ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas joined ESPN’s NBA Draft media conference call today to discuss a variety of topics pertinent to the 2012 Draft on Thursday, June 26, at 7 p.m. ET. For coverage details: NBA Draft on ESPN. For replay: Jay Bilas audio
Here is the transcript:
Q. Quick question for you: Your assessment of the depth of the draft and, of course, who, if you were the general manager of the Wizards would you pick?
JAY BILAS: Well, number one, I think it’s a draft that’s got really good depth of good players, players that can come in and make a team some starters, some rotation players, stuff like that deep into the second round. But it’s not a draft of a lot of superstars.
There will be guys that come out of this draft and maybe surprise us. It’s happened in just about every draft, but it doesn’t have a depth of sure fire stars. Anthony Davis is the sure fire one, I think. But after that there are players with question marks, but a lot of talent in the draft.
What would I do if I were the GM of the Wizards? Having the best scenario I would think for them is having Brad Beal from Florida fall to them. I’m not sure; I’ve got him rated as the second best prospect in the draft behind Davis. And you hear rumors. I have no idea what’s going to happen. But a lot of people like Beal, and it might be an upset to have Beal fall down to three. But you never know.
I don’t know what Charlotte’s going to do with the two pick, whether they keep it or try to trade down and get some additional assets, because they need everything. You have to be prepared for just about every scenario, I would guess.
Q. Why would you draft JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, and why would you not draft either player? If you did not draft either player, would you invite them for a free agent tryout?
JAY BILAS: Yeah, Tony is a tremendous athlete, and he’s an NBA athlete, so you’d certainly want a player like Tony in camp, and same thing with JaMychal. He’s a 6’9″ skilled forward that can face up and post and a good rebounder with a good feel.
The only reason you wouldn’t draft those guys is if you have a player rated ahead of them on your board when your pick comes up. There is nothing you would say like I’m not going to draft this guy period, I don’t sense that’s what you’re asking. But if you have a specific need, you take the best player available at that position. You’re not going to do it when you’re passing up a much more valuable asset.
You can make a lot of mistakes sometimes drafting for need. But, yeah, both those guys are good players, and I expect Green to get drafted. I have Tony rated a little bit lower, outside the top 60, but with his athleticism, he’s certainly got a chance to make a team. Same thing happened with G. He wasn’t rated as a top prospect, and wound up playing in the NBA.
Q. What makes sense to you most for Miami at 27? If Fab Melo was there, would he be a good value? Any of the three Vanderbilt players projected in that range? What would make sense to you?
JAY BILAS: Well, I’m a best available player believer, but that’s easy to say when you don’t have any skin in the game, you don’t have to make a pick. A lot of it depends on who is available. You mentioned the three guys from Vanderbilt, that is Jeffery Taylor, Festus Ezeli and John Jenkins. Jenkins, if he’s not the best shooter in the draft, he’s right there with anyone else as far as being the best shooter. So he’s a specialist.
He doesn’t do a lot else. He moves off the ball, does a good job coming off screens. He’s not an elite defender or a spectacular sort of NBA caliber athlete. He’s a good athlete, but not a great run and jump athlete.
Ezeli is a true seven‑footer with a wing span in the 7’4″, 7’5″ range. Still a little raw in the post. I shouldn’t say raw. He needs to refine his postgame. He gets really deep position, and he’s really strong. But he’s not a high volume rebounder. He could jump in and be an effective back‑up center in the NBA. And Taylor is a great athlete and an outstanding defender. Any one of those three guys would be good.
I think Will Barton from Memphis will probably be gone. You’re looking for guys that can step in and play, but having a big guy would certainly be helpful, there is no question about that in Miami.
Q. Do you see Melo being there 27 or do you project him higher?
JAY BILAS: Yeah, I’ve got him rated at 30, but I’ve seen where a lot of these mock drafts, I try to limit looking at those because you look at them too much and you start overthinking it based upon ‑‑ because a lot of the mock drafts are not necessarily based upon how good you think the player is, but where he’s projected to go based upon what teams are saying and all of that. They’re really valuable things, but I try to limit how much I look at them. But I have seen where Melo’s been rated and projected in the mid 20’s, 24, 23 stuff like that, and some of them a little bit higher.
He improved a great deal from last year to this, he’s not an offensive player, but a good rebounder, and he’s done better blocking shots. His fitness level improved, so he’s able to run better. He’s more mobile.
