Thin point guard class inspires wave of ill-advised early entries

Jeff Eisenberg

All the complaining about the weak crop of point guards in college basketball this winter has caused a predictable spring phenomenon.

Underclassmen point guards who'd benefit from another year in school are entering the NBA draft by the droves, gambling they have a better chance to crack the first round this season than by waiting another year when the pool of top point guards may be deeper.

At least seven point guards or combo guards have given up one or more years of college eligibility and declared for the draft the past few weeks. Some, like Weber State's Damian Lillard or North Carolina's Kendall Marshall, are projected mid-first-round picks. Others, like Villanova's Maalik Wayns, Arkansas' B.J. Young or Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, currently aren't projected to be drafted at all.

One of the only point guards on the NBA radar who returned to school is Texas freshman Myck Kabongo, a top recruit who wisely realized that another year of seasoning in college could benefit his stock. Michigan freshman Trey Burke and Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague have yet to officially declare for the draft, but reports Wednesday suggest Burke is leaning in that direction.

A big reason all these young point guards are choosing to come out this year rather than waiting is because NBA teams in need of a point guard don't have many surefire options in this draft.

The most NBA-ready senior point guards in this draft are Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor, Iona's Scott Machado and Xavier's Tu Holloway, all guys who would be very fortunate to sneak into the late first round. No point guard is considered a lock for the upper half of the first round, though Marshall and Lillard have the best chance.

It's understandable that young point guards don't want to miss their window to make the NBA, but the reality is that some of these underclassmen are getting bad advice.

A couple guys at the top may go a few spots higher than they normally would have as a result of the lack of a Kyrie Irving or John Wall in this class. Lots of other guys, however, will go lower than they would have next season or won't get drafted at all because the latter half of the draft is becoming over-saturated with point guards.

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