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Thread: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

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    Default Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Since I keep trying the Mock Draft and I can never get anyone for the Pacers except Whiteside or Monroe, I took a look at this ESPN report. Thought I'd share with the Digest.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=5136346

    We're close. Oh, so close. Thanks to the NCAA's new May 8 draft deadline, the decisions of 34 draft-eligible early entrants will come sooner than ever this year. In two weeks, college coaches agonizing over stars' futures will be sated and the 2010-11 hoops picture will be clear.



    In the meantime, we can evaluate the decisions of those players who have taken the agony out of the process by signing with an agent, making them ineligible to return to college next season. Those decisions range from the obvious and easy -- John Wall, Evan Turner -- to the shockingly ill-advised and questionable. Everyone wants to be in the NBA. Some players are ready. Some aren't. In that spirit, let's analyze some of the decisions of the agent-signed players on a scale those players won't have to worry about ever again: grades A-F.

    A+ through A-: The "duh" group.


    John Wall, Fr., G, Kentucky: Duh.



    Some players have very difficult decisions to make when deciding whether to declare for the NBA draft or return to school. Evan Turner was not one of those players.

    Evan Turner, Jr., G, Ohio State: Double duh. (If only every draft decision was this easy to analyze. Strap on your seatbelts, because this is where things get fun. And long.)



    DeMarcus Cousins, Fr., F, Kentucky: Cousins isn't quite the slam dunk Wall and Turner are -- he could get better on the defensive end of the floor, and his occasional blow-ups on the court speak to the type of attitude some NBA general managers will be eager to avoid. But Cousins also got better as the season went along, and it's impossible to dispute his ability. As a freshman, he was already the strongest big man in the country in 2009-10, and his polish around the hoop -- along with his unparalleled rebounding ability -- should make him an impact pro.



    Wesley Johnson, Jr., G/F, Syracuse: Johnson has much he could improve, too, especially as an on-ball defender. But after his breakout season at Syracuse, it would be foolish for the formerly unknown transfer from Iowa State to return to school. This time last year, few NBA scouts would have drafted Johnson near the first round. Now he's a likely top-five pick. The getting is good, and Johnson isn't wasting any time. Hard to argue with that.



    Ed Davis, So., F, North Carolina: This might seem counterintuitive, seeing as Davis saw his productivity drop off a steep cliff in North Carolina's horrific 2009-10 season, but stick with me here: Davis is actually making a fantastic decision coming out in this year's draft. Here's why: NBA scouts have been in love with Davis since his arrival in Chapel Hill, and as a projected top-10 pick this season, those scouts apparently don't care that Davis often looked unprepared for big-time hoops in his sophomore year. If he stuck around for another year, Davis would risk exposing himself as even more unready than he already seems. Best to get out while the scouts are still swooning.



    Scouts have long been enamored with Ed Davis' NBA potential, despite a lack of production at the college level.

    Al-Farouq Aminu, So., F, Wake Forest: Much like Davis, Aminu gets a spot in this category not because he seems ready for the NBA -- he's not -- but because he and his agents have recognized that NBA scouts are hopelessly in love with him. Why not leave now?



    Greg Monroe, So., F, Georgetown: Monroe is another of the not-exactly-a-slam-dunk-but-still-really-good players in this draft, but he gets an A- just for agreeing, after much deliberation and a second-straight high-lottery projection, to come out of school and get his NBA career underway. It would have been borderline silly to see Monroe back for a third year. It was time.



    B+ through B-: The "Respectable, If Not Exactly A Sure Thing" group.


    Cole Aldrich, Jr., C, Kansas: Aldrich is a dominant interior defender and rebounder. He is not, however, an elite interior scorer -- he still needs work on his footing and his moves with his back to the basket. Another year of college basketball might serve him well in this regard. With Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry no longer at Kansas, Aldrich could get a chance to play college basketball in a situation where he wasn't a total afterthought on offense. Still, this isn't a bad decision; Aldrich can develop that game in the NBA.



    Derrick Favors, Fr., F, Georgia Tech: Favors has an NBA-ready body, but that's about all that's ready, and it's a lot easier to get by with an NBA-ready body in college than it is in the NBA. Favors will have a lot of development to do in the next few years to justify his top-five projected draft spot.



    Patrick Patterson, Jr., F, Kentucky: Patterson has been a lottery pick for much of his three-year Kentucky career, and his decision to come back in the midst of a John Calipari-induced talent influx paid off. Patterson debuted an even bigger, stronger body, which he used to dominate the post alongside Cousins, and his work on his inside-out game should make him even more attractive to NBA scouts.



