Will The Team Be Better Next Year?

  • Simple question.

    Better is open to interpretation.

    1. Will it finish with a better record? 2014 Final record: 25-10

    2. Will it advance further in the tournament? 2014: Round of 32 loss

    3. Will it represent the university and be a great role model of a program dedicated to excellence in academics and athletics? 2014: KU a perfect APR and graduation rate

    4. Will it have more or higher NBA lottery picks? 2014 TBD

  • Way to go. Look to the future. I’m going to say we will be better. Selden needs to stay for that to happen and I believe that he will (he certainly should). More experienced. Selden will be much better and ready to be a leader. Traylor will continue to improve.Maybe not tremendously, but continue to get better. Perry will be better… again maybe not tremendously, but better. Mason, CF, Greene…can’t help but better as sophomores. Oubre and Alexander replace Wiggins and Embiid (most likely). A bit of a dropoff there as we won’t have Embiid’s game changing skills on both ends and Oubre probably won’t be able to take over as Wiggins did some of the time. Obviously, the big question is…who is our PG next season.? Yes, it is an open competition. Despite the issues he has had, I am not ready to give up on Tharpe. Right about now, I feel like I am the only one that feels that way. I don’t know about our schedule, but I have to believe it will be easier, so our record should be better. Competition for the next B12 title? I haven’t looked at exactly what the other teams lose, but I would say Texas and OU, as I think they both have a lot coming back. Advancing further in the tournament? Wildcard, but Jeez I hope so.

  • @bskeet “Simple question”. LOL. Hmmm…a few variables in play that prevent me from confidently answering this question.

    First I guess that my interpretation of better would be first & foremost is the team capable of advancing further in the NCAA tournament, secondly would be a better overall record. Anyway, here are the big questions that I think would need to be answered, along with some purely speculative guesses at those questions:

    Who returns and who comes in? Wiggins is gone, and my guess is so is Embiid, but that Selden returns. If Embiid leaves, does Turner commit? I’m guessing that yes, we land Turner.

    How “out-of-the-box” ready are Alexander, Oubre, & Turner? Alexander will most likely be a force. Same with Turner, although perhaps to a slightly lesser extent than Alexander. I’m a little more clueless on Oubre.

    How will players on the current roster progress? It should come as no surprise to anyone that to me the most important issue here is will Frankamp or Mason progress enough to show Self enough to unseat Tharpe for starting PG duties (and perhaps even back-up minutes). If Selden returns, does his offensive game become more polished & reliable? Will Greene do enough to play over Oubre? And will Ellis both bulk up enough to help his all around game and will his defense improve enough to warrant keeping him in the starting line-up over one of Turner or Alexander?

    Who replaces Wiggins as the alpha/go-to guy? My guess is here with the insertion of Alexander Self is able to return his offense to his more favored high-low game, so some of the scoring we lose with Wiggins will shift to the post. However (and today’s game notwithstanding), I think we will miss Wiggins’ ability to create his own shot. Who on the perimeter can we hand the ball to next year and ask us to make a play? If Selden stays & progresses he is the most likely candidate, although I fail to see him progressing enough to be as effective as Wiggins has been this past year.

    And lastly the wild card - injuries. Had Embiid not gotten injured I think this team had a chance to be a special team. Final Four material and maybe even national championship. Without him and against a tough match-up in Stanford we bowed out in the round of 32. That could strike any team.

    I think that it would be hard to imagine our team doing worse than this year. In terms of overall record, we’re likely to win more games next year even if we take a small step back in talent due simply to our schedule not being quite so “murderers row” and the league as a whole perhaps taking a small step back talent-wise. And every year, I have a hard time thinking that we won’t have at least enough talent to at least make the sweet 16. So by those two criteria, I think we’ll be a better team than this year’s ended up being. However, I don’t know that next year’s team will have the same chance to be as special as this year’s could have been with a healthy Embiid.

  • How many times does Embiid have to say he’s not turning pro before anyone believes him? For all those who are constantly speculating that Embiid is declaring for the draft, what do you know that Embiid doesn’t?

  • Yes. We will be better. I see CF going to the pg, Selden is back, Ellis is back, Embiid is back, add Oubre and Alexander, and KU will be stronger. We could’ve used Alexander in many games. I think Green makes some contributions, but his junior year will be even better.

    I’m looking ahead and for some reason caught myself doing that a lot this year.

    If Self starts Tharpe next year, it will be another long year at the pg position. The pg was our biggest problem and everyone knew it too. Embiid’s injury added yet another handicap to the team.

