In this morning's top 10 draft questions, I spent all of my allotted queries discussing first-round intrigue. That's kind of the way the NBA draft works. The first round carries risk and reward; the second round can feel more like an afterthought.
So let's get one thing straight: There isn't a chance in you-know-what that Mississippi State forward Renardo Sidney ends up drafted in tonight's first round. No chance. Frankly, there's a chance Sidney won't be drafted at all. He's had massive character issues, a yearlong NCAA suspension, was in caught on camera fighting with teammates at a basketball game, and he's never, despite countless offseason promises to the contrary, gotten himself into anything resembling college basketball game shape.
You've heard all this before. So here's the question: If you have a second-round pick, with no risk attached to it, would you at least consider drafting this guy? Would you take him? Even knowing all this?
For everything that Sidney did wrong during the last five years — the weight gain, the utter lack of conditioning, the fighting, the apathetic mindset towards the game — his talent was simply undeniable. You can see why he was slobbered over as a prospect years before he could legally drive a car.
He’s 6-foot-10 in shoes. He has a wingspan that border on 7-foot-5 and a 30″ no-step vertical despite being 304 pounds and notching the second-highest body-fat percentage (22.4%) in Draft Express’ database. More importantly, you can see signs of his ability as a basketball player: good footwork, a soft touch around the rim, range on his jump shot.
Underneath the overweight frame, obscured by the apathetic attitude, the talent is in there somewhere. It's in there. The question is whether the realities of the NBA -- where only the most driven workers survive -- will wake Sidney out of his childlike slumber. He is still a kid. There is so much room for him to mature.
I have no idea whether Sidney has that in him. More likely than not, any NBA run will echo his career to date. But as Rob argues, if Sidney can just figure it out, and realize the immense gifts he's been given, he has all the talent to be an NBA player. And an NBA franchise won't have to take a risk to find out.
So ... sure, second-round NBA team. Take him! Just read the warning on the label first.