5 Pressing Questions for the 2012 Draft
By Michael Visenberg
1. If there is no 2011-12 NBA season, how will the draft order be determined?
This question is incredibly complicated, as it has never happened in NBA history. It seems highly unlikely. But let's ponder what if...
I think you rule out keeping the exact same order, sorry Cleveland fans. However, if there was a lottery, it could be the exact same teams as before who missed the play-offs that previous year. However, there is precedent of this happening in another league, and that could be something the NBA possibly adopts.
The NHL canceled the 2004-05 season; they faced the same dilemma the NBA might face in accordance to the 2012 draft. The NHL decided that instead of making the picks the exact same as the year before, they had a weighted lottery for all 30 teams, rather than standard 14 teams that missed the play-offs.
The NHL gave 3 lottery balls to teams that had missed the play-offs and not won a first overall pick during the last 4 seasons. If the NBA were too use this same method, it would give these teams 3 lottery balls:
Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, New Jersey Nets
From there, the NHL got REALLY tricky. They supposedly gave 2 lottery balls to teams that met ONE of the above 7 criteria (Missing the playoffs the past 3 seasons or not winning the first pick in the draft). The rest received one. I would suggest giving every team that missed the playoffs the previous year one lottery combination. Then, give the rest of the teams’ one lottery ball.
To mimic the NHL draft, they would than do this throughout 30 picks. If they used this method, it would mean the 5 teams that met all 7 criteria would have a 6.1% chance at the first pick. The other lottery teams would have a 4.1% chance, and the rest of the teams would have a 2% chance.
The major issue that might arise is of course that the Bulls, Spurs and Heat would have the same chances as the Pacers, Sixers and Hornets. To combat this, the NHL made the 2005 a snake draft, which meant that the team that had the last pick in the first round had the first pick in the second round, and so on. Well, in a 7 round draft, this makes a lot more sense than the NBA’s two rounds. The fact is, NBA draft picks in the first round mean a lot more than in other sports.
While the NHL did it until they had a team for all 30 picks, I would suggest only having it until all of the previous year's lottery teams were extinguished. Then, go by 2010 record from that point forward. I realize this may be a complex explanation, but I believe this is the fairest way for the lottery being held after the season. It has to be weighted in some way, and I believe that fringe playoff teams should at least have the opportunity to move up in the draft. This way would be complicated, as the NHL’s was in 2005, but I think it is the most logical. That being said, there is of course the ultimate hope that the season takes place so we do not have to deal with this mess!
2. Will the new CBA raise the age limit, making 2012 a much thinner draft class than once thought?
Many people comment that this current age limit is unfair, and that players should be allowed to make adult decisions as soon as they turn 18. Players who made the plunge directly from High School to the pros include some of the best players currently in the league, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire attesting to that. In 2006, when the age limit was raised to 19, or one post graduate year from your HS class, it produced an incredibly weak draft and an “outrage” at One and Done players “stealing scholarships from deserved college athletes”.
As much as the one and done system gets criticized, this system has worked for owners, and I would say for the overall level of play of both the NCAA and the NBA. Yes, HS players proved they could play in the NBA and be successful, but most of them did not come into their own until their second year in the league. Plus, even the ones that had immediate impacts: Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James and Dwight Howard all improved astronomically in their second seasons. So, having players come into the league with one more year of growth under their belts has made them much more ready to contribute. Also, it gives owners a greater return on their investment, as they do not have as difficult a transition period to the next level. Want proof? Look at the average statistics of a player's first year in the NBA as a rookie out of HS and after one year of college.
Also, is it really as much of a scholarship epidemic as people claim? Since 2007, the first year with the so-called “one and done" rule, the average number of players who have left after only one year of college is 9. Yes, every scholarship counts, but there were still early entries before this rule existed, and I would not expect it to change too radically. It is a guilty pleasure for the fans to see the best HS players play at least one year in college, and players have been noticeably more ready after one year in college in comparison to those coming out of HS.
