Until Domantas Sabonis comes out and says otherwise, it is important to mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare ourselves for the fact that he might throw his name into the 2016 NBA Draft hat.
There are the stories that Sabonis told his mother he was going to get his degree. There is the reasoning that because he comes from a family containing Arvyadas Sabonis, the younger Sabonis has no need for money. In the end, however, none of that will make much of a difference because the decision is Sabonis' and we will have to respect it.
But does the NBA respect Sabonis? The immediate feedback seems a bit mixed. Despite playing like one of the best big men in the nation during the NCAA Tournament, early returns on draft boards didn't show Sabonis' stock rising *too* dramatically.
The devil is in the details of the number here. If, and it is a big if, NBA teams are truly that high on Sabonis, lottery pick high, than it that would be hard to turn down. There is plenty of glory that can come with returning to the Zags and shooting for the stars. There is also plenty that can go wrong. The team could struggle, or get upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Sabonis could go down with an injury. If he gets the information that some team is going to take him high in the draft, it is hard to turn that down.
Part of that comes from the money portion of being a rookie in the NBA. The higher you are drafted, the more money you are worth. It is that simple, and the difference between being a No. 5 pick and a No. 19 pick is a substantial amount.
In the meantime, instead of all making a bunch of guesses as to what Sabonis will do, all we can do is sit and wait. But, here is one random guess that I would imagine will happen: Sabonis could very well declare for the draft and not hire an agent. Realistically, it would be weird if he doesn't.
Because of a change in the final deadline for a player’s decision, college kids can now declare for the draft and see if they make it into the NBA’s scouting combine. Kentucky coach John Calipari is having every single member of his team do it, and it makes sense. Players, like Sabonis, can now get free advice from NBA teams and see where they stand amongst the lottery balls without having to sacrifice their college eligibility. Sabonis can get the best assessment of his professional potential from NBA teams.
Until we get definitive news from Sabonis, all we can do is wait and scan those NBA Draft Big Boards.