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NBA Draft: Prospects 1-23 (Updated)

June 28, 2012
  1. Anthony Davis            Franchise Player
  2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist All-Star
  3. Thomas Robinson       Borderline All-Star
  4. Bradley Beal
  5. Jeremy Lamb               Top 10
  6. Austin Rivers
  7. John Henson
  8. Terrence Ross
  9. Jared Sullinger
  10. Harrison Barnes
  11. Perry Jones III
  12. Tyler Zeller                  Late lottery
  13. Terrence Jones
  14. Royce White
  15. Meyers Leonard          Mid 1st
  16. Andre Drummond
  17. Jeff Taylor
  18. Damian Lillard            Mid to late 1st
  19. KendallMarshall
  20. Arnett Moultrie
  21. Dion Waiters
  22. Moe Harkless              Late 1st
  23. Evan Fournier

 

 

PG

Damian Lillard WeberState 6’2 ¾ 189, 21 yrs old, 39.5 vertical, 6’7 wingspan

Comparison: George Hill

Damian is tall, athletic, long armed, and very strong for a PG. He is good in transition, is one of the best shooters in this draft, and carried his team this year. Yet I think this kid is drastically overrated as to me he looks like a glorified gym rat/workout warrior type with little to improve on yet still not all that good. A team can’t bulk him up, can’t improve his shot very much, and will likely have the finished product from Day 1 yet the finished product to me looks like a quality backup PG. His frame and athleticism remind me of George Hill and just like Hill he is an average ball handler, a below average passer, and has history working against him. Few top notch teams are run by a PG with mediocre vision and unless he goes to a team that has a dominant post player I expect him to struggle. His stats (24.5 ppg) seem great until you realize that he played Portland St., MontanaSt., IdahoSt., and others like it twice a year due to his poor conference. It’s unlikely he faced an NBA caliber player more than 3 games all season. He should be a good pick and roll player and a top notch spot up shooter but guys like Mario Chalmers and George Hill weren’t taken in the lottery and neither should he. Overall I expect a below average starting PG or a very good backup PG who is an elite shooter and a good defender but little else. Mid to late 1st rounder.

Kendall Marshall NorthCarolina 6’4 1/4 198, 20 yrs old, ’37 vertical, 6’5 wingspan

Pros: At 6’4Kendallhas elite height for a PG. He’s a very good floor general with a great assist to turnover rate (3.5 to 1). He’s a classic pass first PG and at worst he should be a very capable backup PG who plays 15 minutes a night for a team.

Cons: For being 6’4 his 6’5 wingspan isn’t that impressive as it’s ‘2 shorter of a wingspan than what Damian Lillard has at 6’2 3/4. His height also doesn’t result in added rebounds as his average of 2.6 rpg is poor even for PG standards. The biggest knock on him is as a shooter (69% FT, 35% 3 pt) with many comparing him to Andre Miller as a bigger PG with a great ability to run a team but without a jump shot. It’s a major detriment as not only is he not a scorer but is definitely more of a floor general than a drive and dish creator type. In that role he needs to be able to hit down a jump shot otherwise he’ll be too much of a detriment on offense and will find himself in the role of Brevin Knight who, despite elite floor manager skills, has bounced around from one bad team to the next because of his lack of a jump shot.

Overall:Marshallis one of those players that makes me wonder how highly touted he would be if he was coming out ofNorth Dakotainstead ofNorth Carolina. He has elite height but it’s somewhat ruined by abnormally short arms for his height. He doesn’t look to score but if he goes to a bad team that isn’t full of talent likeNorth Carolinawas that could quickly turn into a negative and will be compounded by the fact that he’s a poor shooter. 5 years from now I’m sure he’ll be in the league but I’m betting it’s as a backup unless he dramatically improves his shot. Mid to late 1st.

