Every year a few college players declare for the draft and end up regretting their decision. Often, young players who aren’t ready will slip to the second round and be forced to fight an uphill battle of ever having a successful NBA career. However, other times it is harder to measure how poor the decision is when a player is drafted in the first round, receiving a guaranteed contract. When college prospects are gaging whether they want to declare for the draft though, they should focus on the chances they will receive a second contract, not a first. Last year, Austin Rivers was selected tenth overall, but hardly anyone would argue it was a good decision. He has had the worst NBA season ever.
Rivers has dodged criticism without a doubt, out of respect for Doc, who is among the most respected figures in the league. While Rivers managed to be a top ten pick, he has already been replaced by Greivis Vasquez, who has seized the opportunity, ranking third in the league in assists. Meanwhile, another player who managed to be drafted in the lottery, Kendall Marshall is also struggling to see the floor. Marshall was the most mature floor leader in the the country as a Sophomore at North Carolina, partly because he was surrounded by three other first round picks, but the Suns are a far cry from a competent NBA team. Running any offense through two borderline washed up big men in Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat, with absolutely insane Mike Beasley is never a good idea. This is the risk of declaring for the draft though. Being drafted by the right team is everything. No one expected Kawhi Leonard to be knockdown 3-point shooter this quickly in the NBA, but that’s what getting drafted by the Spurs will do. While every prospect would love to be drafted by the Spurs, unfortunately such teams as the Wizards and Bobcats exist and exist for the sole purpose of ruining players’ careers. Here are four prospects who would benefit from spending another year at college, despite possibly already being projected as lottery picks.
1. Mitch McGary (Fr, C, Michigan):
Most of the world had not even heard of Mitch McGary until the NCAA tournament. McGary exploded in the tournament, averaging over 20 points and 10 boards to get Michigan, before falling in the title game to Louisville. McGary, once the #2 recruit in the country, disappointed his college coaches to begin the year, but by tournament time, McGary was beginning to look like the player everyone expected him to be. McGary’s athleticism and strength impressed nearly everyone as he dominated games with his nonstop motor, a la David Lee. McGary somehow skyrocketed from not even being on Chad Ford’s Big Board, up to #12 after the tournament. In the title game though, against a future NBA player in Gorgui Dieng, McGary struggled. McGary showed a lack of any true post moves, and caused some to speculate he may just be a younger version of Tyler Hansbrough. With Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Glen Robinson III likely all headed to the NBA, it’s tempting for McGary to jump ship as well, but that would be a huge mistake. McGary would be the go-to-guy next year for Michigan, and while he would be under much closer scrutiny, he would also have a chance to show some consistency. There’s a chance his stock could slip a bit, and he could slip in the loaded 2014 draft, but his game could use much more polishing before he goes to the league.
2. Michael Carter-Williams (Soph, PG, Syracuse): Touted as a lottery pick all year by Chad Ford, Carter Williams put up good numbers, ranking 3rd in the NCAA in assists, but was as enigmatic as they come. He is the definition of drafting on potential, which is never a reliable way to draft. Just ask the Grizzlies. They passed on James Harden to get the next Dikembe Mutombo: Hasheem Thabeet. Carter-Williams is attractive to NBA scouts mainly because of his size. 6’6″ point guards aren’t easy to find, and MCW was as difficult to stay in front of as any player in the country. But Carter-Williams’ game is far from refined. His most glaring weakness is his shooting, shooting 39% from the field and a dismal 29% from behind the arc. Also, while raking in 7.3 assists per game, MCW also tallied over three turnovers per game as well, and many scouts question his decision making and mental makeup to succeed in the NBA. MCW would do wonders if he stayed another year at Syracuse, where he’d have he keys to the offense yet again, and be able to prove he can lead the team without Brandon Triche and James Southerland.
3. James Michael McAdoo (Soph, F, UNC): McAdoo suffers from Marvin Williams disease. Like Marvin Williams, McAdoo played limited minutes as a Freshman because his team was stacked with NBA talent, yet in his minimal sample size, NBA scouts salivated over his athleticism and potential. As we all know, Marvin Williams was then picked second overall, one spot above Chris Paul, and the Hawks have had to make due with Mike Bibby and Jeff Teague ever since. A fitting punishment for such an egregious error in drafting. McAdoo though came back for his sophomore year to polish his game up, but his increased minutes only made the gaping holes in his game even more glaring. McAdoo was very turnover prone, averaging nearly three turnovers per game, and while his overall numbers were up, he shot only 45% from the field. And while McAdoo most likely projects as the prototypical 6’9″ athletic freak Small Forward, he proved virtually worthless from anywhere beyond the key. McAdoo only took two shots beyond the arc, making as many as I made. McAdoo needs to return to school, as he’s slipped from an easy top 10 pick to a borderline first round pick. If he can lead UNC deep in the tournament next season and show continued progress, he should be back in the lottery and in line for a successful career.
4. Kyle Anderson (Fr, SF, UCLA):
Anderson is easily the most intriguing and confusing prospect this year. Anderson was a top five recruit out of high school, but UCLA’s struggles caused many to forget about any player on UCLA other than the future headcase (watch Muhammad’s body language after the buzzer beater) Shabazz Muhammad. Kyle Anderson is a long 6’9″ player, who really has no position. He’s not particularly athletic, but he has incredible court vision and poise, along his surprising rebounding ability he showed this year. His closest comparison is a taller Kendall Marshall, but it’s anyone’s guess as how his game will translate in the NBA. However, with Muhammad definitely headed to the NBA and Larry Drew graduating, it will be Kyle Anderson’s team to run. If Anderson builds on his ultra productive Freshman compaign, and improves his horrendous 21% 3-point shooting, he will surely move into the lottery next season.