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The 2015 NBA Draft Thread: Draft Day Is Here - Page 9

post #241 of 8508
Originally Posted by nickmaz96 View Post

@WojYahooNBA: Sevilla's Kristaps Porzingis, 19, impressing NBA executives on scouting trail in Spain. He's grown to 7-foot-1-plus, progressing into Top 5.

7' 1" eek.gifeek.gif

Just Youtubed him, idk.... Quick reaction is I wouldn't touch him if I had a top 5 pick

post #242 of 8508
Watch the Knicks **** around and draft him and he never comes over.
post #243 of 8508
Originally Posted by JohnnyRedStorm View Post

Watch the Knicks **** around and draft him and he never comes over.

On that Fran Vazquez tip

post #244 of 8508
post #245 of 8508
Thread Starter 
Top prospects in West Region

This year, the talent in the West Region nearly matches that of the Midwest. Four players are considered potential lottery picks, and five others look like potential first-rounders.

Insider's NBA draft team has talked to multiple NBA scouts and GMs over the course of the season. Based on their feedback and information, here's a look at the top NBA prospects for each of the teams in the West Region, listed by potential lottery picks, first-rounders, second-rounders and "wait until next year" players. (Teams listed by seed.) On Monday, we identified the NBA prospects in the Midwest Region.

This year, the talent in the West Region nearly matches that of the Midwest. Four players are considered potential lottery picks, and five others look like potential first-rounders.

Insider's NBA draft team has talked to multiple NBA scouts and GMs over the course of the season. Based on their feedback and information, here's a look at the top NBA prospects for each of the teams in the West Region, listed by potential lottery picks, first-rounders, second-rounders and "wait until next year" players. (Teams listed by seed.) On Monday, we identified the NBA prospects in the Midwest Region.

1. Wisconsin Badgers

Lottery picks: Frank Kaminsky, C, Sr.
Potential first-rounders:Sam Dekker, F, Jr.; Nigel Hayes, F, So.

It's not every year that Wisconsin has three potential NBA players on the roster at the same time. Kaminsky, along with Duke's Jahlil Okafor, has been one of the best players in the country this season. He's a unique 5 who is comfortable playing both on the perimeter and in the paint. He has legitimate 3-point range on his jumper, and he is talented putting the ball on the floor from the high post and attacking the rim. He's a solid rebounder and shot-blocker as well. While he's mobile, his lack of explosive athleticism and strength put his ceiling quite a bit lower than Okafor's. Nevertheless, scouts continue to warm to him, and he now looks to be in the No. 10 to 15 range on most draft boards.

Dekker has been a favorite of scouts since his freshman year, though his development seems to have stalled a bit. Still, he's a tough, versatile forward who can score in multiple ways and defend two positions on the floor. He's in the No. 20 to 35 range on our board.

Hayes has been picking up momentum of late. He's a bit undersized for his position, but he's got long arms, has improved as a shooter and has NBA athleticism. He's coming off a terrific Big Ten tournament, and some scouts now have him in front of Dekker on their boards. If he keeps playing well in the tournament, he should be a first-round lock.

2. Arizona Wildcats

Lottery picks: Stanley Johnson, G/F, Fr.
Potential first-rounders: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, G/F, So.
Potential second-rounders: Brandon Ashley, F, Jr.; Kaleb Tarczewski, C, Jr.

Johnson might be a freshman on an elite team surrounded by upperclassmen, but when the game is on the line, head coach Sean Miller isn't afraid to give him the ball. Johnson's best attribute might be his fearlessness. He has a NBA body, is as tough as nails, and can score from anywhere on the floor. As far as NBA readiness goes, he could step in and play right now in the league. He's in the mix with Justise Winslow, Kelly Oubre and Croatia's Mario Hezonja to be the top wing off the board. However, he's not an elite athlete, is an inconsistent defender and struggles to finish at the rim and thus sits slightly below all of them on our Big Board. His range is No. 6 to 12 right now.

Hollis-Jefferson might be the best wing defender in the draft. He's an elite athlete who can shut down players from four positions. His problem is generating offense. He's an elite finisher at the basket, but his jump shot is broken right now. Until he gets that fixed, he's looking at the second half of the first round if he declares.

Ashley and Tarczewski are potential second-round prospects. Ashley is a bit of a tweener and has earned the "soft" label from scouts. He's athletic and can stretch the floor, but they want to see him play more in the paint. Tarczewski, despite having an NBA body and athleticism, lacks consistency and toughness. Big tournaments for each of them could push up their draft stock because both are very, very talented.

3. Baylor Bears

Potential second-rounders: Rico Gathers, PF, Jr.; Taurean Prince, SF, Jr.

Gathers looks more like a first-round pick in the NFL draft than an NBA player. But his incredible strength and rebounding ability will get him a long look in the second round by NBA teams. Rebounding is the one stat that typically translates from college to the pros, and there are few players in college basketball better at crashing the boards than Gathers.

Prince's primary calling card is on the defensive end, where he can guard multiple positions. As an offensive player, he can shoot the three and finish at the rim. He'd be unlikely to be drafted if he declared this year, but a big tournament could change that.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels

Potential first-rounders: Justin Jackson, G/F, Fr.
Potential second-rounders:Brice Johnson, PF, Jr.; Kennedy Meeks, C, So.; J.P. Tokoto, F, Jr.; Marcus Paige, G, Jr.; Joel James, C, Jr.
Wait until next year: Theo Pinson, G/F, Fr.; Isaiah Hicks, PF, So.; Joel Berry, PG, Fr.

The Tar Heels are loaded with elite NBA prospects this year. Jackson, a freshman, has the most long-term NBA potential. He's a long, lanky swingman who possesses an incredible midrange game and floater. His 3-point game has been shaky this season, though he's shot it better lately. Jackson has been much more consistent in February and early March and a breakout tournament could push him into the middle or end of the first round.

Johnson is having a great junior season. He's long and athletic, but his thin frame and so-so rebounding numbers give scouts pause. Meeks has been dominant down low as a rebounder and low-post scorer, but he lacks elite athletic ability and plays below the rim. Both players have a really good chance of hearing their names called in the second round if they declared. Tokoto is another potential second-rounder. Offensively he's not very dominant, but he's an elite athlete and perimeter defender who can guard multiple positions on the floor.

Paige looked like a potential first-round pick coming into the season, but he's slumped all season offensively and his draft stock has taken a major hit. If you go a little deeper, however, his 3-point shooting has improved and his assist-to-turnover ratio has as well. It's still not out of the question that he's a second-round pick with a great tournament. James looks like a NBA big man, though he's rarely lived up to his potential on the court.

Pinson was an elite recruit who is just stuck in a minutes logjam at UNC. A foot injury suffered in late January has kept him out most of the past five weeks, though he should be available during the tournament. He's a potential first-round pick in 2016. Hicks is a long, athletic power forward who has been squeezed by minutes. If Johnson and/or Meeks declare, he'll see more time next season, and he could be an intriguing second-round pick. Berry is small, but he's a pure point guard who sees the floor really well. He's not an elite prospect right now, but a potential second-round pick next season.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks

Lottery picks: Bobby Portis, PF, So.
Potential second-rounders: Michael Qualls, SG, Jr.

Portis has quietly had one of the best sophomore campaigns in the country. While he isn't dominant at any one thing, there's very little he can't do. He can score from anywhere on the floor, can guard multiple positions, and he rebounds and blocks shots. He's just not particularly flashy. He's should fall somewhere in the No. 13 to 20 range.

Qualls is an elite athlete and defender and, lately, has been Arkansas' second-best scorer. If he can prove to scouts he can consistently knock down the NBA 3, there will be a lot of interest there. Right now he's on the second-round bubble, but there's first-round-type talent there.