 

SG

Bradley BealFlorida 6’4 ¾ 202 18 yrs old

Comparison: More athletic OJ Mayo

Beal is a complete two guard who has the tools to do everything. He has legit 6’5 height and a solid frame to go along with good athleticism and a good work ethic that should allow him to develop into a quality defender. On offense he uses his athleticism to attack the basket and can finish around the rim but isn’t an elite leaper so his game is more of a below then rim type. He has a perfect looking jump shot and is far ahead in his mid range game than almost all guards at his age as he has a deceptive floater that regularly goes in which he uses as far out as the free throw line. Despite all of these tools on offense his numbers in 2011 weren’t very good as he shot 45% FG, 34% 3pt, and 77% FT. Those last two numbers are hardly impressive for a prospect known more as a shooter than an athlete and worries me a bit. Considering his age he should be expected to develop into a pure shooter as his technique is flawless and he has a soft touch but I doubt he ever is more than a superior OJ Mayo type as he lacks the elite athleticism of the upper echelon shooting guards and his efficiency numbers make me dubious of those who compare him to Ray Allen. Top 5 talent who likely will be a quality #2 scorer for a team. 20 pt 4 reb 4 ast 1stl is what his ceiling is.

Jeremy LambConnecticut 6’5 ¼ 179 20 yrs old, ’38 vertical, 6’11 wingspan

Comparison: Kevin Martin

Lamb in my opinion is a very underrated player as I’ve seen him out of the top 10 in a number of mock drafts and that just shouldn’t be. He combines good height (6’5 ¼) with good ball handling skills and a very solid jump shot to be an extremely efficient scorer. In 16 of his 34 games he shot over 50% FG including 8 games over 60%. Inside the 3 point line he was at his most effective shooting 60% for the season as he was brought down by his poor 3 point percentage (34%). His shot isn’t as smooth as Beal’s yet he’s more athletic and longer making it possible that he has a higher ceiling than Beal. He already has a better pull up jumper and floater than a lot of guards in the NBA so he’s very polished. He’s clutch as he was the #2 scorer, as a freshman, on the UConn championship team in 2011 shooting 68% in the 6 games. His issues are three fold as he sometimes doesn’t always compete, at 179 lbs he’s extremely skinny, and for such an efficient player he doesn’t always understand a good shot from a bad shot. A lot of that has to do with the UConn chemistry this past year as it was bad all around but part of that blame deservedly should fall on him. Overall I like this kid a lot and would be comfortable taking him as high as #5 as I don’t see him busting. Get him in the weight room, have him add 10 lbs of muscle, get him to improve his 3 point shot, and you could have a Kevin Martin clone who scores +20 pts a game on around 50% FG while picking up a steal or two and playing adequate defense. Best case scenario he’s a borderline All-Star but worst case scenario is he’s an efficient 3rd scorer. I love efficiency so it’s really no surprise that I love this kid.

Austin Rivers Duke 6’5 203, 19 yrs old, 37.5 vertical, 6’7 wingspan

Comparison: Nick Young

Austinis one of the most difficult evaluations in this draft which is interesting because everyone agrees what he is and isn’t. He is a crafty scorer with a great dribble, a ton of confidence, is very clutch, and is a gym rat. He isn’t a good teammate, a willing passer, a guy with a good attitude, or a humble person. The majority of scouts compare him to OJ Mayo and his game as well as his elite HS pedigree makes it a very valid comparison but I compare him to Nick Young because their temperaments fit better. Both are players who have the ability to create their own shot at anytime and have trouble knowing when to do it and when to play team basketball. They both think they’re better shooters than they are. They both are difficult to coach and play with. Austinhas All-Star talent as he has the height of a SG and the ball handling skills of a PG yet if I had to guess I would say that he most likely will eventually devolve into a top notch 6th man off the bench. It’s a role that would allow his aggressiveness to be harnessed best and unfortunately me thinking he won’t be a career starter has to hurt his draft stock. I can’t shake the feeling that Rivers gets drafted out of the top 10 and becomes one of the 20 or 30 best players in the NBA yet I have trouble moving him any higher as he’s a bit of a loose cannon. Overall he’s a hard evaluation that ends with me actually having a bit higher of a grade on him than others do as he’s just such a pure talent. He’ll be tough to handle and will need to be used the right way but he has All-Star talent and could easily average 23-25 pts a game at his peak. Top 10.