Nonetheless, the owners have seen how much better players have been getting with that increased year being physically and mentally mature, and they say, “Hey, why not give them one more year?” Raising the age limit to 20, or two post season years after their graduating HS class is one idea being brought up by NBA owners. The players have always been against any age limit past 18. Still, if the players were to indeed cave into the owners logic of wanting to get the most out of their money, then how would that effect the 2012 draft?
If the age limit were indeed raised to 20, the 2012 draft would still probably be stronger at the top than 2011.
Possibly being persuaded by the uncertainty of the 2011-12 NBA season, top prospects Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones decided to return to school. Throw in other expected rising sophomores Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones, Kendall Marshall, Doron Lamb and CJ Leslie, and you have some nice depth. Still, with the current top of the draft also featuring the likes of incoming HS players Anthony Davis, James McAdoo, Mike Gilchrist, Austin Rivers, Quincy Miller and Bradley Beal, Marquis Teague and Myck Kabongo the age limit would probably take this draft from great to average.
It is pretty easy to see the pros and cons of the 18, 19 and 20 year old age limit, but I think for now the current age limit is a happy medium. Yes, it is somewhat of a mockery to “college” athletics, but the NCAA has been a pro breeding ground for years.
Keeping things status quo would make the 2012 draft more than likely the deepest since 2008 and give teams a lot of much needed help in a year when the new collective bargaining agreement might put a damper on the league.
We do not expect the age limit to change, and expect it to be something the owners and players potentially keep as a bargaining chip for the NEXT CBA negotiations.
3. Will Andre Drummond, who has enough credits to graduate High School and will be 19 during August 2012, enter the draft?
Andre Drummond is one of the more intriguing HS prospects of the last few years. With his combination of size, strength and athleticism, many are thinking he could be an incredibly rare true franchise Center. Andre is originally a member of the 2011 HS class, but reclassified to the 2012 class. In fact, there are still rumors that Drummond may indeed play college basketball in the 2011-12 seasons. A July 1, 2011 Jeff Goodman article for CBSSports.com reported that Drummond still has not ruled out going too college next year, and that he hopes to be decided about his future sometime in August.
If he does indeed go to college, then his entrance into the draft will not be too controversial. However, Andre’s other option might be playing another year of HS prep ball at St. Thomas More. If he does, rumor has it he might indeed forego college and try to enter the 2012 draft. Drummond, who would turn 19 in August of 2012, would technically have played a postgraduate year after his HS class. Still, no one has gone straight from the preps to professional ranks since 2006. The NBA might have to make a tough call on this one, but it seems that Andre might have a strong case for being able to challenge the age rule.
So, if Drummond were to enter the draft, where would he likely be chosen? Well, it appears that Harrison Barnes and Anthony Davis might have major competition for the top spot. Drummond’s motor may be under question, but he has size and athleticism you cannot teach. Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire have both been names thrown around when finding a comparison for Drummond, and neither had Andre’s frame in high school. Drummond’s motor would still be a question, but his potential might indeed make him the first pick in the 2012 draft if he chooses to enter.
4. How will Roy Williams divide playing time for his talented North Carolina frontcourt, and how will this effect their draft positions respectively?
North Carolina is probably the favorite amongst NCAA experts to win a championship in the 2011-12 season. Actually, going one step further, anything less then a championship will probably be deemed a huge let down amongst Tar Heel nation. The Heels frontcourt, featuring senior Tyler Zeller, junior John Henson, sophomore Harrison Barnes and freshman James McAdoo, is seen as the deepest in the nation. All were former McDonald’s All-Americans, and all look to be possible first round, maybe even lottery picks. Still, coach Roy Williams has a tough job dividing minutes between these players. So, how exactly will he do it?
Harrison Barnes should indeed see no real hit in minutes, and possibly might try to use his skills gained at Kevun Duracademy this summer too play some 2 guard. That would make the Tar Heels incredibly imposing and give them an insane height advantage. Still, as returning starters and upperclassmen, Henson and Zeller should not see much of a drop in minutes either. McAdoo will have to find a way into the line-up, and it might be difficult for him to get much more than 20 minutes per game.
