There are many aspects that come into play when a player is deciding whether or not he will declare for the NBA Draft. According to one potential first round pick, the decision of one elite prospect electing to return to school played at least somewhat into his deciding to head to the league.
Shane Larkin, who was voted to the All-ACC First Team last season by coaches around the conference, recently said Marcus Smart's decision to return to Oklahoma State made an impact on his decision to turn pro after just two seasons with Miami. Smart was projected to be a top-five pick this summer, whereas Larkin is a fringe first rounder.
"It impacted it a little bit. Maybe not as much as some people think. But it definitely had an impact in that it took another point guard off the board that I'd have to compete against to stay in the first round," Larkin said of Smart's decision. "When he went back to school, it kinda made another opening in the first round. I mean, him here this year or not, I still have to go out there and compete because there's so many great point guards."
This year's crop of available point guards is not considered to be as deep as it sometimes is. Trey Burke could be the only point guard guaranteed to be selected in the top-10, and some scouts still have concerns over his size. Michael Carter-Williams has ideal size and impressive playmaking skills, but isn't a great shooter. C.J. McCollum is talented, but there are concerns about what position he will play at the next level.
With all the uncertainty, Larkin may very well hear his name called towards the end of the first round. He may not completely owe it to Smart for his decision to remain in college, but it sure didn't hurt his chances.
Quote courtesy of Ricky O'Donnell at the NBA Draft combine.