    James Anderson, Jr., G, Oklahoma State: Anderson's decision is pretty easy: He came from relative obscurity to have an All-America type season in Oklahoma State's backcourt, and while he has a few things he could work on -- creating his own perimeter shot, for one -- Anderson is as pure a shooting guard prospect as this draft has.



    Hassan Whiteside, Fr., F, Marshall: Yes, Whiteside could use another year in school. He's still pretty raw. But his freshman campaign at Marshall was so impressive that he's gone from a total unknown to one of the more intriguing picks in the draft, and Whiteside is taking advantage of his skyrocketing stock.



    Dominique Jones, Jr., G, South Florida: Jones finally got the attention his talent deserves this year, leading South Florida to the fringe of the NCAA tournament and becoming something of a household name in college hoops circles. That hype is probably as wide as it's going to get, and now's the time.


    Solomon Alabi, So., C, Florida State: Some have questioned Alabi's decision to come out this early. Like Whiteside, he's still very raw. He needs to get stronger. He needs to learn how to play offensive basketball. But for a guy like Alabi to look at his draft stock and see that possible top-20 spot, well, it's pretty hard to tell him to work on that offensive game in college.



    His offensive game is far from ready, but NBA teams will surely take a chance on Florida State center Solomon Alabi, if only for his defensive potential.

    Elliot Williams, So., G, Memphis: Williams' college career will end up being a little shorter than either Duke fans or Memphis fans would have preferred, and it would be interesting to see what Williams could do with another year of college eligibility and a talented recruiting class arriving for Josh Pastner this fall. Williams' pro potential didn't dwindle in his swift transfer from Durham to Memphis; he's still a likely first-round pick. This isn't a great call, but it's not the worst.



    Larry Sanders, Jr., F, VCU: Sanders' mid-major affiliation hasn't hurt his draft stock; he's a likely lottery to mid-first-round pick. Sanders is in definite need of offensive improvement, but at this point it's hard to see Sanders climb too far up the scouts' lists in a year's time.


    Armon Johnson, Jr., G, Nevada: Johnson's main weakness is his jump shot, which is streaky and prone to poor shot selection. His athleticism more than makes up for it, though, and it's plausible to see a team's late first-round pick panning out quite nicely in a year or so.



    C+ through C-: The "Bad Circumstances Breeds Questionable Decisions" group.


    Willie Warren, So., G, Oklahoma: Warren should have come out last year. He was a likely lottery pick in last year's draft, but he instead gambled on returning to college be the star of Oklahoma's post-Blake Griffin year. That did not go well. When Warren was healthy, he spent much of the time feuding with coach Jeff Capel, and Warren wasn't healthy all that often. But Oklahoma's a mess and staying isn't exactly an option, either. Warren's stuck.



    Luke Babbitt, So., F, Nevada: Babbitt is probably a little underrated as a mid-to-late first-round pick; he's an elite low-post scorer whose profile is low thanks to his far-flung college. Another dominant season could boost Babbitt's stock into the lottery.



    Xavier Henry, Fr., G, Kansas: The Kansas guard is a pure scorer, but he struggled to adapt to the rigors of the college game for much of his freshman season. Another year at Kansas -- without shot-heavy Sherron Collins in the mix -- could push Henry's stock into the stratosphere. As it is, he's a solid first-round pick. But he could be so much more.



    Gani Lawal, Jr., F, Georgia Tech: Lawal, like Favors, could use another year in school to refine his low-post game. He's nearly there, but with so many big men in this draft, Lawal's status as a late first-rounder would probably improve next season.



    Craig Brackins, Jr., F, Iowa State: Brackins is another of the players who would have probably benefited from either coming out last year or waiting until 2011 -- he, like his fellow Cyclones, had a largely disappointing 2009-10. But Brackins' athleticism and interior knack should prove tempting for plenty of NBA scouts.



    Mac Koshwal, Jr., F, DePaul: Yet another big man who could use more time developing and whose draft stock dipped after a disappointing, oft-injured season. But with DePaul's situation in flux after the firing of coach Jerry Wainwright, it's hard to fault Koshwal for trying to get into the league now.



    Charles Garcia, Jr., F, Seattle: Thanks to big games, thundering dunks and ever-increasing buzz, Garcia started to become a well-known name throughout the 2009-10 campaign. That said, Garcia's talent and buzz aren't big enough to get out of that dreaded "second-round to undrafted" in this year's draft, and a dominant year at Seattle with all eyes on Garcia could have made his 2010-11 draft much more intriguing.



    D+ through D-: The "Talented, But Not So Much" group.


