What The NBA Scouts Are Saying

David Glenn spoke with NBA scouts, who gave critiques of Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington with THF commentary.

Tyler Hansbrough

NBA Quote: “This is a common debate, obviously. Some guys don’t like him at all as a pro. Others believe he’ll be in the league — a good player, now, not a great player — for 10 years. Nobody questions his work ethic or his productivity in college. But he’ll have to continue to improve his perimeter game and some other things to stick in the NBA. If he does that — and a lot of people think he will, because of his approach to the game — he’ll be fine. I would want him on my team. There’s just no way he’ll be a post scorer up here the way he was in college. No way.”

THF’s Take: There is nothing in this that screams go pro now or come back to school other than the need for a perimeter game and “other things” which would help.  The questions becomes whether it would be better for Hansbrough to work out those issues in a senior season at UNC trying to win a national title or sitting on the bench in the NBA.  I think coming back is better but I am also hopelessly biased towards seeing UNC win a national title.

Ty Lawson

NBA Quote: “There’s no doubt that he’s an NBA point guard. (He has) the handle, amazing speed with the ball, good vision, good passing ability, and he’s extremely strong for a player his size. Nobody is going to push him around. The question is, how much better is he going to get? He’s not a great 3-point shooter right now at the college distance, so that’s a concern, and he’s only so-so defensively. If he gets better at those things, he could be a starter (in the NBA). If he doesn’t, he’s a backup, at best. But he’ll play in this league.”

THF’s Take: In short, Lawson has a NBA caliber game right now with concerns about his shooting and defense.  The intriguing point is the question as to whether he can get any better.  That kind of statement coupled with the perception that Lawson is not really interested in college tells me he will probably go to the NBA now.  If he is as good as he can get in college why continue playing in college?  I think that reasoning might push him out the door more than anything else.

Wayne Ellington

NBA Quote: “I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but I don’t think he’s a player we would consider drafting right now. Can he play in the NBA some day? Absolutely. But let’s face it: Right now, he’s a 6-3 guy with a beautiful (shooting) stroke and not enough other things going for him. He needs to work on getting his shot off against quicker defenders, he needs to continue to improve his ability to put the ball on the floor, and he needs to get a lot better defensively. He’s at a school where he can learn all of those things and have some fun along the way. I guess it’s possible that someone would use a first-round pick on him (this year), but that would surprise me. If he answers those questions, though, he’ll be a (first-round) lock next year.”

THF’s Take: This is clear cut advice for Ellington to come back to school and improve on several areas.  Of course we have no idea who this scout is and how much what he says is reflected in the opinion of other scouts, however this is a fairly strong assessment that Ellington needs at least one more year to add more dimensions to his game and then perhaps he will be ready to roll.


19 Responses to What The NBA Scouts Are Saying

  1. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    As much as I’d like to see all three come back, I just can’t see what Hansbrough can do in another year at UNC to improve his NBA stock (work on his outside shooting? He can do that in the context of a pro offense in the NBA). He’s the national player of the year – aside from a national title (which requires some lucky bounces) there’s not much more left for him to do. In the NBA I can see him contributing immediately on the right team – perhaps as a 6th man coming off the bench for hustle, rebounding etc. a la Nick Collison with the Seattle Sonics. On the other hand, I think both Lawson and Ellington should return to UNC, Lawson because there simply are too many quality point guards in this year’s draft and Ellington for the reasons stated above.

  2. C. Michael says:

    With Hansbrough, the only question is which is more valuable: getting started a year early, making between $700K – $900 for three years (pay scale for picks 24-30) before he becomes a FA, or waiting a year and improving to the 15-20 range ($1M – $1.6M per year for the first 3 years), just based on the relative strengths of the drafts. It is also hard to quantify how much (or little) the difference between a great career, and a legendary career means, in terms of endorsements,

  3. Josh Bowling says:

    Just so you know, Brandan Wright is sitting on the bench right now. Making money, YES. Playing NO. How does Hansbrough compare with Wright? Is a workout/b-ball playing machine like Hansbrough going to be happy sitting down when he is used to 30 minutes of ball per game? He’ll have to decide that for himself. Or will he be happy in college (being the bigMan on campus) and being the talk of fans for another year? Of course, Hansbrough will have to determine if Roy is on his side or not, and if Roy will be enthusiastic about returning to the final 4 or doing better next year. Some will say Roy was very content just getting to the final 4. I am not sure Hansbrough is happy with just that, unlike Roy. Maybe he should go.

