NBA Draft: Stock Watch
Avery Bradley 6-2 180 PG/SG Texas Fr.
After a slow start, Texas' blue chip recruit has begun to show why some had him rated as the #1 recruit in the nation (over John Wall).
While Bradley isn't in Wall's class as an NBA prospect, he's quickly proving that he belongs in the next handful of players and will likely be considered as a top 10 pick this year.
Before the Longhorns most recent win over Michigan State, (in which he scored 9) Bradley averaged 17.5 ppg over the previous four, including a season high 20 in the Longhorns big win at Cowboys Stadium over UNC.
Bradley has proven to be a judicius decision maker averaging a 2.0 a/to ratio through his first 11 games. He's also knocking down the 3 ball at an impressive 40% clip.
One NBA scout I spoke with recently went as far as to say he wouldn't be surprised if he ends up a top 5 pick this year. But there's still a lot of season left to be played and Bradley, while extremely gifted, still has a long ways to go.
He's showing much better decision making ability. Despite not being a true point guard, he has the ability to create offense for himself and his vision and passing ability will allow him to play some point guard at the next level.
At 6-2, his immense wingspan and freakish leaping ability allows him to play much bigger than his size. He's also got tremendous lateral speed and an ability to lock down opposing guards.
Bradley has moved into the 2010 mock and into the top 10 in recent weeks. Look for Bradley to make a strong push to be the top shooting guard prospect in this year's draft.
Patrick Patterson 6-8 240 PF Kentucky Jr.
With the huge transformation that Kentucky underwent this offseason (adding the nation's top recruiting class and Coach Cal) their top holdover has been overshadowed in large part.
By all accounts Patterson worked his butt off over the summer on both his body and outside shot, and the results are apparent. He has become automatic from 15-18 feet with the ability to even knock down 3 pointers (9-18, 50%).
That added wrinkle to his game has made him even more formidable when you consider he is one of the nation's strongest forces on the interior. PP shows the willingness to give up his body on the boards and defensively (8.8 rpg), an essential attribute for elite post players.
Despite being 6-foot-8, Patterson will have a good shot of cracking this year's lottery after the success that smaller NBA power forwards have had in recent years (Paul Millsap, DeJuan Blair).
Dexter Pittman 6-10 290 C Texas Sr.
Pittman's big performance under the bright lights of Cowboy's Stadium in front of numerous NBA scouts was a big step for him. He had 23 and 15 against what many considered to be the best frontcourt on the college level before the season.
Pittman controlled the paint for much of the UNC game using his weight advantage to push around the smaller UNC bigmen Ed Davis and Deon Thompson. He also powered home a couple impressive dunks going right through those opponents for baskets and the foul.
Pittman has struggled with consistency throughout his career, but he's got a live body for a player with such physical strength. His biggest hurdle remains conditioning, and while he's come a long way (coming into Austin at close to 400 lbs) he still gets winded very quickly and has been limited to just 19 minutes per game this year.
With the woes that a number of fellow seniors have experienced this year, Pittman has moved up to being the highest rated senior on the mock draft at 20.
Ed Davis 6-9 225 PF UNC So.
After appearing on our first stock watch of the season dropping from the #2 projected pick to late lottery, Davis has been playing extremely well.
We faulted him for not being assertive and allowing Deon Thompson to take over as the Tar Heels first option on the block.
Things have changed.
Davis is playing tremendous basketball lately, dominating on both ends of the floor plus cleaning the glass. His long arms and leaping ability allows him to get a lot of rebound dunks, and he also shows exceptional timing blocking shots (2.8 per game).
His numbers on the season have become very impressive 15 ppg, 66 fg%, 9.5 rpg and despite the Tar Heels loss to Texas, Davis was one of the bright spots with 21 and 9 with 4 blocks.
He still needs to work on his strength and offensive skills, but his length and offensive touch give him a lot of intrigue. He should find a spot in the mid lotto area come draft night if he continues to play the way he is now.
Damion James 6-8 220 SF/PF Texas Sr.
Texas' other senior has been their best player and has even begun to get some National Player of the Year consideration. With the Longhorns proving to be among the elite teams in the nation and a legitimate claim as the #1 team, James name has entered the discussion.
Most impressive is James play in big games as he led all players in both points and rebounds in the Longhorns big wins against UNC and Michigan State over the past week.
While scouts question his ability to play on the perimeter, there's no questioning his production and efficiency this year. James is leading the team in both scoring and rebounding at 17.0 ppg and 10.8 rpg.
His 3 point shooting is still a weak spot although it has improved to 35%.James is seen by scouts as a borderline first rounder, but if he continues to play so well in big games, he will be tough to pass on for teams in the 20s come draft night.
Hassan Whiteside 7-0 235 C Marshall Fr.
Marshall's Hassan Whiteside is still a project but shows a combination of length, agility and explosiveness that has NBA scout's salivating.
While still raw, Whiteside has begun to display his vast potential. Before the 7 point effort in their loss to UNC, Whiteside had strung together 7 stright double figure scoring outputs in which he averaged 14.3 ppg and 10.6 boards.
Whiteside struggled in Marshall's Wednesday match up with North Carolina as he was unprepared for the speed and athleticism of the Tar Heels.
But he's still making the adjustment to the college game and learning what he's capable of. Through repetition, his offensive game can really improve as he shows some nice instincts in the paint and has things you can't teach with his huge 7-6 wingspan and above average athleticism and explosiveness.
