CHICAGO — Nassir Little changed his mind in the middle of answering a question.
The North Carolina freshman swingman was asked Thursday his thoughts on the possibility of the NBA ending the one-year college requirement for draft eligibility, which is being discussed by the league and the players’ union.
At first, he said he would have liked the option to turn pro after a dominant career at Orlando Christian Prep.
“I don’t think I would (have jumped to the pros),” Little said. “I look at myself now and out of high school, I just think that jump of competition is just huge and extremely hard to excel at.
“A lot of guys will be out the league extremely early coming straight out of high school.”
Little’s words were surprising.
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The idea is gaining more momentum with NBA commissioner Adam Silver saying last week that prep stars could be allowed to make the professional jump by the 2022 NBA draft.
“It’s hard, I think, if you’re that parent or guardian, to say to that player, it’s more important that you go to three more classes as opposed to prepare for a really important decision,” Silver said via the Washington Post. “I think that’s where the hypocrisy lies.”
Little, who met with the Detroit Pistons this week at the NBA draft combine, could only speak for himself.
But he was honest in knowing he wouldn’t have been ready for the league just 12 months ago.
That assessment comes after he struggled in his one year in college.
“It was a struggle statistically, is what y’all are talking about, but over the year, I developed, my body developed in the weight room,” Little said. “I learned more about the game.”
The degree of difficulty just moving from high school to college was enough for Little last year.
“Playing against actual defense,” Little said. “In high school, there’s no help, you beat your guy and dunk. If you think you’re going to the NBA and you think it’s going to be that easy, you’re in for a rude awakening.
“Going to college exposes you to that a little bit and I think it’s helpful for guys going to the NBA.”
Going into the college season, Little was considered a potential top-five pick.
But Little was underwhelming for the Tar Heels.
Coming off the bench, he never found a role.
Little had an immediate reason for his struggles.
“I’m not sure what I was able to do at UNC,” Little said. “It was hard to understand exactly what my role was — especially on offense. It created a lot of hesitancy.
“It was being unsure, playing out of position, not knowing my position on the floor was the cause of my hesitancy.”
He had a strong showing in the NCAA tournament, averaging 19.5 points in the Tar Heels’ first two tournament victories.
He could be in play for the Pistons, who have the 15th pick of the first round.
Wing depth is an offseason priority for the Pistons and Little could provide an option.
He measures 6-6 with a 7-1 ¼ wingspan — optimal dimensions for positional versatility.
He projected to a plus defender capable of guarding multiple positions. He has drawn Kawhi Leonard comparisons.
During his meeting with the Pistons, he said, a member of the scouting contingent offered another comparison.
Little typically settles into the classic triple threat position on the catch, with equal potention for shooting, dribbling or passing — which led a member of the Pistons to evoke a certain member of the 2003 draft class.
“I heard a Carmelo Anthony comparison, which is not a bad one to have,” Little said with a grin.
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Published at Fri, 17 May 2019 00:12:44 +0000