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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Hits and misses from Thursday night’s NBA draft

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Memphis' Will Barton could be a steal for Portland at No. 40 (Getty Images)

A collection of thoughts, musings and opinions on Thursday night's NBA draft from a college hoops perspective ...

Lottery pick likely to be a bust: Andre Drummond (Detroit)

Comment: Drummond has the body, wingspan and athleticism of a potential elite NBA center. He also has the unpolished offensive repertoire and suspect motor of Kwame Brown. Hailed as the recruit who could make UConn a contender for back-to-back championships, Drummond instead struggled to make a consistent impact during his lone erratic season with the Huskies. He lacks a back-to-the-basket game. He disappears for stretches of the game. And he doesn't work hard enough to consistently get good position against players he should dominate physically. In a league that rewards teams who draft players that outperform their contracts, Drummond is highly unlikely to do that. Best-case scenario for the Pistons, he pulls a DeAndre Jordan and shows just enough promise to earn a bloated second contract.

Second-round steal: Will Barton (Portland Trail Blazers)

Comment: There are probably 10 first-round picks who won't be as successful in the NBA as Barton will be, including several shooting guards taken ahead of him. The 6-foot-6 former Memphis star slipped all the way to No. 40 despite averaging 18 points per game as a sophomore and showcasing an efficient mid-range game, effective rebounding ability and good defensive promise. Yes, he needs to get stronger and develop a more consistent 3-point shot, but you could say that for many of his peers in this draft, including Jeremy Lamb, who went No. 12.

Undrafted player likely to make a roster: Drew Gordon

Comment: It's surprising that the 6-foot-9 New Mexico forward didn't get a sniff in the second round because he has the tools needed to be a quality energy player off the bench in the NBA. He's a defensive presence in the paint. He consistently plays hard. And he's an explosive enough rebounder that he averaged a double-double the past two seasons. There's no doubt that his back-to-the-basket game and perimeter jump shot aren't NBA caliber yet, but he does enough other things well to carve out a niche in the league as a role player.

Should have stayed in school: Quincy Miller (Denver Nuggets)

Comment: Had Miller returned for his sophomore year at Baylor, he might have regained the explosiveness he had before a torn ACL cost him his senior season in high school and emerged as a potential lottery pick in 2013. Instead, the former top-five Class of 2011 recruit left after an unspectacular freshman season in which he averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds and relied far too much on his jump shot. He has an opportunity to make Denver's roster and become a productive pro, but sliding until the 38th pick cost him a guaranteed contract. 

Should have left school a year earlier: Perry Jones (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Comment: Plenty of guys have returned to school only to see their stock drop, but few have fallen further than Jones. The Baylor forward who likely would have gone in the top five as a freshman instead almost slid out of the first round Thursday night until Oklahoma City ended his free fall with the third-to-last pick. Why the fall for Jones despite his enviable length and athleticism? Concerns about a knee issue didn't help, nor did his tendency to shy away from contact or his insistence that he's a small forward rather than a power forward in the NBA despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Program that had the best night: Kentucky

Comment: Even though North Carolina had four picks in the first 17 selections, this title still belongs to Kentucky. The Wildcats became the first program ever to produce the No. 1 and No. 2 pick in the same draft and the first to have six players taken in the same year. Since John Calipari recruits with the premise that he can get kids to the NBA faster than any coach in the nation, a draft night like this can only help his future efforts.

Program that had the worst night: Villanova

Comment: Georgetown, Alabama and Villanova each had multiple prospects go undrafted, but it had to sting most for the Wildcats since both Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek left as underclassmen. Neither Wayns nor Cheek realistically had much chance of being taken when they both announced they were leaving school early in April. Wayns is an undersized combo guard whose decision making and shot selection probably scared teams off, while Cheek simply doesn't possess the strength, athleticism or ability to get to the rim of an NBA guard.

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