  • @KUSTEVE I haven’t once heard Embiid says he’s not turning pro. All I’ve heard him say is he doesn’t know, he’s not worried about that decision right now, etc.

    If you have some source quoting Embiid as saying he’s not turning pro I’d love to see it.


    To the best of my knowledge, Embiid has not made a decision on the NBA.

    Embiid on decission…

    My guess is that barring some unforeseen circumstances Embiid is gone. Too much money at stake and too much risk staying is a chance most reasonable people would not take.

  • @bskeet We will absolutely be better next year!!! More experience, less youth. Just as much talent. The guys returning will be hungry and tough and ready to be hard nosed winners. It was like this in 05-07. Its a process. We have to ride with it despite the pains of loss. I don’t like the losses any better than anyone else does. Imagine how Wiggins and Tarik feel!? Those guys just played their last game as a Jayhawk. Wiggins had a great season come up short and Tarik had the same thing. Its heart breaking. I sincerely hope Selden stays and Embiid decides to rehab and get stronger this summer with Hudy. With Alexander and Oubre in next season too, with what we have returning, which will be a hungry and tougher team. WE WILL DO BETTER NEXT SEASON.

  • @KUSTEVE Well, Embiid hasn’t come out and said he isn’t turning pro. Its way to early. Give the guys time to grieve and make a rational decision that is best for them.

  • @JayHawkFanToo My thoughts on Embiid, He stays and trains under Hudy to get stronger this summer. He has unfinished business here. But that’s just me. I hope Im not wrong.

  • @icthawkfan316 http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/1/20/5328430/joel-embiid-kansas-not-ready-nba


    Unless he was completely misleading everyone, there’s no way he declares. I think people are not understanding that Embiid’s great dream wasn’t to star in the NBA from the time he was a young boy. It’s not to get rich, as the family appears to be very comfortable. He makes a point of emphasis in the ESPN article to state that he did an exhaustive study of big men in the NBA that had the best careers, and his analysis resulted in concluding those who did the best stayed in college for at least 2, sometimes 3 years. BUT, we have talking heads floating around Embiid to the NBA, we see him on the mock draft lists, so it appears that everyone except Embiid has him going to the NBA. Read the ESPN article, and tell me if you think it sounds like a guy pining away to get to the NBA.


    The articles you cited are two months old and written long before his injury. Too many thing have happened since then and I am not sure you can use them as a source that he is not going to the NBA.

    Do I hope Embiid stays? Sure, I would be a pleasure watching him play, same with Wiggins. Do I think Embiid stays? No, I don’t think he stays and neither will Wiggins. I juts hope he makes the announcement soon so we have a shot of landing Myles Turner.

  • Here’s some new stuff:

    ###Joel Embiid: No decision on NBA yet###

    While fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins will leave after the season, Kansas teammate Joel Embiid told ESPN that he will talk to the Jayhawks coaching staff and also his mentor, fellow Cameroon native and NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute, before making a final decision concerning his NBA future.

    and salt in the wound…

    ###** Jayhawks need to improve at point guard**###

    Wiggins is likely off to the NBA, and will be taken somewhere in the top three picks of the draft, most likely first or second. He’s an exceptional talent, but wasn’t quite prepared for the pressure of having to lead this Kansas group.


    Yeah I remember those articles and quotes, and at the time it had everybody really excited about the prospect of him staying. But as @JayHawkFanToo pointed out, those quotes are two months old and were pre-injury. Also, even though he talks about perhaps not being ready for the lifestyle, he never says he’s staying.

    My personal feeling about how all this will shake out is that Embiid probably wants to stay, but will get advice/pressure from his “camp” (family, advisors) to strike while the iron is hot and questions about his physical durability remain speculative. Should he come back next year and have an injury-plagued sophomore season, he would likely see his draft stock plummet.

    I’ve seen people argue that Embiid will return because his family “doesn’t need the money”. They cite that his father is in the Cameroon army as proof that they are financial secure. While I don’t doubt that he & his family are not in such financial straights as Ben McLemore & Cole Aldrich were, to me the whole notion is preposterous. It’s as if since his family isn’t living in a grass hut in Africa, we should assume money isn’t a consideration here. There’s a difference between not needing money and being so affluent that you can afford to risk a multi-million dollar opportunity.