6. Xavier Musketeers

Potential second-rounders: Jalen Reynolds, PF, So.

Reynolds has the body and athleticism of a NBA power forward prospect, but he doesn't have the production to match yet. He's a good rebounder and solid shot-blocker, but he's already 22 years old, and given how raw he is, that's a major red flag.

7. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

Potential second-rounders: Treveon Graham, G/F, Sr.

He's tough, physical, can shoot the 3 and attack the basket, and he's one of the best rebounders on the team. Graham has been consistently mentioned as a potential second-rounder since his sophomore season at VCU. His talent might have topped out a bit since then, but there's no question he has a NBA body and toughness and can hurt you in a bunch of ways. He's still a bubble second-rounder who could help himself with a strong tournament.

Briante Weber would also be on this list had he not torn his ACL and MCL in late January. He's out for the rest of the season. Offensively, he was never much of a standout, but he was injured just 12 steals shy of breaking the NCAA record. He's a defensive nightmare for opposing point guards, and I could see a team taking him late in the second round.

8. Oregon Ducks

Potential second-rounders: Joseph Young, SG, Sr.
Wait until next year: Jordan Bell, PF, Fr.

Young, surprisingly, won Pac-12 Player of the Year this season, and he is one of the single best scoring guards in the country. He's super quick, can get any shot he wants and is fearless taking them. He's been running some point this season for Oregon, which has helped his NBA stock some, however most scouts see him as a volume shooting extremely undersized 2-guard. I'm not sure, even with a crazy-great NCAA tournament, that he can play his way in to the first round.

Bell is a prototypical lanky, athletic shot-blocker. If he can add strength this summer and some polish to his offensive game, he's got a chance of being a first-round pick down the road.

9. Oklahoma St. Cowboys

Potential second-rounders: Le'Bryan Nash, F, Sr.

Nash was a top-10 recruit coming out of high school that drew comparisons to a young Ron Artest. He never really lived up to the hype at Oklahoma State, taking a back seat to Marcus Smart during his sophomore and junior seasons. He's having his best season as a senior, but he's still a tweener -- too short to be an effective power forward and lacking the perimeter or ballhandling skills to make the transition to the 3 in the NBA. He's a possible, but probably unlikely, second-round pick.

10. Ohio State Buckeyes

Lottery picks: D'Angelo Russell, G, Fr.
Potential second-rounders: Shannon Scott, PG, Sr.

Russell has challenged Okafor as the best freshman in the country this season, and he is in the running for the No. 1 pick in the draft. He's a unique prospect who sees the floor like a point guard, but he is a considerable scoring threat from anywhere on the floor. He reminds me a bit of James Harden. He's a smooth athlete with unlimited range on his jumper. He lacks NBA strength and explosive athleticism, but the basketball IQ is so high, it doesn't really affect his game.

Scott is a steady point guard who has taken a backseat to Russell his senior season. His assist-to-turnover ratio is at an all-time high, but his poor shooting and size are both major liabilities.

11. BYU Cougars/Ole Miss Rebels

Potential second-rounders: Kyle Collinsworth, G, Jr; Tyler Haws, G/F, Sr.

BYU has two prospects worth mentioning. Collinsworth has been a triple-double machine all season (six triple-doubles and three more near-triple-doubles). He has intriguing size for his position, an incredibly high basketball IQ and is an elite rebounder for his position. His lack of explosive athletic ability and his inconsistent jumper are the things holding him back from being a lock to be drafted.

Haws is one of the best scorers in the country. He's a clever wing who uses all the tricks in the book to get his shot off every night. Unfortunately, he lacks elite size, athleticism or skills to be a NBA pro. There really isn't one thing he does at an elite level, he's just very good at everything. From talking to scouts it seems more likely he'll have a terrific career in Europe.

12. Wofford Terriers

No current NBA prospects.

13. Harvard Crimson

Potential second-rounders: Wesley Saunders, SG, Sr; Siyani Chambers, PG, Jr.

Saunders isn't necessarily an elite prospect, but his high basketball IQ, ability to scorer from everywhere on the floor and his physicality make him sort of a poor man's Paul Pierce. I've had a number of scouts say he's one of the more intriguing mid-major players in the country. Chambers was highly regarded by scouts as well as a freshman, but has seen his production hit the wall as a sophomore and junior.

14. Georgia St. Panthers

Potential first-rounder: R.J. Hunter, SG, Jr.

Hunter is one of the more intriguing prospects in this region. After a stellar sophomore season and a terrific summer, many scouts had him as a lottery pick in the mold of a young Klay Thompson. His jump shot really failed him this season, as defenses keyed in on Hunter and he took more and more difficult shots. However, he made up for it in other ways. He's handed out more assists, picked up more steals and still found a way to increase his scoring average to 20 points per game.

Several teams still believe he has lottery talent. Others have him in the late first round. We've sort of split the difference keeping him in the late teens. A big tournament game against Baylor in the first round could really help him.

15. Texas Southern Tigers

No current NBA prospects.

16. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

No current NBA prospects.
post #246 of 8508
Originally Posted by nickmaz96 View Post

@WojYahooNBA: Sevilla's Kristaps Porzingis, 19, impressing NBA executives on scouting trail in Spain. He's grown to 7-foot-1-plus, progressing into Top 5.

7' 1" eek.gifeek.gif

very intrigued by this guy. but def. don't want my team drafting him laugh.gif
post #247 of 8508
Originally Posted by JohnnyRedStorm View Post

Watch the Knicks **** around and draft him and he never comes over.

The Sixers probably will. They love drafting guys that either never play for them or have to sit out a year or two.
post #248 of 8508
Thread Starter 
Top prospects in East Region

Once again, this year's East bracket is loaded with good teams, but there is a dearth of NBA prospects in the region. By my count, we have no lottery picks and just five potential first-rounders in the region. NBA scouts: Run away.

Insider's NBA draft team has talked to multiple NBA scouts and GMs over the course of the season. Based on their feedback, here's a look at the top NBA prospects for each of the teams in the East Region, listed by potential lottery picks, first-rounders, second-rounders and "wait until next year" players. (Teams listed by seed.)

On Monday, we took a look at the prospects in the Midwest and on Tuesday we looked at the West.

1. Villanova Wildcats

Potential second-rounders: Daniel Ochefu, C, Jr.; Darrun Hilliard II, SG, Sr.

Villanova, despite its lofty record, doesn't rely on a bevy of NBA talent like Kentucky or Duke. It's conceivable that were the draft held today, the Wildcats wouldn't have anyone selected. Still, both Ochefu and Hilliard are prospects worth watching.

Ochefu in particular deserves a closer look. He has the size and length to be a backup center in the NBA. He is a terrific defender, has an NBA body, crashes the boards and is a solid shot-blocker. Hilliard is a crafty scorer who doesn't do any one thing great but does just about everything well. A big tournament might be able to get them more looks in the second round.

2. Virginia Cavaliers

Potential first-rounder: Justin Anderson, G, Jr.
Potential second-rounder: Mike Tobey, F, Jr.

The Cavaliers, like Villanova, get it done without a lot of elite NBA talent. They do it with great coaching, defense and teamwork on the offensive end.

Anderson, before he injured his hand, was widely regarded as a mid- to late-first-round talent. He's got an NBA body, elite athleticism and this season dramatically improved his 3-point shooting (48 percent). He hasn't been himself since returning two games ago (he's gone 0-for-6 from the field) and Virginia fans are hoping that his 3-point shot returns to form.

Tobey is a bit of a sleeper. He's a stretch 4 with a high basketball IQ. But scouts are still waiting for him to break out.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

Potential second-rounders: Buddy Hield, SG, Jr.; Isaiah Cousins, G, Jr.; TaShawn Thomas, PF, Sr.

