NBA Draft: Stock Watch
Fri, 03/19/2010 - 3:02pm
Last week's conference championships gave scouts the opportunity to see top a number of top prospects in a heightened pressure environment. For some it was the end of their respective seasons and the final look at them. For others, it helped solidify their team's places in the NCAA or NIT tournaments. Others still can be seen in the CBI and CIT tournaments, with limited television coverage. With the NCAA tournament beginning today, here is a look at which players are moving up and down based on their play in conference tournaments and what scouts are saying about them.
Derrick FavorsDerrick Favors 6-9 250 PF Georgia Tech Fr.
Favors hit a groove late in the season and it has certainly enhanced his stock. After slipping out of the top 5 for a number of weeks lacking stand out numbers, he has made a strong late season push.
Over his first 25 games, Favors averaged just 11 ppg, scoring in double figures in 16 of the 25. In his last 8, he has averaged 16, scoring in double figures in every game. He also increased his rebounding output from 8 to 9.5 in that span. Favors is finally beginning to figure things out.
With a strong ACC tournament, Favors helped Georgia Tech revive their season by reaching the final where they were stopped by Duke 65-61. In the process they solidified a spot in the Big Dance, a 10 seed as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets face Oklahoma State on Friday evening in what could be Favors' final college appearance.
Favors is still raw in terms of offensive skills, but is beginning to show more comfort making moves in the post. His athleticism and strength allows him to overpower and outclass opponents for rebounds and put backs, but he's also starting to add some offensive skill to his repertoire. He's a legitimate shot blocking presence from the forward position, a la Josh Smith, due to his huge wingspan and explosive leaping ability.
With his recent surge, Favors has jumped back into the top 5 on the mock draft leapfrogging fellow freshmen Hassan Whiteside and DeMarcus Cousins to the head of the class among freshmen bigs. While Cousins possesses a far greater skill set and is the more dominant player right now, the concerns with his maturity combined with Favors' greater perceived upside have him ahead of Cousins on many draft boards.
When evaluating both he and teammate Gani Lawal, it's important to keep in mind that both are in a time share which limits their touches, both shots and rebounds.
Favors could use a strong NCAA tournament performance to make a push to become the 3rd pick in the draft, or at least solidify a spot in the top 5.
Greg Monroe 6-10 240 PF Georgetown So.
The versatile Hoya forward is beginning to make it a regular appearance on the Stock Watch Rising section.
It didn't happen until the second half of the season, but Monroe has finally embraced the role of consistent team leader helping G'Town reach the Big East title game, and knocking off top seeded Syracuse in the process.
His back to back 7 assist games with strong rebounding and scoring numbers in the Big East tournament showed the versatility that makes him so intriguing to NBA teams. Although he stumbled in the tournament finale against West Virginia, Monroe's overall performance in front of numerous scouts at Madison Square Garden has his stock continuing on the up swing.
Many feel that Monroe is not only the best passing bigman in the country, but one of the best passers period.
He's not the high ceiling type of draft pick of some players (Aminu, Favors, Whiteside, etc.) however, for some teams the fact that he's such a polished player and seen as a low risk guy could end up making him a more appealing option.
Lance Stephenson 6-5 215 SG Cincinnati Fr.
Lance StephensonStephenson has begun to show why he was so highly rated in high school. There's no disputing he's a highly talented basketball player. He's the all time leading scorer in New York high school basketball history.
The concerns surrounding him are related to maturity and discipline (He entered college with a assault charge). There were doubts about whether he could learn to be a team player and keep his nose clean.
After averaging 11.2 ppg over his first 25, Lance averaged 15.8 in his final 7. He had a solid freshman season and appears on his way to possibly becoming a first round pick in 2011.
In Cincinnati's biggest game of the year, facing eventual Big East Tourney champion West Virginia, Stevenson put up a game high 19 points showing the intensity and desire he possesses. His ability to create shots down the stretch and be a clutch, go to scorer has scouts taking notice.
As impressive as he has been, as a go to scorer using his tremendous one on one skills, and combination of strength and quickness, there are holes to his game that must improve.
His shot selection remains porous. He also must learn to move without the ball, a glaring problem as he tends to just stand around when he doesn't have the ball, making it much easier to deny him the basketball.
Similar to Favors, Stevenson made a strong push late in the year as things seem to have finally clicked for him.
If he's patient and returns for his sophomore season, he's got a bright outlook for the future.
Jamine Peterson 6-6 235 PF Providence So.
Jamine PetersonAfter red-shirting last season, Jamine Peterson was one of the most dominant bigmen in the nation this year.
Peterson was 2nd in rebounding 10.2 rpg and 4th in scoring at 19.6 ppg in arguable the best conference in the country, the Big East. He also showed the ability to go out to the perimeter and hit 3 pointers, knocking down 51 on 35% for the year.
