Brian: The 2009 NBA Draft is this Thursday. This Times-Picayune article talks about how the National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough may get passed over by the 14 NBA teams holding lottery picks. This got me thinking about how Tyrese Rice and the rest of the ACC will fare this Thursday. Now Jeff, you have said multiple times on the blog that you don't think Rice will get drafted (I, however, think he will be drafted), but take a look at this year's draft class from the ACC. Tell me whether you think the ACC will have a good NBA draft or a bad one.
Jeff: Will the ACC have a good draft? Probably not really by their standards with the possibility of no players going in the top 10. Wake Forest and North Carolina will likely have good drafts though. The Demon Deacons might have two lottery picks in Jeff Teague and James Johnson and North Carolina should have four players drafted overall. This draft projection has Tyler Hansbrough and Tyrese Rice headed to Utah. You know I like the Spurs, the Jazz and other boring-to-watch-but-fundamentally-sound NBA teams so I would like that to come true, but I will stick to my original prediction that Rice does not get drafted.
Brian: It would be a shame for Hansbrough to fall down the draft board given that he was such a dominant college player (dance moves notwithstanding). However, even if Hansbrough is not a lottery pick, this year's ACC draft class will be much improved from a year ago.
Last season, the ACC didn't have a kid taken until J.J. Hickson (NC State) went with the 19th overall pick to the Cavaliers. In all, only four ACC players were drafted a year ago - Hickson (19), Sean Singletary (42), James Gist (57) and Deron Washington (59).
This season, the conference could double the number of total draftees and put as many as 6 players in the first round. As you mentioned, Wake Forest's Jeff Teague and James Johnson are both possible lottery picks. UNC will see Hansbrough, Lawson, Danny Green, and Wayne Ellington all get drafted. Duke's Gerald Henderson is another possible lottery pick.
In the second round, FSU's Toney Douglas, BC's Tyrese Rice, NC State's Courtney Fells and Miami's Jack McClinton are all possible picks. Even with the return of Maryland's Vasquez and Georgia Tech's Lawal to campus, the ACC draft class is much deeper than it has been the past few years. Even if Hansbrough slips past the lottery picks, the ACC will still have a good draft.