Tag Archives: NBA Draft

Risk or Reward: Top 5 NBA Draft Prospects

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We are just a few days away from the 2014 NBA Draft, many prospects have made themselves a household name during team workouts which has improved their draft stock. It is casual for general managers and talent scouts to get caught in the moment of what a player is capable of when nobody impedes their progress. Here are the top five players to keep an eye on while we await draft day.

 

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report

 

5. P.J. Hairston

 

During his time span at North Carolina, sharp shooter P.J. Hairston was becoming a focal point of the Tar Heels’ success. Many would believe Hairston was sorely missed by the Tar Heels in powder during the early portion of the season. However, off-season troubles would derail his college career where the repercussions led to the dismissal from the team this past season. Making the leap to the NBA D-League, Hairston has shown his talents that may translate well to the next level averaging 21.8 points per game in 26 games with the Texas Legends. His ability to perform will not be in question, rather the growth of maturity are bound to raise caution flags to teams.

 

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA Today

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA Today

 

4. Aaron Gordon

 

Freshman phenom Aaron Gordon has made himself a hot commodity in the draft process with his athletic abilities that has drawn many comparisons to Blake Griffin. Is that enough to qualify him as a potential lottery pick? The Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year has displayed his exceptional work ethic along with his versatility as he shows promise to excel at the next level on both ends of the floor. In order to succeed that, he must improve his offensive repertoire outside the paint and a much needed tune up at the free throw line. Can Gordon become a franchise player, or a role player that never could become a star is the question surrounding this Wildcat.

 

Jim McIsaa- Getty Images

Jim McIsaa- Getty Images

 

3. Zach LaVine

 

Coming off the bench for UCLA Bruins this season, Zach LaVine would show flashes of talents in spurts early in his one and done season, averaging 10 ppg on 45% shooting. He has appalled us with his leaping ability at NBA Draft Combine and workouts that has put his name into the lottery discussion. It would not be the first time a player coming off the bench would go on to be selected as a lottery pick. It happened with Cleveland’s Dion Waiters. Even though inconsistency was on display, you could expect changes in the NBA with the  right coaching and playing system to fit LaVine’s open court uptempo game, he can flourish as a combo guard at 6’5″. Or perhaps become the next Austin Rivers. Patience will be key with LaVine because of being a raw talent.

 

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2. Dario Saric

 

The name Dario Saric has surfaced throughout the NBA Draft process of being a top 10 pick. In fact, just before last year’s draft he pulled his name off the big board.

What do we know about him?

He is a 6’10” swing man who can play both forward positions  at an efficient rate while being able to handle the ball. Averaging 15.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg in 47 games overseas, the Croatian playmaker is fluid offensively along with a great feel of what’s going on at all times on the court. However, his inconsistency on offense and being a liability on defense may cause his stock to drop. Winning a championship and MVP at the age of 20, his experience and youth will not be undervalued in the NBA going forward.

What we do not know about Saric is the role he will play on a NBA team or when we will make his NBA debut when drafted after recently agreeing to remain in Europe for two more years. It will take the perfect system for Saric can utilize his skill set at the next level. It will be interesting to see what NBA team will commit to him with no certainty of when he will come to America to play. Think of Danilo Gallinari when you hear Saric’s name and ceiling as a player.

 

Denny Meddley- USA Today

Denny Meddley- USA Today

 

1. Joel Embiid

 

Joel Embiid has the potential to become the best player in this draft in many years to come. Being a game changer on defense now, his offensive game showed improvement throughout the college basketball season. With the back injury and now recently suffering a foot injury, red flags are raised around Embiid that could derail his draft stock. The names of Greg Oden, Yao Ming, and Bill Walton have been mentioned when talking about big men with injuries when it comes to drafting Embiid first overall. Yet, many teams should be weary of missing out on an opportunity to change a franchise around a position that has diminished over years.

 

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The time has come in March where the pressure of the words ‘win or go home’ rises to immense pressure. While this postseason’s bracket proposes upsets in multiple regions, the time has come for the premier players to elevate their talents as the cream of the crop. Before you decide to fill out your billion dollar bracket, let’s review the tournament before tip-off.

