With Duke off to a 9-0 start to the season, including three wins against top five teams, The Chronicle’s Brady Buck and Andrew Beaton spoke to ESPN Insider and NBA Draft expert Chad Ford via email about members of the Duke basketball team and their prospects for the NBA Draft.
The Chronicle: What’s the buzz on Rasheed Sulaimon—is there any chance he is a one and done? What does he need to improve on for his game to translate to the next level and where would he go if the draft were tomorrow?
Chad Ford: Sulaimon was never really considered a one-and-done prospect by scouts so it’s a little difficult to get a read on his draft stock early in the season. I do know that scouts (and myself) have been very impressed with him in the early going — especially in his games against Louisville and Ohio State. Consistency is the key for him right now. While he’s had some very strong games, he’s still a streaky shooter and that affects the rest of his game. I think he’s a second round pick right now, but a strong run in the ACC could change that.
TC: How has Mason Plumlee’s strong start affected his draft stock? If he continues to perform this well through ACC play does his draft ceiling reach the top five?
CF: It’s been huge. Many scouts were going to write him off coming into the season. Now he’s a consensus lottery pick. I don’t think his draft stock reaches the top five because of his age. He’ll be 23 before draft night and age really does matter come draft time. If he was 19? Absolutely he’d be a top five pick. But at his age, he’s expected to be better than his peers. I do think he’ll be a lottery pick and will probably go in the eight to 14 range.
TC: Do scouts look at how Mason’s brother, Miles, has performed in the early going as a way of evaluating Mason’s game in the NBA?
CF: Not at all. Mason has always been the better NBA prospect. Miles’ 1 ppg won’t count against Mason.
TC: Are Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly potential pros? Their names don’t get mentioned much, but could they make it into the conversation for second round picks or non-draft signees?
CF: Curry has a real chance to get drafted in the second round. He can shoot the ball and there’s always a need for shooters in the league. I think Kelly does as well– though it’s an outside one. Many scouts were very high on him last year at the Maui Invitational. He dropped off a bit after that run, but is having a stronger senior season. NBA teams like stretch fours and Kelly can shoot the ball.
TC: What is your evaluation of Rodney Hood? Many have speculated that he will go pro after he plays one year at Duke, do you see him entering a strong 2014 draft class?
CF: Hood is a potential first rounder next year for sure. He has great size for his position and can really shoot the basketball. He needs to get stronger and improve his shot selection, but hopefully a year practicing at Duke takes care of both issues.