Hield drew first-round buzz before the season and won Big 12 Player of the Year, but his stock actually has dipped a bit this season. He's got NBA length and athleticism, but his shot selection can be highly questionable at times, which is a no-no for a college junior. However, he can come up very big in big games and a hot streak in the tournament could put him back in the first-round mix.

Cousins is on this list because my ESPN colleague Fran Fraschilla will yell at me if I don't include him. (Anyone who has watched Fran on an OU telecast knows what I'm talking about.) Indeed, Cousins is an athletic wing who is shooting 45 percent from 3 this season. Teams are always looking for shooters, and Cousins is one of the best in the draft.

Thomas, who had a solid senior season, is a versatile forward who can score around the basket and defend but is probably going to have to work his way onto a Summer League team.

4. Louisville Cardinals

Potential first-rounders: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Jr.; Terry Rozier, G, So.
Potential second-rounder: Wayne Blackshear, G/F, Sr.
Wait until next year: Chinanu Onuaku, F/C, Fr.

Harrell has been one of the most consistent performers on our Big Board. He's been ranked between Nos. 14 and 20 for the past three years straight. What he brings to the table is elite athleticism, strength and a strong motor. His offensive game has improved over the years, but his penchant for trying to shoot the 3 this season is misplaced. Teams that draft him want a junkyard dog, a player who provides raw power and energy in the paint. Harrell is totally equipped to do that and should go in the mid-first round on draft night.

Rozier is a combo guard who is trying to convince teams he's a real point guard. Like Harrell, his best attributes are toughness, athleticism and a strong motor. Few guards play harder on both ends than Rozier. Skills-wise, he's just an average shooter and doesn't see the floor as well as other point guards in the draft, but the scouts who love him see a young Kyle Lowry. He's in the 20-to-35 range.

Blackshear has been on the NBA radar since his freshman season but never really broke out the way his talent suggests. He's a very good athlete, but his inconsistent perimeter game combined with an inability to get to the basket means he'll likely go undrafted.

Onuaku is a favorite of the analytics crowd thanks to his ability to rebound, block shots and grab a high number of steals for a big man. He's averaging just 3.3 PPG, which means he's far away offensively, but NBA scouts believe he could be a first-round pick in 2016 or maybe, more realistically, 2017.

5. Northern Iowa Panthers

Potential second-rounder: Seth Tuttle, F, Sr.

Tuttle is one of the most versatile forwards in the country. His college PER ranks second in the country behind Frank Kaminsky. He can do it all: He scores from everywhere on the floor, rebounds and dishes out assists. But his lack of elite size and athleticism severely limits his ceiling. Right now he's a bubble second-round pick.

6. Providence Friars

Potential first-rounder: Kris Dunn, PG, So.

Dunn is one of the hottest names in the draft right now. His combination of size (6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan), athleticism (he's a very explosive, quick athlete) and court vision (he has the highest assist rate in college basketball) have put him in the conversation as the best point guard in the country who's not named Mudiay or Russell. A couple of big games in the NCAA tournament could push him into the late lottery. Right now he's in the 15-25 range.

7. Michigan State Spartans

Potential second-rounder: Branden Dawson, F, Sr.

If Dawson played as well all season as he did in the Big Ten tournament, he'd be a lottery pick. Blessed with elite strength and athleticism, he can be a beast on both ends of the floor when he's focused. When he loses focus, he just disappears. There's been so much disappearing over the years that scouts have really lost faith in him. But his physical tools are so good that a great tournament could convince them to give him a second chance.

8. North Carolina State Wolfpack

Potential second-rounder: Anthony Barber, PG, So.

Cat Barber is quick, has the ball on a string and can get to the rim at will, and this season he proved to be a more than capable shooter, hitting 40 percent of his 3-point shots. When he's good, like in a 34-point performance against Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament, he looks like a sure-fire first-round pick. When he's bad, like his zero-point performance against Duke, also in the ACC tournament, he looks like he definitely needs another season at NC State. Which version of Barber will show up in the NCAA tourney?

9. LSU Tigers

Potential first-rounder:Jarell Martin, F, So.
Potential second-rounder: Jordan Mickey, PF, So.

Both Martin and Mickey possess elite-level NBA talent. They just don't show it on a consistent enough basis. Martin's been the better of the two this season and has slowly played his way into the discussion as a late-first-round pick. He's got great athleticism, an NBA body and a versatile skill set, but his lack of ideal height and length for his position limit his ceiling. Mickey is one of the best shot-blockers in the country and has great length for his position. However, he lacks strength and focus. When he's locked in, he can be very good, but that can vary wildly from game to game.

The biggest issue with both players is that LSU has underperformed terribly this season despite its talent. The Tigers need to start winning some big games, and a first-round victory over NC State would go a long way. With Ben Simmons, a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, heading there next season, someone's about to be out of job if they don't get one in the NBA.

10. Georgia Bulldogs

No current NBA prospects

11. Boise State Broncos/Dayton Flyers

Boise State potential second-rounders: Derrick Marks, SG, Sr.; James Webb III, SF, So.

Dayton potential second-rounders: Jordan Sibert, SG, Sr.; Dyshawn Pierre, SF, Jr.

Marks is having a crazy good senior season, averaging 19.3 PPG and shooting 44 percent from behind the arc. His lack of size and elite athletic ability are hurting his draft stock, but he's one of the 10 best guards in the country and has gotten some looks from NBA teams in the second round and even late in the first. Webb has been equally intriguing. He's got great athleticism and length for his position and can really shoot the ball. He just needs to add a lot of strength. Plus, his production has been very inconsistent. He's probably better off waiting another season to improve his stock, but given that he'll turn 22 this summer, the clock is ticking.

Dayton's Sibert and Pierre have been on the radar since the start of last season. Sibert is a long, athletic wing who can be very difficult to guard when he's knocking down 3s. His 3-point shooting peaked during his junior season. It fell to 35 percent this season, which means his long shot at being a second-round pick got longer. Pierre is a strong, athletic wing who is an elite rebounder for his position.

12. Wyoming Cowboys

Potential second-rounder: Larry Nance Jr., F, Sr.

Nance is a versatile forward who excels in the low post and finishing at the rim. Before he tore his ACL last season, he was an excellent athlete and shot-blocker, but that's been diminished somewhat since he returned. When his jump shot is falling, however, he can be dangerous.

13. UC Irvine Anteaters

Potential second-rounder: Mamadou Ndiaye, C, So.

Kevin Pelton will kill me if I don't mention Ndiaye as an NBA prospect. He's got a serious man crush on him after he dropped 18 points on Washington last season. At 7-6, 300 pounds with an incredible 8-1 wingspan, every GM dreams a guy like him can actually play. I'm just not sure, after two seasons, whether we've really seen any evidence of that. While a decent shot-blocker, he's actually blocking considerably fewer shots as a sophomore.

14. Albany Great Danes

No current NBA prospects

15. Belmont Bruins

No current NBA prospects

16. Lafayette Leopards

No current NBA prospects
post #249 of 8508
Thread Starter 
NBA Big Board 4.0: Shuffle near the top as 2015 March Madness tips off

Some scattered thoughts after spending a couple of days in Columbus, Ohio, watching D’Angelo Russell for a feature in this week’s Sports Illustrated:

• Russell is a pure playmaker. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta told me he wasn’t sure what position Russell would settle into entering the season; there isn’t much debate now. Though Russell shares the backcourt with Shannon Scott, he is the team’s most accomplished passer. He has a phenomenal ability to read defenses coming off a screen, and fires passes with impressive velocity. He is an assist-producing machine; one NBA executive told me Russell could become a consistent double-digit assist man at the next level.
• ​He can shoot it, too. NBA executives love to scrutinize shooting form, and by all accounts, Russell’s is solid. Some scouts suggested a few tweaks, but none thought any kind of overhaul was needed for a player who has made 41.5% of his threes this season.
• ​Is he athletic enough? This was likely the most consistent criticism. Russell has good size (6’5”) for an NBA point guard, but scouts wonder if he has enough athleticism to regularly defend playmakers that seem to become more dynamic by the year.