Reminiscent of the situation that had Marvin Williams as the 6th man on the 2005 NCAA championship team, McAdoo has as much pro potential as anyone in front of him. Much like Williams, McAdoo might be viewed as somewhat of a “tweener”. McAdoo has a very advanced post game and skill set, but he is slightly undersized for a 4, and does not have ideal speed for a 3. If one wanted to use Williams’ freshman year as a gauge for McAdoo, Marvin averaged 11.3 ppg and 6.6 rpg in 22.2 mpg, while shooting .506 FG%, .432 3PT% and .847 FT%.
With Barnes, Henson and Zeller all being 2nd Team All-ACC last year, McAdoo might have a tough time reaching those numbers. The North Carolina 2009 Championship team had Ed Davis as a 6th man, and he had much more average statistical output, with averages of 6.7 ppg and 6.6 rpg in 18.8 mpg. Even with those numbers, Davis may very well have been viewed the best pro prospect on that team, and be drafted as such had he not chosen to return for his sophomore year.
McAdoo should probably be somewhere between these 6th man freshman, and if he is there would be a good chance for him to be a lottery pick in 2012. It is yet to be determined whether McAdoo will surpass Barnes as UNC’s best pro prospect in the 2012 draft, but his talent is undeniable and I am sure NBA scouts will take notice. Roy Williams will ultimately hope to have James for a sophomore year where he would be UNC’s featured guy, but even if McAdoo averages half a game and single digit points, he more than likely does not slip out of the lottery.
5. After a 2011 Draft that saw 5 International Players chosen in the 1st round, will 2012 be a down year for overseas talent?
Well, it certainly appears that way. The 2011 draft truly proved that the NBA was a world game. Six of the top seven players in the draft were born internationally (Kyrie Irving, Australia, Enes Kanter, Turkey, Tristan Thompson, Canada, Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania, Jan Vesely, Czech Republic, Bismack Biyombo, Congo) and many other really intriguing International talents, 2011 had major International influence. 2012, on the other hand, appears to have very little at the top of the draft and it might take until the late first round until someone playing overseas is drafted.
One of the more intriguing players of last summer as far as International prospects were concerned was Lucas Nogueira, Lucas is a 7 footer with a massive wingspan, and his performance in the U-18 Tournament of the Americas put him on the map in a major ways. After spending this past season in the 4th League in Spain, many realized that Lucas was indeed a project. He is incredibly skinny and he possesses very little offense at this point. After completely bombing at the Treviso Camp, Lucas decided to pull out of the 2011 draft, and it is not assured as to whether he will enter the draft in 2012. He appears to be a long shot at best to be a first rounder.
Another young Brazilian has a chance at being drafted is Augusto Lima. Recently, Lima was named as the MVP of the 2011 Adidas Eurocamp. At 6’10 and 235, Lima has very nice size for a 4 man and has some nice athleticism. He is very raw, but definitely shows some energy and upside. Tomas Satoransky also received many positive reviews after his performance at Eurocamp. Satoransky is a very nice playmaker for someone 6’6, though he would project more to a 2 guard in the NBA. He needs to work on his shooting and strength, but he is a very strong athlete and should be on team's radars.
If you want size, Dejan Musli will more than likely be an option as well. He is a huge, back to the basket Center, though he may lack ideal NBA athleticism. France has a couple of solid big guys in Rudy Gobert and Joffrey Lauvergne who both could look to enter a draft with quite a few big guys. As far as looking at the 1990 born prospects, who will automatically be entered in the draft, Kostas Papanikolaou of Greece appears to be one of the more established prospects. Kostas played spot minutes on Greek powerhouse Olympiacos and is a solid shooting 3 man. Leon Radosevic was a name that popped up at times during the 2011 draft, though he ended up pulling out. He is a skinny, 6’10 PF with a decent mid range game who put up numbers in both the Adriatic and Euro leagues, where he put up some pretty solid numbers.