Despite bowing out in the first round of the Big East Tournament in a game that Providence nearly came back and won, Peterson left an impression on scouts who had mainly come to scout other players.
In his season finale, a 3 point loss to Seton Hall, Peterson put up an eye opening 38 and 16. The athleticism and body control he showed attacking the rim in transition was very impressive.
While Peterson is too short to be considered a first rounder and appears to likely be a four year player, his high level of energy and aggressiveness gives him a chance.
He's just 6-foot-6, but with long arms and a warriors mentality, the NBA is not out of question for him, particularly if he can continue to improve.
William Buford 6-5 190 SG Ohio St. So.
While playing in the shadow of National POY Evan Turner, Buford has quietly put up an impressive season of his own.
After struggling from outside to start the year, Buford has gained a lot of confidence in the second half of the year.
Buford averaged 16.7 ppg in the Big Ten tournament knocking down 6-12 from 3, including 2-2 in the Buckeyes title game win over Minnesota.
He's one of the better outside shooters in college among shooting guards.
His major area of weakness at this point is his body. He needs to dedicate his off-season to adding strength.
If he's able to make strides he could potentially become a lottery pick next season, or a first rounder at the very least.
Manny Harris 6-5 194 SG Michigan Jr.
Harris' heroics against Ohio State were diminished by Evan Turner seeing Harris' full house and raising him with a nut flush game winner.
Although Harris slumped in the second half of the year, he finished on a high note competing play for play with Evan Turner and knocking down what appeared to be the game winner with 2.2 seconds left.
The fact that Harris played his best game of the season in the team's biggest game of the year is a good sign for him. Harris went for 26 points knocking down 3-5 from 3.
Scouts still have question marks about how his game will translate to the next level. He's a good not great athlete or shooter. He does find ways to score, but are those going to be as effective at the next level? Right now he's seen as a second rounder and still has holes to his game to improve upon before jumping to the league.
Dominique Jones 6-4 210 SG/PG South Florida Jr.
After appearing in the falling portion of our previous Stock Watch, Jones finished off the season on a high note showing why he belongs in the mid-first round conversation.
Jones took the South Florida Bulls to new heights this year, putting together their best season since joining the Big East in 2005-06.
His controlled style and ability to break opponents down off the dribble, scoring from inside as well as attacking the rim makes him an intriguing prospect. When his outside shot isn't falling, he understands how to create offense for himself by attacking the rim and drawing fouls.
Jones finished off the year with 5 straight 20 (or more) point efforts, getting to the line, on average, over 11 times per game.
Jones is seen as a likely first rounder and scouts feel he would be crazy not to leave this year after posting such an impressive season. 21.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 45% fg.
Durand ScottDurand Scott 6-4 195 SG Miami Fr.
Scott receives our award for breakout freshman of the Conference tournaments helping Miami to go on a surprising run.
The New York City native emerged late in the season as a tremendous combo guard capable of taking over games late with his penetration skills. His quick first step and body control makes him an intriguing player for the future. Some have even commented that he'll have a chance to be a lottery pick if he sticks around Miami for another few years.
Scott opened some eyes late in the year averaging 16.25 over his final 8 games including 29 against UNC and 21 in the season finale against Duke. So you could say when he sees any type of North Carolina blue, he sees red.
He finished off his freshman season with very solid numbers: 10.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 3.4 apg.
Teammate DeQuan Jones began to show what he's capable late and the duo should be a formidable tandem in the ACC next season.
Lazar Hayward 6-6 215 SF Marquette Sr.
Hayward deserves some love for his recent play. Hayward is a player who due to team personnel, has been forced to play in the post for much of his college career. It has set back his development as a wing player to some degree, but this year he has been allowed to roam out on the perimeter and play more of his natural NBA position away from the basket.
Those post skills will obviously come in handy, the way Ryan Gomes is so crafty scoring both around and away from the basket at the NBA level.
Hayward led Marquette deeper than expected in the Big East tournament as they upended Villanova. His clutch 3 pointer late in the game helped the Golden Eagles seal the win and showed his ability to step up in big moments.
Lazar finished the season sixth in the Big East at 18.2 ppg.
As a senior, Hayward is one of the more polished, NBA ready players available and could get looks in the late first round from teams looking for an instant impact type of player.
Hassan WhitesideHassan Whiteside
With his disappointing performance in his biggest game of the year, against Tulsa's Jerome Jordan in the Conference USA semifinal, Whiteside's stock has taken a hit.
The excitement Whiteside enjoyed earlier in the year has been replaced by some negativity and uncertainty among scouts. Whiteside's numbers were not terrible, but the effort just wasn't there throughout as Tulsa took control of the game late.
Considering how few games of his were shown on TV this year, Whiteside chose a bad time to mail it in. Going against a bigman with limited aggressiveness and strength in Jordan, Whiteside was unable to defend the Tulsa bigman the way a dominant shot blocker should have. He allowed Jordan to get by him on a number of occasions and didn't show the strength to keep him away from the rim when the two faced off. With a number of scouts in attendance and the game being televised, this was a big chance for Whiteside to make an impression, but he faded in the second half.