But he was anchored in the middle of that zone. You put him in the NBA, and he’ll be put in a lot of pick‑and‑roll situations and asked to move around the floor. I don’t think that’s a strength of his. He’s got a chance to be good, but I don’t have him rated. I’ve got him rated 30th, I think.
Q. I have a question about Harrison Barnes. People either really love him or not love him. I’m curious your thoughts about him. And it looks like the Cavs decision will come down to as things stand today, Harrison versus MKG, and they seem to be the opposite as far as their skills. Which do you think would be a better pick for Cleveland at four?
JAY BILAS: They’d both be good. You’re right. They’re very different players. Barnes has probably suffered from the fact that he was so highly rated in high school. When I saw him in high school, I thought he’s a guy that always makes the right play. I thought he was a tremendous athlete and in his first two years of college, I started to question was he as good an athlete as I thought?
He went to the combine, the NBA combine and tested athletically literally, off the charts. He had a 38‑inch standing vertical leap, which you don’t see that. That’s phenomenal. His agility drills and speed were fabulous, especially for a guy his size. So he’s got the complete package.
What that told me is that he is a little bit of a thinker on the court right now. He’s very process oriented. I believe this. I’ve watched him play a lot. I really think that he’s going to be a better pro than a college player. Now you say that. You could be wrong. But I see more for him as a pro.
But he was an outstanding college player. Averaged 17 a game for two straight years. He’s a really good jump shooter, athletic. He’s got defensive versatility, he’s long. He’s got a terrific skill set, so he’d be a terrific pick.
The only reason you would take him over Gilchrist is because of his scoring ability. But Gilchrist ‑‑ they don’t make him like him very often. He’s got a relentless attitude and work ethic that you just don’t see that often. He’s great in transition. Gets to the rim, gets to the free‑throw line, he’s an elite defender because he can guard multiple spots. You can put him on a point guard or put him on a four‑man. He just isn’t a scorer.
He’s going to get his points off of energy, and he can make a shot, but he’s not a terrific shooter. But he’s only 19 years old. So he’s got some growing to do. He’s got to fix that shot. His shot mechanics are not very good. If it’s not fixed, he has to be able to shoot it the same way over and over again, and with the way he’s never square to the basket. His arm flies, his right arm flies out on his elbow, he needs to fix that. He has plenty of time to work on it. He’s capable of doing it.
Q. Obviously Orlando Magic has things up in the air. They have one guard under contract with the 23rd season. If you’re the GM, which position are you looking to fill that 19 spot, and then our second question is do you think that Austin Rivers is ready for this NBA draft or the NBA?
JAY BILAS: I don’t know what Orlando’s thinking. The elephant in the room is what they’re going to do with Dwight Howard. I know he signed that extra year, but I don’t know how that’s going to work out. And what they want to do and what his options are as far as if you can say no to any of that stuff. I don’t know what his parameters are.
But if they could get value for him there are a lot of good things in the draft, lot of good moves you can make. That is the fun thing in the draft is what guys do. You can see guys on with the ball caps and they could wind up totally different. After we talk about what a great fit they are for team A, they could wind up on team Z in no time.
Truth is I don’t know what they’re thinking. But if they stick where they are, there is good value in that spot in the draft. If they’re at 19, I’m not sure you can expect to get a starter.
You’ve had guys that have been drafted there over the years that have turned out to be really good players. Heck, was it 2006 when Rajon Rondo got taken No. 21? It can happen. Guys may have a perceived flaw or something that may set them back right now. It’s something they can overcome or the rest of their game can overcome.
Your question about Rivers, I think Austin Rivers is going to be a really good NBA player. He’s 6’5″. He’s really good with the ball. I’m not sure there is anybody in this draft that is better with the ball than Rivers is. Rivers doesn’t score a lot off a teammate’s pass, he catches it and finds something to do with it. He can get in the lane, get fouled, get to the free‑throw line. He’s also a guy that can knock down perimeter shots.
He’s a competitor. If they put him last year at Duke, he wound up guarding the opponent’s best perimeter scorer on several occasions and never really shied away from it. He’s a young kid with a bright future ahead of him.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about the two Marquette players and the one Wisconsin player there eligible here to be drafted, Darius Johnson‑Odom and Jay Crowder from Marquette, and Jordan Taylor from Wisconsin. Do you expect all three of those guys to be drafted? My second question is occasionally around here we hear arguments that Bo Ryan’s swing offense doesn’t feature players in a way that would help them in their draft positions in the NBA. Do you buy any part of that notion?