Terrence Ross Washington 6’7 197, 21 yrs old, 37 ½ vertical, 6’7 wingspan

Comparison: JR Smith

Terrence is a tall shooting guard with good athleticism and a very nice shot that statistically was one of the better ones in the country (37% 3pt, 77% FT). He carried his team for much of the year scoring 25 ppg in the NIT tournament and being 1st team Pac-12. He’s very much like JR Smith in that he’s an elite catch and shoot player but far less impressive when forced to take a few dribbles and pull up as his mid range game isn’t great. Yet at 6’7 and with an elite vertical he has the ability to attack the rim and can finish with authority. Unlike Smith he actually seems to care on defense and collects a large number of steals (1.2 spg) and blocks (0.9-more than some center prospects). He doesn’t have a great handle and any real mid range game so he might not be a creator on offense but at worst he’ll be a player who is a deadly spot up shooter, can attack the basket when given an opening, and will impact the game for a team as a rebounder, defender, and shot blocker. I really like Ross and think he’s one of the most underrated players in this draft. Top 10.

Dion WaitersSyracuse 6’4 221, 20 yrs old, 6’7 wingspan

Comparison: Jamal Crawford

Dion’s type is just not my cup of tea. Some teams are fans of the undersize 2 with good athleticism and a shoot first mentality but I am not one of those. The success rate on them is poor and even the guys who do work out (Ben Gordon, Jamal Crawford, Rodney Stuckey) are hardly dominated the league right now. Waiters had a terrible freshman season in 2011 and was the 6th man in 2012 so this idea that’s being floated out there right now that he should be a top 10 pick is very strange. He has talent as he’s solidly built and can attack the rim but Dominique Jones out of South Florida had similar qualities and has yet to crack a rotation in the NBA. I expect him to be a solid combo guard off the bench but right now he’s one of the most overrated prospects in this draft. Mid to late 1st.

 

SF
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Kentucky 6’7 ½ 233, 18 yrs old, 35’ vertical, 6’10 wingspan

Comparison: A smarter, more polished Gerald Wallace

Michael is a unique blend of skills that in my opinion has All-Star written all over him. At 6’7 and a strong 233 lbs he has an NBA body and should be a full time starter from Day 1. He also has NBA caliber athleticism (’35 vertical) that allows him to be a shot blocker (0.9 is very solid for a SF) and a dangerous player in transition. His best skill though is as a dribbler and creator as there are few players his age and with his size and athleticism that also have such natural ball handling skills and vision. He only averaged 1.9 assists this year but he regularly was an instigator on offense creating opportunities for Davis on the inside and Lamb on the outside. Some scouts complain that he coasted at times and wasn’t assertive but the same argument has been made against Davis, Jones, and Lamb making me think it’s more about their absurd amount of talent and less about his assertiveness. Of the four I feel Kidd-Gilchrist was the most assertive and I have no worries about him hiding in the shadows for a team. He has good touch around the basket, is extremely strong and aggressive as both a rebounder and on offense in the paint, and I expect him to regularly be drawing fouls and at the line in the NBA. My only complaint is that he isn’t a good shooter (25% 3pt, 75% FT) and has technique that makes me doubt he’ll every become one. His shot is crooked with his shoulders being turned to compensate and his hand on top of instead of on the side of the ball which rarely leads to consistency. He’s young enough to change it if a team wants to but since his game is much more about dribble penetration, finishing around the basket, defense, and rebounding I would be comfortable leaving his shot alone and accepting it as a negative. In another year I would be arguing that he’s the best player in the draft and deserving of the #1 Overall Pick yet withDavishe isn’t even in the debate. Top 3 talent with the ability to both be a #2 scorer and a top level defender. 20pt 7 reb 3 ast 1 blk 1 stl is what his ceiling is.

