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Kansas Basketball Team

Success in College doesn't always transfer to the NBA.  Kansas knows all too well.

With the NBA draft just over three weeks away, I thought it might be a good time to make some stock predictions.  Since Mizzou has no players in the 2010 draft pool, I guess I will just have to do every Mizzou fan’s second favorite thing: Ridicule Kansas.  Here’s a look at KU’s draft history over the past decade as well as the outlook for their three 2010 prospects.

It can be argued that only TWO Kansas players have lived up to their draft value over the past decade.  I will show you here why Kansas players have historically been absolute busts (meaning they just weren’t good) as well as relative busts (meaning they were not as good as the players selected soon after them in the draft).

The Decade Breakdown

2000: No picks

2001: The New York Knicks selected Eric Chenowith from Kansas.  A 7’2” center, Chenowith has never played a game in the NBA and never will.

2002: At No. 4 the Memphis Grizzlies selected 6'10" PF Drew Gooden.  Gooden has been a solid NBA player over his eight year career, but has been known more for his dispensability than anything else (as well as his often heinous appearance).  In eight years, Gooden has played for nine NBA teams!!  His career averages of 12 PPG and 8 REB are nothing to laugh about, but considering he was the No. 4 pick I would say that he hasn’t lived up to his draft value.  This is especially true considering another power forward, Amare Stoudemire, was selected at No. 9 and fringe all-star Caron Butler at No. 10.

2003:  My first of two KU players that have lived up to their draft value: Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich was selected at No.  7 by Chicago in the best draft of all-time.  He turned out to be a much wiser point guard selection than Texas’ TJ Ford who was taken just after him at No. 8 by Milwaukee.  Hinrich has averaged 13 points and 6 assists over his career and has had a couple very good seasons around 16 points and 6 assists.  He has been best known for his defense, however, as he has been one of the best perimeter defenders in the league for many years.

Kirk Hinrich is a rare exception to KU's draft history.

Fellow KU star Nick Collison was taken in the same draft at No. 12 and has been a decent backup power forward in the NBA.  I wouldn’t say he lived up to his hype as he has averaged 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds for his career.  David West’s selection at No. 18 doesn’t help him

2004: No picks.

2005: This is the year my argument really starts picking up.  6’8” Wayne Simien was taken No. 29 overall by Miami and an impossibly better power forward in David Lee was selected at No. 30.  Career averages: Simien-  3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 51 games.  David Lee- 13 points and 9.8 rebounds, including 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds last season (numbers should hover around this level if he resigns with New York).  Simien (HAHA) is now out of the NBA playing in Spain and Lee is on his way to a fat max contract.  Brandon Bass would have even been a better power forward selection than Simien.  Budding stars CJ Miles and Monta Ellis were also taken several picks later.

2006: No picks.

2007: Julian Wright leaves early for the NBA and starts his trek early along the path of irrelevance too.  Julian Wright’s Potential is taken at No. 13 by New Orleans and never realized.  There’s still a chance for this kid to blossom, but the odds are against him.  A slew of good players were taken after Wright to make matters worse.  Al Thornton (14), Rodney Stuckey (15) Jared Dudley (22), Wilson Chandler (23), Rudy Fernandez (24), and Aaron Brooks (26) have all become very good NBA players.

Julian Wright Photo

Julian Wright should have stayed in school longer.

2008: KU fans, this draft will sting a little bit.  SF Brandon Rush is selected at No. 13 by Portland but immediately traded to Indiana.  Meanwhile, the multi-tooled 6’10” SF/PF Anthony Randolph is taken at No. 14 by Golden State.  Randolph is now considered a lock to be a future star with his exceptional athleticism, length, passing skills, and ball handling ability.  Rush still hasn’t gotten it going with Indiana and team president Bird 33 is becoming agitated.

Darrell Arthur slid to No. 27 to Portland and also was traded off, in this instance to Memphis.  Arthur was considered a lottery pick but fell because of health concerns.  Good thing he dropped as he hasn’t done much in the NBA while all the players from the same position picked in his original “pre-slide” draft range have done well (Anthony Randolph, Marreese Speights, JJ Hickson, Ryan Anderson, and Nicolas Batum).  With the drafting of DeMarre Carroll, Mizzou fans can only hope Arthur’s minutes continue to plummet in Memphis.

Power forward Darnell Jackson was taken at No. 52 by Miami and I haven’t heard of him since. Honestly, can you think of a more forgotten player from the 2007-2008 KU championship team?

