Congratulations to the Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators. Not too many teams set the bar so high yet still live up to expectations.
Still, people need to slow down before praising Noah for staying in Gainesville an extra year.
Fact is he made a poor business decision.
Noah could have been the top pick in the 2006 NBA Draft following the Gators storybook national championship run. His flaws disappeared instantly. Nobody seemed to care that he couldn’t shoot the ball from outside of three feet and his intensity did a nice job masking his lack of strength.
But now, after the second title, Noah finds himself looking at two freshmen that almost everyone thinks could become all-time players. He has to face comparisons to Brendan Wright, whose ceiling is considerably higher than his. Then there’s the two studs at Georgetown that could pass him by come draft day.
Wait wait, there’s more.
It’s inevitable that some team will roll the dice on Yi Jianlian from China. The only question is will it be before or after Noah is selected? Most people agree that he’ll be the second Gator taken, following Al Horford. But it wouldn’t be a stretch for a team to take Corey Brewer before Noah either.
My point is that Noah’s stock has dropped significantly. Maybe he doesn’t need the money. But the boy has a huge ego and being the number one pick means a whole lot more than the cash.
It means hype.
It means being on the cover of all the magazines next fall.
It means shoe deals and instant creditability.
Noah took a pass on all of that to make history. Now he’ll wait and see how many NBA teams take a pass on him.