South Region

As the south region features the talents of Andrew Wiggins and Kyle Anderson, many believe it is the Florida Gators title to lose. Riding a 30 game winning streak, head coach Billy Donovan will have his senior led team prepared for his opponents best shot. However, many will be anticipating to see how Kansas Jayhawks freshman Andrew Wiggins performs on the biggest stage of his basketball career thus far. Jayhawks nation as well as  Bill Self hopes Wiggins can carry the load as the health status of Joel Embiid becomes unknown.

While we seek for upset alerts in the tournament, be aware of the No. 5 seed vs No. 12 seed matchup between the Virginia Commonwealth Rams and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks who are currently on a 28 game winning streak. Also, an intriguing game to see is the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Dayton Flyers. The inconsistent scoring of the Buckeyes may cause them to have a first round exit.

Midwest Region

The Wichita State Shockers reserve the right to be angry after the release of the Midwest region bracket. As a consolation prize for going undefeated through the regular season and conference tournament, the Shockers have drawn the likes of the Michigan Wolverines, Duke Blue Devils and defending champions Louisville Cardinals with the potential of drawing a second round matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats.

The spotlight of individual talent will be on display throughout the region headlined by Duke’s freshman phenom Jabari Parker who recently became the latest recipient of the Wayman Tisdale award that is given to the nation’s top freshman. The region also consists of talented players such as Russ Smith, Nik Stauskas, Julius Randle, Jahii Carson, Marcus Foster, and T.J. Warren.

West Region

With the No.1 seed being awarded to the battered Arizona Wildcats, they also may be the first 1 seed to be eliminated with the possibility of playing Marcus Smart and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The bottom of the West region bracket contains talented teams that can advance far featuring the Wisconsin Badgers, Baylor Bears, and Creighton Bluejays led by senior and National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott. All eyes will shift on him as he is playing in a his final tournament.

 

Without a clear favorite, the opportunity to represent the west region in the NCAA Final Four becomes more interesting to watch. A dark horse team to watch is the underachieving No. 10 seed Oregon Ducks and No. 6 seed Baylor Bears led by the frontcourt of Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin.

East Region

Winning its regular season conference and tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers have earned its right as a 1 seed in the tournament. The ACC Champions would like to continues its success going into the tournament behind the coaching of Tony Bennett and the leadership of Joe Harris. However, the heavy favorites have became Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans as they would showcase their full strength becoming the Big Ten Conference Tournament Champions.

The Iowa State Cyclones have a great chance of becoming the last man standing of its region led by the talents of DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim. We can not ignore the other teams representing the East Region with the likes of the No.2 seed Villanova Wildcats, No. 6 seed North Carolina Tar Heels, and a potential Cinderella team in No. 11 seed Providence Friars led by point guard Bryce Cotton.

The month of March brings us enjoyment because our favorite players shine on the brightest stage of their careers and our favorite teams aspirations of becoming national champions. This also may be our last time watching some of our favorite gamer changers and future NBA players perform at the amateur level. Welcome to the tip off as the madness of March begins.

Under the Radar Players Watch List 2.0

   With less than a month away from Selection Sunday, there are various players across the nation who are capable of carrying a team for stretches when called upon. We continue our under the radar players watch as we get closer to March Madness.

Jordan Clarkson- University of Missouri

     After sitting out the previous season while transferring from Tulsa University, Jordan Clarkson has not disappointed Tigers fans this season. The 6’6″ point guard has the athleticism and versatility to create for himself or teammates. Averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, he will have to duplicate his success on the court in order for Mizzou to have a chance to win games in postseason play.

Melvin Ejim- Iowa State

     A valuable piece to the Iowa State Cyclones success this season has been the senior play and leadership of Melvin Ejim. He is one of the latest Canadian born players to burst onto the basketball scene averaging 19.1 points per game while grabbing 8.6 rebounds per game posting eight double doubles. Ejim has became the backbone of this Cyclones team as they prepare for March to approach.

