Come on now, you can’t really read this article without listening to that song.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether or not Christian Watford is going to move on to the NBA. I sat in on a roundtable on the subject following Indiana’s tournament exit, and to my surprise, everyone was convinced that Watford would be testing the draft waters.
It seemed like a bad idea.
The argument to enter the draft makes a lot of sense. The 6’9” (though that listing may be generous) power forward combines his height and high release with the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. When he has it all working, he looks like an elite scorer. Following his signature buzzer-beater to knock off Kentucky during the regular season, which is still fresh in the mind of every Hoosier fan, it seems that Watford’s stock can’t get any higher.
Can’t get any higher? Watford will be an early second round pick at best.
Coming off a season where he edged over 40% from beyond the college arc, Watford has a skill for hitting from outside. If he continues to work on his shot, he could be a very useful weapon. It’s hard to find someone at his listed height that can consistently hit the three in the NBA. But with his height comes only a listed 225 lbs. As he already lacks the foot-speed to guard wings at the college level, Watford would be a huge defensive liability in the NBA no matter his assignment. He’ll naturally have a tougher time getting good looks at the next level, which will only magnify his weaknesses in decision-making and passing the ball. As a rebounder, he’s used his height and hustle to do a decent job on the boards next to Cody Zeller. In the association, these strengths will diminish, and his lack of bulk and explosiveness will pose a problem. With a little work, it looks like he could be what Rashard Lewis is now. That’s about it.
Every year, Christian Watford has made strides as a basketball player, adding some size and working on his shot. By coming back for his senior year, he can add some more strength and improve his defense. Those that watched enough Indiana games know that Watford was beaten countless times when opponents drove to the basket, so even shoring up one small part of his game would give NBA scouts one less reason to doubt him. As a hard worker, he would be able to make the most of another year in school.