Draft Watch: Anunoby still a consensus first rounder

  • 04/10/2017 7:20 am in

Indiana could have several early entry departures for the NBA draft, including OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant and James Blackmon Jr.

Others could also test the waters thanks to new rules instituted last year that allow players to workout for NBA teams and attend the draft combine (if invited) while retaining their eligibility.
In our first updated draft watch since the end of the season, here’s an updated look at projections for Anunoby, Bryant and Blackmon Jr. as well as some notes and analysis about their draft outlooks:

OG Anunoby
ESPN: (15) Draft Express: (14) NBADraft.net (44)

Notes and Analysis: The ranking on NBADraft.net is the outlier here as both Chad Ford and the Draft Express team have Anunoby going in the top 20 of their most recent mock drafts. Anunoby’s season ending injury in IU’s win at Penn State in January didn’t do much to hurt his draft stock. Given the fact that he won’t be able to work out due to injury, testing the waters isn’t going to do much for NBA teams other than give them a chance to get to know him in interviews and learn the details of his injury and a recovery timetable.

He was making a ridiculous 70 percent of his 2-point field goal attempts before the injury, but was struggling from the perimeter (31.1 percent on 3s). If he’s really going to go in the first round, it would make sense for Anunoby to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and capitalize now on a guaranteed contract.

Update: According to multiple reports on Monday morning, Anunoby will enter the draft and sign with an agent.

Thomas Bryant
ESPN: (57) Draft Express: (44) NBADraft.net (84)

Notes and Analysis: Bryant’s rankings have fallen significantly since our last update in February. He’s now listed as a second rounder/undrafted by Chad Ford. Draft Express has him going No. 39 in a mock draft for 2017, but has him five spots lower in its top 100 rankings. And he fell 31 spots in the most recent rankings on NBADraft.net.

After not even testing the process last spring, it would make a lot of sense for Bryant to go to the combine and workout for teams this year. But is he going to be able to secure a first round guarantee or a guarantee from a team that they will draft him in the second round with a clear path to a multi-year deal? His ultimate decision could come down to whether Bryant is ready to bet on himself or if he wants to come back and try to boost his stock with a strong junior season. He doesn’t turn 20 until late this summer, so his age is still on his side.

James Blackmon Jr.
ESPN: (134) Draft Express: (NR) NBADraft.net (NR)

Notes: Blackmon Jr. tested the waters last spring, but opted to come back for his junior season. The Marion product averaged 17 points and 4.8 rebounds this season, but did miss a few games with a knee injury. He said during the season that he plans to graduate in May, so if he is ready to pursue a professional career, he could do so with a degree in hand.

As it stands, Blackmon Jr. isn’t on any mock draft boards for 2017. The fact that Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams both went undrafted and found their way into the NBA this season shows that it can be done, but the road for undrafted rookies is a difficult one.

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  • BannerOrBust

    Would love to see OG come back, but get that money son! TB and James should do whatever they feel is best for them. I personally think TB and James could benefit from another year at IU. Whatever they choose, I’m cool with it.

  • N71

    I imagine the status of OG, TB, and JB are partially linked to Al Durham (re confirmed), Justin Smith (?), and Clifton Moore (?). We know what’s going on with Al but I’m blind with regards to Justin and Clifton. Does anyone have the latest scoop?

  • Ole Man

    Can’t see any relationship. Archie isn’t going to tell them they can’t come back so go to the NBA because we might have recruits coming in.
    Justin is probably sticking with his LOI. Clifton is the wildcard.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Go get your money…

  • N71

    ESPN just reported minutes ago that OG is hiring an agent so he’s gone for sure and I’d have to believe James is extremely interested in the pros so that would answer 2 of the slots, Al and Justin. Clifton I agree, seems a wildcard.

  • bball at nick’s

    If you’re a first-rounder you’re good for the NBA and college.
    If you’re a second-rounder you’re good for college.
    If you’re neither a first- nor second-rounder and you’re injury-prone then you should probably take the first career opportunity that comes your way.

  • bball at nick’s

    We need Thomas and he needs us.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    it’s too bad we got such a small sampling of OG. on the right team, he coulda been one of the hoosier greats. but i think he’s making the right decision. would hate to see him come back and hurt that knee again.

  • pcantidote

    If JBJ wants to go pro whether it is the NBA, D-league, Europe or whatever, he should, but the idea of a graduate transfer seems silly now. Why would you graduate transfer? New coach, new system? He has all that now.

  • Hoosieriniowa

    OG gone. NBA teams like young big men that they can bring along-TB gone and will have a track like Vonleh. JB will have a successful pro career-just not in the USA.

  • pcantidote

    ESPN reporting that OG has hired an agent and is gone. My hope is that he goes in the first round. My prediction is that he doesn’t. Too many unknowns to risk a first round pick on. Just IMHO.

  • bball at nick’s

    My feeling too.

