The 2021 NBA Draft- How teams and prospects prepare

The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for July 29, 2021, at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. This is an important date for young players who have ambitions of playing in the lucrative NBA and for NBA teams seeking to bolster their rosters with the best young talent. Before draft night, players and teams alike should prepare in the best possible way to put themselves in the best position to achieve what they desire. Here are some of the things that players and teams need to do to prepare for NBA Draft 2021.

Players

One of the things that a player must do to showcase his skills and interact with key decision-makers from several NBA Teams, especially if he is not considered a top 5 pick, is attending the Draft Combine. This years’ Combine is tentatively scheduled for June 21-27th at a location soon to be announced. This showcase includes five on five competitions among prospects, specific drills such as the vertical leap, bench press, lane agility, and speed tests. The goal of attending the Draft Combine is to impress your potential employers to such an extent that they at least consider you as a potential employee.

A player can also improve his chances of being drafted by creating a video of no more than five minutes, highlighting his best plays, and distributing to teams he is interested in playing for. Video footage gives teams an opportunity to see what a player can do on an individual level and help teams decide whether a player is a good fit.

Another strategy that can work in a player’s favor is declaring early for the NBA Draft. Doing this gives teams more time to look at what players can do, giving them an edge over someone who declared later. This strategy is useful regardless of where you are considered to be in the draft order. When teams know what is available to them, they start planning on that basis; get yourself in the spotlight by declaring early for the NBA Draft.

Teams

Teams can do some deliberate things to attract the most suitable players and snag them during the NBA Draft. After identifying the players who fit best into their roster, an NBA Team can invite these players to do workouts with the team coaching staff. This will allow teams to evaluate the players’ skillsets, see how they get along with teammates, and allow the management team to convince said players why playing for their team is the best option.

These are some of the things that players and teams can do to achieve the best possible outcome in the NBA Draft. Regardless of what happens in the draft, the NBA will have exciting new talent playing in the next season.

The NCAA “Final Four” during COVID-19

The NCAA Basketball season has been a far cry from what we are used to; there were no colorful cheerleaders and no raucous fans in the stadiums willing on their favorite teams. Most games were played in semi-empty stadiums, and fans, on the most part, had to watch either on television or on the internet. However, we have gotten through the season without much fanfare and are now at the stage of the Final Four Tournament. There are only Gonzaga, UCLA, Houston, And Baylor left standing, and we will see a new champion after the defending champions Virginia failed to qualify for the final four. The 2021 Final Four will be structured similarly to other years, with a few differences due to the pandemic.

Despite growing calls from coaches and team management, the NCAA will retain the daily testing of all players and officials for the Final Four Tournament. Some coaches such as UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma have argued that it would be unfortunate for a team to be eliminated due to team members testing positive at this stage of the tournament. The NCAA, however, believes that testing is necessary to keep everyone safe and to keep the integrity of the tournament intact. So, for the first time in NCAA Basketball Final Four history, there is a possibility that factors outside of basketball could determine the eventual winner; If any of the four teams have multiple positive COVID-19 tests, they will exit the tournament by default. We hope that this does not happen for the sake of all these young players and officials that have worked so hard to get this far.

All three games of the Final Four Tournament will be hosted at the Lucas Oil Arena in Indianapolis, which is similar to what happens under normal circumstances. There will be some fans in the stadium; up to 17500 seats will be available for the final four games. This is excellent news for fans, but the prizes for tickets will be higher than they usually are. The presence of fans will definitely add to the tournament’s atmosphere and hopefully will motivate teams to be at their absolute best! All persons allowed to attend the final four games are required to wear a facial covering throughout the games. Fans will also not be allowed to interact with athletes, coaches, or officials directly and will be required to remain in their seating pod for the game’s duration.

