It’s a little premature to speculate something such as this after a hard loss to end the year last night in the national championship to Louisville, but here is where I think Michigan’s NBA prospects stand at this point.
Trey Burke: Easily the best player in college basketball this year, sweeping all major player of the year awards. Chad Ford of ESPN currently has him going sixth to the New Orleans Hornets in his first mock draft just released today (interesting that a player compared to Chris Paul could end up where Paul started his career.)
The numbers speak for themselves. Burke averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists this season. He was one of the most efficient players in the game who didn’t turn the ball over much and made good decisions. He reminds me a lot more of Tony Parker than Chris Paul, but that’s still a great comparison.
Should he leave? From a pure business standpoint, absolutely. His stock will never be higher than it is and I’d be hard pressed to say he has anything more left to accomplish in the college ranks, outside of winning a national title, but that’s extremely difficult to do, especially after coming so close. Burke to me is as good as gone.
Mitch McGary: McGary was one of the biggest breakout performers in this year’s NCAA Tournament after coming off the bench most of the year for the Wolverines. Becoming the starting center in the tournament, he averaged 14.3 points and 10.6 rebounds to help his NBA Draft stock rise exponentially. Chad Ford has him going 12th to the Portland Trailblazers. I’d say this is about as high as he could go.
There simply isn’t enough tape on him for NBA scouts just yet. He had a tournament for the ages, but he still showed flaws in his game. He could use a bit more variety in his low post game. If that mid-range jumper becomes a consistent weapon, I can definitely see him as a top five pick in next year’s draft. Also, I love his energy, but there are times where he is just too hyped. He commits some really questionable fouls at times.
Should he leave? I don’t think so. Another season to fully hone his skills could allow him to be one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. He reminds me of a combination of Bill Laimbeer and Kevin Love, and that’s what he has the potential to be. Those who say he can’t be the same player without Burke need to watch tape of incoming point guard Derrick Walton.
Glenn Robinson III: It can be argued that GR3 was the most explosive player on the Wolverines this season. His highlight tapes consists of dunks and alley-oops from his running mate, Trey Burke. He is a high-flying, athletic forward that NBA scouts have been drooling over because of his potential. Chad Ford has him going 15th overall to the Milwaukee Bucks.
He’s shown flashes of being worthy of a lottery pick, but he hasn’t been nearly as consistent as you would like to see. Right now, I don’t think he’s strong enough or physical enough for the NBA grind. There were several times where he just disappeared during Big Ten conference play because the guys he was going up against were just plain stronger than him. There were times where he got hot and was able to create offense for himself, but several of his opportunities came in transition from Trey Burke.
Should he leave? Not yet. If GR3 can add some bulk and become a more consistent scoring threat, he’s a lock to be a lottery pick. I think another year in Ann Arbor would go a long way into cementing his lottery pick status in the NBA Draft.
Tim Hardaway, Jr.: Hardaway burst onto the scene his freshman year along side Darius Morris. He became one of the top scoring threats on this team and when he’s on fire, he is nearly unguardable.
Since then, he hasn’t really improved a whole lot and he is as inconsistent a player as there is in college basketball. I’ve seen him as a potential late first rounder in some mocks, but in several, he is a fringe second round prospect due to his lack of consistency on both ends of the floor. What many scouts think hold him back, including myself, is his shot selection and ball handling. He can be careless with the basketball at times. If he could develop some sort of crossover, he would be deadly from the perimeter.
Should he leave? I’ll put it this way, I think he is as good as he will ever be. I don’t see him leaving just because I don’t think he has a very high ceiling as an NBA player. Like GR3, if he can show more consistency, he would be a solid prospect, but it’s not there nearly enough.
The deadline to declare early for the 2013 NBA Draft is April 28th. Players can declare by April 16th and still have the option to withdraw, so expect a few, if not all of these guys to test the waters and check the league interest. It’s a tough life decision to make, so don’t expect any announcements for at least a week or so.