His 56 blocks in his first 11 games (5.1 bpg in just 22 mpg) shows the type of dominating defensive presence he is and can become.
Whiteside has moved all the way up to the 2nd overall pick in 2011 and would be wise to stick around the college game to develop his skills against players his age.
Despite lacking outstanding athleticism and shooting ability, Michigan's Manny Harris does everything well. He doesn't really have any major weaknesses to his game. He just has trouble dazzling scouts with any one aspect of his game.
Harris has been a productive college player from the minute he stepped onto the court and his competitiveness and skills have made him one of the very best players in the country.
He's currently averaging over 20 ppg, 7 rpg and 5 apg, which puts him in rare company. He's also averaging close to 2 steals per game. On December 13th against Detroit, Harris went for 27p, 9r, and 6a.
So why aren't scouts higher on this terrific slasher out of the Big Ten?
His outside shooting isn't great (27%), although it has shown improvement. He also gets knocked for not having the sturdiest body (although a number of NBA players in recent years have been successful and equally skinny - Rip Hamilton for one).
Regardless, with a multitude of skills, Harris will have a chance to play himself into the first round in the next two seasons.
Tyler Smith 6-6 215 SF Tennessee Sr.
Smith entered the draft last year and despite some scouts claiming that he had a decent chance of landing in the first round, he decided to return for his senior year to improve his stock.
So far that has not been a good decision as he appears to have lost confidence in his outside shot and defers to others when the game is in the balance.
In Tennessee's 22 point blowout loss to USC, Smith had just 3 points on 1-6 shooting.
His scoring is down over 6 points per game (from 17.4 to 11.3).
He's still an excellent decision maker carrying a 4.2/1 a/to ratio. However his lack of offensive development and inability to knock down outside shots (0-3 on 3 pointers for the year) is damaging to a wing player.
At this point Smith appears more likely an early to mid second rounder than a late first rounder.
Durrell Summers 6-5 190 SG Michigan State Jr.
This was supposed to be a break out season for Michigan State's most athletic player. Summers, who is in his junior year, started out very well.
After averaging 15 points over his first 7 games, Summers has been slumping of late putting up just 5.6 per game over the last 5. He went for 0 points (0-4 fg) against the Citadel and this following a 2 point (1-4 fg) effort against Wofford.
He's been slow to improve upon his numbers from last year.
Part of the problem for Summers is he's battling with Michigan State's depth at the guard position with Chris Allen eating into his minutes.
Summers is struggling from behind the arc shooting 8 for 30 (27%) on the year.
Also discouraging is Summers' turnover problems. He is averaging a whopping 2.3 tos per game with under 1 assist per game (0.8)
Devin Ebanks 6-7 205 SF West Virginia So.
It's been a frustrating start for a player projected as a possible top 5 pick going into the season. there's no denying that Ebanks possesses a world of talent, however he hasn't been able to translate that into productivity thus far.
Ebanks missed the first 3 games due to a suspension. He then got back for 2 games and appeared to be getting back on track but then had an injury which forced him to miss another game.
So far he's averaging just 10.8 ppg on 38% fg in four games, having missed four. Not exactly the type of splash a player looking to leave and become a lottery pick wants to make.
But keep an eye on Ebanks as he's one of the more offensively polished and talented wing players in the nation, and if he can get on track he still has an excellent chance to become a lottery pick this year.
Finally, Manny Harris is getting the love he deserves. I think he'll be a late lotto/mid first rounder next year if he continues to be this productive and improve his shooting numbers. Go Blue!
The Timberwolves need a SG like nobody's business, would they really take a 6'2" SG with a 5'11" PG already in place? Corey Brewer still has loads of potential, could a guy like Wes Johnson work with what they have now or would they try to draft a SG if they thought they were guaranteed to get Rudy Gay because they would max him out? I'm not sure Bradley works anywhere besides with a big PG, can he really guard big 2s like Eric Gordon can, there's no way in hell Bradley has even half the strength of EG. I'd say #10 will probably be the highest he goes. I've seen a couple of Texas games this year where his jump shot was blocked by another guard, I think that's troubling to see for a SG that somebody would be willing to take in the Top 10. Just imagine Igoudala on him, I was going to say Kobe, but obviously he would have problems with him, but any bigger SG, can he really get his shot off in the league as a SG?
Is Da'Sean Butler not improving his stock??
I agree with Ebanks.
it's common sense that avery bradley would move up, he played great in a big game?
from what i hear bradley is very very strong so i dont think he is that far off from gordan and i know hes a better defender then gordan was at this point. i think hes gonna end up becoming a pg in the nba ala r.westbrook since hes already a pretty good ball handler and makes pretty good decisions. i think him along with favors,cousins should stay another year because there games arent nba ready(more so favors and cousins) but i can blame them by not passing up being a lotto pick
But isn't Avery Bradley stuck between positions in the NBA? Not a true point guard and too small to play shooting guard?
Bradley should stay another year because of his lack of solid ball handling skills and at his height he wont be able to score on any SG
Im a huge Pacer fan, our biggest need is PG right now, but we will have to have some luck from the basketball gods to land John Wall. I think if we got Favors that would be a huge step for us. Favors could guard the small, quick PFs and Hibbert can bang in the low block and collect rebounds. I havent seen much of Bradley, but loved what ive seen of his defensive ability. I wish he could play PG full time so he could fill a need for us. love Wesley Johnson, hes SOO talented.