Sunday, January 26, 2014

Going Pro

Sam Dekker started out this season projected as a possible mid to late first round pick in this year's NBA draft. He dropped a bit in the early season, but has been showing back up in the 20s again. This is all very premature as there is a lot of season left, and much of the player's draft status will be determined at the tryouts and camps after the season.

I would love to see Dekker play another season or 2 at UW, but I am of the opinion that any UW player who could be a first-round pick should go pro. With the new collective bargaining agreement, NBA first round picks are guaranteed 2 year contracts and will make over a million dollars even if they get cut and don't make their NBA roster. Even the 30th pick in the draft will get a minimum salary of about $750,000 each year. That is a lot of money. Too much money for a 20 year old kid to turn down. It's enough money to give you the opportunity to do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life, as long as that isn't buying drugs, cars, and other crap.

It's great for fans if players stick around, but there is just too much risk in not taking that money if they can be a first round pick. One blown out knee and there goes your million dollars.


  1. It would be a huge shock to see Dekker go this year. I know they draft on potential. He will be a Millionaire a year later. Can't get back that College experience. He is way not close to being ready. He will not make himself available.

    1. I'd be shocked too, but mainly because I don't think Dekker will be a lock for the first round. i think these early projections overrate college players because the people making the projections aren't aware of all the foreign players that will actually fill in the spaces of the first round. But I think Chorlton makes a pretty good point-- if it were my son looking at $1.5mm guaranteed, I'd say "you would be crazy to not to do this" and I would be right.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I agree at this point, it would be a shock if Dekker went pro after this year.

    The point of my post was less about whether he will go pro, and more about whether he should go pro if he will be a first round pick, two different things. As I stated in my post, any player is a knee injury away from an ended career, so there is no guarantee he will be a millionaire a year later.

    I think whether or not he is ready is largely irrelevant. If a player has the talent, NBA coaches think they can develop it. Even though he has a hall of fame coach like Bo Ryan to learn from, Dekker is limited to a certain number of practices, and a certain number of hours he can have contact and coaching. In the NBA he will have access to NBA assistants every day, 365 days a year.

    As far as the college experience, you have me there. You are only 20 once, and once you get that first NBA contract life will never be the same. If Dekker stays he will not be the first or the last kid to value enjoying their youth over instant fame and fortune.

  3. This was posted on about Dekker, and other possible NBA picks. One NBA scouts opinion:
    On Sam Dekker, sophomore guard/forward, Wisconsin
    I like him because he’s a skilled player. These days, NBA coaches want skilled players and not just freak athletes. His feel for the game is what makes him unique, especially for his size at 6’7". I think he has a chance to make it because he knows how to play.
    He’s shooting a high percentage (49.3) from the field. He shows a lot of desire when it comes to rebounding the ball, and he’s not a bad passer. It’d be nice if he shot the three-ball a little bit better. But overall he takes high-quality shots. Everything I hear indicates he’ll be a first-rounder.

    Here is the link to the full article about other college NBA talent.

  4. One question: how much better is the deal for a top 10 or 15 guy than for a late 1st rounder? In other words, how much could Dekker improve that first guaranteed contract by having a showcase year next year? Diiference between 1.5mm and 3mm is pretty big, really.

  5. Here is a link to a Forbes article that breaks down the exact amounts of the rookie scale. There is some wiggle room for negotiations but not much, so these numbers a a pretty close guide to what they will make.
    To answer your question, yes there is a significant difference between 10 and 30. About 2 million dollars over the 2 guaranteed years. However for every Devin Harris who runs up the draft ladder to cash in after a great Junior year, there are many more players who get injured, or level off and don't improve. The younger you are the more upside the NBA thinks you have, so unless you make a huge jump from year to year you are not likely to change your draft stock much.