  4. C. Michael says:


    I’d take the message board-stuff with a huge grain of salt. Anyone who thinks Roy is content with just making the Final 4, or is not 100% behind his players is either certifiable, or looking to start a fight.

  5. Johnny says:

    If Hansbrough does come back, will he be able to work on the parts of his game that will make him more NBA-ready? Outside shooting, dribbling, passing and defense? With the exception of defense, I think it’s unlikely he’ll get that chance in college next year as UNC needs him under the hoop. Then again, the NBA is not a great place to develop. As noted above, Brandan is sitting on the bench, which would drive Tyler crazy. It would be interesting to see whether Roy is able to accommodate Tyler’s NBA development needs if he does come back.

  6. Dfrom Floirida says:

    I as all of you Tar heel fans wish for one thing— for this group to get together as the Florida players did to win TWO National Championships– all to get together and want to win ONE Nationational Championship next year. I understand the money. I’m not a young fan. BUT, my wish is for all to come back with one goal in mind- A National championship for the team. Will it happen? I doubt it. I will still be there cheering on whomever is left and all of those who are rookies. Thanks to all the players who made this year spectacular. ( you will be welcomed with open arms and much love next year on your return)! GO HEELS!

  7. DeanForever says:

    The Hansbrough speculation is getting rediculous. However, somewhere in all that, one of you mentioned that he would be unhappy on the bench. DUH!!!!!

    He’ll be back. So will Ellington. As for Lawson, I don’t think that it’s a done deal just yet. You all are failing to mention the national exposure any of these guys would get with one more year. We are fans of UNC, and because we are the best fans, we care about these kids and their futures. However, let’s not just say “thanks, great season” and usher them out. C’mon! Even without Lawson, the rest of that squad looks to be pretty darn good.

    Am I the only person who sees Tyler coming back as a no-brianer?

  8. TxTarheel says:

    I don’t think Tyler’s decision is a total no-brainer…see it more like 50/50. As noted in prior comments on this topic, Hansbrough can return for his senior year and put his name in the record books even more; all the while receiving more national exposure on a top-5 rated team (making an assumption).

    Lawson seems to be the wildcard here. Most NBA folks were not convinced that Felton was ready, either, after his sophomore year. Felton was an improved outside threat his junior year. Link below is an early-entry tracker:


  9. DeanForever says:

    Well, I must make a comparison that I have previously dreaded just to think…I have to look at the Redick profile here. If scouts are projecting Tyler to be a sixth guy at best, then why not come back and re-write the record books? All-time ACC scoring leader, four-time All-American? Redick (as the rest of us non-idiots knew) probably never saw himself as being an NBA starter (if he did then he must have been smoking the laced greenery), and he wanted to win a title, so he came back and left Duke as the all-time leading ACC scorer. I’m thinking that Tyle has to see it this way; plus, he will get more playing time than Redick any day. I really think that one more year of national love will increase his stock.
    Ellington would vanquish into oblivion if he went pro right now. And where is Lawson on the list at the Rivals.com Early Entry Tracker?

  10. 52BigGameJames says:

    Isn’t it not a little ironic that the one most ready to enter the NBA, is the one the “experts” and many speculators deem the least likely to succeed at the next level. The same things that have made this player the unlikely heir to the UNC Throne, are the exact same things that will cement his decision to finish the deal, and also btw, the same things that will give him a solid career at the next level. He’s not here for the personal accolades-that should be apparent in his disdain for the limelight. Have we learned nothing of this player in his 3 years? Understandable for outsiders to mis-judge the player, his skills and intentions, but for those who have watched this kid in continual amazement, we should know by now that he has a veritable nuclear core like no other, to “dis-prove” the doubters. And I”ll add that we might see more vocal leadership from him next season. Frankly, I consider it an insult to the kid to put him in the same category as the other “carpet-baggers”.