    Anyway, you ask how many times Embiid has to say he’s not turning pro before anyone believes him. To that my answer would be once. If I hear it one time I’ll believe him. But I need to hear THAT. Not hints at that, not statements about something else from which we might draw our own hopeful conclusions. I need to hear him say he’s coming back for his sophomore season. Just once.

  • @KUSTEVE I honestly think that if Embiid wasn’t going to the NBA he would’ve played yesterday. In a do or die situation like the tournament, I would think that decision would be easy.

    And, Embiid has never said he’s not turning pro. So that’s one problem. And two, I think his parents are playing a bigger role than many of us may realize.

    This whole prospect of striking while the iron’s hot, etc. got me thinking, how many kids that truly believe this philosophy really know anything about it? What I’m saying is, how many of them think that Michael Jordan was drafted #1 overall (a three year college guy, I might add)? How about Kobe Bryant? Paul Pierce? My point is that those guys, especially Kobe, were drafted in places other than the top 5, and are staples to the NBA. If Marcus Smart has shown us anything, it’s that you can only hurt your stock so much. He’s still projected to be the sixth overall pick, and let’s be honest, outside of punching Travis Ford in the nose, what more could he have done to absolutely murder his reputation? Doesn’t seem to matter much.

    The whole theory about “well you could get hurt” is a hollow concept. Destroying your knee can happen at any time…oh, might I take this moment to mention that Nerlens Noel had one of the most gruesome knee injuries I’ve ever seen. Anyone remember where he was drafted? That’s right, sixth overall. So how much does it really matter? Injury prone? I still don’t think it matters. The NBA drafts on potential alone. So unless Embiid loses an arm next year, he would still get drafted high. But with all due respect, his family seems fairly ignorant, and have bought into these theories, hook, line and sinker (I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that expression spelled out, is that right?)

    Such is the sad state of basketball now a days.

  • @bskeet Will we be better?


    If we have no OAD’s - we will be better.

  • We’ll probably have a better overall record and go farther in the tournament. If the team stays intact from next year to the year after, we’d have a championship caliber team.

    I don’t understand the no OAD hard line. Every game this year would have looked a lot like that Stanford game yesterday without this year’s OAD’s.

  • @MoonwalkMafia To say that injuries hurt draft stock is a hollow concept I think is incorrect. Sure Noel still went 6th after a knee injury, but there are countless other examples of it hurting players. Darrell Arthur? He fell to the bottom of the first round due to injury rumors about his kidney. More recently look at Mitch McGary from Michigan. He was projected as a lottery pick last year and now is on the first/second round bubble.

    As for Joel specifically, there’s already negative comparisons to Greg Oden. The NBA has a long history from Bill Walton to Andrew Bynum of injury prone big men. So in that regard, maybe Joel is safer than some, in that NBA GMs should know the increased risks. But say Joel falls from #1 to #6 (as Noel did), that’s a difference of almost $2 million per year on the NBA rookie salary scale. I know it’s easy for fans to sit behind their computers and act like that’s chump change or it’s an easy decision to leave that kind of money on the table for another year at our beloved KU, but to call the family ignorant for likely recognizing the risks is off-base.

  • Will KU be better next year? I think that question really should focus on two people, as they will likely be the key to whether the first question is a yes or no.

    Will Perry Ellis be better next year? It’s clear that Self wants to run the offense through Perry. That’s not a bad thing because Perry is a pretty effective scorer down low against most teams. However, Perry struggles to score against size and that is a killer against quality teams with big men that can stymie him. So the key question is whether or not Perry will be able to score against bigger guys? If that’s a yes, KU becomes much more dangerous next year.

    The other issue with Perry is defense. I don’t expect him to become a Withey or Embiid type of shot blocker, but his interior defense is pretty clearly below average. Perry simply must become a more effective two way player. His positioning and footwork must improve on the defensive end, otherwise he’s your classic score 19, give up 17 player.

    The second guy is Naadir Tharpe. Will he be better? Specifically on offense, will he take better care of the ball and get it to guys in their scoring zones? Naadir Tharpe was simply not effective for much of the year at making it easier for any of KU’s scorers (Wiggins, Ellis, Embiid, Selden, Greene, Frankamp, etc) to get the shots they wanted to take. He got himself shots at various times, but he never made the offense easier for those around him.

    Like Ellis, Tharpe simply has to improve defensively. I would go so far as to say he had the worst defensive season of any PG during the Self era at KU. He couldn’t handle smaller, quicker guys. He couldn’t handle bigger guys. He wasn’t disruptive out front. He didn’t pressure the basketball very much. The crazy thing is that I don’t really see a reason why he can’t be a solid defender. But honestly, if he’s this poor on the defensive end next year, he probably should be pushed down the depth chart.