Harrison Barnes NorthCarolina 6’8 228, 20 years old, 39 ½ vertical, 6’11 wingspan

Comparison: Wesley Johnson

Barnes is a 6’8 scorer with the strength to finish around the basket and the smooth shooting stroke you rarely find in a player his size. He looks like a prototypical scoring SF who has been compared to everyone from Glen Rice to Glenn Robinson yet the problem is that is the best case scenario and I’ve never been terribly impressed with those guys. Worst case scenario he’s Marvin Williams or Wesley Johnson as tall guys with a solid enough shot that essentially are glorified spot up shooters. Barnes has more strength than Johnson and more aggressiveness and a better dribble than Williams but it wouldn’t shock me to see Barnes 5 years from now only averaging 15 pts a game. The biggest problem I have is that if he doesn’t become a +20 pt a game scorer he won’t be worth too much as he’s a below average rebounder (5.2 rpg), a non-existent passer (1.0 apg), and isn’t a great defender. He had a surprisingly good combine with a 39 ½ vertical and 15 reps on the bench yet the effort isn’t there nor is the elite wingspan or lateral quickness. Overall I think Barnes is one of the more overrated players in this draft as I expect him to be an 18 pt a game scorer on solid efficiency but hardly elite (shot 45% last season) and a guy who contributes really nothing else to a team. Top 10.

Jeff Taylor Vanderbilt 6’7 ¼ 213, 23 yrs old, ’40 vertical, 6’6 wingspan

Pros: Great 3 point shooter (42%) to go along with one of the biggest verticals you’ll ever see at 40 inches. His elite athleticism allows him to be a great defender as well with him earning SEC All-Defense 3 times.

Cons: Extremely small wingspan at 6’6 for a 6’7 guy as he has some of the shortest arms in the entire draft. For such a good 3 point shooter he’s a terrible free throw shooter (60%).

Overall: He reminds me of Bill Walker as a guy with an average frame but an absurd vertical that makes him intriguing. Taylorthough has put in the work needed to improve his shot and while it’s still not great it’s dramatically improved. The best thing about him though is his defense as he has great lateral quickness, an elite vertical, has an eye for the steal, and works hard at it. That will be his calling card early on as he’ll be a top notch wing defender who can hit the 3 and with his work ethic he could eventually develop into more of a creator. One of the most underrated players in this draft as he’s being talked about as a late 1st but should be in the mid 1st.

Moe Harkless St. John’s 6’8 3/4 207, 19 yrs old, ’37 vertical, 7’0 wingspan

Pros: He’s similar to Paul George in that he’s a long armed wing player with good athleticism.

Cons: He’s kind of come out of nowhere as he wasn’t that highly recruited out of HS, played the most minutes of any freshman in the country (inflated stats?), and now is a mid to late 1st rounder so there isn’t that much information on him and he’s potentially just a flash in the pan type. A team investing in him is do more for his frame than his game at this point as he’s a very poor shooter (23% 3 pt 67% FT) and is a below average ball handler. He also played a lot of PF for his team so he not only is young but doesn’t have a ton of experience as small forward who plays outside.

Overall: Harkless is a project at a position that usually doesn’t have too many of them. It’s one thing to have a young center at the end of your bench for development but there are plenty of small forwards without jump shots who have long arms and NBA caliber athleticism. Gerald Green is one I have in my mind and he’s been available the past 3 seasons at the NBA minimum. My point is that while he has the chance to develop into a Paul George or Trevor Ariza it’s just as likely he becomes a Dorrell Wright type that is a borderline starter who bounces around the league. Late 1st.

Evan FournierFrance 6’8 19 yrs old

Pros: Tall, athletic, slashing SF who plays an American game aka is athletic and tough.

Cons: One of the rare Europeans who can’t consistently hit a jumper

Overall: Late 1st round talent who I’ve never seen play but is considered a solid talent but not deserving of the title of best foreigner in this draft. Down year for sure. Late 1st.