    Lance Stephenson, Fr., G, Cincinnati: Stephenson went to Cincinnati after an ugly recruiting period -- as lauded as his talent were the questions about his eligibility and attitude. He largely disappointed. It was the sort of year that not only revealed Stephenson wasn't ready for the NBA, it was the sort of year that brought his future potential into question. Stephenson needs more time. His nickname, "Born Ready," couldn't be any less relevant.


    A.J. Ogilvy, Jr., C, Vanderbilt: Ogilvy needs another year. He has talent, but in a draft this loaded with big men, Ogilvy needs a more versatile offensive game to impress scouts, and he doesn't have it.



    Manny Harris, Jr., G, Michigan: Harris' game is a poor man's version of your prototype NBA shooting guard -- he's 6-foot-5, lanky, athletic, can shoot the 3 and create his own shot, and he has all the tools to be successful. The problem is Harris' attitude and two disappointing seasons that have plummeted his draft stock into second round/undrafted territory. Harris is dissatisfied at Michigan, but this isn't the right time.



    Eniel Polynice, Jr., G, Ole Miss: Polynice is a second round-to-undrafted guy at this point, and he will be lucky to get in the draft this year.





    Sylven Landesberg, So., G, Virginia: Landesberg is already a very good player, but his academic issues and falling out with Virginia coach Tony Bennett have sped his decision to get in the draft by at least a year; Landesberg would undoubtedly be better off waiting until his talent is fully developed.



    F+ through F-: The "Wow, Is This Is A Bad Decision" group.


    Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Fr., F, Oklahoma: Gallon is a big body with a knack for rebounding, but no one who's seen him play would call him NBA-ready. Gallon's decision might have more to do with Oklahoma's issues -- including an internal investigation into money allegedly wired to Gallon's account from a financier in Florida -- than with his likelihood of sticking in the pros. Gallon probably can't stay at Oklahoma, even if he wanted to, but that doesn't make the decision any less terrible.



    Derrick Caracter, Jr., F, UTEP: Caracter isn't ready. The formerly troubled Louisville big man experienced a renaissance at UTEP this season, rebuilding his once-promising career into something recognizable during UTEP's impressive C-USA regular-season title run. It was great to see. But it doesn't change the fact that Caracter, while skilled in the post, is undersized, a tad overweight, and unlikely to be drafted earlier than the late second round. He needs another year to rebuild his stock; a player with a history this volatile needs two years of renaissance to be all the way back.



    Tommy Mason-Griffin, Fr., G, Oklahoma: Speaking of the Sooners. Mason-Griffin is similar to Gallon in that both players had nice freshman seasons, but neither player is anywhere near being ready for the NBA. Mason-Griffin is undersized and lacks the athleticism necessary to succeed at the point guard spot in the NBA. He simply needs more time.



    Jahmar Young, Jr., G, New Mexico State: No one questions Young's talent, but after two battery charges -- one recent, one in 2007 -- Young needs another year to rehab his image, stay out of trouble, and convince NBA GMs he's not a problem child. As it is, he'll probably go undrafted.



    Courtney Fortson, So., G, Arkansas: Fortson's decision is baffling. The guard can get to the rim with relative ease, but at 5-foot-11 and without a reliable outside shot, it's unlikely an NBA team will take a risk on him anywhere near the first round of the draft.


    Eamonn Brennan covers college basketball for ESPN.com. You can see his work every Monday through Friday in the College Basketball Nation blog.

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    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    I just started reading the list before I realized it was conditional on signing an agent.

    Purdue basketball is only held hostage for 12 more days.
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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Here's why: NBA scouts have been in love with Davis since his arrival in Chapel Hill, and as a projected top-10 pick this season, those scouts apparently don't care that Davis often looked unprepared for big-time hoops in his sophomore year. If he stuck around for another year, Davis would risk exposing himself as even more unready than he already seems. Best to get out while the scouts are still swooning.
    That's a bingo!


    X Henry: Another year at Kansas -- without shot-heavy Sherron Collins in the mix -- could push Henry's stock into the stratosphere. As it is, he's a solid first-round pick. But he could be so much more.
    Completely agree. Perfect time to mature and shine, ala Evan Turner. He will NOT get picked as high as Evan Turner this year.

    Gani Lawal, Jr., F, Georgia Tech: Lawal, like Favors, could use another year in school to refine his low-post game. He's nearly there, but with so many big men in this draft, Lawal's status as a late first-rounder would probably improve next season.
    Completely disagree here. Lawal has size concerns, but his actual post game is the best in the country, at least the low-post portion. He can also face up a bit and hit middies. He's ready, he just needs another inch and some of the Favors muscle to be a top 10 guy.


