Draft Chat with Aran Smith of NBADraft.net

Dylan Burkhardt
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Aran Smith, president of NBADraft.net, agreed to answer a couple quick questions about Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims’s draft stock. NBADraft.net is one of the top draft websites on the internet and definitely worth a read if you need to get your NBA Draft fix. There are obviously a thousand opinions on how different players should be evaluated for the NBA and this certainly shouldn’t be taken as gospel, however I thought it would be good to bring in an opinion from someone who follows the draft religiously.

You recently dropped Manny Harris down your draft board from late first round 2010 to mid-second round in 2011. What were your reasons for this and how would you evaluate Manny’s draft stock at this point?

Harris is one of the best college shooting guard in the country, but scouts question his ability to hit outside shots. He’s not an overwhelming athlete and doesn’t do anything well enough to offset his subpar outside shooting. He’ll have a chance to get drafted, but scouts are no longer mentioning him as a potential first rounder.

If you were advising him, would you recommend that he leaves early? What can players gain from coming back for their senior year? How often does a player reach their potential and at a certain point “he is what he is”?

I am on the fence on him leaving this year. Harris could be reaching that point where leaving could be in his best interest. He has to weigh the benefits of earning a degree or whether he feels ready to take his game to the next level. We always get bombarded by the pro-college, don’t leave early sentiment, but there are plenty of players that actually wait too long and get exposed for not having the perceived upside they once possessed. I don’t think his game or stock would be damaged too severely by returning, but you never know. He is playing at a very high level and any dropoff from that could hurt.

DeShawn Sims has been putting up phenomenal statistics in conference play but he is a bit of a tweener going forward. How would you evaluate his draft stock?

Yeah I think he’s a European level power forward, and a tweener for the NBA. He has a good shot from outside for a big forward but I don’t see him having a role in the NBA.

What does each player need to improve on to raise their value?

Sims must gain more perimeter skills, although I think he’s best to focus on being a big man playing overseas. Harris needs to become a better outside shooter.

Top 5 NBA prospects in the Big Ten?

  1. Evan Turner
  2. Kalin Lucas
  3. William Buford
  4. JaJuan Johnson
  5. Manny Harris

Favorite NBA prospect that no one is talking about?

Love the question. The “other” forward at Iowa State Marquis Gilstrap doesn’t get much ink, but he’s a nice prospect. I think he has a chance to make it in the NBA.

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  • michigan hoops 4eva

    Good interview, nbadraft.net is a really great website. Interesting to hear Aran Smith say that Manny Harris isn’t a first round candidate right now, and still imply that it might be a good idea for Manny to leave.

    My take is that Manny is still a little too raw for the pros, he’s got great instincts but needs to improve his shot and maybe gain some muscle. Let’s hope he stays next year.

  • AG2

    I’m not surprised he mentioned William Buford. That kid can seriously shoot, and I think he’s been overlooked because of Evan Turner.

    I can see where he’s coming from with Manny not being a first rounder but might leave anyway. His draft stock might not be the highest today, but if he doesn’t have room for improvement, coming back for his senior year might hurt him more. After all, he could improve more under pro coaching than in college.

  • DaveR

    It is interesting to hear what the current draft prospects are for Harris and Sims. My impression is that Harris may be a bit overrated and Sims may be a bit underrated. Harris seems to run into trouble too often on drives to the basket – but then again the lack of zone defenses in the NBA may open up this part of his game. Sims seems to have all the tools – decent mid to long range shooting, athletic enough to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket and a good post game. He’s able to produce against any competition despite lacking any other decent frontcourt talent on this team. If he has a chance to play with a true center, he may be better than scouts realize.

  • michigan fan

    I agree, at this point I see Sims has having more of a chance in the NBA then Harris. Harris is a great slasher and leads the breaks very well. Other than that, I don’t see how is ball handling and shooting is close to what is required for an NBA guard. Hopefully these are areas he can improve on.

  • Here’s a recruiting nugget for you guys…

    It appears that Michigan is still recruiting Finney wing guard Isaiah Sykes.

  • Paul F.

    Like Deshawn’s game better Mannys right now. If the draft was today, I’d take Sims over Harris. Deshawn is stronger mentally.

  • maxwell’s demon

    Interesting thought on even if Manny stays it might not do him any good. And I agree that he really hasn’t been able to develop that outside shot and I can’t imagine it would suddenly happen next year.

    While, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sims ends up in Europe, I would be surprised if he doesn’t at least get a shot at PF in the NBA.

    I’m not sure about Buford, I suppose he has a lot of upside but he’s VERY streaky. Any given night he could put up 6 pts or 26 pts. When he is hitting his shot, I’d take Buckeyes over any team in the conference.

  • BL11

    I thought I remembered hearing that Michigan cooled on Sykes, but glad to hear they haven’t given up on him. Any one have video on him?

  • Tweeter

    Kalin Lucas second best nba talent in big ten? Not sure I buy that. I think I would rather take Talor Battle at this point if I was an NBA team. Lucas is a good college pg who thrives in uptempo games, where he can get out in transition. He has a good shot, not great, but aboe average. However, his one-on-one game is pretty weak in the half court and his defense is just ok. Given his size, I dont really see what he offers an NBA team except being a backup pg that can bring a change of pace. To me there are other guys in BT that have much, much more potential at the next level than Kalin Lucas, including two of his teammates in Summers and Morgan.

    I like Sykes as a nice option if Zeigler does not come thru for Blue. I have no idea where his offensive game is at, but at the very least it sounds like he would offer some nice decent size and athleticism on the wing. I trust Beilein to find and delope his skills over the course of his career. But Ziegler and Horford still gotta be our guys.

  • Taddie

    Deshawn reminds me quite a bit of Antonio McDyess. If Dice can have a 15+ year NBA career, I definitely think Deshawn will have a shot.

  • ToBlav

    I am not familiar with Aran Smith, but based solely on this article it seems to me he is selling the NBA. I find it hard to believe that Manny coming back next year would hurt him. It seems much more likely that he improves his shot and handle on drives and move back into the first round.

  • Matt

    Might want to specify that it’s McDyess post-injury. DeShawn doesn’t hold a candle to this.


  • Pingback: Manny Harris Staying? Let’s Give Him Time | UM Hoops.com()

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  • ryan

    Sims reminds me of Ryan Gomes. Both players played mostly the 4 in their college career and scouts/websites/etc. would say they’d have to play the 3 in the NBA. But as you can see w/ Gomes, you can carve out a nice career as a 6th man playing 25 minutes a night or so as a somewhat undersized big man.