Is this weird?

  • Is this weird? I actually think Embiid playing well INCREASES the chances he stays at KU.

    Hear me out - his hook and jumper are soft and beautiful. His footwork is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He runs the court with ease on the fast break. He is the most rapidly improving player I’ve ever even heard of. This guy is a high draft NBA lock this year, next year, or 4 years from now - no question.

    I’ve noticed a few things though that really caught my eye - there were multiple rebounds and slams where he quite simply out “heighted” people. Wiggins will get 6-8 points a game by out “athleting” people in the same way Joel dominated last night. When he gets to the NBA those baskets, rebounds, and blocks won’t be there. His game is a lot like Anthony Davis in the sense that when his game comes to maturation he won’t be the best at anything but be darn good at a whole bunch of things. He will be a huge asset to Kansas this year simply because he’s an athletic 7 footer who gets good position and has a knack for finding the ball - not because he’s technically gifted enough to take a game over. But he’s close.

    What I’m trying to get at is this - Embiied would be pushed around in the NBA this year, next year, and two years from now. He’s long but he’s not thick. With his intelligence and willingness to learn he will reach maturity much sooner then anyone expects but, if he leaves this year, he will still be learning next year as well. He’d probably play, he’d deffinitely get paid, but he’d be a few years away from becoming a fast Roy Hibbert. I think the top 3 are pretty locked in. Tweeners and potential are the surest way to get a GM fired and with the three can’t miss freshman coming out this year you’ll be darned to find a GM willing to pass on any of them. Then there’s Exum out of Australia and we all know how potent Marcus Smart can be. So, let’s say Jo leaves this year and is the 5th pick. Great for him, he’ll make a ton of money. But now let’s say he stays - Okafor is the #1 recruit in the class and Jo’s potential is phenominally higher than his. NBA loves potential and Jo is a quick learner - give him a few years and he’ll match Okafor’s offense but Okafor can never match Jo’s athleticism. I think there is a very real shot that Embiid is the #1 pick NEXT year. In fact, if he stays, I would be surprised if he wasn’t.

    So there-in-lies the reason I think he may stay. Regardless if he stays 1 or 2 years he’s probably 3/4 years away from 20 and 10 on the NBA level. his first 2/3 years will be a growing process in the NBA. If he leaves after this year and say he’s the 5th overall pick he’ll make 2.9, 3.0, and 3.2 million respectively. The team option will be a fourth year at around 4 million and then his rookie contract will be up. If he doesn’t produce at a high level until his 3rd year maybe they don’t pick him up year 4. Maybe they offer him a lower qualifying offer and, when he blows up year 4, he’s already signed for 3/5 years. BUT, if he stays, and goes number 1 overall, he stands to make roughly 4.8 million MORE combined over his first 3 years (2nd 3.3 mil 3rd 2.1 mil). Furthermore - considering his maturation is further away, he’ll be coming into his prime years 2 (if lucky) and 3 which is a much better situation to be in when renegotiating your next contract. The NBA is all about your 2nd contract - that’s where the real money is.

    I’ve thought this way for a while and I have people who agree and disagree with me. It’s hard to tell a kid to leave millions on the table but if you look at it from the perspective of, if he leaves, he may be leaving millions on the table, it might shed a bit of light for him. It’s a rare situation that he’s in having - so much raw talent and being in such a talent laden class. I don’t think I can recall a situation like this before but it just seems like it may be best for Jo financially to stay next year in the long run. I’m not considering the whole mental, physical, free school, great school bs into this decision because the NCAA right now, like it or not, is all about getting to the pros and getting paid. That’s fine by me. Jo will be a pro - I think if he stays he’ll be the wealthiest rookie in 2014.

  • I love your thinking here but I would have a hard time giving up 2.9 million even for 12 or 15 a year later. A bird in the hand, you know. Besides, how much more money does a person need? It would be wonderful if it plays out like you suggest!

  • Unfortunately I believe he’ll leave this year. Like you stated, the NBA is all about potential ,and with Joel, there is a Mt Everest of it. And I can imagine that there have been multiple scouts already this year that have told him that he WILL be a top pick. You hear that enough and you see that kind of pay day… come on, how can you turn that down?

  • I 100% agree with you guys. I actually think at the end of the day Jo could be the best pick in this draft. I truly feel his ceiling is higher then anyone else’s. A 7" with his feet, touch, vision, hands, and brain? Truly has the chance to be the next Hakeem. The problem is in this draft though (and this is as unique of situation I can remember) is there are NBA ready all stars sitting in college. There are NBA ready talents on the level of Durant, Carmelo, and Rose (i never compare anyone to LeBron because he’s once in a lifetime). Joel COULD be a future hall of famer. He also COULD be a complete bust. You know you’re going to get an intregral piece in the top 3 (I’d argue 5 I love Smart and Exum) and that is just too tempting to risk on Embiid. That being said, next year’s class (if everyone leaves) just simply isn’t as good. Okafor is the #1 prospect who at worst will be Andrew Bogut and at best will be a perennial All Star. He’s not athletic/freakish enough to be on the Shaq, Ewing, Olijawon level. But Embiid is.

