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Alex Poythress: "Some nights, like the game against Missouri, he looks like a Top 5 pick. Other nights, like his recent game against Tennessee, he looks YEARS away from being a NBA player. The draft is so weak this year that some team is likely to gamble on him in the late lottery and hope that he eventually lives up to his potential. But right now? He’s the most frustrating player in this draft. So much talent, but so inconsistent."
Willie Cauley-Stein: "Upside. He checks a lot of boxes. Long, athletic, good shot blocker, an emerging offensive game. He’s a long ways away from being a productive NBA player, but if he comes out now, my guess talking to scouts is that he goes somewhere in the late lottery to mid first round. I hope he stays. He still needs to learn the game. But I’d understand if he wanted to take the money and run."
Nerlens Noel: "He’s a lock for the Top 5 as long as there aren’t any complications with his surgery or rehab. Players completely recover from ACL tears these days. In fact, he might be ready to go by NBA training camp in October. I’m not sure if he will declare or return to school. Either option will be a good choice. I know GMs were a bit hesitant right after the injury to say he could be the No. 1 pick, but I’ve seen them back off that assertion lately. If the right team gets the No. 1 pick, he could still be the guy."
Archie Goodwin: "Goodwin, Poythress and Cauley-Stein all really need another year under Cal. The problem, and no one talks about this as much as they should, is that Cal has a big time incoming class who are all expecting to start. It puts pressure on everyone if they stay. In addition, especially in Goodwin’s case, I’m not sure he’s as good as the player (Aaron Harrison) that is coming in who play his position. Ditto for Poythress is Andrew Wiggins commits to UK. That’s a dilemma for everyone involved and why these kids typically end up leaving."
This post was edited by Chris Fisher 14 months ago
Ford's Big Board
2. Nerlens Noel
12. Alex Poythress
13. Willie Cauley-Stein
19. Archie Goodwin
Archie at 19 will make for an interesting decision. He's got the goods to be a much higher pick in the future but he's got a lot of comp at his position on the way next year. Going to be a tough call.
I hope for Cauley-Stein, Poythress, and Goodwin back, in that order. Not a knock on anyone in particular just with who we will most likely need the most next year mixed with the incoming talent.
At his current rate of improvement I just find it very difficult to believe Cauley-Stein will return to Lexington unless he just really wants to be in school. If that trajectory continues it will be difficult for him to turn down being selected in the lottery.
I see none of those guys back. And frankly, I see Wiltjer taking being drafted where he will in a weak draft and Harrow to play overseas.
I can see Noel coming back. Saying this makes me sound crazy but he will know that he needs another year for that ACL injury.
If anybody is guaranteed to go, it's him. He can't have another big injury before he's drafted.
While I agree with this statement, I have to point out it didn't hurt Derek Anderson in the long run. Sure he slipped pretty far after his second ACL tear, but he played forever in the league and he added a World Championship to his NCAA one.
With that said, let's all be real about players like Nerlens. If you had an opportunity to be a top 5 pick injury or not why would you stay in school? Worst case scenario you make a boat load of money, flame out and return to finish your degree. Unless you're not smart with your money ala Antoine Walker.
Yep, and Nerlens is a smart cat. He also has the option of continuing school while playing in the NBA. I'd say it's a foregone conclusion he's gone, a likelihood all the other freshmen are gone, and I think people will be surprised with what Wiltjer and Harrow decide to do.
I don't see Kyle going anywhere this year. Nothing would surprise me with Harrow to be honest.
I'll truly be surprised if Wiltjer leaves in any form. The only reason his leaving wouldn't surprise me if his bud Polson calls it quits early. Wiltjer may not play as much next year, but the things he is good at will be accented next year with the players around him.
Forget about any current freshman coming back and focus on the incoming class. If Wiltjer comes back he can come in and play with Harrisons^2, Young, Lee, and/Johnson. The perimeter will be wide open on pick and roles or when one of the three perimeter players drive. He could be looking at the very least six wide open threes a game.
Add anyone to the post and you could work a nasty high-low post game with him and Randle/WCS/Lee/Johnson/Wiggins. I just don't see Kyle heading elsewhere. Good things happen when you play for Cal as a freshman and beyond. Look at Miller, Liggins, Harrelson, etc. Cal hasn't completely figured Wiltjer out yet and that isn't all either of their faults.
I think Wiltjer's strengths could be utilized much more effectively next season than these last two.
IF any of the current FR class comes back then we could have 8 first round picks next year... Talk about people hating UK. lol.
WCS likely goes as he has improved tremendously and a team will draft him on potential.