On to’s NBA draft Big Board 4.0:

C | 6-11, 270 pounds | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 1
Okafor has been feeling some heat from Towns and the fast-rising Russell, but just like in October, his hold on the top spot remains solid. Okafor shook off a sluggish start to March with a 28-point, eight-rebound effort in Duke’s loss to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament. He continues to impress scouts with his play in the post and with his defense, and while still rough around the edges, he has improved as the season has progressed.

C | 6-11, 250 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 3
Proponents of Towns—and there are lots of NBA executives on this list—love his offensive potential. He has a startling number of polished post moves, and as his body develops several scouts project him as a dominant scorer who can consistently make his free throws (81.4%). Will he surpass Okafor? Probably not. But Towns’s talent will make it tough to pass him, too.

PG | 6-5, 200 | Age: 18
Last Big Board: No. 4
As has been noted before, Mudiay’s injury-plagued season in China has kept him off the NBA radar. It hasn’t created skeptics—scouts are still enamored with his scoring point guard potential—so much as curiosity. He returned from China this week and plans to begin his workouts to prepare for the draft next week. A strong combine will likely cement Mudiay’s place as the first point guard off the board.

PG | 6-5, 180 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 2
Russell’s playmaking skills are unparalleled in this draft class. He thrives in the pick-and-roll and in transition, with a preternatural ability to see plays develop before they do. He struggled in the regular-season finale against Wisconsin last week and was so-so in a Big Ten tournament loss to Michigan State. Still, Russell is the type of point guard prospect teams will try to move up to get.

SF | 6-7, 245 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 5
Johnson rallied from some pedestrian performances in January to put up strong numbers in the Pac-12 tournament. Defense continues to be his calling card; his physique reminds some scouts of Ron Artest. But Johnson was also surprisingly solid from the perimeter (36.6%) and showcased a knack for getting to the free throw line (5.0 attempts per game). Scouts will watch Johnson closely in the tournament.

PF | 6-11, 220 | Age: 19
Last Big Board: No. 6
Is he Dirk Nowitzki or Andrea Bargnani? That was the rhetorical question one international scout posed last week. Offensively, Porzingis has showcased Nowitzki-like range and runs the floor well. The more skeptical scouts expressed concern about his rudimentary low post skills. Porzingis has started to fill out his 7’1” frame nicely this season and is another player who would benefit from a strong combine.

SG | 6-8, 200 | Age: 19
Last Big Board: No. 7
Hezonja’s inconsistent playing time maddens team executives who make overseas trips to watch him, with basketball politics often cited as the reason the talented swingman isn’t regularly receiving 30-plus minutes. He is a terrific isolation player who has made major improvements this season playing off the ball. Hezonja is a scorer with three-point range; it’s hard to see someone like that falling too far in the lottery field.

SF | 6-6, 225 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 9
Like Johnson, Winslow’s primary appeal is his defense. He is a tenacious defender who sniffs out a pick-and-roll well—no small thing in the NBA—with the size to defend most small forwards. Offensively, he remains most effective in transition but is efficient in the half court and is making a solid 39.6% of his threes this season. Winslow will seamlessly fit into a lot of NBA systems.

C | 7-0, 240 | Junior
Last Big Board: No. 11
How often are three defensive-minded prospects in the top 10? Cauley-Stein is the best of the bunch, a tough, physical interior presence gifted with the quickness to step out and defend guards on the perimeter. It’s hard to see him developing into more than a rim runner offensively, and whichever team drafts him will need a more offensive-oriented big to play alongside him. But several scouts agree: Cauley-Stein is as safe a pick as there is in the draft.

C | 7-0, 242 | Senior
Last Big Board: No. 10
Kaminsky always generates a fascinating discussion among NBA types. The ones who love him see a heady power forward who can space the floor and keep the ball moving. The ones who don’t see a solid scoring big man who could be physically overmatched and a defensive liability at the next level. The fact is, Kaminsky measurably improved in his senior season and frequently plays his best in big games. He’s a lottery pick.

SF | 6-7, 200 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 14
Oubre had two big chances to wow scouts in matchups with Top 25 teams Baylor and Iowa State last week. He struggled in both. The absence of Cliff Alexander (due to an NCAA investigation) has put more pressure on Oubre in the paint, and that will continue with Alexander out of the tournament. Scouts have been impressed by the physical Oubre’s steady improvement since the start of the season. His three-point shooting needs work (36%), but he has been getting to the free throw line more regularly recently, including a whopping 19 times against TCU.

C | 6-11, 240 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 13
Turner’s three-point, two-rebound effort against Iowa State—a game in which he played 2 ½ minutes in the second half—was the latest big-game stinker for the talented power forward. He put up some big numbers this season, but flopped in big games far too often. Texas sneaking into the tourney is an opportunity for Turner to erase that reputation and get NBA teams refocused on his impressive offensive skills.

PF | 6-9, 220 | Freshman
Last Big Board: No. 8
Plenty of NBA execs will hope for UCLA to make a deep run in March, if for no other reason than to get a longer look at Looney. The freshman struggled mightily in the Pac-12 tournament, totaling 10 points and eight rebounds in two games. SMU, the Bruins’ first-round opponent, is a terrific rebounding team; NBA scouts will watch closely to see how Looney performs.

SG | 6-6, 206 | Freshman
Last Big Board: 15
Booker continues to push himself into the lottery discussion. He is among the draft’s best three-point shooters (42.9%), and after some February stumbles he seems to have regained consistency. He has one of those pure shooting strokes NBA executives love—remember the gushing over Ben McLemore two years ago?—and if he continues to make shots during a likely lengthy tourney run, he could move deeper into the lottery.

PG | 6-5, 202 | Senior
Last Big Board: 11
Statistically, Grant’s numbers are down from last season, which ended in December due to an academic-related suspension. But he continues to put up impressive performances in big games, most recently a 24-point, 10-assist effort in a win over North Carolina in the ACC championship. His slip down the board last month was a combination of scouts’ growing interest in younger prospects and some questions about whether Grant has the skills to be a full-time NBA point guard.

PF | 6-8, 240 | Junior
Last Big Board: No. 16
Got to love Louisville, which honored Harrell, a junior, on Senior Night this month. Harrell is likely gone, of course, after improving on a breakout sophomore season. NBA scouts still wonder how the aggressive, high-energy forward handles playing against length, which makes Louisville’s showdown against UC-Irvine—and 7’6” center Mamadou Ndiaye, who anchors the Anteaters’ zone—one of the more interesting first-round matchups.

PF | 6-11, 242 | Sophomore
Last Big Board: 17
Portis acquitted himself well in two games against Kentucky’s big front line over the last three weeks. There is nothing spectacular about Portis’s skill set, but he is a solid scorer who can step outside (46.4% from three-point range). He is also a quality rebounder and shot blocker.

SG | 6-3, 205 | Sophomore
Last Big Board: N/A
Dunn has charged into the first-round conversation over the last two months; this month he makes his debut in the top 20. Snake-bitten by injuries his first two years out of high school, Dunn has lived up to his considerable potential this season. He has a quick first step and natural playmaking abilities. His three-point shot needs work, but he is a solid mid-range shooter who has connected on 48% of his shots. With prototypical size, Dunn’s rapid rise may not be finished.

