Yesterday’s development in the Darius Morris NBA draft saga wasn’t actually much of a surprise. It was more or less just following the plan that Morris’s brother outlined a month ago in the Detroit Free Press. Morris had every intention of entering his name in the draft and the decision to officially file his paperwork was just the next step in the process.
At this point it’s probably fair to say that Morris is genuinely conflicted. By not hiring an agent at this point, Morris will be able to garner as much feedback as possible and leave his options open until the May 8th withdrawal date.
Here are some relevant quotes from his brother in that Free Press article:
“He’s going to test the waters,” DeWayne said. “He’s not going to hire an agent. He’s going to go through the process as if he was going to enter the draft.”
“I’ve been with agents, they started the courting process,” said DeWayne. “We’ve been meeting. The reality is this is the situation if not this year, it’s next year. There are people you’ve put on your (family) team. Listening to what they have to say. They’ve been quietly courting us. I mentioned it to him.
“He wants to test the waters. I pitched it to him different ways. I told him. If you’re going to do this, you have to approach the process as if you’re going to the NBA.”
Morris’s brother makes a valid point that you have to take the process seriously for NBA teams to take you seriously. NBA teams aren’t going to waste their time, resources and money to evaluate a prospect that makes it known he’s going to withdraw from the draft. The real decision will be made during the final hours of Sunday, May 8th.
Morris appears to be projected as an early second round pick right now. NBADraft.net has him at #33, DraftExpress at #39, NBADraftInsider at #34 and ESPN’s Chad Ford has him ranked as his 44th best prospect. No drafts have Morris in the first round but it’s pretty clear that he’s knocking on the door.
It seems possible that a couple of strong workout performances could go a long way toward pushing Morris toward the first round. Of course, a couple of poor performances could send him hurdling down into the mid-to-late second round. It’s an extremely fine line and Morris and his family will have the most important decision of his life to make in just over two weeks time.
I have a hard time faulting any underclassman for entering the draft to be a first round pick. That means guaranteed money and accomplishing your dream. The stakes are unfortunately very high, a bad decision can ruin a career. The whole picture changes if Morris leaves too early, gets drafted late in the 2nd round and then finds out the summer league has been canceled due to a pending lockout.
- Morris has until midnight on May 8th to withdraw his name from the draft, assuming he doesn’t hire an agent.
- The New Jersey Nets will host a multiplayer workout open to all-NBA teams on May 7th and 8th. The workout will feature 5-on-5 play between around 40 prospects, something individual workouts don’t, and I would expect Morris to participate. The drawback is that the 2nd day of the workout coincides with the withdrawal deadline, providing very little time to solicit feedback and make decisions afterwards.
- There is credence to the notion that this year’s draft will be significantly weaker than next year’s. Several can’t miss prospects are remaining in school and next year’s freshman class appears to be quite loaded. On the other hand, there’s the reason why many prospects are choosing to remain in school: a potential NBA lockout.
- The NCAA only allows prospects to “test the waters” once, which means Morris would not have the opportunity after his junior season. Then again, it might not matter much as new NCAA legislation will require underclassmen to make a decision by April 10th, the day before national signing day, which will make “testing the waters” impossible.