Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Lost Money All-Stars

the 2006 Draft was, by all accounts, a weak draft. The lack of breakout performances (only Brandon Roy and Andrea Bargnani have been truly impressive, although guys like Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay, Paul Milsap, and LaMarcus Aldridge have shown a lot of potential) confirms this assessment. And then there is the 2007 Draft, which has been projected to be the strongest since the 2003 class (LeBron, Wade, Melo, Bosh, et all) for several years now.

So why in the world would top prospects have stayed in school last year? There was a dearth of quality picks and the hype was there - it was basically bird in hand. Yet a host of players pulled a Matt Leinart and decided that being the BMOC was worth sticking around for another year. And like Leinart, a whole bunch of these guys are going to take a hit in their draft status and subsequent paychecks. Here is the Lost Cash all-star squad:

PG - Ronald Steele. Last year Steele was right there with guys like Jordan Farmar and Kyle Lowery (both went in the first round) and now he's falling off of draft boards faster than his Alabama team has fallen out of the NCAA Tournament picture. Last year was a decent point guard class which might have played a factor in his decision to return to 'Bama, but it seems he made a terrible choice. Luckily he can do it all over again and take his chances in 2008.
SG - Brandon Rush. His stock wasn't really that high last year, but his failure to grow as a player is going to doom him. Rush is one of those guys that should have gone pro as early as possible when his potential made teams scared to pass on him and before the holes in his game were exposed.
C - Joakim Noah. So far the damage doesn't look too severe, as most project him to be the number three pick in the draft. But that is still down from the #1 pick which he probably would have been last year, and honestly, I think his stock could drop some more by the time he gets worked out by individual teams. By the way, this guy has been front and center for over a year now, so why can't anyone say his name correctly? I was quite sure that that it was simply pronounced Jo-kim, but now I'm not even sure anymore. Wilbon calls him Yo-kim, Gus Johnson today called him Jo-quim, I've heard Yo-quim, Joy-kim. I mean, how is it possible that we don't have this figured out? It is kind of like how Dirk Nowitski was still being called No-wit-ski even though it was evident that No-vit-ski was the correct way. This never ceases to amaze me.
SF - Corey Brewer. Whatever Noah winds up losing will be nothing compared to his Florida teammate. It was widely reported that Brewer needed the financial security as his dad has diabetes and was working multiple jobs to pay the bills. Yet he got sucked into returning to school and went from a probable lottery pick to a late first rounder. I felt bad for Brewer last year and now I feel worse.
PF - Josh McRoberts. It seems pretty certain that McRoberts would have been taken #7 by the Hawks last year - if not higher - and now he will be lucky to be a lottery pick. He hasn't looked good at all this year for Duke.

Not one of these guys is a senior, so if all else fails, they can return to school again and take another shot at the process. But it seems that they all passed up a golden opportunity last year, when their stock was at an all-time high.

I'm guessing that this will never be part of the stay in school campaign.

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