PF | 6-10, 235 | Freshman
Last Big Board: N/A
Hey, look, another Wildcat. Like most Kentucky players, Lyles’s numbers (8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds) are not eye-popping, which is a product of limited playing time. But scouts love his soft touch from the perimeter and his rebounding potential. Multiple execs cited Lyles as a potential steal in the back half of the first round.

SG | 6-7, 200 | Junior
Last Big Board: No. 18
A broken foot ended LeVert’s season in January, a major disappointment for some executives who were anxious to see how he finished the year. LeVert has solid two-guard size and shot well enough from three (40.5%) to convince several scouts that he can do it on the next level. His mid-range game needs work, but he is a nice developmental player for a team picking in the second half of the first round.
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Thread Starter 
Is D’Angelo Russell a Guard the Knicks Should Shoot For?

With the worst season in Knicks’ history crawling to a close and the NCAA tournament getting under way, things are taking shape at the tops of mock NBA Draft boards.

Many analysts expect freshmen centers Jahlil Okafor (Duke) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky) to be the top two picks, should both enter the June 25 draft. If the Knicks, who are headed to the draft lottery with their NBA-worst record, are fortunate enough to select within that range, they could easily take one of them, given how important good post play is to Phil Jackson’s triangle offense.

But with gaping roster holes nearly everywhere, the Knicks would be wise simply to take the best player available, even if it means selecting one at a position that traditionally hasn’t been emphasized in the triangle.

Another freshman, Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell, embodies that argument better than anyone—and it’s no secret that he’s on the Knicks’ radar, since Jackson attended one of Russell’s games recently and incurred an NBA fine for calling him a “great prospect.”

For the second part in our series on college prospects whom the Knicks should consider (the first focused on Okafor), we went on the road to watch Russell up close and delved into his game film, evaluating how his strengths, weaknesses and tendencies might fit in New York. Fans can have a look for themselves on Thursday when Russell and his 10th-seeded Buckeyes take on Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the NCAA tournament.


Name: D’Angelo Russell
School: Ohio State
Position: Shooting Guard
Size: 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
Age: 19
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.


Quick, accurate release off the dribble: Unlike most of the wing players who have surrounded Carmelo Anthony in New York—players who couldn’t create shots for themselves—Russell doesn’t need much space to score. He’ll often surprise defenders by pulling the trigger from deep while in the midst of dribbling, much sooner than they expect. He takes nearly twice as many pull-up jumpers as he does catch-and-shoot ones, and is more accurate shooting off the dribble (45%) than in spot-up situations (40%), according to Synergy Sports.

Court vision: Russell is among the most talented passers in the nation. A number of his most celebrated moves (particularly his one-handed backdoor passes, which he throws with backspin) have stemmed from designed plays in Ohio State’s motion-weave offense, which is heavy on pin-downs and flare screens. His ability to make the proper reads and then thread passes into tight windows is impeccable. Russell also likes to freeze defenses with no-look passes, and his left-handed angles are reminiscent of fellow 6-foot-5-inch southpaw Manu Ginobili. He has posted an eye-popping 30.7% assist rate despite splitting ball-handling duties with Shannon Scott.

Size and length: Russell, who has a wingspan of about 6-foot-9, can see and pass the ball directly over the heads of many of the guards who defend him. As such, drafting him—and teaming him with Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas—would continue Jackson’s trend of acquiring wing players with long arms in hopes of building a more disruptive defense.

Pushes the pace: Russell looks for any and every opportunity to get out in transition off a defensive rebound. Of his 476 shots this season, nearly a third have come in transition (and almost half those fast-break attempts have come from three-point range), according to Hoop-Math. When leading the break, he slows down ever so slightly as he reaches the three-point line to seek out trailing teammates who are in position for lobs or easy lay-ins. All of this would be a welcome shift for the Knicks, who rank last in the NBA in fast-break points, according to, with 8.4 a game.


Too brash on offense: Russell can get himself into trouble when forcing the action. He has a habit of taking one or two dribbles too many and ending up right in the teeth of the defense, which can result in turnovers. As for his shooting, more than 20% of his three-point attempts have come from a whopping 25 feet away or more, according to Shot Analytics. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta briefly planted Russell on the bench a couple of times early in the season for taking momentum-sapping bombs.

Consistent effort: It isn’t uncommon to see Russell, when he is the lone defender in position to stop a fast break, move out of the way as an opponent closes in for a layup. He will also occasionally flop, as he did during inbound plays against North Carolina and Illinois, rather than seek to play out the possessions solidly.

Still adjusting to man defense: It was difficult to gauge Russell’s defensive ability while Ohio State was playing a 2-3 zone defense almost exclusively until early January. Since then, he has shown himself to be decent at moving his feet when he’s on the ball. He can also become a ball-watcher, surrendering back-door looks more often than he should. That could be a problem for a Knicks team that figures to return at least three subpar defenders next season.


Favors his left: A look at Russell’s shot chart illustrates that he’s far more comfortable going to his left side than his right. Entering the tournament, 38% of his shots had come from the left side of the floor, compared with 27% from the right. He’s developed a beautiful counterattack move when teams force him left, stopping abruptly and crossing the ball over behind his back. But he’s also shown a tendency to settle at the elbow rather than drive when on the right side. Russell hasn’t been blocked much this season—just four times in 98 attempts at the rim in a half-court setting, per Hoop-Math—but NBA coaches will want to break his habit of finishing with his left hand when he’s going right.

Relies on his ability to stop on a dime: Between splitting pick-and-rolls and using a step-back jumper, Russell makes a lot of sudden stops and starts with the ball. “He likes to yo-yo you back and forth,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. As such, you’ll see Russell wiping the bottoms of his shoes far more often than other players, in hopes of gaining better traction. During a road game against Michigan last month—one in which the Knicks had a scout present to watch him—he came out for the second half wearing a different pair of shoes. Asked about the change, he said the floor was slicker than what he’s used to.

May lose his favorite move: Russell’s assist-to-turnover ratio, at about 5-to-3, is fine. But one of his favorite moves—the hesitation dribble, which is lethal since defenders are forced to respect his pull-up jumper—is often whistled as a carrying violation. He’s also been called for carrying a handful of times while faking dribble-handoffs to teammates.

Basketball IQ: Though he’ll occasionally take an ill-advised jumper or make a flashier pass than he needs to, Russell appears to understand game situations pretty well. In the late stages of a hard-fought win earlier this month, he was seen glancing up at the arena’s scoreboard, explaining afterward that he was checking how many fouls an opposing big man had and then making a point to attack that player and foul him out. That’s an encouraging sign for someone who might play with Anthony, a scorer who has thrived when teamed with cerebral floor generals.


Russell, who turned 19 years old in February, would immediately become the flashiest point guard Jackson has ever used to run the triangle offense. He’d also give the Knicks a much-needed second playmaker to go with the aging Anthony.

His defense likely wouldn’t move the needle much one way or the other, meaning the Knicks would still need to look for above-average defenders in free agency if they draft him. And there would be obvious questions as to whether Anthony, as a 12-year-veteran and ball-dominant wing player, could jell and occasionally take direction from someone so much younger, even if that player is as skilled a passer as Russell.

But in terms of tendencies and floor spacing, it could work: Russell takes a greater percentage of his shots from the left side, while Anthony, Galloway, Jose Calderon and Tim Hardaway, Jr.—that is, the players most likely to return to New York—have taken most of theirs from the right, according to Stats LLC. It’s also encouraging that Russell already plays in a heavy motion system, and that he manages to thrive without always being the primary ball-handler.

