NBA Draft: Answer Man

    
June 23rd, 2007

Adam Stanco answers your questions.. and the one’s you should be asking. If you have a question, send it to BasketballWriter@cs.com

How much did Mike Conley’s NCAA Tournament performance increase his draft stock?

More than you think.

If Ohio State had lost to Xavier or Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament – two teams who realistically could have beaten the Buckeyes – we would’ve been deprived of his best performances. But Conley got to play three more games on a national stage and he clearly took advantage of the opportunity, averaging 18.0 points and 4.7 assists against Memphis, Georgetown, and Florida.

Before the start of the tourney, Conley was standing on equal footing with Javaris Crittenton and Acie Law. Now he’s considered the head of this year’s point guard class.

But Conley’s numbers on the season (11.3 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.4 rpg, 2.2 spg, 51.8% FG, 30.4% 3FG) are very comparable to Crittenton’s (14.4 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.7 rpg, 2.0 spg, 45.0% FG, 35.6% 3FG). Conley is quicker and a better finisher; Crittenton is a much better outside shooter and quite a bit bigger. The two freshmen are supremely talented and should excel on the next level, yet Crittenton is tagged with the “raw” label, while Conley is considered “extremely polished.”

When you consider that Conley played with a loaded team featuring Greg Oden, plus Daquean Cook (a projected late first rounder) and Ron Lewis (a possible second rounder), it’s easy to see how the talented Crittenton went under-the-radar simply because of his early tournament exit.

How many players in this year’s draft could’ve gone first overall last year?

Five. Meaning Andrea Bargnani should be feeling like a world-class thief.

Greg Oden, Kevin Durant Durant, and Brandan Wright were the first victims of the NBA’s minimum age rule. Any of the three could have been taken first overall had they been able to declare for the draft last season.

After Joakim Noah’s outburst in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, his stock was sky high. At the time, he probably would have been chosen before Bargnani.

And, had Yi Jianlian declared last year, the top spot still would have gone to an international sensation, but he might’ve been from China, not Italy.

Adam Stanco answers your questions.. and the one’s you should be asking. If you have a question, send it to BasketballWriter@cs.com