Draft watch: Pre-NBA draft combine update

  • 05/10/2016 9:23 am in

With a pair of NBA lottery picks in 2013 and one in 2014, draft watch was a regular feature on the site during the 2012-13 and 2013-2014 seasons. The Hoosiers didn’t have an early entry to the draft last season, but that could change this year as Troy Williams has entered and is expected to remain in the 2016 NBA draft. James Blackmon Jr. has also declared (without a combine invite) and senior Yogi Ferrell also figures to be in the draft conversation.

Thanks to NCAA rules changes, the key date to know this year is May 25. For players who do not hire an agent, that is the deadline to withdraw from the draft and retain college eligibility. Underclassmen can enter the NBA draft multiple times without foregoing their eligibility and may participate in the combine and one tryout per NBA team per year and still return to college as long as they do not hire an agent.

With that information in mind, here’s a look at some of the current draft rankings for Williams, Ferrell and Blackmon Jr. in advance of this week’s NBA draft combine in Chicago (Note that the numbers below are from top 100 rankings regardless of class, not mock drafts):

Draft Rankings – Williams

DraftExpress Top 100: No. 84
ESPN Top 100 (Ford): No. 85
NBADraft.net: No. 60
CBS Sports (Vecenie): No. 67

The combine is going to be pivotal for Williams, whom Tom Crean said recently is expected to remain in the draft rather than returning to school for his senior season.

His rankings in the various top 100 lists are a bit spread out, but Williams is clearly in the mix to go in the second round, which would not yield him a guaranteed roster spot on an NBA team. However, it’s possible that a franchise will look at him as a player they can stash in the D-League and develop for a year or two as a potential energy player off the bench.

If he did go undrafted, there’s no doubt that Williams would have plenty of suitors for a Summer League invite and a training camp spot next fall. Given his elite athleticism and upside, he seems like a player that a franchise will be willing to take a chance on later in the draft.

Draft Rankings – Ferrell

DraftExpress Top 100: No. 66
ESPN Top 100 (Ford): No. 83
NBADraft.net: No. 96
CBS Sports (Vecenie): No. 57

Ferrell was an alternate for the draft combine and ultimately did not get in, but has set up a long list of workouts over the coming weeks. Perhaps he should have gone to the Portsmouth Invitational and tried to convince that he belonged at the combine, but he now has to overcome the obstacle of not landing a coveted combine spot.

The good news for Ferrell? He’s going to have plenty of opportunities through team workouts to convince a team to draft him in the second round. Both DraftExpress and CBS Sports are currently projecting him as a guy who could go late in the draft, but like Williams, if he goes undrafted, he’s going to have plenty of teams lining up to bring him to the Summer League and training camp in the fall.

Draft Rankings – Blackmon Jr.

DraftExpress Top 100: NR
ESPN Top 100 (Ford): No. 111
NBADraft.net: NR
CBS Sports (Vecenie): No. 103

The expectation is that Blackmon Jr. will return to school and that he’s using the process to gain direct feedback from teams, which is certainly a benefit of the rule changes.

According to comments from Crean over the weekend, Blackmon Jr. met with the Timberwolves over the weekend, but his health isn’t at the point yet where he can work out. His chances of getting drafted are very slim.

Filed to:

  • BL

    Yes, using “Oladipo-type leap” is confusing because it could include his entire time at IU.

    Arch, I’ll stick with my belief that Troy’s primary impediment for getting drafted is decision making. In fact, I don’t believe his ball handling is all that bad. No one handles the ball well when they recklessly drive into trouble. NBA execs are no different than fans in that currently, they just don’t trust Troy with the ball. Let’s assume Troy returns to IU and builds off his late season play. He makes marginal improvement in shooting and rebounding as follows:

    1. Overall FG% holds at 51%;
    2. 3-point shooting improves from 35% to 38%;
    3. PPG improve from 13 to 15; and
    4. RPG improve from 6 to 8.

    Most importantly, Troy makes sea-change improvement in his decision making evidenced by posting a 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio (vs. last year where he posted more turnovers than assists).

    Does Troy become a first round pick?

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree with you Ken, and Galen probably should red shirt, I bet in a couple of years he will be a surprise rotation player.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I couldn’t agree with old man more. I think that a perfect example is VO. If he had been drafted by the pacers, clippers, Celtics, Mavericks, I’d say he’d be an allstar or near to it. At Orlando he’s played out of position and with 3 others in the same role. Hopefully he lands in the right situation.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Ditto- if TW returns and improves, top 15 pick next year.

  • I also agree with you.. I don’t think Gelon will be a sensation from day 1,but I do believe, if he’s here four years, he can become a valuable contributor. He kinda gets some bad ‘press’ on here.. mostly undeserved in my opinion.. I think he has a strong upside.

  • Ole Man

    Excellent call on VO!
    And poor Cody in Charlotte. Sigh.

  • Ole Man

    According to Fran Fraschilla, speaking about Troy’s NBA prospects,
    ““I’ll tell you this: The NBA game actually facilitates his kind of game because the court is so much more wide open in the NBA. It really is.

    “Will he be out of control at times? Absolutely. But what has been a glaring weakness in decision-making in terms of driving the ball into three people isn’t going to be as big of a problem in the league because of the spacing and how open the court is.”

  • Arch Puddington

    If that quote were the end of it, you’d have a point. But all Fraschilla is saying in this quote is that Troy’s STYLE is suited for the NBA, not that his skill level is. My comments have been about his technical skills, and on that topic Fraschilla mostly agrees with me:

    “The biggest thing for him is being able to improve the jump shot so that’s he’s not a liability. ….You’re going to have people backing off you, too, because nobody’s going to trust that you’re going to make enough jump shots to hurt them.”

    “But right now I think you’re looking at a second-round pick, anywhere from 35-to-60. That’s what he is.”

    Others have him going undrafted entirely despite the way his athleticism would otherwise suit the NBA game. As with Oladipo (who did make the necessary progress) and Will Sheehey (who did not), Troy’s athleticism is not enough by itself to get him to the league.

  • Ole Man

    I was directly referencing your comment on his ball handling. At the NBA level, it becomes a non-issue.
    You diverted to his shooting. On that, you, I, and Fraschilla agree.