Josh Selby will hear his name called when the NBA holds its draft.
You’re asking the wrong guy.
But he will. Bank on it. Maybe even in the first round. Brace yourself: He might even be a lottery pick.
What has he done to merit an NBA uniform?
Well, nothing, but as we’ve all heard a billion times, the NBA drafts on potential. Fine, but guys drafted on potential have loud, exciting tools. They’re phenomenal jumpers or remarkably quick or insane shooters or they have great size or they’re lock-down defenders. This is where I confess to being lost.
And this was how one NBA insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity articulated what I’m missing about Selby’s potential.
“His athleticism, his speed,” John Doe said. “He can defend a one or a two. His upside is unlimited. I like his size, and he has an athletic body.”
Teammates painted a different picture of Selby the athlete in practice than the guy the rest of us saw playing in games, so often seemingly on the periphery of the action. This next quote from Mr. Doe blew me away.
“He’s going to go to one-on-one workouts and freak people out with his athleticism,” he said.
From my seat in Section 13A, Tyshawn Taylor looked a good deal quicker and Elijah Johnson far more vertically explosive.
Then again, I’m not even smart enough to know how ticket consultant Thomas Blubaugh could be getting paid $115,000 a year by the athletic department when director Lew Perkins didn’t know he was on the payroll. Nor am I smart enough to know how women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson two years ago could have been given an extension without getting the team to the NCAA Tournament, a pact so lucrative the school has her under contract for three more years for about $1.9 million.
Anyway, back to Selby. Joe Abunassar, owner and lead trainer for Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, did a nice job of trying to clear up the mystery.
“Probably the closest comparison I can make is Monta Ellis,” Abunassar told Andy Samuelson, who interviewed him Wednesday for the Journal-World. “I trained him for the draft. Josh has a combination of skills, explosiveness and strength that you just don’t find very often. The way he controls his body is much like Monta did, where he moves in a very unusual way.”
Ellis averages 24.1 points per game for the Golden State Warriors in his sixth NBA season. He signed out of high school and averaged 6.8 points. Abunassar said he considers Selby a combination guard.
“Great change of speeds off ball screens,” Abunassar said. “He can handle the ball. His knowledge of the game is excellent. He sees the floor very, very well.”
Selby will be given several years to grow into the player he couldn’t become in parts of one season at KU. He never helped Kansas, which outscored Virginia Commonwealth by 10 points when Selby sat and was outscored by 20 points when the freshman from Baltimore played.