The 2014 NBA Draft is today! And while the Cleveland Cavaliers' unenviable task of selecting first overall draws near, some of the Big East Coast Bias team got together to talk about what's in store for the historic conference this evening and beyond. Pierce Roberson, Harrison Malkin, DevonTe Brooks, Eric Kelly, yours truly, and friend of the blog Jeff Parles of KCOU 88.1 FM. Here's what they had to say:
1. Let's begin this discussion with the biggest question going into the 2014 NBA Draft from a Big East perspective - who winds up selecting Doug McDermott?
Pierce - McDermott is a tough one to determine. He can go anywhere from No. 9 to Charlotte, where he'd be a great shooter off the bench for a revived Hornets squad, and No. 16 to Chicago, who is desperately looking for offensive talent to put around a returning Derrick Rose and an additional scorer (here's looking at you, Carmelo Anthony). I think Dougie McBuckets is a great fit for Phoenix at No. 14, should he falls that far. Jeff Hornacek has a young team on the rise, just narrowly missing the postseason last year. With P.J. Tucker possibly on his way out, McDermott could take the scoring load off of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, and can help space the floor when the Suns play small ball.
Jeff - I'm not too certain on this. There is no doubt that Dougie McBuckets was prolific at Creighton, but he does not have a position. I think the newly minted Hornets could reach for him at number nine just because Michael Jordan teams have done some wild things on draft night. McDermott would be a good fit with the teams picking from 13-16 (Minnesota, Phoenix, Atlanta and Chicago) but at the end of the night, I think McDermott goes 15th overall to the Hawks. DeMarre Carroll is a solid player but is nothing special, McDermott will play 20-25 minutes a game right away in the ATL.
DevonTe - I am not too sure on this, because he can do a lot of things well. Doug McDermott can shoot from the perimeter, he can run the floor very well, play in transition and play decent defense. According to DraftExpress, they have him going to the Charlotte Hornets which would be a good fit for him if they use him at the right position. The question is, where will they put him? It will be interesting this morning to see what position the team that selects him uses him at.
Harrison - Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweeted early in June that the Hornets may be "high on Doug McDermott for the ninth overall pick." McDermott has worked out with the team leading up to the Draft and the team's head coach Steve Clifford had all good things to say about the National Player of The Year after his workout, describing him as, "skilled, smart, with really good basketball IQ and high, high character." The Hornets need a scorer, and will get just that in Doug McDermott.
Eric - I'm going to agree with Harrison on this one and say that Dougie McBuckets will go to the Hornets at No. 9 overall. I think McDermott is a safe pick at that point, both on and off the court. He can slo add an immediate scoring presence to a Hornets team that really needs it to go along with Al Jefferson and another guy they took No. 9 overall three years ago, Kemba Walker. Plus, McDermott is a versatile power forward for a team who is currently starting Josh McRoberts, not the most reliable scoring threat, at that spot.
Christopher - I am going to diverge from the rest of the group and say that McDermott is selected by none other than the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have made it no secret over the last week that they want either the 2014 National Player o the Year Award winner or Michigan's shooting specialist Nik Stauskas. I predict that Chicago will make a power move to get into the lottery and bring aboard an elite shooter in McDermott. Which is something that they have so desperately needed since Tom Thibodeau (Owner of the Dimmsdale Thibodome) took the reigns as head coach.
2. In years past, the Big East Conference has had a strong showing in the NBA Draft. This year, however, they are projected by many to get at most three selections. Do you see this as an anomaly or is this a sign of things to come with the conference in its current state?
Pierce - It all depends on how competitive the Big East can be over the next few years. In 2013, the Big East had three lottery picks (Otto Porter - Georgetown, Michael Carter-Williams - Syracuse, Steven Adams - Pitt). Two of those players came from schools that are now in the ACC. This year, we're only guaranteed one Big East guy to go in the first round! And he comes from one of the newer schools in the conference. If the Big East can get more competitive, and in terms strengthening the conference, it will produce better, more NBA-ready players. If not, we could be in for some lean years in terms of talent coming out of the conference.
Jeff - The draft numbers will never be the same just because of the amount of talent that left the league after the 2013 season. Obviously with Syracuse, Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh no longer in the league the talent pool will not be as good. Honestly, the lack of draft talent is going to the norm in the conference unless if Villanova, Georgetown and St. John's can actually land elite talent out of the High School ranks. As always, it starts with recruiting.
