Since mid-March, when Judah Mintz announced that he was entering his name in the NBA Draft while maintaining his eligibility, the key dates to monitor were the closing of entries to the transfer portal (he never did), the NBA Draft Combine (he performed well), and the withdrawal deadline, Wednesday, May 31st. That date is now upon us, and all of the noise appears that Mintz will stay in the draft, despite not appearing higher than pick 40 in any prominent mock drafts.
The caveat with Mintz continues to be that he can return to school for another year, and work on his outside shooting (scouts main concern). Or, he could stay in the draft, likely be picked in the second round, and spend his first year in the NBA (maybe the G-League), working on his shooting in a professional environment. It just matters how quickly Mintz wants to become a professional basketball player.
“His outside shooting is obviously a question and something that every team is going to be watching at the combine,” A Western Conference scout told syracuse.com earlier this month. “He didn’t shoot it very well from (the 3-point line) at Syracuse, but he did improve throughout the year. You assume he can continue to improve, but the question is how fast or when will you see that improvement?’’
The 2024 draft class is less highly regarded than 2023, both at the top, through the lottery, and in terms of depth. But, players burst onto the scene from all sorts of places, college upperclassmen, freshmen who were not as highly touted as they should have been, the G-League Ignite and Overtime Elite, plus international players.
“He kept his eligibility, which I think is smart on his part,” the same scout told syracuse.com. “If he went back to Syracuse, he could go higher next year because next year’s draft class is not as strong as this one. Terquavion Smith (of NC State) returned last year and I wouldn’t say it helped him because this class is strong. But if Judah went back, he could solidify himself as a first-rounder.’’
If Mintz returned, he’d slide right into the lead guard role he played last season, with a lot of new pieces around him, especially at the guard position with the additions of JJ Starling, Chance Westry, and Kyle Cuffe Jr. That, plus the return and hopeful improvement of young players such as Benny Williams, Chris Bell, Justin Taylor, Quadir Copeland, and Maliq Brown will create an environment in which Mintz can be a leader and have more talent around him than last season.
The Maryland native could prove to NBA scouts what they’re looking for, strong man-to-man defense, outside shooting, and continued playmaking and facilitating to learn the point guard position. Mintz has all the tools to be a successful professional basketball player, it’s all about when he decides he wants to begin that career, and that decision is coming soon.