Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NBA DRAFT NEWS AND NOTES: As many people have predicted, Gerald Henderson entered his name into the NBA Draft on Monday. Most people have 'G' slated to land in the mid-to-late lottery, and considering that the junior has yet to test the waters, it is a good decision for Henderson to declare.

After three seasons at Duke, everyone in the country should know that Henderson is a world class athlete. But this season, after getting off to a slow start, Henderson proved how good of scorer he could be. He ended the year averaging 16.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg, but it was his development of a consistent perimeter stroke that sent him soaring up most NBA draft boards. Henderson still needs to work on his ball handling ability, but his athleticism and his defensive ability seem like they will translate well to the NBA game. He probably ends up being somewhere between a Shannon Brown and a Richard Jefferson.

While it will obviously hurt the Blue Devils to lose a player of G's caliber, they still have plenty waiting in the wings. Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer both return, and the minutes freed up with Henderson gone will probably go to Elliot Williams, who looked like a star in the making the last month of the season.

Henderson is expected to sign with an agent.

- With Henderson declaring, there are only three household names left that have yet to make a decision - Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, and Wayne Ellington. Personally, I think it would be in the best interest for all three players to leave now. At 5'11", Lawson was the most dominant player in the country for the last two months of 2009. In all reality, he is not going to be able to raise his stock anymore than it already is - especially after he proved he can shoot and he won a national title. Strike while the iron's hot?

The same can be said for Ellington. Yes, the junior shooting guard could definitely use another season refining his game, specifically his ball-handling and his defense, but he is coming off of a Final Four MOP and a season where he looked absolutely unstoppable at times. Can he put up the same kind of performance over the course of an entire season without Hansbrough and, in all likelihood, Lawson? While Ellington is not quite a lock for the first round, this draft class is getting weaker and weaker with all the players that have been returning to school - which also means that the 2010 draft is getting stronger. This might be his best chance to get a guaranteed deal.

For Curry, it is a bit of a different story. I think he should have left after his sophomore season, so that the flaws in his game were not so readily apparent when he was forced to become a point guard. According to Jonathon Givony at Draft Express, Curry is gone. Bob McKillop said that Curry is still officially undecided, but knowing how Givony works, he is probably hearing this from NBA scouts/front office personnel/what have you. If you just got a new job, who would you tell about accepting the job first - the current one, or your future employers.

Curry was supposed to make a decision by today, but an announcement never came. More on him when it does.

- Ricky Rubio has officially made himself available for the 2009 NBA Draft. His name has floated about for a while. Many thought that he was going to wait until the 2010 Draft to enter. Rubio is the 6'4" point sensation from Spain. While he is still quite raw, his potential all but guarantees him a spot in the top 5.

Depending on who you read, Rubio has the makings to be somewhere between Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. Not bad company.

- Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal has entered his name into the NBA Draft. He looks very likely to stay, as so many players rated ahead of him are coming back to school. Lawal has excellent length, athleticism, and energy, especially going to the glass. After a fantastic start to the 08-09 season, he fell off towards the end of ACC play. Right now, it looks like he will fall somewhere in the 15-25 range.

A good comparison for Lawal is Jordan Hill. Hill went back to school for his junior year, and now looks like he will end up in the top 5. I'm just saying.

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