The NBA draft is a weeks away and the Syracuse Orange have four players up for selection. Some have left early and others are only going because the NCAA says they're not allowed to play anymore. Drafting the Orange will follow Scoop, KJ, Fab and Dion as they prepare for the draft and the next phase of their basketball careers.
Scoop Jardine: Everyone in the world expects Scoop Jardine to go undrafted...except Scoop Jardine. TMZ caught up with the Jade Scorpion and his new pal, projected lottery pick Thomas Robinson, where Scoop said he plans to buy his mom a house with his first NBA paycheck. Perhaps Scoop fails to realize that, even if he does indeed scrap his way onto an NBA squad, his take-home pay for the entire season would likely fall short of being able to set his moms up pretty, much less a single week. If Scoop wants the big bucks, he'd better brush up on his Spanish. I'm sure once he gets there, the Spaniards will be sure to point out that he's been pronouncing his surname wrong all this time.
It's not surprising to find, though, that Scoop isn't lacking for confidence. He sat down with SLAM Magazine and gave some insight into his preparations for the draft:
I was one of those guys. I always new I would be an NBA player, I just wasn’t sure when, and my family never put a lot of pressure on me to be one-and-done, or two-and-out or whatever
Apparently being a fringe NBA prospect after five years of college was all part of the plan.
Kris Joseph: KJ will attend a mass-workout for late round prospects staged by the
New Jersey Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets over the weekend. It'll be a good chance for him to show what he can do in direct comparison to the same players he'll be competing with for draft position. He'll need to perform well, since NBA scouts a unimpressed with his late season play.
"He really disappointed me at the end of the year," one scout said. "He can do some of everything a small forward should be able to do: he can shoot it some, he can get to the basket. But he doesn't do anything really well. And he's not very forceful in the way he plays."
Other NBA types cited KJ's "low flame" and "old man kind of game" as reasons for being down on Montreal's Finest, criticisms that sound familar to Orange fans. Still, he's been rated as the seventh best small forward in the draft, which could be enough to entice a team to take a second round flyer on him
UPDATE: Apparently, KJ isn't going to the Nets combine after all. No word yet on the reasons why, but it's a shame. He didn't impress anyone with his in-game play late in the season. He really needs to get in front of scouts and show that he's worth that second round pick. More on this as it emerges.
Fabricio Melo: Nothing official of late, just speculation. According to the man himself, he's still in LA, but a return to Florida is imminent. Otherwise, there's just a lot of people like me, posting their opinions from the wildly optimistic to the downright bust-ariffic.
Dion Waiters: There seems to be a disparity in opinion between pundits and executives when it comes to Dion's draft potential. According to this report, though many "experts" see Dion's shortcomings keeping him on the board until the latter third of the first round, there are some teams who assess him as a lottery talent. This, of course, doesn't mean he's necessarily a lottery pick. A lot depends on team needs and other available players. But the NBA decision makers think the talent is there, which bodes well for Dion. ESPN's Chad Ford has Dion going just outside the lottery at 15th overall.
And another interesting Internet tidbit. A guy by the name of Ian over at Hickory-High has concocted a metric that he's calling Similarity Score. It essentially takes every statistical measure one can think of and uses them to make an aggregate comparison to past draft picks. So, for example, KJ is rated most similar to Brandon Rush, Fab comparable to Robin Lopez and Dion like Rashad McCants. The metric isn't intended to be a projector of future performance, just an extremely thorough statistical comparison. It's worth a good look over. There's no rating for Scoop, though. I guess Ian doesn't see the Scorpion being drafted. More fuel for the fire. (H/T Sean)