TNIAAM Expert Analysis: Where Will Syracuse's Players Be Drafted?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 11: (L-R) Kris Joseph #32 and Fab Melo #51 of the Syracuse Orange talk as they walk on the court against the Villanova Wildcats at the Wells Fargo Center on January 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

Are you tired of reading national media types talking about how they knew before everyone else that Dion Waiters was going to be a star? Are you sick of reading about guys who didn't watch any Syracuse Orange basketball games breaking down film like they were in the arena? Are you done hearing about "upside" and "length" and "potential?"

Well then give the TNIAAM crew a few moments of your time while we do all of that crap before the chance is gone.

You can put it in your books that Dion Waiters and Fabricio Melo will hear their names called during the first round of the NBA Draft tonight. As for Kris Joseph, there's a pretty good chance he will as well. So...

Where Will Dion Waiters Be Drafted?

Dan Lyons: 7th Pick, Golden State - Apparently the Warriors are the latest team to be hot on Dion, and with the comparisons he's getting to Monta Ellis, he can fit in well with that team. Adding a penetration player like Dion to a backcourt with sharpshooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson could make for a really fun team to watch.

Jeremy Ryan: We know that Waiters is an offensive dynamo with little or no conscience. He has the swagger to consider himself on par with current NBA scorers, and he is obviously familiar with providing a punch off of the bench. At a listed 6’4" he is a little small for a full time shooting guard, but I think he’d be ideal as a microwave scoring 6th man/3rd guard in the mold of Jason Terry, J.J. Barea, or Leandro Barbosa. Waiters pulled out of the NBA Draft Combine earlier this month after rumors surfaced that a team promised they’d select him at the end of the lottery. The suspects are Toronto, Phoenix, or Portland - all of whom have a need for perimeter scoring.

Matt McClusky: I hate when columnists and radio yapers preface their thoughts by saying, 'I've been saying this for months,' just to prove they knew something before everyone else, but, I've been saying for months that Waiters is a legit NBA talent. The fact that he's a projected top 10 to 12 pick isn't a surprise at all.

For a guard, in my opinion, the most important aspect of a game is their ability to drive - beating a defender and finishing at the rim. It's what separates the players playing in Europe from the players playing in the NBA. Shooters are needed, but guards with speed and size become stars. The first thing I noticed about Waiters this past season was improved ability to (Bill Raftery voice) blow by and get to the rim. He's got the size (6"4' 215 lbs) and the skill, the only thing missing is a consistent jumper, but I think that is coming along. But bottom line, Waiters can get to the bucket.

My guess is Waiters shows better than recent SU draftees at the next level, maybe falling just short of being a star, but pounding out a better than average career. It seems like Toronto or Golden State will scoop up Mr. Humble and Hungry, but either way, whichever team that selects Waiters is getting a player that can start right away.

Sean Keeley: I know Dion has promise ring or whatever from the Phoenix Suns but I gotta tell ya, if the Suns really wanted him, that's the worst thing they could have done. Waiters already had this momentum going that quickly turned him from a decent 20th pick into a can't-miss lottery pick. With the Suns giving him a guarantee, that only added to his mythos. And with every NBA Draft pundit falling all over themselves to proclaim Waiters the Next Greatest Thing Ever And I Said It First, it's not surprise that he's attracted interest of teams with top-ten picks. It sounds like the Golden State Warriors are extremely high on him now (even if their fans aren't sold). I have a feeling that he either goes here or someone makes a crazy move to jump up here. That's kinda crazy, but, it is the NBA Draft.

Where Will Fab Melo Be Drafted?

Dan: Boston with the 21st pick, or, Boston with the 22nd pick. Either way, the Celtics are definitely in the market for a legitimate center. The team has a lot of veteran leadership, so it could be a good atmosphere for a young, raw talent like Fab to come up in, but at the same time, he could fill a role right away if he shows that he can play.

Jeremy: In a league increasingly starved for true centers, Melo undoubtedly has the raw size to be an impact player on the defensive end. However, his lack of experience and bumpy recent history leave me with serious doubts about his true potential. Perhaps more than anyone in the draft he could have used another year (or two) of college to hone his offensive skills and further get himself into shape. But clearly his various issues, academic or otherwise, precluded that. So now Fab is looking at a late first round selection based solely on height and bulk, and really only one year of high level competition to judge him on. I’d say the Celtics take him at 21 or 22 and hope he develops into a solid backup center.

Matt: I'll admit, I'm a little perplexed about this one. Melo was something of a combination of a dud, a star, and an average big man during his time at Syracuse. Year one, by all accounts, was horrible for the big Brazilian. Showing maturity and a dedication most didn't think was in him, Melo worked his butt off last summer and blossomed into the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Still, was that maturation process enough to prove Melo belongs in the Association? And, even if it was, do the off-court issues mean the maturity is just between the lines on the court and not between the eardrums?

Still, I do understand why Melo's getting a lot of love scouts, general managers, and mock draft..ists (?). A seven footer with size and the ability to defend can carve out nice 10 year career in the NBA (Hello, Adonal Foyle!). Still, I'm hoping that Melo is taken by a team with a sound infrastructure, like, say the New York Kni...oh man, you should have seen the look on your face reading that!

No, but seriously, I've read the Celtics are digging and that seems like a pretty good marriage to me. Boston's coaches and older stars (with or without Ray Allen) can mold Melo and fill a big hole in the paint, while Melo can learn from some of the best while not being forced to be the star player.

Sean: I'm am wholeheartedly in favor of Fab Melo going to the Boston Celtics with either pick. Fab Melo...in Boston. Dealing with Boston media. Getting 2,000 word write-ups by Bill Simmons. Getting rooted for (and against) by Tawmmy from Southie. Getting chewed out by Kevin Garnett on the court.

I cannot wait for the Fab Melo Era in Boston. CANNOT WAIT.

Where Will Kris Joseph Be Drafted?

Dan: Detroit with the 44th pick - Second round draft picks are a total crapshoot, so this is based on the fact that Detroit is contractually obligated to draft every middling-NBA talent that matriculates from a Big East school.

Jeremy: Joseph is the definition of a "Jack of all trades, master of none." Unfortunately, unless you’re a star, the NBA is increasingly becoming a league where teams look at players to fill a specific role. There are probably 50 guys in the league right now who are just like Kris: average size, average athleticism, average skills – and 100 more in college, the D-League, or Europe. Could he beat out a veteran small forward like James Jones or Luke Walton for a roster spot? Hard to say. I could see some GM taking a flyer on him late in the draft and hoping that he develops a specialty like perimeter defense or outside shooting. Let’s see if Toronto takes him with one of their two second round picks and brings him back across the border.

Matt: I think Joseph is one of the most underrated players in Syracuse University history. Not the most underrated, but in the top 5. He's got a good overall jumper with range, he has the ability to find ways to score, and, without question, Kris Joseph does what it takes to win.

The issue here? Remember that whole, 'beating a defender and finishing at the rim' thing? Well, Joseph has some speed, but not enough of it, in my humble opinion, to justify using a draft pick on. I just don't think we'll hear K-Jo's name being called in NYC, especially with a fairly loaded draft class.

I could see Joseph latching on as an undrafted free agent, but even then, I still have my doubts he'll ever really get the chance to play in the NBA. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I think Europe could be calling for the Canadian.

Sean: I don't know. Does it matter? Not trying to be a jerk here but what are the chances Kris really catches on in the NBA? I love Kris, I'm rooting for him, but...you know. I hope Toronto drafts him since that'll be nice for the Canadian folk.

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