Several underclassmen declared from the NBA draft this week. Let’s take a quick look at who’s taking the leap and if it was a good decision.
Austin Rivers – Guard – Duke Blue Devils
Though he was only a freshman, Rivers was by far the Blue Devils team leader. Rivers can come into the NBA and play both guard positions. He’s a great outside shooter who can create his own shot and drive to the hoop. He is also a great decision maker. Having a father like Doc Rivers giving him great basketball genes sure doesn’t hurt. If Rivers lands in the right spot he could end up being better than his father. It was not a bad decision for Rivers to leave. He should be a lottery pick in this draft.
Dion Waiters – Guard – Syracuse Orange
It was amazing this young man was the team’s first player off the bench when he was clearly the best player on the team. Waiters has unreal athleticism. He can take it hard to the hoop and finish with authority. He also can get hot from the outside which makes him a dual threat type of guard. He has good enough handles to play the point, but he is totally built to play the two guard in the pros. Many “experts” have him being taken outside of the lottery, but that would be a steal. Waiters should be a top ten pick. I don’t disagree with his decision.
Hollis Thompson – Forward – Georgetown Hoyas
Thompson is a wing player who will play the three in the NBA. When you think of Thompson think of James Jones. He’s a great three point shooter with a high basketball IQ. Is he a lottery pick? Probably not, but even if he stayed an extra year his skills aren’t impressive enough to jump significantly in the draft. He is the type of player who could have a long NBA career if he stays healthy. He isn’t going to be a sexy pick, but he may very well be a solid pro.
C.J. McCollum – Guard – Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Though he hasn’t hired an agent, McCollum should be a first round pick. He reminds a lot of people of Eric Maynor, but with an even sicker cross over. McCollum may benefit by staying an extra year because he will be guaranteed more exposure. The 30 points against Duke put him on the scene, but another season will raise his stock.
Renardo Sydney – Forward – Mississippi State
Sydney was a huge prospect with a ton of promise coming out of high school. After missing a year and a half because of an NCAA investigation, he never was able to string together a stretch of consistent play. There are some who compare Sydney to Zach Randolph, which on the surface makes sense. If you dig a littler deeper he’s more like Andray Blatche with full access to the buffet table. That’s a terrible mix. If I’m an NBA GM I wouldn’t waste my time. He’s a big body, but his attitude is horrific. Sure he has time to mature, but rewarding him by drafting him won’t teach him a lesson. The man needs a good humbling, something the D-League or a stint in Lithuania or Estonia could teach him. College wasn’t a good fit for Sidney and neither is the NBA right now. He has a lot of growing up to do, but some moron GM will take a chance because he’s so big. I have some advice for the GM that does take him, never give him the combo to the team fridge.