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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
In 2010, everyone is going pro

By Eamonn Brennan

In 2010, lots of people who'd be better off not entering the NBA draft are going to, with utmost certainty, be entering the NBA draft. Prepare yourself.

Why? Quite simply, the NBA's potential lockout looms over the 2011 season and the 2011 NBA draft like the big money-sucking vacuum out of that weird animated Goodyear commercial that's been on every tournament telecast since March 18. With the chance the draft won't be around next year, or, if it is, that teams won't be able to offer their draftees contracts until an ongoing dispute between owners and the NBA players' association is settled, pretty much everyone who has even an outsider's shot at the NBA this year is going to be testing those waters early and often.

Tommy Mason-Griffin started the trend. Yesterday, UTEP's Derrick Caracter continued it. Of course, this goldrush includes players like Cole Aldrich, likely lottery picks that should be going pro this year, guys whose best interests would be served by the draft even if it wasn't a lockout year. It will also include guys like Michigan's Manny Harris, who announced he was leaving John Beilein's program Monday. Harris is currently at the tail end of the second round of Chad Ford's NBA mock (Insider); there's a decent chance he'll go undrafted.

At some point, you wonder if doing the counterintuitive thing would be the best strategy. If there's going to be an NBA draft run this year, and you can afford to stick around for another year (two or more is better, but beggars can't be choosers), maybe you take the risk, stay in school, and hope the lockout thing works out? Maybe you boost your draft status simply by not being in the morass that will be 2010's overstuffed draft. It's has a higher ratio of risk to reward, but anything beats this 2010 draft. The bad decisions -- in so far as you can call them that -- are just going to keep rolling in.