Posts Tagged NBA draft

Perry Ellis and the NBA and Kesha

Posted on: April 10th, 2015 by jayhawktalk No Comments

A coach once told me, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” It makes sense, I suppose. Rarely does one’s basketball value simply stay at a perfect constant and, well, “practice makes perfect,” or whatever. But in economics, we learn about the principle of diminishing returns — adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower returns. Age, for instance, creates such a diminishing return in basketball. Otherwise, MJ and Kobe would play until their deaths. Last, Kesha famously told us, “We R Who We R” [sic]. It’s close to Exodus 3:14 (I am who I am), but more fresh because it’s Kesha.

What does the coach, professor, and Kesha have to do with Perry Ellis’ value as a professional basketball prospect, you ask?

They all tell us he needs to declare for the NBA draft right now. Following his junior year.  And if I were him, I’d do it too.

Let’s take a look at the current state of the NBA draft.

There’s an adage that the NBA only drafts on “potential” these days. Crusty old KU fans in their bath robes reading the daily newspaper about Kelly Oubre going pro after his freshman season — when he only averaged 9 PPG — just doesn’t add up. Alas, he’s still a projected lottery pick. And it comes down to potential, right?

A look at how NBA teams approach a draft should include a review of risk tolerance. After all, teams generally get one shot (per round) at adding a new piece to the team. With the rookie wage scale in effect (contracts are more or less predetermined by draft slot), teams with a higher risk tolerance should take the “riskier” player because the contract will not impact the team’s bottom line. The contracts are short and team options do not need to be picked up if the pick doesn’t work out.

In other words, there’s little to no risk involved in taking a “risky” player, especially in the last half of the draft.

[I should stop and note that obviously GMs have lost their jobs over bad drafts. There's certainly risk associated with choosing the wrong guy in the first 10 picks. But for our purposes, we're not looking at the top 10 picks. Even the top 20 picks. We're looking at the bottom of the first round and into the second round (where contracts are not guaranteed at all)].

But what defines a risky player over a safe one? Is it age, intangibles, off-the-court issues, or measurables? It can be all of those things, but risk, at least to me, involves exposing yourself to the unknown. If you watch a player for three years in college do largely the same things, you have a pretty good idea of that player’s risk (and upside). On the other hand, if you watch a player for one year in college struggle at times, but show glimpses of all-world talent, that risk (and upside) is higher and more attractive for a later pick.

The unknown is intriguing. And it’s tempting. The known is boring.

Sure, some teams have lower risk tolerance, but they are rare. Teams that are already “built” may be looking for a program-type guy, a solid if unspectacular bench player, a reliable option that won’t rock the boat. Those teams are not very common, though. So we can expect that most teams are looking for upside, especially throughout the last half of the draft. The unknown is intriguing, after all.

Let’s bring this back to Perry Ellis.

Coach tells us if you’re not getting better you’re getting worse. I personally believe most scouts think Perry’s value to the NBA is already known. If he leaves now, he’ll likely be a second round pick. If he returns and plays at an all Big-12 level again (which is more or less a guarantee), he’ll still likely be a second round pick next year. As a result, his value is probably not getting better.

Kesha would say that he is who he is.

If Perry’s NBA draft value is not getting better, does that mean it’s getting worse? Maybe not in terms of draft slot – but in time value of money, one additional year as a professional, and one more year of learning and harnessing his craft in a way that will give him a lasting role in the pro ball and not as a college power forward? Yes. It will be getting worse.

As a result, Perry has hit a point of diminishing returns when it comes to his professional basketball value. Putting in more time and energy in college basketball will likely return less in the long run. Declaring for the NBA draft makes sense, even if it doesn’t work out in the NBA and he ends up playing professionally overseas for the next decade.

Just looking at the past two drafts, in 2013, 3 seniors were taken in the 1st round and 15 in the 2nd round. In 2014, 5 seniors were selected in the 1st round, and 12 in the second round. Even though it’s probably not fair, unless a senior is a late bloomer, he is most likely to be taken in the 2nd round. There are obviously tons of reasons for this, but one is certainly that the player’s value (and upside) is mostly known.