Marcus Paige- University of North Carolina

     Without 3 point shooter P.J. Hairston this season, sophomore Marcus Paige has been asked by head coach Roy Williams to carry a heavy load on offense and has done an incredible job while accepting the task. Paige, averaging a career high in points and rebounds, has became a focal point and leader to the Tar Heels recent success winning seven in a row. They will look towards him down the road as they continue to struggle with offensive perimeter play.

Jordan Bachynski Breaks All-Time Conference Block Record

Jordan Bachynski- Arizona State University

     With Arizona State on the rise in the Pac-12 Conference, the heart of the team is the man in the middle that is Jordan Bachynski. The Canadian born center has improved his overall play during the course of his Sun Devils, averaging career highs in points, rebounds and blocks with a staggering 4.6 per game. Having a big man with Bachynski’s abilities on the defensive end will give you a chance as a team to win games in the tournament.

Shabazz Napier- University of Connecticut

     Shabazz Napier is arguably the best point guard in the nation. Becoming a finalist for the Bob Cousy award given to the nation’s top point guard, the catalyst for the Huskies, he has contributed in many aspects with 18 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 5.5 apg. His contributions will pay dividends in the NCAA tournament as we have seen teams move on due to elite guard play.

Kyle Anderson- UCLA

     Recently finding a place in the AP top 25, the UCLA Bruins have became one of the hottest teams in the country behind Kyle Anderson. The sensational sophomore has done it all playing the hybrid point forward position for first season head coach Steve Alford posting 15.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists per contest with 13 double doubles this season. Expect UCLA to make a push in March behind Anderson as his draft stock rises.

 

Wesley Saunders- Harvard University

     The best apart college basketball is the hidden talent flooded throughout the nation. At Harvard University, that is swingman Wesley Saunders. After found success last season in the NCAA Tournament, the junior from Los Angeles, CA has been able to duplicate his success picking up where he has left off. With the Crimson Tide at 20-4, they are poised to receive another tournament birth with Saunders leading the way as the teams go to guy.

Dwayne Evans- St. Louis University

     As the St. Louis Billikens strive to reach their pinnacle of last season, the senior leadership of Dwayne Evans. Averaging 14.8 ppg while grabbing 6.5 rebounds per game, he has his team currently ranked No. 10 in the AP top 25 and undefeated in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

Tyler Haws- Brigham Young University

     Tyler Haws has became one of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball this season. At 18-10, the Cougars hopes of a birth in the field of 68 are decided by the play of Haws as he averages 24.1 ppg with the tangibles of taking over a game where anything can happen in the tournament.

Caris LeVert- University of Michigan

     Becoming a focal point this season, Michigan Wolverines sophomore Caris LeVert has stepped into a bigger role from the previous season. As his minutes drastically increased from 11 last season to 33, LeVert is the second leading scorer on the team with 13 ppg along with 4.5 rpg. He is the glue guy to this team with Mitch McGary sidelined with an injury and Glen Robinson III not performing up to expectations this season. In order to reach the championship game, his valuable talents and effort will need to rise come March.

Top 10 Under The Radar Players

     While the Men’s College Basketball season continues to unfold, the national landscape of competition has tilted as many teams on the horizon are preparing for a poised run in the NCAA Tournament. Our center of attention is primarily on the phenomenal freshmen play that are potential NBA prospects. It may be the time to give recognize players under the radar across the nation for their play.

 

 

Xavier Thames- San Diego State

Xavier Thames has been a focal point for the recent success found by the San Diego State Aztecs. The senior point guard has found himself into a leader role for his team as he is averaging a career high 18 points per game. If the Aztecs expect to make a deep run in the tournament, Thames must be the person to lead the way.

 

 

Nick Johnson- University of Arizona

Although many have praised the coaching of head coach Sean Miller freshman forward Aaron Gordon for his dominant play, the unsung hero for the Arizona Wildcats has been Nick Johnson. The third year guard has been the Wildcats most consistent player on the defensive and offensive sides of the basketball, scoring a career best 15.9 ppg. Johnson’s play on the court becomes a X-factor on how far he can lead this team.

