Right around the time you’re getting off work tonight and about 3 hours before half-price shakes at Sonic, the 2016 NBA Draft will begin in earnest and the Broncos have one man clutching his cell phone—James Webb III. JWIII is the ultra-rare early departure from the Boise State basketball program—a program that has precisely zero alums currently among its ranks. In fact, the NBA highlights from Bronco alums in the last 20 years can be summed up pretty succinctly:
Oh, I guess there was also this.
Drink that in. So, Webb getting picked up this evening would not only validate his decision to declare early, but also might validate Boise State basketball—which hasn’t exactly been an NBA factory, like...ever. But what are the chances that Webbie hears his name called tonight? Well, that depends who you ask—and no one is asking me.
ESPN’s Chad Ford lists Webb among his top 100 players, coming in at a respectable 60, and has some nice things to say about the lanky forward.
"Webb is a long, athletic forward who runs the floor and rebounds.”
He also decided to pepper the pot with some “constructive criticism”
He just needs to add a lot of strength. Plus, his production has been very inconsistent."
Tough but fair. Webb is as athletic as they come and can jump out of the gym, but he’s not exactly “yoked” and did have quiet spells for the Broncos. Neither of those knocks are unfixable, however, and I think teams would do well to give JWIII a look. And what do you know...they have—Webb worked out for about two-thirds of the NBA in the last month and you’d think would have intrigued at least one or two.
It will take time for Webb to pack on the type of muscle that teams are going to find ideal...he’s 6’9” and weighs just 10 lbs. more than yours-truly...who is easily a foot shorter, but I think that’s a relatively small gamble for teams if they can be assured his other knock—consistency—can be solved. Seeing the giant leaps that Webb made between the beginning of his sophomore year and end of his junior one make me believe anything is possible.
Now, back to the draft. Webb’s draft stock swings like a rocket-fueled pendulum and he’s listed as high as a second-rounder and as low as...well...undrafted. There’s no shame in going undrafted...I mean, heck, I wasn’t drafted either and look at me now; but Webb’s gamble to forgo his senior season will pay much greater (and immediate) dividends if a team is willing to take a risk on a wiry 6’9” forward that can windmill dunk and hit the corner 3 in consecutive trips up the court. Let’s all send good Bronco vibes high above the rim towards Webbie tonight in hopes that he catches them for the one-handed alley-oop.
You can watch tonight’s draft on ESPN—it does conflict with Keeping up with the Kardashians, but you can DVR that.