Um.....how can 40 players think they are guaranteed first round NBA draft picks when there are only 30 slots? Such is this weird and wild NBA draft that will take place in about 7 weeks.
The list for early entries is insane!! There are some that were to be expected....and they will be high picks [Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Chris Taft, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, Charlie Villenueva, Antoine Wright, Sean May].
There are also those high school kids that will be intriguing picks [Gerald Green, Martell Webster, CJ Miles, Monta Ellis].
There will be some more international names that will trip up David Stern’s tongue on draft day [Martynas Andriuskevicius, Fran Vazquez, Nemenja Aleksandrov, Tiago Splitter, Rudy Fernandez, Johan Petro].
Oh....and there just may be a few seniors drafted [Channing Frye, Danny Granger, Joey Graham, Hakim Warrick] in the first round. Last year, the first college senior taken in the draft was at #8...and that was BYU's Rafael Araujo.
So where are all these other guys going to go?? I just named 24 guys that will definitely go in the first round. Yet, there are so many others that are declaring for this draft thinking they have one of the six remaining spots locked in.
There are guys that will teeter on the late first or early second round slots. Early entries Francisco Garcia, Andray Blatche, Kennedy Winston, Ronny Turiaf and John Gilchrist will fight with seniors Wayne Simien, Salim Stoudamire, Ryan Gomes and Jawad Williams for that guaranteed deal. But there are still guys declaring.
Guys like Kelenna Azubuike from Kentucky. He may have been the best player on a non-star studded Wildcats squad....but he is a late second round pick at best. He declared for the draft just as his father was due to begin a prison sentence.
Or West Virginia’s Kevin Pittsnogle, who wasn’t even a starter for the Mountaineers until late in the season. Or Bracey Wright, who seems to just be jumping ship from Indiana. Or Memphis’ Sean Banks...who is considered a problem by some and has had some trouble with the law. Or Pops Mensah-Bonsu who was a 12 ppg scorer at George Washington. Or Florida State’s Von Wafer...because um...I dunno? Or TJ Parker who declared from Northwestern after a great season averaging 9.7 ppg.
Some of these guys would be much higher picks if they waited a year.
What is going on? I know with the threat of an age limit, agents and hangers on are crawling into the ears of these guys telling them to get out there while the getting is good. Or some, like Cincinnati’s James White, who is using the rule where you can come back to school if you do not hire an agent. White knows he won’t get drafted....but he’s using the loophole to be able to play in draft camps and get his name out there for next year’s draft. But there are 38 players who have already declared for the NBA Draft.
And, no, I’m not complaining because my beloved Tar Heels are losing 4 guys to the draft early. Those players will be gone by the #20 pick. They should leave early.
Look at the colleges from where some of these guys are leaving. Pepperdine, St. Joseph’s, Missouri, Seton Hall, Northwestern, Florida State, Texas A&M and Indiana....none of those schools were in the NCAA tournament. But there are guys leaving from North Carolina, Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Arizona, Stanford, Pitt, Wake Forest, UConn and Florida as well.
Is this just an occurrence because they NBA is threatening an age limit? Guys are trying to get theirs when they can. Or will this trend continue? I know, I know...this has been going on forever...I’m a Carolina fan and know that all too well. But not in this number. It is unreal how many guys are declaring early.
With the age limit...that will curb some of this. But an age limit could, inadvertently, create a minor league [though it may not be directly sanctioned by the NBA] which would allow these teenage players to get out of college classes and onto a basketball court full time.....and bringing in a $30-$50K salary. I mean, that is still not a bad set up either. And when you hit that magic 20 year mark...you make yourself eligible for the draft knowing that you’ve played a longer schedule than the college kids and already have a feel for the professional career ofbasketball.
While that is all and good for the NBA [darn near a perfect scenario] it still could leave the college game rather dry. Or, maybe not. If this rule had been in place...a guy like LeBron James may had taken a 2-year stint in the college game and the easier "schedule" of games with a top flight coach than risk flaming out in a minor league. It also might force young foreign players to attempt to attend an American university to hone his craft for a few years.