Pictures say a thousand words. The NBA season ended with Kwahi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors hoisting up the Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time in Franchise history. With the 2018-2019 season closing out, the league began to look ahead to the 2019 NBA draft where the newest crop of future all stars and players would hear their name called by Commissioner Adam Silver. Names like Ja Morant, Rj Barrett, and the ultra athletic Zion Williamson headlined the incoming rookie class. Not at the top of the list for most anticipated rookie debuts is Goga Bitadze, a 19 year old rookie from Georgia.
Like a lot of foreign players making the transition to the NBA, many common hoop fans and even hardcore basketball fans are unaware of their game or accomplishments. Goga Bitadze is a 6’11, 251 lbs center who was named the 2019 EuroLeague Rising Star so it’s clear that he has potential to be a quality player in the NBA. Nevertheless, it’s hard to compete with the hype and prestige of a player like Zion Williamson. There hasn’t been a player with the level of hype surrounding them since that one guy from Akron, Ohio…yeah the one who went to St. Vincent St. Mary HS. Goga Bitadze doesn’t have the athletic prowess or flashy game some of the other players have but the potential is there and the Pacers drafted him with the 18th pick.
The image above is a lasting image that has potential to be a legendary photo if Goga Bitadze turns out to be ROY, or at least in the conversation. As a player, the lack of attention has to be a motivating factor for the 19 year old Georgian. I believe that he will remember that day at the podium being the after thought while Zion Williamson garnered all the attention. Competitive players only need one thing to use as fuel so it’ll be interesting to see how Goga responds to this in his play. We’ll revisit this image at the halfway point and at the end of the upcoming NBA season as it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Pictures say a thousand words and this could be the beginning of a storybook season and career for Goga Bitadze. What do y’all think? Who is your early pick for rookie of the year? #TheEgoTrip