With the 2016 NBA Draft just one more day away, the BTPowerhouse staff got together to discuss some of the Big Ten's prospects, who could become the biggest steal and how many players might be selected from the conference.
Here is the full conversation.
1.) In most Mock Draft's, it looks like the Michigan State pair of Deyonta Davis and Denzel Valentine are first round locks. Outside of the two Spartans, do you think any other Big Ten player will break into the first round?
Jerome Scherwin Jr.: I've looked around and looked around and looked around the internets and I can't get a hold on this. Some have Diamond Stone and AJ Hammons sneaking into the first. Others have them late in the second round. And it seems to all depend on what some of the GM's and scouts want in the back half of the first round and where they are with the cap. There seems to be a run of European players that will inevitably go at some point late giving teams the option to store away those guys for later. If that happens, that could force the likes of Stone and Hammons into the second round. While I think that could be a possibility, I think one of those two Big Ten big men will hear their name called by Adam Silver.
Thomas Beindit: Maybe this is cheating a little bit, but DraftExpress currently has Diamond Stone currently slotted in the first round (at No. 29), so it's hard not to lean toward Stone as another Big Ten guy to be selected. Additionally, AJ Hammons is at least within shouting distance and if a team really needs a big man (cough, cough Golden State), he could be there for the taking. Either way, I do think one of those two makes it into the first round.
John Vasington: I certainly would not bet on this happening, but keep an eye out on Caris LeVert. If a franchise's medical staff feels there will be few lingering effects from his prior injuries then I would not be shocked if a team pulls the trigger on him late in the first round because he definitely has first round level talent.
Ryan Blevins: As much as I want to say Caris LeVert, I don't think any team, even ones at the end of the first round, will risk their top pick on such a high risk player. While he might have first round talent there is a risk of him not seeing the floor. Diamond Stone has such a high ceiling in my opinion that he could develop into the players one of the teams at the bottom of the draft such as Golden State, San Antonio or Toronto needs.
Noah Morris: I would agree that a player like Diamond Stone could slip into the end of the first round of this draft. Even in a pace and space era of the NBA, nearly every great team has a huge body that can be a defensive presence and good for a few buckets in the post on offense. With that said, it really wouldn’t surprise me too much if we even heard the name A.J. Hammons at the very end of the first round, perhaps to the Warriors to sure up any questions of quality front court depth.
2.) Speaking of Valentine, nobody seems to know where to slot him. In some Mock Drafts he's a Top-10 pick and in others he's in the twenties. Where do you think the sweet spot is for the versatile wing and do you think the latest news about his knee will seriously hurt his draft stock on Thursday night?
Jerome Scherwin Jr.: I wrote about Denzel Valentine a few weeks back and how much I'd love to see him on the Chicago Bulls. Imagining him paired up with Jimmy Butler gives me all the feel goods. With that said, I think the former Spartan will find himself a little hurt by the recent news about his knees. I think 18-25 (Detroit, Denver, Indiana, Atlanta, Charlotte, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Clippers) will eventually be the sweet spot for him, with hopes that it's anything but one of those teams.
Thomas Beindit: I think Valentine will end up a few spots outside of the Lottery on Draft night. Obviously, somebody can take a chance and screw up that projection, but I think there will be some potential health issues and concerns about how his game translates to the next level. His diverse skillset is really impressive, but does he have any one skill that can earn him playing time in the NBA? I’m not sure, which is what I think drops him a few spots.
John Vasington: Before the recent news of his poor medical records, I liked actually liked Valentine as a fit with some teams toward the end of the top 10 range. Now, however, I would have to slot him in the 16-18 range and I really like a potential marriage with the Celtics.
Ryan Blevins: It all depends where an NBA team sees him playing. His versatility will only help him on draft night and if a team wants him to be a big, athletic guard on their team I think he could go high. If a team views him playing more on the wing Valentine could slip down to the 14-20 overall range. Personally, I like him to the Pistons at 18 but a team like the Kings or Bulls could scoop him up before he gets there.
