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April 10, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Poll question: Should Nigel Williams-Goss enter NBA draft?

Washington freshman Nigel Williams-Goss is contemplating a big decision - whether to enter the NBA draft or stay in school. (Photo credit: Joshua Bessex - UW Daily)

Washington freshman Nigel Williams-Goss is contemplating a big decision – whether to enter the NBA draft or stay in school. (Photo credit: Joshua Bessex – UW Daily)

Washington freshman Nigel Williams-Goss is considering making a one-and-done jump to the NBA. Let’s examine his situation.

FIVE REASONS TO ENTER NBA DRAFT

1. The statistics say Williams-Goss is among the best point guards in the nation. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Only five point guards from the six major conferences averaged at least 13-4-4. Here’s a look at the others:  Arizona State’s Jahii Carson (18.6, 4.0, 4.6), Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier (18.2, 5.9, 4.8), West Virginia’s Juwan Staten (18.1, 5.6, 5.8),  Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart (18.0, 5.9, 4.8) and UCLA G Kyle Anderson (14.6, 8.8, 6.5). Smart is considered a lottery pick and Anderson, who hasn’t formally announced he’s leaving school, will likely be taken in the first round. Carson and Napier appear to be second-round picks while Staten is returning to school.

2. Even though the draft is crowded with about a dozen highly-rated point guards, the NBA always need quality playmakers. The top point guards draft prospects include: Smart, Anderson, Napier, Carson, UCLA’s Zach LaVine, Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton, San Diego State’s Xavier Thames, Louisville’s Russ Smith, Michigan State’s Keith Appling and California’s Justin Cobbs. However, 10 point guards were taken last year. The last point guard taken (Louisville’s Peyton Siva) has starred recently for Detroit.

3. The transition to the NBA is daunting, but Williams-Goss, a McDonald’s All-American who played on the USA U-19 national team last year, has always thrived when paired with talented players.

4. It’s counterintuitive, but today’s NBA draft devalues players the longer they remain in college. Often times, a small sample size is richly rewarded with a high pick while more games gives NBA scouts and front-office execs more reasons to devalue a draft prospect. Nine of the 11 underclassmen chosen in the first round of the 2013 draft where taken in the first 14 picks. Only three underclassmen, including two freshmen were taken in the second round.

5. Of course it’s a gamble, but it goes without saying making millions in the NBA is much more financially lucrative than playing in college. There’s also a good chance Washington may not improve on last season’s 17-15 record, which might reflect poorly on Williams-Goss.

FIVE REASONS TO STAY AT UW

1. Williams-Goss would learn a lot about himself as a person and a basketball player if he returns to Washington where’s he’s likely to be the team’s No. 1 player. As good as he is, he’s rarely been the best player on his teams. Last season, opposing teams tilted their perimeter defense towards C.J. Wilcox, which allowed Williams-Goss room to drive in the middle or shoot on the outside. At powerhouse basketball academy Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), Williams-Goss’ teammates included Anthony Bennett, Brandon Ashley, Nick Johnson, Dominic Artis, Myck Kabongo, Corey Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Winston Shephard. Williams-Goss’ Findlay Prep teams compiled a 124-8 record.

2. Williams-Goss would conceivably be one of the most marketable players in the Pac-12 next season. Only nine players who received all-conference honors are expected to return, including four selected first team all-conference.

3. While it’s unlikely Williams-Goss will ever become an explosive athlete who leaps out of gym and wins slam dunk contests, another year in college would allow him to prove he’s quick enough and strong enough to contend with more athletic players. Perhaps his biggest weakness is on the defensive end where he’s shown an inability to slow down opposing guards. Washington was repeatedly torched last season by guards, including Stanford’s Chasson Randle (33 points) and Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson (31). The Huskies needed to change its defense midseason in part because the guards were unable to keep perimeter players out of the lane.

4. Williams-Goss’ floater is an amazing shot that would transition nicely to the NBA. He’s shown an ability to post up smaller guards and score in the paint. He’s also pretty good at drawing fouls and getting to the line where he shot 72.3 percent last season. Willliams-Goss would improve his draft stock if he could knock down the three-pointer with more efficiency. He shot 35.6 percent behind the arc while converting 60 of 83 attempts.

5. Unless Williams-Goss gets a first-round guarantee, then it would be extremely risky to enter the draft. In the last three years, only four freshmen – Grant Jerrett (2013), Ricky Ledo (2013), Quincy Miller (2012) and Josh Selby (2011) – were taken in the second round. Jerrett has spent most of the season in the NBA Development League before joining the Oklahoma City Thunder this week. Ledo, who never played in college, signed a four-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks in 2013. After a season in the D-League, Miller has been a reserve this season for the Denver Nuggets. Selby has been a reserve the past two years with the Memphis Grizzlies. While NBA teams will gamble a first-round pick on a freshman, there hasn’t been a trend of drafting young point guards in the second round and developing them. In this instance, Williams-Goss’ age (19) works against him.

Comments | More in News, Notes | Topics: NBA draft, Nigel Williams-Goss

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