With the NBA draft just days away, excitement is mounting as teams will look to add young talent to their rosters that could complement a potential huge free agent signing as one of the biggest offseasons in NBA history looms.
While this draft is headlined by John Wall and Evan Turner and is considered a rather shallow class, the last two drafts have produced solid players. So, what happened if all the top underclassmen were still in college? How would this year's draft shape out?
(This is assuming that all of these players remained in college, taking into account what more college experience would have done for them and does not reflect how good they are in the NBA currently. Also, this isn't considering a team's actual needs that they need to fill in this draft.)
Assuming Jennings would have stayed an additional year in Italy, I still feel like he wouldn't be as highly regarded as the top tier college players. Many GMs are turned off by the straight out of high school to pro athletes.
Either way, Jennings would be highly recruited because of his outstanding high school resume. Jennings would get drafted with the 10th overall pick, just like he did in 2009.
Lawson had a nice career at UNC, helping the Heels win the NCAA Championship as he facilitated the offense. Assuming Tyler Hansborough would have been drafted, Lawson would have been the leader of a young UNC team, which might have dropped his draft stock slightly.
Either way, he is a point guard and plenty of teams are in need of young point guards to run their offense. He still would have been a top 10 draft pick if he stayed in college another year.
Harden had a productive two-year stint at Arizona State, averaging 20 points, 5.6 rebounds, and four assists a contest in his final season at the school. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Year and highly publicized prospect.
If he would have stayed for a junior season, his numbers would have only increased and kept him a lottery pick. Although he was selected with the third overall pick last year, he would be out of the top five in this draft just because of the depth.
Evans had a stellar freshman year at Memphis under John Calipari and was highly touted going into the draft. If he would have stayed another year, his draft stock would have almost certainly dipped because Calipari departed for Kentucky, taking his recruits with him.
He was the No. 4 pick last year, but would have most likely been a No. 7 pick in this year's draft. Either way, he was an excellent college player that would have only further developed his skills in Conference-USA.
Love had a terrific season at UCLA, leading the Bruins with 17 points and 10 boards per game. However, the Bruins came up short against Memphis in the Final Four, which slightly hurt his draft status.
If he would have stayed another year, he could have been a real force in college basketball. He would have easily been a lottery pick again and would have had the tools to be a top two pick if it wasn't for Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley being in the picture.
Westbrook was another player from UCLA that had loads of potential heading into the draft. If he would have stayed for his junior year, he would have been a lock for a top five pick.
Curry had an absolute dominant collegiate career at Davidson. He led an under-the-radar Wildcat team to the tournament two consecutive seasons, while absolutely torching the NCAA with his offensive arsenal.
He exploded his junior year, posting 29 points a game, to go along with 5.6 assists and 2.5 steals. If he would have stayed a senior season at Davidson, I could only imagine how insane his scoring would have become. He would have certainly become a top five pick.
Mayo was one of the most touted prospects out of high school and would have made the jump straight to the pros if he wasn't forced to go to college under the NBA's new rules.
He had a great freshman campaign at USC and one more year would have only made NBA teams want him even more. He could even be a first pick overall if it weren't for the two guys ahead of him.
There is no question that Rose was one of the most hyped up point guards heading into the draft two years ago. Everyone knows that Calipari breeds great prospects and everyone knew Rose would turn into an NBA stud.
An additional year at Memphis would only have further showed his readiness to be a pro. I know it seems crazy that he would be a second pick, instead of a first pick, considering he was the first overall pick in 2008, but wait for an explanation in the next slide.
Before everyone flips out for suggesting that Beasley has more potential or is a better selection than Rose, listen to what I have to say.
Beasley might be one of the most criticized players in the NBA right now for his lack of development and his inability to match up to his other draft mates (Rose, Mayo, etc.), but there is no doubt that he had one of the most illustrious and dominant freshman performances in NCAA history.
During his freshman year at Kansas State, he put up absolute beastly numbers of 26 points and a nation leading 12.4 rebounds per game.
His 866 total points and 408 rebounds ranked third and second among all freshmen in NCAA history. He also led the nation in double-doubles (28), 40-point games (three), 30-point, 10-rebound games (13), and 20-point, 10-rebound games (22).
He went on to win Big 12 Player of the Year, as well as Freshman of the Year honors. This all happened in just one season in college and he was still only the second overall pick.
Imagine if he would have stayed another season at Kansas State and further developed his game, while being able to mature. A lot of his problems had to do with his immaturity and personality and that only could have improved with another year in college.
He would have been a unanimous first overall pick if he would have stayed just one more year.