Climbin’ the Board
Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona
Williams was flat out a man among boys this week against Washington State and Washington, averaging 26 points and over 9 rebounds while adding a game-saving block as time expired. He’s shown improvement putting the ball on the floor and beating his man off the dribble, something that will make him an awfully tough match up moving forward. Against Washington, Williams stepped back and nailed a three pointer to take the lead with a minute to go. He followed that with the game clinching block. He’s quickly rounding out as a player, developing an outside shot and a face-up game to help compensate for being an undersized power forward at the next level. He currently has more tools in his box than Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, which is why he’s risen atop our mock draft as the number one prospect in the nation.
Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Welcome back to the board. Barnes has averaged almost 18 points and and 6.5 rebounds over his last seven games, looking more aggressive with his shot and at least giving us a glimpse of why he entered the year as the consensus number one prospect. He’s only scoring 13 a game, which is a direct result of some extremely poor shooting. Kendall Marshall taking over their reigns at point guard has been a revelation for the team and Barnes. He’s also only 18 years old, so his troublesome outside stroke has time to gain consistency. He’s not an NBA ready player, but when he is he’ll be a great asset at the small forward position. If he does denter this years draft, teams will be looking to grab him while his value is low.
Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State
Thompson is coming off two big scoring games for the Cougars, putting up 30 on Arizona and 28 on Arizona State. At 6’6 he’s got the size and a nice little bounce to his step off the dribble, where he can change speeds and finish around the rim. This is the part of his game that he’ll need to continue improving on, as he spends most of his time on the perimeter shooting a notable 41% from downtown. He has a quick and smooth release, and sports range out to the NBA three point line. This season he’s averaging a praise-worthy 4 assists per game, showing his ability to create for others off the dribble, an attractive attribute from a scouting perspective.
E'twaun Moore, G, Purdue
Moore poured in 38 in a win over the third ranked Buckeyes, showing off his impressive scoring instincts and radar lock on the hoop. He’s 15 for his last 25 from downtown, and is making it awfully difficult to ignore his production as opposed to nitpick at his lack of a true NBA position. Moore has a high basketball IQ, rarely turning it over and using his smarts and awareness on the defensive side of the ball. Regardless of his limitations, there’s no reason why his talent and brains alone shouldn’t earn him a good shot to make an NBA team.
Cam Long, G, George Mason
With George Mason on the longest winning streak in division one basketball, Cam Long has gotten some attention as an NBA combo guard. Long has been consistent and reliable all season long, scoring in double digits in all but three games. His value can be attributed to his efficiency, where he shoots 49% from the floor, 44% from downtown and turns it over only 1.6 times per game. In a draft that has few potential ball handlers, Long could find a home for team lacking depth at the guard point guard and shooting guard positions.
Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Although Brooks is scoring at an elite level, his value has dipped a bit after shooting 10 for his last 49 (20%) from behind the arch. He’ll need to do a better job of showing he can be effective without the ball in his hands, something he hasn’t been a custom to at Providence where he attempts almost 18 shots per game.
David Lighty, G, Ohio State
Lighty, a 5th year senior who will turn 23 years old in May, could be 25 in his rookie season depending on what happens with the lockout. Not the most skilled offensively, Lighty struggles to create his own shot, and his upside is limited. We had him atop the second round last week, but with higher ceiling players emerging in February, Lighty is most likely a mid second rounder with high defensive potential.
Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse
Joseph hasn’t embraced the top scoring option the way Syracuse fans had hoped, but that’s like asking a running back to continuously run deep post routes- It’s just not his game. One on one, he’s not smooth enough off the dribble to create separation, and tends to lose control when he puts the ball on the floor. Returning for his senior year shouldn’t be a farfetched idea, considering he’s not a surefire first rounder, and his offensive repertoire could use some polish.
Corey Fisher, G, Villanova
Fisher’s inconsistencies are starting to become worrisome, as he followed his career high 34 point game against DePaul with a 3-16 (0-8 from three) performance in a nationally televised game against Syracuse. He’s shooting just 43% from the floor, and has only managed to score 20 points in back to back games just once all season, and that was against Deleware and Monmouth. The primary question surrounding Fisher remains whether or not he can handle the point guard duties at the next level, but at only 6’1, he has little to no margin for error.
Marcus Morris, F, Kansas
At this point Morris should be solidified as a mid first rounder at the least. We knew he can finish at the rim and rebound, but Morris recently added a fluent and consistent 20 foot jump shot that has pick n’ pop written all over it for the next level.
Markieff Morris, F, Kansas
Markieff, who for most of his career was just "Marcus’s twin brother", has established himself as a serious first round prospect this season. He recently put up 26 and 15 on Colorado, and has quietly helped form one of the toughest big men combos in the country.
Norris Cole, G, Cleveland State
After welcoming himself to the national scene with a 41 point, 20 rebound 9 assist game over a week ago, Norris remained on the stage to score 35 on 8 three pointers against Old Dominion. He continues to rise as a prolific scoring combo guard with a smooth "House Party" flat top cut.