This is part two of Matt Patton's look at the June 24 NBA Draft.
Part One - Point Guards
Apart from Evan Turner, I see the shooting guards in this years draft becoming more role players than stars. There's a chance Avery Bradley becomes the go-to guy someday, but he needs a lot of work. Xavier's Jordan Crawford may be the steal of this year's draft (Dejuan Blair took that title last year): his tournament performance was one of the best of recent memory, and that often translates to NBA success (see Stephen Curry, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony for proof). I'm also adding a category for "slashing guards" to account for players like Xavier Henry.
Evan Turner (Junior, Ohio State): Turner took home a lot of player of the year hardware after last season (all except the Adolph Rupp award, which in a surprising decision went to John Wall...must just be a coincidence), and he deserved it. Turner had a phenomenal season, coming back from a broken back early in the season to average a stunning 20 points, 6 assists, and 9 rebounds a game. Did I mention he broke his back...and led the Big 10 in rebounding as a guard? Oh yeah, and he was playing point guard (not his natural position). Unfortunately for Turner, John Wall's freakish athleticism will probably steal the show come the 24th, but Turner should be an instant impact player. While I don't think he's destined for stardom, I see Turner being a starter next season with a long, successful NBA career. While he probably should go number two (I think he probably still will), it's rumored new 76ers coach, Doug Collins, wants a big man, so they may pass up Turner (or more logically trade down a couple of spots). I'm excited to see Turner play at the next level because, as someone who can make Big 10 basketball enjoyable, he's truly a special player.
Willie Warren (Sophomore, Oklahoma)*: Much to the dismay of coach Jeff Capel, Oklahoma has been all over the news during the last couple of months. This will certainly be a new era for the Sooners, but it has been and will be a rough few months for Oklahoma fans (and coaches I suspect) with NCAA investigations and the mass exodus from Norman.
Last season two star Sooners, one football player and one basketball player, chose to stick around for a final season. Both had very disappointing seasons, nagged by injury. Sam Bradford managed to keep his stock as high as ever, chosen first in the NFL draft by the Rams. His classmate, Willie Warren, saw his stock plummet faster than Usain Bolt running downhill. Warren was a lock for the lottery and a possible top ten pick in last year's draft, and now he's staring into a crystal ball at the second round, end of the first if he's lucky. To put Warren's situation into a quantitative perspective, as the tenth pick last season, he was guaranteed a salary of 1.8 million dollars last year and a 1.9 million dollar salary this coming year. Instead, if he falls to the first pick of the second round, Warren is looking at no salary for last season (though with all the alleged violations around Oklahoma you never know...), and a smooth $457,588 salary this season... I mean, $457,588 is nothing to sneeze at, but over the last two years he lost himself around 3.3 million dollars by staying at Oklahoma. Normally, I love college basketball players to stick around for as long as possible, but this is one case that offers evidence for getting while the getting is good. I wish Mr. Warren the best of luck in the NBA, and I sincerely hope things work out for him.
*In truth, Avery Bradley (Freshman, Texas) and James Anderson (Junior, Oklahoma State) will probably both be drafted higher than Warren, but his story is worth noting. Based on play, Anderson is the best true shooting guard in the country, hindered only by his athleticism. Bradley was the highest ranked recruit according to ESPNU last season, but Longhorn fans can attest to his lackluster performance throughout the year. Personally, I think he could use another year in college, but he certainly should develop (in due time) into a productive NBA player.
Note: Thanks to the writers of DraftExpress for publishing all of the Pre-Draft Measurements.
Submitted by Matt Patton, Special to Big 12 Hoops