 

 

Kareem Jamar- University of Montana

A name that does not get the national exposure it deserves comes from Missoula, Montana in Kareem Jamar. As a senior, he has continuously improves every season since being at Montana by becoming an honorable mentioned All-American the previous season. This season, Jamar has continued to be the best player in the Big Sky Conference as the Grizzlies are riding a current four game winning streak. Jamar  is poised to lead his team to a third straight NCAA tournament birth as his tangibles are what is looked for at the NBA level.

 

 

DeAndre Kane- Iowa State

While there are many headlines to a college basketball season, DeAndre Kane has become one of them. The Marshall transfer has came into an Iowa State program where he has became a catalyst for the Cyclones, averaging 15.9 ppg, 6.5 rebounds along with 6 assists per game. As the Big 12 Conference slowly becomes one of the toughest in the nation, Kane has solidify himself as a Conference Player of the Year with aspirations of leading the Cyclones to the postseason tournament.

 

 

Chaz Williams- University of Massachusetts

The UMASS Minutemen have had early success due to elite guard play of Chaz Williams. The 5’9″ point guard who started off his career at Hofstra University has led his team to a 19-4 record thus far while being ranked in the AP poll this season due to a 16-1 start. Averaging 16 ppg and 7.4 assists, Williams must continue to be the floor general he is in order to seal a postseason birth.

 

Chris Walker- University of Florida

The highly coveted freshman has seen limited minutes on the floor after being cleared by NCAA to play this season. Florida Gators have not display signs of missing him out of their lineup as they are current ranked No. 3 in nation. However, the talent and athleticism of Chris Walker can elevate the Gators to a championship contending team come March.

 

Jahii Carson- Arizona State University

     Sophomore guard Jahii Carson is considerably one of the most electrifying point guards in the NCAA this season. Picking up where he has left off last season, Carson has led the top half of the Pac-12 Conference at 19-5. Being the team leader, he is putting up consistent numbers across the board at 19 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 4.7 apg. The Sun Devils have goals to reach the NCAA Tournament behind Carson’s ability to control the tempo of the game.

 

 

Cleanthony Early- Wichita State

The Cinderella story in Men’s College Basketball has been the Wichita State Shockers led by senior forward Cleanthony Early. Early epitomizes the Shockers ‘play angry’ mentality with his aggressive play on the floor while posting career high numbers this season 16.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg. Wichita State’s formula isn’t predicated on one man’s success, but they will need Early to come up big and sometimes late in situations when called upon to reach the Final Four for the second consecutive season.

Villanova Basketball: Way-Too-Early Grades for Wildcats Starters

 

James Bell- Villanova University

Sitting atop of the Big East Conference, the Villanova Wildcats have found success with James Bell leading the team. The senior guard has continuously improved his game for head coach Jay Wright averaging a career highs in points and rebounds. The No. 6 ranked team in the nation eyes a high seed in the NCAA tournament with a deep run that starts with Bell.

 

 

Marcus Foster- Kansas State University

Marcus Foster has became the latest freshman to attract national attention for his assertive play for the Kansas State Wildcats. Currently third in the Big 12 Conference, Foster is the leading scorer for this team averaging 15 ppg. As Kansas State position themselves to make a run for the tournament, he needs to extend his offensive productivity when the time comes.

 

Top 10 NBA Draft Busts of the Decade (2000-2010)

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     We have seen NBA Drafts where general managers and player personnel have the fate of the franchise futures in their hands with lottery picks. Every player selected in the top half of the draft is going to be a superstar. However, you are held to a higher standard than other players when your name is called upon on by the commissioner. You will see players who were once “can’t miss” prospects to “where are they now?” players. Here are your top 10 NBA Draft Busts we have recently seen.

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10. Marvin Williams- No. 2 pick in 2005 NBA Draft

Marvin Williams has never been able to live up to his lofty expectations as a NBA player. Coming into the 2005 NBA Draft, he averaged 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as a freshman standout for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Many scouts believed Williams offensive potential would increase. After 8 seasons in the league, his game has remained grounded.