JAY BILAS: I don’t buy any part of that notion. I think it’s ridiculous. You see guys come out of every system, whether it’s Princeton, the Princeton offense or some team from the flex or motion. You name it. It’s about the player. With all due respect to every college coach out there, I never really bought the idea that you can tag a college coach with the ability to develop pros.
You have a lot of coaches out there that are really good teachers but the idea that one coach does a better job of developing pros is absurd. That has to do more with talent than anything.
One of the ways I measure that is you think about in the NBA, have you ever heard an NBA coach or anybody say about an NBA coach that Phil Jackson does a great job of developing players and turning them into All‑Stars and Hall of Famers. Larry Brown does a great job of developing All‑Stars. They never say that.
John Calipari or Coach “K” or you name it, they have guys who come out after one year. They’ve had the guys seven months. What did they do to develop them? That’s so meaningless. This is more about talent than anything. It didn’t hold Greg Stiemsma back. He was able to overcome it so I think everybody can.
Your question about the Wisconsin players, I think that Jay Crowder and Darius Johnson‑Odom are likely to get drafted. Crowder first, then DJO. I don’t believe that Jordan Taylor will get drafted. You never know, he might. I think he’s better off not getting drafted. In today’s game, it’s two rounds, 60 players.
If you don’t get drafted, he’ll be snatched up as a free agent going to camp somewhere. He’ll know who really wants him and who is willing to pay for him to be there. He’ll be able to pick the team that says this is the best chance I have to make the team. When you’re drafted, you have to go to that team until they release you. So I think he may be better off not getting drafted.
You know, I think Crowder’s going to be the highest of the three taken, but you never know about that, especially if he stuck around. But the only thing holding him back is he’s a bit undersized. He might only be 6’5. Luckily they get to play with their shoes on, so that bumps him up a little bit. But he’ll be the first of those three players taken.
Q. Wanted to get your thoughts on the draft prospects of a couple of players here with some local interests. Kyle O’Quinn out of Norfolk State, and Mike Scott out of UPA?
JAY BILAS: Kyle O’Quinn, I had watched him a little bit last year long before the tournament because of his size and athleticism and ability level. I was, frankly, I had season him and watched him a little bit, then when I saw him play against month admonition I was blown away. I thought he was good; I didn’t know he was that good.
He’s got the profile of an NBA player. He’s got really good size, good length, and he’s a good athlete. He’s still got some maturing to do as a player. I think sort of he plays hard, but he needs to play harder for longer stretches. I think that will come as he gets older and more mature. It hasn’t been that long that he’s been considered an NBA caliber player, but he looked up to it toward the end of the year, I was really impressed with him.
So he’ll be drafted. He’s probably a second round pick toward the top of the middle of the second round, and I think a similar thing about Mike Scott. They’re different players. Mike’s not as big. He’s 6’8″, a forward. He’s got good feet, and good foot work. He can face up. He’s got a scorer’s mentality. He’s a player. You could say he’s a power forward, small forward, but I think he’s a little in between.
I’m not sure he’s a starter, but you put him into a ballgame, and he’ll more than hold his own. He’s a nice player.
Q. What type of NBA team do you think best suits Kendall Marshall?
JAY BILAS: Well, Marshall’s a player that thrives in transition. He’s an up tempo point guard. His biggest strength is passing. But I think it’s his full court passing. He’s not a Jet. He doesn’t have great speed or quickness as a point guard, but he plays fast because he passes the ball ahead. The ball moves faster in the air than anybody can dribble it.
The challenge he’s going to have is he’s not an elite level athlete. Staying in front of these ultra‑quick NBA point guards on the defensive end is going to be a real challenge, and he’s not a scorer. He’s not a prolific shooter. But he’s got size, he’s strong, and he knows how to play. He can handle it.
I question a little bit his ability to be dynamic off a ball screen and get into the lane. I think he’s probably a mid to late first round pick on an 18-to-25. But he’s certainly got some abilities. His ability to pass it, handle it and run a team makes him attractive. There aren’t a ton of great point guards in this draft.
Q. Phoenix has stated they have a desire to get a go‑to-guy on the wing. Which of those top ten do you think survives past the Top 10, and why do you think Lamb might be slipping?
JAY BILAS: I don’t know. One, you don’t know that he is slipping. Not that I don’t trust what’s being said, but I don’t trust what’s being said. You never know on these things.