The final pick in Seattle’s history before the move to OKC was Sasha Kaun.  Wow, no wonder the franchise left Seattle.  What fan wants to watch Sasha Kaun lace ‘em up?  The 6’10” Kaun was taken No. 56 by Seattle and wasn’t worthy of being a part of the move to OKC.  (P.S. Why would you ever select a big, tall, unathletic dude named Sasha Kaun and expect him to be anything other than worthless?)  The lanky Russian now plays with CSKA Moscow.

Selected at No. 34 in the draft is the only other KU player drafted in the last decade that has met his draft value: Mario Chalmers.  Chalmers has been decent for Miami and posted modest numbers, but still will never be anything close to an elite point guard in the NBA.  His numbers slid worse than CNN’s primetime ratings this season, going from 10 PPG and 4.9 Assists in his rookie year to 7.1 PPG and 3.4 Assists in 2010.  But for a second round pick, it’s hard to call a guy that starts 80% of his games a bust.

2009: No draft picks. (Everyone stayed to try and win championship.  Fail.)

With the History of Bustdom presented in a nutshell, we now project the future of KU’s three prospects in this years draft: Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, and Sherron Collins.

Cole Aldrich

Aldrich is getting looked at by a bunch of teams because of his size.  He has a massive 7’4” wingspan, but let scouts down a little bit with his height: 6’9” in socks.  Let’s not be mistaken: Aldrich’s size and toughness could buy him enough time to convince some coaches that he could mold into a good player.  I, however, think he lacks much of the athleticism and offensive skill to become a solid player.  ESPN statistical junkie John Hollinger agrees.

Every year, Hollinger compiles a list of projected Player Efficiency Ratings (PER) for each prospect entering the NBA draft.  While Aldrich could go as high as No. 5 to the Kings and should not slip outside of the lottery, his PER projection ranks only No. 36 among prospects.  That is abysmal.  Aldrich averaged 11.3 PPG, 9.8 REB, and 3.5 BLK in 2009-2010.  Numbers look OK, but not enough to impress me or Hollinger's stat software.

If Aldrich gets taken at No. 6 by Golden State his career is doomed.  Aldrich is awful in the transition game and that is exactly the brand of basketball Don Nelson runs.  Aldrich could get taken by Detroit at No. 7 considering: A) Their team is depleted of everything, including good Bigs and B) Their GM is Joe Dumars, who is battling Minnesota's David Kahn for worst in the NBA.

If Aldrich is on the board at No. 9, then Utah has a good chance of taking him since they have absolutely ZERO size and their starting center next year may be Kyrylo Fesenko since Memo "Moneyman" Okur tore his Achilles on the slowest dribble drive in the history of the Association.  If he goes to Utah, fans there will be irate that GM Kevin O’Connor selected another big, tall bust that has the same pedigree as another former Jazzman and KU baller, Greg Ostertag.  (In case you forgot, “Tag” was the guy getting owned by the Bulls each game of the ’97 and ‘98 Finals.  Also, he is the second most dunked upon player in league history behind Shawn Bradley.   Aldrich next?)

Aldrich will not fall further than No. 11 to New Orleans, who also needs size considering their big man is Emeka Okafor, another NBA flop.  He would fit in decently in New Orleans and would have a good point guard to play with in CP3, but still don’t expect more than 5 and 5 from Aldrich.

Projection: Aldrich gets absurdly overvalued and taken at No. 7 by Detroit where he will be mentored under Ben Wallace.  Under Wallace, Aldrich’s offense will become even  more nonexistent.  Additionally, Aldrich will be torn in building chemistry with his fellow Detroit Bigs. He will have to choose whether to grow the fro to fit in with Wallace, the Jonas Brother haircut to mesh with Jonas Jerebko, or the full cranial shave to fit in with Charlie Villanueva.  I personally want to see the Jonas Bros. style.  Best case scenario: Aldrich is as good as Joel Pryzbilla, scoring 5 PPG, grabbing 8 boards, and blocking two shots in 25 minutes during his prime.  Worst case: Becomes even more of a mockery among fans than Ostertag.

Cole Aldrich Photo

Aldrich has B-U-S-T written on the back side of his jersey.

Xavier Henry

It’s going to be tough to knock on Henry because I actually like his game (And so does Hollinger! He rated No. 6 of all prospects in projected PER).

