LSU’s Jordan Mickey has declared for the NBA Draft.
Mickey sent a text message to the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s LSU beat writer Randy Rosetta announcing his decision.
“Today I will be announcing that I will forego my final two years of eligibility here at LSU and enter my name in the 2015 NBA Draft.
After discussing my options with my family, I believe this is the time to move on and accept new challenges at the next level. I want to first thank God for giving me the talent to play the game that I love so much. I want to thank my Mom and Dad for all the support they have (given) me over the years. Last but not least, I want to thank the coaching staff, teammates and the LSU fans. I will always be a Tiger at heart forever.
This was a tough decision because I hate to leave my teammates and LSU family. We have been through a lot in the past two years as we have grown as a team. This is just the beginning for LSU. I’m confident great things are coming in the near future for this team as they continue to grow. I wanted things to end on a better note but due to injuries, I was limited in what I could do for my team. Trust that I gave it my all.”
Mickey is currently outside of the top-60 of my big board, so he’s definitely a possibility to go undrafted in June.
I’m normally someone who says to go get your money and turn pro if you so choose. However, I feel somewhat differently about this choice. Mickey was in a really good position to raise his draft stock next season if he had returned next year. With Jarell Martin’s exit, as well as Ben Simmons’ and Antonio Blakeney’s arrival, Mickey was something of a perfect fit for the Tigers. He would have been able to patrol the paint as a rim protector and continue to develop offensively with fewer expectations, as Blakeney would be in the fold to take some pressure off, along with another year of improvement from LSU’s guards Tim Quarterman, Jalyn Patterson and Josh Gray. The Tigers also would have profiled as a top-15 preseason team next season had he returned, which would have meant a bit more of an increased spotlight for Mickey if he could have been successful.
But not everyone wants to be the prototypical role player in college. So now Mickey will have to impress during draft workouts, and it’s always tough to tell how those will go. At slightly below 6-foot-8 (although with a 7-foot-2 wingspan), Mickey is always going to be undersized for an NBA big man. However, I’m not sure he’s really a candidate to move to the wing either despite solid mobility and athleticism because his most marketable skill is the ability to block shots and protect the rim, which means you don’t want to move him away from the area near the hoop. Without him doing that, I don’t really see anything that he can really hang his hat on as a surefire NBA-level skill as a role player (which is what he will be in the pros).
Now, I’m not familiar with what Mickey’s life situation is like. Maybe, like many before him, he needed to turn pro. It would be really hard to fault him in that case. And even so, Mickey’s an interesting prospect that I’ll assuredly profile fully in the future. But right now I don’t think the outlook is particularly bright on his NBA Draft stock, and I think he could have legitimately raised it next year. With the decision being made, I’d say the odds are 50/50 as to whether or not he’ll be selected. Regardless, it does seem likely he’ll be either in D-League or in Europe for a good portion of next season.