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April 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

Aloha everyoneThanks for coming to the chat today. I know for the fans of 16 teams, the playoffs are on their minds. However, for 14 teams tonight is the last night of the season. The NCAA's meaningless deadline to declare for the draft was yesterday. The more meaningful one is the NBA's on April 27th. Still there's a flood of underclassmen coming into the draft. We will talk draft all hour. Let's roll.

Dan (NYC)

Jabari's deciding today. What are you hearing?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

Well it seems there's some uncertainty that he's deciding today. He said he was meeting with Coach K yesterday. I think he's truly torn. He'd love to come back, improve, play with friends Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones. He also knows he's a Top 3 pick and if he returns, he risks slipping in the draft due to performance questions or an injury. The latest I've heard is that he's leaning toward declaring, but again, these are immensely emotional issues and sometimes people go back and forth on them multiple times a day. I think we're going to have to wait on the press conference for this one. If he does stay, he'll be a top our Big Board for 2015. There is no one in the incoming class that's a better prospect than Jabari.

Michael (Phila)

Whats up with J. Randle. I know you have him listed as in the draft, but I have not seen any official statement

Chad Ford
  (1:07 PM)

No official statement, but Jeff Goodman, our college basketball insider, reported for us that he was coming. I trust Jeff on this. Though of course, players can change their minds. Don't really see any reason why he'd stay. He's a Top 6 pick.

Paulius (Lithuania)

Lakers and Dante Exum meant for each other?

Chad Ford
  (1:09 PM)

If the Lakers win one of the top 3 picks, I'd be shocked if Exum worked out for anyone but LA. If they fall to 6th (the most likely spot for them) I think Exum's agent may open up the process. Someone would take Exum before that anyway ...

Joe Chicago [via mobile]

What others teams beside the Jazz would take Jabari at 1 or 2 over Wiggins or Embiid? Any?

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans are all possibilities. All teams that want to make the playoffs next year and may prefer the most NBA ready prospect in the draft.

Ned (Minneapolis, MN)

What's the highest pick you see a team taking a chance on Zach Lavine's upside and do you think Minnesota would have any interest at 13?

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

He's got a pretty wide range but the consensus I got from NBA scouts and GMs I spoke with in Portland about him specifically is that virtually all of them think he'll go in the late lottery. I think that's 10-14 ... and obviously he could slide a bit further. He's a shooter with elite athletic ability ... Minnesota makes a lot of sense. So will Denver and Phoenix.

Marvis Louisville [via mobile]

What's the latest rumor for the twins, Dakari, young & poythress? A lot if noise around saying some are going to return to Lex?

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

Trying to figure that out as we speak. Think James Young is very likely to leave for the draft. I think the two most likely to stay are Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress though I wonder if Cauley-Stein's decision to stay may push Johnson out. With Karl Towns coming in (and Towns may be the most talented of all of them) there could be playing time issues. As for the Harrison twins, they've wanted to go to the NBA all season. I know they've been talking to agents and trying to figure things out. The challenge for them is that the feedback from the NBA hasn't been what they want to hear -- even with their strong play in the tournament. If they want guarantees they are first round picks, not sure either will get it. So ... it might push them to come back. I think they could really help their stock if they played one more year in Lexington.

Deven (New York, NY)

What's with the situation with Dario Saric?

Chad Ford
  (1:22 PM)

Saric has hired a new agent and the agent told the website DraftExpress today he was going to declare for the draft. Whether he stays in the draft is the question. International players have until June 16th to withdraw. Saric's father has been public that he doesn't want his son to come to the NBA yet. He doesn't think he's ready. So it's unlikely he'd play in the NBA next season and perhaps not until the 2016-17 season. That will affect where he gets drafted. If Saric wants to be a Top 10 pick (he has that sort of talent) most teams would want a guarantee of when he'd come over and most would want it to be sooner rather than later. I think the most plausible scenario now is that he declares and withdraws.

Andy (Ann Arbor)

With Stauskas and GR3 declaring yesterday, is McGary going to come back to Michigan?

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

His stock has slid to the first round bubble. If he had come out last year (assuming his back checked out OK) he would've been a late lottery pick. Another strong year at Michigan could put him back firmly in the first round, but his age is starting to catch up with him. Not sure what he'll decide. There are good arguments both ways.

rick (exton pa)

Where would YOU rate a healthy Nerlens Noel if he were in this draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

5th behind Wiggins, Embiid, Parker and Exum.