While these names might pop up in draft talk for 2012, there appears to be very little star power amongst the Internationals in next year's draft. Of course, there should be some names that pop up out of nowhere, as we all saw this year with Bismack Biyombo. It looks like we will have to wait for star players, which may come in the form of Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja of Croatia. In the mean time, the 2012 draft will be very strong on NCAA talent, with very little in the field of foreign exchange.
I actually read the whole thing....and didn't punch my god damn eyes out.
I think they will do a lottery, but just for the bottom 14 teams again. The best teams should not have a shot at the best draft picks.
What about the frenchmen - Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier as NBA prospects?
They give every team a chance to win it you know how exciting in power shifting that would be. Useing this method "7 criteria would have a 6.1% chance at the first pick. The other lottery teams would have a 4.1% chance, and the rest of the teams would have a 2% chance" Just this year if its a lockout would help the nba in the long run. Lets say with this method the lakers win the lottery how fun would it be to see barnes or rivers(celtics-lakers rivalry) play alongside kobe hes last years in the league then take overe when he retires giving the lakers soild building ground or lets OKC wins and adds more young talents that a push them to be the power house of the west or newyork wins etc.
This would be great just for this draft if its a lock out then back to normal.
And Joffrey Lauvergne. Evan Fournier definitely could be a possibly draftee as well. I actually had a bit cut out of the article, but I like the way it turned out.
@DanEBoy: I actually suggested that teams that did not make the play-offs move up a maximum of 5 spots. So, if the Bulls won the lottery by some chance, they would choose 25 instead of 30, and everyone would move down accordingly. I agree that only teams that did not make the play-offs should have a chance at the first pick (Or maybe only teams with a losing record). I guess it would have been too confusing of a concept for most. Nonetheless, the way the NHL did things, everyone had a shot at the first pick in the draft. I just think for the sake of fairness, teams should have an ability to move up in the draft, but some teams should not be able too draft too high.
i wish i could give this article a +1
I've always wondered how the lottery would work and the above suggestion is as good as any I have seen. My own idea was that the 3 teams who had a top 3 pick this year perhaps go to their lowest default positions and then the other 11 teams who were none play off this year have a shot at 2012 top pick. But how you would do that with Utah and Cleveland both having two picks and them being from orther teams.
I'm sure that Cleveland would be very happy for their own lottery chance to be as high again and if the Nets picked no worse than say 5th then they again would be very happy.
The above suggestion is by far the best I've seen and has to help struggling teams, those in transition and even be fair to those who are contenders. No-one would ay it is fair that say Chicago or Miami should have huge chances of winning the lottery but making it 30 teams would create huge excitement.
I appreciate it, a lot.
Quick point where I disagree:
"Want proof? Look at the average statistics of a player's first year in the NBA as a rookie out of HS and after one year of college. "
This isn't "proof". It's simply correlational. Just because the average of the rookie year is poor, does not mean that the players, on average, come out too early.
A number of alternative explanations here:
1) Players generally need to transition to the NBA. Some players who come out of HS might be making a quicker transition by skipping the college step in the transition.
2) Since players who go to college are older, they naturally have more basketball experience, regardless of level. To make any comparison, you have to compare players at similar ages. Also, players with lower potential, but who clearly fill a need are drafted after more years in college. They can contribute right away, but have lower upside. So they might have good rookie seasons, but plateau much earlier on average.
3) The average is not an appropriate measure. Players like Amare, Dwight, and Lebron were clearly ready to enter the league out of high school. They also depend on athetlicism, arguably, they would have wasted some of their best years in college if it was manditory. (I think Oden would have been drafted out of HS. I don't see how college benefitted him in any way)
Overall, I'm against any age rule. If you draft a HS player, the probability of failure is higher, but the reward is greater for the success stories. Teams know that. They should be responsible for their decisionmaking and learn from their mistakes, instead of blaming external factors.
