With the 2015 NBA Draft on the horizon, the BTPowerhouse staff got together to discuss some of the Big Ten's major prospects, how many players might get drafted and who might get selected.
Here is the full conversation.
1. In most mock drafts, former Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell is the first player from the Big Ten to jump off the board. There doesn't seem to be a lot of debate on this. So, who comes off the board from the Big Ten next?
Thomas Beindit: According to all the mock drafts, it's a pretty safe assumption that either Sam Dekker or Frank Kaminsky will come off the board after Russell. Personally, I think Dekker will be the better player in the long-term, but I think somebody will take a shot on Kaminsky. His combination of size, ball handling, and shot creating ability make him an intriguing prospect with a really high ceiling if things land right. Somebody will want to take that chance.
Adam Biggers: I think it's D'Angelo all day, every day. But overall, I like Frank Kaminsky's game and think he will prove to be the better pro. Now, feel free to remind me in three years if I'm wrong, but I like Frank's prospects better than D'Angelo's raw ability.
Graham Hooten: Some experts seem to think that Sam Dekker may have more of an NBA upside than teammate and reigning Naismith award winner Frank Kaminsky. However, I like Big Frank being taken first. His size fits well into an NBA system, the only question that remains if his skill will translate to the professional level. I see more longevity in Kaminsky, and that's why I think he'll go second after Russell.
Bryan Steedman: I feel like it'll probably be Kaminsky, but I think Dekker has more potential upside than the center. If Dekker can improve from outside, I think he's definitely the better prospect of the two. That being said, I still think Kaminsky will go first as there always seems to be at least some need for a seven footer, even more so if they can shoot away from the basket.
Eric Laboissonniere: The next player off the board is obviously going to be Kaminsky or Dekker from Wisconsin. Kaminsky's stock has been rising as of late, and Dekker's stock rose after last year's NCAA tournament. I think Kaminsky could squeeze into the top 10 because of his versatility and ability to stretch the floor.
Ben Davis: Russell will be the first player taken from the Big Ten in this draft for a good reason as he will have the best career, possibly by a wide margin. While Kaminsky and Dekker were teammates in college, they will be competing to be the next Big Ten player off the board, but ultimately Kaminsky will win this battle. There is a possibility that this changes leading up to the draft based on who each works out for and how they look, but Kaminsky is thought of as the more solid player and almost every team will consider a big man who can stretch the floor when they are on the clock.
2. We've all seen in the past that NBA Drafts have had no shortage of surprises. What Big Ten player do you think has a chance to be selected highly that few are talking about at the moment?
Thomas Beindit: Well, the majority of mock drafts have 4 prospects from the Big Ten in the Draft right now with Dekker, Kaminsky, and Russell in the 1st Round and Iowa's Aaron White in the 2nd Round. Personally, I don't see a lot of movement coming from any of these guys. However, I think Nebraska's Terran Petteway has a decent chance to make it into the field and become a serious prospect. He's received a lot of attention and appears to a prospect trending up. Ultimately, someone will have to take a chance, but him going solidly in the 2nd Round wouldn't surprise me.
Adam Biggers: I'm not quite sure if there's a "surprise" player in the Big Ten. I think we'll see the Big Three (D'Angelo, Sam, Frank) taken first, but then there is Petteway (Nebraska), White (Iowa) and Trice (MSU)...and Dawson (MSU) that have potential. Maybe Dawson as a mid-second-rounder? Not sold on him in the NBA. Very athletic, but far from complete.
Graham Hooten: I wouldn't be surprised to see Terran Petteway from Nebraska sneak up in the later second round. While the 6-6 Petteway played small forward for the Huskers, his ability to shoot the jump shot lend himself very useful to an NBA team. Having carried Nebraska for the past two seasons, he also exhibits strong leadership and above average athleticism, two important traits in a draft prospect.
Bryan Steedman: I actually don't see any major surprises for the Big Ten this draft. I think everyone is well aware of where Russell will go and the same can be said for Kaminsky and Dekker. I think we'd be more likely to see one of them slide down the board if anything, but I think the top three guys are pretty much all going to go off the board where most anticipate.
Eric Laboissonniere: Not many people project Dez Wells of Maryland to get drafted, but I think he could be a great fit late in the second round. He is a gifted scorer and he can get to the rim at will. Wells needs to improve his shooting if he wants to have a long career in the NBA. If Wells was taken late in the second round, many people would be shocked.
Tim Langevin: Travis Trice of MSU. Not expected to get drafted, but would make a nice story if drafted late in second round. A handful of Big Ten players have an outside chance because Philadelphia has six picks, five in the second round (35, 37, 47, 58, 60).
Ben Davis: As previously mentioned, I don't see too many surprises. I think it's a virtual lock that only Russell, Kaminsky, and Dekker go in the first round from the Big Ten. Frank Kaminsky is the one guy who has some versatility on the board and could surprise people by jumping in to the top 10. The Denver Nuggets at #7 and the Detroit Pistons at #8 (who will most likely lose Greg Monroe in the offseason) are two possibilities for Kaminsky to sneak into the top 10.
3. To rebound off of that question, what Big Ten prospect do you think will see himself "fall" on draft day?
Thomas Beindit: It's kind of a unique year for the Big Ten with three guys solidly in the 1st Round and a bunch hang around the late 2nd, so there isn't a ton of room for movement. However, one guy I could see slipping is Dekker. I think a lot of people are going to be concerned about his perimeter shooting and where exactly he fits into a lineup. As such, I could see him going in the late 1st.
