Here is our first extended mock of the year. This year’s draft promises to be one of the deepest and most talented in years.
|1.||Andre Drummond 6-10 270 PF/C CT HSSr.||Midway through the season, Drummond has the pole position to be the top overall pick. At 6-foot-10 270 lbs, Drummond is said to be the fastest player on the UConn team. Remarkable when you consider that most players lose their mobility when they bulk up to his size. This from an NBA scout, "I see guys like (Anthony) Davis all the time, guys like Drummond are rare. It’s been 5 years since the last one (physically dominant, elite level bigman) which was Oden." He is in the same category athletically with Amar’e and Dwight Howard and while he’s still raw offensively, he shows excellent finishing touch around the basket. The biggest chink in his armor is his free throw shooting, where he hits at a miserable sub-40% rate.
Comparison: Amar’e Stoudemire
||Anthony Davis 6-10 220 PF Kentucky Fr.||Davis impacts the game on both ends with his length and energy. He oozes potential with his long, wiry, underdeveloped body combined with his speed and athleticism. His shot shows good form but his post skills are a work in progress. He’s essentially a 2-year old, in terms of learning to play inside. Many of his baskets come via allyoop or put backs, and while impressive, developing a post game and an ability to create against similar athletes is imperative. He still needs to bulk up, and it remains to be seen how that transformation of his body will affect his mobility and skill set. Off the ball PF shot blockers do not always translate to the NBA level, but Davis’ cat-quick reflexes and length should allow him to be a disruptive defensive presence.
Comparison: Marcus Camby
||Jeremy Lamb 6-5 185 SG UConn So.||Lamb has really refined his pull-up game off the dribble, a weapon that often propels players to the next level. He has broken out as UConn’s go to scorer and the top SG prospect in the country. His smoothness and long skinny frame is reminiscent to former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller. Lamb has ice water running through his veins and appears to be one of those players who elevates his level of play in crunch time. While Drummond and Davis have more upside, Lamb could ultimately end up the best player from this class.
Comparison: Reggie Miller
||Harrison Barnes 6-8 220 SF UNC So.||We saw Barnes gradually improve as his freshman year progressed, wisely picking and choosing his spots on the floor. With good size and a high, clean release on his jumper, Barnes should excel at the next level in catch and shoot situations. As a slasher, Barnes shows good body control and a soft touch when shooting on the move in the paint. His FT attempts per game show his reluctance to use his strength to attack the basket. His high basketball IQ and strong character make him a GM’s wet dream, and a potential cornerstone at the small forward position for all his suitors.
Comparison: Luol Deng
||Jared Sullinger 6-9 286 PF Ohio St. So.||Sullinger possesses arguably the most refined post game in college hoops, sporting advanced footwork and a great feel for his defender’s positioning with his back to the basket. His weaknesses are clear, starting with his limited speed and athleticism at the power forward position. He has also had a rough sophomore year battling the injury bug. Regardless, his effectiveness down low both as a scorer and rebounder make him an attractive prospect for teams in the 5-10 range looking to beef up their front line.
Comparison: Kevin Love
||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 6-7 216 SF Kentucky Fr.||Gilchrist’s teammate Anthony Davis often gets compared to Kevin Garnett, but it’s M-KG that has KG’s heart and passion. A strong 6’7 forward with substantial length (7-foot wingspan) and athleticism, Gilchrist projects as a shutdown defender who is likely to guard the opponent’s top gun. He may not be your most adept shot-creator, Nobody plays with a higher motor. With strong character and a team-first mentality, NBA coaches will love what this kid brings to the table. What’s more, MKG was given Coach Calipari’s endorsement as their top player midway through the season.
Comparison: Gerald Wallace
||Thomas Robinson 6-8 240 SF/PF Kansas Jr.||Robinson has really impressed scouts with his added face the basket skills. With a huge wingspan, the junior has played with great energy all season. Showing the ability to consistently knock down mid-range jumpshots, as well as get to the rim off the dribble has elevated his stock to a likely top 10 pick according to scouts. He’s got the consistent motor and fire that seems to be lacking from fellow Big 12 forward prospect Perry Jones.
Comparison: Kris Humphries
||Brad Beal 6-4 207 SG Florida Fr.||More than just a spot-up threat, Beal can change directions, pull back and shoot off the dribble. As a ball-handler, he sees the open space whether it’s splitting a double team or spinning away from his defender. He’s also an excellent passer for a 2-guard. While he’s extremely advanced for a freshman, he has hit some speed bumps this season. At times, he struggles to create shots and his shooting numbers has been inconsistent. But he’s still seen as a likely lottery pick if he chooses to enter this year’s draft.