    Charles Garcia, Jr., F, Seattle: Thanks to big games, thundering dunks and ever-increasing buzz, Garcia started to become a well-known name throughout the 2009-10 campaign. That said, Garcia's talent and buzz aren't big enough to get out of that dreaded "second-round to undrafted" in this year's draft, and a dominant year at Seattle with all eyes on Garcia could have made his 2010-11 draft much more intriguing.
    This is the worst decision out there, at least of the guys who really could be something. He stunk this year, his game is immature and his competition was woeful. Scouts lost interest in a hurry and declaring won't help win them back. He needs to show people he can put his talent to good use on the court.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    No grade on Udoh?

    Is that a good or bad thing?
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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Also should add that every guy in the D and F range made a HUGE mistake. Just an epic fail for all those guys. I can't imagine what they were thinking at all.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    No grade on Udoh?

    Is that a good or bad thing?
    No agent I assume. Yet.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Also should add that every guy in the D and F range made a HUGE mistake. Just an epic fail for all those guys. I can't imagine what they were thinking at all.
    Best guess: They're scared of the new CBA/the lockout.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    I'd love to trade down and pick up Lawal and Henry. Is that wishful thinking?

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    I don't think I understand what constitutes NBA ready production at the college level.

    To clarify, Davis has had solid production comparable to guys like Lawal, Cousins, and Aldrich, who he does not say failed to produce at the college level. I agree that Lawal is much more NBA ready and has a more refined low post offensive game. But I thought production was numbers.
    Last edited by judicata; 04-27-2010 at 02:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    Purdue basketball is only held hostage for 12 more days.

    Same with Butler, no Hayward on this list?

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickRelease View Post
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    I'd love to trade down and pick up Lawal and Henry. Is that wishful thinking?
    I think both could help themselves in workouts quite a bit, I don't know if they'll get the momentum to displace current guys listed in the lottory. Henry is a freshman who deferred quite a bit, it seems, but in a workout scenario he'll show an NBA body with the skillset needed for his position. I don't know what he'll look like defensively, though. Lawal may have a little more trouble getting past the measurements, if he measures out better than expected and brings a high motor and skill level in workouts he'll climb. He may be faced with teams feeling he's not quite the ideal size and have a ceiling just outside the lottery.

    The guy who looks like he's all over the board is Bledsoe, at this point. If he puts together some great workouts and outplays the guys he's match with, teams could fall in love and he goes early. Especially in one of the thinnest Point Guard drafts I can remember in a long time. If he proves he's really far away from playing point guard, since he didn't play the position with Wall at Kentucky then he could drop to the 20s I think.

    I guess what I'm saying is all 3 of those guys, I have interest in, but all 3 aren't slotted as solidly as they will be post workouts. So in the trade down scenario, you might get them or you might not. How's that for a non answer.

    The thing I can't wait for is when the talent gets tiered or grouped. It looks like right now the tiers are 1-2, then 3-5, then 6 to ????, so I'm not sure where the next drop off is. I'm not really even sure 3-5 is right, that group could really be 3-15 or something like that. Everyone past Turner seems to be a project type (Favors, Aminu, Wesley Johnson) or limited in their ceiling (Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson) to a decent starter, great role player type status.

    If you move down and get 16 and 22 for your troubles, I think it's something you really have to think about, especially if it's Monroe and Whiteside sitting there at 10 as the best available.

    If it's Monroe, everytime I read about him he sounds like Roy Hibbert light or a slight variation at the PF position. Not a bad thing, but Roy is a workhorse and is maximizing his potential, no doubt in my mind. Is Monroe the same? Plus you can't have Roy at Center and Roy light at PF, athletic frontcourts (see most of the league) will kill you.

    Whiteside appears too far away for something that would interest the Pacers. I doubt he'd see the court next year if you picked him.

    On a side note is Stanley Robinson, I think his athleticism, defense, and tenacity will shine in workouts and he'll be a climber too. If I was another prospect, scheduling a workout for a team, I'd avoid workouts that included me going against Robinson. I think he'll make you look bad. I have a pipe dream that he falls to the Pacers pick in the second round, much like Sam Young did last year. I'd love to see an upgrade in defense and athleticism and a guy who can replace Dunleavy on the roster after next year and give you almost exactly the opposite skill set. NBAdraft.net compares him to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. That sounds good to me. They currently have him as the 2nd pick in the 2nd round, I think that's very good value. I could get behind a physical defensive set of players that featured D Jones, Brush, Stanley Robinson and Tyler Hansbrough. Opposing teams wouldn't care for that in a finesse oriented league, imho.

