Fran is here!
Fran, UNLV is putting together quite the recruiting class this season. Do you think the Runnin' Rebs have all the pieces to make some magic happen?
@doubleyew, Dave Rice and his staff are loading the Rebs up with terrific talent, especially on the front line. I absolutely think they are capable of being at top 25 team. With Birch eligible after transferring from Pitt, I wonder if there will be any rebounds left for anyone else.
Best international big in the draft?
There is no Gasol or even a Bargnani in this draft. My favorite is Kostas Papanikolaou, a 6-7 forward from Greece, who was one of the heros of the Euro League championships. He'll likely be drafted between 25-35, but don't expect him to be in the NBA for the next couple of years.
what kind of impact will Rivers have?
Better than some people think. His game is more suited to the spacing in the NBA, because of his ability to get into the paint off the dribble on anyone. His biggest adjustment will be not getting to the rim, but having the ability to find his teammates. He plays with tunnel vision at times. I am sure that will change when he gets around veteran players who will demand the ball. If he slips below 10, someone will be getting a valuable asset.
what's Davis' ceiling? First pick that only does one thing a smart move?
Yes. The NBA is about having one great skill. And his shot blocking and basketball IQ will make him a formidable defensive presence early in his career. But keep in mind that his offense came leaps and bounds over the course of one season. If you remember in the Final Four, he had a sequence on consecutive trips where he hit a left handed jump hook and a right handed jump hook.
With Royce White projected to go in the first round of the draft, Iowa State will have 2 players drafted in the first round in the last three years. Do you think they will continue to consistently put players in the league in the future?
It's hard to say, but it's clear that Fred Hoiberg's program in Ames is on the rise. I expect the Cyclones to consistently be in the top half of the Big 12 over the next few years.
What type of year will Duke have with the departure of Austin Rivers and graduation of Miles Plumlee?
Don't fret for Duke, they're still a top 10 program. Mason Plumlee will anchor the middle. They'll get scoring from guys like Seth Curry, Kelly and Sulaimon and don't forget Alex Murphy, who's coming off a redshirt season and will be a freshman this year.
What type of NBA career do you think Harrison Barnes will have?
Solid if not spectacular. I see him as being more of a Sean Elliott type player who fits in on a good team. Think of him as a very good Robin, instead of Batman. Don't forget that Elliott was a 12-year pro, college player of the year and NBA champion. Not a bad career for anyone, including Harrison Barnes.
What guys projected to go late in the first or early in the 2nd do you think can surprise people?
There always are. Last year was Parsons from Florida who was drafted at 38 and started most of the season for Houston. A couple of favorites of mine are Cunningham of Oregon State, Mike Scott of Virginia - he could be a Carl Landry type performer who gets drafted in the early second round.
After Anthony Davis, there are any number of players who will be drafted between 2 and 25 and the guy at 25 could have as big an impact as a guy taken in the top 10.
With so many freshman staying for a sophmore year, this class seem deeper than recent years past. Even teams outside the lottery have a good chance at getting an impact player. With that said, will this draft help push the argument that the NBA should raise its age limit?
No. I think it's a unique year. By the way, many of those who elected to stay have actually hurt their draft stock. Barnes, Jones and Sullinger come to mind as guys who may have been taken higher last year than this year.
It's a deep draft, not in terms of stars, but in terms of getting the same player at No. 20 as you can at No. 25.
With an abundance of talent, could Kansas make a run at the championship a second straight year?
Why not? It would be surprising in a given year if they didn't. They returns Jeff Withey and combo guard Johnson. I'm particularly excited to see how much of an impact McLemore makes on this Jayhawk team. He sat out for academic reasons a year ago, but the coaching staff raved about him in practice. He reminds me of former Jayhawk Brandon Rush.
How do you think Kendall Marshall would fit in with OKC or the Lakers?
I doubt he'll be there for either team. The Lakers don't have a first round pick and the Thunder will pick No. 28, barring any trades. Kendall may be the best passer in college basketball in the last decade. The hope is that he can have a Mark Jackson-like effect on a team. Somebody is likely to grab him between 13-25.
Fran, how much pressure is on me to get it done in the ACC this year with all the talent on my 2012-13 roster?
If there's pressure on Mark and his team, it's a good pressure. Real pressure is having no players on your roster. I expect NC State to start out in the top 10 and stay there all season. They have a great combination of quality veterans and an excellent recruiting staff. Kudos to Coach G for bringing the magic back to the pack.
Where could Bernard James fit in the NBA, whether he is drafted or not?
Andre, he'll be a role player and an active big body, especially defensively. While it's admirable that he served in the military before attending junior college, he'll start his NBA career as a 27 year old. He should be drafted in the second round and should make a roster, as a post defender.
Fran, you called many Longhorn games this year and have seen J'Covan Brown alot. What does he have to do to make/stick with a team. Seems to me (biased Longhorn fan) that he can help any NBA team with his scoring ability.
He'll be a specialist if he makes the roster. He is a small scoring guard who could be a secondary ball handler but not a full time point guard, in my opinion. He's likely to go mid to late second round or undrafted. But that shouldn't discourage him. Last year Washington's Thomas was the 60th and final pick in the NBA draft and had one of the more productive rookie seasons in the league.
Is Arizona finally going to return to a top 20 team this year? How do they look in the Pac compared to teams like UCLA and Washington?
Yes. Sean Miller has begun to bring the magic back to Tucson. He has recruited well and coached even better. I'm a huge Hill fan and he could have a Draymond Green-like effect on the young Wildcats. I expect junior guard Nick Johnson to make dramatic improvements. A dynamite recruiting class will help as well.
Hypothetical situation - You are the GM with the number 2 pick this year. Disregarding need and just selecting the best NBA player, who do you choose?
The guy that I believe would have the most instant impact on a team is Thomas Robinson. His production this year as a full time starter for the first time and his combination of size, speed and strength, to me, makes him a double-double guy from the get-go.
While he's not high risk-high reward, I expect him to have a David West-like career for the team that selects him.
Thanks for letting me chat with you today. If you're in the Dallas area, Chuck Cooperstein and I will be discussing the NBA draft and the Mavs from 2-3 p.m. CT today. I'll see everybody next Wednesday and Thursday nights as ESPN covers the 2012 NBA draft from start to finish.