This is kind of the time where you hear a lot of talk and workout rumors and stuff. The truth is you’ve had a whole year to evaluate the guy. How he can rise up or fall that dramatically is hard to imagine absent there being information about a kid being hurt or some sort of injury considerations.
But if Lamb fell ‑‑ I’ve got him rated 7th or 8th, I think ‑‑ if he fell that far, he’d be a steal. There is another guy. Austin Rivers is a guard that can get his own. Terrence Ross from Washington got invited to the green room, which is a good indication that they think he’s going to be gone by the 15th or 16th pick.
He’s the guy that can shoot it. He is not as adept at getting his own, but he can really shoot the ball in good range and as an NBA athlete. There is a guy who is not a point guard, more of a point guard, but he’s not a shooter. But Tony Wroten Jr. is a guy from Washington that I think will be a value pick in the 20s of the draft, and reminds me of when Rondo came out of Kentucky years ago.
The big knock on Rondo was he couldn’t shoot. Okay, but look what else he can do. That’s kind of the way I feel about Wroten. Tony Wroten cannot shoot. But the other things he can do, he can do. He can get to the bucket, get fouled. He’s great in transition. He really passes it. He’s big, strong and athletic.
And Will Barton is another guy from Memphis who as a wing has a lot of potential to be really good. He’s just kind of thin right now. But he’s very, very talented.
Q. I’ve always heard that for a prospect to be an NBA caliber prospect, he’s got to really do something really well. I’m wondering with Gilchrist, if you would agree that he’s not a great shooter, not a particularly great ball handler or passer. So what is it that he brings that puts him at that level.
JAY BILAS: He can guard anybody. 6’7″ with really long arms and tremendous athleticism, you can put him on a point guard out front, or you can put him on a big three or a small four‑man, a base up four. He can really impact the game defensively. He’s really energetic. I guess that’s what you’d call him is an energy player that he thrives off of the energy that he brings into a game.
He’s excellent in transition, a good rebounder, gets shots, gets loose balls. He’s going to make you better. The one thing he doesn’t do is he’s not a prolific scorer. He averaged 14 a game last year. He can make an open shot. I wouldn’t classify him as a good shooter, but it’s not like you have to repaint the rims after a game he plays in. He makes free throws and all of that.
But I think to be ‑‑ sometimes we all get stuck in thinking about well, Michael Gilchrist is a second or third pick. Usually those guys at that level of the draft, one of the first things you say is they can really score. That’s not his thing. I don’t know any coach in the NBA that would say I don’t want him on my team.
Anybody would covet Michael Gilchrist because he’s all about winning. He’s a great kid, and he’s relentless. I mean, he is absolutely relentless. That is not something that you can teach. You don’t just say to your guys, you don’t say in the huddle, let’s all go out and be relentless. It doesn’t work that way.
Q. How many first-rounders do you think Kentucky will have in this draft?
JAY BILAS: I’ve got ‑‑ I don’t want them up that way, but I’ve got Davis, Gilchrist, Jones going in the first round. Then I’ve got Doron Lamb ranked 32nd, so he would be just in the second that’s pretty good. Kentucky has a lot of good players. Who am I leaving out?
Q. Miller and Teague?
JAY BILAS: Yeah, I’ve got Teague in the first round. I think I have Teague ranked in the 20s, 23rd, 24th. I’ve got Miller in the second round. I think he’s in the middle, probably in the 30’s or 40’s. Miller’s at 43 or 44 if I remember right.
Q. Minnesota made a deal this morning to give up their No. 18 to Houston for Chase Budinger. Does that support your contention of the dropoff factor once you get past the first five or six picks? What does that say about the bottom half of the first round if teams are willing to give up their first like that?
JAY BILAS: I’m not sure it tells about the drop off as much as it does there are things available at different spots. I’m not sure how much difference there is in the tenth pick or the 20th pick. There is some difference, but I’m not sure it’s that extreme in this draft. There are always kind of tiers of players.
I think Davis is separated from the group. I don’t think there is an NBA decision maker out there that would take anybody but Anthony Davis number 1. That doesn’t mean he’s LeBron, but he is consensus number 1 in this draft.
There are some terrific values in this draft, and guys that are going to be really good players. I think I said it earlier, I rate Brad Beal the second best prospect in the draft overall. I think he’s going to be really good. Whether it’s Robinson or Harrison Barnes or all these different guys, there are guys that could wind up being terrific players down the line.