With defense considered to be Whiteside's best attribute, his lack of physical strength is a legitimate concern.
Following the Tulsa game, I spoke with a few NBA scouts who attended the game. The tone was not so positive. The name DeAndre Jordan gets thrown around (a player who fell into the second round after leaving as a freshman). One scout, whose team has a pick in the top 10, told me that it would be difficult to take him in the top 10 due to the fact that Whiteside is perceived to be a ways off from contributing at the NBA level.
He mentioned the fact that during warm ups instead of focusing on post skills and shooting, Whiteside was more interested in laughing with teammates and working on "BS ball handling" drills.
The scout conceded that, "Whiteside's ceiling is probably 2nd overall in this class, but based on his attitude and lack of focus, it's hard to see him reaching it at this point". He also said that, as of now the team has him in the 15-25 range and that if he were to make a list together he would probably have him in the late lottery, but not top 10.
However, opinions seem to vary on him. Other scouts remain high on Whiteside saying they still believe he's a top 10 pick. Whiteside's first postseason game (in the CIT against Western Carolina) was not televised. Whiteside's minutes were limited as was his productivity.
Scouts remain intrigued with Whiteside but many feel he's not ready and would greatly benefit by returning to Marshall for more seasoning.
Jerome Dyson 6-3 185 SG/PG UConn Sr.
No player damaged their stock worse than Jerome Dyson during Conference Championship week. In Dyson's final 3 games, he shot a combined 6-26, 0-7 from 3 and scored just 4 points in each of his final two.
Dyson's was benched in the Huskies Big East Tournament game, then brought back into the game due to foul troubles of teammates but remained ineffective. His frustration was evident, and it appeared as if he had quit on the season.
UConn opened up the NIT Tuesday with a 2 point win over Northeastern. Dyson scored a game high 18 pts on 6-13 fg. While some scouts remain high on him, the lasting impression of his final few games and UConn's complete collapse remain fresh in scouts minds. It's possible that Dyson will end up going undrafted and be forced to make a team as a free agent.
Craig Brackins 6-10 245 PF Iowa St. Jr.
Brackins has already announced that he has entered his name in the 2010 NBA draft along with teammate Marquis Gilstrap.
Unfortunately for Brackins he's had such an under whelming season, scouts are no longer mentioning him as a likely first rounder. He's already pushing 23 and may not be able to recapture the momentum he had as a sophomore. His shooting numbers dipped in his junior season, and his consistency has also dropped off.
A player his size should not shoot at a 42% clip despite a lack of quality PGs on the team. His 16.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 2.2 apg show that he's a talented player, but his efficiency shooting is a big knock against him.
While Brackins has an intriguing skill set for a player his size, his inability to step up this season leaves him draft status in limbo.
He will need some outstanding workouts to put himself back into first round territory.
[Player: Al Farouq-Aminu] 6-8 219 SF Wake Forest So.
Aminu hasn't fallen too far but his last 4 games have raised some concerns. He averaged just 9 points in those games shooting just 32% in those games. His 0 point effort in 28 minutes was
He'll get the opportunity to redeem himself against Damion James in the first round of the tournament as the 8-9 seeds square off.
Regardless of his struggles, scouts still see Aminu as a top 10 pick. But a quality tournament would help cement a position in that range.
Michael Washington 6-10 239 PF Arkansas Sr.
The Arkansas senior suffered through a miserable season failing to find any level of consistency.
He regressed in his senior season dipping from 15 ppg and 9.8 rpg to 12.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg.
Freshman Marshawn Powell came in and took a lot of the scoring and rebounding opportunities inside. But when Washington was given chances, he did not capitalize on them.
Part of the reason for Washington's poor season could be blamed on injuries, as he supposedly was never playing at full health.
Regardless of the reason for his decline, Washington is now a borderline 2nd round to undrafted player, who despite having a lot of potential, appears to be a guy who lacks the focus to reach it.
Elliott Williams 6-4 190 SG Memphis So.
Williams was receiving some late first round buzz going into the final weeks of the season, but apparently he was thinking more about the NBA draft and less about the Memphis team, as things quickly unraveled for both he and the Tigers who failed to close out the year and missed the NCAA tournament.
The same scouts that liked him a month before the season ended had pulled a 180 and said they didn't think he was ready and was no longer considered a likely first rounder.
Williams is a talented kid who would have a shot to play himself into the first round with impressive workouts, but at this point he's got a lot of work to do. And the real problem for guys like him is that players are no longer afforded the 2 month evaluation window and now must make a decision in just a 10 day period.
Williams had 14 in his first NIT game and plays Ole Miss next on the 19th.
Enjoy the games