OK, let’s look at Samardo Samuels’ curious move in a different way. Yes, he has decided to stay in the NBA Draft and will give up his college eligibility. Yes, he is not really ready to play at the NBA level. Yes, he is getting a lot of crazy looks his way for doing this. When you add it all together – he made the right move.
Samuels’ greatest asset right now is his raw physical talent. A wide body with a soft touch already makes him an average professional Power Forward. What he’s missing are those little abilities that separate the NBA Players from the NBADL players. Can he consistently get solid position in the post? Does he position himself well to defend inside and out? Does he know how to position himself best to get rebounds? Can he be coached? If you can answer yes to that last question, then there is a chance that you can change “no”on the first three questions to “yes” in a year or two.
So the key with Samuels’ long term future is his ability to listen to his coaches and apply what he is taught. For him, he has maximized all he can from playing in college. Now, and this is not a knock against Coach Pitino, but if he had not gone to Louisville and instead chose a program where the big men are more of a focus, his development may be much further along. That’s not a guarantee because he is only going to become as good as he wants to be – if he went to UConn instead, but didn’t listen to the staff up there, he wouldn’t be any better.
Samuels’ best bet for improving at this point is to play professional basketball. Now we all know he is a fringe NBA candidate this season, but the NBA is not the only place to develop. By staying in the draft, Samuels may not be necessarily saying that he is ready for the NBA – he may just be saying that he is not a college player anymore. If he can put together some good workouts for the NBA brass in the coming weeks, he may merit a look in the 2nd round – especially with a team that doesn’t need immediate help. There are certainly going to be teams that will become enamored by his raw skills and one of those teams may believe they have the right staff to maximize it. For now, Samuels will be a check back in 2 years kind of player. He will only be 23 then, so let’s see how he handles what’s in front of him and if he goes about it the right way, he will end up in the NBA.
Agree, Disagree, Let me know – comments are welcome.