With the players being so young now, you’re comparing ‑‑ saying all right ‑‑ Beal’s going to be 19 tomorrow. I’ve compared him to Ray Allen, Billy Donovan has. If you compare him to Ray Allen, you say he’s ridiculous, he’s the all time leading three‑point shooter. They’re both 18 years old and they’re pretty similar.
That is kind of the trick. Nobody’s figured it out. You’ve got to project these guys out in the future when they’re just 18 or 19. It’s proven not to be an easy thing.
Q. Do you expect that other teams will not follow Minnesota today and hold on to those late round picks and still think there is some value down there?
JAY BILAS: There is value down there. It’s a question of what you can get for the picks. And different teams have different needs right now especially with salary cap consideration. If you can trade down in the draft and get two picks for one or if there is somebody who wants somebody up where you are and they’re willing to give up something for it, it’s just a question of what you get in return.
I tend to think the most valuable thing in building a team are draft picks. You don’t just give them away, you get something in return for them. So if you can, and you can trade and get a good player, whether it’s a good asset, sort of a young player that is already in the league if you can get draft picks now or in the future, those are valuable things.
Q. Jay, obviously, a lot of people think a lot of Bradley Beal, but he is so young. What kind of things do you look at and say, boy, I hope he never changes? What kind of things do you look at and say, boy, I hope he doesn’t do that in the NBA?
JAY BILAS: Well, there is nothing I see that I hope he doesn’t do that in the NBA. One, he’s a really good young man. So you’re working with a young man that’s got very good character. He went into Florida this last year, and that was a team that had been to the Elite 8. The guards were experienced and had been there a while. He walked in there and blended in, and yet was still the best player.
He’s an excellent athlete. He can defend. He’s a very good guard rebounder. He rebounds at a high rate for a two‑guard, and he shoots very well. His shooting numbers wouldn’t wow you. You look at the overall numbers and say he shot 34% from three. Toward the end of the year, his last six or seven games, he’s shot 43%. In the NCAA Tournament, he shot it great, and I thought he came into his own toward the end of the year. Not only in SEC play, but in the NCAA Tournament. I think he’s a tremendous young prospect.
But his ability to guard people, his ability to rebound. He can shoot it, put the ball on the floor, he attacks in transition. Gets to the free‑throw line and knocks his free‑throw lines down. The there is very little he’s not capable of doing. He just needs to get a little stronger and all that stuff. He’s going to be really good.
Q. Can you talk about Tyler Zeller? Do you think he can be a reliable true center in the NBA with his size, or do you think he’ll be good to go?
JAY BILAS: I think Zeller is a terrific prospect. I’ve got him rated, I think, at 12th or 13th overall. I’ve got John Henson one spot ahead of him. I don’t change those this time of year. But if I had to do it over again, I’d probably change it. I think Zeller’s going to be a better NBA player. I could be wrong there.
But he is really efficient. An excellent offensive rebounder. He’s got a skill that you don’t see in many big men. He can really run the floor, he can really run. That puts a ton of pressure opposing big guys. He’s 7‑feet tall. He has a good feel. Plays really hard. He can knock down a face up jumper, so he can hit a trail jumpshot. He’s a good post defender. He’s not a shot blocker, but he can challenge it. He’s really good.
He does something in the post where he can break contact and get around in front of an offensive player, and he gets a lot of deflections. He’ll knock a post pass away. He does that very well. He makes his free throws. So he’s a very efficient player, I think, in the NBA. He’ll do very well. I like his chances to be a really good player that way.
Q. Is 2 to 5 pretty much your assessment? It seems like it’s a universal assessment to how high he’ll be able to go?
JAY BILAS: If it were me, it would be 2. I wouldn’t hesitate. I think he’s the second best prospect in this draft behind Anthony Davis. Reasonable minds can differ on that. But that’s the way I look at it. I think he’s terrific.
Need, whatever, how could you not need a guard that’s got that kind of ability? I think he’s terrific. I don’t see him lasting very long past the second pick if somebody like Cleveland. He’d be a great back court mate for Kyrie Irving. Cleveland moves past the number two, because Charlotte has been talking to people about trading down into the draft, that would be a terrific combo. There are very few teams that he would work well with as a good point guard. He’s tremendous.
