clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Duke, UNC, State & The Draft

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

As is the case every year, NBA draft talk heats up about now. For Duke, this centers around Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee.

Last year it was Kyrie Irving, and you could watch that kid for about ten minutes and realize what a gift he has and how remarkably mature he was as a rookie.

It's not as clear cut for Rivers.

There's no question that he's an NBA talent, nor is there any question that he improved dramatically during the course of the season.

And there's never been any question that he's on the fast track.

All that said, would it be a wise move? In our opinion, no, and for a couple of specific reasons.

First, he could go quite high. But he could also fall significantly. In Irving's case, he was always going to be a top three pick and he had a lot of information and a certain amount of leverage.

There are, arguably, about ten players who would grade out higher right now and everyone will of course draft to fill their needs. Rivers will do well, but he has no guarantees.

The other issue he has is his size. Rivers is still a very thin player. It hasn't affected him much in college, but in the NBA, he'll be dealing with guys who are remarkably strong. Think about Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Andre Iguidola at times, Danny Green, Jarrett Jack, Dahntay Jones, Mike Miller, Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, Bill Walker, Gerald Wallace, Ron Artest - that's a lot for a guy with his build.

In our opinion, not that he wants or needs it, he'd be wise to take a year, mature physically and move up higher in the draft. But that's up to him.

As for Plumlee, he made a lot of progress this year, but he's currently a marginal first-round pick by most accounts. If he decides to come back and works hard on becoming an assertive offensive player, he'll not only improve his position in the draft but also his long-term prospects.

He's a big strong guy and in particular he's an excellent rebounder and that'll keep you employed. But he could be a seriously improved offensive force, and he'd get a chance to play with Marshall on the court, which might be nice as well.

In Chapel Hill, the hits could be much more serious: Tyler Zeller is graduating, but the smart money puts John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall are all seen as potential lottery picks, with either Marshall or Henson slipping just outside depending on who you listen to.

And in Raleigh, the CJ Leslie watch will start at whatever point State quits playing.

The Duke Basketball  Blue Book
DBR Auctions!
New T-Shirts!
DBR Is On Twitter!(DBRTweetz)