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NBA AM: The Stay In School Or Go Pro Debate
Posted By Lang Greene On May 9, 2013 @ 10:05 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Former San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin is in the 2013 NBA Draft. HOOPSWORLD caught up with him to discuss his game and the pre-draft process in this exclusive interview.Watch More Video Here
The NBA Draft early entrant list was locked in last week and while most players expected to be surefire lottery picks threw their names into the mix, one notable omission, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State, decided to return to school and in the process helped stir up the perennial debate around this time of year.
Is it wise for players guaranteed to be lottery picks to return to school for an additional season in the college ranks? Recent history says projected lottery pick guys who decide to return to school will routinely see their respective draft stocks slip the following the season.
Boston Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger immediately comes to mind. After an outstanding freshman season at Ohio State, which landed Sullinger in most pre-draft top five lists, Sullinger returned to school but to most observers had a disappointing sophomore campaign. Sullinger entered the draft, tumbled down the first round and was subsequently selected by Boston with the No. 21 overall pick – losing millions of dollars in the process.
So is it unwise to return to school under all circumstances?
“I may look at this a little differently than some other people do,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas told HOOPSWORLD. “I think when you’re the deal you get to do whatever you want. The guys who are the real deal and you can go all the way back to a player like Tim Duncan, Grant Hill or other guys who stayed all four years in college. I don’t think either of those guys or players like them who are the real thing are looking back on their careers saying ‘Man, if I had only gotten into the NBA earlier, how much better my life would be.’
“Now, if we’re just talking about your draft stock and where you go in the draft then there are intelligent decisions that need to be made because you made a really good point about players who saw their draft stock fall by coming back who would have been drafted higher the year earlier. But I think we could probably sit down together and go over a list of players and come up with just as many who enhanced their draft stock by coming back.”
While some guys may have lost a few draft slots by returning to the collegiate ranks for another year, Bilas notes several players who significantly improved their draft stocks by going back to school and honing their craft this past season.
“To a certain level you can say [Indiana's] Cody Zeller would have been a top five draft pick last year but he won’t be this year,” Bilas said acknowledging some guys lose their momentum headed into the draft. “But you could also point to guys such [Indiana's] Victor Oladipo who wouldn’t have been drafted last year or [Michigan's] Trey Burke who would not have been as high of a draft pick last year if they didn’t decide to come back. Both of those guys should do extraordinarily well in this year’s draft because they opted to go back to school.”
In regards to players like Smart, Bilas believes the truly elite players control their own destiny and don’t ever have to worry about perceived draft stock because their talent will win the day.
“I think Marcus Smart is the real thing and I think he’ll be fine no matter what he does,” Bilas said. “I don’t worry about a guy like him. The guys you worry about are the ones who get swept up in things off the floor and mentally might not be ready.
“I think the issue comes down to if you just want to be drafted high or do you want to have a long career. For those players who want to go into the NBA prepared for a career, mentally, physically and emotionally, then it makes sense for some guys to go back to school. The guys who say I’m not ready to start my professional career yet, although other people believe I’m ready are the ones I believe who should return to school. Those are individual decisions.”
One area Bilas believes needs to be tightened up is the NCAA’s support of collegiate players who want to test the waters and truly get a gauge of their professional market value. Bilas says the current NCAA culture punishes the student-athletes it should be helping more in the process.
“I have a problem with the uninformed decisions,” Bilas said questioning the current process. “That’s why I have a problem with the way the NCAA handles the process. The NCAA should welcome these kids being able to interact with the professional teams to make an informed decision and allowed to work out for them and to have their workouts paid for them.
“For example, we don’t talk to regular students at a school and tell them if a fortune 500 company wants to fly you to their headquarters to interview them to give them a job that they’re not allowed to pay for that. It’s silly. It’s a professional endeavor and if they decide to come back that’s great, but if they decide to leave we shouldn’t be standing in their way from getting quality information. I don’t understand what we’re so worried about. It’s ridiculous. These kids all know pros, they’re already around agents, they shouldn’t be allowed to have agents but they should be able to gather as much information as they want to make an informed decision on their future.”
Looking for the full early entrant list for this year’s draft? You can find it here.
Does Patrick Ewing Deserve Head Coaching Opportunity?
In a perfect world if an 11-time All-Star, Hall of Fame legend who amassed a shade under 25,000 career points wanted to throw his name into the head coaching mix in a profession he once dominated you would think franchises would be lining up to hear the pitch.
But former New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing has yet to generate much interest throughout the league despite paying his dues and logging eight seasons as an assistant coach in order to boost his resume.
The perennial snub is starting to wear on Ewing.
“It’s just disappointing, but I’m just hoping and waiting somebody gives me a look,” Ewing told Chris Haynes of Comcast Sports Net. “I just need an opportunity. All it takes is one team.”
Ewing is hoping his path takes a similar trajectory like Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau who also had to wait in line until the phone eventually rang.
“Look at Tom Thibodeau, he’s a great coach who coached me in New York and I spent time with him when we were assistants in Houston, “Ewing said. “It took him a long time before somebody finally gave him a chance. When he got it, he took full advantage of it. I’m hoping somebody in the NBA gives me a chance so I can show what I am capable of doing.”
The head coaching free agent list this summer will be a tough one for Ewing to crack. There are numerous candidates in the field who possess stronger resumes and previous head coaching experience.
Candidates on the market with previous head coaching experience include Nate McMillan, Stan Van Gundy and Alvin Gentry. Hot assistant coach prospects include Indiana’s Brian Shaw, Golden State’s Mike Malone and San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer.
Ewing feels he’s been unfairly pigeonholed as just a big man’s coach and not capable of running all aspects of a team.
“I’m not just a big-mans coach, I consider myself to be a well-rounded coach,” Ewing said. “Just because you played a certain position during your playing days, doesn’t mean you don’t have the knowledge and skill-set to help the guards or forwards improve their games.
“It’s unfortunate to be pigeonholed into one category. That’s just what I want to prove to teams, that I feel and know that I’m a all-around good coach.”
Current teams with head coaching vacancies include Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Detroit and Phoenix.
Nuggets’ Masai Ujiri to be named NBA Executive of the Year
The Denver Nuggets’ season might have ended in disappointing fashion as the club experienced its ninth first round playoff exit in the last decade, but the future of the organization is still bright with a roster brimming with talent.
One of the key driving forces for the Nuggets’ promising future, vice president Masai Ujiri, is expected to be named NBA executive of the year on Thursday.
Ujiri was named to his post in August 2010 and he was immediately thrust into the Carmelo Anthony situation. In February 2011, Ujiri traded Anthony to the New York Knicks in a deal which landed key contributors Danilo Gallanari, Wilson Chandler and Kosta Koufos. More importantly, the Nuggets continued winning at a high clip despite shipping a franchise cornerstone in his prime like Anthony.
Ujiri also drafted emerging forward Kenneth Faried and traded for former All-Star Andre Iguodala and took a chance dealing for talented center JaVale McGee.
The Nuggets earned the number three seed in the Western Conference during this season’s playoffs, after recording a franchise record 57 wins, but was eliminated by the upstart Golden State Warriors in the first round.
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