NBA Draft about more than current skill set


Freshman guard John Wall takes the ball down the court in the second half of UK’s 58-56 win over Vandy at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville on Saturday, Feb. 20. 2010. Photo by Britney McIntosh

Trees are beginning to bloom, the weather is warming up, Keeneland’s spring meets are at the gate and the futures of a few 19-, 20-, and 21-year-olds are on the minds of the entire Big Blue Nation.

Many believe John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson have seen their final playing days at UK and will enter their names into this summer’s NBA Draft.

The futures of Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton are still very much in the air, though.

Jonathan Givony, president and director of scouting at, which is described on its Web site as a professional scouting service written and designed by a group of dedicated basketball analysts with a passion for the game, said the way players perform in college doesn’t always translate into how they will play at the next level.

“It’s two different styles of game, a lot of these guys are going to change positions, change roles, their body is going to develop, their skill set is going to develop,” Givony said. “So, there are a lot of projections that are being made.”

Orton’s father, Larry, told reporters on Wednesday his son would enter the NBA Draft but not hire an agent. By doing this, Orton would leave the door open to return if he wants.

Givony said entering your name in the draft and not hiring an agent can be a good thing, but it could also hurt the player if he’s not ready.

“It kind of forces NBA teams to consider you,” Givony said. “Then you can talk and you can have people talk to them and kind of figure out where your stock is at. It’s a process you go through if you want to get drafted.

“If you enter your name in the draft and they laugh … that’s the label that’s going to stick with you, they’re just going to write you off. You have to sneak up on people when you’re ready. You can’t force your way into the NBA.”

With the order in which teams will pick for the draft still undecided, DraftExpress has not yet taken into account team needs when putting together their mock drafts. Currently, Wall is projected No. 1, Cousins is No. 3, Patterson is No. 11 and Orton is No. 26. Bledsoe is not in their projections in the first or second round, but is projected to go No. 16 in the 2011 draft.

The order for the first 14 picks in the draft, or the “lottery picks,” hasn’t been decided yet, and Givony said which team winds up with what pick will have some say as to whether Wall will become the top pick.

“I don’t think you can 100 percent say ‘he’s absolutely going to be No. 1,’ ” Givony said. “It depends on the winning results of the lottery.”

One player who changed his game for the NBA is Patterson. After playing his first two seasons with his back to the basket, Patterson developed an outside game in his junior year.

Patterson did not hit a single 3-pointer in his first two seasons with the Cats, but he knocked down 24 in his junior season and shot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. Givony said it’s hard to classify how far Patterson moved up the draft boards because he pulled his name out of the 2009 draft so quickly, but he’s a much safer pick this year than last year.

“I think there’s no question that he helped himself,” Givony said. “I think we learned a lot more about him as a person, as a leader, improving his perimeter shooting helped him. I think he’s a pretty safe pick.”