Did Chet Holmgren and Jaden Ivey Hurt Their Draft Stock? Can Duke's Fab Five all be First Round Picks?
Plus, who hurt and helped their draft stock the most in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight?
Let’s share our thoughts after the wild second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Which top NBA draft prospects did the most to help themselves, and which did the least?
Who are the NBA draft sleepers we’ve been watching most closely?
And what Final Four matchups are we looking forward to?
1. Chet Holmgren and Jaden Ivey both struggled in the Sweet 16, and their teams were bounced from the NCAA Tournament. How do you think their performances will affect their respective cases to be the No. 1 pick?
Rafael Barlowe: I don’t know if those games will have an impact or not. We’ve seen players struggle in the tournament in the past with zero impact on their draft status.
But Chet’s tournament performances magnified some concerns I have had all season: How does he score if he’s not shooting 3s in transition, and what’s his offensive role in the NBA?
Ivey needed a strong tournament and probably a Final Four run to have a shot at going No. 1. That said, he’ll look a lot better with NBA spacing than he did in college.
Chad Ford: Yeah, I think Ivey’s long-shot case for the No. 1 pick took a pretty big hit. There are bad games where a player’s shot isn’t falling (see Jabari Smith the week before), and then there are games like Ivey’s on Friday, where everything looked bad: shot selection, turnovers, overall feel and body language. It was, by far, the worst game I’ve ever seen him play — and the competition was Saint Peter’s.
Like Rafael, I generally think one bad game shouldn’t overshadow an entire season of terrific play. Ivey has a chance to be special — but that game highlighted the biggest areas he needs to improve to get there. The physical talent is there. The shooting has come along. But can he develop the feel to be an NBA lead guard? That will be what front offices will be debating prior to draft night.
As for Holmgren, he ended with 11 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks against Arkansas. Foul trouble limited him to 23 minutes. That’s not a terrible line, and he, once again, was impactful on the defensive end.
But I think the crowd that questioned how he’d handle better competition will feel justified after his play in the NCAA Tournament. Against top opponents outside the WCC this year — Texas, UCLA, Duke, Alabama, Texas Tech, Memphis and Arkansas — Holmgren averaged 9.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 3.1 blocks, shooting 51% from the field and just 4-for-20 from beyond the arc. I think the questions about how his offense will translate against strong, athletic opponents are legitimate.
The skill is clearly there, but for scouts, I think there’s generally a feeling that Holmgren is the biggest gamble of the top four prospects in the draft. His upside is enormous, but his perceived floor is causing some handwringing.