NBA Draft: When Will Nebraska Have a Draftee?

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Nebrasketball took a huge leap last season with a NCAA Tournament appearance. When will they produce an NBA draft pick?

If this article were written 1 year ago, the answer would be "hahahahhahahah yeah right a Nebraska player getting drafted." And that would be a completely reasonable answer at the time. But Tim Miles and company cooked up one of the best seasons in recent history for the Cornhuskers by finishing fourth in the Big Ten and making the NCAA tournament.

It's been quite a long time since Nebraska has produced an NBA draft pick. The most recent occurred in 1998, when Tyronn Lue was drafted #23 overall by the Denver Nuggets in 1998. That's a long dry spell, and is one of the longest in the conference. Then again, that shouldn't surprise you. No one can call Nebraska a basketball powerhouse with a straight face. Yes, the arrow is pointing up, but historically speaking, things don't look great for Nebraska and the NBA Draft.

With the crux of their team returning for next year, it's possible the Huskers have some NBA-level talent on their roster at this very moment. No, not lottery picks. Not yet at least. But some of the stars of next year's Nebraska team could become solid role players on NBA rosters for years to come.

The two names that stand out for the 2015 NBA Draft also happen to be their two best players. Isn't that funny? Those names would be Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. Both have pretty low ceilings, but a solid 2014-15 season could cement their place in the second round.

Petteway and Shields are eerily similar players. Both stand at 6'6", can create their own shot, and can rebound better than one may expect. However, neither have blow-you-away athletic abilities. That doesn't necessarily bode well for their draft prospects. The NBA Draft has become a carnival of "potential." Players with limited success in college but with impressive athletic measurables can skyrocket up draft boards during the combine. Which is the way it should be. You don't draft the best player at the moment. You draft the best player for your team in the future. NBA general managers are smart folks, and know that guys with 40 inch verticals are more valuable than guys who can put up 18 points a night against Purdue.

So where does that leave Petteway and Shields? Their "old-men games" don't really jive with the direction of NBA Draft prospects today. What will teams think about them?

Teams will evaluate Petteway and Shields based on the success of Roy Devyn Marble of Iowa. Yes, a fellow B1Gmeister. While they aren't carbon copies of skillset, Marble's best attribute was his ability to get buckets. Obviously, Marble will be playing a different role on the Orlando Magic. He's not going to be running isos like he did at Iowa. But if he can mesh into the offense in some capacity, that will make teams feel comfortable drafting guys like Petteway and Shields.

No matter how much NBA GMs value potential, there will always be a voice in an NBA front office that sees these guys "getting buckets" and wants them. If these two guys progress linearly next year (particularly on defense), they can wind up getting drafted in the second round.

Don't worry, Nebraska. Your moment of draft day glory is coming.

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