Eric Musselman might be too close to the situation to make an unbiased evaluation of ASU senior forward Carrick Felix. Then again, the current Sun Devils assistant has been a head coach in the NBA (Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings) and NBDL (Reno Bighorns and Los Angeles D-Fenders), so he might be just the guy to play prognosticator regarding Felix's future.
When asked by Arizona Sports 620's Doug & Wolf Monday about whether the All-Pac-12 first-teamer could survive at the next level, Musselman was rather honest.
"To me it's not about just putting on an NBA uniform, it's about making it a career," Musselman said. "Carrick Felix has qualities that he can play at the next level in the NBA.
"He's an NBA defender, and he's an NBA loose ball-getter. You can play him in multiple positions."
Talk of the NBA didn't seem all that plausible for Felix before his senior season. However in 2012-13, the Arizona native averaged career-highs in points (14.6), rebounds (8.1), steals (1.4), blocks (1.1), field goal percentage (50.0 percent) and three-point percentage (37.4 percent).
Felix, who also earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors in 2013, led the conference this season in double-doubles with 13.
On paper Felix seems like a perfect fit for an NBA team looking for a versatile player late in the second round, but Musselman admitted he'll have to clean up notable deficiencies in his game before June's draft.
"Does he have some things to work on? Without a doubt," said Musselman. "He needs to become a more consistent three-point shooter. He's got to become a better ball handler. But, he has things you can't teach. You can't teach athleticism.
"You can't teach will and desire. And he's an unbelievable rebounder for the two and three spots. In time, he can be a very good pro you can put in the game and get five or six minutes a half out of him. Then in year three and four you see if he develops into a bona fide rotation guy. That's where player development comes in."
Both NBADraft.net and DraftExpress.com seem to agree with Musselman's assessment. NBADraft has Felix staying close to home, landing with the Phoenix Suns (No. 52 pick). DraftExpress has the ASU forward six spots later (No. 58 pick) to the Minnesota Timberwolves.