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2011 NBA Draft and Offseason Blog


Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
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2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins Made Right Decision in Entering NBA Draft - June 10


Every year I scratch my head at several underclassmen who decide to leave school and enter the NBA Draft early; and this year was no different. Most people felt that way about DeAndre Liggins' decision to leave Kentucky after his junior season. However, when you look at Liggins' situation with his personal life and how things likely would have shaped up on the court at Lexington next season, his choice to turn pro makes sense even though there is a real possibility he will not get drafted on June 23.

Liggins was not a star at Kentucky, as he was fifth on the team in scoring this past season averaging 8.6 points per game. He will never be a star in the NBA. However, despite being overshadowed the past two seasons by freshmen like John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, Liggins felt now was the right time to leave school and pursue his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.

When dissecting Liggins' decision to turn pro, two things come to mind. He became a father this past season and now has to support a family (including his fiancee). Also, with the extremely talented batch of recruits coming to Kentucky next season, there was no guarantee that Liggins would see more playing time than he did this past season.



The Wildcats figure to be loaded on the wing with Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and Terrence Jones all returning along with the addition of McDonald's All-American Michael Gilchrist. Calipari's outstanding reputation as a recruiter is a huge reason for his success as a coach, but it has worked against Liggins.

"We had other guys who more highly recruited than me, so (Coach Calipari) would rather live with their mistakes than my mistakes," Liggins said at the NBA Draft Combine. "But I have the chance to show people I can do more than I did at Kentucky. Coach Cal recruits one-and-done guys, but he also makes them work for their playing time."

Liggins earned his playing time due to his ability to blend in with those one-and-done players. His biggest asset to the Wildcats was developing into one of the best defenders in the SEC. Versatility played a major part in that as Liggins was able to guard multiple positions depending on the nightly matchup.





While defense is a huge strength for Liggins, his offensive abilities are in question with his transition to the next level. He shot the ball well from three this past season (39.1% which was up from 31.8% his sophomore year), but he never showed consistency in attacking the basket. Still, Liggins feels he can hold his own in the NBA.

"The whole thing with me is confidence," Liggins stated. "I have to have the confidence that I can play offense. I didn't have the ball in my hand a lot but I think my offense improved greatly the first two years and this year it improved again. Coach Cal gave me this confidence. That's what I love about him."

If Liggins is drafted, it will most likely be in the late second round which does not guarantee him a contract or a spot on an NBA roster. In fact, it may actually be beneficial for Liggins to not get draft so he can pick which team has a need for depth on the wing and try to earn a spot as a free agent during training camp. If not, Liggins will likely have to make a living by playing ball overseas.

Whichever path he ends up taking, Liggins is prepared to scratch and claw his way to the next level.

"I wanna be the underdog, my whole life," Liggins said. "I've got nothing to lose here. I'll put it on the line and give it my all."



Recent NBA Draft and Offseason Blog Entries:

2012 NBA Draft Outstanding Trades - 12/25
2011 NBA Offseason Winners - 12/23
2011 NBA Offseason Losers - 12/23
2011 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 12/22
2011 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 12/20
2011 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 12/16
Chris Paul Trade Analysis - 12/15
2011 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 12/14
2011 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 12/10
2011 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 12/9
Five Players Likely to Be Traded After NBA Lockout - 7/7
2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Southwest Division - 7/6
2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Northwest Division - 7/5
2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Pacific Division - 7/3
Cavaliers-Kings Trade Recap - 7/1
2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Atlantic Division - 6/30
2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Central Division - 6/30
2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Southeast Division - 6/29
2011 NBA Draft Trade Recaps - 6/25
2011 NBA Draft: Bobcats-Kings-Bucks Three-Way Trade - 6/24
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: How Kyrie Irving Compares to John Wall and Derrick Rose - 6/23
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Is Kyrie Irving Ready to be a Franchise Point Guard - 6/23
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Kemba Walker is the Most Undervalued Player in the Draft - 6/23
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Is Derrick Williams a Power Forward or Small Forward? - 6/22
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Wait, Kansas' Marcus and Markieff Morris are Twins??? - 6/21
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Jordan Hamilton Using Yoga to Help His NBA Draft Stock - 6/18
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Tristan Thompson Benefits from Weak Draft Class - 6/17
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Kawhi Leonard's Versatility is His Biggest Asset - 6/14
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Chris Singleton is a Lottery Sleeper - 6/13
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Where Does JaJuan Johnson Fit in the NBA? - 6/11
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins Made Right Decision in Entering NBA Draft - 6/10
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Should a Marijuana Arrest Affect NBA Draft Stock? - 6/9
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Nolan Smith Has Different Identity On and Off Court - 6/7
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: John Wall Mentoring Darius Morris - 6/5
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Brandon Knight Worth Third Overall Pick? - 6/2
Rumor: Cavs, T-Wolves, Pistons Discussing 3-Way Trade - 5/29
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Josh Selby Putting Kansas Behind Him - 5/28
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Marshon Brooks Rising Up Draft Boards - 5/26
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Alec Burks Connected to Bobcats - 5/24
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Combine Measurements - 5/21
Thunder Really Likes Kyle Singler? - 5/21
2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Day 1 - 5/20
2011 NBA Draft Lottery Odds Breakdown - 5/16
2011 NBA Free Agents - 5/3
NBA Offseason and Draft Blog - Home









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