1.Also what do you think of that italian prospect they are mentioning as a possible draft candiate. I hear people like him but he has a bad attitude.\
2. I think if they change the age limit again at all, they might as well change it to 21(just sayin) since you can legally do about everything at that age and are considered a "real" adult. I think the age limit is fine how it is and it definately helps teams draft players and get a better perspective on them.
@thparadox: I agree that as a whole, the age limit holds very little ground in terms of "fairness". But, I think you can agree that one year can make a huge difference in terms of a players early development. If Kevin Durant had come to the NBA straight out of HS, would he have had a similar rookie season too the one he had with another year of physical and mental maturation? I think not. If LeBron, Amare and Dwight were presented a similar age limit, they would have done better as rookies, I think that goes without saying. Now, when you take into account that most HS to pros players had a much more difficult transition IN THE FIRST YEAR, which is what I was saying, than I think you can make a correlation that the rule benefits a return on investment.
I think the reason many HS players went lower than they should have was due to this adjustment period, and in some cases it was a huge mistake. But, when you are picking someone high in the draft, than signing them too set contracts given to first round picks, do you not want someone who is more prepared to play right away? No matter what the players age is, that one year is beneficial too them in terms of there readiness for the NBA. So, over the long run, HS players had great success, but do you not get more bang for your buck by eliminating a possible transition year, on average.
I think if you look at even LeBron, Amare and Dwight, there first year, even with there success, was a transition year. Look at Kobe and Kevin Garnett from year 1 too year 2. Big difference. You could say college would have done nothing to prepare them, and they probably did benefit by going up against NBA competition, but that one more year of repetition and physical/mental maturity, I believe would have made them produce at a much higher level in their first year in the league. That is why I think the one and done rule, while maybe unfair, has proven to work for NBA teams. Not only that, I believe that people who say it has "taken away from the college game", have very little to back that up.
Also, how did the one and done rule even effect Greg Oden? He went to the NCAA championship and was an All-American, and was the first pick in the draft? Would not going to college have meant he had not had microfracture surgery? He would have maybe have gotten too play his rookie year, though with a nagging wrist injury, I think it would have been difficult. This is not about probability of success, I totally agree with you on that. However, as return on investment, it has made sense for teams and fans, who get too see rookies producing at a higher level than if they had come straight out of HS. That is why the NFL has an age limit, and baseball/hockey have minor leagues. The NBADL will never be that kind of system, hence I do not think the one year age limit is as horrible as many make it out to be. On principle, even I disagree with it, but I call it "a guilty pleasure". It is really not as dramatic of a proposition as people seem to make it.
1. "The Italian Prospect" is pretty vague, so if you get me a name than I will give you my thoughts. As of right now, I do not know an Italian prospect who is getting too much attention, at least not at the top of the draft. I could think of a few possible names you might be referring too, but none who are automatically eligible for the 2012 draft.
2. Yeah, I think a 21 year old age limit is pretty unnecessary, as it has been proven that after a players sophomore year, they are usually able to compete at a pretty darn high level as a top level player. I think pushing the age limit too 20 is more than likely not going too happen any way, and those who argue that it detracts from college basketball would not be happy until every player was forced to graduate before they entered the draft. I understand the importance of an education, but I also understand the importance of making a living while you are best able to do so, and many players have shown an ability to compete at a young age. So, I would say keep the age limit as is. It gives players that one more year of physical maturity and scouts one more year of evaluation against stronger competition. I for one like the idea of getting too see top draft picks have much less of a transition to the NBA as many generally had out of HS. In the long run, the HS players who entered the NBA were incredibly successful, but if you look at their rookie years, for the most part they were incredibly uncharacteristic in accordance to their future success.
