Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns are expected to battle each other for the 2015-16 NBA Rookie of the Year award, but Hall of Famer David Robinson believes the first-year players “will need time” to reach superstardom.
In an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, the longtime San Antonio Spurs center said both Okafor and Towns will probably need four of five years before establishing themselves as elite players.
“Both of those guys, I love those guys. They’re both phenomenal. … The problem is coming in at that age, it’s gonna take you four or five years before you even get your feet underneath you.”
Robinson used Shaquille O’Neal and Anthony Davis as examples for how prospects typically need a couple seasons to develop, no matter how heralded they may be.
Hopefully we continually remember Robinson’s advice when considering Okafor and Towns.
Fans and media alike have a tendency to set illogical expectations for rookies, often because of the potential of a respective player. The young talent could become a superstar, and that ascent is supposed to begin right away—even if it’s not realistic.
Although Okafor and Towns have All-Star potential, what if the first bid for either one doesn’t arrive until, say, 2018? It wouldn’t mean Okafor or Towns absolutely failed to progress quickly enough, though both players certainly must show clear development throughout their first couple NBA seasons.
Superstardom is not easily attained. If Shaq and The Brow needed a few years, we should allow Okafor and Towns to have some time, too.
Let’s be sure to remember that in 2017.
Photo: USA Today Sports