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Should they stay or should they go? That’s always the question for talented college basketball players this time of year, and Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie is no doubt weighing his options. This week’s Coin Toss presents both sides of Dinwiddie’s argument, courtesy of CUI sports writers Grayson O’Roark and Alissa Noe.
Alissa Noe: Stay
Remember how everyone thought last year’s NBA draft was incredibly stacked with talent? This year is packed with even more talent. Just look at the NCAA tournament. There were upsets left and right, when usually quiet players took over and dominated. Not to mention, a seventh and an eighth seed made it to the finals. This talent pool could hurt Spencer Dinwiddie come draft time.
Not only can you can find innumerable talent on nearly every team that made it into the tournament this year, but you can also find gems on the rosters of some who didn’t make it. Take DaVonte Lacy from Washington State. He averaged nearly 20 points a game, but the rest of the nation barely noticed him because he played for one of the worst teams in the Pac-12.
Colorado was by no means one of the lower-grade teams, but remember that many basketball fans are East Coast-oriented, focusing on the talent from teams like Kentucky, Louisville, Connecticut, Florida, etc. Many of the players from Pac-12 schools weren’t even in the national conversation during the regular season. With this in mind, Dinwiddie would benefit from one more year in college, as he would gain draft value among next year’s pool.
Grayson O’Roark: Go
While the notion that this year’s draft is packed with talent is a valid point, there is an important note to make when it comes to evaluating Spencer’s position within this pool: Unlike much of the talent in this year’s class, Spencer isn’t a freshman. Dinwiddie is a proven three-year talent and has developed from a role player to a team leader and star.
This isn’t enough to put Dinwiddie into lottery contention or in the same discussion as freshman phenomenons like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. But it is enough to separate him as a matured and talented leader who can contribute right off the bat.
Aside from the East Coast favoritism among drafters, this year’s guard stock is loaded. Players like Marcus Smart, Tyler Ennis, Gary Harris, Nik Stauskas, James Young and Jordan Adams are among many others, and that’s just the (potential) first round. Russ Smith and Nick Johnson are some of the second-round favorites.
Most of these guys play for big-name franchises like Syracuse, Kentucky, Michigan State, UCLA, Louisville and Arizona. If one wasn’t a part of one of these premier teams, then he made a name for himself all on his own. Marcus Smart averaged 18 points a game and Nik Stauskas averaged 17.5. Dinwiddie only managed 14.7 before he got hurt, which is still pretty good, but pretty good won’t cut it in this year’s draft.
Regardless of the available talent in this year’s draft, last week’s Ralphie Report provided sobering news to team fans in saying the interest Dinwiddie has in the NBA is being reciprocated. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported that multiple sources claim Dinwiddie is leaning heavily toward the NBA and that his heart is with it. This shouldn’t be too hard to believe.
Basketball to many of these talented players is a business, and when the NBA expresses its interest and guaranteed money is on the table, those young players will generally go with the smart business move and seize the opportunity.
There’s also the fact that former teammate Andre Roberson was drafted in the late first round of last year. Roberson found himself in a very similar situation, where all the voices closest to him told him to stay, but the loudest voice, the NBA general managers and agents, told him he was good to go for the draft. Similar to Dinwiddie, contention on whether Andre was ready prevailed until draft day. Sure enough, Roberson’s name was called as the 26th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Eyebrows were raised and jaws dropped as his own business decision paid off.
Let’s not forget Dinwiddie hasn’t set foot on the court since January 12 because of a torn ACL and surgery. Before that, he was probably a late first-round pick at best, like Roberson. Given the fact that he hardly played any Pac-12 games this season, Dinwiddie’s stock has probably gone way down because of the conference’s overall toughness.
Look at Nerlens Noel from last year. He was supposed to be last year’s No. 1 overall pick, but after he tore his ACL, he dropped to sixth overall. You may be thinking five spots are insignificant, but keep in mind that he played for Kentucky, which is one of the best teams in the country and almost entirely composed of freshman, such as he was. Also, look at him now. He’s still sidelined because of his injury. If Spencer stays, he’d have a better chance of recovering and seeing some good playing time next year. I honestly think if he could come back bigger and better next year, he would ultimately improve his overall draft stock. The key is staying healthy.
The ACL injury is indeed a legitimate concern. But last week’s Ralphie Report also quoted an anonymous NBA general manager who said, “I don’t think his stock changes, guys come back from torn ACLs all the time.”
When a player gets the green light from an NBA general manager and the player’s heart is with the NBA to begin with, the decision becomes a lot easier. Personally, I am torn because the selfish fan in me thinks next year’s team with Dinwiddie could be one of the best in school history. But the logical business man in me thinks Dinwiddie might be headed out of here soon.
What do you think? Comment or tweet your opinions on Spencer Dinwiddie’s NBA future to @CUISports.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writers Alissa Noe and Grayson O’Roark at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.