Welcome to Part II of Josh Scott week. Earlier this week, I wrote about the teams most likely to target Scott in the draft or as an undrafted free agent. Today, we’ll be discussing the likelihood of Josh Scott hearing his name called on Thursday.
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You may have heard narrative that this is one of the weaker drafts in recent memory, but don’t buy into that. This draft lacks a surefire superstar like Anthony Davis, and may even be without a perennial All-Star, but what it lacks in star power it makes up for in depth. Teams with late lottery picks are in position to snag players with All-NBA potential (bold words are links). Those with late first round picks will be fighting internally deciding between international phenoms and college superstars. Even teams in the latter half of the second round can choose between All-Conference college players and high-upside Europeans. I get pumped up every year for second round prospects, but I can’t recall seeing a draft with this much quality there.
Not only is this draft generally deep, but there are promising big men galore. There are eleven true centers (not including Scott) that could realistically be first round picks. For comparison, 2015 had that many selected in the entire draft. 2014 had nine total. Moreover, there are big men of all types. Classic, post-oriented bigs like Jakob Poeltl are available. Inside-out stretch bigs like Henry Ellenson are there. Same with defense-first guys like Deyonta Davis. High-risk, high-reward players like Skal Labissiere are littered all over the place. If a team needs a center, no matter what kind, this is the draft for them.
This surplus is only magnified by the lack of quality wings in this draft. This means teams in need of wings will reach for lesser prospects, which will cause lottery talent bigs to slide further and further.
For Josh Scott and other fringe prospects, this is not the draft to be stuck in. Teams in need of Scott’s skill set will likely be able to fill that need early on with higher-ceiling prospects.
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We all know Scott can be a dominant player on both ends of the court. On offense, there weren’t many players capable of scoring a vital basket as consistently as he was. On defense, he was always in the right place at the right time, and he was able to protect the rim (without fouling) and secure rebounding without giving away position for either. Considering his all-around game, only a handful of big men around the country were more valuable than him.
We’ve all grown to love the man, but we have to look at more than his college production. Scott doesn’t have elite athleticism or shooting. He doesn’t have imposing size (he’s 6’8 without shoes). He’s also turning 23 years old in early July, which makes him older than a few players drafted in 2012. (Scott is only four months younger than Anthony Davis, and no sane person thinks of Davis as a prospect.) The reality is that there isn’t much room for Scott to develop. Because of that, teams will pass over him on lesser players with gobs more potential, even if Scott is better right now. Such is the NBA Draft.
Scott is better than many of his contemporaries, but he’ll never develop into an All-Star, and odds are he’ll never become a viable starter. He can still be a valuable bench player (teams always need depth in their big man rotation) and contribute from the get-go, but it seems more and more likely that Scott will have to do so as an undrafted free agent.