Blog Entry

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

Posted on: April 11, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 10:36 am

Posted by Matt Jones

My rule of thumb when determining what college players will enter the NBA Draft is usually quite simple. If it makes sense for a player to enter the draft from a business perspective, he almost always will do so. Often reporters and fans will debate whether a player likes being in school, what type of team is coming back or if his stock can improve, but in reality these things are all secondary. Generally, if the player will be a lottery pick, he will enter the draft, with few exceptions.

But this year things seems to be different. For reasons that are not entirely clear, a significant number of the most tantalizing NBA draft prospects are returning to school. Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, John Henson and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina and now Perry Jones of Baylor have all announced they will return to college and forego a chance to be a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft. In the case of Sullinger and Jones, the potential for a top 5 selection was on the table, but both players have, as of now, vowed to return. And even potential No. 1 overall pick Harrison Barnes is reported to be leaning towards returning to North Carolina as well, a decision that would leave the top spot in the draft wide open.

There is clearly a fear of a NBA lockout involved, but even with such a result, the players would still be drafted prior to its occurrence and the amount of money they would paid is no less than what they will get in college. Some players may be motivated by a desire to win again on the college level and some could be simply hoping for a chance at a slight improvement in a 2012 draft that might be weak due to a 20 year age limitation in the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. But no matter the reason, the reality is that the top of the 2011 draft has gotten much thinner in the past few days.

However with every change comes an opportunity and now a new batch of players are poised to reap the rewards of what is shaping up to be an extremely weak draft. At the top, players like Arizona’s Derrick Williams, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones and UConn’s Kemba Walker have seen their chances of becoming top 5 picks in June increase exponentially. For each of these players, the decision by Sullinger, Jones and potentially Barnes, means a rise in draft slot and a corresponding increase in salary that can push their first contract into a higher bracket. For a player like Terrence Jones, that change in slot could be the ultimate difference in deciding whether or not to return to college or stay in the draft and reap the benefit of a rise in the rankings.

The effect continues on down the draft board where mid to low level first round picks, now have dreams of the lottery. Kansas’s Marcus Morris, Colorado’s Alec Burks and BYU’s Jimmer Fredette have now seen 3-4 lottery spots open up, potentially moving them from late first round into mid-level picks. With a good series of workouts, these players, who were thought to be selected in the 20s just a few weeks ago, can see their final position rise to the 12-15 range instead.

And maybe most importantly, players who were questionable to get in the first round and receive a guaranteed contract, now have the opportunity to be ensured three years in the NBA. Tennessee’s Tobias Harris, Georgia’s Travis Leslie and Illinois’ Jereme Richmond now can potentially make the decision to enter the draft with a slightly higher degree of confidence, as more slots are open to get inside that magical top 30 range. Especially for a player like Harris, who has NBA talent but could potentially have been lost in the mix behind big men such as Jones, Sullinger and Henson, the opportunities have become much brighter in the past few days. Tobias was projected to be anywhere from late first round to a second round pick, but it is now hard to envision a scenario where he would not find a first round taker if he leaves his name in the draft.

Ask any NBA scout or GM and they will tell you that the 2011 pool is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years. But, the draft will still occur and players still must be selected. With the top players leaving the festivities, SOMEONE has to get picked in those 30 slots and each will receive guaranteed money, whether or not they deserve it. College basketball will surely benefit by the decisions of many top players to return to school. But the true winners may end up being the players who keep their names in the Draft and collect the ultimate benefit of a return to student-athlete status from college basketball’s finest.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: NBA draft

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:06 pm

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

Derick Williams will go number one.

Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 9:57 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:27 pm

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

I could not agree with you more. The hype precedes most players. There are so many out there that can't so they brainwash these exceptional kids that they can even though many times if they stayed in college they eventually could. Many of these kids are not mature enough and got by on their raw talent.

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 4:48 pm

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

futurenole, he corrected the post after I pointed out the error.  That's why it says, "Edited on: April 12, 2011 10:36 am" at the top.

Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:38 pm

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

"Generally, if the player will be a lottery pick, he will enter the draft, with few exceptions." 

thats what he did say...

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:38 am

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

maybe these players who are returning are doing so cause they are tired of seeing so called lottery picks set on end of benches cause they are not ready to play..maybe they want to actually earn the money they will make instead of stealing money..maybe they actually enjoy college basketball and want to win i am not sure why these players are being singled out by this writer as doing something is refreshing to see players stay instead of taking the 1st check they get and disappearing from basketball...

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:07 am

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

paragraph one: "Generally, if the player will be a lottery pick, he is returning, with few exceptions.

Um, isn't that the opposite of what you meant to say?

Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:53 am

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

For reasons that are not entirely clear, a significant number of the most tantalizing NBA draft prospects are returning to school.
There are a number of reasons, but the fact that the NBA is staring down the barrel of a messy CBA negotiation is likely a big part of it.  Think about it... what if it gets as ugly (or more so) than the current NFL fiasco?  The league certainly sounds like it intends to play hardball.  If a kid comes out of school for the draft early, then there's no season, what does he do?  No school, no income, no basketball... he's kind of in limbo.  If a kid doesn't hate the college experience, he may as well stick around for another year under those circumstances, let the labor mess play itself out, and then just go next year when he knows what he's walking in to.

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:38 am

Draft stock of some rises by attrition

The reasoning of the players is actually pretty evident: the failure of so many who have left early. Most of those one and dones who seemed like can't misses, were bricks because their bodies and games weren't developed for the NBA. Jared Sullinger is a smart guy who said all year long he would be coming back to Ohio State. Harrison Barnes said he came to UNC, in part, because he liked the 3 year business degree trajectory Roy Williams laid out for him (plus he wanted to establish a legacy). Derrick Williams is a bit more puzzling as he could be the #1 pick, and his ceiling can't get much higher, unless he improbably hits 60% of his 3s again next year, but with a greater sample size. I agree this makes Terrence Jones's entry more intriguing, because he has a chance to stay with a team full of top 10 players or go as high as he possibly ever would, but it almost assures that Jordan Williams is gone. He was testing the waters, but he's now a lottery guy, or at least should be given his penchant for nightly double doubles. This also benefits seniors such as Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, especially Singler who looked like he was a 2nd round lock.

I still don't get the Perry Jones return. A kid that screwed by the NCAA coming back to play for free...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or