Selby Rolls the Dice

Josh Selby drew severe heat from media and fans when he declared for the NBA draft after an injury-plagued and subpar freshman season at Kansas.

The 6-3 guard, who was rated No. 1 in his class by one Web site after his senior season of high school, is arguably the biggest enigma entering Thursday's draft.

But one NBA general manager believes Josh Selby is NBA ready.

"Time will tell whether his decision to turn pro was the right one but think he possesses NBA talent today," the GM wrote in an email interview. "There are still some uncertainties with him considering he only played in 26 college games but think he did enough to prove to NBA teams that he belongs in our league."

Selby, who missed the first nine games last season after undergoing an NCAA suspension, averaged 7.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists, while shooting 37.3 percent from the field. He averaged 12.1 points and 2.1 three-pointers made in his first 13 games, but after suffering a foot injury at Texas Tech on Feb. 1, his production dipped the rest of the season.

However, after leaving KU following the NCAA tournament and working out in Las Vegas at Impact Basketball Academy under world-class trainer Joe Abunassar, Selby has lost weight and regained his explosiveness. He had a 42-inch vertical jump at the pre-draft combine in Chicago in May, tied for the best jump at the combine and ranks as the ninth highest mark in the history of the combine.

This GM likes Selby's game.

"Talented scorer who can break guys down off the dribble and create his own offense," the GM wrote. "Has a good mid-range game and can make shots off the bounce, which is a coveted skill in our league. Want him to continue to work on his body and work on taking 1-2 more bounces to get himself all the way to the rim."

The GM sees Selby as a "combo guard" in the NBA "because of his score-first mentality."

"His game reminds me some of Jerryd Bayless  —  both are athletic scorers who can handle it but are better served playing off the ball because of their ability to isolate and create their own offense. Neither player is a natural set-up man."

Bayless, the former Arizona star, was the 11th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. The 6-3, 200-pound Toronto Raptors guard averaged 9.2 points and 3.7 assists per game last season for New Orleans and Toronto. He has career averages of 7.6 points and 2.6 assists, while shooting 41 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range, and 81.7 percent at the free-throw line.

While he didn't really showcase his athleticism at Kansas with his foot injury, Selby definitely has some athletic skills you can't teach, as evidenced by his 42-inch vertical jump at the combine.

"He is an above average NBA athlete at his position, but wish he utilized it more on the defensive end  — very low blocks/steals guy and rarely attacks the glass," the GM wrote.

Selby had 21 steals and just one block in 26 games last season.

On a more positive note, the Baltimore native has a dangerous first step.

"His first step is one of the best in this year's draft and defenders must respect it or else he'll embarrass you," the GM wrote. "One of the reasons he gets his mid-range J so often is a credit to his ability to pull up off the bounce when he catches defenders overplaying his drive."

This GM believes Selby will have a successful career. He added that he likes Selby's toughness.

"I see him as a guy who can come in off an NBA bench and provide you with instant offense," the GM wrote. "Also think he can provide you with energetic perimeter defense. He won't back down from anyone.

"(I) think in his prime he ends up as a key rotational player a la Jason Terry (6-2 guard of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks who's averaged 16.2 points and 4.7 assists in 33 minutes per game over his 12-year career, while shooting 44.9 percent from the field, 38 percent from beyond the arc, and 84.5 percent at the charity stripe), someone capable of playing starters minutes but comes in off the bench to change the tempo and provide scoring."

Some observers were critical of Selby's body language at Kansas. But this GM thinks "his overall work ethic and attitude are pretty good." He calls Selby "very personable and easy going. Comes from a tough background so he does have a bit of a chip on his shoulder."

That "chip on his shoulder" could serve Selby well in his NBA career as he tries to make his mark and prove the critics wrong. Selby, who before Thursday will have worked out for more than half the teams in the league, is looking to leave his past at KU behind and focus on his immediate future.

"What happened at Kansas is over with," Selby told the Sacramento Bee. "I just try to worry about now and worry about what's ahead of me. I don't really (want) to focus on Kansas. Even though I miss the school, I don't try to think about the season."

"I'm not disappointed that I'm not a top-10 pick," he added. "But I'm disappointed we didn't win a national championship. That was more important than anything."

So where will he end up on draft night?

"(I) think his range is probably 20-35," the GM wrote. Top Stories