DevonTe - I agree with Jeff, because a lot of good schools have left the Big East Conference. The only way I think the Big East will have more players go to the pros is if recruiting goes well and good talent is landed. I have to say that Georgetown's 2014 recruiting class is looking good on paper and also the team as a whole looks good on paper. My prediction is that next year, more than 3 players will come out of the conference and go to the NBA.
Harrison - This is definitely not a sign of things to come for the Big East Conference in its current state. Three players at most with only one player as a lock to getting picked in the NBA Draft is not great for a top conference.. Other premier conferences like the ACC and the Big Ten will have many more players drafted from their conference, and many of the top players in the NBA who played in the Big East are alums of former Big East teams like Syracuse and Connecticut.
Eric - I think this is a sign of things to come, because personally, I don't really view the Big East conference as a "power conference" going forward when it comes to the type of talent and players that it attracts (outside of maybe Georgetown). Like Jeff and DevonTe mentioned, so many good teams left the Big East with conference realignment, and they took with them most of the NBA talent that the Big East had become so well known for. If you think back to some of the most famous NBA pliers to come out of the old Big East (for example Carmelo Anthony, Kemba Walker, etc.) most to all of them come from teams that left the conference. Plus if you look at this year's draft alone and include players from old Big East teams, that magic number of three can easily bump back up to eight or nine.
Christopher - Unfortunately, I do think this is a precursor to what the future may hold for the conference. Barring any type of massive expansion, the conference should hold weight at these ten schools for quite some time and with that in mind, the talent gap may never be what it once was. With that said, if you take a look at the players that were drafted from the conference in the Top 10 over the last few years, Georgetown is one team that continually put out elite NBA-ready players. So, like DevonTe mentioned, they could be the driving force. Additionally, Villanova is no stranger to the lottery as Randy Foye was chosen not too long ago in the top half of the draft. If these schools stake a claim at highly touted talent in the next few years, anything's possible.
3. Make a case for ONE of the following players to be drafted: JaKarr Sampson (St. John's Red Storm); Semaj Christon (Xavier Musketeers); or Bryce Cotton (Providence Friars)
Pierce - Bryce Cotton (Providence) was the best player not named Doug McDermott in the Big East this season. Cotton played his way into draft consideration last year, averaging close to 22 points a game and leading the Friars to the Big East Tournament title. He's a pass-first guard that would work in a system where he can come off the bench and perform next to a talented point guard. This would make him a logical second-round choice for either Washington at No. 46, where he can back up the House of Guards, Brad Beal and John Wall, or Boston, which would allow him to stay in New England and be fed the rock from one of the best pure passers int he game in Rajon Rondo.
Jeff - Cotton should be drafted on Thursday night. He was absolutely brilliant throughout the season for the Friars especially during Providence's run to the Big East Tournament Championship. Cotton is a pass-first point guard but has a great ability to score the basketball. He will have to work his way through the ranks in the NBA, though. If Cotton were 6-foot-4 instead of 6-foot1, he would be a borderline first round pick in my eyes. But instead, he's a very solid pick from 35-45. Cotton would be a good fit for the Denver Nuggets at number 41.
DevonTe - The second best player in the conference is Bryce Cotton. Cotton can turn it on any time and just how he scores the ball in various ways will pay off. I recall when Providence played Georgetown at the Verizon Center, and he played well in the first half when Cotton scored 19 of 21 points. He was getting to the basket and running the break all by himself and with relative ease. He seems like someone that will succeed in a team that can get the ball up the court really fast. If Denver goes back to an up-tempo system, then I would not mind him being there behind Ty Lawson.
Harrison - Bryce Cotton is an athletic guard, who was one of the best scorers and players in general last season for Providence College. Critics do not give him the credit he deserves because of his size but if you take it out of the equation, which can be done because he does not play a big man position, you will see one of the best players in the country. Somebody who works like no one else, averaging 39.9 minutes per game last season, and somebody who did everything for a Providence team that had not experienced success in years.
Eric - I'll diverge from the other cases and make one for JaKarr Sampson of St. John's. The dude is a freak of nature athlete and for my money, is one of the best finishers at the rim that this draft class has to offer. He also has an insane amount of potential and a sky-high ceiling, based on whether or not a team can unlock that potential. I realize he has some glaring weaknesses in his offensive game and he's a little frail, but if a developed team such as San Antonio or the LA Clippers can nab him late in the second round, it could be a perfect fit. He's a guy that would require some serious training int eh D-League but if a team without a real need at the 3 can give him time to develop, he could be one of the real steals of the draft.