Comparison: Ray Allen
||Perry Jones 6-11 235 SF/PF Baylor So.||Jones has been mentioned by some as a potential top overall pick. But based on his intensity level and lack of consistency, it’s more likely he will end up in the 6-12 range on draft night. Mid-way through the season, his statistics look eerily similar to his freshman numbers. Some scouts claimed he wasn’t in fact a lock to be a lottery pick after his freshman year. Jones has jaw dropping physical attributes, but seems to have a hard time flipping the switch from his nice guy off the court persona.
Comparison: Anthony Randolph
||Meyers Leonard 7-1 245 C Illinois So.||Name the last American born, white center with the size, strength and athleticism of Meyers Leonard? Leonard shined in his big match up with Jared Sullinger, helping Illinois upset the Buckeyes. He’s a fluid bigman with great size and ability to add strength. He’s still a work in progress and would benefit from another year of development in college, but his upside is enough where he will get looks in the mid to late lottery based on his upside. His jump in production from his FR to SO years has been remarkable.
Comparison: Robin Lopez
||Terrence Jones 6-9 241 SF/PF Kentucky So.||Jones has top 10 talent but has had a few games (Indiana for instance) that have left scouts scratching their heads. Jones seems to play with a chip on his shoulder and a scowl on his face. He has the versatility to play either forward position and an aggressive rebounder. While lacking great shooting mechanics, he is an effective scorer attacking the basket as well as from the perimeter.
Comparison: Marvin Williams
||Arnett Moultrie 6-10 225 PF/C Miss St. Jr.||One of the most athletic bigs in the country, Moultrie is a force on the glass and can also step out and bury college three pointers. Mississippi State has had an excellent season thus far and the talented transfer has been the biggest reason for their success. With great length and agility, Moultrie is an intriguing option for teams looking for size and athleticism.
Comparison: Jason Thompson
||John Henson 6-10 220 PF UNC Jr.||Henson has shown a lot of development between his sophomore and junior seasons. Many scouts now consider him a legit lottery candidate. His length and energy makes him a disruptive presence on the defensive end of the floor, and a solid rebounder despite lacking great strength. If he can bulk up, it will help his ability to play inside at the next level considerably. His FT shooting motion is one of the ugliest in basketball and it’s difficult to know if he will ever become more then an energy player that brings rebounding and defense.
Comparison: Samuel Dalembert
||Kendall Marshall 6-4 180 PG North Carolina So.||The Mark Jackson like floor general lacks tremendous athleticism or a polished outside shot, but his ability to make those around him better makes potentially the top PG prospect out there. Ricky Rubio’s impact on the Timberwolves without being a prolific scorer certainly helps Marshall’s cause.
Comparison: Mark Jackson
|15.||Terrence Ross 6-6 190 SG Washington So.||Ross is dangerous from outside, where he sports a clean release and sweet rhythm in catch and shoot opportunities. A smooth wing with NBA athleticism, Ross does an excellent job at stretching the floor by recognizing and occupying open space. He moves well without the ball and shows deceptive quickness with it, allowing him to get to the rim despite a shaky handle. Though Ross has been overshadowed by teammates at times, he’s the most NBA ready player on a talented Husky team.
Comparison: Wes Johnson
||Austin Rivers 6-4 203 SG Duke Fr.||Rivers was considered a potential top overall pick a year ago. But his inability to run the point guard position has been exposed. He has a tendency to become too focused on isolating (tunnel vision) and scoring as opposed to taking what the defense gives him and facilitating for others. A second season at Duke would do him well.
Comparison OJ Mayo
||Myck Kabongo 6-1 169 PG Texas Fr.||Flashy, electric and speedy. Kabongo’s quick first step makes him near impossible to stay in front of, while his vision turns all his supporting men into potential targets. Kabongo has had some ups and downs in his freshman year, but things appear to be falling into place for him. The charismatic Kabongo would benefit from a second year in college, but could sneak into the lottery based on upside.
Comparison: TJ Ford
||Marquis Teague 6-2 189 PG Kentucky Fr.||Teague drew criticism from UK Nation after a rough start to the year. He’s been burning out the clutch on the Ferrari, but mastering Calipari’s wide open offense takes time. Tyreke Evans and John Wall both played much better in the second half of their freshman seasons. He has ideal physical tools for a point guard, possessing size, quickness and explosiveness along with a "ball on a string" handle. He excels in the open court where his speed and strength allow him to get to the rim and finish in traffic.
Comparison: Jeff Teague
||Doron Lamb 6-4 195 PG/SG Kentucky So.||Lamb has been arguably UK’s most consistent performer this season. Every time the team needs a big basket, it seems that Lamb answers the call. He’s a clutch performer, has underrated PG ability and is an excellent teammate. Finding a niche at the next level should be his primary focus, with "lights out shooting combo-guard" a realistic role to think about.
