Adam Zagoria says this morning that an NBA executive told him the Harrison twins should stay in school. But not just that — this guy is apparently comfortable casting aspersions on Aaron Harrison:
"Andrew is a mid-first-round pick anyway and the other one can’t play dead so it doesn’t matter," one NBA executive told SNY.tv.
Honestly, that's as absurd a statement as you will ever see. If this is really the opinion of this executive, I'm narrowing him down the the NBA's perennial losers. Either that, or he's trying to use a Jedi mind trick on his peers.
I have no dog in this fight, though — I'd be happy to have the twins back another season, and I do think that right now, neither one of them looks to me like a first-round draft pick. That's just an honest assessment of their performance to date, and has nothing whatever to do with their potential. Both are almost certainly going to be playing in the NBA some day.
I am with Coach Cal in the idea that almost every player with the exception of the truly elite or unusually gifted (LeBron, Anthony Davis, etc.) could benefit in many ways with at least two years of college basketball. Julius Randle would no doubt benefit from another year, but honestly, he's good enough to come out right now. No, his game is not really NBA ready, he's still very one-dimensional and has a number of holes, but he's got a sufficient combination of rare quickness for his size, and well... size, that could make him a rotation player in his first NBA season.
The Harrison twins are much more conventional athletically and skill wise. Both have an abundance of both, but neither stand out as ready to play in an NBA rotation anytime soon as of today; Andrew, because of his somewhat unusual size for his position, maybe. But there are no end of 6'5"+ shooting guards in the NBA with even better athleticism and comparable skill to Aaron. Let's face it, when you watch Aaron play, you don't say, "There's the next Dwyane Wade." Or Kobe Bryant, or even Jordan Crawford or James Harden. But there's no doubt in my mind that there's a place for Aaron in an NBA rotation eventually.
As usual, though, it comes down more to how NBA execs see your potential, and you'll find among them stupid ones as well as smart ones, at least when it comes to offering advice or commentary anonymously. It may also be in this exec's interests to downplay the twins — after all, he is anonymous and we have no way of discerning his agenda.
There is a lot of season yet to be played. Andrew and Aaron may become the best 1-2 guard punch in the country, Kentucky may go on to Dallas and win their 9th championship, and all this folderol will vanish with the rain of confetti. Even if UK doesn't win it all, it is possible that the Harrisons will play well enough to land firmly in the first round.
Or not. We'll see.