Christopher - Semaj Christon is my guy here. I think aside from McDermott, he could very well be the player that most likely finds his way to hearing his name called Thursday evening. The Xavier guard touts an athletic prowess all while he can be frustrating to watch in regards to his turnover ratio on another spectrum. Christon is still very much a work-in-progress from an efficiency standpoint but his commitment to getting better, as seen last offseason, is something that teams should note before drafting him.
4. Since the Big East's inception, the conference has seen six players under its banner win the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award the following season. Does Doug McDermott, in your opinion, become lucky number seven?
Pierce - There's a snowball's chance in you know what that McDermott wins Rookie of the Year. He's no Adam Morrison (at least Michael Jordan at No. 9 hopes so), but he is also not a game-changer like an Andrew Wiggins or a Jabari Parker. McDermott is a lucky man's Wally Szczerbiak. Hopefully that shouldn't make you cringe, because Dougie has the intangibles to have a lengthy NBA career. But unless he takes the basketball world by storm, get ready to see Parker or Wiggins take home the NBA equivalent to the Calder Trophy.
Jeff - Let's make this very simple: Doug McDermott has a ZERO PERCENT CHANCE to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award next year. This year's rookie class is just too strong for McDermott to win the award (especially if he does go to Atlanta like I said above). Having no chance of winning the Rookie of the Year doesn't mean that Dougie McBuckets won't have a nice NBA career but for one year, I would put my money on either Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Julius Randle to win the award.
DevonTe - McDermott has no chance of winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award in the 2014-15 season. Experts practically have their minds made up already and it's likely that Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins have the best shot at taking home the award. If McDermott wins the award, it will have to be because Parker and Wiggins will have injuries, but he might be a player that will sneak up on some people and win it. People in the NBA will be intrigued by him.
Harrison - Doug McDermott has the skills to have a long and successful career in the NBA, but I don't think his talents/skills with translate with the same success at the next level immediately. But, I think former Duke star Jabari Parker will win the NBA Rookie of the Year award next season because he is the most NBA-ready prospect.
Eric - I'm all aboard the Doug McDermott NBA bandwagon, but there is now way, now how that he wins the Rookie of the Year. When you think about guys who win the award, its players that make you think 'wow, that dude just jumps off the box score and blows me away every game." McDermott is nowhere near that type of guy. I think he'll fly extremely low under the radar, with Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins taking all of the media attention. In the long run, I think he'll have a long and prosperous career, but I just don't a ROY in McDermott's future.
Christopher - So, you're saying there's ... no chance? No chance. Doug McDermott may finish in the Top 3 in voting, but I do not see a scenario where he passes either Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins.
5. Final Question: How many Big East players will be selected in the 2014 NBA Draft?
Pierce - Three for sure. McDermott is the obvious lock, and I believe Semaj Christon will earn a second-round selection. The third will come down to JaKarr Sampson and Bryce Cotton. Both are worthy of being drafted, but odds are only one of them will hear their name called on draft night.
Jeff - I'm going with three: McDermott goes to the Hawks at 15, Semaj Christon and Bryce Cotton will both be selected in the second round. JaKarr Sampson could very well get picked near the end of round 2 but I think he will be signed as an undrafted free agent.
DevonTe - Three players from the Big East Conference will be drafted. Mcdermott, Bryce Cotton and Xavier guard Semaj Christon. Cotton and Christon are worthy of being drafted, but it would not suprise me if Markel Starks gets drafted either. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Thursday night goes.
Harrison - The only player that will definitely be selected in the NBA Draft is former Creighton superstar Doug McDermott. Two players that I believe have a good chance of being drafted are Bryce Cotton and Semaj Christon. These two players had great college careers and have the tools necessary to succeed in the NBA, but have some weaknesses that experts believe will hold them back from being drafted.
Eric - I'll be the possibly unrealistic optimist of the group and say that four Big East players will get drafted. Give me McDermott as a lock of a top-15 pick, and then Bryce Cotton in the early second round, with Semaj Christon and JaKarr Sampson rounding out the group of Big East draftees, as late second round picks.
Christopher - Three players will be drafted: McDermott by the Bulls at No. 8 (swapping with Sacramento), Semaj Christon at the newly acquired pick No. 34 by the New York Knicks, and Bryce Cotton at No. 41 for the Denver Nuggets.