Michigan State Spartans forward/center Nick Ward will submit his name for early NBA draft entry.
SPARTAN NATION: Thank you for Your support. With that being said, I will enter the 2018 NBA draft. However, I will not hire an agent at this time. !! Go green— Nick Ward (@IamNickWard) March 29, 2018
The important thing to note in the above tweet, however, is that Ward will not be hiring an agent. That will allow Ward to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft before May 30, and return to East Lansing for his junior year.
Ward will still be able to participate in the NBA Combine in Chicago, which takes place in Mid-May. That could be a good way for Ward to gauge his interest level among NBA scouts, and if it doesn’t work out, Ward can return to college basketball — similar to what Michigan’s Moritz Wagner did last season.
The combine will be important for Ward if he does plan on getting drafted. Right now, he is not projected to be one of the 60 picks by many mock drafters, though he could go at the tail end of the second round. An impressive combine could do wonders.
At 6-foot-8-inches, Ward lacks the size to play the five-spot in the NBA, and may also struggle with playing the four-spot. He’s not extremely athletic, is not a shooter and struggles to pass the ball. He is a monster in the post, but other than that his game may struggle against the best basketball players in the world.
With all of that said, one person who fully supports the decision is Michigan State head coach, Tom Izzo.
“I fully support Nick’s decision to take the opportunity to explore his draft stock,” Head Coach Tom Izzo said in a release. “He has continued to improve and worked very hard over the last two years to put himself in this position. The process will allow him to receive direct feedback and an assessment as to where he stands in his dream to play at the highest level.”
Ward’s announcement comes on the heels of Miles Bridges’ announcement to declare for the draft. Bridges is a likely top-15 pick, and may very well be a lottery pick.
It’s also quite possible that Ward has grown frustrated with his role at MSU. Foul trouble had him sitting on the bench quite often this season. And let’s not even talk about the Syracuse game where Ward was kept off of the court in key situations for no apparent reason.
Ward averaged 12.4 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and shoot 64.8 percent from the floor this past season. Throughout his two-year career, Ward averaged 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and shoot 61.7 percent. He was an All-Big Ten Third team selection in 2017-2018.
With all of that said, I expect Ward to withdraw his name before the deadline. Another year or two if college basketball should increase the draft stock of a player like Ward. I don’t see him getting drafted this year if he does keep his name in the running.
What do you guys think?
Should Nick Ward return for his junior season?
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