Spencer Dinwiddie’s return was not in question until he injured his knee at Washington on January 12th. He was projected to be a top 25 draft choice for the 2014 NBA Draft. With this injury his return to the Buffs is questionable.
This year’s draft is considered to be one of the best in years. This means Dinwiddie would have a difficult time being drafted in the first round because of the severity of his injury.
Nerlens Noel had the same injury as Dinwiddie last year, except he was supposed to be the 1st pick. Noel dropped down to the 6th pick. This means Dinwiddie would drop down even more because his NBA potential is not expected to be as high. He is also not a seven footer. Like they say, you can’t teach size.
Dinwiddie has said that he would only leave this year if he were to be drafted in the first round. The main difference between the first and second rounds of the NBA Draft is a guaranteed contract. If Dinwiddie went into the NBA with a torn ACL on a non-guaranteed contract, his stint may not be long.
There are a few guards that are projected higher than Dinwiddie even before his ACL injury. Marcus Smart, Gary Harris, Dante Exum, Tyler Ennis, and the Harrison twins are all guards that could be drafted in the first round. Smart and Exum are projected to be a top-10 picks, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. Dinwiddie was right outside of that group before his knee injury.
This year’s crop of point guards and shooting guards is a bit deeper than past years. Smart and Exum are projected to be able to play a significant role right away. Harris is a very competent shooter, which will translate right away to the NBA.
Dinwiddie was not projected to be a star player like these players. If I were him and were looking at this draft class, I would decide to return for my final year of eligibility. There is a lot of misinformation out there from agents that Dinwiddie may be hearing right now, so he will need to sit down with his family and the coaching staff to decide what’s best for him.
If Dinwiddie decides to return to Boulder, how do the Buffs look next year? Colorado will presumably return their whole entire starting lineup from the NCAA Tournament team. Askia Booker, Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson, Wesley Gordon, and Xavier Talton are all expected to return next season. Dinwiddie would fill in for Talton once healthy.
Next year’s team will be a year more experienced and have the whole summer to improve individually. The Buffs will be a lot deeper in the front and back courts, even if Dinwiddie decided not to return. Freshmen Jaron Hopkins, Dustin Thomas, and Treshaun Fletcher showed a lot of potential this year, but showed their inexperience much of the time. With a year under their belt and in Boyle’s program, these players could potentially make this team the best Colorado has ever seen.
Colorado also has a solid recruiting class coming in. Dominique Collier is a four star guard out of Denver and is ranked inside the ESPN top-100. He is a 6-2 point guard with strong handles and a knack for scoring the ball. He will add to Colorado’s depth.
Tad Boyle must be ecstatic for next year’s team with or without Dinwiddie. Colorado boasts an experienced team that has made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. They have lost in the second round two straight years, so returning to the Big Dance will not be enough for many of these players next year. If Dinwiddie returns, this may be the best team the Colorado Buffaloes basketball program has ever had.