John Wooden was very proud of his 14-12 1959-60 UCLA Basketball team. He was so proud of them because they came the closest of any team he coached to reaching their true potential. The team's ceiling was very limited because of probation put on UCLA (ironically for non-basketball activities.) That is one measure of success; did the team reach its potential?
This is again a question in light of the fact that Zach LaVine was chosen as all-NBA rookie second team yesterday. It is further worth noting that LaVine played virtually zero minutes at his NBA position of point guard during his season at UCLA. (He played part of a half against Oregon when Kyle Anderson was suspended.)
I don't think anyone can seriously argue that LaVine was either used properly at UCLA or played close to his potential. Furthermore, IF, Norman Powell(NP4) makes it in the NBA that means that the 2013-14 UCLA Bruins had SIX NBA players on its roster.
While Zach was the best the others did the following:
- David Wear, briefly appeared in two games at the end of the season.
- Jordan Adams appeared in 30 games and was drafted in the first round.
- Travis Wear started 1 game and played in 51 for the New York Knicks. He was a rotation player.
- Kyle Anderson started 8 games and played in 33 for the world champion San Antonio Spurs.
While none of these guys set the NBA afire; the question is did the 2013-14 UCLA Bruins underachieve? Did they reach their potential?
Zach LaVine is exhibit A for the case they did not. And please do not say in the comments he was too raw at UCLA. LaVine was breaking through around the time of the start of the PAC 12. EPSN declared him one of the best Freshmen in the country. I thought he was the third superstar on the team and was posting here to that effect.
Then Zach told Steve Alford he was going pro after the season, apparently justified from this result. Steve Alford "shunned" him for betraying the team. It was a strange situation. Personally I think Alford should have been happy as Zach gave him warning of his intentions. He also should have been happy that he had a player so good, the NBA was drooling over him.
However, the bigger question or worry is this: "Did this happen again with Kevon Looney?" Looney started every game and was the second best player on the team to NP4. Yet, while Bryce Alford, Tony Parker and even Isaac Hamilton had plays called for them, Kevon did not have a single play called for him in the offense.
So this time next year if Kevon Looney is also on the NBA all-rookie team, we will be asking the same question again. I think people need to focus less on two sweet 16s of Steve Alford and more on did the team play to its potential.