Paul Pierce was the 10th overall pick in 1998, which was the last year that the NBA went through a lockout. Recently, he told CNNSE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely about what that experience was like, and some of the disadvantages that the rookies of the class of 1998 had to face:
“Me, I had no knowledge of it (potential lockout),” Pierce said. “So I got drafted, and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s a lockout.'”
Not only did it put young players like Pierce at a disadvantage in terms of adjusting to the speed of the NBA, but it also impacted their conditioning.
The conditioning program that most NBA teams put incoming rookies through began later than usual because of the lockout, which only added to the struggles that a number of first-year players endured as rookies.
The lockout wiped out summer league that year as well.
Today’s players often spend time after the draft, but before training camp, working out with a private trainer along with other players represented by the same agent.
It wasn’t like that when Pierce was coming into the league.
“I was pretty much on my own,” Pierce said. “I didn’t have a trainer or nothing. It was just, stay ready.”
Blakely makes a good point about how much more common private workouts are now, but it could still potentially hinder the development of the 2011 rookie class if they don’t get to go through a proper Summer League or join their teams as early as rookies would in other years. Just one more thing to keep in mind as the CBA discussions continue.