NBA decisions: Winners & Losers
Technically, Tuesday was the deadline for college underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft — though they have time to reconsider. For some, the choice was a no-brainer;
for others, a gut-wrenching decision. Here are staff writer Bob Asmussen’s picks
for who made the right call and who should have gone the other direction:
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
College is hard: Fans giving you grief on the court, getting suspended, hearing about it from unfriendly crowds and those annoying reporters. Once in the NBA, Smart can just play. And relax. Teams will be nervous about drafting him, until he blows them away in private workouts.
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
You can’t go any higher than first, and most mock drafts have the freshman being picked before everyone else. Wiggins didn’t have the perfect first season, but he got the job done. And nobody is brave enough to pass on him.
Jabari Parker, Duke
If not Wiggins first, then it will be Parker. He will decide today after meeting with Mike Krzyzewski on Tuesday. The guess here is that he says yes to millions and comes back to Duke later to finish his degree. He is going to be an awesome pro. Might as well get started early.
Joel Embiid, Kansas
Sure, the back failed him at the end of the season and he remains a bit of an unknown. And that’s what makes his move a wise one. Mystery is a good thing. He just might be the next Anthony Davis. Going early worked well for him.
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Not much more for him to prove with the Spartans. And the team is taking a major hit because of graduation losses. When Tom Izzo tells you to go, you go.
LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
Ohio State coach Thad Matta knows all about NBA players, having coached a bunch of them. When Ross declared, nice-guy Matta said all the right things but didn’t exactly give the player a ringing endorsement. If Ross slips into the second round, he is going to regret skipping his final year.
Julius Randle, Kentucky
He is going to go early in the draft. Too much upside to be ignored. But spending another season with Team Calipari moves him to the top of the 2015 NBA draft. And he could make up for that second-place finish in the NCAA tournament.
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
Yes, he played well in the NCAA tournament. And the big guy can push and shove his way to 10 rebounds a game — in college. But the players are much bigger and stronger at the next level. Don’t be surprised if Stokes lasts deep into the second round.
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
He’s a solid player with plenty of talent. But he is not his dad. And he won’t follow “Big Dog” as the top pick in the draft.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
He has to learn to shoot free throws. Why not do that in the comfort of Tucson without the pressure of being a top NBA pick? Maybe it will work out. Or maybe he is a flop.
THE COACH WHO’S HAPPIEST
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Frank Kaminsky became a revelation to the country during the NCAA tournament. Sam Dekker was already a versatile playmaker before March arrived. Both spurning pre-draft workouts will have the Badgers in everyone’s preseason top five come November.
THE COACH WHO’S
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
He lands himself the point guard for the ages, Tyler Ennis, and the guy bolts after one year. Making it worse, forward Jerami Grant decided to join Ennis in the draft. Time for Boeheim to find some transfers — fast.