Perry may want a degree. He may want to chase a 4th Big 12 title ring and he may want to make a run in the NCAA tournament. He may want to go down as one of KU’s all time leading scorers. Hell, maybe he just loves college and doesn’t want to be a grownup yet. If any of those things are true, he’ll be back and it will make sense because that’s his personal motivation.

But if his motivation is a career in professional basketball, as a vast majority of high major basketball players generally is, he’ll be wise to look at the NBA draft this year and forgo his senior year at Kansas. After all, the clock has already started on his professional basketball career.

TiK ToK, if you will.


Photo Credit: CJOnline, Huffington Post

Episode 56 – NBA Draft, Interview with Fox Sports’ Reid Forgrave, Football Track, Nonsense

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by jayhawktalk No Comments

The guys are back for another edition of the Jayhawk Talk Podcast, this time talking extensively about the upcoming NBA Draft and where our boys in blue will end up on the next level. We are joined by Fox Sports’ Reid Forgrave who is covering the NBA Draft for Fox Sports and Fox Sports 1. We also talk KU Football and the impending removal of the track around Memorial Stadium as well as a play-by-play account of Fake Jeff Withey’s wedding this weekend.

Find the Podcast on iTunes HERE (Please leave us a comment and rating on iTunes!)

Find the Podcast on Podbean HERE (for non-Apple mobile devices)

Come on in, grab a beer, and enjoy yourself a little Jayhawk Talk Podcast! Rock Chalk!

Photo: Fox Sports

Photo: Joel Embiid’s Twitter

Episode 55 – Self Talk, Graham, Svi, White, NBA Draft

Posted on: June 8th, 2014 by jayhawktalk No Comments

In this episode, the guys get together to talk a little Sviatoslav (with some pronunciation help), Graham, AW3, NBA Draft, and more. Plus, Kevin talks about hanging with Coach Self last weekend and the nuggets that came from that. So come on in, grab a beer, and enjoy yourself a little Jayhawk Talk Podcast.

Find the episode on iTunes HERE (please leave us a comment/rating on iTunes!)

Find the episode on Podbean HERE (non-Apple mobile devices)


Photo Credit: ESPN

McLemore talks

Posted on: May 18th, 2013 by jayhawktalk No Comments

When the Ben McLemore/Blackstock/Cobb story started to die down, I had a feeling Self and Co. might have told Ben to just stay quiet and let it pass. Probably the best course of action for everybody.

Then the combine rolled around this week, and it sounds like Ben went on the record about Cobb and Blackstock. Personally, I don’t care what really happened. From every indication, it sounds like Ben did not have any idea Cobb was receiving cash ($10k). It does sound like he potentially knew of the trips to LA and also about the birthday party.

That could be a problem.

Ben also revealed this week that he travelled to LA with Blackstock at some point as well (no timeline provided, but presumably after the season). He states that he paid for the trip himself. While I’m not questioning the veracity of Ben’s comments, I will say that “going public” only created more questions.

Ben probably felt obligated to defend himself, though. I get that. But he still probably should have kept quiet. It wouldn’t even have been that hard. If I were Ben’s PR team, I would have instructed him to say something like this:

“I’m just focused on the NBA and doing the best I can to put myself in a good position to be drafted. It’s my lifelong dream to play in the NBA, and I appreciate all the people along the way that have helped me get to this spot, including Coach Cobb and especially Bill Self.” 

Bam. Done. Boring story for reporters.

Cobb could theoretically speak to NCAA regulators, but if the rest of the parties kept their mouths shut, there wouldn’t be a whole lot the NCAA could do to corroborate the story about what Ben knew or didn’t know. These kinds of investigations usually die because nobody wants to go on the record with the NCAA. And, of course, the NCAA has no subpoena power and can’t force anyone to talk.

We now have two of the four main parties involved, Ben and Cobb, saying they are open to talk.

In Seth Davis’ story, an NCAA spokesperson told him, “We are absolutely interested in talking to people to gather as many facts as possible, especially from those who no longer are a part of the NCAA but want to get to the truth.”

At this point, I kind of hope Ben goes with a “No Comment” whenever asked about this situation — by reporters, by NBA folks, and most definitely by NCAA regulators. He’d probably do himself a favor, not to mention KU and Coach Self.

We’ll see. What do you think about Ben’s decision to talk? Hit me up in the comments section or on Twitter.