How many times have you seen a guy drafted relatively high and then fail to make it even though you know he has the talent? One of my long time theories is the importance of the coach and how you fit in, or fail to fit in, with a particular team. In other words, some guys are drafted by the wrong team and never make it, but they would succeed with a different coach and/or team.
A key component is the confidence level a coach has in a player. If a young guy knows he's coming out of the game as soon as makes a couple of mistakes, he will play tentatively and probably not develop in the manner we expect. I think JJ Redick's first two years in Orlando was a good example. On the other hand, if he knows he'll play regularly and that his coach will allow him to make mistakes, because that's part of the learning process, it will have a very different impact on his psyche.
This happens all of the time and the latest reminder is Yi Jianlian, who's looked like a completely different player since Vandeweghe took over as the Nets coach. I saw the following quote in today's newspaper and thought I would make it part of this thread.
"Vandeweghe has been Yi’s biggest supporter and said the key to his development is letting him play through his mistakes. Former coach Lawrence Frank didn’t always do that, and it affected Yi mentally.
"You’ve got to learn through fire," Vandeweghe said. "You’ve got to learn from games. You’ve got to be stuck with. That’s just an important part of development for any player. You stay with them, stay with them through the mistakes in games. There’s no other way to do it."
The above is yet one more example of how a coach's confidence, or lack thereof, has such an important impact on how young guys develop.