Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hey NBA Draft, Thanks for Mocking Me...Josh McRoberts

As the pride of Helsinki, Finland, Pettrei Kopenon shook the hand of David Stern, signaling the 30th pick in the 2007 NBA draft, and the conclusion of the 1st round, ESPN Draft Analysts Jay Bilas, Stephen A Smith, and Mark Jackson offered their thoughts on the 1st round.

Jay Bilas stated,
"...whats interesting are some of the guys that maybe miscalculated by coming out early into this draft...Josh McRoberts of Duke, ya know, thought he was going to be a first round pick, came out early...Gabe Pruitt - USC, Ramon Sessions - Nevada, Marcus Williams - Arizona, came out too early."

Too early in the sense that a 1st round NBA selection is locked in with a 3 year guaranteed contract worth millions and the 2nd round is not. It’s a lot tougher to make a career of the NBA coming out of the second round.

To Jay Bilas' statement, Mark Jackson, responded with a question.
"Well the question is, who is advising these guys? They have to know they are not going to be in a position to be drafted in the first round, bad decisions."

After watching the NBA Draft unfold, there is no disputing the fact that leaving college as an underclassman to get selected in the 2nd round is a bad decision. Unfortunately, underclassman have to declare their intentions for the draft prior to it starting. So they have to speculate, gather information, listen to what they are being told about their prospects, and then make a decision.

I don’t know Josh McRoberts, ‘don’t know who is advising’ him. But to be fair, I can tell you where he might have gotten the idea that he might ‘be in a position to be drafted in the first round.’ Where might he have gotten that idea you ask, well possibly from reading a Mock Draft - every Mock Draft.

In ten of the most widely recognized, and highly published mock drafts, referenced on this site (Scroll down to view Analyze the Analyst: Mock Draft Boards), posted no earlier than a few days before the draft, Josh McRoberts of Duke is projected to be in a position to be drafted as a 1st round selection in every single one. He is projected to go anywhere from 17-30. Only ESPN, a few hours before the draft, had him as low as 30th. There were two Mock Draft Boards, NBC, and College Hoops Net (Scroll down to view Analyze the Analyst: Mock Draft Power Rankings - scoring the mock drafts), that had him going as high as 17th. We took an average of his mock draft position on each of the 10 mock boards, and his average position is being drafted 21st overall (20.7 avg). That is not an average of 2 or 3 mock drafts, that is ten. Josh McRoberts was drafted 37th overall, in the second round to the Portland Trailblazers.

Now what does all this mean, well nothing really. But is does answer Mark Jackson’s question to a certain extent. Who might he have been listening too, well, everyone...maybe.

So the debate begins, was it a bad decision for Josh McRoberts to leave Duke after his Sophomore season? I guess...a conclusion I have come to after watching the draft. But I will ask you this would you leave college if every single sporting authority in America told you that you would be at least a 1st round draft pick - and a millionaire to boot. I would. Do you have to be smart enough to get into Duke to think that this might be a wise business decision - take a job offer that pays a million guaranteed for at least 3 years. But I guess there is a chance that every mock draft could be wrong- huh.

McRoberts now leaves Duke to follow in the footsteps of Bobby Jones, Travis Hansen, and David Andersen. Who were they you ask... they were 3 of the 37th picks overall in the last 5 years.
If he would have gone at the 21st overall selection he would be following in the footsteps of Rajon Rando, Nate Robinson, and Boris Diaw, - 3 of the 21st overall selections taken in the last 5 years.

Its not all bad though, in 05 Rony Turiaf’s heart condition caused him to slip to the 37th pick overall, and he is an NBA contributor averaging around 13 minutes per game. Royal Ivey was the 37th pick in 04, averaged 10 minutes per game last year for the Hawks.

Rando, though, played in over 70 games as a rookie in '06, averaged 25 minutes per contest, Nate Robinson played over 20 minutes per in each of his first two seasons, and Boris Diaw played over 25 minutes a game as a rookie with the Hawks, before becoming a star with the Suns later in his career.

The other two 21st picks of the draft were Qyntell Woods, who would still be in the league if he didn't go Mike Vick, before Mike Vick did, and some 7'5" guy from Russia, that may still be under contract by the team that drafted him named Pavel Podkolzin, although I don’t know that for sure.

McRoberts may make it in the NBA, he may not. He’s got a shot. And that may have been exactly what he took, a shot. I don’t know the kid, don’t know what he was thinking. But he may have been thinking simply this, if all ten of these experts think I am a first round pick, maybe at least one of them are right. But if he wasn't thinking that maybe he was thinking something else. Maybe he thought that Jay Bilas might be right. The man sitting to the left of Mark Jackson posted his "Best Available" list throughout the draft. Josh McRoberts was Jay Bilas’ 21st overall - Best Available Player. Wait one last question: did Jay come up with his ranking formula by polling the national media's mock draft boards? Probably not...but that is a topic for another day.

Tell us what you think.


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