Friday, April 20, 2007

Oden Headlines Potential Ohio State and Nevada Exodus

Later today, Greg Oden is expected to formally announce that he will declare himself eligible for this year's NBA Draft. He will hire an agent, who is rumored to be Mike Conley Sr. Additionally, freshmen teammates Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook will also declare for the draft, but will not reportedly hire an agent.

As we know, Oden is the odds-on #1 pick overall. Conley Jr.'s display in the NCAA tournament catapulted him into the mid-to-late lottery. At most draft projection sites, the elite point guard is expected to go to the Atlanta Hawks (via trade with Indiana) with what is now the 12th pick overall. His talent posits that can go higher, but he may slip due to teams needing bigger players. The third wheel, Daequan Cook, flourished within the open court system that the Buckeyes employed prior to Greg Oden's arrival. Cook's explosiveness in and around the hoop, shooting range and general upside make him a potential mid-to-late 1st round pick should he excel in pre-draft workouts.

One Way to Guarantee Conley Jr. Staying in the Draft
By now, we know for sure that if given the chance, Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. would love to play on the same team in the NBA. However, it's just not likely. By not likely, it's about 11.9% likely. Currently, the Phoenix Suns hold the 4th pick overall, which they received from the Atlanta Hawks via the trade for Joe Johnson. That pick has a top 3 protection, meaning that the pick will belong to Atlanta if they somehow get drawn into the top 3. If the Hawks get the luck of the draw and somehow land the #1 pick overall, they will have a chance at drafting the dynamic duo.

Nevada Guards Testing Waters
Nevada junior guards Marcelus Kemp and Ramon Sessions are also entering the draft, but will not be hiring an agent. Though Wolfpack head coach Mark Fox has praised the duo, he has recommended that both return to school for their senior seasons if they are not guaranteed first-round draft picks. This is not new territory for Fox or for the guards, because last year, teammate Nick Fazekas explored his draft possibilities, but ultimately returned to Reno for his senior year. At present, both Kemp and Sessions have potential 2nd-round stock.

Given that many NBA teams attempt to hit home runs in the 2nd round by drafting project-type players from overseas, the guards may slip out of the draft entirely.

Draft Stock Summary
Greg Oden -- 1st pick overall
Mike Conley Jr. -- Could be taken as high as 5, if Seattle decides to go with a point guard. Sacramento and Philadelphia at 10 and 11, respectively, may go with Conley should Mike Bibby and Andre Miller not be in the long term picture for their teams. If not, he'll go to Atlanta, who should have the ammunition to move up in the draft.
Daequan Cook -- Late first round to undrafted. Boatloads of upside yet to be realized (AKA "The NBA Dream"). Unlike his playing time that dwindled during the season, Cook will have a say in his ability to be drafted in the 1st round.
Marcelus Kemp -- A likely second round pick, if drafted at all. Is considered behind shooting guards such as Nicholas Batum (France), Nick Young, Arron Afflalo, Marco Belinelli (Italy), Derrick Byars, Rudy Fernandez (Spain), Marcus Williams, Morris Almond, and Rodney Stuckey.
Ramon Sessions -- Unlikely to be drafted. Sessions may benefit as a result of a relatively weak point guard class. The point guard has plenty of ground to make up including a list not limited to the aforementioned Conley Jr., Acie Law IV, Aaron Brooks, Taurean Green, Bobby Brown, Dominic James (if he declares), and a number of international prospects.

No comments: