Well we’re into mock draft season, which, much like decaf coffee, is kind of pointless unless you really like the subject in question. But it’s basketball so we’re cool!
For Duke, NBADraft.net lists the prospects thusly:
- Paolo Banchero at #3 to Detroit
- AJ Griffin at #9 to New Orleans
- Mark Williams at #17 to San Antonio
- Wendell Moore at #36 to Portland
- Trevor Keels at #44 to Atlanta
Other projections of note:
- Chet Holmgren to Houston at #4
- Blake Wesley to Indiana at #16
- Caleb Love to San Antonio at #38
- Oscar Tshiebwe to Charlotte at #41
- Armando Bacot to New York at #42
- Brady Manek to Minnesota at #51
- Kameron McGusty to Boston at #55
The first thing to note is the influence of Europe, where big men have long had all the skills. Now, guys like Tshiebwe and Bacot, who are both superb rebounders, are discounted for not having more skills, but Manek, who is far less gifted, is valued for his three point shooting.
But what about Moore and Keels?
Both guys have had first-round buzz and, if they enter the draft process, could make strong impressions.
But they could also choose to return to Duke and make major NIL money, possibly as much or more than they would make as second-round picks.
That’s true for Bacot at UNC as well and certainly Tshiebwe at Kentucky, where he could end up making quite a bit.
Being a first-round pick is pretty lucrative. Staying in school now, with NIL cash, may prove to be more tempting for second round picks and guys who are unlikely to be drafted. You have to wonder if someone like DJ Steward regrets missing out on that when he left Duke after last season. He had no way to know but still, he could have done quite well in the NIL marketplace.