 

PF

Anthony Davis Kentucky 6’10 ½ 222, 19 yrs old, 7’5 wingspan

Comparison: More skilled Marcus Camby

Davisis one of the best defensive players I’ve ever scouted. That alone puts him in the discussion for #1 Overall Pick yet what makes him a slam dunk choice is his skill level, intelligence, and demeanor. Everyone talks about his length (7’5 wingspan), shot blocking numbers (4.7 blks which led the nation as a freshman), and ferocious dunks but his demeanor during the NCAA Tournament and his intelligence in understanding his game and how best to attack people is what could make him a star. At worst he’s Marcus Camby who is 13th All Time in career blocks, DPOY, and at 38 years old is stilling playing. At best he’s Tim Duncan as they have similar demeanors and intelligence levels. You rarely will see Davis take a bad shot and it at times has led people to say he’s passive or scared as he only ranked 52nd in points per minutes this season yet it’s because he knows where he needs to catch the ball to be successful and defers to teammates when he finds himself in a spot where he would be inefficient. This thinking mans game of his is what excites me as it’s rarely seen in a player with such obvious physical talents. As a freshman he led the nation in shot blocking and was 21st in rebounding (10.0) so his status as a rebounder and shot blocker is unquestioned but he was 10th in FG% (64%) due to rarely shooting outside of his favorite spots and that efficiency is rare for such a young man. Unlike Duncan, who stayed in school all four years, he’s leaving after one season so his immediate impact surely won’t be the same but I don’t consider it hyperbole to say that his best case scenario is as a dominant two way player comparable to Duncan. I expect to see him become a 20pt 12 reb 3 blk player and possibly move to center down the road if he’s able to keep the weight on. #1 Overall Player and the best player to come out of the draft at least since Derrick Rose in 2008 and possibly since Dwight Howard in 2004.

Thomas Robinson Kansas 6’8 ¾ 244 21 yrs old

Comparison: Kenyon Martin

Every time I see Robinson play I say the same thing: He is a spectacular athlete who will immediately be a good defender at either the 3 or the 4 spot and I don’t think this kid will every score more than 16-18 pts a game. He reminds me a lot of Kenyon Martin as that undersized defender/rebounder who gets his points in transition, off put backs, and occasionally in the post against undersized defenders or by beating bigger defenders off the dribble. He’s too short to consistently get his shot off against most NBA 4’s so he’ll have to play a more perimeter oriented, face up style of game to succeed and I just don’t know if he’ll be able to do that. He has superior shooting mechanics to Martin but I think his ceiling as a shooter would be if he could develop eventually into a Udonis Haslem level shooter who regularly hits mid range shots but only takes them when wide open. Robinson is an elite rebounder (11.9-2nd in nation in rebounds per minute), is a high energy player, and has NBA athleticism. Yet his shot blocking (0.9) is nothing special, he’s too small to be a post player offensively, and lacks the skill level to immediately be a face up “stretch” 4 so right now he’s a bit of a tweener. I really like the kid but think he’s similar to Bradley Beal in that they’ll be very good starters who are a notch below All-Stars. Top 5 talent who likely will be a #3 scorer and a 3/4 defender/rebounder along the lines of Kenyon Martin or Shawn Marion. I expect him to be a 15 and 10 player who occasionally makes All Defense teams.

John Henson NorthCarolina 6’10 ½ 216, 21 yrs old, ’30 vertical, 7’5 wingspan

Comparison: Brandon Wright

A long armed, long legged player who is still surprisingly skinny considering he’s been out of High School 3 seasons. A former top 5 HS recruit. He’s a strange player as he’s a right hander with his go to move being a left hook in the post, with him being nothing but arms and legs he’s surprisingly agile, and there’s a good debate as to whether he should have left 1 year ago or stayed another year at North Carolina as few think him leaving now makes a ton of sense. He’s still a work in progress yet teams will be happy to know that he has progressed in his 3 years atChapel Hill. He led the ACC in rebounds (9.9) and blocks (2.9) while earning ACC DPOY in 2011 and 2012. Defensively he should fit immediately into an NBA rotation as his length and timing will make him a great off the ball defender and an adequate on the ball though his lack of weight is concerning. Yet offensively he has no jump shot (51% FT) and will likely have trouble getting deep positioning in the post so he’ll probably be a liability early in his career. He’s a great character kid and his game has noticeably improved in his 3 year collegiate career so he makes sense as a lottery pick for a team despite probably needing a redshirt year in the pros. I expect him to be a 12 pt 10 reb 2 blk guy down the road but worry about him as a rookie as he’s just so skinny and could have the same problems Brandon Wright had. Top 10.

