The UCLA Basketball team might not have a player selected in this year’s NBA Draft, though they could set a record the following year.
In the last three years, the UCLA basketball team has had at least one player taken in the NBA Draft. Five of the six players taken in those three years were selected in the first round.
This year, that streak might come to an end due to a combination of few upperclassman and, unfortunately, a lack of development.
There is only one player that has used up his eligibility, center/forward Tony Parker. Though the Georgia native improved his numbers from his junior to senior season in points, rebounds and blocks, he was quite inconsistent.
If Parker wasn’t collecting double-doubles (which he had a career-high nine, good for 7th the Pac-12), he would be on the bench due to foul trouble or worse, disappear altogether.
Of the two juniors that have the potential to declare, Isaac Hamilton seems to be the only NBA-ready Bruin. Though there is still time to declare, if that is what he wishes to do, it seems that Hamilton plans on returning. That extra year to develop as a starter will be beneficial going into the 2017 NBA draft.
So is not having a potential draft pick a good thing or bad thing? Well, if the Bruins do not have a player taken in the draft, it is clear they did not have NBA talent on the team last year. It is also hard for any player to get positive attention from NBA scouts when their team goes 15-17.
Still, the bright side is that the Bruins could have a record-setting draft day in 2017. Graduating Hamilton and Bryce Alford (pending development) could very likely be hearing their names called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver next summer.
The same could be said about potential one-and-dones Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf. And with the very outside chance, also depending on development, we could see Thomas Welsh and Jonah Bolden going pro.
Yes, I am saying that UCLA could likely have up to six players in next year’s NBA Draft. That would be a record for head coach Steve Alford.
Though fans want to see the UCLA Basketball team improve and be in contention for championships every year, having his players selected would also be a very big achievement for Alford.
That would be huge for the program in the grand scheme of things, the problem that arises after is the immediate necessity to reload.
So far, Alford has done that for 2017 with the commitment of Jaylen Hands, Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball. That is good news, but Alford has to keep up the pace in the next few years if he wants to be successful in Westwood as well as sending more Bruins to the Association.