New York City was once the Mecca of basketball, but over the course of the last two decades, the city-bred superstar has disappeared.
The flag-bearer for basketball from NYC these days?
Lance Stephenson? Joakim Noah?
The city that never sleeps just isn’t producing the same amount of basketball talent as it used, and this is a point that is simply inarguable.
Jordan Conn of Grantland wrote about this trend on Thursday, and look at some of the data that he dug up:
North Carolina’s Research Triangle region has produced the same number of McDonald’s All Americans in the last six years as New York. Not to mention that in the last decade, the Toronto suburb of Brampton has yielded more top-five NBA draft picks. It’s not only an issue of elite talent. According to Mode Analytics, New York state ranked 27th per capita this past season in supplying players for Division I men’s college basketball programs. If you want to play D-I ball, the raw chances of making it are better if you’re raised in Delaware or Wyoming than in New York. There are more Californians than New Yorkers in the ACC right now, and more Indianans in the Big East.
Those are some startling numbers to digest. Conn does an excellent job of diving into different theories on why New York’s basketball talent isn’t on the same level that it used to be, but the answer, in my mind is fairly simple: the rest of the basketball playing world is better.
In New York during the summer time, your playground options are limited to playing a game of 21 with dozens of other people or waiting along with 30 other people for hours to get on a court to play some 5-on-5. The better the game, the more time you spend standing on the sideline.
Everywhere else in the States, where space is cheap and facilities are available, kids will have a chance to develop their game. With players starting to focus on a single sport at a younger age, the places where these young players can get the coaching and the training they need are the ones that are producing the best players.