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Who Goes and Who Stays? 2011-12 UK Wildcat Basketball Team and the NBA Draft

Let the speculation begin!! Who goes and who stays!

This will be a running series of articles with regard to who leaves UK for the NBA and who may stick around for another season.

Anthony Davis: If Anthony Davis has any other thought than leaving for the NBA Calipari should open that secret safe in Rupp Arena and dust off Adolph Rupp's nickle plated colt 45 and openly threaten Davis (not really just saying). Maybe Calipari should pull a "DaJuan Wagner" and rip up Davis' scholarship papers. Davis is special and there is no possible way this young man can pass up being the number one pick in the NBA Draft.

Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist: Kidd-Gilchrist is also a very special player with tons of pro potential. Like Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist is projected by most pundits to be a top 5 pick in the next NBA draft. Too me you can not pass up that kind of an opportunity. Especially considering Kidd-Gilchrist's style of play. He plays hard and the threat of injury constantly looms near in every single game. Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist are no brainers, they have to leave for the next level.

Terrence Jones: Now we get to the great unknown. We all know that multiple NBA players and front office personnel told Jones last year that he simply was not ready for the next level. The question on the minds of all UK Basketball fans is this; how much has really changed with Jones from last year to this year? In my humble opinion not much has changed. He is still very enigmatic and very unpredictable as a player. I don't like to use this word to describe anyone, especially a young man just starting the journey of adult life, but Jones is a bit of a headcase. He is very hard to figure out. Right now lets examine the top three NBA Mock draft boards to see where Jones lands in a hypothetical draft.

Draft Express - (Updated April 2) - Jones is listed as the likely 11th pick in the NBA Draft. Seemingly the same exact position he was in last year. If Jarred Sullinger stays in school Jones' draft stock may rise 2 to 3 positions.

My NBA Draft - (Updated April 3) - Jones is listed as the 18th pick in the upcoming draft. Which is likely a more realistic scenario for Jones. Under the NBA CBA rookies are guaranteed 2 years with options up to 6 years. For the 18th pick in the draft Jones would see a gross of 2.1 million over 2 years. Factoring in agent fees, taxes and other expenses Jones may only see around $750,000 is actual cash flow for his first two years. Not bad but it is not top ten money. In contrast, if he stays another year and finally achieves the level of success that he is capable of he is a dead lock top 5 pick which would increase his bank account from 2.1 mil for 2 years to around 5 mil. That is a mega huge difference. But this all based on rigid math and if one reads the NBA contract rules it is not based on rigid math.

NBA Draft.Net: (Updated March 27) - Jones is listed as the 18th pick in the NBA Draft.

Conclusion on Jones: Jones should explore the NBA draft without hiring an agent. He should work out for as many teams as possible in the extremely short time allotted and reevaluate after that process. He may surprise a few NBA executives and rise in the ranks. If Jones is a projected top ten pick then he needs to pursue the NBA.

Marquis Teague: On the surface and considering his current mock draft position it would seem logical that Teague should return for a second year. But we must factor in the fact that his brother Jeff Teague is a star with the Atlanta Hawks so Marcus is plugged into the NBA system already. Will this connection guarantee Marcus top 15 money? No, at least that is my opinion. Marquis Teague, at this point in time, is not a very sought after point guard. Let's examine his current draft positions on the mock boards.

Draft Express: (Updated April 2) Teague is currently the 18th pick overall in the next draft which in my mind is just about right.

My NBA Draft: (Updated April 3rd) Teague is currently the 21st pick in the next NBA Draft.

NBA Draft.Net: (updated March 27) Teague is listed as the 28th pick in the next draft which may be a low projection considering that this mock board has not factored in Teague's Final Four performance.

Conclusion on Teague: Much like Jones he should explore his options and work that family connection to see if he could elevate his status to around the 15th pick. Teague's workouts will be the ultimate deciding factor as his limited role on this year's UK Basketball team really did not allow Teague to showcase all of his talents. Teague needs to improve his outside shot, though he has improved dramatically throughout the season. And his body control has developed dramatically this year. At the end of the day if Teague is hovering between the 17th and 21st pick he should return because if he has a great season next year he will be a lottery pick. But considering Teague's ambitions and the fact that his brother Jeff is making top tier NBA money the financial implications of him leaving as a 21st pick does not come into play here. I truly expect Teague to leave for the NBA.

Doron Lamb: This is where is gets extremely dicey. Lamb projections are not that high but I do expect that his amazing performance in the championship game will elevate his draft status. Lamb is a 6 foot 5 inch shooting guard, he does not have NBA point guard skills. So his role will be, as his skill set demands, a shooter. Shooting guards in the NBA are usually around 6-6 to 6-7. So his 6-5 frame may be an issue. He will have to develop a quicker release at the next level as well. Lamb is the one starter on this year's UK squad that may benefit the most by returning for another season.

Draft Express: (updated April 2nd) Lamb is currently projected to be the 4th pick in the second round of the NBA Draft. Not a place you want to be considering that 2nd rounders have no guarantees.

My NBA Draft: (Updated April 3rd) Lamb is listed as the 3rd pick in the second round.

NBA Draft.Net: (updated March 27) On this mock draft board Lamb breaks through into the 1st round as the 23rd pick in the 1st round.

Conclusions on Lamb: Just like Jones and Teague, Lamb should explore his options but he has the most work to do out of all the players on this list. He would have to have a breakthrough performance in his upcoming workouts to elevate him to a solid top 20 pick. And again, if Lamb returns for another year he will only get better and may be a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. I think Lamb may be the one starter that will return for another season.


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