NBA Draft: Projected top-5 pick stays in school

NBA Draft: Projected top-5 pick stays in school
April 16, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Over the last few weeks, seemingly every college basketball player has entered the NBA Draft including Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. and Maryland's Alex Len. Sadly for college basketball fans, that bit of hyperbole isn't really so outlandish, at least among the top tier options.

By Tuesday afternoon with Len and UCLA small forward Shabazz Muhammad announcing their intention to turn pro, 10 of the top 11 prospects - all underclassmen or international players - on Draft Express.com's big board have now made the same move.

Turns out the missing member of that top-11 is not pro turning pro, not yet anyway. Reports surfaced Tuesday night including one from Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski that Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart is bucking the trend by staying in school. An announcement is expected on Wednesday.

The kicker isn't simply that Smart intends on returning to Stillwater for his sophomore season, but that most draft projections put him squarely into the top-5. If the point guard needy Orlando Magic landed the No. 1 overall selection, its conceivable their call would have been Smart.  Respect the decision, just hope those millions he's leaving on the table are there in a year or two.

Obviously, even if Lady Luck secured the Wizards one of the draft's first three picks, they would not have drafted a point guard. They already have that John Wall fella. However, Smart's decision could have a trickle down affect should the Wizards select in their current 6-9 range. With a projected high selection now unavailable, there could be one less small forward or athletic big man or perimeter scorer available that President Ernie Grunfeld or coach Randy Wittman might actually want. 

With one game remaining, Washington (29-52) is tied with the Detroit Pistons for the seventh-worst record in the NBA, one game behind the Sacramento Kings (28-53), one game ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves (30-51).

Porter, UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, Indiana swingman and former DeMatha product Victor Oladipo and Muhammad are potential options for the Wizards in this range followed by Len. Assuming Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Kansas guard Ben McLemore are top-3 locks and Washington selects seventh, the Wizards can be assured of landing one of those initial four targets if some other player jumps into the high-end mix. Michigan's Trey Burke, now the top-rated point guard in the draft, is the most likely candidate assuming teams are not scared off because of his listed 6-foot-0 height.

At least one point guard might help the Wizards out.

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