The Athletic's latest mock draft

Sam Vecenie, a college basketball and NBA draft analyst at The Athletic, released his first 2019 mock draft today. He has Daniel Gafford going 30th overall to Milwaukee.

Seems to clue us in on the question about whether Gafford hurt himself by coming back to UA. I hope Sam’s opinion is an anomaly.

For about the last two weeks I’ve begun to think there is actually a chance Gafford comes back for his junior year. If he thinks he might fall out of the first round or be at the bottom of the round that sounds slightly more plausible.

He’s a better player than last year, but the holes in his game have become more obvious this season. A year to work on those problems and a junior year with a much more experienced team around him could mean a big difference in money.

Still think the smart money will be on him leaving, but perhaps the door is cracked open a bit for him to stay.

If our guards were feeding him like they should be he would be averaging about 25 a game.

The guards do a poor job feeding the post.

All you have to do is look at the last handful of NBA drafts and see that most all forecasted Freshman 1st round picks that come back for their Sophomore season hurt themselves. The only exceptions are those that improve dramatically in all phases of their game. That’s just the state of the NBA draft. Just about every year recently there have been 7-9 freshmen or Europeans in the top 10. Even Bobby probably hurt himself and he improved a lot from his freshman year. I still applaud Bobby and Daniel for coming back to help the Hogs.

Gafford will have great success in the NBA, especially if he can catch on with a “running” team. There are many more of those teams now than there were 8-10 years ago.

That’s a big difference from where has him at #12.

I think and draftexpess (by espn) are the 2 most respected mock draft sites, I’d go with what they say over anyone else. I’m not a member of espn+, but last graphic on tv they posted that showed draftexpress mock draft they had Gafford at #17. He’s most likely going to go anywhere from that 10-20 range.

Portis was projected as a late first rounder by most mocks after his freshman year, he came back, he went #22, which is maybe a little better than what he would have went after his freshman year. And I wouldn’t say he hurt himself doing that, because he improved and was more NBA ready. He hasn’t spent a second in the G-League, had he left after freshman year and not been as prepared he may have spent time in the G-League and hurt himself on that second contract.

Other notable big men recently I can think of that came back that could have been first rounders after their freshmen year are Miles Bridges and Robert Williams. Miles Bridges ended up being a lottery pick at #12, which is about the same spot he would have went after freshman year, but again, he’s more seasoned and prepared. Now, Robert Williams you can definitely say it hurt him, but he had injury issues most of his sophomore year and when he came back really wasn’t himself, so his stock plummeted. He would have been better off not even returning to play for Texas A&M. For example look at a guy like Jontay Porter, just by not playing this year, he went from a potential late first rounder last year to most mocks having him in the upper teens.

I just don’t see any evidence that mid-late first round projected freshman hurting their draft stock by returning for 1 more year, most end up improving stock a bit and being more prepared.

I looked at all the mock drafts I could find today (that aren’t pay) and they have him anywhere from 8th to 30th. But only one had him at 8th. Two had him below 25 (one at 26, one at 30). The rest seemed to be in that 15-20 range

Ha. Here we go. Every coach with any sense sees two clear problems: 1. Gafford doesn’t put himself in a position to get open; 2. when he demands the ball in double teams and we force it, it’s a turnover, either by the passer or after Gafford loses it because it isn’t strong enough and doesn’t know how to keep guys away from the ball. Watch the tape, man!

Not true. The post is poorly fed, true. But the post, the guards, and the coach are all to be blamed equally.

So you’re not giving any value to the lost $1-2 million, including signing bonus, for that first year? You don’t think he would be at least as much improved after his 1st NBA year as he would be after his 2nd college year? He also would get past his rookie salary one year earlier. That is a really big deal if he’s performing at or above his expected improvement rate.

