Alabama Basketball: What four Tide NBA prospects must be thinking

Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Actually, there are not four NBA prospects from the Alabama Basketball 2020-21 roster. There are three; Herbert Jones, John Petty Jr. and Josh Primo. The fourth player, Jaden Shackelford could be a professional next season, but it will not be in the NBA.

Among the three, Josh Primo is the only one getting projections as a first-round pick. Herbert Jones is consistently projected as a second-round pick. John Petty is mostly believed to be ‘on the bubble’ of Combine players who might or might not get drafted in the second round.

Alabama basketball fans want the best for all four of the young men. They have reached a stage in their basketball career development when as many dreams are shattered as are realized.

Good news for Alabama Basketball

Whatever eventually happens in the NBA Draft on July 29, Nate Oats’ Alabama Basketball program will benefit. If Josh Primo returns for another college season, he can become one of the top players in the nation. Another season of college ball showcasing his skills could make Primo a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

If instead, Primo chooses to be a ‘one-and-done’ college player, that too will be a selling point for Oats to use with future recruits. The decision for Primo will not be easy. Compared to a late, first-round pick, a lottery selection can mean from $3M to $14M more dollars in the first two seasons of a first NBA contract. Should Primo not be chosen until the second round, the financial drop-off is considerable; especially in terms of the guaranteed money included in first-round contracts. Returning for another Alabama Basketball season could be a sound business decision for Primo.

Herbert Jones and John Petty Jr. have far easier decisions in front of them. Jones is expected to be a second-round selection and has a solid chance for a lengthy NBA career. Petty’s situation is more precarious. He may not get drafted. No doubt he will play professionally next season and will not give up on his dream of playing in the NBA. His first, professional career decision might be a mixture of money and best fit to develop as a player. Undrafted players get NBA opportunities every season. In the 2019-20 NBA season 136 undrafted players participated in at least one NBA game.

A bold Nate Oats. dark. Next

John Petty Jr. is not the only SEC star who will possibly not be drafted. LSU’s Trendon Watford and Tennessee’s Yves Pons are two more. Crimson Tide fans will remember Johnny Juzang, the star of the UCLA team that knocked the Tide out of the NCAA Tournament. Juzang’s Combine performance has not boosted his NBA chances.