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Jayhawk Winners & Losers from the NBA Draft

How did the 2015 NBA Draft affect former Jayhawks? Let's take a look at a few.

Mike Stobe


Joel Embiid:

OK, hear me out. Obviously, breaking your foot, losing the top spot on the draft, and inviting comparisons to Greg Oden and Sam Bowie does not usually make you a 'winner' on draft night.  Where I think Embiid will benefit is being drafted by Philadelphia.  The 76ers have no plans of being a good basketball team anytime soon.  One of their first-rounders last year (Nerlens Noel) didn't play a minute, and their second first-rounder this year (Dario Saric) won't play an NBA minute for the next two years; clearly this is a team who is OK with having a lottery pick for the foreseeable future. Embiid can rest and heal properly without any pressure to rush back into playing shape, which can only mean good things for his longevity.  And when I say no pressure, I mean no pressure.  Clearly the owners, front office and coaching staff are on board with tanking and stockpiling assets—but even the fan base has bought into the rebuilding project.  I haven't seen fans so happy for their team to be terrible since Randy Quaid in Major League.

Tarik Black:

I understand that there wasn't much of a chance of Tarik getting drafted in the first place, but now that it's official, he needs to take advantage of this opportunity, embrace his destiny, and try and play in the NFL.  Tony Gonzalez had somewhat comparable statistics on the hardwood during his time at California, chose football instead, and became the greatest tight end in NFL history.  Alonzo Gates was a monster his last couple of seasons at Kent St., averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game his senior year. He realized he would struggle to hold on to a roster spot in the NBA, turned his back on the sport, and he's done pretty OK for himself.

In Tarik's situation, no less than Aaron Rodgers thinks he would be a phenomenal tight end, and guaranteed him a workout with the Green Bay Packers whenever Tarik may want one.  When a dude is dating Olivia Munn in real life, that's the kind of guy you want to be modeling your life decisions after.

Thomas Robinson:

The Trail Blazers had no picks in the draft, which means no rookies breathing down his neck and challenging Robinson for minutes.  T-Rob had his share of great moments last year, but he needs to turn those moments into prolonged stretches of productivity.  After not getting that chance in Sacramento or Houston, it looks like the time is now in Portland.


Ben McLemore:

The Kings selecting Nik Stauskas with a top-10 pick, one year after selecting McLemore with a top-10 pick, can't be construed as anything positive for McLemore's future in Sac-town.  The Kings have remained adamant that Stauskas wasn't picked to replace Benny Mac, and are claiming that Stauskas has the skill set to play some point guard alongside him.  I suppose this is true, in the same sense that DeMarcus Cousins could "play some point guard" for them as well.  Hell, maybe even Spud Webb, too? White Chocolate? Vlade Divac?  Lionel Simmons?  Apparently everything is in play for the Kings' point guard position next year.

Marcus Morris:

About three seconds before the Suns made their first-round pick, I announced to our viewing party, "As long as it's not TJ Warren here, the Morris twins are still in good shape."  Whoops.

After last season, the Suns should know that you should keep the Morris twins together on the court whenever possible.  Both of them flourished last year, particularly Markieff, but it has yet to be proven that either twin can be a consistently productive NBA rotation player without the other one alongside him.  So c'mon, Phoenix, you know what to do.  Don't split them up.  We're not talking about Voldemort's Horcruxes here.

Tyshawn Taylor:

Tyshawn makes this list simply because, as a recently-released player trying to find his way back on an NBA roster, he now has to compete with a whole new batch of undrafted guards whose potential isn't known yet.  Tyshawn put up some solid numbers in the NBADL after being cut by New Orleans (14 points and 5 assists in 29 minutes per game) but he is more of a known quantity than some of the rookie free agents—not to mention at least a couple years older.  From a General Manager's perspective, why should I sign Tyshawn Taylor when I can take a shot on DeAndre Kane, or Deonte Burton, or Sean Kilpatrick?

Nick Collison:

Oklahoma City drafted Mitch McGary in the first round.  It's not a secret that the statheads love Collison, and that he is a golden god of the plus/minus statistic....but he is 33 years old, and about to enter his 12th year in the league.  I wouldn’t have thought that Collison’s rotation spot was in any danger, but it's tough not to think about his age when OKC drafts somebody with a very similar skill set-- minus the marijuana smoking, of course.


Andrew Wiggins:

Wiggins going #1 to the Cavaliers and Jabari Parker going #2 to the Bucks was what should have happened, what most parties involved wanted to happen, and ultimately what did happen. Everything was cool for a couple of weeks. Then LeBron came home to Cleveland and turned everything on its head.

If Wiggins gets to stick around, then this is an ideal situation for him. He can go unleash hell with his perimeter defense, let LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Dion Waiters dominate the ball, and pick up whatever offensive scraps are available while he works on his ball-handling and outside shooting. If Wiggins is about to be shipped up to Minnesota in a deal for Kevin Love, well…..the blackjack tables at Mystic Lake are pretty fun, I guess.