2021 March Madness (Uniqueness of the tournament due to COVID-19)

The 2021 NCAA “March Madness” Tournament is upon us after been canceled in 2020, and we are all looking forward to seeing how everything will pan out with all that is happening. March Madness under normal circumstances is one of the most anticipated events on the Collegiate sporting calendar. This year, it would be slightly different due to the COVID-19 pandemic; we will highlight the tournament’s main differences this year as opposed to previous years.

One of the most significant changes to March Madness 2021 is that all games will be played in one state (Indiana). The 2019 tournament, on the other hand, was stretched across twelve (12) States and fourteen (14) venues. Games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, all in and around Indianapolis. Some games will also be hosted at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. This arrangement has understandable been made to reduce travel and create a bubble-like environment that should help control the possible impact of COVID-19 on the tournament. A side effect of games being hosted in one State is eliminating the home advantage factor for most teams. It could also become a little tricky when the seeding of teams is being done since geography normally affects seeding. What organizers will instead do is use what they call an “S-curve” model to do seeding; they will pair the strongest number 1 team (the team with the best record) against the weakest number 16 team (the team with the worst record). They will use this methodology to rank all 68 teams into the most equitable brackets under the circumstances.

Another difference in 2021 is that the Ivy League is not playing, so there will be 31 automatic qualifiers instead of the usual 32; conversely, there will be 37 at-large selections compared to 36 under normal circumstances. The Final 16 of the tournament will also be slightly different, with all eight games been played at separate times because they are being held in the same city. Under normal circumstances, there would have been some overlap between games, which added to the tournament’s suspense and intrigue. This element will unfortunately not be a part of the 2021 tournament. Another element that would be largely compromised is that of crowds at games; the NCAA has decided to allow a maximum capacity of 25% at games, with strict social distancing, mask-wearing, and testing protocols in place. This means that there will be less “noise” in the arenas to motivate players to perform at their best; players will have to count on their competitive nature to pull through tight game situations. We will be watching to see how players adapt.

Apart from these changes, the March Madness Tournament will pretty much remain the same with 68 teams as usual. The tournament will follow the same format, starting with the first four, then the first round, second round, sweet sixteen, elite eight, final four, and then the championship game. We cannot wait to watch the tournament and see which team will be crowned champions! 2021 has been an extraordinary year for us all, and the fact that college basketball is even being played is a blessing.

Learning to cope with life as a Professional Athlete

So, you were the star on your College team. You were adored and treated like royalty whenever you moved through your campus, and life as a sports star was great! Suddenly, you are out of college and are now playing in the Pro’s, but it is so different; you are not getting as much game time as you used to in college, and no one is telling you that you are the best. You feel like you do not fit in, and the NBA seems to be a league that is not friendly to you. Welcome to life as a professional sports-star! This life is not always as glamorous as it appears. You have to develop the right balance of skills to cope well and maintain your sanity while transitioning from college athlete to professional athlete. We will look at some strategies that will make the transition so much easier for you.

Adjust your mindset

One of the things that can make you feel despondent with life as a professional athlete is your mindset. You should try to think positively and be excited that you have gotten the opportunity to play in your chosen professional league; less than 2% of college athletes make this transition. You should also be mindful that you will have to prove yourself as a professional athlete and work hard to nail down your position on the team. Your team will have seasoned professionals who, on most occasions, will be bigger stars than you are, and you have to accept that mentally and use these guys as motivation to grow and get better at your craft. Once you adjust your mindset to a positive one, accepting the new reality of the NBA will be so much easier, you will eventually start getting more playing time and opportunities to make your mark as a professional. On the other hand, your development might be stifled if your mindset is negative.

Get yourself the right management team

To ensure that you get the best professional advice to steer your career in the right direction, it is critical that you have a great team of sports management professionals in your corner. The best athlete management companies have specific programs to help you adjust to life as a professional athlete, help you develop your brand, manage your money, and provide psychological support if necessary. Choosing the right Sports Management company will ensure that you have holistic support as you make the transition to being a professional athlete. This will allow you to focus on what you need to do to be successful for a long time in your sports career.

