With the NBA playoffs really heating up and the draft fast approaching it is natural for any Gonzaga fan to wonder where graduated players could end up.
There is a lot of uncertainty around if Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., and Byron Wesley will get drafted to the NBA. Most would say that it is probable that none of them will be drafted. People said the same about Rob Sacre and he ended up getting drafted with the last pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Whether or not these players are drafted is not as important as if they make an NBA squad. I think that all three of the Gonzaga graduates could get a good chance playing on a summer league squad and getting their chance to prove themselves. So without further ado here are my ideas for where the Gonzaga graduates could fit in the NBA.
Byron Wesley, G, 6′ 5″
Mar 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Byron Wesley (22) reacts after a basket against the Duke Blue Devils during the second half in the finals of the south regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Wesley is a slashing guard who played the three position for the most part in college. In the NBA I think that he would be more of a two guard because of his size. In order for him to make it in the NBA he will have to improve his shooting, especially outside shooting. Wesley could be used as a role player and a guy who could be brought in for a change of tempo. His slashing ability is good for a quick boost of energy.
The Hawks are already a great team. They play excellent team basketball and they don’t really have a star player who stands out from anyone else. Wesley went from being the star at USC to more of a team player at Gonzaga. Wesley could be a good team player off the bench.
I predict that Wesley will likely play over seas if he continues his basketball career.
Gary Bell Jr., SG, 6′ 2″
March 22, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Gary Bell Jr. (5) moves the ball up court against Iowa Hawkeyes during the first half in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Bell Jr. is undersized for his position in the NBA. This could be a major setback, but I think that he makes up for his size with his tenacious play. If Bell Jr. can improve his outside shooting and maintain his athleticism he could find a fit with an NBA team.
San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich likes guys who work hard and play defense. Bell Jr. definitely does this. The Spurs have a backcourt of players like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who are getting up in age. They could be retiring any year now, so getting young guards into the system will be important for San Antonio.
Dallas has problems with their backcourt. Rajon Rondo and the Mavericks agreed to part ways during the playoffs. Monta Ellis might not resign with the team next season. The Mavs could use Bell Jr. him off the bench as a solid option to score some points and limit turnovers.
Kevin Pangos, PG, 6′ 2″
March 20, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kevin Pangos (4) controls the ball against North Dakota State Bison during the second half of the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Pangos has the best chance of any Gonzaga player to get drafted this year. He can shoot and handles the ball without turning it over. He’s a smart play and a great leader. Many people are concerned with his size and his lack of ability to defend other NBA guards.
After a blockbuster trade this season, the Suns traded Goran Dragic away. They have Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight as starting guards, but beyond those two the Suns need help in the backcourt. Pangos and former Phoenix point guard Steve Nash are friends and I’m sure Nash would get Pangos good connections and advice.
The Nuggets need help just about everywhere. I think Pangos could help in Denver because current backup point guard Jameer Nelson may not be with the team next season. Ty Lawson has had some trouble with the law, so having a solid backup point guard is essential for the Nuggets.
Patrick Beverly may not be with the Rockets next season. It also became apparent this season that Beverly might not be the best fit. Pangos does not need to be the highest scorer in any game. He is more concerned with the good of the team and doing his job to ensure a win. Pangos could play well with James Harden as well.
There are my ideas of where Gonzaga graduates could fit in the NBA. Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!
I hope that all three Gonzaga graduates have long, successful careers.