IMHO, if a soph who missed a potential low lottery pick to a #25 slot, as a freshman doesn’t get hurt by staying, is if he ends up in the top 10, or maybe top 5-6, slots of the draft. That just very rarely happens. If the NBA GMs see what they determine to be 2 equally talented players with similar potential, but one is a freshman and one is a sophomore, they will choose the freshman (or young European) every time. That is definitely born out by the top 10 picks in nearly all recent NBA drafts.

ESPN has Gafford as the 25th best player & 4th best center in the draft. However they rank the Fr Bassey from WKU much lower around 60th best player & 10th best center.
Take it for what it’s worth.

It’s up to the player if they feel ready. If they jump in to early and are not ready they see most of their time in the G-League and a lot of those guys once that happens are never seen or heard from again in the NBA, they end up overseas. Anthony Bennett is a guy that rings a bell that happened to, he really wasn’t considered a lottery pick, blew up after his freshman year, went in the draft, actually got taken #1, which surprised a lot of people, but it was obvious he wasn’t ready for the NBA. He would have been better served returning to college and working on his game and being better prepared even if he dropped a few spots. Had he done that his career may have ended up much different.

The thing people always leave out is the NBA is very unforgiving. You go too early when you’re not ready, you don’t have have to worry about that “lost year” cause you’ll have plenty of those when you’re no longer in the league. When you leave for the NBA, you better be sure you’re ready mentally and physically. Bobby Portis did that and it’s about to pay off big for him on that second contract he should be getting this summer. I think it’s going to pay off well for Gafford too, he’s said himself there’s a lot of things he needs to work on and get better on before he left, he’s improved and matured a lot, that’s going to help him stay on a roster once he gets drafted. … r%5Eauthor

Im sure you can read the draft for free once at the Athletic, but Sam does cover BB wall to wall.

Absolute truism is that Gafford is dropping like a rock, why come back and drop some more??

My question, and I don’t know the answer to this, is if Vecenie is just giving us his opinion or he’s talking to NBA scouts/GMs. Everyone has an opinion and I don’t necessarily want to see yours, but if he’s getting input from NBA types that’s more valid.

A lot depends on how many other good players are in the draft at the same position. Center/Power Forward being the case for Gafford. I think there were more in the draft last year. We don’t know where Dan would have landed last year just like we don’t know where he will land this year or the next yet.
Unless there is somebody on this board that is a bonified NBA scout or executive and knows the ins and outs of most NBA teams and their wants and needs plus potential trade deals in the works or under discussion, I just think it’s really hard to predict where a player that is projected on potential will land.

IMO Gafford needs another year. He needs work with the Strength & Conditioning folks to get him on the proper diet to improve his stamina. He gets winded and he needs a lot of work to get stronger all over—especially his hands. He needs stronger hands and he lets people his size and some smaller push him around. He needs to spend a lot of time trying to develop another shot. IMO if he can’t hit mid-range jumper, he is not first round material. And 50% at the FT line is awful. Someone who has the skill and technique, needs to work with him. I quess I’ll get killed for this comment. Oh, and in another year, those freshmen and sophs will be better prepared to figure out how to get the ball in the post.


IMO Gafford needs another year. He needs work with the Strength & Conditioning folks to get him on the proper diet to improve his stamina. He gets winded and he needs a lot of work to get stronger all over—especially his hands. He needs stronger hands and he lets people his size and some smaller push him around. He needs to spend a lot of time trying to develop another shot.

[/quote]In your opinion, would he be better served working on the above at college, not getting paid and having to go to class or learning this in the NBA, getting paid and not having to worry about school work? I’d ask this question about any college player, not just Gafford.


What are his costs going to be while working on it inthe NBA? He’s only going to get one shot at money early. Portis isn’t getting a second shot. He got money. Working on it in the NBA. But barring injury, of your good enough for the NBA your stock won’t go down by staying in college. If your counter is look at Gafford stock last year to this year my response is he’s not good enough for a career in the NBA. Good enough to get drafter and get on good initial contract but that’s it. He better decide if he want the one at the end of this year or the one at the end of next.