Nick Richards is going to have a tough decision to make before the approaching 2020 NBA draft.
There were periods last season when you could have made the argument that the junior center was playing like one of the best big men in the entire country. His career inconsistency has left some question marks on where his stock stands, but there is something to be said about Richards’ complete transformation from his sophomore to junior year.
His 14 points points per game were tied for second on the team, but more impressively, he was able to consistently play at a high-level and helped the Wildcats win the SEC. Richards shot over 64% from field and also knocked down 75% from the free-throw line. It’s fair to say that he exceeded most peoples’ expectations coming into the 2019-2020 season.
Unfortunately, like every other college athlete, Richards wasn’t able to chase an NCAA title and cement his legacy at Kentucky. It’s been obvious the Richards has enjoyed his time being a student-athlete in Lexington, and you know that he desperately wanted another the opportunity for a deep tournament run.
Will that be enough to bring him back to Lexington?
Sam Vecenie from The Athletic recently released his latest big board, and it had Richards just sneaking in at the 57th pick overall. Not a lot of security in that number but it’s also promising that the near 7-footer is seeing his name mentioned in mock drafts. His size and touch will be intriguing for organizations looking from front-court depth.
With his age and current stage of development, it would be easy to make a case for why Richards should enter his name in the draft. If he were to continue improving at this rate, it’s logical to think that he’d wind up on an NBA roster, or at worst, making great money playing somewhere overseas. Kentucky appears to have some voids on next year’s roster, but the likelihood that he improves his stock by coming back isn’t extremely high.
However, the circumstances surrounding the world will absolutely play a role in every athletes’ decision making moving forward. That will be especially true for the players who find themselves in a position to make the leap to the pros this year.
This week produced reports of proposed salary cuts for NBA players, and it’s also very possible that season will be canceled all together. The lost revenue will put owners in a pinch and some uncertainty around roster payrolls.
So, what you think will happen?
Will Nick Richards come back to school or leave for the NBA Draft?
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