Adam Biggers: Great question. The main three are all early-first-rounders, so I don't think we'll see any of them fall. Not sure about rest, as they're UDFA/late-late guys.
Graham Hooten: Right now, there don't seem to be any prospects in major danger of falling off the board. However, there might be some undrafted free agent prospects whose stock falls after the big day. Guys like Travis Trice work well in the college game, but his skill set will be tough to adapt to a pro level. Its important to note that while he ran the point for Tom Izzo and the Spartans last season, he was not the best playmaker on the floor. Denzel Valentine is a far better shooter and scorer, and despite Trice's leadership was one of the main reasons Michigan State made it to the Final Four. It'll be interesting to see where Trice goes during this offseason.
Bryan Steedman: I don't see anyone really dropping, but I do think Dekker's so-so three point shot could turn off some potential teams.
Eric Laboissonniere: I believe no Michigan State players will get drafted in this year's draft. Travis Trice and Branden Dawson will not hear their name called on draft night.
Tim Langevin: I don't see Sam Thompson or Shannon Scott of OSU getting drafted. They may join Aaron Craft in NBA D League.
Ben Davis: Most mock drafts have Aaron White as a definite second round pick, but I think there is a chance he doesn't get drafted after a subpar draft combine.
4. Several players from the Big Ten made splashes in their rookie seasons last year including Michigan's Mitch McGary. Does the Big Ten have an opportunity to make a big splash in this year's rookie class?
Thomas Beindit: Anytime you put three guys solidly in the 1st Round, there's always going to be a chance to make a splash. Russell will likely go to a pretty bad team, but him making the NBA All-Rookie team and being in contention for Rookie of the Year wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Dekker and Kaminsky are also both pretty developed guys who appear ready to play. I doubt we will see a lot of guys make a huge impact, but the early contributors are there.
Adam Biggers: Depending on the team that drafts Kaminsky...he'd be my pick.
Graham Hooten: With three potential top 15 draft picks, the Big Ten has a strong top half of the draft. Russell will look to have an immediate impact on wherever he goes, and for that reason he'll be the favorite for a breakout rookie season. However, Kaminsky and Dekker have the opportunity to make big noise as well. I like the Big Ten's chances this year at showing the NBA its full potential.
Bryan Steedman: That depends on how well D'Angelo Russell can perform, wherever he lands. As good as he was in college, I think Kaminsky's game isn't going to translate at the professional level. He's good enough that he could find success as a backup or in spot matchups, depending on the opposing teams starting center, but I can't see him dealing with some of the more physically talented bigs at the pro level. As for the other hyped Wisconsin player, Sam Dekker will definitely need to improve from outside if he wants to have success at the next level. As much hype as he got at the end of this past season, Dekker is coming off of two seasons were he hasn't shot better than 33.1% from three. So while Russell could contribute right away, I feel like Kaminsky and Dekker are both projects for whoever drafts them and anyone else (White, Petteway, Newbill, etc.) will be unlikely to explode onto the scene.
Eric Laboissonniere: I think D'Angelo Russell is going to shine in his rookie season. He could easily be the NBA ROY next season.
Ben Davis: Russell has a great chance at Rookie of the Year, especially if he is drafted by the Sixers as he will be provided with the ultimate opportunity to run an offense and create for himself and others (Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel). Kaminsky and Dekker, based on their teams, could also make an impact as they are more NBA ready than most prospects are in this one-and-done age of the NBA Draft.
5. Finally, make your prediction about how many players from the Big Ten will be drafted.
Thomas Beindit: The safe answer here is somewhere from 3 players to 6. Outside of Dekker, Kaminsky, and Russell, nobody is guaranteed a Draft spot. However, I think White is a decent bet to make the field and I think Petteway finds a way, so I will go with 5 prospects here. A lot is going to depend on how guys perform in workouts over the next few weeks.
Graham Hooten: I like four to five. Obviously Russell, Kaminsky and Dekker go in the first round, but the later second round is up for discussion. Petterway and Aaron White have the best chance of making the board but Trice has an outside shot of sneaking into one of the final picks. Either way, the Big Ten's presence will be felt when Adam Silver calls those names on June 25th.
Bryan Steedman: Three players for sure, with a possibility of maybe a fourth or fifth guy. We all know that Russell, Dekker and Kaminsky will go in the first round. Then we have a laundry list of guys that will get a look from teams this summer, the only question is if said teams will spend a second round pick on them or bring them in as free agents. It might actually benefit a lot of those guys to go undrafted, since they can pick more favorable situations for themselves, but it wouldn't really surprise me if guys like Aaron White end up sneaking into the late second round.
Eric Laboissonniere: D'Angelo Russell, Frank Kaminsky, and Sam Dekker will all get drafted, but that could be it for the Big Ten on draft night. Also, Aaron White, Dez Wells, and Terran Petteway might hear their name called. I believe only four players will end up being drafted from the Big Ten.
Tim Langevin: The Big Ten had a lot of talented college players that meshed well with their respective teams, but I only see Russell, Kaminsky, and Dekker making the cut. Maybe Aaron White. And after Kaminsky and Dekker drafted, we may never hear about them again. Down year for Big Ten NBA talent-wise.
Ben Davis: I think five at the least, and potentially six. The big three in the first round and Terran Petteway are the only locks, but Aaron White and Brendan Dawson have a good chance to hear their names as well. I think at least one of those two gets picked so I'll say five at the least.