The NBA’s minimum age won’t change in time for this year’s draft, but if it did, Chad Ford of ESPN.com, writing in an Insider-only piece, thinks Marcus Smart would be the No. 1 overall pick, followed by Doug McDermott, Rodney Hood, Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris. It illustrates how reliant the league has become on freshman talent, and how profoundly a rule change could devastate the draft the year it takes effect. There’s more on the minimum-age front and other news from Ford amid the latest on the draft:
- Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s sought the input of NCAA president Mark Emmert on the effort to raise the NBA’s minimum age, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Silver also wants to discuss the way the draft affects players’ NCAA eligibility, as Michael McCann of SI.com notes via Twitter.
- Ford doesn’t believe teams are too concerned about the notion that Dante Exum would try to force his way to the Lakers, as Ford writes in his latest chat with readers.
- Dario Saric has hurt his draft stock with hints that he might stay in Europe, according to Ford, who suggests in his chat that teams might worry that Saric will become the next Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls have waited while Mirotic has remained overseas for the past three years, meaning he’s no longer subject to the rookie scale and can demand higher salaries to join the team this summer.
- Most of the NBA prospects on Kentucky’s roster, including brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison, want to enter the draft this year, Ford writes, adding that Julius Randle is nonetheless the only lock to declare.