Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera declares for NBA Draft

Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has decided to declare for the NBA Draft, the school announced on Tuesday. He plans to sign with an agent. 

"D'Vauntes has decided to enter the NBA Draft," Head Coach John Thompson III said. "He has given a great deal to this program and we will do everything we can to help him pursue his goals." 

Smith-Rivera's decision will obviously generate some conversation, as he's not really on any draft boards right now, including my own. There's a decent chance that he'll rise into my top-100 by the time draft decisions are all made, but it's not a sure thing by any means.

So there are a couple of competing factors at play here in hashing out his decision. In his favor, it seems unlikely that he would have done much to improve his stock had he stayed next year. He's a 22-year-old junior that turns 23 later this year. Unless he would have become an awesome distributor as a point guard (an incredibly rare skill to develop in your fourth collegiate year), there's just not much for him to improve upon.

He's a a good shot-creator in pick-and-roll (84th percentile nationally, per Synergy) and in isolation (97th percentile) situations, and he also knocks down shots in catch-and-shoot situations (his 1.13 points-per-shot is pretty good). Simply put, Smith-Rivera is a shooting guard in a point guard's body at about 6-foot-3 with a short wingspan, and the physical limitations aren't something that were going away next year. And due to those issues, it'll always be tough to find a place for him defensively. 

But there's another force at play here for the borderline guys like Smith-Rivera. The 2015 draft seems to be a strong, deep class when compared with the 2016 class. The top is filled with potential franchise players in both years, sure (Jahlil Okafor and Karl Towns this year, Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown in 2016), but it's the way to which the rest of the 2014 high school class has lived up to the hype that makes this a deep year. Not only has the top of the class been awesome, but the borderline one-and-done guys have been as good or better than expected (Kevon Looney, Trey Lyles, Tyus Jones, for instance). Then to top it off, there have also been a few freshmen surprisingly establish themselves as potential one-and-dones (D'Angelo Russell, Devin Booker, Jakob Poeltl). Seemingly, only Cliff Alexander has seen his legitimately drop from that class. 

That's not a typical situation. And it creates a trickle-down effect for the rest of the class, potentially pushing some of the more borderline guys out of the draft. So would it make sense for Smith-Rivera and others to stay and try their luck in an easier situation next year? It's hard to say, because there's a bit of guesswork involved. Given what we know about the 2015 recruiting class, I'd be surprised if it ended up being as strong as the 2014 iteration.

But banking on the 2016 draft being weaker is something of a risk to take, and with Smith-Rivera healthy, willing and able to get paid to play hoops either in America or in Europe, I can't really say that I think this is a poor decision. There's not a ton he could have done next season to really improve his stock, and he'll assuredly get picked up to play in the Summer League. If he's good enough there, he'll get picked up for training camp and have a shot. If not, he's the kind of player that will have a strong market in Europe due to his shooting and shot-creation ability.

Regarding his NBA Draft stock, I'd be somewhat surprised if he was selected unless he shows himself to be a better athlete or distributor in combines and workouts than he seems to have been at Georgetown. But Smith-Rivera will assuredly be getting paid to play hoops somewhere next year, and to a 22-year-old that means an awful lot.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera won't be back at Georgetown next year. (USATSI)
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera won't be back at Georgetown next year. (USATSI)
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