Q. You heard the Ray Allen comparisons a lot. You’ve mentioned it. Is there anything particular other than the shooting that kind of makes him reminiscent of a young, Ray Allen? Or why do you think those comparisons are so prevalent?
JAY BILAS: I’ve never been really good at that comparison stuff. NBA scouts do that a lot. It’s kind of like using a comp for real estate, comparable for a home sale. I’ve never been good at that stuff.
But Billy was the one that told me about him. I saw him in high school, and you know, he was headed to Florida, and I called Billy about it and said tell me about the kid, and who does he remind you of and that kind of thing? And he brought up Ray Allen for me.
Then I got to see him up close, practicing and playing in that Jordan game last year, and I thought the comparison was fair. Aside from shooting it, the way he reminds me of Allen, there is a smoothness to his game.
Also his demeanor. Beal does not get flustered very often. He doesn’t change his demeanor. (Indiscernible) I don’t know what the right word is. They have a dignity on the floor, on and off. Both carry themselves with class and dignity very well, I think. So I think there are a lot of comparisons that are favorable with Ray Allen.
I realize, and Billy does too, when you use that comparison, you’re saying he reminds you of. Not saying he’s as good as Ray Allen. Ray Allen is one of the best players ever in the NBA and certainly one of the best shooters. He’s got a lot of ability. Heck, I don’t think I’ve looked at his birthday, but I don’t think he’s even 19 yet. Maybe on draft day or tomorrow, so he’s really young too. He’s got a lot of time to mature and get better.
Q. Wondering about a couple of Georgetown prospects Hollis Thompson shot over 40% from three every year at school, and after years of not doing a ton, really came on last year. What are your thoughts on them and at the next level? Just curious, how hard is it to gauge the potential of a Georgetown prospect playing in that Princeton offense?
JAY BILAS: I don’t really think that it’s hard to judge or make decisions on a player. I don’t think that has a whole lot to do with it. Jeff Greene came out of Georgetown under John Thompson III, Greg Monroe. When you have players come out of there, they can tell pretty quick who can play. I think it comes down to the individual players rather than the system that they’re in.
If you can play ‑‑ I believe this ‑‑ if you can play in the sort of Princeton style, you can play in anything. The premium there is on the total skill level, your ability to pass, handle it, shoot it, and your ability to make decisions and make reads. So if you can do that, what system can you not play in?
On your big players, I think Henry Simms is the best passing big man in the draft. He assists at a high rate, especially for a big guy. There is no other big guy that passes for as many scores as Henry does.
The downside of that is there are probably no big guys that turn it over as much as he does too. But he’s turning it over trying to make a pass or do something. He’s got the ball in his hands a lot. He improved his scoring and his ability to face‑off in the high post. He put the ball on the floor, and he’s physical. He’s big. He’s got long arms and well over a 7‑foot wing span. He’s 7‑feet tall, so he can definitely play.
I think he’ll be a second round pick, but he can definitely play.
I think Hollis Thompson will either be second round or just outside the second round on draft day. I’m not sure what’s better to go in draft in that scenario, but he can shoot it. He does a good job. He can take care of the ball. He’s not a point guard, but he’s going to have to be able to make shots in the NBA and defend to make somebody’s rotation.
Q. A lot has been made of Sullinger’s back issues in this draft. But those in his camp say it’s not as severe as some of the reports indicate. How much do the reports hurt a player’s stock in the draft? How does he stack up with some of the other players in this draft?
JAY BILAS: It’s not the reports, sort of the media reports that hurt Sullinger, because every NBA team has their doctor’s pass. They get these medical reports, so the doctors all have to pass on players. So, I don’t think that anybody’s making a decision based on what’s said in the media as much as they are on what the doctors tell them about the medical.
If somebody’s flagging, just because you flag an issue, doesn’t mean that it precludes you from taking a player. There is no question if a guy has a significant back issue. I don’t know what it is, I’ve just heard the same things you have. But apparently he was out for a while, and everybody said it was back spasms and all of that.
I don’t ‑‑ I know that a lot of teams, and I’m not saying this with Ohio State, but a lot of teams are very careful not only because of HIPAA regulations, but they don’t want ‑‑ teams don’t want information out about a player, because it could affect his future.
You’re not going to know exactly what a player’s issue is during the course of the year. So I don’t know what’s going on with Jared. I know that he’s a terrific get if he winds up dropping down to where people think he’s going to drop into the late teens or early 20s, because he’s an undersized big guy that knows how to play. He’s got long arms, and a great touch, and a great feel for the game. He’s just not a shot blocker. He’s had a hard time over great size elevating and scoring.
