Our new writer, Kyle, freaked a few people out yesterday with a bit of a throwaway line in his opening post about Carsen Edwards:
With it sounding like a Biggie departure is more and more evident...
We should probably clarify: WE KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF HIS STATUS.
Yes, once again, we're on Swanigan watch, which seems to be an annual May tradition around these parts. Last year we got tons of traffic for the entire month of May before he finally committed on May 19th. While we won't have daily updates this year, we will once again likely be waiting just as long.
Here are the important dates to know:
May 11-15 - NBA Draft combine - Yes, this starts today up in Chicago. Classes already ended for Caleb and, since it seems very unlikely he will be a four year player, He is likely not taking anything during Maymester. He is one of only 70 players invited to the combine, which is critical because there are only 60 players that will get drafted. He will join A.J. Hammons there, but Vince Edwards has not been invited.
It should be noted that all 60 draftees will not be in attendance. There are no European players invited, and it is likely that 10-15 draft slots will be filled by Europeans and project players taken in the second round that will never set foot on an NBA floor, but get drafted because they happen to be 7'6" even though they have never seen a basketball before.
May 25 - Last day for early entrants to return to school - This right here is the key day. After the combine Swanigan and Edwards have 10 days to attend individual team workouts before they have to decide if they are staying in or returning. For Caleb, he will receive feedback from pretty much anyone he wants at the combine itself. For Vince, he can attend individual workouts, but his feedback will be limited to the teams he visits.
Edwards has been confirmed to visit the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Grizzlies. Swanigan does not have any confirmed team visits yet, but he will have the eyes of all 30 teams this week in Chicago.
So where are they headed?
Well, that is the real question now, isn't it? First, let's look at Hammons, who is definitely gone. I have compiled the four different draft expert sites and here is what each says:
CBS Sports - No. 31 overall prospect
NBA Draft.net - No. 29 pick by San Antonio
Draft Express - No. 41 pick by Orlando
HoopsHype.com - No. 30 pick by Golden State
A.J. might be in one of the best spots possible if he goes late first round. If he goes to Golden State or San Antonio he will go to an actual competent team that is already a contender and he won't be expected to be a savior. He can fill his role as a defender and role player quite easily. San Antonio would be perfect too with the likely retirement of Tim Duncan. The thought of him going to Golden State leaves me giddy.
Now, let's look at Caleb:
CBS Sports - No. 90 overall prospect
NBADraft.net - Not Drafted
Draft Express - Not Drafted
HoopsHype.com - Not listed among top 12 power forwards
We all know Caleb is supremely confident and his dad said that he is "the best power forward in college basketball", but the scouts seem to think otherwise. I can't find a mock draft where he is even a second round pick, let alone a first round selection. From all the interviews we have seen (and there are few) it is pretty clear that Caleb wants to go right now. That means he would probably be content even with a second round selection, which does not carry a guaranteed contract.
Being a second round pick is always a crapshoot. First, this is where you get a ton of "project" selections where teams can stash guys in Europe to develop for a few years. Of the 30 players selected in the second round last season 19 have yet to play in an NBA game. Nine of those players are foreign players that did not play in the U.S. There are still 8 players from the 2014 Draft that were second round picks that have yet to play an NBA game.
Going undrafted is even more of a crapshoot. At best, you're looking at a camp invite and a chance to sign with a team's D-League team. A prime example is Cliff Alexander, who was one of the top prospects in the 2014 recruiting class. He played about half a season at Kansas, declared for the draft, and went undrafted in 2015. He managed to snag a free agent contract with Portland, but spent most of this past season in the D-League. He played in a grand total of 8 NBA games this past season, averaging 1.3 points. This is probably a best case scenario too if Biggie stays in the draft and goes undrafted.
Sure, Biggie could go to Europe, but that becomes just about as much of a longshot of making it to the NBA as going to the D-League. Just ask JaJuan Johnson, who spent a year in the NBA, but can't make it back up and now looks like a career Europe guy. He was a first round pick too.
It should be noted that Draft Express projects Caleb as a first round pick for 2017. This is even before his monster sophomore season where he returns to West Lafayette, wins Big Ten player of the Year, leads Purdue to a Big Ten regular season title and NCAA championship, thus becoming the No. 1 overall pick (because hey, if you're going to have delusions, they might as well be of grandeur).
Almost every indication from the "experts" say that Caleb should work out this week in Chicago, get feedback, then come back to Purdue for another season. Then, if he fulfills his vast potential and make "the Leap" I would say he is definitely gone and I honestly wouldn't blame him if he did go. If Caleb has a monster 2016-17 season there is probably no way he stays for another year. I want him to have that monster season too. If he blows up as expected that likely means very, very good things for Purdue as a team.
What we don't know, at all, is what he is thinking. Like last year, Caleb has been very quiet about his true intentions. I have no doubt that he wants to play in the NBA next season and would leap if given the chance. Does he risk what seems to be a very small chance of getting drafted against playing it safe, staying in school for another year, and getting a much larger check next year? We will see.
Now, onto Vince:
CBS Sports - No. 92 overall prospect
NBADraft.net - Not Drafted
Draft Express - Not Drafted
HoopsHype.com - Not Drafted
If Swanigan has a small chance of being drafted it would seem that Vince has an even smaller chance. I would be shocked if Vince didn't return, but I like that he is getting some feedback and finding out what he needs to do.
Purdue's worst case scenario:
Vince and Caleb both stay in the draft and go undrafted. They struggle to make it in the D-League or Europe and become footnotes. Purdue does not sign any other 2016 recruits and goes into the 2016-17 season with only eight scholarship players.
Purdue's best case scenario:
A.J. gets drafted by San Antonio or Golden State and has a great rookie season for the 2017 NBA champ. Vince and Caleb return for another year armed with the knowledge of what they need to do. They agree to work together and compliment each other perfectly in order to maximize both of their potentials. This results in them both blowing up while Isaac Haas does the big man work down low. P.J. Thompson, Carsen Edwards, and Spike Albrecht have fun feeding them for threes and dunks. Vince and Caleb have fun kicking it out for open threes from Dakota Mathias and Ryan Cline. Painter's motion offense starts flowing like it did during that great 2009-10 season before Hummel got hurt and the basketball nirvana we saw glimpses of last season is sustained. Purdue runs roughshod as Vince, Caleb, and Isaac all play like lottery picks at their respective positions. Purdue goes undefeated, wins the national title and exorcises the demons of the last two NCAA Tournament losses and decades of disappointment in March. Everyone has so much fun they all forgo the 2017 draft to come back and do it again as a modern dynasty and win the 2018 title after Painter inks all the top 2017 in-state guys and they want to run with the champs (because we could get four TOP guys to run with them again). Manna rains from heaven as the Cubs also win the 2016 World Series. Darrell Hazell miraculously turns Purdue around for a Leicester City-like Big Ten campaign as Markell Jones wins the Heisman.
Crap, there are those delusions of grandeur again.