Kansas, Bill Self could be big winners if NBA locks out in 2011
If you're a Kansas basketball fan, you now have an NBA rooting interest for next season.
You should be cheering for an NBA lockout.
Around this area, I get the impression that not many folks pay attention to the NBA. They don't have to. No NBA team is located in Kansas City, and the NBA game usually doesn't affect the Jayhawks.
This upcoming year is different, though.
If there is a lockout, most college players with eligibility remaining would opt to stay in college.
Take a quick look at the Jayhawks' 2010-11 roster, and you can see why an NBA lockout might be the equivalent of KU coach Bill Self hitting the lottery for the 2011-12 season.
Still, facts are facts when it comes to Rivals.com's No. 1-ranked players.
Here's a list of the No. 1-ranked players according to Rivals since 2003.
2003 — LeBron James
2004 — Dwight Howard
2005 — Gerald Green
2006 — Greg Oden
2007 — Michael Beasley
2008 — B.J. Mullens
2009 — John Wall
2010 — Josh Selby
Three of the players above (James, Howard, Green) went straight to the pros. The next four (Oden, Beasley, Mullens, Wall) spent one year in college.
Since 2003, no No. 1-ranked Rivals.com player has stayed in college more than one season. And, with a lockout, KU would be nearly guaranteed that Selby would stay at least two years.
Though Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich took most of the headlines last season, Marcus Morris ended up being KU's most efficient offensive player.
What impressed me about Marcus last year, though, were his decreased turnovers.
Consider this: During his freshman year, Marcus had 57 turnovers in 646 minutes (3.5 turnovers per 40 minutes). Last year, Marcus had only 48 turnovers in 889 minutes (2.2 turnovers per 40 minutes).
He's too big to be guarded by a three, but too fast to be guarded by a four. He can also shoot inside and outside and can defend guards on switches when needed.
Marcus should have a chance to compete for Big 12 player of the year in 2010-11, but even if he gets the honor, an NBA lockout could keep him in Lawrence for his senior season. If he stays that long, he'd be the best forward KU's had stay four years since Wayne Simien.
Though many fans seem to have soured a bit on Taylor, mostly because of some off-the-court issues, the fact remains that he is perceived as one of the Jayhawks' top future NBA prospects.
Though consistency has always been the knock on Taylor, I wouldn't be surprised if the junior-to-be was one of KU's most improved players in 2010-11.
Even if Taylor combines with Selby to become "among the best 1-2 combos in the nation" as one national writer is predicting, Jayhawk fans would have the luxury of knowing that, with an NBA lockout, both would probably still be around for an encore in 2011-12.