Five players worked out for the Wizards on Tuesday, highlighted by former Iowa State standout Craig Brackins and Villanova star Scottie Reynolds.
When it comes to making the decision to turn pro, the media routinely hypes up two outcomes: when a kid stays in school and improves his draft status, and when a kid leaves too early and doesn’t get drafted, wasting his remaining college eligibility. The third scenario, one the media often downplays, is when the player’s draft fortunes decline by staying in school an extra year, costing him NBA millions in the process. This is what transpired with Brackins.
During a monster sophomore campaign (2008-09) for the Cyclones, Brackins averaged 20.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He was was named first team All-Big 12, honorable mention All-American and tallied up a career-high 42 points in a contest against powerhouse Kansas. Mocks of the 2009 NBA Draft had Brackins going anywhere from late lottery to mid-20s. He was pretty much a lock for the first round and thus, awarding him the coveted financial security a second round selection does not provide. Brackins tested the waters and ultimately decided to return for his junior year because he felt he was personally not ready yet.
The 2009-10 Cyclones opened the season with great expectations and some thought they could be a conference sleeper like 2008-9 Missouri. However, injuries, player defections and hard luck contributed to a disappointing 15-16 record. Brackins underachieved, struggled with consistency and his numbers dipped to 16.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg.
Iowa State’s head coach, Greg McDermott, likely under fire with a make or break 2010-11, bolted to take the job at Creighton in April. The Cyclones then hired ex-NBA player, former school standout and local icon, Fred Hoiberg, aka “The Mayor,” who previously had not been a head coach at any level.
Hoiberg left his job as Minnesota Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Operations to return to his hometown of Ames. Funny side note, Hoiberg once lost a bet to his former Indiana Pacers teammate Reggie Miller over a one-on-one game with interesting wager terms.
Brackins’ disappointing ’09-10 year soured the scouts. Last month he was widely considered a mid to late 2nd round pick. Now, after a spectacular 40 inch vertical in Chicago and strong workouts, he’s shooting back into late first round territory.
“Portland can look to add depth to a talented roster. They are in good shape at all positions so taking the player they consider the best talent makes sense. Brackins struggled in his junior year and many began to question his toughness. But he was considered a possible lottery pick before the season and his length and scoring ability is tough to ignore.”
26th to Thunder — Chris Ford of ESPN Insider
“Brackins would be a good pick for the Thunder. He’s a high-character guy who can score inside and outside and will play hard. Right now, Nenad Krstic is the only big who can really get it done in the post. Brackins could be a nice long-term fit.”
39th, 2nd Round to Knicks — Draft Express
MSG Network College Basketball Insider, ESPN 1050 Talk Show Host Jon Rothstein quotes Bill Self on Twitter about Brackins:
“He could eventually develop into a Robert Horry type shooter. He can play 1-on-1 with a full offensive repertoire, inside and out, he’s not a physical player. He didn’t have a lot of help but he can score…..We held him to 42 (laughs)”
In a post on TheRookeWall.com arguing between choosing between Brackins or Georgia Tech power forward Gani Lawai, the pro and con Brackins case is made.
Craig Brackins, while clearly talented, plays in the tough combo forward mold. He’s not quite athletic enough to get by quality NBA small forwards, and not powerful enough to battle down low with NBA power forwards. His shooting can be inconsistent, especially from long range, which minimizes his ability to be a mismatch on the perimeter.
Craig Brackins is said to have hurt his stock by returning to school, but I don’t understand why.
He’s got the same body type that made him an intriguing prospect, and he’s added the ability to shoot from the outside. He still has the ability to face up and knock it down or abuse smaller defenders in the post. His defense isn’t where it needs to be, but it has improved from last year. To summarize, he’s just as good a prospect as last year, but instead of going in the lottery he’ll be the biggest steal in the second round.
Brackins will probably be the best player selected in the second round of this years draft. He’s got a body that’s NBA ready and has room for improvement once he gets committed to his weight and build. Defensively, he isn’t a star, but he isn’t a liability either. The fact is, there is no real risk by selecting him in the second round, and his offense gives him the edge over prospects like Lawal, Caracter, and Jarvis Varnado.
Post Wizards Workout Interview:
Brackins discusses his decision to enter the NBA draft, potentially playing with John Wall as a Wizard, thoughts on Hoiberg as Iowa State’s new coach, and his opinion on Big 12 Conference realignment:
Brackins shooting jumpers and handling the notoriously difficult “7 Drill” with ease:
Chicago Measurements: 6′8.5″ without shoes, 229 lbs., 7″ wingspan
Age: 22 (10/09/1987)