  • TomJameson

    I seriously doubt Archie is linking who comes back with who re-commits to IU. Let’s not get that tired old refrain going please, the links just aren’t there. These things truly do work themselves out, and my position is that the coaches who talk all the time to the players and recruits, know a ton more than any of us fans.

  • bball at nick’s

    Just in case Ole Man didn’t make that clear lol.

  • TomJameson

    I think now that TB just might come back for one more year. Of course it all depends on the feedback he gets from the combine (if invited) or any workouts he can get. I just don’t think the feedback will be that great. To me, the year of playing out of his more natural position hurt him more than helped. He could have mixed in more 5 and less 4.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    My prediction is the scholarship situation is gonna work itself out. OG hired an agent, so he’s gone. JBJ has been wanting to leave for the pro’s since after his freshman season, so what better time than now? Al Durham and Justin Smith are both coming, but I don’t think Clifton Moore will stay (just a hunch that I’m basing off of nothing more than a gut feeling). So, there’s your 13 scholarship players.

  • Hardwood83

    Yeah, that seems like a the likely scenario to me too.
    I am one (of the few?) that would like to have both JBJ & OG back, but don’t blame either for moving on.

  • Hardwood83

    I have read a couple of times that Gelon is transferring too. Just a rumor at this point, but wouldn’t shock me.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    It’s easy to sit here and give sage advice since it doesn’t impact my life, but it seems like Bryant should test the waters, and if he doesn’t like the feedback, he needs to be back at IU under the tutelage of a new coach and increase his value. By all accounts, he’s got the work ethic. He’s going to have returning guards that are willing to feed him the ball. He’s going to have DD returning with additional skills to draw attention away from him.

    Unless he’s getting great promises from his conversations and workouts, he should be back at IU increasing his value. He’s a great player. He just took a step back this year, and I think it was in large part due to his utilization in Crean’s scheme.

    I’m pretty sore about OG because we hardly got to see him play this year, and it could have been a lot of fun. I hope he makes a buttload of cash, though.

  • IllinoisHoosier

    I’m not sure if I want JBJ back. He could certainly boost offense, but defensively he’s a liability. If miller could run the offense through him, he could be more of an asset. An upper class man that can shoot would be nice. But he and Johnson would have to be leaders. Agree anunoby should go even though he would be great at iu if healthy. TB needs to stay but only if some can teach him to be a big man. Most underdeveloped post moves I’ve seen. Needs to learn to play the post. Running the floor and 3s can only work occasionally.

  • Indiana_Banners

    It would be huge to keep JBJ, ditto Thomas. No “only if” there, if Bryant returns he’d make the team better, period. Same with JBJ.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I would love to have OG back, but I’m ready to see JBJ start his professional career. He definitely made the team better, but with his knee problems and his hunger for getting to the next level beyond college basketball, I just feel like if there ever was a time to go, why not make it now? Especially since the coach he’s played for for 3 season is gone.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I’m with you on JBJ being a defensive liability. He has improved as far as work ethic with it, but, as MANY MANY MANY others have pointed out on here, his lateral quickness is lessened due to all of his injuries.

  • BannerOrBust

    I know people say I ‘slight’ players, well here I go again… I hope for Gelon transfers, he could probably do really well at Indiana Wesleyan or Anderson University.

  • BannerOrBust

    Justin Smith never asked to be released from Indiana. He is coming.

  • BannerOrBust

    Gelon should seek a transfer so he can actually get playing time. He’s never going to play meaningful minutes at Indiana.

  • Ole Man

    Humbly disagree. You’re projecting college play upon him. The pros see something entirely different. All but one outlier in the draft boards have him solidly in the first round.

  • Ole Man

    That’s the only board that he is not solid first round. So, that’s an outlier.

  • John D Murphy

    His length, quickness, and burst athleticism make him a possibly elite defender. He will go in the first round. Not likely in the top half but the teams in the bottom half don’t get a lot of chances to draft guys with OG’s potential. A playoff team will draft him, he will play about 5 min/game next year, people on ITH will talk about him being a bust because they don’t understand the NBA development process. He will start getting minutes his second year and will start in his 3rd.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I have to admit, I only saw the games we played in 2016 b/c when the wheels came off in the UofL game, I cancelled my BTN and ESPN b/c I knew the season was gonna turn out poorly (and it did). So, I didn’t see him play really at all and I don’t know much about his contribution this year. You’re thinking he isn’t going to be a good 2 guard with as well as he can shoot?

  • pcantidote

    I certainly hope you are right. I have to defer to the people that know the pro game better than me. I am just projecting if I were an NBA GM, I’d not only have to believe that his potential will eventually be realized, but also that his knee will fully heal. That would just be too much for me to risk over just taking the next guy on my draft board.

  • Outoftheloop

    Why? He is living the “Hoosier” Dream! Keep working hard Grant and hit those 3’s!

  • Outoftheloop

    Yes! OG may make the Lottery (top 11 I believe), but probably 12-19 in the first round! He is a great kid!

  • Outoftheloop

    Yes. But I really want Moore and Bruiser is a Philly guy!