While there’s no end to the mock drafts you can find on the various NBA blogs and media outlets around the web (and they run the gamut from fantastic to head-scratching), there’s fewer places more insightful on the NBA landscape than a sports agent’s brain. To that end, when we hear Tony Dutt, who started his career by signing Karl Malone, Joe Dumars, and Spud Webb — he currently represents Brandon Bass, Jrue Holiday, and Marcus Thornton — and has made over $44 million guiding players to contracts, our ears perk up. After all, this is a guy who’s job it is to be in tune with what front offices are thinking.
“My gut is that there going to take [Andrew] Wiggins,” Dutt said. “At the end of the day [Jabari] Parker’s probably the most ready for the NBA, but I think if you look at the future of Wiggins, I think down the line he could be [a] real special talent.” We assume that Dutt is speaking from the heart here, especially since his own client in the 2014 draft, Isaiah Austin, was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the heart and ensures he will not be able to play basketball competitively.
“My thought was that he was going to be a late first round pick, and it’s extremely unfortunate,” said Dutt. “It’s a sad day, but he’s a great kid, and he’ll bounce back — and I think he’ll have a great opportunity to work in sports, if that’s what he wants to do.” Austin is going to be in the NBA draft, having been invited by Adam Silver.
As for the draft process itself, Dutt pointed out that going to the right team is often more important than how high a player goes in the draft, a bit of wisdom that’s often parroted among pundits and is nice to hear coming from someone who has a vested fiscal interest in the process.
“There’s so much opportunity out there that you just want to get to the right spot,” he said. “Sometimes I tell kids you’re better off being drafted two, three picks later than what you’re projected, if the team is a better fit for you and you’re gonna go into a system that is more set up for your game.”