2009 NBA Draft: Players Who Should Go All In and Get an Agent
All NBA-draft prospects have the month of June to make their final decision of whether to stay or return to their collegiate programs.
Some have already forgone their college eligibility by hiring an agent. There remain, however, a host of players who have not and can still return.
There are several who I think should "strike while the iron is hot" and hire an agent to remain in the 2009 draft.
Some have reached their peak at the collegiate level. Others may actually hurt their draft stocks by returning to school.
Either way,these players are as ready as they'll ever be.
Thank you to the following:
Chad Ford at ESPN.com
Draft Combine information
Taggart is 24 years old. He can return for a senior season if he wants, but what's the point? Memphis has a new coach, lost recruits, and no Tyreke Evans.
Taggart is a big forward (6'10" 238 pounds) who is good defensively (1.4 blocks per game) and a solid rebounder (nearly eight per game).
Every NBA team needs a role player with size at some point. Though he might turn into a journeyman, it sounds as if Taggart has done all he will do at the collegiate level.
Derrick Brown has great potential due to his size and versatility. Chad Ford says he can play the three or the four.
Brown may be the best player in the draft in terms of playing around the rim, and he draws comparisons to Lamar Odom.
Both can go inside or out, as well as handle the ball (though at 6'10", Odom has the exceptional ability to anchor the fast break).
If all the tools are in place for Brown, he might as well get schooled by the professionals.
Vasquez's position in the NBA is his biggest question. He averaged 17.5 points per game his junior season, but his decrease in his field goal percentage (43 percent to 40 percent this past season) concerns scouts.
He can get to the lane well and shoot over people at 6'6", but Vasquez's play seemed sporadic at times.
If he can stay at the point-guard position and show the scouts strong decision-making during workouts, he can work out somewhere.
Returning to Maryland will put more pressure on him to control the team better as a senior.
Evans is in this discussion because I don't know whether or not he has hired an agent. However, he has made it no secret that he will eventually hire one and will not be returning to college.
Evans can play either guard position in the NBA, and at an extremely agile 6'6", he will be a defensive dream for an organization if they can convince him to play it every night.
Patrick Mills—Saint Mary's
Mills has performed well against NBA competition in the Olympics, scoring 13 points against Team USA despite playing without center Andrew Bogut.
The two teams met up again in the quarterfinals, where Mills had 20 points, three assists, and no turnovers.
As a sophomore, Mills averaged a little over 18 and nearly four assists per game. Whether or not he returns to Saint Mary's, Mills has something that the rest of the point guards other than Ricky Rubio may not get: international competition.
This will probably prepare him just as much as another season in the WCC.
At 6'3", Reynolds will have to man the point. He has a knack for scoring and creating shots for himself, but questions exist whether or not he has the IQ to be an effective point guard.
He nearly turned the ball over as many times as he had an assist this year. Ultimately, he seems like a college-type guard whose game will not translate all that well in the NBA.
Shades of Juan Dixon perhaps? Same sizes, similar style games, but when it comes to the NBA, their height will severely hamper them.
Still, Dixon is enjoying an NBA career.
Reynolds' scoring average has not really improved over his three years at Villanova, so he might as well go ahead and strike that iron.
Luke Harangody—Notre Dame
Harangody's college accolades speak for themselves: He easily delivered a double-double every night, often flirting with 20 points and 20 rebounds.
If he were to return for his senior year, he'd either have to adjust to another coach or pretty much face a repeat of the previous season. He's done everything he will do in college and has very little room for growing his skills.
Everything against Harangody is out of his control. He is not big enough to play the four, yet not quick enough to play the three.
He is listed at 6'8", but only measured in at 6'6" at the draft combine without shoes on. That's a scary thought if he absolutely has to play the post in the NBA.
His wingspan was too different than the average for his height. Pittsburgh's DaJuan Blair, for example, who was also only 6'5" without shoes, had a wingspan of 7'2".
My advice to you is this, Luke:
Strike while the iron is hot, make several million, and live comfortably for the rest of your life like Christian Laettner.
Holiday was arguably the most highly touted guard out of high school a year ago, but he had a less than stellar freshman season at UCLA, averaging nearly nine points and four assists per game.
Many have attributed this to Ben Howland's system not being a good fit for Holiday (though I would disagree) and the fact that Darren Collison was still running the point there.
Holiday's minutes in some games took a big dip as Collison continued to play well over 30 minutes in most contests.
Regardless, scouts are high on Holiday, especially after the draft combine in Chicago this past week.
According to some accounts, he ran the floor extremely well and finished with either hand. Holiday also displayed the raw skills needed of an NBA point guard, but at a lanky 6'3" with a 6'7" wingspan.
If UCLA is not a good fit for him, why not just go to the draft if the NBA powers that be are still sold? Since another season like 2008 could raise questions, Holiday should not take the chance.