Harrow, Poy and Goodwin should both come back but I doubt Goodwin does. Poy is 40/60 imo. Where is Harrow going to go? No NBA team will take him and I don't see him being ready to go overseas either. He comes back and plays backup pg minutes.
I think it was Dickie V. Who said on Saturdays broadcast that its not about where you are drafted but the second contract to think of. If you are in the D league or riding the bench your not going to make the money you could by sticking around.
That said I don't see any freshman on this team playing for Cal next year. I think they all should but I will be surprised if any are
My feeling has always been, if they are afraid to compete for playing time with the next recruiting class, how are they going to compete for playing in the NBA. I undetstand the fact that this is a weak draft and they could improve as players next year and still lose draft position, so if this year's freshmen leave for that reason than I get it. However, I have a tough time believing that players who think that they will be NBA superstars are worried about playing time at college.
The problem for guys like Goodwin and Poythress is not only a consideration of competing for playing time on the team next year. It is also a problem of a much deeper draft as compared to the draft this year. There are going to be some guys with serious question marks taken in the lottery, let alone the first round as a whole. If either of those guys get a guarantee (as much of one as you are going to get from a team) that they will go anywhere in the fist round they should jump on it.
That said, I would love to see them return and let Cal try to accomplish something that he alluded to in talking about the '96 team -- getting all of his talented players to accept playing 20 minutes a game for the good of the team. For the first time he could really play pressure defense and basically run two separate starting fives. Practices would be tougher than almost any game they would play. If he could get them all to buy in AND he could effectively manage the rotations (we have seen how hard it is for Cal to even rotate one player in that is not in his top 7 -- i.e., Hood) then that team could be that elusive undefeated national champion that many think will never happen again.
How is sticking around going to get you more money on your second contract? There are no practice restrictions in the NBA like college for one, and then there is the fact that there are more resources and better competition on the next level. Hell getting drafted late in the first round can actually help a players development in that sense. Sorry to tell you this but most of the time Dikie V don't got a clue. If your first contract is lottery money and your not going to come back and be the overall #1 pick then you should go, you'll either improve enough from there to get to that second contract or you won't, but staying in school isn't changing anything.
The thing people rarely talk about when mentioning guys should come back is how coming back can actually accentuate their flaws even more and drop their stock. If, say, you're Alex Poythress and the knock on you is consistent effort and energy, and ball-handling issues, yet you're still a lottery or top 20 pick what happens if you come back and those areas don't improve? Then scouts have even more time to pick your game apart and you drop even further, especially in what will be a deeper draft. By leaving after one year those question marks remain but at least you're getting drafted higher and earning good money.
Very true point. I think that one of the most recent and best examples is Harrison Barnes IMO.
Its very hard for me to make a prediction one way or the other on any of the guys sans Noel. Just to many factors although I will say that maybe the most important factor is the fact that this draft is historically weak. Its almost sad that that could end up being a huge factor but it has to be. Long term it shouldn't make any difference whether the draft is weak or strong. But in the short term, money wise, and perception wise it makes a big difference.
I think his point was if your not ready and make the jump and your not in the lottery, you might not get a lot of playing time. If you don't get time to prove yourself the second contract is not going to come or be less than you make if you we're ready and played early and often to prove yourself.
There's more to making it in the NBA than being a lottery pick. Bill Simmons often talks about how once a team reaches late lottery you are just hoping to get a good rotation guy. Sure you will get paid for 4 years but if you aren't ready you will be passed over for minutes, face an uphill climb to improve because you won't be playing meaningful basketball, and be old news before you know it. If a team takes a gamble on you becuase of your potential that means you are expendable, hence the gamble. WCS, Poythress, and Goodwin may all be first round picks but that doesn't mean they are ready to start playing professionaly. There is a difference. Xavier Henry, Tobias Harris, Josh Shelby, Daniel Orton, Marquis Teague, these are recent guys that projected well as pros yet none of them plays meaningful minutes nor looks to do so in the immediate future. They got in the NBA before they were ready to make any kind of impact and now it's an uphill climb for them. My philosophy is these kids should do whatever they and their families want, but I think when all you are looking at is your draft # you are missing the big picture of the NBA. If they are only concerned with that one contract and believe they can make it in the NBA then I hope it works out well for them. If they want a 10-15 year NBA career, actually get minutes in the league (which I think fan underrate when thinking about kids going pro), and have hopes of contributing at a championship level they'll have a better chance if they are better rounded players when they get there. Of course that's no guarantee you'll make it, NBA is a tough place where lots of talented people flunk out, but it's all about giving yourself the best chance.
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