New NBA Rookies Behind The 8-Ball

Expected Lockout will hamper growth of new players.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

It's bad enough that the new 2011 NBA rookie class is already being labeled the worst of all time without even seeing the court in a professional uniform but when you factor in a lockout that many see as inevitable, then these guys are double screwed. A lockout would mean everything the name implies; a total lockout of all teams facilities and staff for players, a fact that could prove very detrimental for new players looking to improve their game.

Think about it, without access to the resources a team has to develop new players, these rookies will be forced to practice under their own devices. That means a less structured regiment that is less likely to allow them to work on aspects of their game that needs vital improvement at the next level. It's a virtual stunting of their growth as a player and could have a lasting impact throughout their careers.

What makes this even worse is that even the most optimistic of speculation has the NBA fighting over this new CBA till late December, early January, a time-frame that could consume half the season. To put a shred of hope on this, the owners side has yet to come out and say a lockout is definite when this current CBA expires at the end of the month and with one more day of talks scheduled for Thursday, anything is possible.

"I sure would like to see us make a deal," Commissioner David Stern said. "And not making a deal should give everybody apprehension, because the way to continue our growth is to come up with a deal that … keeps our union as the highest-paid union in the world, gives all of our teams the opportunity to make a profit and makes us a more competitive league.

"It sounds like the tripod for a win-win-win, and we'll have to see whether that's a possibility when we meet again with the players on Thursday."

The truth of the matter is that basketball is poised for a resurgence in growth and popularity but only if they don't alienate new and old fans alike with a lockout. Another truth is that this years draft class can help in keeping the excitement for the NBA high as fan bases across the land want to see if they can improve their teams.

But they need to be able to play and to learn, and they need access to team facilities to do that. It's bad enough that the summer league was canceled, a truncated season would be disastrous for both the NBA and this rookie class.