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Forward | 6’9 | 220 | Wisconsin
Projected: Mid-Late 1st round
Best Case: Chandler Parsons
Most Likely: Chase Budinger
Worst Case: Victor Claver
Part of the two headed beast that carried Wisconsin to the national title game, Sam Dekker has entered the 2015 draft at the peak of his relevance. Pairing with Frank Kaminsky, Dekker vaulted himself up draft boards averaging just north of 19 points a game in the tournament while shooting 57% from the field. After going for 23 and 27 in wins over North Carolina and Arizona, Dekker played second fiddle beautifully in a shock upset of the undefeated Kentucky juggernaut. Even the loss to Duke in the title game couldn’t take the shine off Dekker’s run – his stock was at an all time high so entering the draft was a no-brainer.
History teaches us to be cautious of prospects that ply surprising NCAA tourney runs into high draft spots and Dekker may be one to add to the list. He has the physical talents necessary to play in the NBA but lacks the star quality you’d want from a lottery pick. As a late first round pick drafted to be a role-player, Dekker could thrive and even become a high level third option type scorer, in the Chandler Parsons mold. Dekker is a similarly streaky shooter, possesses some of the ball-skills that make Parsons a special offensive player and should be able to man both forward spots also. My concern is that Dekker’s lacklustre college three point shooting percentages might carry over to the NBA (and unlike RJ Hunter, there is no FT% saving grace), he could prove unable to defend either forward spot and end up in Derrick Williams or even Victor Claver style tweener hell.
Whichever way it goes for Dekker, I don’t think it’ll be the Blazers reaping the rewards or suffering the consequences. His tourney run cemented Dekker as a guy likely to be off the board before the 23rd pick and I don’t see him as adding enough value for the Blazers to look at moving up for him. He might end up being a steal for a lower seeded playoff team somewhere in the teens but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, so I’ll be happy to see him disappear long before Silver takes the lectern to announce our pick.