    ....but it's early. I don't know nearly as much as Seth and the like.
    Last edited by Speed; 04-27-2010 at 07:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Completely agree. Perfect time to mature and shine, ala Evan Turner. He will NOT get picked as high as Evan Turner this year.
    Seth, do you think his ceiling can be that of Evan Turner?

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    I just started reading the list before I realized it was conditional on signing an agent.

    Purdue basketball is only held hostage for 12 more days.
    Only 9 more days to decide now. I am surprised they didn't have Johnson or Moore on that list. Hopefully they only listed players they think possibly will stay in the draft.
    If Hummel had not gotten hurt and Purdue would have had a final four run this year, I think Johnson would be gone. That 20-25 ft. jumper from the top of the key is almost automatic. That will be a great asset at the next level. One more year at Purdue without the injury bug hitting us and we could have 3 guys go in the first round.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    I like that it's sooner, but it's ridiculous the timeline now. They basically can't work these guys out until tomorrow, then they have to decide to stay in or not in basically 9 days. Weird thing is, if this is true and it's just the way I understand it, if they are having workouts I haven't heard one thing about them. Has anyone else?

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    I'd love to take a shot at Henry. Then trade Rush, and try to get a late 1st round pick.
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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparhawk View Post
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    I'd love to take a shot at Henry. Then trade Rush, and try to get a late 1st round pick.
    Why?

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Trophy View Post
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    Why?
    Agreed. If we took Henry, I'd want him to be in addition to Rush.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparhawk View Post
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    I'd love to take a shot at Henry. Then trade Rush, and try to get a late 1st round pick.
    No wonder people don't play defense anymore. No one notices or cares when they do.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Awesome View Post
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    No wonder people don't play defense anymore. No one notices or cares when they do.
    If you're going to take Murphy to the woodshed for his lackluster defense, you should do the same for Rush's offensive ineptitude. Still gotta score more points than the other team.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    Best guess: They're scared of the new CBA/the lockout.
    Sure, but how does not being in a college program and undrafted help them?

    Let's say you stay in school and then the lockout happens. Okay, so you graduate and look into a Euro gig. You've been playing competitive ball the entire year, NBA scouts have seen you in person against known competition.

    OR, you go undrafted now, maybe are already good enough to get by in Europe (remember, this is without that extra college year of improving), and half the US forgets who you are. Then the lockout hits and at best you just keep your Euro gig another year and get even more forgotten in the NBA, barring some awesome breakthrough.

    Given how Jennings got downgraded and struggled, yet clearly was a top prospect, what is going to happen to a 50th or lower draft pick who's forced to go find other gigs to keep in the game?


    These guys are saying "I gotta get paid NOW" but they aren't going to get NBA paid because they aren't making the NBA this year. The lockout doesn't change that.

    Better to keep the free college ride and benefits and improve your game so that when the lockout ends you are more of a known quantity and probably a much better player.

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    Default Re: Final exam: Grading early-entrants As draft withdrawal date nears

    Henry: see DeRozen, Warren

    How is Henry remotely discussed in the same area as Dunn, let alone much higher? What did Henry show that Poindexter didn't?

    He had maybe 2 good weeks surrounded by pretty lifeless efforts this year. He's being drafted 100% on "well, he's athletic and bound to be better sooner or later".


    CAN HE be Turner? I can see how athletically the potential is there. But he has just about zero amount of that GAME. So that's where I'd advise him to stay. Collins is gone, you are getting better, you are getting to be more of the focus, and I assume you've got the Morris brothers there with you, and Ty Taylor running PG better than Collins I'd expect.

    So your team actually delivers more and you are the scoring focus of that season. This helps improve your game because your getting more attention in that main role. I mean that's not for certain, but if he doesn't improve in that situation then he never was going to anyway.

    I think this is a better route than trying to learn to be "the man" while being anything but the man on the end of some team's bench.


    I mean forget DeRozen, look at Bayless and Henderson, two guys I think are NBA talented. You can quickly get into a deep bench rut and you aren't learning to be a star in that role.



    Please keep in mind that when I start a scouting season I have ZERO feelings about any of these guys. A few I've followed the year before, where I started with zero feelings, but most are new to me. So my discussion of Henry is purely on what he did, on in his case didn't do.

    I had no knowledge of Dunn. He was so good that he stood out while watching for Udoh. Henry did not stand out. Marcus Morris stood out more than Henry did last season. That's not good if you are supposed to be a star SG type in a game where scorers get lots of attention usually.

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