Jared Sullinger Ohio St. 6’9 268, ’31 vertical, 7’1 wingspan

Comparison: A shorter Andrew Bogut

Jared is one of the most volatile prospects going into the draft as he’s been discusses anywhere from top 10 to the 2nd round due to his weight issues, his lack of athleticism, and now his questionable back that had him fail a few physicals by teams. Whether he has a long career or not is debatable but what isn’t is that he has an elite touch for a big man and a refined post game that should translate to the NBA. At only 6’9 he isn’t the biggest guy on the block but at nearly 270 lbs and with a 7’1 wingspan he has the bulk to back people down and the long arms to get his shot off. He also is steadily improving his shooting range as last season he made 16 three pointers and he should be automatic from 15-18 feet right from the get go. Is a very intelligent player understanding angles of how to attack a defender in the post and where to go with the ball when doubled. A team will need to pair him with a versatile post defender as he lacks the athleticism and foot speed to stay with stretch 4’s like Dirk and Bosh yet also lacks the height to defend true centers like Hibbert, Bynum, and Howard. I’m betting that most of the time he’ll defend a team’s center and let his counterpart take on the PF as at 270 lbs he basically has the weight of a center anyways. Man defense will always be a problem for him and he isn’t a great off the ball defender despite his wingspan yet I think he more than makes up for it with his rebounding, soft touch around the basket, and improving jump shot. Kevin Love and David Lee are two examples of players without great athleticism who get by on strength and skill so I’m not as worried as others are about his pro prospects. I’m expecting an 18pt 10 reb 1.5 blk player whose back issues are being overdramatized. Top 10.

Perry Jones Baylor 6’11 1/4 234, 20 yrs old, 38 1/2 vertical, 7’1 wingspan

Comparison: Josh Smith blended with Jonathan Bender

Yes Jones doesn’t always work hard, yes Jones right now is a classic tweener as he’s too thin to defend the 4 spot and not quick enough laterally for the 3 spot, and yes he isn’t an aggressive player that consistently attacks defenses but it’s time people got off the kid’s back. Perry Jones is 6’11 with a 38 1/2 vertical and not only has an improving shot (went from 66% FT and 20% 3pt as a freshman to 69% FT and 30% 3pt as a sophomore) but at 234 lbs he’s gaining the weight needed to eventually become a full time power forward. In any other draft Jones would be a lock as a top 10 pick and possibly be in discussion as a top 5 selection yet right now most mock drafts have him going in the late teens or early twenties. He’s not a self starter and he does have similarities to other previous tall tweener types (Jonathan Bender, Nikolaz Tskitishvili) who were colossal busts but the difference is that Jones has shown clear improvement in his 2 years of college, has a frame that is noticeably getting thicker, and has an elite handle for his size. Bender and Nikolaz were 6’11 guys who stood around the 3 point line as they lacked the weight to establish position in the post and weren’t great dribblers but Jones has a cross over that is shocking for a guy his size and is noticeably getting stronger (11 reps at 185 is pretty good). He isn’t a guy who should start as a rookie but if a year from now he’s 10 lbs heavier and further improved as a shooter a team will be ecstatic that they took a chance on him. He’s one of the 5 most talented players in what is looking to be one of the best drafts this decade and to get a potential All-Star talent like him in the teens or twenties is a rarity. Top 10 though almost no one agrees with me.