Based on Jackson’s history, which hasn’t involved point guards being the focal point of his offenses, it still remains a safe bet that the Knicks would take either Okafor or Towns should they land a top-two pick. Even still, Russell presents an intriguing possibility for them, especially if they fall to Nos. 3 or 4.
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Thread Starter 
Ford's last regional breakdown:
Top prospects in South Region

The South Region has its fair share of elite NBA draft prospects in comparison to the other regions. By our count, it has four potential lottery picks and another four potential first-rounders. It also has two or three unique draft sleepers in the country who are worth checking out.

Insider's NBA draft team has talked to multiple NBA scouts and general managers during the season. Based on their feedback, here's a look at the top prospects on each of the teams in the South Region, listed by potential lottery picks, first-rounders, second-rounders and "wait until next year" players. (Teams listed by seed.)

On Monday, we took a look at the prospects in the Midwest; on Tuesday, we looked at the West; on Wednesday, it was time for the East.

1. Duke Blue Devils

Lottery picks: Jahlil Okafor, C, Fr.; Justise Winslow, F, Fr.
Potential first-rounders: Tyus Jones, PG, Fr.
Potential second-rounders: Quinn Cook, PG, Sr.;
Wait until next year: Grayson Allen, SG, Fr.

The Blue Devils, once again, are loaded with NBA prospects. Okafor has been ranked No. 1 on our Big Board all season and might be the most dominant freshman big man I've scouted on the offensive end. He has low post footwork that many veteran NBA bigs lack. The only concern about him is his lack of elite athleticism. It doesn't hurt him offensively, but he can struggle defensively at times and isn't an elite rim protector.

Winslow is in the running for the best wing in the draft. He's a powerful finisher at the rim and has shown off a better than expected 3-point shot -- it's his mid-range game that's been non-existent. He's shot a measly 23 percent on his two-point field goals this season. Still, with his athleticism and intangibles (he's got some Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in him) many scouts think he might be an elite NBA players someday. He'll go somewhere between No. 6 and 12.

Jones is polarizing. He's a favorite of scouts who use analytics. His high basketball IQ, elite assist-to-turnover ratio and high steal rate make him appealing. But he lacks elite size and athleticism to dominate at the next level. His range is pretty wide between No. 15 and 25. Cook shares backcourt responsibility with Jones, and is having a dominant season. He too takes care of the ball, is shooting 40 percent from three and may find a way to sneak into the second round.

Scouts are really excited about Allen, an explosive two guard who can, when he gets hot like he did when he dropped 27 points on Wake Forest, look like a lottery pick. He won't be one this year. But in 2016, it's not out of the question.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Potential first-rounders: Domantas Sabonis, PF, Fr.
Potential second-rounders: Przemek Karnowski, C, Jr.

The Zags' best NBA prospect doesn't even start for them. Sabonis, the son of NBA big man Arvydas Sabonis, plays just 20 minutes per night, but has one of the highest rebounding rates in the country, has a lethal face-the-basket jumper, and plays with a high basketball IQ like his dad. He's definitely a late first-round sleeper if he declares this year.

Karnowski has the size of a NBA center for sure, but his lack of NBA athleticism is worrisome. He's a possible bubble second-rounder if he declares.

3. Iowa State Cyclones

Potential second-rounders: Georges Niang, F, Jr.; Jameel McKay, PF, Jr.
Wait until next year: Monte Morris, PG, So.

Niang is one of the smartest players in the country. He just lacks elite size or athleticism for his position. However, he's shooting the ball better than ever and some scouts have wondered whether he could be a Draymond Green type down the road. That seems like lofty praise given how well Green has performed this season, but when Green was drafted? That sounds less hyperbolic.

McKay is athletic, runs the floor, attacks the glass and can block shots. But he's rail-thin and not very polished offensively. Morris has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the country, is shooting 40 percent from three and has good size for his position. It's not out of the question that he could be in the mix as a first-round pick in 2016. He's having a terrific, underrated, sophomore season. I know a number of scouts who are big fans of Morris.

4. Georgetown Hoyas

Potential second-rounders: Josh Smith, C, Sr.; D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, G, Jr.
Wait until next year: Isaac Copeland, F, Fr.

Smith has the size and basketball skills to be an NBA player. He has possessed that talent since his freshman year. Conditioning and work ethic issues have kept him out of the first-round discussion. He's having the best season of his career as a senior and scouts still think there may be a place for him in the NBA. But the way he makes the biggest impression won't be in the tournament. He needs to get with a trainer and get in the best shape of his life for workouts.

Smith-Rivera is the classic college combo guard who lacks the elite size or athleticism for his game to translate at the next level. So while he's the engine behind Georgetown's offense and could have a big tournament, most scouts will say there's 25 college guards just like him.

Copeland is the best NBA prospect on the team and could be a lottery pick in another year. He lacks strength, but he's super skilled, can play the 3 and the 4, can shoot the 3, protect the rim and he can even handle the ball. He's very inconsistent, but when he's good, he's very, very good.

5. Utah Utes

Potential first-rounders: Jakob Poeltl, C, Fr.; Delon Wright, PG, Sr.

Wright is one of the best players in the country and is an obvious fit in the NBA. His size, athleticism and floor management skills should make him a lock for the first round. He's shot the ball much better this season, especially lately, has a terrific three-to-one assist to turnover ratio, and is a ball hawk on the defensive end. The only thing going against Wright is his age. He turns 23 before the draft and that always scares teams a bit. With that said, he's right in the mix with Jerian Grant, Kris Dunn and Terry Rozier for the next point guard off the board after Emmanuel Mudiay and D'Angelo Russell. He's in the No. 15 to 25 range.

Ironically, Poeltl is in the opposite position of Wright. He isn't NBA-ready, is inconsistent and barely moves the needle offensively; however, his size, mobility and defensive talents rebounding and blocking shots have teams intrigued. While Wright is perceived to be out of upside, Poeltl, who is just 19, is seen to be filled with it. While he's two years away from being a contributor in the NBA, if he declares he'd likely go somewhere between No. 15 and 20 in the draft.

6. SMU Mustangs

No current NBA prospects.

Larry Brown is still recovering from the fact that Mudiay decided to withdraw from SMU. He told me a couple of weeks ago: "If we had him right now, we'd be ranked one, two or three in the country. And along with Russell and Okafor, he'd be the biggest name in college basketball right now. He'd have a brand right now. I tried to tell the family, but he had other people in his ears, and, ultimately, I supported his decision. The kid just wanted to play basketball, but he had a family to support."

Instead, SMU is ranked No. 20 and while they have a lot of great college players led by American Conference Player of the Year Nic Moore, American Conference Most Improved player Yanick Moreira and American Conference Sixth Man of the Year Markus Kennedy, none of them are likely to end up in the NBA, according to scouts.

7. Iowa Hawkeyes

Potential second-rounders: Aaron White, PF, Sr.; Jarrod Uthoff, SF, Jr.

White is a unique prospect who thrives on running the floor and getting to the rim where he shoots a terrific 72 percent. He's a very good athlete, can initiate the offense from the high post and plays with a great basketball IQ. His lack of a great jumper (26 percent on his 2-point jumpers, 33 percent from 3) are the biggest red flags for him now.

Uthoff also has his fans as an athletic forward who can both rebound and block shots and stretch the floor. He's shooting a very respectable 39 percent from 3 and even better 42 percent on his 2-point jumpers. Both players are bubble second rounders, but a strong run for Iowa in the tournament would help their cause.

8. San Diego State Aztecs

Lottery picks: Malik Pope, F, Fr.
Potential second-rounders: Winston Shepard, F, Jr.; Dwayne Polee II, G/F, Sr.

