A historic night at The Mecca centered around the visiting team has become a customary occasion for the Knicks, and their fan base. Last Tuesday night, Steph Curry became the latest opposing player to have a momentous occurrence at The Garden, when he officially became The 3-Point King.
Predicting greatness before it’s achieved is almost impossible. We usually perceive it in two ways:
The first being the past, as Jadakiss eloquently put it, “we know dead rappers get better promotion.” In what I’ve dubbed the ‘Biggie Effect,’ it’s human nature to give those that have passed more praise than they had when they were around.
The second being the present, needing only two 3’s at MSG, Steph broke the record early in the first quarter…Spike didn’t drop to his knees until the game was over.
Curry is currently one of the best to ever do it. Even if he didn’t make a single shot on the night, the guy has more accolades on his basketball reference than Christmas lights on the Griswold family tree.
But the third…the third is the challenge.
To know you’re witnessing something special prior to it being fully attained requires clairvoyance.
Today we identify four guys that have a chance at sustained excellence.
As we proceed, please remember that the future is unknown. Who could’ve foreseen Tiger Woods ending up with a 9-iron lodged in the front windshield of his Buick back in 2009.
This stuff is unpredictable, and may age poorly…but who cares, it’s fun.
In a throwback to a previous post of The Encyclopedia’s, we’re gonna go with two rules this time:
1. These four guys didn’t win Rookie of the Year.
2. These four guys have never been voted to an All-Star team.
Drafted by the Clippers in 2018, and then promptly traded to the Hornets for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Miles Bridges is en route to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award.
The Flint, Michigan native played his college ball at nearby Michigan St., and is now averaging 19.6 points per game for Charlotte. Playing for the team Steph Curry grew up watching Dell hoop for isn’t the only thing Bridges and Curry have in common.
Both were doubted in how their skillset would translate to the pros, as well as whether or not a team could build around them. Bridges’ rebounds, steals, blocks, assists, and points have increased every season he’s been in the Association.
The Hornets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, and Miles is a big reason as to why they’re currently in the mix for a spot. Bridges turned down an extension that was reported to be around 4 years for 60 million. Set to become a Restricted Free Agent, he should far exceed that contract…always bet on yourself.
The first goalie taken in the 2010 draft, Jack Campbell was selected based off of his potential. It’s funny how quickly would-be ability has the possibility of morphing into a journeyman’s reality.
Campbell spent the majority of his first seven years as a pro net-minder bouncing around the minor leagues. Until he got an opportunity with the Maple Leafs.
A late bloomer, Jack is 29, and is posting the lowest goals against average of his career at 1.94. Steph is 33, and still in his prime with Golden State. Campbell has Toronto is 2nd place in the Atlantic Division, it didn’t happen overnight, but he’s put himself in a position to be their goaltender for the foreseeable future.
Following his Dad’s footsteps to the big league’s; Ke’Bryan Hayes grew up around pro’s like Curry. The baby-faced center piece of the Pirates, Hayes is the key-cog to Pittsburgh’s rebuild.
While flashing at times last year, Ke’Bryan dealt with a wrist injury that eventually ended his season. Overcoming injuries is something that a young Steph Curry had to do as well, having his career nearly derailed by an onset of ankle injuries.
The Warriors stunk when they drafted Curry, and the Pirates stink now. Hayes is set to return this Spring training with confidence that his body will matchup with his on-field capability, lets hope so.
The 2nd year star out of Wisconsin; Jonathan Taylor was the 3rd running back taken in the 2020 draft, after Clyde Edwards-Helaire and De’Andre Swift.
Hailing from a school that produces great offensive linemen, and running backs that historically haven’t fulfilled their potential as pros. Taylor has totted the rock behind some fairly well paved running lanes and holes in his career.
Only time will tell if Taylor is a product of a system, or is truly a phenom on his own. Believe it or not, there was actually a narrative that once claimed Steph was also the sum of a system, but it turned out that he was the system.
Taylor is the NFL’s leading rusher right now. A shoe-in to make his 1st Pro-Bowl, and a front runner to win the MVP, his early stats are comparable to those that have put on a Gold Jacket.
Rarely do people have the foresight to recognize greatness in the moment.
How do you pick a guy out that’s on the come up?
A guy that's 5-tool player, a triple threat, you have to use your instincts, your gut…