  11. Steve says:

    Does anyone have any insight about Tyler’s level of desire to dominate the UNC record books? One more year and they’d have to build him his own display case over in the museum.

  12. Josh Bowling says:

    Even if Tyler leaves, his will can give us another championship run. According to Billy Packer and Jay Bilas, it’s not about his skills, it’s about his will. If his will is big enough, he shouldn’t physically have to be here for a championship run to happen. J/K LOL

  13. Josh Bowling says:

    I sure hope we don’t have any players that regret coming to UNC or are considering transfering, given the fact that some players aren’t sure wether or not if they have the support they need and desire from Roy. We should ask our projected committs if they still feel like Roy is going to be on their side when they come to UNC, or is he going to let them down in favor of another school. We need to somehow put an end to this discussion that so many UNC fans seem to be engaged in. Should we demand that Roy finally “cut ties” with Kansas? Should we allow this love affair with Kansas to continue and have it hurt our potential commits because they feel that Roy may abandon them when they need him the most (playoff situations)? Should we get rid of Roy in favor of other coaches out there (Pitino, Donovan, Self, Calapari, etc). I know, we should try to hire Indiana’s former coach. They all seem like rediculous answers, but is the reason behind them legitimate? That is my question.

  14. Chris says:

    Here’s the draft scenario:
    1. Wayne now knows that he needs more time and stays.
    2, Lawson wants more than everything to bolt to the NBA but had a mid second round season. He goes to a few camps and listens to a few people, and finally comes to his senses and stays.
    3. Tyler, who does not think like mere mortals, stays to graduate and finish the deal that he to came to UNC to accomplish, a national championship. The following year he goes on to a long and productive career in the NBA; the naysayers have no clue what a Psycho T can do in the NBA because there has never been one there before.

  15. Josh Bowling says:

    Chris, are you starting to warm up to Psycho T? His skills may have their limits, but his will can excel himself beyond that. Kinda like Ben Wallace.

  16. Chris says:


  17. Josh Bowling says:

    You know Chris, I hate we have to rely on one sole player when every member of our team is capable of big games, it’s just that Tyler brings it every game when others seem to have “off nights”.

  18. keithunc says:

    Being a selfish Tar Heel I want them to come back. I know the money is to great to turn down. I wish them the best at whatever their decision is. They will always be Tar Heels.

  19. DeanForever says:


    Excellent attitude. Although I believe that we are far from writing thier collective obituaries (as Tar Heels), we can already reflect back on the Big Three with fond memories. Over the past two seasons, we know all about the record, both in and out of conference play. However, the one true testament to what these guys have done is the re-emergance of UNC has the premiere program in all of America. Roy-haters can crush all they want, but the fact remains that UNC is in the midst of a special eras. If the current state of affairs is that we are fretting over a Roy Williams Kansas sticker, or a final four loss, or the fact that three of our most talented players may/may not be leaving…if we are talking about these types of issues, then let’s acknowledge that every program dreams of having these issues. Just ask Mike Krzyzewski or Tom Izzo. Ask Billy Donovan. All of those winning coaches are struggling to compete with the job that Roy has, and IS doing. The Sticker-phobes out there will become transparent when the new recruits are developing into household names. From what I have detected, Roy has not only secured top talent through 2010, but he is getting kids who want to come in and be part of a winning TEAM. There are no Jospeh Forte-types in the mix, only blue-chippers who want to be part of the winning UNC tradition.

    BTW-the Heels are only 16 wins behind UK all-time. If they continue to win at the 30-per-season rate, and Kentucky steadily averages 20-25 over four years, UNC could move into first place all-time by the time Davis, Zeller, and Drew leave.

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