Caulton Tudor

Freshmen have scouts excited but NBA drafts often defy projections

Posted November 13, 2013

Amid widespread agreement that current college freshmen will dominate the top of the 2014 NBA draft (June 26, Brooklyn), pro scouts flocked to Chicago’s United Center Tuesday to watch Kentucky face Michigan State and Duke against Kansas.

The popular assumption is that Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Kentucky’s Julius Randle will get selected 1-2-3 in some order with Kansas’ Joel Embiid, Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison not far behind.

But based on early on-court performances this season, the NBA draft can be just as much guesswork as a foolproof predictor of production.

The No. 1 pick in 2013 – UNLV forward Anthony Bennett – is struggling to make any sort of impact on a 3-5 Cleveland Cavalier team. He’s averaging less than one point even though he’s playing roughly 11 minutes per game.

Meanwhile, the No. 11 pick – Philadelphia 76er playmaker Michael Carter-Williams – is off to a super start, averaging 17.4 points.

As a freshman at Syracuse in 2011-12, Carter-Williams didn’t play a great deal at all, averaged less than three points pr game and was projected by some pundits as a late first-round pick when he declared after his second college season.

The No. 13 pick last June – center Kelly Olynyk of Boston – also put in two seasons of college ball at Gonzaga and averaged a modest 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds as a freshman. But in his first season with the Celtics, Olynyk is averaging 9.2 points and 5.4 rebounds through his first eight games.

If these early patterns hold, the most accurate pick of 2013 will turn out to be guard Victor Oladipo, who was selected No. 2 overall by Orlando after playing three college seasons at Indiana. Through his first eight pro games, Oladipo averaged more than 12 points and already has earned a reputation as a top-rate on-ball defensive player.

WEAK DRAFT, STRONG DRAFT

Throughout the 2012-13 college season, NBA experts from coast to coast sized up the talent pool as one of the weakest in years.

This year the forecast is for the one the most talented drafts in years – a calculation based entirely on the freshman class. Up to 10 college newcomers have been projected as future NBA all-stars.

In reality, most of that conjecture is overwhelmingly based on the players performances against each other in AAU summer camps and to a lesser extent in their play in high school games.

It’s interesting that the 1984 talent pool was predicted to be no better than average for that period but produced No. 3 pick Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins (No. 4), Charles Barkley (5), Hakeem Olajuwon (1) and John Stockton (16).

There was far more anticipation for the 1985 group – Patrick Ewing (1), Wayman Tisdale (2) and Benoit Benjamin (3). Ewing obviously had a very successful pro career but the second best pick turned out to No. 13 Karl Malone.

At the opposite extreme, there was the 1991 class that was projected to be perhaps the best ever at the time. Larry Johnson, Billy Owens, Kenny Anderson, Dale Davis and Dikembe Mutombo were seen as future superstars but no one really delivered to that extent.It’ll be years before the ’13 and ’14 groups can be accurately compared, but a good guess is that the ’13 class will turn out to be better than expected and ’14 draftees will fall short of their lofty expectations.

4 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • mac240 Nov 13, 2013

    Parker has the body, Randle will need to work on a midrange jumper, and Wiggins needs to get stronger!

  • BlueDevils00 Nov 13, 2013

    View quoted thread


    UNC class at it's finest, folks.

  • abcershatemebuttheir wivesluvme1 Nov 13, 2013

    i almost hate to say this but i hope that parker gets hurt early. it seems that dook players perform much better in the nba if they are not subjected to kay's poor coaching techniques.

  • Toddler10-21 Nov 13, 2013

    Right now I think it will be ,Parker, Randle, and Wiggins, but the center from Kansas may be the best out of the bunch!!

  • Premier League Soccer: Swansea vs. Everton

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Horse Racing: Kentucky Derby

    Saturday at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: Chicago at Boston

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

NBA Scoreboard
Washington802:24
3rd Qtr
Boston91
Utah 12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET19:30 GMT3:30 12:30 MST2:30 EST23:30 UAE21:3015:30 ET2:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
LA Clippers 
NHL Scoreboard
St. Louis 12:00 PT1:00 MT2:00 CT3:00 ET19:00 GMT3:00 12:00 MST2:00 EST23:00 UAE15:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Nashville 
Anaheim 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Edmonton 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Indianapolis 10:05 PT11:05 MT12:05 CT1:05 ET6:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 
Syracuse 10:05 PT11:05 MT12:05 CT1:05 ET6:05 GMT
Norfolk 
Louisville 10:35 PT11:35 MT12:35 CT1:35 ET6:35 GMT
Rochester 
Gwinnett 10:35 PT11:35 MT12:35 CT1:35 ET6:35 GMT
Pawtucket 
Lehigh Valley 11:05 PT12:05 MT1:05 CT2:05 ET7:05 GMT
Toledo 
Charlotte 11:05 PT12:05 MT1:05 CT2:05 ET7:05 GMT
Columbus 
Buffalo 2:05 PT3:05 MT4:05 CT5:05 ET10:05 GMT
Durham 
Zurich Classic (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1S. Brown-216
1K. Kisner-216
2J. Blixt-206
2C. Smith-206
3tJ. Dufner-1712
3tP. Kizzire-1712
3tK. Kraft-177
3tK. Tway-177
5C. Stroud-167
5B. Stuard-167
View Full Leaderboard
 
Texas LPGA (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1H. Nomura-72
2I. Park-63
3tC. Kerr-53
3tE. Seong-52
5J. Korda-45
6tC. Hull-212
6tA. Yin-28
6tM. Wie-26
9S. Lewis-14
10tM. LeeE7
View Full Leaderboard
 
Volvo China Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Levy - z-17F
2D. Frittelli - y-17F
3P. Larrazabal-16F
4tB. Wiesberger-15F
4tC. Wood-15F
6tR. Fisher-14F
6tY. Yang-14F
8G. Coetzee-13F
9tJ. Campillo-12F
9tS. Lee-12F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Sunday, Apr. 30
Barcelona Open (ATP)
Final
(3) R. Nadal6 1    
(4) D. Thiem4 1    
 
Hungarian Open (ATP)
Final
(1) L. Pouille6 6    
A. Bedene3 1    
 
WTA Scoreboard
Sunday, Apr. 30
Istanbul Cup (WTA)
Final
(1) E. Svitolina6 5    
(6) E. Mertens2 4    
 
Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (WTA)
Final
K. Mladenovic1 6 4   
L. Siegemund6 2 5