I admittedly don't understand all the workings of what exactly goes into how NBA teams make their draft picks each year. Do they pick based on the best player available? Do they pick based on need? Do they pick based on who has the most potential, and not necessarily how good a certain player has performed in college? I don't know all the answers to those questions, but since I do happen to like the NBA a bit and because on occasion one of our own Kentucky Wildcats is in the mix, I do try to pay some attention to draft boards and, who, of interest to me, might end up where.
I know there are dozens of pre-draft sites out there and I also realize that they are probably not all that great of a reliable source for concrete and absolutely accurate info as to what will actually go down on draft night, but nevertheless, they are really the only thing the casual college basketball fan can look at right now in order to see who may or may not be in a college uniform next year, and they are fun to peruse once in a while as they provide us with fodder for discussion about what we could possibly see for the future of some of our NBA-bound players and where those players might end up.
When realistically looking at our current team there are three players that I have been watching and there are two sites I have been keeping an eye on. One is DraftExpress.com and the other is NBADraft.net. I'm sure they are both pretty good and pretty much the same, but I have noticed that NBADraft.net is updated more often (as in weekly or at least bi-weekly), so I will use that one for this discussion. Also, I'm not sure how much attention should be paid to the individual strengths and weaknesses listed on these sites because I don't think they are updated on a consistent basis. Even though the players are progressing and improving their skills, I have noticed that the mentioned strengths and weaknesses aren't changing up to this point.
So, given all that, at present, here is what NBADraft.net has for the lottery picks, and you will notice that three of our players are currently listed:
**1. New Jersey -- John Wall Fr.
2. Minnesota -- Derrick Favors Fr.
3. Golden State -- Wesley Johnson Jr.
4. Philadelphia -- Donatas Motiejunas Intl.
5. Indiana -- Al-Farouq Aminu So.
6. Washington -- Evan Turner Jr.
7. Detroit -- Ed Davis So.
8. Utah -- Xavier Henry Fr.
9 Milwaukee -- Devin Ebanks So.
10. Sacramento -- Cole Aldrich Jr.
**11. LA Clippers -- Patrick Patterson Jr.
12. New Orleans -- Willie Warren So.
13. Memphis -- Greg Monroe So.
**14. Utah -- DeMarcus Cousins Fr.
First, let's talk about John Wall. John Wall hasn't moved from the number one spot since the start of the year and I know there was some discussion as to whether John Wall would really end up the number one draft pick in the upcoming draft, and for me the answer is a resounding, YES. There is really no scenario in my somewhat reasonable mind that I can think of for him not being the number one pick, and as evidenced by the link above, you can see that he does indeed have a very favorable "grade" of a 102, and I just can't imagine that that grade would fall over the course of the rest of the season. I can only see him improving, although, a 102 seems pretty good to me, I'm not sure how high they actually score those things? Hmm....
Next, DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins started the season at around the 30th pick and as you can see he has risen up the ranks of the draft board and is now within lottery range at #14. My feeling is that if he continues to improve at the rate with which he is improving, he should surely be able to maintain that lottery range with the very real possibility of moving up considerably.
Lastly, Patrick Patterson. Patrick has stayed pretty much the same since the season started, well within lottery range. Like our other two players, I don't see him falling all that much at this point, either, but, then again, I can't believe that Ed Davis is a higher pick than our Patrick, so that just shows how much I know, I guess.
Again, I know that using the draft status on a draft site certainly isn't fool-proof, and a lot depends on how those lottery balls fall and who may need what and who likes so-and-so the best, and a lot will change in the above draft status between now and June when the actually draft will take place, but I guess the draft sites do give us some idea as to who might be leaving us at the end of the year and where they may end up next year if the NBA is their destination.
I also want to say that I'm not one to presume to tell others (in this case meaning our players) what to do with their lives and the purpose of this post certainly isn't to focus solely on the "Should he go? Or shouldn't he go?" debate and the whole, "Why are we even talking about this, what if they are happy in college?" "Surely happiness outweighs money?", discussion.
In some cases I'm sure the college experience does outweigh the lure of the NBA and all it has to offer (money, fame, etc.) and I suppose it can be said that happiness, loving college, loving college basketball and wanting to obtain a degree rather than money was a driving force in Patrick's decision to come back to school last year, and we were lucky for it, and he was happy with his choice, also. But, that obviously isn't the case for him this year as he will have obtained his degree and hopefully made quite a dent in his college basketball goals. I'm also fairly certain that John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins just love wearing the UK-blue, too, but, barring injury or a complete and total breakdown, I'm not one who is counting on their return, either.
If any of the above gentlemen were my son, I would most definitely feel very strongly about what they should do, and that would be to go, but since they are not my children, to be quite candid, it really doesn't matter to me one way or the other. If they stay, great for us, and hopefully good for them as that is what they wanted. If they go, good on them, thanks for the memories, you will be missed, thanks for being a Wildcat (once a Wildcat always a Wildcat, IMO) and I'll be looking for them in the NBA next year. All the best to them.