Henry had some lights out performances last week in Chicago and his jump shot is supposed to be flaming right now.  He is considered a little too one-dimensional and likely won’t be a great defender at the NBA level.  However, he does have great size at 6’7”, 210 lbs. so if he starts exploiting his strength more he has a chance of being a solid defender and a good finisher at the rim.  Henry will start receiving looks around No. 10 by Indiana.  I see him landing either in Indiana or Milwaukee at No. 15.  Indiana needs some more shooters and Milwaukee will be looking to find a replacement for John Salmons, who may opt out this summer.

Prediction: Henry goes No. 15 to Milwaukee.  I want to play the numbers and say he won’t succeed, but ultimately I think Henry will be a decent player and could buck the trend set forth by his KU bust predecessors.  I think he will receive enough playing time in his rookie season to improve some of his weaknesses and show off his size/athleticism.  Look for him to average around 12 PPG in his sophomore season.

Sherron Collins

A couple weeks ago, many thought Collins would not even be lucky enough to get drafted.   He did not have a good senior season and also took much of the blame for KU’s ouster to Northern Iowa in the second round of the tournament.  However, his stock has risen a substantial amount in the past couple weeks as he has performed better than expected at workouts and shown signs of weight loss.  Despite some potential, Collins is incredibly undersized and is the only player in the draft to measure less than 6 ft. tall.  Collins is just 5’10” without shoes.

Considering there are relatively few point guards in the draft, expect Collins to be taken in the draft.  He will be taken in the mid to late second round and will have to work hard to find a spot on a roster.  His leadership is there, but the guy just does not have the size or talent to make a big impact.

Prediction: Collins will be taken by the Lakers at No. 58 overall but probably won’t find a spot on the roster, even though the Lakers have one of the worst point guard duos in the NBA with Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar.  Collins will be playing overseas permanently within a couple years following struggles in the NBA/NBA D-League.

KU Overall: 1 for 3 in living up to draft value in 2010.  Aldrich will be a bust, Henry will be a solid player, and Collins will get little opportunity to make a name for himself.  That would make it 3 KU players in the past decade to live up to their hype.  Rock, Chalk, Jay-Mock.

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Comments (14)
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written by Hmmm, May 31, 2010
Can you write a blog post about Missouri's NBA successes?

I also love how you made the title: "KU's Draft History" yet just went back a decade and decided to ignore Paul Pierce.

I mean come on... he's in his second NBA Finals series in three years. Do you really want to go there?
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written by Hmmm, May 31, 2010
Oh... and you're really going to knock Julian Wright who plays for a coach that doesn't like rookies?

Also, Sasha Kaun is playing for a lot of money in his native country of Russia. He's on one of the best teams as they won a championship last year and they're in the playoffs right now. He's their starting center.

Wow, you guys are fucking morons.
Hmmm...
written by Slim, May 31, 2010
Considering the article is about the NBA, why would he include Sasha Kaun's gig in Russia?? Good for Kaun, but the last time I checked there are no NBA teams there.
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written by Author, May 31, 2010
Slim summed up Sasha Kaun well. Your telling me that guy didn't want to play in the NBA??? No, he just didn't have what it took so now he is playing in Russia. CSKA Moscow is good and he may be making a lot of money, but any Euro League still plays second fiddle to the NBA.
Julian Wright gets plenty of opportunities, believe me... I have seen in play in person a couple of times. He lacks confidence and has never done anything to show that he could be a good player in the NBA. He also went on a rant in February because he didn't get traded.
"Not bout blaming anyone. Just thinking bout the C. Fryes, S. Browns, and the G. Wallaces, of the league who just needed a change of scenery." "Off to practice, thinking bout how I'm jealous of all these players that managed to get traded before Thursday."
Sounds like a guy that gets a lot of respect from coaches and teammates. No wonder he only 12 minutes a game.
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written by Author, May 31, 2010
I had to pick a time span and a decade is long enough to break down. I'm not just gonna start in 1998 because that's when Pierce was taken. I know I left Pierce out and it was a tough thing to do, but the "history" had to start somewhere. Besides, even if I had started in 1998 like I'm sure you would have liked, then I could just include Raef LaFrentz (who was taken No. 3 Overall!!!) from 1998 and Ryan Robertson(??) from 1999.

