Earlier today, I shared some of ESPN NBA guru Chad Ford’s remarks about UK’s draft prospects, but there are a few more interesting comments from his teleconference to share. Ford was asked how much influence he believed John Calipari had on NBA teams with his remarks last week that Philadelphia should take Jamal Murray with the first pick. His response?
“None. And he’s not going to be the No. 1 pick, and I don’t think it carried that much weight. What John Calipari does is have huge influence all season because of the way that he plays his players, the system he runs them in, the access that he gives the NBA teams. He does help players get drafted. There’s no question if my kid was an elite prospect, I would send him to Kentucky because I think he’s got the best — that would give him the best shot to go high in the draft.”
While that last line in bold caught fire with most of the UK media, some reporters — cough, cough, Jerry Tipton — didn’t even include it in their wrap-up, choosing instead to focus on the negatives. But, what else is new?
Other interesting notes…
Alex Poythress: “You can’t teach his athleticism”
According to Kyle Tucker, Poythress has worked out with eight teams so far, and still has workouts scheduled with the Dallas Mavericks (pick 46), the Boston Celtics (picks 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58), and the LA Clippers (25, 33). Ford called Alex a “possible second round pick” and seemed positive because Alex has certain things “you can’t teach.”
“It’s the question about will he be a great three-point shooter that teams are concerned about. He shot it really well his freshman year, kind of went down from there, but I see — I watched him work out several times in LA. I think I see the potential there for him to become that, and you can’t teach his athleticism.”
That is certainly true:
Don’t overreact about Tyler Ulis’ hip
When asked about Tyler Ulis’ hip, Ford said people shouldn’t overreact because everything shows up on medical reports these days.
“If you broke your arm in second grade, it would be there on the report, and there might be a certain level of concern about it, how it healed. If it’s something small like his hips are tight, the muscles are tight, I’d say that’s 80 percent of the NBA, these players struggle with hip tightness, calcification of the hip, things like that.”
Teams are still worried about Jamal Murray’s defense
One of the few concerns teams have about Jamal Murray is his defensive abilities. Ford said that’s something teams in the top ten are weighing when they look at him vs. other players like Kris Dunn.
“But defensively there are going to be issues in the NBA. There were issues in college, and I think those issues will be compounded in the NBA, and I think that may hurt him via a Kris Dunn, for example, if you’re trying to compare those two guys together or Marquese Chriss or Jaylen Brown, all those guys, very elite athletes, and just that questioning, does Jamal Murray have the lateral quickness? I think he’s okay vertically and explosively, but does he have the lateral quickness to defend his position in the NBA? And I know that’s what every general manager from 3 to 8 is trying to figure out right now, how good is his offense versus his defense?”
Given how Murray’s defense improved over the season, I don’t think this should be a concern.