    As for Embiid, I am banking on him being gone.

    If you’re Embiid, you’re faced with the following four scenarios.

    1. Stay at KU, have a healthy season that is 20% better than this past season. Get drafted in the top 5.

    2. Stay at KU, encounter another injury and be labeled as injury prone, forcing him to either stay for his junior year or leave after two years as a non lottery pick due to injury concerns.

    3. Leave now, prove his health during the draft combines (every team does a physical during that time) and get drafted in the top 5-7 this year.

    4. Leave now, have them discover an issue during the physical that will linger, and drop to being a low 1st round pick.

    Now, the only way staying in school works out for his benefit as a basketball player is in Scenario 1. Otherwise, he’s better off going. I know most would say that Scenario 4 is worse than Scenario 2, but let’s think about this for a second. In 4, he has an injury issue that is lingering. If he comes back to school, that issue isn’t going to magically go away. He’s just going to be playing (or sitting out rehabbing) for free. In 4, he’s going to be getting paid and receiving top notch medical treatment, as whichever team that drafts him will do everything possible to make sure he is healthy.

    The injury changed everything not only for KU’s season, but for Embiid’s future. I could have seen him returning if not for the injury. Now, I don’t see any way that happens.

  • @justanotherfan You’ve summed up the Embiid situation pretty well. There really is no rational decision other than to go pro now. So, I would just add one last scenario for Embiid:

    1. Be a kid for one more year and stay at KU just for the fun of it.

  • @DanR I really wonder if he was planning on playing anymore this year. Think it was possible?

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    If anything, I think the Marcus Smart situation will discourage players from staying in school another year. Smart wanted to stay because he wanted to “be a kid for another year” and “have some fun.” But he didn’t look like he was having much fun in January and February. Not saying that he regretted his decision, but by coming back to school, he didn’t lessen the glare of the spotlight on him and, at the same time, he raised expectations on himself and his team.

    However, his draft stock wasn’t hurt all that much because the things that NBA scouts look at are still there - the strength and athleticism. He improved his shot. He’s very good in the pick and roll. He’s an above average rebounder, especially for a point guard. Those things weren’t changing. The only thing that could have hurt his draft stock was either injury or off court issues like a drug/ drinking problem or a run in with the law. He had none of those. He’s just a super competitive player that got stuck in a really frustrating season.

    The other thing you have to consider, and it was laid out very well on Grantland.com a few weeks ago, right under a question about Joel Embiid oddly enough. Basically, the thought is that most agents and players don’t want the age limit not because of the rookie contract, but because it pushes the second contract, and the all important third contract (the max deal for stars) out an extra year.

    For example, if Embiid leaves after this season, he will sign a four year rookie deal that will be up in the summer of 2018, when he is 24 years old (Embiid is already 20). At any point up until then, he can sign a five year extension that could be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-$17m per season. That would take him up to his age 29 season. If you know anything about aging curves for big men, you know that this is critical. That third contract for him starting when he’s 29 rather than 30 or 31 means an extra year or two on the end of what likely would be his last significant contract. That’s worth $30m or more.

    Look at a player like Kevin Garnett vs. a guy like Rasheed Wallace. Rasheed Wallace spent 2 years at UNC. Garnett went straight to the NBA. Wallace went 4th in 1995, Garnett went 5th.

    Because Wallace was older from the day they were drafted, even though he initially made more money by being drafted a spot earlier, Kevin Garnett made more money over the course of his career. Through his career, Rasheed Wallace made more than $158m in basketball contracts. That’s nothing to sneeze at and a very nice career. Kevin Garnett, subtracting this year, has made more than $300m in his career. And he’s still playing. You can argue that Garnett made more because he was a better player, which is true. But let’s control for that by simply counting the number of season’s where each player had an 8 figure contract. Wallace had 10 such seasons, counting a year in Detroit where his base was slightly under $10m, but bonuses likely covered the difference. Garnett has had 15 such seasons not counting this year. Being younger earned him one extra large contract at the end of his career (when he was 34, before the 2010 season). Conversely, when Wallace was 34, he was playing the next to last year of his contract, meaning that when it ended, he was 36. He didn’t get another large deal after that. Garnett is finishing off his last big contract now. It’s been worth roughly triple what Wallace’s last contract was worth. Age had a huge factor in doing that.