Royce White Iowa St. 6’8 261, 21 yrs old, 7’0 wingspan

Comparison: Anthony Mason blended with Paul Milsap

Royce is one of the most unique talents to come out of the draft in quite awhile. Not since Anthony Mason have I see a guy as muscle packed as White with his ball handling skills. Offensively he clearly has the ability to play the 3 as he has a great handle that includes crossovers and stutter steps as well as elite vision for a non point guard. He led his team in 5 categories (points, rebounds, blocks, steals, assists) with his assists (5.0) being 5th in the Big 12 last year and the highest assist total of any PF prospect in the past decade. He’s a rare player but the problem is he’s so rare I worry that NBA teams won’t really know how to use him. Don Nelson would have salivated over this kid as he has the potential to average 10 boards a game and be a point forward for a team. Mason is the only player I can remember ever doing something similar and his career had quite a few highs and lows because his talent set had to be used in such an unorthodox manner. Will a team let him initiate an offense? Will a coach scrap the plan the moment he makes one bad pass or gets the ball swiped from him? Time will tell but I personally think he’s amazing as he has the strength and wingspan to defend 4’s in the post, is a very solid rebounder, and on offense he will be impossible to defend with slow footed 4’s and too big to defend with 3’s. His shooting stroke, just like Mason’s, is very poor but he’s a hard worker and doesn’t have the attitude issues Mason had so despite the scouting community’s dislike of him I have him as a lottery pick. Big time boom bust player but he has All-Star potential if a coach creates a system specifically for his unique talents. His ceiling is as an 18 pt 10 reb 6 ast power forward. Late lottery.

Terrence JonesKentucky 6’9 ½ 252, 20 yrs old, ’34 ½ vertical, 7’2 wingspan

Comparison: A bigger Thaddeus Young

Terrence is a tough evaluation as he was expected to be a top 5 pick for this draft yet took a back seat to teammatesDavisand Kidd-Gilchrist offensively. He gets accused of coasting and it’s somewhat warranted but those two players are superior to him and deferring to them isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Right now he’s a player who is a tweener as he has the size and length to play in the post but probably fits best on the perimeter. Unfortunately his shot is somewhat shaky so it will have to be developed more to keep him full time at SF. If everything works out, in a few years a team could have a defensive stopper in the Shawn Marion mold who also can consistently hit the 3 and take his man off the dribble. If everything doesn’t work out a team could have a guy who doesn’t always play his hardest and takes an abnormal amount of 3 pointers as he has no defined game. I give Jones a little more credit than most as to his struggles and think a team could really get a steal with him as he’s an athlete with good skill. He probably was overrated going into this season as a top 5 pick but now he’s looking like a late teens/early twenties selection and that is too far of a drop for a guy with this kind of talent. I’m expecting a 15 pt 8 reb 3 ast 1 stl 1 blk type player who is a good #3 scorer and defensive stopper. Late lottery in this draft but top 10 almost every other year.

 

C

Tyler Zeller NorthCarolina 7’0 ½ 247, 22 yrs old, ’34 vertical, 7’0 wingspan

Comparison: A taller Udonis Haslem

The ACC Player of the Year in 2011 Zeller capped off a solid 4 year career with his best season. Zeller doesn’t have an enormous wingspan, isn’t the strongest guy, and doesn’t have great hops but he looks like a dependable player who should be a 10 year starter at the center position. He’s extremely fast for a center and an up and down team like the Suns would work to his strengths yet he also brings to the table solid rebounding and shot blocking skills so he can bang down low. He’s a very vanilla prospect as all of his strengths like soft hands, good touch around the basket, hard worker, good character, etc. are all bland yet as a true seven footer he won’t be overlooked. The next step for him is to gain a little more weight and to become consistent with his 15 foot jump shot as he could be a very good pick and pop player down the road. Overall I like him as a solid center who has enough size and toughness to bang down low while being an excellent player in transition and eventually as a spot up shooter in the high low post game. He won’t be an All-Star but it’s hard to fill the center spot and he’ll be a capable player for some team for a long time. Late lottery.

Meyers Leonard Illinois 7’1 1/4 250, 20 yrs old, ’32 1/2 vertical, 7’3 wingspan

Pros: A very mobile center with good length and a frame that appears capable of adding another 20 lbs to become a legit center. He also has one of the better jump shots for a center (73% FT) and combining that with his agility should make him a very good pick and roll player.

Cons: He’s a thin player who is very mechanical offensively and lacks confidence. He has solid athleticism but isn’t an elite athlete and he’ll be an average shot blocker at the next level. If he doesn’t gain weight he’ll be a below average rebounder and will be unable to hold his position in the post forcing him to be solely a jump shooting big man.

