NBA scout says former Syracuse star Rakeem Christmas’ draft stock is improving

Rakeem Christmas was one of the ACC's best players
Rakeem Christmas was one of the ACC’s best players

Ryan Blake, Senior Director of NBA Scouting Operations, calls in to chat about Syracuse players in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft with host Wesley Cheng on the Juice on the Cuse podcast hosted by Editor in Chief Brad Bierman also checks in to talk about Syracuse lacrosse’s disappointing NCAA Tournament.

Here are the highlights from the show:

Wes Cheng: Ryan, Rakeem Christmas had 20 points and six rebounds in the NBA Combine. What did you think of his effort?

Ryan Blake: I really loved his approach to the combine. He came in in great shape. He played within himself, which is getting rebounds and setting screens, spacing, passing. All of those things that can open the door, or at least get it a little wider to get that opportunity. He’s got size. He’s got length. What I like about him is he’s a great defensive player who blocks shots and gets rebounds. He runs the floor like a gazelle. He’s got an NBA body. Everything about him is improving. IQ and as a playmaker.

WC: Are you among the group of NBA Scouts who thinks that Chris McCullough declared for the NBA Draft too early?

RB: I think a guy who had an ACL injury and only played part of the season, he’s got a lot of ability. But in terms of where you want to get drafted, if that’s your goal, to make an NBA team. You want to get drafted in the first round where there’s guaranteed money. And you can’t work out with any teams because you’re not healthy enough. So when you look at any team that might have a second pick, yeah, they may check him out in the first round. However, he’s likely to go in the second round. Is he going to be able to play in the summer league? Most likely not. So it’s going to be tough to keep a guy on the roster who’s not a first round pick.


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1. Intro
2. NBA Scout Ryan Blake calls in
3. Rakeem Christmas’ potential
4. Is Christmas a rotational player or a starter?
5. Did Chris McCullough make the wrong decision?
6. Brad Bierman calls in
7. Thoughts from NCAA women’s lax championship weekend
8. Syracuse can’t get over the hump
9. Men’s disappointing NCAA Tournament
10. Closing Thoughts and Wrap Up

» Related: Galasso: Syracuse lacrosse winning ACC Championship a ‘big accomplishment’

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]