    This year is full of all stars. Next year is full of pretty damn good players that might make a few all star teams. If Embiid stays and everyone else goes then he simply will have the highest ceiling in that draft. If he has a poor year his ceiling is enough to gurantees him a top 7 draft pick. If he improves from this year (regardless of how it ends up) I think he’ll be the number one pick.

    Number 7 picks with potential don’t get shoe contracts. No. 1 picks do. Usually I’d say go, take the money, as I will this year to Wiggins and Selden (if he’s in the lottery) but not for Jo. I think he stands to lose out on millions and millions in his career if he does.

    And to answer the “how much does a person need” question. When you have a limited shelf life and your earning potential is in such a small window, coupled with the lifestyle your salary affords, the answer is a whole damn lot. These guys, if lucky, retire at 35 and live off their earnings the rest of their life. It takes a lot to upkeep your 4 houses 🙂

  • The 76ers just cut Kwame Brown, the overall #1 pick in 2001. By all account he was considered a bust and averaged just over 6 point and 5 rebounds over a 13 year NBA career.

    By the way, he is 6’-11" and centers seem to be in demand in the NBA. He made $67 million in those 13 years…not bad for a bust.

    I am sorry but JoJo is gone after this year.

  • What do we really know about Joel? Is his family financially comfortable & are they comfortable with him being a student in America? Or are they in imminent need of the financial gain he will earn in the pros? Although it is likely he would only be in Lawrence for a year, he really does need to be a learning mode wherever he is for several more years. Guys in the L are hard, tough men-most of them fully grown. That, IMO is not the best scenario for tutelage. Hey, Marcus S stayed put with the “little man” in Stillwater, so not all that believe will leave. Heck, if we bag the NC we’ll likely loose at least 3, maybe 4, but I’m OK with that as long as one of them isn’t named Bill Self.

  • Not weird at all, but wishful. Speaking of weird, last night I dreamt I was starting my first day of classes at Bucknell. After my first class, I stepped over some people playing violins on a flight of stairs, and went into a small building with a friend, where we met up with Tom Izzo. As I walked and talked with Izzo we climbed over the people playing violins again. He was on his way to a party. I asked him “You know, you’re 6 and 4 against Self?” He laughed and said he wasn’t aware of that. I told him “I told Bill that and he said he wasn’t aware of that either”. He laughed again, then got in a car that drove off. Then I called my wife and told her where I was, and I woke up.

  • After two games you think he’s gonna leave after one year? We haven’t even got into the meat of KU’s schedule. I saw Oklahoma St play the other night & they can play defense, so their gonna beat him up pretty good in the lane. He’s only been playing since he was 16 so I think he’s gonna be at KU for at least 2 or 3 years.

  • Iowa,

    This is exactly what I’ve been thinking recently.

    Normally, I’m all about a kid setting himself (and his family) up financially for the rest of his life, but I feel like Joel could actually be costing himself money in the long run by leaving early.

    More than anything, Joel needs experience. He’ll ride pine for at least 2 years in the NBA. One more year of college and 30 minutes per game of PT could benefit Joel more than just about any other athlete-with-raw-potential. I say this as someone who thought every Jayhawk who has left early over the last ten years made the right decision (aside from Chalmers… who was not a guaranteed 1st round pick).

    Regardless, Joel’s going to make a lot of money some day. Selfishly, I hope he stays. But I genuinely believe it would benefit him financially in the long haul as well to stick around for one more season. (Or two or three…)

  • Hilarious, BTW!

  • Don’t get me wrong, I too think he should stay, just as I thought Juju Wright, Xavier, and Selby should have stayed. They all needed to improve their games and work on their weaknesses. But to these top tier guys, the NBA is their dream. And their dreams came a knocking. I can’t fault them for jumping at the chance to play in the league. *(actually I still think Josh should have thought better of it. Though it’s very likely those close to him and a scout or two convinced him that he was a lock for first round.) To the guys that are getting solid info that they’re a lock for the first round (Juju, Brandon, Thomas, Xavier, Arthur, Cole, Ben, Mook, and Kief) they should go! And I won’t blame Joel when he leaves. I know the 2014 draft is deeper than the next year. But athletic 7 footers aren’t falling off of trees. He may not go in the top 5. But I have a very hard time thinking he won’t go in the lottery. And doing a fast scan of the mock drafts, most have Embiid in the top 7 (Wayne is in the top 13 on a lot of them…). I know it’s early, but like my first post, we all see the potential.