Ricardo (Brazil)

Chad, are you surprised with Montrezl Harrell staying? Can one more year in Louisville make him a sure TOP 10 pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

I was surprised because I thought he was a lottery pick. But he has plenty of things that he can improve. His offensive game still needs a lot of polish.

Zorro Gill Memphis [via mobile]

Are teams shying away from Embid regarding injury issues?

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

No. They are taking a wait-and-see approach. They'll know more in mid May after the draft combine. NBA teams send their doctors to look at these guys with a fine toothed comb. If they clear him, he'll have a really good shot at the No. 1 pick. If it's minor, he'll slide to the 3 to5 range. If it would require surgery or is more serious, he could slide ala Jared Sullinger a few years ago.

Dave (Philly)

Can PJ Hairston go top 10 if he performs well in interviews? I think he's as offensively talented as anyone in this draft with the exception of Jabari.

Chad Ford
  (1:30 PM)

He's going to get A LOT of questions in those interviews. Teams are nervous about him. But on talent, you're right. He's a 10-15 pick in this draft.

Drew (NC)

Other than Parker, who are the guys that scouts are most anticipating word from right now?

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

James Young, Rodney Hood, Jordan Adams, KJ McDaniels ... those four have first round potential, but haven't declared officially yet. Harrison twins too.

Pat, PA [via mobile]

Who fits best with the Sixers? With both picks

Chad Ford
  (1:34 PM)

I think an ideal haul for them would be Andrew Wiggins and Noah Vonleh.

Patrick (Arkansas)

What are the odds that Clint Capela declares for the draft and is he a viable candidate for the Spurs at 30?

Chad Ford
  (1:35 PM)

I think he's going to declare. But he can withdraw up to June 16th. So he has plenty of time to explore his draft stock and recover from a so-so performance at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Owen (Toronto)

You said Andrew Wiggins could be a Paul George type player in the NBA but Wiggins clearly doesn't have PG's range. Do you really see him becoming that good of a shooter?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

George shot 35% from three the year he was drafted -- Andrew Wiggins shot 34% from three. They aren't that far off.

David (Philly)

Will Shabazz Napier still be a 2nd round pick? How about Nick Johnson?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

I think Napier has a good shot at the first round. Johnson looks to be pretty firmly planted in the second.

Taylor (SLC)

Who is your draft sleeper this year?

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

Elfrid Payton. Long, athletic, slithery. Good defender. Needs to get stronger and improve his jumper, but I think he could be a good NBA PG someday. After Exum and Smart are off the board, I think he or LaVine might be the PG prospect with the most upside.

Collin (Wisconsin)

Other than Parker, what prospect do you consider most NBA ready?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Julius Randle. Marcus Smart. Both have NBA bodies and can handle the rigor of the NBA.

Andrew (Denver, CO)

What is Jarnell Stokes' draft range?

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

25-40. Great rebounder, undersized and plays below the rim.

JC (Detroit)

Consensus has said mid-first round for Stauskas, but where is GR3 at right now?

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

Stauskas is probably 10-20. GR3 looking to be more in the 25-40 range.

JC (KC)

With Cauley Stein & Harrell out isn't R H-Jefferson making a mistake? He could be top 15

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

He could be. But I don't think he's making a mistake either. Could be a Top 10 pick in 2015. Lots of talent.

Bracken (UT)

Besides being a senior, what's the biggest knock on A Payne? I think he could contribute pretty quickly.

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

That's it. There's a bias against age. Blame John Hollinger for some of it. He's proven statistically that the older you are when you are drafted, the less likely you are to have a great NBA career. Virtually every analytics formula uses that now. However, the data isn't totally clean. If every player was forced to stay for four years, it wouldn't look that way. Most elite prospects leave when they are young, which means the ones left typically are the less talented ones. I think Payne has the chance to be an outlier. He has a NBA skill set as a stretch four and I think he could be really good.

Travis (Portsmouth, NH)

What about Cleanthony Early, looks prepared to be an impact player at SF immediately, any chance he lands in the top 20?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

He could. But his age is working against him the same way it's working against Payne.

Ross (LA)

How will Emmanuel Mudiay draft sotck be if he is in this draft

Chad Ford
  (1:53 PM)

Top 10 pick. Looking like he's got a good shot at going No. 1 in 2015. However, one of the reasons scouts are so high on him is that he's going to play for Larry Brown. They think that year will be huge for his progression as a player. So ... without Brown, maybe they would be so high.

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

Gotta run a few minutes early today everyone. Thanks for the chat! Enjoy the last day of the NBA season. We will do this again next week!