If the NBA draft is age 20 and over, who goes No. 1?
It was not in the official proposal from the owners to the players (the ultimatum offer that the players not only rejected but dissolved the union over), but you can bet it will be in the next one:
The owners want the draft age to go to 20. No more one-and-done with college, they want two-and-done. Why? Because the owners like the idea of more scouting time for players and for the NCAA to start to make guys stars before they get to the NBA. Who knows if it will be in the CBA, but the owners want it.
Which leads to the question: If the draft is 20 and over next June, what is the draft order?
Right now, Anthony Davis of Kentucky will be No. 1 pick (scouts think he has Kevin Garnett level potential), but he is a one-and-done. If he and Andre Drummond (the center for UConn) are out of the top two spots, who is in?
1. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina. The swingman would have been a top three pick last year if he had come out, but staying in he is now the best non big on the board. He can slash and create his own shot but also has a nice outside touch to go with it. But as David Thorpe points out at ESPN, maybe the most interesting thing about Barnes is he is a good defender. Everyone needs a wing defender.
2. Perry Jones, Baylor. He is like Anthony Davis in raw talent — this is a 6-11 guy who can play on the wing and should dominate both in college and at the next level. The red flag is you only see it in flashes. He could be a KG type talent, or he could be JaVale McGee. That should scare off more teams than it will.
3. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State. Another guy that would have been a top pick but returned. He’s a big bodied, smart guy who can play solidly in the league for years. Right now everybody says they would take him above Perry Jones, but come the draft GMs always fall in love with potential and Jones has a higher ceiling. That said, Sullinger will be good and dependable.
4. Thomas Robinson, Kansas. He’s a good college power forward who may be a bit undersized for that role in the NBA. Still, he has good offensive post moves and unlike Jones you have to like how hard he plays every night. To borrow a line from Thorpe, energy is a talent.
5. John Henson, North Carolina. What team doesn’t need a shot blocking, rebounding big man in the paint? Did you see the last three NBA champions? They each had a guy who could control the paint and the boards. It matters, and Henson could be that guy for someone.