Every year the NBA Draft is filled with a plethora of trades, surprises and questionable decisions, making accurate prognostication of the yearly media spectacle nearly impossible.
But that doesn’t stop people from trying.
If mock drafts are to be believed, the one concrete pick is at the top—where both Sam Amick of SI.com and NBAdraft.net have the Cleveland Cavaliers taking Kyrie Irving. The numerous draft soothsayers at ESPN also seem to agree that, despite the smokescreen the Cavaliers seem to be putting up this week, Irving will be the pick.
But the picture seems much murkier for the other Blue Devils in the draft: Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. Despite having two of the better four-year careers in Duke history, Amick has neither going in his first round. NBAdraft.net has Singler going at the bitter end of the first round to Chicago, and Smith falling to the second round and the No. 38 pick to the Houston Rockets.
While no mock draft can be considered gospel, nor a precise indication of the preferences of NBA general managers, it’s interesting to see the type of players who are predicted to go ahead of Singler and Smith. In NBAdraft.net’s mock, point guards Darius Morris and Shelvin Mack are picked ahead of Smith, despite the fact that Smith and the Blue Devils outplayed both when they played head-to-head this past season. Also, Josh Selby, a freshman guard who rarely played for Kansas due to eligibility issues and injuries, is slated to go two picks ahead of Smith.
What about Singler? The four-year starter matched up favorably against Florida State’s Chris Singleton multiple times throughout his career—including out-scoring and rebounding the Seminole junior in their lone contest this season—but Singleton goes as high as pick No. 14 while Singler is on the cusp of second-round status.
The draft last season, particularly the fates of Brian Zoubek and Jon Scheyer, indicated that the NBA doesn’t value college production and experience as much as the nebulously defined “potential.” Whether that hurts Singler and Smith in tomorrow’s draft remains to be seen.
Stay tuned to The Blue Zone for continuing coverage of the draft prospects of Irving, Singler and Smith.