Noah Morris: I think that for the right team, Valentine is absolutely a lottery talent. It’s so important to consider the type of game the league is playing right now, and Valentine fits into that mold or style perfectly. His ability to play two or three positions can’t possibly be overstated. He is a terrific all-around talent that I could certainly see ending up in Chicago with the 14th pick. It wouldn’t be surprising, however, if he slipped to Detroit at 18 or I have to think Larry Bird would be in heaven if he ended up available at #20 to the Pacers.
3.) Of the guys that are being talked about as second round picks (Diamond Stone, Caris LeVert, Jarrod Uthoff, Robert Carter, AJ Hammons), which one of those players do you think could become the biggest steal?
Jerome Scherwin Jr.: I think it could be Robert Carter or Caris LeVert... but since I know we have some big Wolverine fans coming up in the Roundtable who will dive into LeVert, I'll go with Carter. He probably has one of the highest offensive ceilings of anyone in this draft at his position. He was a star during the NBA Draft Combine when it came to the scrimmages, putting on an awe-inspiring show for those in attendance. If he can learn to hit a more consistent three point shot and make the sacrifices it takes to be an average NBA defender (something I think he can do with his length), I can see him finding a nice small ball center type role for a playoff contender's "Death Lineup".
Thomas Beindit: It has to be Caris LeVert. There are a ton of health concerns out there, but this is a guy that could literally do everything on the court before he got injured. He can score, shoot, pass, defend, and even rebound. Plus, he still has room to grow and has the raw length and athleticism that can translate to the next level. The injury issues are a major concern, but if you’re asking him who could be a steal in the second round, I have to go with LeVert because I’m not sure anyone else in that group has his upside.
John Vasington: I think LeVert has the highest potential of being a steal in the second round. Right now, he is only being discussed as a second round pick because of his injury history, but if he can avoid the same foot problems plagued him in college, we could look back on his selection as the steal of the draft.
Ryan Blevins: The other guys said LeVert and he would be my second choice but his medical history scares me. If AJ Hammons can play up to his full potential I think he can be a great player in the NBA. Unfortunately, when I see him play I see someone who disappears for stretches, doesn’t always hustle and can look lackadaisical at times. If he can break out of those habits and be the athletic scoring big man he should be, the team that takes Hammons in the second round will be rewarded.
Noah Morris: All things considered, I have to agree with Thomas and John on this. If everything pans out healthwise for Levert in the NBA, he’s absolutely got the skill necessary to play at that level. Health issues will certainly make him a second round choice, and that’s the steal value here. You’re taking a risk drafting him, sure. But with a second round pick, Levert is potentially an extremely high reward for a very low risk.
4.) Finally, make your prediction about how many players from the Big Ten will be drafted.
Jerome Scherwin Jr.: I'm going with seven with at least four of them coming in the second round with Jarrod Uthoff, AJ Hammons, Robert Carter and Caris LeVert in some order.
Thomas Beindit: I’m going to go with seven Big Ten players being drafted. I think Davis and Valentine are first round picks, Stone and Hammons are teetering between the first and second, and I think Carter, LeVert, and Uthoff go in some order in the second round. Other potential picks also include Ferrell and Layman. All told, I think it should be a good night for the Big Ten.
John Vasington: Eight. I think between seven and nine Big Ten players will be selected so I’ll split the difference. Davis and Valentine are basically first round locks while LeVert and Stone are fringe first rounders. Add to that list Carter, Hammons and Layman; all of whom I believe will be taken mid-late second. I believe one of Ferrell or Uthoff will be taken within the last few picks of the draft to give the Big Ten its eight selections.
Ryan Blevins: I am going to go with six. Davis and Valentine are no doubt first rounders. I think Stone will sneak into the back end of the first round, if not then the second round for sure. Hammons and LeVert should be high second round picks but I don’t see them sneaking into the first round. Robert Carter is the last player I think will get taken somewhere in the second round. Farrell, Uthoff, Layman will have draft potential but will likely be not hear their name called on draft night. Troy Williams and Rasheed Sulaimon probably won’t get selected either but look out for them in the summer league.
Noah Morris: I’m rolling with seven on this one. It’s hard for me to see a scenario where Davis and Valentine fall out of the top 20 for sure, Stone and Hammons are going back and forth between late first and second round and guys like Carter and Uthoff are also certain selections. Look for Levert to get drafted, putting it at seven. Though I could see a scenario where Troy Williams could slip onto the selection board.