Comparison: Cuttino Mobley
||Patric Young 6-8 245 PF Florida So.||Young is a jaw dropping specimen with a superhero physique. He plays with a strong motor and an aggressive demeanor. He has an excellent understanding of his role and his post game and scoring have shown steady improvement in his sophomore year. His hands don’t always appear to be great, and scouts would like to see his rebounding numbers improve some. His explosiveness is top notch, but he looks a little mechanical in the post and all the lifting has made his body a little stiff running the floor. He could use more plyometrics and pilates and less dead lifting to improve his flexibility.
Comparison: Brandon Bass
||Tyler Zeller 6-11 240 C North Carolina Sr.||Zeller has a nice package of size and skills. He runs the floor exceptionally well for a 7-footer. While he lacks ideal strength and appears to be a little injury prone, he has a good feel for the game and gets strong reviews from NBA scouts. Zeller is considered a likely first rounder with the skill level to crack an NBA rotation before long.
Comparison: PJ Brown
||John Jenkins 6-4 185 SG Vanderbilt Jr.||Jenkins is the top shooter on the college level. He also has underrated speed and athleticism. He has expended his all around game with improved ball handling. He’s an undersized 2 and lacks elite athleticism, but his versatility and deadly outside shooting will give him a role in the NBA.
Comparison: JJ Redick
||Tony Wroten 6-5 205 PG/SG Washington Fr.||Coach Romar is reluctant to give underclassmen large responsibilities, which makes his decision to hand Wroten the keys to the offense all the more impressive. He’s a flashy player with tremendous passing and ball handling abilities who can create for others. But, he still has some major holes to his game. While he scores at a good rate and really puts pressure on the defense attacking the basket, he needs to become a more consistent outside shooter and cut down on his turnovers. He would be best served with a second year in school, but some scouts feel he’s Washington’s top prospect right now. He being projected as a first rounder based on his upside.
Comparison: Tyreke Evans
||William Buford 6-5 190 SG Ohio St. Sr.||Buford disappeared in the Buckeyes 2011 tournament loss to Kentucky but has blossomed in his senior year. He has a polished offensive game and will look to finish out the season strong in order to ensure a spot in the first round. While not a standout prospect, Buford will have a shot to contribute to an NBA team as a high level shooter.
Comparison: Calbert Cheaney
||Kris Joseph 6-7 220 SG/SF Syracuse Sr.||Scouts are split on Joseph as some like his fluidity in the open floor and ability to hit shots, while others question his ability to create shots and feel he’s too one dimensional. His length and athleticism fit the role of your typical NBA small forward, and Syracuse’s success helps his cause. Eliminating his disappearing acts and adding consistency to his jumper should keep him in the first round.
Comparison: Morris Peterson
||Mason Plumlee 6-10 235 PF/C Duke Jr.||In informal settings, Plumlee appears to be a top 10 pick type of prospect. Unfortunately his skills don’t seem to translate well to organized ball. Plumlee is an above average athlete who likes to face up and use the dribble to get to the basket. He has yet to polish any post moves and scores mainly around the basket using his athleticism. He shows solid toughness but needs to take his game to the next level.
Comparison: Josh McRoberts
||Tomas Satoransky 6-6 190 PG/SG Czech Rep. 1991||Satoransky was the most impressive performer at the 2011 adidas Eurocamp. He’s extremely athletic by European standards with the ability to attack the basket. His appeal is his versatility at his size as he’s played the point guard position for the last two seasons. The success rate of big Euro PGs is not in his favor, as many have flamed out in their attempts.
NBA Comparison: Zoran Planinic
||Alex Young 6-6 190 SG/SF IUPUI Sr.||Since before the season, scouts have been mentioning this lefty as as a potential first round sleeper and a guy to keep an eye on. While playing in a smaller conference makes getting exposure more difficult, he is an aggressive scorer and intriguing talent. He’s a long athlete who finishes above the rim and shows some offensive skills to boot.
Comparison: Josh Howard
||Alex Oriakhi 6-9 235 PF UConn Jr.||Oriakhi gets rave reviews from UConn’s coaching staff as a tremendous kid with a strong work ethic. He’s not overly skilled, but his physical attributes pass every eye test. While his junior year has not been as productive as he would like and could ultimately force him to return for his senior year, a strong finish to the season could be enough to get an NBA team to bite in the late first round.
Comparison: Etan Thomas
|30.||Andrew Nicholson 6-9 240 PF St. Bonnaventure Sr.||Nicholson has struggled to play to his abilities as a senior. He’s a bright kid, and high character guy who despite looking robotic running the floor has good athleticism and a developing skill set. The Canadian’s huge hands and long arms make him a handful on the block for opposing bigmen.
Comparison: Leon Powe
*This mock can also be seen on HoopsHype.com, an excellent source for daily NBA/hoops news.