Where are the three UNC players rating at right now in terms of draft stock according to Draft Express.
Ty Lawson in all likelihood would be in the 25-30 range if he chooses to stay in this draft. The PG ranking actually surprised me since he is slotted above Mario Chalmers of Kansas who is sixth. Lawson is facing a handful of questions. The first is whether the ankle is good enough to really show his skills and when I say really show his skills I am talking about this right here:
Granted that came against a mid-major team but you can see what Lawson brings to the table. The question is whether he can do that in Orlando with the ankle still healing. The second question is whether he wants to make a low first round salary now or a higher first round salary next season. There is obviously risk in returning but if it is a question of money and how much, he might opt to return. The final question is whether or not he considers being drafted by a current playoff contender is better than going to a team with present struggles. If Lawson feels he can make an easier transition to the league playing for an established team which has a cache of experienced players to work with and a good coaching staff then he might be content to make the jump now rather than "risk" being drafted into a bad situation. The flip side to that is playing time and having an opportunity to make an impact which helps you in terms of your more lucrative 2nd contract. Playing for a developing team would yield more playing time and possibly more production that can be used to secure a better pay day down the line.
The conventional wisdom upfront is that Ellington should return since he is most likely stuck in the 2nd round in this very deep draft. It really does not move much beyond that. No one questions his ability to shoot the basketball but they have issues with his size and his ability to score or create his own shot. Ellington is not a strong player and his ability to drive the lane and score under duress is not anything to write home about. That being said he is close enough to the first round to have legitimate hope he can raise his stock by having a great camp in Orlando. The issue is it would have to be a really good game, probably beyond what we have seen so far at UNC. I just do not see that happening and he is obviously better off simply gleaning the experience and some ideas on how to improve his game before heading on back to Chapel Hill.
The Draft Express Mock Draft does not list Danny Green in either the first or second round.
Let that sink in for a moment.
This fact alone is why Roy probably told Green and his outspoken father to shelve the NBA idea for this season because it really does not matter if he declares, there is a possibility he might not be drafted. Apparently Green and his father are more inclined to find this out the hard way. When you look at the current mock, the problem is there are very few players with Green's size being drafted at all much less in the 1st round, especially when you are talking about SG/SF. OJ Mayo is 6-5 and listed at #5 as a PG/SG combo and you have to go all the way down to #28 to find the next player that fits Green's mold in the form of Courtney Lee from Western Kentucky. In between you have Chris Douglas-Roberts(Memphis), Brandon Rush(KU), and Chase Budinger(AZ) listed as a SG/SF combo but they all three happen to be two inches taller.
Green's stock is not just bad, it is almost non-existent despite ESPN.com's Chad Forde sniffing glue and saying Green might work his way into the 1st round. Really? He also might not get invited to Orlando which means he has zero chance of getting into the first round. Now understand I am not bashing the decision to test the draft and see how he stacks, I am simply painting a picture of how far down he is in the minds of most experts. In fact Anxious Tar Heel does a nice job of comparing Danny Green to two previous ACC prospects, D.J. Strawberry and Reyshawn Terry and how they fared from being at the bottom of the 2nd round:
DraftExpress has Danny ranked as the #10 small forward prospect in the draft, which, considering the depth of this year's prospects (sharks) would place him, I believe, near the bottom of the second round.
Let's look at two players who were picked near the bottom of the second round in 2007 and see where they are now.
DJ Strawberry (6'5"/201 from Maryland)
Picked 59th by the Suns, Strawberry managed to sign a two-year $1.4 million contract with them before being reassigned to the NBADL in December of that year. In January, 2008, he was called back up to Phoenix. He plays 8 minutes a game and averages 2 points. This is a success story for low second round picks, and DJs athletic ability is what allowed him to get even this far, as he was tested as the best athlete overall in last year's pre-draft camp in Orlando. NBADraft.net rated DJ an 89 out of 100 prior to the draft. Only the first year of Strawberry's contract is guaranteed, or about $430,000.
Reyshawn Terry (6'8"/232 from, well, you know)
Reyshawn was drafted 44th by the Magic, and then traded that day to the Mavericks. Never making the Dallas roster, Terry now plays for Basket Aris in Greece, averaging 9 points and 5 boards. The Mavs still hold Terry's NBA rights should they be interested in signing him in the future. NBADraft.net also rated Reyshawn an 89. Based on Euroleague salaries, it would be consistent for Reyshawn to be making $300,000 this season.
Both of these players are more athletic than Danny at this point in time, and were better prospects coming out of college than Danny as well.
The point is Danny Green is fine to use this time out as an experience and more power to him as he tries to make himself a better player. My biggest fear is he will have limited opportunities to workout for teams or he will not see that much movement which will lead to a statement from Danny Green, Sr saying they feel they need an agent to really bolster Green's propsect and that will be all she wrote for his college career. It might not happen but I would not be shocked if it did.
As I said in reference to Lawson and Ellington, if they return and are motivated to get better it only makes UNC better as long as what they do is executed within the system. The bottom line is in Green and Ellington's case they really should be looking at this purely from the perspective of getting an idea of where they stand and gaining some experience in the process. Ellington could sneak up but I think that is really unlikely whereas Green just does not strike me as being able to climb the ladder quick enough to justify leaving. With Lawson, it boils down to choices based on the money and his desire to play in the NBA now or do one more year of college.
Only another six weeks to think about it folks.