Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Time Is Right For Farmar To Head To NBA

By Steve Dilbeck, Columnist
L.A. Daily News

The time is right for UCLA's Farmar to head to the NBA

Go, go on, go, get outta here. What are you waiting for? This is your dream. The NBA is right there. Jump at it.

You can't possibly go. Think of what you'll be passing up. It will never be there again, the NBA will. You can only improve your standing. You have to stay.

It'd be like the old bit about an angel and devil on each shoulder, each eager to offer conflicting advice, only there is no clear choice of right and wrong when it comes to the decision facing UCLA guard Jordan Farmar.

Return to UCLA for his junior year, or enter the NBA draft?

Not an easy decision to make when you're 19. Not when there are solid reasons for each decision. When one adviser whispers one thing, the other something different.

Remain in the draft, get selected in the first round, sign for some $1.5 million and begin the professional career he has wanted long before he led Taft High of Woodland Hills to the City Section title.

Or stay at UCLA another year, further hone his skills, team with Arron Afflalo for a third season, return as the finest backcourt in college basketball and take another shot at the national championship.

What to do?

It could be looked at as a win-win situation, only there are no certainties. No guarantee of a first-round pick. No lock to make another deep NCAA Tournament run.

Farmar and Afflalo both are weighing all these issues, putting off until late the decision they must make by Sunday to remain in the draft or return for their junior seasons.

Afflalo, not viewed as a first-round pick, is expected back in Westwood. Farmar supposedly is leaning toward the NBA.

And, sorry, Bruin fans, he should.

Yeah, that's a tough one. There are compelling reasons to stay, and it would be something to watch him lead what coach Ben Howland is building at UCLA next season with so many other key players returning.

But if he's a sure first-round pick, then he should come out. Should chase his ultimate dream. Should measure himself against the game's best.

That's a big if, of course, but by now you would hope Farmar had a pretty good feel for where he would go in the June 28 draft.

Between what Howland has gleaned, his parents have uncovered, from what he learned from general managers and coaches at last week's NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando, Farmar hopefully should have a solid idea of where he will fall in the draft.

And if he's going to go in the first round, it's time to bid him adieu.

This is not like the NFL, where the early picks make dramatically more than those who follow late in the first round. In the structured NBA draft system, the No. 1 overall pick only gets about $3.6million per season. The real money begins with the second contract.

Exactly where Farmar is at with all this is somewhat of a mystery. He has not granted interviews since declaring for the draft. But he did talk while at the NBA camp in Orlando, and what he said about last season at UCLA could prove telling:

"We were just 40 minutes away from a national championship. I figure that's what I came there to do. I wanted to win it, but the odds of getting there again are very, very tough."

There's no counting on frantic tournament comebacks against Gonzaga, no certainty of surviving hard-fought battles against Memphis and Alabama.

If Farmar returns, UCLA will open the season as a top-five team. If he doesn't, they're still in the top 10. It will not be the end of the UCLA renaissance.

Darren Collison would become the starting point guard, Josh Shipp will return, Luc Mbah A Moute, Alfred Aboya, Lorenzo Mata, Ryan Wright, Michael Roll and Afflalo all will be back and improved.

Howland has mentioned how Washington's Brandon Roy improved his stock by returning to the Huskies last season. That's true, but he wasn't even a projected first-rounder a year ago.

Farmar probably is. The projected draft boards have him all over the place, from as high as 17th, to falling to the Clippers in the second round at No. 34.

Certainly, no one is calling him the perfect point guard. He is not the most explosive player on the board and needs to get stronger. His outside shot needs more consistency.

But there is no denying Farmar's innate court sense. He is a heady player (see: Gonzaga finish), willing student and improved defender.

This is the first draft that will not select high school players. Next year, many of them will be coming out after their freshman seasons.

There is window here now, an opportunity. Farmar seems to sense it. He did nothing but improve his NBA standing in Orlando.

The Clash asked his question - Should I stay or should I go? - and for Farmar the answer has slowly become clear.

Thanks for everything, but go on, get outta here. The time is right.

(reprinted with permission)



At Jun 14, 2006, 10:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two points from that article, 1)the odds are tough of UCLA getting back to the National Championship game and 2)this year's draft is going to be weaker than next year's draft are the clinchers of what is definitely going to happen.

At Jun 14, 2006, 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add in the fact he was injured much lof ast year which prevented him from showcasing his skills. I think he's gone...sad but true

At Jun 14, 2006, 12:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're still going to be very good, but let's wait and see for sure. Jordan deserves that as this site has maintained. Way to go on that, BBR. Are we going to be at a height disadvantage going against the twin seven footers at Stanford and your typical 7 foot Yochim Noah's? Looking through the roster, we have a max height of 6' 8" I believe.

At Jun 14, 2006, 3:59:00 PM, Blogger BBR said...

The calendar says four days before Farmar must decide whether to return to UCLA or head to the NBA. It may be today, tomorrow, but it will definitely be by the 18th.

We'll be reading stories and hearing plenty of rumors about Farmar up until that time, but at the end, only Farmar knows what he will do.

And obviously, Farmar hasn't decided yet, otherwise he would have announced his intention.

Farmar isn't about dramatics - he has handled his situation with complete class and purpose.

The fact Jordan has not granted any interviews during this decision period tells you a lot about Farmar.

Jerryd Bayless, he is not.

At Jun 14, 2006, 4:21:00 PM, Blogger BBR said...

As for the big man situation, a 6'8 center is plenty big enough -if he's tough and physical.

A combination of a healthy Lorenzo Mata and Alfred Aboya should be big enough - they both play bigger than their listed heights due to their physical play and their extraordinary wingspan.

In addition, Ryan Wright "may" improve over the offseason to help, and the Bruins may still get Spica or Draganovic - both who are older, more experienced recruits.

I don't believe Florida beat UCLA because they had a height advantage. The Gators won because they were more athletic on the frontline than the Bruins, and had a good game plan to exploit the advantage.

At Jun 14, 2006, 4:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitely respect Jordan for not leading everyone on with interviews and his own speculation. That is one of the reasons in addition to his skill as a basketball player that we don't want to see him go; he is a class act and a tremendous leader. He brings so much to an already classy, prestigious program. He will make an excellent NBA player.

At Jun 14, 2006, 9:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jerryd Bayless, he is not."



Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home