Strong support system

One of the things that we need to keep us grounded and keep our sanity is a strong support system, which can be family or friends or both! This is no different for young athletes making the transition to professional sports. The people they surround themselves with will either make them more anxious and negative or more optimistic about their careers. It is essential that athletes have people in their inner circle that will encourage them to be their best and remind them that they will be supported whatever happens in their career. This is the type of reassurance that professional athletes sometimes need to free their minds and perform at their best!

These are some of the things that you can do to make a seamless transition to the grueling world of professional sports. We wish you only success, and we will be happy to assist you in the process!

The NBA and COVID-19

The 2020-2021 NBA season is on in earnest, after starting more than two months later than usual on December 22nd due to the impact of the Coronavirus. However, the NBA management and players must be commended for their commitment and dedication, especially the teams that played in the 2020 NBA finals that finished on October 13th, which was just two months before the start of the new season. The 2020-2021 season has been reduced to 72 games in the regular season, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will have a smooth, exciting, and incident free season and so far, things have been going pretty well. COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the dynamic of the 2021 NBA season, and we will explore some of these changes and also highlight some positives that we have seen so far in the season.

One of the most glaring changes for the 2020-2021 NBA season is the absence of fans in most arenas and minimal fans at the others for the start of the season. This has resulted in the atmosphere for games been a little more subdued, which in my view has negatively affected the viewing experience. One of the things that make the NBA unique is how close to the action the fans are, which allows greater interaction between fans and players and creates a spectacle like no other major sport. The absence of fans at games has taken this element away from the 2020-2021 NBA season so far. However, plans are in place to gradually bring back fans to the arenas, but this would vary franchise by franchise depending on how well COVID-19 is controlled in individual cities. The players, however, are as motivated as ever, and so far, we have seen some spectacular basketball on display, which definitely makes up for the fact that we cannot be at games in-person!

Players and officials are now subjected to strict protocols per the guidebook developed by the NBA to manage the complex nature of the NBA, which is played in cities all over the country. Players and officials are prohibited from visiting bars, clubs, sports events, or live entertainment events in their home market. When teams travel, they are allowed a little more freedom; they can dine outside their hotels as long as the restaurant has outdoor dining facilities or private indoor facilities. Importantly, all restaurants must be formally approved by the NBA management and the player’s union before anyone associated with the NBA can dine there. While restrictive, these guidelines reflect what is happening in the wider society, and in my opinion, most players will appreciate that these are in place to keep them safe.

Despite all the restrictions in place, we have noticed the NBA players, on the most part, seem extremely well-conditioned and fit. This is a testament to the work that their physical trainers and conditioning coaches have done with the players and the importance of players having a conditioning and workout plan even when they are not playing. So far, there has not been a spike in players getting injured which will ensure that teams have their best players to compete in the league if this trend continues. We anticipate that these NBA players will continue to remain fit and healthy because they all have some of the best people in the Sports Management business taking care of them. We look forward with excitement to the rest of the NBA season and are confident that everything will turn out well.

Another Name Behind the Team

Over the past month, Integrity Sports Agency has continued adding to our stellar team and has continued to grow as we await the NBA draft and the new batch of NBA free agents. We have added yet another recognizable name to our endorsements list, Johnny Newman. Newman, a 16-year veteran of the NBA and former president of the National Basketball Retired Players Association has spoken out on behalf of ISA.

Anthony Fletcher, CEO of Integrity Sports Agency, and Johnny Newman have a relationship that has extended over 30 years. During this time, both have grown and established a name for themselves. Through his years of playing collegiate basketball, Fletcher has learned to both love and respect the sport. The love Fletcher has for the sport eventually led him to opening and owning his own agency. While playing, Fletcher learned many valuable lessons and traits that have carried over into his agency. At Integrity Sports Agency, we abide by five traits as the cornerstone of our company: Forthrightness, Accountability, Integrity, Trust, and Honest. These five traits are the foundation of any successful client-athlete relationship. The importance of these traits can be recognized in the profound feedback given by his own colleague, Johnny Newman.