You put him out there in an NBA game healthy and all of that, and if you get him at 20, that’s a pretty good deal.
Q. Now that it appears that Robbie Hummel has answered some of the health questions in regard to his knees, he’s had some good workouts with some NBA teams, do you see him getting drafted? Or do you think like Jordan Taylor, he could be better off as a free agent signing with a team that his skills fit their needs?
JAY BILAS: I think guys like if you’re going to be a late second round pick, you’re probably in most scenarios better off not being drafted. You can choose where you want to go, so you can go somewhere that wants you as opposed to somebody who takes you. You may not fit in there, and then somebody they’re thinking about down the line.
Who knows why you might get picked, but they may not have every intention of keeping you. So I tend to think there are time when’s it’s better not to get drafted.
As far as his needs, Robbie’s a good player. But even though he can play right now, and he appears healthy right now, he’s off two ACL surgeries, so I can’t imagine somebody’s going to draft him. What is he, 22, 23?
JAY BILAS: He’s had two ACL surgeries, one on each knee. There is risk involved there for use in the draft pick. If you got him late in the second round, I could understand that. But I don’t have him rated quite that high.
If he were completely healthy, he’d be drafted for sure, but I’ve got him drafted just outside the second round.
Q. What kind of a team, knowing his game, what kind of a team might he fit in with?
JAY BILAS: He kind of reminds me a little bit of a player that would do well with the Celtics or with the Utah Jazz or teams like that. You come in and be a specialist, he moves the ball, he’s a good shooter. He moves without the ball. He’s played in a motion system.
But I tend to think that he’s not necessarily an NBA starter down the line. But a guy that can get into a rotation if he makes the team. It’s a shame he got hurt all those times because he’s a really good player.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him stick in the league, if he finds the right team and all of that.
But really finding the right team means finding an opportunity, not necessarily style of play. If you find an opportunity where can you make a roster, once you get in your foot in the door in the league, it’s a lot easier to stay there than it is to stay there a year after you got drafted or two years after and all that stuff. If you don’t get in right away, it’s a lot harder to get in.
Q. The Sixers have had a number of big men in Leonard, Henson, Zeller, Jones, Perry Jones, Moultrie, who would you say possibly being available when they make that pick, among those guys? Who do you think is the best fit?
JAY BILAS: Who is the best fit? I think you want to get just the best player. So when you say that, you’re talking about 15?
JAY BILAS: I think Zeller and Henson will probably be gone and Meyers Leonard might be gone too. I’ve got Leonard rated at 15. You know, Perry Jones may draft down there, I’ve got him rated higher than 13, so you never know.
Leonard strikes me as a guy who is intriguing because he’s big, strong and athletic. He’s only been a starter for a year, which is like Thomas Robinson of Kansas who only been playing for a year with a lot of ability. He’s got a terrific touch. He can run. He’s a good athlete. He can rebound. He put it’s on the floor. He’s a good driver out of the perimeter to be able to drive past a big guy.
He’s just got to get tougher. He’s got to be tougher and be able to absorb the bump and hold position and fight for the blockout, things like that. But for a guy who hasn’t been carrying a heavy load in college that long, he’s got a chance down the road to be good. It’s just going to take him a while to develop.
Q. The interesting thing to me is they have not brought Sullinger in. But it seems like if you were at 15, don’t you have to take into account that there are going to be questions like health? If a guy with that ability is there, don’t you have to take a chance on that? Doesn’t it behoove them to if he’s there?
JAY BILAS: You can, but it kind of depends on who your doctor says. It’s not that Sullinger is without question marks. He’s only 6’8″ or 6’9″, he’s got long arms and he’s a good rebounder, but he doesn’t block shots. I do think scoring in the paint above sort of over the size in the league and athleticism he’s going to be playing against is going to be problematic.
I think part of Sullinger’s appeal in the NBA is going to be does he have the ability to consistently knock down a face‑up jumpshot? So I wouldn’t say automatically he’s a guy that you have to pick.
There is another guy that might be worth looking at, and I’m sure they’ve already looked at him. But he’s probably going to be taken in the early 20s, is that kid Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure. He’s more of a power forward than a center. A good rebounder. Has a good postgame, can face‑up, really athletic. So there are some options there. They’re going to get somebody good. I’m confident of that.