is nothing to sniff at, and landing a first-round guaranteed contract is a big deal, the true barometer for NBA success -- and for turning your NBA career into a mind-bogglingly lucrative enterprise -- is landing that first major contract in your third or fourth season. For all the outdated stereotypes that characterize the NBA as a league of defense-averse stars, the best NBA teams know that players like those described above are absolutely crucial to long-term postseason success. They "get it," too.
You can call it by another name but the "UCLA Factor" is real.
While we have some qualms about players leaving early, it is hard to argue with the success of those who made it in the Pros. CBH can coach and teach basketball. The wwl article gets further credibility on what NBA people think as it is not written by someone who is a UCLA writer or even ESPN LA. It is not giving an opinion as much as reporting the fact that "NBA scouts have begun to factor in the success of former Howland players in recent years."