With both Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson officially staying in the NBA Draft, we all have to wonder what's up with Cory staying in? Can Ball Ray takes a look at Joseph's decision here ...
The day to recant for the early NBA Draft entrants has come and gone and we are left with both sighs of relief and wonder. Many kids that had declared for early entry into the Draft have either retracted their decision and have announced that they are returning to school or staying in for sure. Well, both Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph are staying in and forfeiting the rest of their college eligibility.
Now with these two players we seem to have a strange conundrum: Thompson looks like a sure fire First Rounder thanks to a very good freshman season at Texas along with some great potential while Joseph, though he had a good college season also, could be a potential non draftee.
So what do we make of this?
We all, and by we all I mean all of the basketball fans with a clue, should expect to see a Thompson’s name to be called out by David Stern in June. He’s got a combination of size, strength and quickness that will be very hard to pass up even if he’s still young and raw at this point in his career. He’s a projected 14th pick by www.draftexpress.com ahead of Jimmer Fredette, Jordan Hamilton and Ken Faried and they are usually right on the money with their yearly mock drafts.
Joseph on the other hand, does not show up on any of the rounds but he does show up in the Top 100 Prospects list. So the decision leaves us, and a few others I'm sure, scratching our heads too.
Joseph was reported to have been at a private workout that was held by the New Jersey Nets in Jersey this past weekend along with players like Syracuse’s Rick Jackson and Georgetown’s Hollis Thompson, who are great players in their own right, and more than held his own and had impressed. With three teams reportedly in attendance that is a good thing.
But will a great unofficial workout be enough to stir the pot for him and his chances?
I think in this situation that Cory’s in, we can look to draw comparisons to Andy Rautins last season. Rautins had a great year as the third wheel at Syracuse behind Wes Johnson and Arinze Onuaku as the steady leader at the point. If you put Joseph and Rautins side by side, you can see many similarities in their games: Both can play the point but are natural two guards, both can shoot the rock, both have high basketball IQs, both can handle the ball and these guys are tough as nails. I had thought that Rautins would have been a late second round pick in the absolute best case scenario but the Knicks selected him with the 38th pick which was a higher than expected spot than I’m sure most people would have believed. The silver lining here is that you never know who will get selected come Draft day and that works for Joseph.
You also have to remember that this is a proported weaker Draft class than in other years so there is always a shot at getting picked up. Many by the second round will be looking to fill a need on their squads and with Joseph a legit high level defender, that will always be a selling point to teams. With the best point's being fast as lightening, Cory will look very appealling on that alone which help to further his chances not to mention his other intangibles.
Now I’m not going to go harp on any mistake that he’s making by leaving early because in the end, it doesn’t matter. He’s gone and that’s the end of it. What I think should matter is what happens from now on. As basketball fans and supporters of the many Canadians in the game we should be looking closely at where he goes for workouts. The Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat had reported a while back when Cory first declared that there was at least one team that was strongly looking at him in the second round. Though that doesn't hold much weight now since teams will likely change minds closer to the date it should be noted that there is a desire for him out there. So where and how many teams he works out for could be an indicator of who that team may be.
In any case, we should be all aboard now. We know Thompson will be OK but Joseph will have a pretty tough month and change ahead with workouts and the like in preparation for a potential call by the Commissioner so time for us to back him up here.
NOTE: Olu Ashaolu was also an early entry candidate for this year’s Draft but has withdrawn his name. He’s a very appealing player for any school that’s recruiting him to their program primarily because he’s immediately eligible because he’s graduated already. We’ll look to keep you informed on this front.