Alessandro Gentile- my bad he is mentioned as a possible 2013 entry but it said he might enter 2012 if he improves more. Do you know anything about him? thanks man
From what I have gathered, he is a talented, young wing player with decent, but not elite, athleticism. He played on the same team as Donatas Motiejunas, Bennetton Treviso/Bennetton Bwin, and he seemed to be a bench scorer for them. While he definitely appears to be ahead of the curve for a wing player at his age, and should just get better, there have been issues raised about his attitude and desire. He seems too settle for too many outside shots, and appears too be lacking general defensive awareness. Seems like one too watch as far as being a draftable prospect, but he seems pretty one dimensional in that he may indeed provide a scoring punch, but little else. At only 18 though, too be playing the role he does on a pro team is impressive, but it is hard too get too excited about a volume shooter, which is seemingly what he projects to be.
Of course I don't agree with everything you wrote, and I don't believe for one moment the entire season will go down the drain, but overall I really enjoyed reading your article. It was interesting and well written. I look forward to reading more in the near future.
No reason you have too agree with everything I wrote, and I do not believe the seaon will go down the drain either. However, if it does, I believe that my scenario for what might happen too the draft is incredibly plausible. It may not be fair, but it is certainly more fair than just rewarding teams who sucked and had not played for a year, so that means they suck again? We truly have no idea how the NBA season plays out, and as we saw in hockey, the way their lottery ended up working was not chaos. Still, if you want too let it be known what you disagree with, I would be happy too debate about it or clarify.
@mikeyvthedon Thanks for the response. I understand what you're saying. I just don't think it's a useful comparison. What you have to compare is HS-Durant's 2nd year in the NBA vs. College-Durant's rookie year in the NBA.
And also compare HS-Durants 3rd year in the NBA vs. College-Durant's 2nd year in the NBA.
You really cannot say with any degree of certainty that Durant was better off going to college. He would have got playing time at the NBA level straight out of HS, perhaps HS-Durant's 2nd year would have been better than College Durant's rookie year. If Durant would have been better at the same age, then isn't that good for everyone?
I don't think the rule is horrible, but I think we should show more doubt about it beign good for the players. Especially when the players stand to make an extra year of money (guys like Durant, Lebron, etc. are deserving) for their efforts, and they have a risk of injury.
I don't like that players are forced to go to college when it's mostly to protect stupid owners/GMs from themselves.
A guy like Derrick Rose wasn't getting anything out of college except for basketball. If he could have learnt more basketball by being on an NBA team that year, then essentially a year of his career was wasted.
My point is, I don't think it's clear cut, and the method you described is definitely not a proof that the rule is beneficial. I think the rule might be good on average... but it definitely isn't good for certain players. (Josh Selby is probably not too happy about his year in college)
If we count Tristan Thompson as international in 2011. Then clearly Myck Kabongo is the best international prospect in 2012.
I was going to mention the Canadian guys, but they all play domestically. We usually do not count people who play college basketball domestically as being "International Prospects", though it is well noted that Myck Kabongo is, in fact, Canadian.
@thparadox: I see where you are coming from, and from a complete players perspective, than you are right on. However, their has to be a ground for comprimise, and you are given a number of options during that one year you have to wait to be drafted. It may not be fair to that one player the scholarship could have gone to, or even the player who could be playing against stronger competition in the NBA, but I think ONE year is not really that bad.
Hockey and Baseball have minor leagues that players can dwell in for years, Football has a three year rule (that I think is very viable in accordance to a players physical maturation, which is ever present when you see most players from year 1 to year 3), Basketball has throwing a kid into the NBA. No player drafted by an NBA wants to play in the D-League, and from a perspective of a players career numbers, it is probably better off for them to have that one year. Derrick Rose might be a little less richer than had he been able to enter from HS, but I think it will probably end up mattering pretty little in the end. These guys are still getting money, and NBA teams are getting better a little sooner. It might be a loss to the players, but it is not a major one. They definitely have more pressing issues they care about that are holding up these labor negotiations.
The NBA will ot adopt the same formula as the NHL did for the draft in 2012. The owners main reason for continuing this lockout is money, yet they continue to use parody, and competitiveness as an excuse for the lockout. Giving th Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Dallas Mavericks odds at acquiring the 1st overall pick would blow up that excuse and badly tarnish the owners reputation.