Injuries scare teams off players they like in the NBA Draft. Well, not the Sixers but the other 29 teams. Guys fall annually because of injury or health concerns.
Who is dropping like a rock now that we are just hours away from the start of the NBA Draft?
Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein and UCLA’s Kevin Looney. This has been reported by Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, among others.
A few weeks ago Cauley-Stein was seen as a potential Top 5 pick because of his defense — he’s 7’0″ and can protect the rim but also is athletic enough to show out or switch onto smaller guards on the perimeter.
But a foot issue — concerns about how a surgery from more than a year ago has healed — that may require another surgery has teams backing away. Foot issues with big men can linger. Cauley-Stein has fallen to the late lottery and could drop into the mid to high teens by the time teams make their picks.
Looney is a power forward with potential — he can shoot the three and has the tools to be a good defender — but he has slipped from the late lottery down to the late first round in recent days. The reason is a hip injury that some teams think would require surgery and would cause him to miss the upcoming season. Looney’s agent denied to CBSSports.com his player would miss significant time, noting this injury existed last season, and he played in every UCLA game.
When guys drop down the board like this, it becomes a matter of risk vs. reward/potential. At what point is the talent of the player and what he could develop into outweigh the injury risk?
With Cauley-Stein that potential as a defender means he’s not going to drop too far, likely not out of the lottery. With Looney, we’ll see if he hangs on in the first round.