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 9. Sebastian Telfair- No. 13 pick 2004 NBA Draft

Sebastian Telfair’s greatest highlight reel was the documentary of his high school senior season with “Through the Fire”. With endorsements from Jay-Z and many supporters, he never was the player he was expected to become in the association. Telfair was one of the best point guards to come out of the historic Lincoln High School in New York where he drew comparisons to his cousin Stephon Marbury. Telfair has averaged 7.6 points while handing out 3.8 assists finding himself on many teams in a short span.

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8. Eddie Griffin- No. 7 pick 2001 NBA Draft

The former Seton Hall standout had sky-high expectations to become a special player in the NBA. Eddie Griffin draft status had dropped where he was taken 7th overall by the New Jersey Nets and suddenly traded to the Houston Rockets for the draft rights of Brandon Armstrong, Jason Collins, and Richard Jefferson. Griffin’s career was cut short due to alcohol then later lost his life in a car crash. May his soul rest in peace.

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7. Eddy Curry- No. 4 pick 2004 NBA Draft

A lot of promise and potential was shown in Curry with his size at 7’0 295 pounds. His career did not pan out as well as many people believed it could have. With career averages of 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest, many would consider him a bust with how early he was taken. It all started to go downhill when major injuries from 2008-2010 kept him sidelined, only playing a total of 10 games.

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6. Stromile Swift- No. 2 pick 2000 NBA Draft

Stromile Swift had high hopes coming in to the then Vancouver Grizzlies organization in 2000. The 6’10 big from LSU was anything but outstanding, averaging 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds which would turn out to be his best stats in his 9 season stint in the league. Swift was out of the NBA after playing a total of 19 games with the Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets.

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5. Nikoloz Tskitishvili- No.5 2002 NBA Draft

Can you name this guy (without looking above)? Better yet, can you pronounce his name? I don’t blame you. Nikoloz Tskitishvili had a brief stint in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors making his exit out by 2006. Tskitishvili, 7’0″ 225 pounds best career average came during his rookie season with 3.9 points per game. He would go back to Russia where he would continue to play professionally.

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4. Darko Milicic- No.2 2003 NBA Draft

Darko Milicic is considered to be one of the worst draft picks to be selected in NBA history, being drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. In his first three seasons in Detroit, the big man from Montenegro averaged 5, 6, and 7 minutes on the floor where he was able to produce 1.4, 1.8, and 1.5 points a game. His best season was in Minnesota where he produced 8.8 points along with 5.2 rebounds per contest in 24 minutes. Milicic is currently out of the NBA where many Pistons fans are filled with overjoy.

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3. Kwame Brown- No. 1 2001 NBA Draft

Kwame Brown is arguably the worst pick of the decade and might go down as the worst pick of the century. Hand picked by Michael Jordan himself, only averaged double figures once in his career with 10.9 points per game. Brown was a detriment to his team as he could not finish around the hoop, could not rebound nor play defense. After recently being released by the Philadelphia 76ers, many became skeptical of how he remained in the league for 13 seasons. Congrats to Kwame Brown for collecting a paycheck from a NBA team over the past years.

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2. Hasheem Thabeet- No. 2 2009 NBA Draft

Many questioned the Memphis Grizzlies decision to draft Hasheem Thabeet. Coming out of Connecticut his senior season, he averaged 13.6 points and 11 rebounds a game, showing his upside to NBA teams. In his first two seasons in the league, Thabeet averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds that led him to being the highest draft pick to be sent down to the NBA’s Development League. Now in Oklahoma City, Thabeet is trying to find a spot in the Thunder’s rotation where his days could be numbered as a NBA player.

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1. Adam Morrison- No. 3 2006 NBA Draft

The player who was once considered the greatest college basketball player who has now became a never was. After he sobbed following a defeat by the UCLA Bruins in the NCAA Tournament, Adam Morrison was the third player selected in the 2006 NBA Draft by none other than Michael Jordan. The 6’8 forward was once considered the second coming of Larry Bird. Morrison has became the biggest disappointments by NBA standards, while officially being labeled a bust. The former National Co-Player of the Year was fortunate to be a part of the back to back championship team of the Los Angeles Lakers. However, nothing was the same for Morrison as he is now out of league.