    There will be a NBA team next June 26th that will be sitting at the 6, 7, 8 spot. And Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Smart, Gordon, you know the top guys… will all be off the board. If you’re the Bucks GM do you draft J. Young or Exum and stick with Zaza Pachulia, Larry Sanders, and Miroslav Raduljica as your C???

  • Actually, I do think this makes sense. It’s kind of the anti-Marcus Smart argument.

    Here’s the NBA rookie scale for reference.

    But man, leaving means winning the lottery. I’d have a hard time counseling Mr. Embiid against that.

  • Great stats HEM. Colossal amount of difference in top 3 or # 15. And it’s a no brainer he would & could be superiorly honed & better adapted for the physical & social grind of pro ball by remaining in class & with the teachers & coaches that will groom him to become a young man battling seasoned vets/adults for playing time. The college experience for kids is not even comparable to, let’s say, returning to get a degree further down the road. By then the magic has subsided, & can be a monumental task requiring constant obligations to families, jobs, etc. Life stands still for no one. Although the goal is to gain a profession from playing a game, the reality is that it will no longer be such after he leaves college, & you will be held accountable for your progress or regression daily. If your career is only a few short years, the fact remains that you still must make a living & contributions to & for others going forward for, expectantly, a long & prosperous lifetime. Many of us have enriched our families with professions that have been less than desirable at times, but regardless, a means to a successful end is the reality. We now live in a world that virtually mandates higher education to complete the journey, & if only staying in college for a short time is all that he can do, surely his teachers & his family are aspiring him for a more realistic assessment of the forthcoming pilgrimage. And especially even if we as fans & those involved in the daily process have selfish reasons, all of these young men need the perception & comprehension to see the entire portrait. Even without being involved in college athletics we have all been in situations that ultimately determine the difficulty of our odyssey, where advice & counsel have been critical, & my hope is that all of these kids can get the upper hand in life’s endeavors, regardless of their future in pro ball.

  • Lots of great reads in here today. Good work, everyone!

    I think what appears to be a fairly simple question of whether or not to go OAD ends up requiring some complex thought to get the right answer. Many of the factors stick out in obvious fashion, while other factors that may be important, too, are not easily visible.

    I decided to just make a list of what I think are key factors… and intentionally I have scrambled them in hopes of leaving their importance up to the person trying to solve the riddle.


    1. Achieving a college degree (or two) - It seems that college athletes are more-likely to graduate if they stay in school until graduating, or at least a longer period of time to get closer to graduating. Whether or not this is true, who knows? Someone must have some stats out there that give us an answer. Possessing a college degree is valuable, especially over the total span of someone’s life. It can help you find employment. It can help develop your intelligence so you maintain better judgment and decision-making skills. It can help give you self-esteem. It can help educate you in an area where you can put that knowledge into practice after leaving.

    2. Money, money, money - For many, this factor weighs heaviest. But is it better to go after the money as soon as one can get drafted? Or is it better to hold off on the money one or two more years in hopes of lifting draft position and coming into the league on a higher pay scale? What about risks… is it too risky to play another year or two of amateur basketball and risk injury or losing draft position?

    3. Maximizing the adolescent experience - Athletes may go back to school later, but is it the same experience as it was the first time? It seems you have one shot at enjoying the college experience with your own social group. What value do you put on that?

    4. Staying healthy - College basketball is safer than pro basketball. Seasons are shorter and the contact isn’t as intense. From what I have read, 19 yr olds are still developing stronger bones… same with joints. Is it a bigger risk to jump into the league at 19 versus say 21 or higher? Injury not only impacts the money these players will make, it impacts their quality of life for their entire remaining life.

    5. Path to development - For as good as these top tier athletes are, none of them have reached their talent plateau after one year of college basketball. Do these athletes develop better if they stay another year in college or do they develop better by jumping to the NBA?

    6. Personal maturity - We all are aware that sometimes it can backfire if someone really young (say 19 yrs old) comes into fast money. They are capable of making many mistakes that relates to the level of maturity they are currently at. High-speed auto accidents, poor investments that lead to bankruptcy, blowing money on extended entourages, etc. So will athletes tend to make less mistakes if they stay in school longer?

    7. Personal networks - Do players create a higher quality of friends if they stay in school longer or jump to the NBA? We all discover that the people we have around us can heavily impact many areas of our lives.

    8. Risk assessment - What are the chances an athlete suffers a major injury by staying longer in school? What are the chances a player drops his draft position by staying longer in school? What are the chances a player improves his draft position by staying longer in school? I would think that the risks continually decline for a college player to suffer a major injury and lose the opportunity to turn professional afterwards. It seems that every year brings advancements in medical procedures and rehabilitations that help athletes regain their athleticism and puts them back to work sooner.

    I’m surely leaving out some things… but my point is really about how complex this decision is. Life is about more than making a few bucks.

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