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If the NBA draft is age 20 and over, who goes No. 1?

Nov 17, 2011, 7:54 PM EDT

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It was not in the official proposal from the owners to the players (the ultimatum offer that the players not only rejected but dissolved the union over), but you can bet it will be in the next one:

The owners want the draft age to go to 20. No more one-and-done with college, they want two-and-done. Why? Because the owners like the idea of more scouting time for players and for the NCAA to start to make guys stars before they get to the NBA. Who knows if it will be in the CBA, but the owners want it.

Which leads to the question: If the draft is 20 and over next June, what is the draft order?

Right now, Anthony Davis of Kentucky will be No. 1 pick (scouts think he has Kevin Garnett level potential), but he is a one-and-done. If he and Andre Drummond (the center for UConn) are out of the top two spots, who is in?

Here is a top five, based on a fun debate on ESPN, some thoughts from David Thorpe and

1. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina. The swingman would have been a top three pick last year if he had come out, but staying in he is now the best non big on the board. He can slash and create his own shot but also has a nice outside touch to go with it. But as David Thorpe points out at ESPN, maybe the most interesting thing about Barnes is he is a good defender. Everyone needs a wing defender.

2. Perry Jones, Baylor. He is like Anthony Davis in raw talent — this is a 6-11 guy who can play on the wing and should dominate both in college and at the next level. The red flag is you only see it in flashes. He could be a KG type talent, or he could be JaVale McGee. That should scare off more teams than it will.

3. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State. Another guy that would have been a top pick but returned. He’s a big bodied, smart guy who can play solidly in the league for years. Right now everybody says they would take him above Perry Jones, but come the draft GMs always fall in love with potential and Jones has a higher ceiling. That said, Sullinger will be good and dependable.

4. Thomas Robinson, Kansas. He’s a good college power forward who may be a bit undersized for that role in the NBA. Still, he has good offensive post moves and unlike Jones you have to like how hard he plays every night. To borrow a line from Thorpe, energy is a talent.

5. John Henson, North Carolina. What team doesn’t need a shot blocking, rebounding big man in the paint? Did you see the last three NBA champions? They each had a guy who could control the paint and the boards. It matters, and Henson could be that guy for someone.

  1. trbowman - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    How about they allow players straight out of high school again?

    The 1 and dones are bad for college bball.

    Then again, I can’t fault the NBA too much – it’s not their concern.

    • hystoracle - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      Should be their concern — eventually the lack of fundamentals & experience breaks down the pro game.

      The one good idea I saw so far was expanding the D league to use as a minor league system.. Would allow you to bring in younger players – perhaps even high schoolers and send them to a place they can play everyday and get better.. It would make professional basketball more competitive. PLayers having to compete to stay with the main club.. Like Baseball and Hockey.

  2. nflinla - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    If the season us canceled what will be the draft order? That’s what I like to know. Where would my Lakers Pick? Top 5-10?

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 18, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      That has not yet been determined. Most likely it will be a weighted lottery based on performance the past few seasons, meaning the Lakers would have slim chance of landing a top 10 pick, where teams like the Timberwolves would have a good chance. But nobody know right now.

  3. brentton32 - Nov 19, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Terrance Jones?

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