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NBA draft update: UK's 'Fab Five' ready for NBA and draft process


After today, there are four Kentucky Wildcats players that have entered their name into the NBA Draft. The four freshmen—John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton have entered—and one junior—Patrick Patterson (still has not filed his paperwork)—look to test out the NBA waters to see if they’re fit for the next level. Let’s take a look at what we might see come June:

1st – New Jersey Nets: John Wall, point guard (6’4”, 195 lbs.)
The NBA season and its ‘worst’ teams continue to duke it out for the right to own the first overall pick. Wall is assumed to be drafted No. 1, but depending on team needs, that could totally change. The Nets still have the highest percentage of getting Wall with 25%. The Minnesota Timberwolves however, have the next highest opportunity at 19.9%. With so many teams have more than a 10% chance of owning the No. 1 pick it isn’t necessarily a lock that Wall gets selected with the first overall pick. Three more teams have at least a 12.1% chance just to give you an idea of how diverse the field is. Evan Turner is the other likely selection, but Wall probably has more upside.

4th – Washington Wizards: DeMarcus Cousins, center (6’11”, 280 lbs.)
Everyone has had one criticism of Cousins and that is his temper. If I’m an NBA general manager, I put those worries aside and draft Cousins as soon as possible. The most dominate center in college basketball has a ton of potential at the next level purely based on his size. His broad shoulders compliment is great post footwork and soft hands, making him a great fit for any team (big men like this don’t come around every year). If he finds the right team, he could start right away and make a quick impact. What I worry about most is if Cousins isn’t utilized correctly and finds himself on a bad basketball team. If the Pistons somehow can wiggle into the third or fourth spot, I’d snag Cousins if he’s still available. Joe Dumars is a solid general manager and there is still a strong foundation within the franchise to help mold Cousins into a bona fide superstar. If he goes somewhere else like Sacramento, Golden State, or Washington, it’s essentially up in the air.

12th – Milwaukee Bucks: Patrick Patterson, power forward (6’8”, 235 lbs.)
Patterson on the Bucks is a nice fit. When current center Andrew Bogut comes back from injury, Milwaukee would have a solid duo in the paint with two mature young players. Bogut was on the verge of being an All-Star this year and Patterson has the potential to make an impact in his first year. I’ve always considered Patterson as a Chuck Hayes type player, but I think Patterson has a lot more upside. This season was telling because the junior was able to develop a reliable mid-range game, even knocking down the occasional three-pointer. Carl Landry could be a good comparison, but Patterson doesn’t quite have the offensive repertoire as the former Purdue star. Patterson would be a solid pickup for any team in the lottery and will be a team player from day one. (We’d love to have him another year in Lexington, but just in case not…)

17th – Miami Heat: Eric Bledsoe, point guard (6’1”, 195 lbs)
Bledsoe emerged on the scene due in large part to the fact that the 2011 NBA season is up in the air. If a lockout does occur, Bledsoe’s decision becomes a very smart move for the freshman point guard out of Alabama. The ‘backup’ to Wall was the off-guard in John Calipari’s dribble-drive motion offense and often found himself the beneficiary of points-off-of-Wall. Bledsoe didn’t really have to deal with the head point guard duties, so his ability to run an offense or team for that matter is largely up in the air. Another year of college would polish his game, but Calipari advised Bledsoe to test the waters. It’d be interesting to see where Bledsoe would fit in with a team like the Heat. Obviously Dwyane Wade could be back, but current starter Mario Chalmbers has established himself as Wade’s sidekick in the backcourt. I personally don’t see Bledsoe as a lottery selection, but once again it is based off of team needs and where a team is picking in the draft.

24th – Boston Celtics: Daniel Orton, center (6’10”, 255 lbs)
Orton is the enigma of the group, mainly because he averaged three points and three rebounds a game and was the reserve center behind starter DeMarcus Cousins. He showed glimpses of offensive potential, but he was largely counted on to perform on the defensive end. A lot of NBA general managers and scouts will look mostly at his size and the fact that he played alongside Cousins on a daily basis in practice and games. Orton has the tools, but they are far from being developed at this point in his career. ESPN’s Chad Ford has stated that Orton is getting tons of looks and could go as high as the Top-10 which blows me away. He didn’t show signs of an offensive game until later in the season, despite double-digit scoring efforts earlier on the year. If the C’s snag Orton, he’d be learning a lot from veterans like Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace, as well as having to compete as a bigger, more physical player in Kendrick Perkins. Welcome to the NBA Daniel.

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