We found out recently th..."/>

We found out recently th..."/>

NBA draft update: UK's Wall in Nets picture, Cousins up to No. 3 with Wizards


by Andrew Hardison

We found out recently that junior forward Patrick Patterson is still ‘50-50’ when it comes to his decision to officially enter the NBA Draft, but expect the others like Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, and Orton to stick with their decision and stay in the running to be drafted in the first round come June. Here’s an updated look at where each of the potential Kentucky Wildcats draft picks might end up.  Plus I figured today was a good time to look at last year’s Wildcat’s NBA choices before we bring in another crop of NBA first rounders:

1st – New Jersey Nets: John Wall, point guard (6’4”, 195 lbs.)

ESPN’s Chad Ford believes Wall will be selected No. 1 overall in just about every circumstance, but that could certainly change if the Utah Jazz or New Orleans Hornets wind up with the first pick because of the fact that Deron Williams and Chris Paul are already All-Star caliber point guards. Wall certainly has the skill sets to be an All-Star at some point in his career; former Memphis standout Derrick Rose made his first appearance this year and Sacramento Kings combo forward Tyreke Evans will be doing the same at some point in his young career. Many NBA general managers and scouts love Wall’s work ethic as well as his end-to-end speed and decision making. He needs work on his mid-range shooting game, but so did Rose, who now is able to drive to the basket while keeping his defenders honest with a new and improved jump shot. Wall will be starting from day one with whatever team that decides to take him. Right now the Nets have the best overall chance.

3rd – Washington Wizards: DeMarcus Cousins, center (6’11”, 280 lbs.)
I’m not sure any one person knows exactly where Cousins will end up. Some say he’s a bona fide No. 1 pick, others believe that he drops to the 3-5 range. Wherever it is, Cousins will most definitely make a ‘big’ impact in the NBA. I liken the Wildcat standout to Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers because he has excellent low-post footwork and some of the softest hands you’ll find in the college game in the past decade. Not only that, but he also was the most productive college player this season by far. Whoever gets the second pick in the draft should draft Cousins, making it 1-2 with Kentucky players, but there is a feeling that Ohio State’s Evan Turner or Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors will slip in at the 2-3 selections to bump Cousins down a bit. Whatever team gets him however is going to have a game changing big man for the next decade.

12th – Toronto Raptors: Patrick Patterson, power forward (6’8”, 235 lbs.)
Patterson has made headlines recently for being involved in the Wildcats media day where five stars decided they’d test the NBA Draft process. Patterson however, has been having second thoughts. Saying that he is currently ‘50-50’ as to whether he’ll enter the draft or stick around for his senior season has some ‘Cats fans hoping he decides the latter and makes a push for Kentucky’s 8th National Championship. If Patterson does stay, it is a total game changer for the Wildcats, as they would become a clear favorite to win it all with the likes of Duke, Michigan State, and Butler. If Patterson leaves, that takes away a primary player from a 35-3 team that made it to the program’s first Elite 8 in five years. Despite being highly rated among NBA general manager’s, Patterson still has a lot of things he could improve upon, being the third most NBA ready player on this year’s team (Wall and Cousins just ahead of him). It will be interesting to see how the 2010 recruiting class shapes up because that could be the deciding factor whether Patterson sticks to the draft or comes back for another opportunity at college basketball royalty.

28th – Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Bledsoe, point guard (6’1”, 195 lbs)
In what should be a weak draft for point guards, or guards in general for that matter, Bledsoe’s decision makes a lot of sense. He wasn’t the ‘lead’ guard on the Wildcats, but definitely has the skill set to do so. Another year of ‘grooming’ would be ideal in the perfect world, but BBN fans can’t always be that selfish. Bledsoe had flashes of being that dominate lead guard, while losing focus and cool at other times. He’s got a nice mid-range shot and can hit it from deep on occasion (8 three-pointers in the first-round matchup against East Tennessee State were out of this world). If defenders don’t stop him at mid-court, he also has the ability to get by opponents and make his way into the lane. Bledsoe is strong and quick, something many NBA teams salivate over, especially at the next level. Outside of Orton, Bledsoe needs the most work in becoming ready for the NBA, but has been advised by head coach John Calipari to test the NBA Draft process and will most likely enter and sign with an agent in the coming weeks.

31st – New Jersey Nets: Daniel Orton, center (6’10”, 255 lbs)

Orton is the biggest ‘head-scratcher’ on the list, but by season’s end it was fairly easy to tell that the freshman big-man was getting restless sitting on the Wildcats bench. He was the primary focus of Billy Gillispie’s 2009 recruiting class, but was kindly set to the side when the more talented DeMarcus Cousins made his way to Lexington to play for John Calipari. As he made his intentions known that he was thinking of foregoing his career at Kentucky for the ‘greener’ pastures of the NBA, many BBN fans began to yell ‘foul’ and vehemently disagreed the decision. Orton needs the most work and averaged just three points and three rebounds playing behind the best center in all of college basketball this season. He has tremendous abilities on the defensive end which seems to be enough for some NBA teams to draft Orton in the Top-15 of the first round. His offensive game is suspect at best because we never got to see it come out while playing for Kentucky. I personally think he’ll struggle in his first seasons as an NBA player, but could come around as time goes on.

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