North Carolina hasn’t produced a second-round pick in five years.
It’s been boom or bust for the Tar Heels, who’ve sent P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Ed Davis to the first round of the NBA draft since Danny Green went in the 2009 second round.
That streak likely ends this year.
North Carolina Tar Heels junior J.P. Tokoto will enter the 2015 NBA draft, he told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday.
“Going in, I know I’m not a first-round pick,” Tokoto told Yahoo Sports. “I know my jumper needs work, and I’m putting in that work now – and will keep doing it. My jumper is something that has me as a second-round pick right now, but I have a mindset of work to improve the form and range of my shot.”
Tokoto, who is 6-foot-6, is considered to be solidly in the second round of the draft, several NBA executives told Yahoo Sports.
“I want to focus on my game, working with trainers and pro coaches over the summer and next year. I think that’ll give me the best chance to grow than staying in school and being that player that fit into the mold of my first three years [at Carolina].”
Tokoto is right about his draft stock, but he’s clearly willing to take his chances without a guaranteed contract.
He’s an excellent athlete with who could become a lockdown perimeter defender. He’s quick on his feet, though he has to be, because he’s not particularly long.
As Tokoto noted, his jumper is a problem, but he’s not a zero offensively. He passes well, and could help get him on the court for a team that wants his defense. Still, in a modern offense, a better spot-up game would be ideal.
After three years at North Carolina, it’s unlikely Tokoto’s stock would have improved by returning. At a certain point, scouts just use the extra time to pick apart players even more.
He’s unlikely to go in the first round, but that hardly makes this the wrong decision.