ESPN"s Chad Ford held a media conference call today to answer questions about tomorrow's 2015 NBA Draft, the top prospects, and who teams might be looking at.
Similar to what happened in a previous media conference call with Jay Bilas, Syracuse forward Chris McCullough came up and Ford discussed him at length.
...he took a gamble but one that he knew, that he was a bubble first rounder when he declared for the draft, that he wasn't going to be able to work out because of the ACL injury. But again, for circumstances that I think have less to do with basketball and more to do with life, he felt that he needed to turn pro and that that was sort of the best decision for him in his life. Will he go in the first round? I mean, the good news for him is that you've got several teams that have multiple picks in the first round like the Lakers and Celtics, and you have a team, the Nets, that seem to be a bit enamored with him. If he went 27, 28, 29 and a team just basically said, look, I think, had he gone back to Syracuse, he would have been a lottery pick next year, so we're getting a player like that at 29, and we get to oversee the rehab and we get to make sure that everything is great, I think he's a good pick there, and if he doesn't go there, he'll go in the first 5, 10 picks in the 30s.
McCullough is a player we've discussed around here a couple of times now and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated projected the Warriors to select him with the 30th pick in the draft — he's expected to be around when the Warriors make their pick and, if the Bronx native gets past Brooklyn at #29, he could be the type of talent that the Warriors just can't ignore.
In fact, as I've read more about him, I've become more intrigued by the possibility of the Warriors nabbing McCullough and developing him in the D-League.
The problem? There are a lot of question marks about what he'll offer and even whether he'll play at all in the 2015-16 season after a season-ending ACL injury during his lone year at Syracuse, according to Zack Braziller of the New York Post.
...they're looking at what he did in high school, what he did at Syracuse, and as you know better than anybody, he started red hot and then he dropped off a cliff as far as his production goes. And factoring that in, was that competition, was that Boeheim wanting to hide him after NBA scouts started to salivate over him? What was going on there? Was there something going on in the kid's life? What's happening there? And then absolutely with a kid like that, you don't have a lot of data to go on, so you're looking at, okay, what are his physical abilities, what are his measurements, what could he be at the next level?
That's just scratching the surface of the questions surrounding McCullough, which DraftExpress has described in more detail — in fact, the combination of crazy length, agility, upside and question marks is enough to vaguely remind me of how I felt about Anthony Randolph before the Warriors drafted him.
To the question of what's going on in his life off the court that led him to leave school early for the NBA, Oakland-based Grit Media has put together a short documentary about McCullough and his journey to this point that you can watch above. The video covers his road to recovery from the ACL injury, the potential that he showed in both high school and college, and some insight into who he is as a person.
For a bit more on Ford's thoughts on McCullough — as well as other possible #30 picks like Terry Rozier and Guillermo Hernangomez — check out the full transcript of Ford's media conference call.