While majority of the coaches are looking forward to a very deep 2021 PBA Rookie Draft, Tim Cone prefers to keep it real since Brgy. Ginebra will be the last team to choose in the first round.
The 63-year old American mentor firmly believes that impact players are very hard to come by in the bottom half of the draft.
“From what I understand, this coming Draft is supposed to be a deep Draft. However, we are drafting at no. 12. It’s really hard to find a true impact player at that spot. But you’ll never know, this is a deep Draft so we’ll take the best player available irrespective of position,” said Cone.
“We will certainly use our pick very, very carefully. We’ve got our eyes on a couple of guys and we are hoping they will drop to where we are,” he added.
Aside from the preparing the team for the influx of new talent, Cone is working on integrating the incoming sophomores into the rotation.
Of the three rookies who saw action in the 2020 Philippine Cup inside the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga, only Arvin Tolentino was given the opportunity to showcase his skills.
The league’s winningest coach, however, is looking to give the two others – Jerrick Balanza and Kent Salado significant exposure in the upcoming season.
“It was like a leap of faith for Arvin and we gave him the minutes. But we’re still very, very high on Jerrick, we’re very, very high on Kent and we expect these guys to be impact players down the line,” explained Cone.
“Our team is not young. But we’ve got a young group of players led by Scottie and Aljon. Those guys are still very young plus you’ve got Arvin. We think we’ve got a young core that we’re developing, kinda succeed the veterans that we have now like LA (Tenorio) and Joe (Devance). That’s how you continue your success — keep drafting, keep building young players, and let them try to take over from the older players.”