Since Newman has worked closely with his agent throughout his 16 years inside the NBA, he understands the value and the importance of selecting the right representative. When asked about his close friend and his company, Johnny only responded with nothing but respect.

“Throughout my 30-year relationship with Integrity Sports Agency CEO Tony Fletcher, I’ve always been impressed with his knowledge of the game and his ability to build strong relationships with people of all walks of life. He has a true passion for developing players on a personal and professional level. Whether you are a basketball phenom, or a proud parent, Tony is committed to providing you with the support and resources to be a successful as individual and as a family unit. When vetting sports agents, Tony checks all of the critical boxes: Resourceful, Knowledgeable, Relatable, Loyal, and Trustworthy. Partnering with ISA is a no-brainer.” ~ Johnny Newman

With such kind words from former players as well as from analysts of the game, it’s no wonder the company continues to grow and succeed. Our team at ISA are proud to have a legend such as Johnny on our side, and we cannot wait to continue growing our list of incredible athletes and endorsements!

(Photo: Instagram/therealjnew22 – Dec 4, 2019)

How should players prepare for the NBA draft?

Since 1947, the best basketball talent in the world vies for the opportunity to play in the best basketball league in the world- the NBA. In the 2020 draft, scheduled to be held on November 18, 2020, at the ESPN Studios via teleconferencing, sixty (60) young players will realize their dream of playing in the NBA, and their lives will be forever changed. Every player who declares for the NBA draft should make preparations before draft night and also put things in place to deal with the economic and social changes that will happen when they become NBA players. We will provide some guidelines that will hopefully help young players adjust to life in the NBA.

One of the things that all players who declare for the draft should do before the draft-night is learning how to handle the media. Players should have at least a couple talking points that they can quickly and eloquently share with the media. A player’s ability to express himself can make the difference between him been drafted or not; believe it or not; teams are sometimes looking for players who have exceptionally basketball ability and also the ability to clearly communicate at all levels.

Another critical thing that players need to ensure that they do before draft night is to work out at a reputable facility, with a trainer who can help them to improve their basketball skills, hence making them more appealing to NBA franchises. Some noted workout facilities with some top quality trainers include Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, Project Basketball in Oakland, California, Evolution Athletics in Chicago, and any other facility that will sharpen your skills. Working out before the NBA draft with an experienced trainer will increase a player’s chances of being drafted.

After been drafted, players are faced with a new set of challenges that they must plan for. One of the greatest challenges is to handle the newly acquired wealth that comes with playing in the NBA. The lowest salary a rookie with no experience earns in the NBA is $898,310 per annum. Most rookies will earn much more than a million dollars, making them instant millionaires. It is imperative that young players do courses in financial planning and financial literacy before being drafted to know how to handle the wealth they will earn from the NBA. According to CNBC, approximately 60% of NBA players go broke within five years after retirement.

To avoid falling into this trap, young newly recruited NBA players should acquire the services of a Financial Planner to help them with money management and investing, along with learning for themselves fiscal responsibility and as much as they possibly can about money management. If young players manage their money properly, they will put themselves and their families in a financially secure position for the rest of their lives, even though an NBA career lasts for an average of under five years. 

Gaining sudden wealth can also affect a young player on a social level, particularly as it relates to family dynamics. One of the things that players should be aware of is that family members might want to offer advice on how they should spend their money and will likely expect to benefit from the wealth that the new “family sports star” has ascertained. As a young player, you will have to make some tough decisions that might alienate some family members, and these decisions might even change your family dynamic. However, you have to be clear with your family that the wealth that you have acquired can be lost in no time if not managed responsibly.

These are some of the things that young basketball players should consider before declaring for the NBA draft. Playing in the NBA is a life-changing experience, and you should strive to make it a positive experience from both an economic and social perspective.