With three players in New York for the draft, the night was supposed to be a banner of achievement for the Baylor Bears. While all three were drafted, only one was probably happy about when he got drafted. However, that doesn't mean that they all went to bad situations. Let's take a look at the three player's night and how their future might look.
Perry Jones III
The top-5 pick last year, came back to Baylor to mature and get better, and to hopefully maintain or even improve his draft position. That did not happen. With his statistics being roughly the same as his freshman season, Perry came into the draft process expected to be a mid/late lottery selection. Throughout the process, Perry and his advisors pushed him being a small forward, a position that some of his skills translate perfectly, but he is not exactly a great fit for.
And then the late knees of some issues with his meniscus in his knees, and Perry started to tumble down draft boards. The former slam dunk top 5 pick was now in the bottom 5 of the first round, selected 28th by the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder. "We're thrilled about how this draft turned out for us as a team and an organization," said Thunder GM Sam Presti. "Perry Jones, obviously, is an extremely talented individual and is somebody that we feel very fortunate to be able to add to our team."
So the most athletic team in the league just added another elite athlete. "He's kind of an interesting athlete in the sense that he has quickness, he's lean, he has explosiveness and all those things line up and blend well with things that we look for in players. We're excited about him and we've taken a lot of steps as we went through the process to decide that this was the right decision, and we feel it was."
Before the draft, I believed that the best place for Perry Jones would be a team with a top level star, and a defensive focused center. Oklahoma City easily has both of those spots covered. With Kevin Durant being one of the top players in the league and all-star caliber players like Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Perry should not have a very heavy load on his shoulders at first, something that I think he will benefit from.
Secondly, Oklahoma City has a prototypical center in Kendrick Perkins that really does a lot of the things that Perry has not excelled at; post defense, rebounding position, and shot-blocking. Serge Ibaka also is an elite defender who can play the center. With Perry playing alongside either of these players, he will be put in a position to succeed.
They also have a great person to learn how to be a professional in, with Nick Collison. Collison is an extremely hard worker, and someone who scraps and fights. It would be very beneficial for Jones to learn from him and get some of that tenacity.
Finally, Perry could also play some small forward as well, with no real backup for Kevin Durant. He could also play a swing forward position with Durant out there. A lineup of Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Jones III and Ibaka is extremely athletic, and should be able to do well on both sides of the court.
In the end though, it will be up to Perry to make this, or any situation work. "I'm speechless," Jones III said to Jones. "My dream is to play in the NBA. No matter what number I got picked, I just wanted the opportunity to play… I'm just going to play hard."
The Bears worker bee was expected to have a longer night than he did. While most thought he would be drafted, it is hard to tell what teams want to do in the second round. The draft changes so much between the first and second rounds. With the non-guaranteed contracts, and teams looking to draft players for placement overseas, sometimes the hard working under-sized players get lost in the shuffle. Ask Kevin Jones of West Virginia about that.
But Acy surprised most Bears fans and was actually the second player drafted from Baylor on the night, going with the 7th pick in the second round and 37th overall to the Toronto Raptors. While it was exciting to see Acy go this high, I am concerned about this team as a good fit. Toronto does have some success with undersize athletic power forwards though.
The Raptors primarily used two power forwards last year, Amir Johnson and Ed Davis. Both are getting about 24 minutes per game. Amir is actually very comparable to Quincy Acy, as both are around 6-9, with a limited offensive game. Amir is in the 2nd year of a contract that runs out after the 2014-2015 season.
Davis is the other power forward, and he is a lottery pick, being chosen 13th in the 2010 draft. He has a better offensive game than Acy or Johnson, but has struggled with consistency.
However, their best power forward is probably their current starting center, Andrea Bargnani. The Raptors are looking to get more of a pure center to push Bargnani to his more natural position, and that will limit minutes for Acy. Quincy is going to a team that is looking at putting its best player at power forward, with two much more accomplished players, probably better suited for backup roles in front of him as well. Acy's best chance to make and stick to an NBA roster is as an energy power forward off the bench, and the Raptor's already have one of those starting that does it much better in Amir Johnson.
The third and final Bear chosen easily had the worst night of the three. Chosen 38th, just one stop after Quincy Acy, Miller failed to secure the first round spot that his handlers told him was him when he changed his mind and declared for the NBA draft. While his draft spot was a major disappointment, the team he is going to seems to be a great fit for his style of play, but it is a good spot for him to be in?
The Nuggets run an up and down style of offense. They love to push the ball with Ty Lawson pickup up the pace and running with great athletes like Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Corey Brewer, Javale McGee and Rudy Frenandez. They also have a great coach who has developed a ton of successful wing players in the NBA in George Karl.
However, the Nuggets are loaded at the small forward position, and have a bunch of options for the power forward position as well. With Gallinari, Brewer, and Fernandez being able to play on the wing, Miller will struggle to get playing time. They are a young team as well, with prospects such as Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried also eating up time at the forward positions along with veteran Al Harrington.
While a great fit as a team, Miller might struggle to even make the roster, like Jordan Hamilton did last year. I expect some time spent in the Developmental League is in store for Miller, which would be a shock to his handlers.