Pope is averaging just 5.1 PPG and 2.6 RPG as a freshman in just 14 MPG. Catch him on the wrong night and you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. But dig deeper, as so many scouts have this year, and Pope's unique combination of size and length, elite athleticism, and basketball skill screams lottery pick. He can shoot the ball with range, handle it coast to coast, rebound and protect the rim. He's not ready, but neither was Giannis Antetokounmpo, and while he's a different player than Antetokounmpo, he has that sort of transcendent combination of physical tools and skills. When he gets going, like he did in the Mountain West final versus Wyoming, it's hard not to fall in love. He's right now in the No. 13 to 25 range. But it will just take one or two big performances in the tournament to push him into the Top 10.

Shepard always has been an intriguing prospect based on his size and versatile skill set, but after stalling out as sophomore, he's no longer considered an elite NBA prospect. Polee is one of the best athletes in the draft, but has struggled this season. His collapse on the court versus UC-Riverside was one of the scariest moments of the year. Diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia, he's now back playing for the Aztecs, though his draft status at this point is very questionable.

9. St. John's Red Storm

Potential second-rounders: Chris Obekpa, C, Jr.; Sir'Dominic Pointer, G/F, Sr.; D'Angelo Harrison, SG, Sr.
Wait until next year: Rysheed Jordan, PG, So.

Obekpa is the best pro prospect on St. John's, though a two-week suspension for violating team rules certainly puts his ability to improve his stock in the tournament in serious doubt. While Obekpa isn't much of an offensive player, he's one of the elite shot blockers in the draft.

Pointer had a breakout senior season. He doubled his point production, rebounds and blocked shots, but he's still a tweener who can't shoot and who struggles to put up points. Harrison has averaged roughly 17 PPG for his entire four seasons at St. John's. He hasn't been particularly efficient doing it, but he's been solid across the board. The biggest issue really a lack of elite size for his position that puts him in the same league with a ton of other good, but not elite tweener guard prospects. Both are unlikely to get drafted.

Jordan is the most intriguing long-term prospect. He's long, athletic and has great size for his position. However, he averaged as many turnovers as assists this season, is just a so-so shooter and scouts still have questions about his basketball IQ. He could be a potential first-round prospect in 2016, but he still has a lot to prove.

10. Davidson Wildcats

No current NBA prospects.

11. UCLA Bruins

Lottery picks: Kevon Looney, F, Fr.
Potential second-rounders: Norman Powell, SG, Sr.; Tony Parker Jr., C, Jr.; Isaac Hamilton, SG, So.

UCLA might have been a controversial choice to make the tournament, but scouts are relieved. Looney projects as one of the top 10 players in the draft this year, and the more they can see him against elite talent, the better. He suffered a facial fracture in the Pac-12 tournament, which limited his effectiveness after forcing him to don a mask. But it's unlikely to matter what he does. Teams that are high on him are crazy about his Inspector Gadget-long arms, versatility and toughness. He's still a major work in progress, but if he ever gets it, he could be a better version of Lamar Odom.

Powell's draft stock rose considerably this summer after playing well in the summer camps but he's been a mild disappointment this season. He's a terrific athlete, an elite defender and he's been much more aggressive scoring the basketball, but his jump shot and decision making are still shaky. He's a very likely second-rounder, but the days of being mentioned as a first-rounder seem to be over.

Parker and Hamilton have been solid, but they'll likely need to return to UCLA if they want to get drafted.

12. Steven F. Austin Lumberjacks

No current NBA prospects.

13. Eastern Washington Eagles

Potential second-round picks: Tyler Harvey, SG, Jr.; Venky Jois, PF, Jr.

Harvey is the leading scorer in the country and when you watch him play, you understand why. He's a fearless shooter that is willing to let it go from anywhere on the floor. Despite his penchant for letting it fly, he's a surprisingly efficient shooter, hitting 44 percent of his three-point shots and 48 percent of his two-point jumpers. He's especially effective with his floater and shows great basketball IQ out there. Considering he's put up numbers against SMU, Indiana, Washington and Cal, it's pretty clear he can play with the big boys. I could see him having a C.J. McCollum-like rise if he gets hot. He doesn't have elite size or athleticism, but the kid can really make shots.

And don't count out his teammate Jois either. A number of scouts who went to Eastern Washington to see Harvey play came back impressed with Jois as well. He has one of the highest PERs in college basketball, can rebound and score the ball. He's a second-round prospect at best, but an intriguing one.

14. UAB Blazers

No current NBA prospects.

15. North Dakota State Aggies

No current NBA prospects.

16. North Florida Ospreys/Robert Morris Colonials

No current NBA prospects.
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Thread Starter 
Knicks Fans' NCAA Tournament Guide: Eight players to watch

The Knicks have been eliminated from the playoffs. But fear not, Knicks fans, there’s still some postseason basketball for you.

Put your scouting hat on -- or in this case, your Zen Master glasses -- and keep a close eye on some of the potential prospects who could be on Phil Jackson's radar in the NCAA tournament.

The Knicks could end up with the first overall pick -- let’s hope the Basketball Gods, as Phil calls them, are just after this nightmarish season -- or at the very least a top-four lottery pick if they finish with the worst record.

There are some lottery prospects who will not be playing in the tournament, including Emmanuel Mudiay (China), Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) and Mario Hezonja (Croatia). And there are some players in the tournament who could raise their draft stock, such as Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky and Kansas' Kelly Oubre.

But here are the top eight guys to watch in the tourney:

Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-11

Weight: 275

First-round opponent: No. 16 seed Robert Morris, South Region, Friday, 7:10 p.m.

Season/conference tournament stats: 17.7 PPG, 9 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 66.9 FG%/ACC tournament: 19 PPG, 6 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 69.2 FG%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 1st

What Ford’s saying: “Okafor remains the most polished offensive freshman big man we've seen in a decade. The issue is that [Karl-Anthony] Towns is not only a superior defender, but he's catching up on the offensive end. Just a little over half of the NBA scouts and GMs I spoke with have Okafor No. 1 right now. There isn't a GM alive who isn't praying that Okafor will meet Towns one-on-one in the NCAA tournament.”

Why Phil should take him: As Chad says, he’s a big man with a low-post game and he might be the most NBA-ready of prospects -– well, considering today’s standards. Okafor could be a nice post-up option in the triangle to go along with Carmelo Anthony and provide the Knicks with an attractive piece to help lure potential free agents. He can solidify his claim to the top pick in the draft with a strong tournament showing, especially if he leads Duke to the title. Even if the Knicks finish with the second overall pick, they could still land Okafor if another team covets the next guy on our list ...

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-11

Weight: 250

First-round opponent: No. 16 seed Hampton, Midwest Region, Thursday, 9:40 p.m.

Season/conference tournament stats: 9.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 55.4 FG%, 25 3-PT%/SEC tournament: 9.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2 BPG, 50 FG%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 2nd

What Ford’s saying: “His ability to stretch the floor, protect the rim and make free throws may make up for his lack of low-post polish (though he's not too shabby there, either). A huge tournament for Towns, or even more importantly, a win in a one-on-one showdown with Okafor, might be all he needs to push him into the top spot.”

Why Phil should take him: Towns might have more potential than Okafor. If the Knicks end up with the first overall pick, can they wait for a prospect to develop when considering Towns versus Okafor? It might not matter. Towns could prove in this tournament that he’s too much to pass on -- and we should get a good look at the big man as undefeated Kentucky is the favorite to win it all.

D'Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Ohio State

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-5

Weight: 180

First-round opponent: No. 7 seed VCU, West Region, Thursday, 4:40 p.m.

Season/conference tournament stats: 19.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 45.8 FG%, 41.5 3-PT%/Big Ten tournament: 21 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2 BPG, 1.5 SPG, 43.7 FG%, 33.3 3-PT%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 4th

What Ford’s saying: “Russell's play of late hasn't been quite up to par. ... He's still the most lethal wing scorer in the draft -- and he's asked to shoulder a huge load at Ohio State -- but he hasn't been great of late and to make the move to No. 1, he's got to be great.”

