I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore: Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler………….
Written By: Elliot Allen
A growing trend in the N.B.A. is players expressing to owners that they no longer want to play for their respective teams. This is not new, however the frequency in which this happening is becoming a phenomenon.
Also the willingness to oblige the players by the teams is becoming something that was not seen in past years. The most recent occurrence is with the New York Knicks and their star young player Kristaps Porzingis. The swiftness in which the ordeal happened is also becoming a never before seen trend. In the past couple of years we have seen it happen with multiple star players in the sport including Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Kawhi Leonard. Anthony Davis appears to be heading toward the same direction. What are some factors that effect this growing trend? From a pure athletic standpoint there are obviously multiple arguments (especially in regards to my beloved NY Knicks). We will get into that in a future article. For this article, let’s look at the scope of players making these decisions and team management eagerly obliging.
I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE ANYMORE:
This point is apparently being advised to team management by players. The question is why? What is the mindset? One of the popular reasons given is “I want to WIN”. Players in their situations are not feeling as though they have an opportunity to win. This embodies a very powerful and loaded mindset about winning from both player and management standpoint. Winning is a mindset in which an individual or individuals have to train physically and MENTALLY.
The majority of players in the N.B.A. appear to be as physically fit than ever. However, are they physically fit to play winning basketball? Even more important, are they mentally in shape to do what it takes to win. One of the elements that has been taken away from professional basketball players is the collegiate experience. That experience strengthens the mind in regards to understanding winning. Winning the NCAA championship years ago was a very big deal!! So much so that star collegiate players would not turn pro to peruse winning the NCAA Championship! Modern players do not see the goal of winning the NCAA championship as significant. An illustration of this point is one of the top current collegiate players Zion Williamson. He’s an outstanding player for Duke University who is having an incredible season thus far. To his credit he appears to be highly motivated to win the NCAA championship! However it was suggested by others (including former N.B.A. players) that he should shut it down for the rest of the college season and go pro. That type of move contributes more to a young developing athlete’s mental conditioning than people realize. It is something that will set a foundation for their mindset towards winning and achieving goals for many years to come. Playing winning basketball starts with a mindset of wanting to win and doing what it takes to win. Playing winning basketball sometimes requires adjustments to an individual’s game that may involve sacrifice. Playing winning basketball requires the mindset of playing through losses and learning. Understanding that you, as the star player, must take the responsibility of leading your team to winning basketball.
So what do we make of players saying they want to be traded because they want to win? Many times the potential on their perspective teams is there, however the mentality must be developed. When players understand the strength in the mindset toward winning, they will be more willing to build where they are at instead of believing the build is with another organization. As a fan of the sport, I want to see a league in which players have the mental strength to believe they can win with a team being built by staying the course. Frankly that would work for the league and team management and for the fans. The league would build a stronger fan base for individual teams as oppose to individual players. If you ask the average young fan who their favorite team is they are more likely to have a favorite player than a team. This again reflects a winning mindset and staying the course.
A few years back we saw Kevin Durant switch teams through free agency. Another interesting scenario. Durant, formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder, had achieved great success playing there. However, they were involved in a budding rivalry with the Golden State Warriors who had defeated them in a very tough playoff series. Here is where it gets interesting. Durant made the decision after playing nine season with OKC to join the Golden State Warriors after not being able to defeat them. This is a decision that was criticized by many. Should Durant had stayed the course and got over the hump with the Thunder? That’s a question that really has to be answered through an individual’s mindset.
As the game evolves we must look at the evolution of how players are training their minds. The answers can come from the journey of a player to get to the N.B.A. or lack of. The work is always indeed hard and physically demanding but are the players being mentally trained to understand what winning basketball really is and how to stay the course to get there? The process over the next several years of player movement will dictate if the game is sustainable with the current mentality.