Despite coming from the same school, Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams have left different impressions in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s NBA draft.
Ferrell is a four-year guard who NBA executives and draft analysts have called an intelligent player with an impressive shooting stroke. Williams is a three-year forward some experts say plays out of control and does not possess the necessary shooting ability to play in the NBA.
But scouts are still impressed with Williams as a physical prospect with a chance to improve, while also worrying Ferrell’s small 6-foot frame can’t last in the NBA.
So leading up to Thursday, some mock drafts have Ferrell being drafted in the second round and Williams never having his name called. Others have the opposite scenario.
ESPN draft analyst Jay Bilas said Williams’ athleticism is too much for any NBA team to pass up.
“I do think he’s a draftable player because of his athleticism, his ability to run the floor and his ability to finish plays in transition,” Bilas said. “And I think he can be a good defender because he kind of fits the suit there.”
But not all agree with Bilas. Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis compiled a list of anonymous assessments from various NBA scouts on players who have a chance to be taken in the draft. One of those players was Williams, and the scout said for every highlight reel level play Williams makes, the next three will be ugly.
The scout also said Williams still thinks he’s a good shooter despite multiple opinions saying otherwise.
“I don’t see it,” the scout said. “Plays too fast, doesn’t know who he is as a player. Not a lot of substance there. Awful decision to come out. Very possible he goes undrafted. Good athlete, but a poor shooter and a very low basketball IQ.”
In the same Sports Illustrated evaluation, another anonymous scout said despite many redeeming qualities, he doesn’t see Ferrell fitting at the NBA level.
“I like that he got better, especially as a defender,” the anonymous scout said. “He thinks he belongs. He’s a good shooter, but he’s tiny, and he’s not a dynamic athlete. Good player but not at our level.”
Bilas agreed with the anonymous scout’s assessment of Ferrell.
Despite acknowledging Ferrell’s shooting ability, Bilas also pointed out he can’t improve how tall he is before also saying there might have been a reason Ferrell was not invited to participate in the NBA draft combine.
“He wasn’t invited to the combine,” Bilas said. “I thought he should have been, but he wasn’t and that’s a pretty good indicator that he’s not high enough up on the draft radar. But like I’ve said about other players, he might be better off not getting drafted.”
The reason not getting drafted might be better is because then Ferrell can have more control with what team he goes to. Though he will be labeled as an undrafted player, he could choose between a couple teams instead of essentially being assigned to one, giving him the freedom to pick the best situation for him.
Still, there are those who believe Ferrell will have his name called in Thursday’s draft. Multiple NBA executives have said they believe Ferrell’s value is in the early to middle portions of the second round.
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish also has Ferrell in his final mock draft released Wednesday.
“Ferrell wasn’t invited to the combine, which was a surprise,” Parrish said. “But I won’t be surprised if he ends up in the NBA regardless.”