  • I was oddly lucky and was on an airplane during the game. I tried to take a redeye home and slept at the airport in order to try and catch the game. I assumed while I was in the air that the Hawks were taking care of business and was shocked (and still am) that we could not take down a pretty average team in what appeared to be part of a very open draw for us in the South Region.

    But since we are now talking about whether we will be better next year it is of course hard to say since we don’t know who is staying and who is leaving. Obviously if Jo Jo comes back we will be pretty good as he will be one of the best players in the NCAA. My assumption is that he is gone. Just my opinion. No possible way for me to back that up.

    So let’s assume Jo Jo is gone and that we don’t land Turner. Really just doing this as worst case scenario…I still think we have a chance to be better.

    1- I hope that Frank has a great summer and gets more confident shooting. I see him and Tharpe and CF trading off a lot of minutes possibly with Tharpe being even moved more to the 2 as all he really does well is shoot.

    2 - I assume Selden is back and will be a stud and not just for us but nationally.

    3 - Greene showed a lot of signs of being a stud this year. I assume he starts in front of AW3 and Oubre. If Oubre is better and can start from day one that is great but who knows.

    4 - Perry / Jamari. Pretty good amount of experience and leadership. They both get an offseason to work on their faults. Hopefully Perry can get better at D and better at shooting over guys who are bigger than he is.

    5 - Cliff is probably the starter if he is as advertised. Mickelson and Lucas will be good backups but probably not great ones.

    At the end of the day I think we will be a better shooting team next year which is key. That is why we lost to Stanford. Lack of shooting. CF had a mini coming out party in the 2 NCAA games and I think he could be a game changer next year and the years ahead of us. Thrilled to have him in the lineup. Oubre is supposed to be a great shooter and Greene has shown that he can be elite if he can just get some minutes. Selden has flashed of being a shooter. The multiple shooters on the floor game plan seems to work out ok…ISU is still dancing.

  • Am I excited for next year? Yes. We will have far fewer freshmen moments. Self’s best teams are the teams with junior and seniors playing leading roles. Although I don’t want to see our team become one reliant on junior college players, it might not be a bad idea to bring in one or two to add depth and maturity. Of course there’s not going to be a lot of roster spots available if Joel and Selden stay. Wesley wasn’t on scholarship I think, don’t know about the three coaches kids, but I assume they’re not either. So we lose Tarik and Wiggins, bring in Oubre and Alexander, so where else do we even have much room for replacing players? Not much.

    There were some moments yesterday where our youth really showed up. One that really stands out is when we were pressing and creating turnovers. A press created a turnover and then we started what looked like a junior high team in the last ten seconds of a game. Everyone (I use that term loosely) began chucking up shots that had no chance to go in, probably 30 seconds on the shot clock when it began. This happened I think on two possessions in a row. Absolutely flabbergasting and a microcosm of the game and even the season.

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    The players you mentioned played in a completely different time where the concept of the one and done did not exist. A player was either drafted out of high school like Kobe, or went to to college with the idea of staying 4 years and if they developed, some left after 3 years such as Pierce and Jordan. In this day and age Jordan and Pierce would be one and done, no question about it.

    Noel’s injury was more serious and NBA managers knew what would be involved in rehabbing and he fell from a likely #1 to #6. Embiid’s injury is not, at this time, considered a major injury and his drat stock has not yet been affected. Embiid is being advised by Luc Mbah a Moute, a fellow Cameroonian and 7 year NBA veteran (with an agent) that can provide valuable information directly via Luc or behind the scenes (agent). To say his family is “fairly ignorant” on the issue is inaccurate and patronizing


    I believe you have it right. The risk associated with staying is too big.


    So far, NBA managers do no consider Embiid’s injury to be serious or career threatening; likewise, his standing in the draft has not yet been affected. There might be more information that comes out in the near future that changes things, but at this time, and absent any damaging information about his condition, it looks like his best option is to leave.

    I personally think he is as good as gone; I just hope that if this is indeed his decision, he announces it soon so we can have a shot at Myles Turner, who I believe is waiting to see what Embiid does but will not wait too much longer.

  • @KUSTEVE Some college players have recovered from the same injury JoJo has and had successful NBA careers. Others have had recurring back injuries that made them ineffective. Consider: You know the NBA takes chances in the draft. You know you could reinjure your back in your second season of college ball. You are 7’ and projected to be the first draftee. What would you do?

    I hope he stays, let’s Hudy toughen those back muscles, and develops his game. I don’t think he will.

Log in to reply