Welcome to the NBA Draft…one year too late
While many players used this season as an opportunity to improve their game and raise their draft stock, there were a few players who hurt their draft value by coming back for another year.
This is due, in part, to the fact that the 2006 draft was pretty weak. Some decent players have emerged, Brandon Roy and the Raptors pair of guys come to mind, but overall, it’s not hard to argue that it was sub-par. That, in itself, would have been a good reason for the soon to be mentioned players to test the draft waters.
However, the main reason these players should have left early is because they didn’t perform this season like they were expected to.
So without further ado, here are the five players who have most hurt their draft stock by staying in school.
1. Joakim Noah, Florida - This is an easy one, and I love putting him at the top of the list because I cannot express how little I like this player. Last year, Noah would have been a number one pick candidate. This year, he’ll likely fall somewhere in the middle-late top 10, which is still to high in my opinion. He has the energy and athleticism, there is no question about that, but he just doesn’t have basketball skills. He makes horrible decisions (on and off the court, as is evident by his SEC Championship “dance” and NCAA Championship post-game comments) and sometimes forgets that the only thing he does well is hustle. Most of his stats are down from a year ago, but they don’t do justice to how average he looked at times.
2. Glen “Big Baby” Davis, LSU - Davis would have been perfectly suited to come out last season after LSU made their tournament run and Davis/Tyrus Thomas was the duo to be reckoned with. Instead, he comes back a pre-season All American and went on to severely disappoint. LSU had a horrible season when they should have ran away with the SEC West, and Davis never stepped into the dominant leadership role he needed to. He was the talk of the town last year, but now, he’s almost an afterthought.
3. Josh McRoberts, Duke – It is basically the worst case scenario for McRoberts to enter the draft this season, but he’s going for it. Last year, he was just a freshman who was getting used to the game. He didn’t try to do too much, showed some good passing skills, and made a few plays here and there. More importantly, his lack of aggressiveness and assertiveness could have been pinned on his inexperience. He would have gotten drafted high because of his potential. However, this year he proved that is just how he plays. He also didn’t step up on a young team that needed a leader. He would be better off staying in school and learning under Coach K.
4. Ronald Steele, Alabama – He hasn’t declared yet, I know, and actually probably won’t. Yet, I still think he’s worthy of a spot on this list because what the heck happened to this guy? He had some injuries, but that doesn’t explain going from a pre-season All American to averaging 8.6 points per game. Like Big Baby, Steele’s stock was on the rise at the end of last year and could have used that to his advantage. Now, he has to either put up some big numbers next year or hope some NBA team will forget this season ever happened.
5. Arron Afflalo, UCLA – This was the hardest one for me to put on the list, mainly because I don’t think that he would have been a very high pick last year. However, he definitely didn’t do what he needed to at the end of the season to prove that he could step up when it was needed. Almost his whole NCAA Tournament was bad, with the exception being the Kansas game, after he basically sat back and watched his team implode to finish the Pac-10 season. I don’t really see the potential to get much better in Afflalo, either. I’m still not convinced he hurt his draft stock by returning to school, but he definitely did not help it.