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The SEC In The NBA Draft: Who’s In Good Shape And Who Isn’t

nba_logoAs we finish up the final week of the 2013-14 basketball season, players across the nation are announcing their NBA intentions.  In the last three days LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant and Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson have both revealed that they will be leaving school and turning pro early.

Every player’s case is unique to them — family issues, monetary needs, scholastic troubles — so it’s impossible to say definitively, “Yes, that guy made a mistake.”  For some a six-figure salary in the Netherlands or Turkey might be an A-OK next step.  For others missing out on the guaranteed contract that comes with being a first-round selection will very much disappoint.

Below is the current list of SEC players as ranked by DraftExpress.com, one of the more trusted, quoted mock drafts on the web.  It’s an indicator of who’s in good shape to land one of those guaranteed NBA contracts and who isn’t…

 

4.  Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Freshman

12.  Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky, Sophomore

25.  James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky, Freshman

 

That’s it for projected first-round picks, folks.  Three players.  All from Kentucky.  All underclassmen.  Not a single upperclassman from the SEC is expected to be first-round material.

Here’s who’s listed in the second round by DraftExpress…

 

41.  Patric Young, PF/C, Florida, Senior

46.  Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri, Junior

47.  Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri, Junior

49.  Johnny O’Bryant, PF/C, LSU, Junior

50.  Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee, Junior

60.  Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee, Senior

 

From purely a basketball perspective, Brown, Clarkson, O’Bryant and Stokes should return to school.  Clarkson and O’Bryant have already announced their plans to leave.  But as noted earlier, we don’t know the personal issues facing any of these players.  We don’t know how scouts will view them if they go through workouts for the pros.  And we don’t know if what’s dropped these players deep into the second round this year could be patched up over the course of another collegiate season.

A few other quickie thoughts:

 

*  From the looks of this list, Florida has dominated this season more through the craftiness of veteran players than through sheer NBA talent.  Kudos again to that team and to Billy Donovan.

*  Only three Kentucky kids projected to be drafted?  Why, production at John Calipari’s player factory has darned near slowed to a drip.  (Sarcasm.)

*  Tennessee has two upperclassmen projected to go in the final 11 picks of the draft.  No wonder the Vols made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

*  Missouri, on the other hand, failed to reach the NCAA Tournament with its own pair of slightly higher-rated stars.  Don’t think Tiger fans won’t let Frank Haith hear about that one.

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One Man’s Mock-Up Of The NBA’s First-Round Picks

Gene Wang of The Washington Post has put together his own predictions for the first 15 picks of this week’s NBA draft.  Ex-SEC players make up more than 25% of his picks and exactly one-third of his selections are ex-Kentucky Wildcats.

No surprise.

But what might surprise some is the fact that Wang doesn’t have ex-SEC’ers landing in the top three slots as many other mockers of drafts do:

 

1.  Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky — New Orleans

3.  Bradley Beal, SG, Florida — Washington

5.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky — Sacramento

15.  Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky — Philadelphia

 

Now, do we trust Mr. Wang’s knowledge of drafts or his prognostication skills?  Not, really.  I couldn’t tell you a thing about the man.  Other than the fact that he — and his story — were posted on this site for the simple reason that it gave me a chance to post this clip… which still makes me laugh:

 

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With The Lottery Complete, At Least 8 SEC Players Expected To Be NBA First-Rounders

The NBA held its draft lottery last night and a gaggle of sites have posted mock drafts today as a result.  We’ll not bother you with all of them, but to give you a basic idea of the SEC’s prospects, here’s how Sean Deveney of The Sporting News sees things playing out:

 

1.  New Orleans Hornets — Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

3.  Washington Wizards — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

6.  Portland Trail Blazers — Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

16.  Houston Rockets — Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky

18.  Minnesota Timberwolves — Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

22.  Boston Celtics — Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

25.  Memphis Grizzlies — Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

28.  Oklahoma City Thunder — Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

 

That’s four first-rounders for Kentucky — less than the six John Calipari is hoping for — and two for Vanderbilt.  A player apiece from Florida and Mississippi State bring the SEC’s total number of projected first-rounders to eight.  Not bad for a football league.

And by official MrSEC.com estimations, at his current rate of production with one-and-doners, Calipari will have each NBA roster made up completely of ex-Wildcats by the year 2023.  (First, that’s a joke, math heads.  Second, that’s a compliment, Kentucky fans.  Third, it’s a shame that I have to clarify things like that.)

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Six SEC’ers Expected To Be Drafted Into NBA

With the draft lifts finalized, the folks at DraftExpress.com have posted their latest NBA mock draft.  In it, they have six SEC players — seven if you count Enes Kanter — being selected in June’s selection process.

According to the site, two players should make pretty darn good money — going in the first 15 picks of the draft.  Two other players should get guaranteed money by being selected in the late stages of the first round.  And two others are expected to be chosen late in the second-round which is far from guaranteed money or even a guaranteed roster spot.

Their expectations:


Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky — 1st Round, Pick 5 to Sacramento

Tobias Harris, PF, Tennessee — 1st Round, Pick 15 to Indiana

Travis Leslie, SF, Georgia — 1st Round, Pick 25 to Boston

Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia — 1st Round, Pick 29 to San Antonio

DeAndre Liggins, PG/SG/SF, Kentucky — 2nd Round, Pick 23 (53 overall) to Orlando

Scotty Hopson, SG/SF, Tennessee — 2nd Round, Pick 24 (54 overall) to Cleveland


Kanter — the UK big man who never received NCAA clearance last year — is projeced as the #8 pick in the draft to Cleveland.

If these projections are accurate, Liggins and Hopson might be left wondering why they didn’t return to school for their senior seasons.

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