The NBA Draft often leaves viewers scratching their heads after selections: Who are these picks?
Although some are unknown international players, many are young college players who have yet to make a name for themselves.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who will be part of the network's draft coverage, said the league would be wise to follow the NFL in its draft eligibility policy and not select players until after their junior year.
“I think it hurts the NBA product, it hurts the college game and it's created an interesting culture and it also has made it more difficult on the fan.” Bilas said in a conference call Wednesday. “The names that are coming out are not as recognized as they used to be.
“You still are looking for immediate help, but there is not as much immediate help available because the players are younger, there are more question marks, there is more of a developmental component in basketball than there used to be.”
Bilas disagrees with some analysts who call it a weak draft. Although there are no consensus top picks, he said there is plenty of depth.
“We don't have a lot of traditional one through four, one through five picks, but we still got a lot of really good players,” he said. “You get into the 20s, there is a lot of good value there, which will be solid players.”
Bilas rated Kansas guard Ben McLemore as his top draft prospect.
“I'm not projecting McLemore is going to be the first pick,” Bilas said. “What I'm saying is he's the best prospect. I think he's the most talented player in the draft. I think he's got the most potential to be an All-Star caliber player.”
Bilas will be joined by host Rece Davis and analysts Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose on the main set at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., for ESPN's 11th consecutive year of coverage. Simmons and Rose will offer a “Best Case/Worst Case” assessment of top 20 players.
Reporter Heather Cox will handle green room interviews, and the Miami Heat forward Shane Battier, fresh off an NBA Finals victory, will interview top picks after they have been selected.
Also, ESPN college basketball reporter Andy Katz and NBA Insider Chris Broussard will provide on-site reports, NBA analyst Tom Penn will provide the front office and salary cap perspective and Fran Fraschilla will offer insights on international players.
ESPN's coverage begins with a draft preview show at 6 p.m., followed by the draft at 6:30 p.m.
ESPN Radio will cover the draft with host Marc Kestecher, analysts Will Perdue and Ryen Russillo with ESPN.com's Marc Stein providing updates on trades and behind-the-scenes news. Stein and ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford will also provide analysis for ESPN.com.