Today might be the most important day of former Virginia Cavalier Sylven Landesberg’s life. Alright, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but with the NBA draft upon us tonight, it is certainly a very meaningful one for Landesberg. Whether or not you agree with his decision to leave Virginia after just his sophomore year, tonight sure will be interesting to watch.
Landesberg started 54 of his 55 games at Virginia. He finished his career shooting 43.9%, including 35.1% from beyond the arc. Last year, he averaged 17.8 points and 4.4 assists per game in conference play. He was the ACC Rookie of the Year his freshman year and made the second-team All-ACC squad. He was ranked sixth in scoring (17.3 ppg.), sixth in free throw percentage (.810, 111-137 ), and seventh in field goal percentage (.443, 166-375) in the ACC.
But where will he go?
"I’m definitely trying to make it into the first round," said Landesberg.
But does anyone else see that happening? The answer is, actually, yes.
ESPN’s John Hollinger publishes what he calls the Draft Rater, which provides "a methodical, objective look at how players' collegiate achievements tend to translate to the pro game. It's based on regression analysis that compares college performance using 27 variables, from the obvious (age, height, likely pro position) to the obscure (say, 3-point attempts per field goal attempt)."
According to Hollinger, Draft Rater has yet to miss a lottery pick who later became an All-Star in its top 12 college players list, and in fact has found five All-Stars that were not drafted among the top 12.
So where does it have Landesberg going?
As it turns out, 11th! Landesberg makes the top-12 cut, and in fact, Hollinger says that in his mind (i.e., not Draft Rater’s), Landesberg should actually be No. 10.
How likely is this?
"If I don’t go in the first round, I still think I’m going to get in the opportunity somewhere," Landesberg said.
Many mock drafts don’t have him up there at all. Others have him going in the second round. There’s a decent amount of buzz that the Dallas Mavericks might be interested in him, and that’s who ESPN’s Chad Ford has picking him, with the 50th pick, in his Mock Draft 6.1, published June 22.
Specifically, Ford says, "Landesberg was productive his first two years in college. He's a slasher who knows how to get to the basket. At pick 50, he's a good value."
Even Hollinger admits that in real-life Landesberg will likely be a late second-rounder steal.
Most mock drafts don’t have Landesberg in there at all.
Still, if you’re Sylven Landesberg and you’ve spent the past four months listening to people second-guess what was undoubtedly a very difficult decision to forego two years of eligibility at the greatest University on the planet, a late second-round pick should be considered a victory.
Whether you are hoping him the best or you consider him as having betrayed his school and teammates, I’ll bet that you’re pretty interested in seeing just what happens tomorrow at the NBA draft. In the meanwhile, here is an interview that he did with DraftExpress (Landesberg has not been particularly open with local media, though I don’t know why).