Now that the dust has settled on Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and DeAndre Liggins NBA decisions, the debate has not stopped. As we know, Knight and Liggins made the jump to the NBA and Terrence Jones delighted the BBN by returning to Lexington, citing a desire to win that elusive number eight. So I decided to see what our panel though about these NBA decisions this week. Participating was Greg Edwards from the WBN, as well as Glenn Logan from A Sea of Blue. The question was easy this week:
Glenn Logan: Knight made the right decision, not because he is ready but because so many players potentially above him are sitting out this draft. Even backing into a top five pick is still a good reason to go pro.Jones made the right call also. Terrence Jones has some holes in his game that will easily be plugged by another year in school, and depending on how hard he works, he could find himself in an even better position next year than this year before the buzz around him began to drop. Jones has a unique, hard to find skillset that the NBA can really use, and refining his game a bit will make him that much more attractive to pro scouts next year.Liggins made a good decision, although I think coming back was an equally good one. Liggins can play at the NBA level very quickly because of his defense in spot duty, and he can as easily develop his perimeter game in the pros as in college. Even if he came back, it is doubtful he could have gotten too much further up the likely draft pick ranks than he is right now, especially with the strong showing he made in Jersey.
Greg Edwards: Both Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins had their reasons for leaving, so I don’t question that. Knight was really a no brainer, and Liggins must have put on some kind of a show at the Jersey combine from everything I have read and been told. I am not going to use this as a forum for re-hashing the one and done, because it is probably on it’s way out anyway. However, I just simply cannot imagine how good Brandon Knight would have been by his Senior year of college. As good as he was this year, you add three years of experience to that and allow him the time to do weight training and physical development as well, and you may very well have had the greatest all-around guards we have ever seen in college basketball.
Liggins decision is one that I know deep in my heart is going to hurt UK the most. You simply cannot replace that kind of defensive effort game in and game out with anyone we have on the roster right now, I don’t think. But then again, John Calipari got DeAndre to do it, so there may be another lurking in the wings somewhere.
Terrence Jones coming back was my nice surprise of the off-season. You know it had to loom large over that young man, knowing what kind of money is out there waiting with his name on it.Jones will receive some of the best training and development this year he could get anywhere, so I know this decision will not hurt him. And it helps our chances of going back to the Final Four even moreso. Jones can be a big time leader for this squad next year if he so chooses. And I do so hope he chooses.
Paul Jordan: I really would have loved to see Knight stay in school another season, but that was purely selfish. I really don’t know if he was 100% ready, but when you have your name and “top five pick” bandied about all the time, it is a no brainer. And no matter what kind of a year Knight had this year at UK, he likely would not have improved his draft status. For Knight, he had to go.
As for Jones, I was pleasantly surprised, and I agree with his decision 100%. I did not think that he was ready and if he has the year that everyone expects, he can play himself into the top 5-8 spots. If not, well, I still think he will be a top 15 pick, which was what he was looking at this year. It’s hardly no risk and all reward for Jones to stay in Lexington. Plus, it appears he was weary of the lockout, which is something a player in his range should have been.
As for Liggins? I really think he could have improved his stock by staying in Lexington, but he made the right decision for him. Let’s be honest. Liggins is not going to be a top 10 pick by staying in Lexington and with all the talent next year, he would have been in the same draft position as he is now. But Liggins does have a family to look after and all you have to do is look at Keith Bogans to see that Liggins could be a very servicable player in the NBA. Bogans is a starter for the Bulls for one reason: his defense. If Liggins can land with the Lakers or a team where he is not expected to be an offensive weapon, he can be a very good role player in the NBA.