Friday, March 23, 2007

Is the Pac-10 Player of the Year Ready for the NBA Afterall?

Heading into this season, it was generally assumed that Arron Afflalo would use this year to work on his jumper and solidify his status as a first round draft pick. For the first 29 games of the season, it looked like the plan was coming to fruition and Afflalo was as good as gone to the NBA. But GMs have a tendency to pay more attention to players during postseason play, and that hasn't gone so well for Afflalo. While he has still been a great leader for the team- playing solid defense and rebounding aggressively- what scouts really wanted to see from him was a reliable outside shot, and that has deserted him lately. Discounting the Weber State game, which never really had the pressure of a tournament game, here are Afflalo's numbers from the field this postseason:

vs Cal: 1-7
vs Ind: 2-11
vs Pit: 3-11

That's just 20.7% over three games. For a player that lacks the explosion and one on one moves of the other two guards he'll be competing with in the draft (ex. Nick Young), this cold streak couldn't have come at a worse time. As things currently stand, Afflalo has likely slipped to the second round of a very deep draft, where only one year of his NBA contract would be guaranteed. Would it really be worth the risk for Afflalo to leave early to be a second round pick? Big Baby Davis has already announced that he'll be taking that chance, but his situation is a little different. Davis realizes that his star is fading fast and he needs to make the leap while he's still worthy of being drafted at all.

Fortunately, Afflalo still has another game left to right the ship. If UCLA has any hopes of beating Kansas, they are going to need Afflalo to return to form. If he can give them a big game on Saturday and get the Bruins into the Final Four, then he should be able to re-emerge as a late first round pick; and he would be well advised to declare for the draft. However if his cold streak continues, then UCLA fans may get their wish of "one more year," afterall.

(As for Darren Collison, however, I think he's on his way to the NBA. He might not be completely ready for the NBA yet, but he'll be one of the top two point guards if he declares, so it's probably in his best interest to declare now while his name is hot.)

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At Sat Mar 24, 12:21:00 AM PDT , Blogger twins15 said...

I agree with you... I'd say Collison is probably close to ready, Afflalo might be gone... though right now I do kinda think they might both be gone. I'd love to see what they could do with Kevin Love. :(


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