Coming in as a former McDonald's All American, many analysts predicted James Blackmon Jr. to make a statement during his debut college season with the Indiana Hoosiers. While Tom Crean's team failed to meet its basketball history's relatively high standards, Blackmon still proved that he belongs in a field of greats.
Blackmon is a versatile shooter and can make effortless shots from deep range and rarely turns the ball over.
In his freshman season, he averaged 30 minutes a game with 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds.
The question, though, is when might be the right time for Blackmon to try out his professional career.
As mock drafts sit now, NBA analysts predict that Blackmon will hear his named called as one of the last few picks in the second round, if at all. One mock draft has the Indiana freshman as the 56th pick, going to the Los Angeles Clippers.
This prediction definitely looks to have its flaws, however. Doc Rivers already has three point guards in multi-year all-star Chris Paul, Lester Hudson and Rivers' son, Austin. Paul is in his second year of a five-year contract extension, while Austin Rivers has a year left on his contract. The Clippers also just signed Hudson on a 10-day contract.
Drafting another point guard just does not make sense for the Clippers.
Even if the Clippers needed a point guard, it's not too promising that James Blackmon should be the guy for the job.
Blackmon is simply not a one and done player. This could be for multiple reasons. First of all, he's not an NBA-ready type of player. Though he is elite in his class, another year or two in college will only benefit Blackmon's career.
Another thing to point out is the point guard-heavy draft class that Blackmon would be entering should he choose to declare in 2015. This year's draft class consists of point guards like Duke's Tyus Jones, Utah's Delon Wright and top ranked point guard Emmanuel Mudiay who is playing in China. Blackmon doesn't even hold a spot in cbssports.com list of the Top 25 NBA draft prospect rankings for point guards.
Another issue for Blackmon is that he is kind of in between positions. Though he was a point guard for the Hoosiers, Blackmon's smooth shooting stroke also hints at a shooting guard. The problem with that though is that he is too small to be a true NBA shooting guard. Blackmon is listed at 6'4". But his wingspan measures 6'8", allowing him to play much bigger.
Indiana's lack of success in the NCAA tournament certainly does not help Blackmon's cause. The Hoosier's lost in the first round to Wichita State. Though the Shockers proved their worth by beating Kansas in the round of 32, it still does not help Blackmon's case. Since he does have a few aspects of his game and surroundings to make up for in respect to the 2015 draft, Blackmon needed to prove that he can lead a team to success. He clearly did not do this given the opportunities in his first college season.
By no means does this all go to say that James Blackmon Jr. is not an NBA player. He most definitely has the potential to be a first round draft pick, but it may take a year or two for him to reach his full potential. It would make the most sense for Blackmon not to declare for the draft and spend another year at Indiana proving his worth to the NBA community.