Tom Izzo: MSU’s Gary Harris Fell in NBA Draft Because Teams Clearing Cap Space for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
Many were surprised Thursday evening when Gary Harris wasn't the first Michigan State player selected in the NBA Draft.
Adreian Payne was the first Spartan selected, by the Atlanta Hawks at No. 15. Harris went four picks later to the Chicago Bulls, who eventually dealt him to the Denver Nuggets.
Some projected Harris to be the top Big Ten player selected in the draft. But that distinction wound up belonging to Michigan's Nik Stauskas, who went eighth overall to the Sacramento Kings while Harris was the fourth overall Big Ten player selected.
Tom Izzo thinks the reason Harris was drafted lower than many expected is two premium free agents on the market this summer.
"It creates a lot of problems because of two guys right now, if you ask me--LeBron James and Caremlo Anthony--because everybody is trying to get cap space for those guys," Izzo said Friday morning on Staudt on Sports.
"You've got different people posturing in different ways, and it affects some things that go on."
Izzo said Harris ultimately landing in Denver is a good spot for his former guard. He also thinks Payne is in one of the best positions of any player drafted Thursday night, saying the big man "hit a home run" by going to the Hawks.
"I was so happy that Gary went (to the Nuggets) because I think they want him," Izzo said. "Would I have liked him gone earlier? Probably. But I think there's some guys who went earlier that are on teams that I wouldn't have wanted Gary on.
You can hear Izzo talk about Harris and Payne, whether he thinks the NBA will change its policy on how old one must be to enter the draft, and what he thinks the future holds for Keith Appling in the full interview below.