Grant Jerrett and the Arizona Wildcats are expected to announce that the freshman forward is heading to the NBA on Thursday, according to CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman. Goodman notes that he does have a great skillset (we knew that) and that he'll initially struggle physically as a young player (this as well).
But it's not a wild guess to believe he could be drafted in the second round. Goodman's executive sources tell him the 6-foot-10 Jerrett could go in the second round, or undrafted. Either way, it's expected he'll see a lot of D-League time if he's picked up by an NBA team.
Grant Jerrett is clearly hoping that NBA scouts don't get PAC 12 Network #Whyishegoingpro?— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) April 18, 2013
I guess his minutes in the D-League will be plentiful. RT@phyltopia: Jerrett won't get that many minutes next year with Gordon coming in.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 18, 2013
We've already discussed here why Jerrett might leave. If he indeed isn't happy about the lack of minutes in a loaded frontcourt, or with coach Sean Miller himself as was the rumor, Jerrett might be doing himself a favor by leaving to the NBA rather than transferring. I wrote about it earlier this week:
Where Jerrett might sit out a year because of a transfer, he could ultimately hurt his draft stock should he not improve as -- age-wise -- a junior. And that's especially the case if he didn't improve in his first season back with a new team. Take a look at how much Shabazz Muhammad's stock fell when it was determined he was a year older, and you'll see the risk by staying in college.
I'm not a believer that an NBA talent won't develop in the league eventually if he's a hard worker. Jerrett, in my mind, certainly fits the bill in both regards, but obviously the physical limitations hurt him tremendously off the bat. He'll need a team willing to put at least a few years of development to give him a shot. If an NBA franchise picks him only to shed him in a few years after he struggles to adjust physically and doesn't get enough floor time to improve, he ultimately could be viewed as a mistake.
The league is all about taking opportunities. Jeremy Lin is an example on that to the largest degree.
One player that reminds me of Jerrett is former Kentucky Wildcats big man Daniel Orton. The Orlando Magic took a risk on him, taking him 29th overall in 2010 despite him playing 13 minutes a game for a very good John Calipari squad. Though he's more of a beefy player than Jerrett at 255 pounds, he was a one-and-done who likewise was without much college production. He's very similar to Jerrett in this regard.
And though Orton has played in 28 total games through two NBA seasons, he's yet to get a chance to shine. The Magic ultimately traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder -- they're one team who loves to stash raw young talent on their D-League squad.
Orton is averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks for the Tulsa 66ers this year.
Watching his development further -- it's not over yet -- could give us a glimpse of how far Jerrett is from competing for an NBA roster spot.