Overall: I actually like Leonard as he’s raw but has everything a team is looking for in a project center. He’s long armed, has a frame that appears to be steadily holding more weight, is mobile for his size, and has a good touch. Time will tell if he develops into the player many envision but he has a chance to be a very good starting center in a few years. He’s a project but he’s a good project. Mid 1st.
Andre Drummond
Connecticut 6’11 ¾ 279, 18 years old, ’33 ½ vert, 7’6 wingspan

Comparison: Tyson Chandler melded with DeSegana Diop

Andre is the classic project big man as he has amazing athleticism, is extremely young (still just 18 years old), and is a very good defender yet is almost invisible offensively and has a free throw % (29.5%!) that is the worst I’ve ever seen for a prospect. There are a million guys who are long and athletic who can block shots (2.7 bpg) yet what makes him enticing is the fact that at 279 lbs he actually has the size to play the center position yet is also extremely mobile. Usually your stud shot blockers are either long and lean like Stromile Swift or Brandon Wright who end up never gaining enough weight to be truly effective defenders or are big, huge centers like Hasheem Thabeet who lack the mobility to defend pick and rolls and get back on defense in transition. Drummond has the best of both worlds as he reminds me of a heavier Tyson Chandler who is a good shot blocker but also adept at stepping out to trap a pick and roll on defense and on offense has the mobility to make cuts to the basket and catch lob passes for dunks. Unfortunately he’s as raw on offense as Chandlerwas coming out of High School a decade ago and his free throw shooting is so bad that it makes me question whether he’ll ever be skilled enough to even hit a 15 footer. Hasheem Thabeet’s career block rate of 3.1 blocks per 36 minutes is actually very solid yet he’s still considered a bust as a top 5 pick because his offense is so atrocious that no team can keep him on the floor for long stretches at a time. Drummond could have a similar problem as somehow he went an entire season and only attempted 9 jumpers. Add into that his absurd 29.5% free throw rate, which actually got worse as the season went on with it dropping to 18% in the final 10 games, and it paints the scenario where whoever drafts him will either look like a genius or a fool. The turning point for me was when I looked at his rebounding numbers (7.6) and saw that he’s an average overall rebounder and a very poor defensive rebounder. He doesn’t block out consistently and is too busy trying to block every shot making him even a liability at times on defense. That was what eventually buried him for me as there is a place for a 6’11 276 lb defensive player with quickness to guard either a PF or C yet there isn’t a place for one who can do nothing but dunk the ball on offense and doesn’t block out on defense. Rumors have it he’s going in the top 5 which would shock me, especially considering how strong this draft is. He’ll have a 10 year career but very possibly as a DeSegana Diop type defensive specialist off the bench. Mid 1st.

Arnett Moultrie Mississippi St. 6’10 3/4 233, 37 1/2 vertical, 7’2 wingspan

Pros: A tall, athletic center who is a top notch rebounder (10.5-9th in country). His free throw % has steadily improved in his 3 collegiate seasons (53 to 65 to 78%) and he even went 8-18 on 3 pointers this season (44%). A player with his length, athleticism, and touch is rare.

Cons: For a player with his length he has a shockingly low amount of blocks (0.8-0.9 all 3 seasons). Blocking shots isn’t just about length but is about timing and effort which makes me think Moultrie will be a good rebounder but a poor help side defender. He also shows a lack of effort blocking out and at times coasts.
Overall: I could see Moultrie get taken earlier than many expect as he looks like a player who will be a 10 rebound a game type and has improved his jumper to the point where he is a bonafide threat out to 18 feet. Yet he has no post game and isn’t likely to develop one so guys like him have to be help side defenders. It’s the oldest exchange in the book as the other 4 players will pick up his lack of offense in exchange for him helping them on defense. He has neither the hustle nor the timing to be a great help side defender and at 233 lbs he’ll often be outmuscled down low in one on one defense so I question just how good a defender he really will be. The more I study him the more I think he’s just a tall rebounder with enough size to play center. There’s a place for him in the league but his lack of shot blocking really hurts him and I bet he ends up as mediocre starter. Mid to late 1st.

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