A Late Critique of the NBA Early Entry Draft List.

Basketball is my favorite sport. I never was able to play it, but I’ve followed it for fourteen years.

I can’t, however, decide whether I fancy college or pro basketball more. It’s an ongoing battle inside my head…I like pro basketball for the superstars and storylines, but I love college basketball because it is part of North Carolina’s culture. With that said, I find the period of the NBA’s early entry draft period interesting enough for me to review and comment on whether or not said prospect made a wise decision.

For the record, I feel that the best system for both college and pro would be to just to attend college for two years. I would argue for it because it would help the NBA put a product on the floor with players that are a year older and more mature. I feel as if it would lead to a better college and NBA product. For every LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, you can also get a Ndubi Ebi or Robert Swift.

On the other hand, most of these kids come from underprivileged backgrounds. Forcing them to wait for two years may or may not benefit them.

When I consider this, I tend to lean towards Arn Tellem’s model of allowing high school players declare, while also expanding the NBA’s mediocre D-League. You can read up here:http://grantland.com/the-triangle/d-league-deconstruction-the-necessary-plan-to-fix-the-nbas-farm-system/

Anyway, I wrote this blog to comment/critique on the men that declared from this year’s draft. I won’t consider the issue of money; everyone needs the money.

Officially Entering

Cliff Alexander, Forward, Kansas (Fr.)

Draft Projection: Late First/Early Second Round

Comment: Alexander was a one and done prospect heading into his freshman year, but he couldn’t start for Bill Self. Now the NCAA is sniffing around this poor kid, so I understand why he’s leaving..even though he ISN’T ready.

Judgement: A defensible move.

Justin Anderson, Wing, Virginia (Jr.)

Projection: Late First/Early Second

Comment: Anderson was UVA’s MVP last season and would have done well in my opinion with a good senior year, but the lure of guaranteed money was too much to pass up.

Judgement: I have mixed feelings..

Brandon Ashley, Forward, Arizona (Jr.)

Projection: 2nd Round/Undrafted

Comment: Ashley would have left last year if he hadn’t gotten injured. For the record, I don’t get why kids leave early when they don’t have a chance at the first round.

Judgement: Bad move.

Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky (Fr.)

Projection: First Round

Comment: Another Kentucky kid that really isn’t ready. He was smart to declare, though.

Judgement: Good move.

Willie Cauley Stein, Center, Kentucky (Jr.)

Projection: Lottery

Comment: Three and Done Cauley-Stein has nothing left to prove in One and Done land.

Judgement: No-brainer.

Sam Dekker, Wing, Wisconsin (Jr.)

Projection: Lottery/Mid First

Comment: Nothing really to prove by returning.

Judgement: Good move.

Micheal Frazier, SG, Florida (Jr.)

Projection: 2nd Round/Undrafted

Comment: He must have gotten into it with Billy Donovan (who was still there when he declared). Or he got bad barbershop advice.

Judgement: Bad move.

Olivier Hanlan, SG, Boston College (Jr.)

Projection: 2nd Round/Undrafted

Comments: I don’t care if he’s 22. Why give up a degree and a BMOC senior season when you aren’t getting guaranteed cash?

Judgement: Bad move.

Montrezl Harrell, Forward, Louisville (Jr.)

Projection: Mid-Late First Round

Comment: Harrell has little to prove in college.

Judgement: Good move.

Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky (So)

Aaron Harrison, SG, Kentucky (So)

Projection For Both: 2nd Round/Undrafted

Comments: This isn’t wise…These kids aren’t ready, basketball-wise, and maturity wise. If they didn’t want to be recruited over, at the very least they can transfer to Texas and play for Shaka Smart.

Judgement: Bad move

Tyler Harvey, G, Eastern Washington (Jr)

Projection: All Over The Place/Maybe First Round

Comments: I don’t like the odds of Harvey being a first round pick. Just a gut feeling. He has an outside shot of being one, though.

Judgement: Bad move

Jerome Hill, G, Gardner-Webb (Jr)

Projection: Undrafted

Comments/Judgement: Que?

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F, Arizona, (So)

Projection: First Round

Comments: I doubt he will get a second contract, but he’s getting paid.

Judgement: Good move.

R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State (Jr.)

Projection: Late First

Comments: I love RJ to death, but I am scared that he will fall out of the first round.

Judgement: Mixed feelings

Vince Hunter, F, UTEP (So)

Projection: 2nd Round/Undrafted

Comments: Go back to school.

Judgement: Bad move.

Charles Jackson, G, Tennessee Tech (Jr.)

Projection: Never heard of him. Pray for whoever is advising him.

Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky (So.) Projection: Late First/Early Second

Comments: Johnson wouldn’t have been hurt by another year at Kentucky, although Skal Labissere would have eaten into his PT. Still, I don’t like guys that don’t come out with a first round guarantee.

Judgement: Bad move.

Stanley Johnson, Wing, Arizona (Fr.)

Projection: Lottery

Comments/Judgement: Good move.

Tyus Jones, PG, Duke (Fr.)

Projection: First Round

Comments: I was disappointed to see Tyus leave, but Duke has reloaded already and his stock is high now, so I’m happy for him.

Judgement: Good move..

Trevor Lacey, SG, NC State (RS Jr)

Projection: Undrafted

Comments: Basketball-wise, this is a dumb move. However Lacey will be 24 soon and the NBA has implicit biases against 24 year old rookies.

Judgement: Defensible move.

Kevon Looney, F, UCLA (Fr)

Projection: Lottery

Comments/Judgement: Good move.

Trey Lyles, F, Kentucky (Fr.)

Projection: Late Lottery/Mid-First

Comments: See Devin Booker.

Judgement: Good move.

Jarell Martin, F, LSU (So)

Projection: Late First/Early Second

Comments: Martin was run off by Ben Simmons coming in. That’s why I may cut him some slack.

Judgement: Mixed Feelings

Chris McCullough, F, Syracuse (Fr)

Projection: Late First/ Early Second

Comments: McCullough would be draft-eligible this year with a 20-year old limit (just saying), but he isn’t ready. He tore his ACL and needs to show more to the scouts. However, he recently fathered a child, so I understand this choice. Judgement: Defensible.

Jordan Mickey, F, LSU (So)

Projection: 2nd Round

Comments: Mickey would have competed for a title had he come back. Sigh.

Judgement: Bad move.

Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke (Fr.)

Projection: Top 3

Comments/Judgement: No-brainer

Kelly Oubre Jr., Wing, Kansas (Fr.)

Projection: Lottery

Comments: This is what is wrong with the game. Oubre isn’t ready, but the NBA will jump on him anyway.

Judgement: Mixed feelings.

Cameron Payne, PG, Murray St. (So)

Projection: First Round

Comments: Sucks for Murray St. Now they won’t be favored in their own conference next year.

Judgement: Good move

Terran Pettway, G, Nebraska, (Jr)

Projection: Undrafted

Comments: Pettway will graduate, so good for him.

Judgement: Defensible

Walter Pitchford, G, Florida (RS Jr)

Projection: Undrafted

Comments: Nebraska fell off the map quickly in men’s hoops, didn’t they? By the way, Pitchford will graduate.

Judgement: Defensible.

Bobby Portis, F, Arkansas (So)

Projection: First Round

Comments: Get that first round cash.

Judgement: Good move.

Michael Qualls, G, Arkansas (Jr)

Projection: 2nd Round

Comments: WHY COME OUT WITHOUT A DECENT CHANCE AT GETTING PICKED IN THE FIRST ROUND?

Judgement: Bad move

Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville (So)

Projection: First Round to Early Second

Comments: I’m concerend that Rozier may not be a first round pick, but…

Judgement: Mixed feelings

D’Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio St. (Fr.)

Projection: Top 5

Comments/Judgement: No-brainer.

Jhreod Stiggers, Houston (Jr.)

Comments: Kelvin Sampson coached this kid. He got awful advice, and I hope Sampson didn’t just run him off.

J.P. Tokoto, F, UNC (Jr)

Projection: 2nd Round/Undrafted

Comments: Tokoto must have serious heat with Roy Williams to make this move. This is just dumb.

Judgement: Bad move.

Karl-Anthony Towns, F, Kentucky (Fr.)

Projection: Top 2

Comments: Karl-Anthony Towns will likely be the No. 1 pick. Nothing to report here.

Judgement: No-brainer.

Myles Turner, F, Texas (Fr.)

Projection: Lottery

Comments: Turner has the look of a bust. He’s not ready and he runs goofy. But he is a lottery pick in 2015.

Judgement: Mixed feelings

Robert Upshaw, C, Washington, So.

Projection: Late First/Early Second

Comments: Robert Upshaw was kicked off his team, so the decision was made for him.

Judgement: Defensible

Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV, Fr.

Projection: 2nd Round

Comments: This is stupid. Just stupid.

Judgement: Bad move.

Chris Walker, F, Florida, So.

Projection: Undrafted

Comments: Chris Walker has talent, but he’s not ready. Why not transfer to another school?

Judgement: Bad move

Justise Winslow, F, Duke, Fr.

Projection: Top 5

Comments: No-brainer.

Christian Wood, F, UNLV, So.

Projection: Late First

Comments: Looks like he may be a first round pick, so this seems like a wise move.

Judgement: Good move.