Better yet, I should have started it in 1997 with two major first round flops in Scot Pollard and Jacque Vaughn. Or in 1995 with Greg Ostertag. 1994: Darrin Hancock (second round) 1993: Rex Walters (first round) 1991: Mike Randall (first round) 1990: Kevin Pritchard (second round)

You sure you would've wanted me to include the last decade just for Pierce? Looks like you would've had a losing argument there too. Trust me, you don't wanna see the stat lines of any of those guys.
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written by Author, May 31, 2010
Dang, Kind of regretting not going back two decades. You can have Pierce, but give me all these guys:

Kevin Pritchard: 3.6 PPG, 1.0 REB, 1.6 ASST... Pritchard has made a good GM though.
Mike Randall: 2.6 PPG, 1.3 REB, 0.4 ASST
Rex Walters: 4.6 PPG, 1.2 REB, 1.7 ASST
Darin Hancock: 3.5 PPG, 1.3 REB, 0.7 ASST
Greg Ostertag : 4.6 PPG, 5.5 REB, 1.7 BLK
Jacque Vaughn : 4.5 PPG, 1.3 REB, 2.5 ASST
Scot Pollard: 4.4 PPG, 4.6 REB, 0.7 BLK
Ryan Robertson: Played 1 career game for the Kings and scored 5 points!
Raef Lafrentz: 10.1 PPG, 6.1 REB, 1.6 BLK (Numbers look OK, but not for a No. 3 pick. Similar perimeter-oriented PF's in Antawn Jamison and Dirk Nowitzki were taken in the next 6 picks. Safe to say Toronto got the worst of the three options).
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written by Hmmm, May 31, 2010
Okay, can you please break down Missouri's NBA players? I'm really looking forward to that paragraph of a blog.
2009?
written by dannyfromlawrence, May 31, 2010
"2009: No draft picks. (Everyone stayed to try and win championship. Fail.)"

Um.....maybe I'm thinking of a different Jayhawk team, but wasn't 2009 the season after we lost 5 starters and were picked to accomplish absolutely nothing? I could be mistaken, but I believe we didn't actually have any seniors that season.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/30826-2008-2009-kansas-mens-basketball-preview-rebuildingreloading-season

Yeah, I wasn't mistaken. So what did we do that year anyways? Big 12 title, 3 seed, Sweet 16. Wouldn't call that failure considering what we were working with.
I agree that most of our draft picks have gone on to have mediocre careers, but does Mizzou have a better track record for producing NBA superstars or something? And please check your facts. I was a big fan of this blog under the previous authors because very few sports blogs can overcome their fan bias and tell it like it actually is. I hope you can fill your predecessors' shoes.

Cheers!
dannyfromlawrence...
written by Slim, May 31, 2010
I don't think Paul meant the '09 season was a failure. Certainly winning the Big 12 and going to the Sweet Sixteen is a solid season. I think he meant "fail," in the sense that the goal was to win a National Championship.
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written by Author, May 31, 2010
Get your facts right Danny from Lawrence. you seem to have your years mixed up. When I said 2009: No draft picks (Everyone stayed to win a championship. Fail) it meant that all the guys that could have entered into last year's 2009 draft chose not too because they wanted to try and win a title this year in the 2009-2010 season, which failed with the loss to Northern Iowa. Aldrich stayed, Collins stayed. They tried to win a title and did not do it, so they failed. You thought it meant that the 2008-2009 team failed. No, it meant the 2009-2010 team failed and its players that could have entered the 2009 draft. Collins certainly would have made a bunch more money if he went in the '09 draft and did not try to win a title. Now, he will be lucky to go mid-second round.

And no, I will not do a history of Mizzou draft picks. If you want a small slice of Mizzou's NBA history, take a look at this article: http://mizzourahblog.com/2010-...style.html
It isn't pretty for Mizzou either. But then again, they are not a Top 5 Basketball program and really haven't had many lottery or first round picks.

The point is that Kansas is a supreme basketball school and its players have not had much success in the NBA. Could be coincidence, could be coaching, could be anything. The reality is that in the past two decades, only 3 or 4 KU players have lived up to their draft value and only Pierce has been a top 30 NBA player.
cracker
written by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , June 21, 2010
If imitation is the purest form of flattery then, mocking has to be the second purest form. The Jayhawks thank you for keeping them near your heart.
This guy is a moron.
written by BenWillShitOnYou, January 05, 2011
Of course the Draft is a sham. You can point out how just about every QB in the NFL is overrated, because "in the 7th round Brady was picked". No one knows how well a person will play out. Its assinine to even try to compare when people were drafted as to how they turn out. You're prolly mad because Missouri currently has no one with a name in the NBA?
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