Why Phil should take him: Russell could be the best guard in the draft, but he did not have a strong showing in the Big Ten tournament when he had a quiet 19 points against Michigan State and failed to take over the game despite being the best player on the floor. Jackson has scouted Russell in person and the guard’s stock could rise with a nice showing in the tournament. But barring a big run in the tourney, Russell would likely come into play for the Knicks outside the top two picks. Russell will likely have to come up big for Ohio State to get past VCU in the first round.

Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-10

Weight: 210

First-round opponent: No. 6 seed SMU, South Region, Thursday, 3:10 p.m.

Season/conference tournament stats: 11.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 47.1 FG%, 45.8 3-PT%/Pac-12 tournament: 5 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 40 FG%, 66.6 3-PT%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 6th

What Ford’s saying: “He has crazy length, is a terrific rebounder and should be able to play multiple positions on both ends of the floor. He nearly averaged a double-double as a freshman and showed fight even when UCLA was struggling.”

Why Phil should take him: UCLA was fortunate to get into the tournament, but this is a good thing for lottery teams who want to get another look at Looney. He probably needs a big tournament showing to be considered by the Knicks, even if their lottery pick ends up outside the top three. Considering how Phil has talked this season about draft prospects, the Knicks might not have the patience for a guy like Looney to develop.

Willie Cauley-Stein, F/C, Kentucky

Year: Junior

Height: 7-0

Weight: 240

First-round opponent: No. 16 seed Hampton, Midwest Region, Thursday, 9:40 p.m.

Season/conference tournament stats: 9.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 58.8 FG%/SEC tournament: 14 PPG, 7 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 58.3% FG%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 7th

What Ford’s saying: “Cauley-Stein is the most versatile defensive big man in the country. Offensively, he's still a major work in progress, but lately he's started hitting midrange jumpers. Despite the fact that he's a junior, NBA scouts still mention upside when talking about Cauley-Stein. He may never average 10 PPG in the NBA, but his defensive versatility alone may make him worth a top-10 pick.”

Why Phil should take him: Well, Phil traded away Tyson Chandler before the season started, so he probably realizes how much the Knicks can use a defender in the paint. Cauley-Stein was a wide receiver in high school, so he would provide the Knicks with some much-needed athleticism. But the Knicks need all the help they can get and hope a big man like Okafor or Towns can make a bigger impact. Cauley-Stein would have to have a big tournament run and the Knicks likely would have to drop out of the top three for them to consider the Kentucky big man.

Myles Turner, PF, Texas

Year: Freshman

Height: 7-0

Weight: 240

First-round opponent: No. 11 seed Butler, Midwest Region, Thursday, 2:45 p.m.

Season/Conference tournament stats: 10.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 46 FG%, 27.9 3-PT%/Big-12 tournament: 4 PPG, 4 RPG, 50 FG%, 33.3 3-PT%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 9th

What Ford’s saying: “Turner is inconsistent. Maddeningly so. And the Longhorns might be the biggest disappointment of any team in the NCAA this season. ... But scouts are not down on him at all, despite his up-and-down play. He is big, protects the rim and can shoot the 3. Plus, everyone I have spoken with thinks he will be much better in the NBA.”

Why Phil should take him: Turner would have to have a dominant showing in the tournament and see his stock rise. He'd have to look like another former Texas big man -- LaMarcus Aldridge -- for the Knicks to consider him with a top-four pick.

Justise Winslow, SF, Duke

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-6

Weight: 225

First-round opponent: No. 16 seed Robert Morris, South Region, Friday, 7:10 p.m.

Season/Conference tournament stats: 12.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 48.2 FG%, 39.6 3-PT%/ACC tournament: 11 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2 SPG, 53.3% FG%, 33% 3-PT%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 10th

What Ford’s saying: “While he does not get the accolades of Okafor, he has been equally important to the team, and when Okafor was out of the lineup against Clemson, Winslow had 20 points and 13 boards. The same teams that had him ranked as a potential No. 5 or No. 6 pick in the draft in November and December are quietly moving him back up into that range, with a number of scouts praying that a Stanley Johnson-Winslow matchup might be in the cards for the Final Four.”

Why Phil should take him: Like Turner, Winslow would have to have a monster tournament showing, and the Knicks would have to finish with a better record than anticipated and fall out of the top four or five for him to come into play.

Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-7

Weight: 237

First-round opponent: No. 15 seed Texas Southern, West Region, Thursday, 2:10 p.m.

Season/Conference tournament stats: 14.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 45 FG%, 36.6 3-PT%/Pac-12 tournament: 16 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 46.1 FG%, 43.7 3-PT%

Chad Ford’s Big Board ranking: 12th

What Ford’s saying: “He's not the athlete everyone says he is, nor does he have the motor everyone says he does. As one veteran scout said: 'He takes plays off. His motor isn't always great and with the exception of a great NBA body, his tools aren't all they're made out to be. He struggles to finish at the rim. In my opinion, he's the most overhyped player in the draft.'"

Why Phil should take him: Johnson would have to tear it up in the tourney, but he is on a team that could go very deep and give him that kind of platform to flourish. What if Johnson stars against potential higher seeds like Wisconsin and Kentucky and leads Arizona to the championship? Still, this is another guy to keep on the radar likely only if the Knicks finish with a lower pick than anticipated or if Stanley dramatically increases his stock.
post #253 of 8508
Oubre looks like he would be better off staying in school one more year.
post #254 of 8508
This year Draft Lottery Show will be crazy laugh.gifsmokin.gif
Edited by show time 96 - 3/19/15 at 10:06am
post #255 of 8508
Thread Starter 

post #256 of 8508
Thread Starter 
post #257 of 8508
Originally Posted by JohnnyRedStorm View Post

Oubre looks like he would be better off staying in school one more year.

He's not going to get better or improve his draft stock playing for Bill Self.
post #258 of 8508
This draft is soon top loaded with talent.

Russell sick.gif

I was very impressed with the way Russell was handling the pressure and physicality VCU was trying, limited the TOs found the right people, got his shot off easily.

Kid is the goods.
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
post #259 of 8508
Originally Posted by awwsome View Post

Originally Posted by JohnnyRedStorm View Post

Oubre looks like he would be better off staying in school one more year.

He's not going to get better or improve his draft stock playing for Bill Self.
probably right but he's gonna have a lot of trouble in the nba.
post #260 of 8508
Thread Starter 

Okafor and Duke are playing against Robert Morris on your local CBS affiliate.
post #261 of 8508
Thread Starter 
post #262 of 8508
Bigger less bursty Oladipo?

Does he post-up?
post #263 of 8508
He has zero in common with Oladipo laugh.gif
post #264 of 8508
Nothing about Kevon Looney impresses me
post #265 of 8508

Damn, a Stanley Johnson/Vic O. comparison. Where do we go from here

post #266 of 8508
Reggie Miller compared him to Lebron so.... its not the worst ever.

Stanley Johnson = More athletic Ron Artest/ Less Skilled Kawhi Leonard
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
post #267 of 8508

Is he less skilled than Kawhi? Kawhil developed a corner three, but Stan's offensive game is more well-rounded and he can dribble better than Kawhi. Neither are super fluid athletes, but I'd say that Kawhi is a bit stiffer too. 

post #268 of 8508
Grown Man Stan is a beast, he's going to move up into that top 3 convo with a really strong tourney.

6'8 250 with a 7 foot wingspan at 18, can defend 3 positions and can shoot 3's.

What more do you want? He needs a couple of dribble moves and he has worlds of potential.
post #269 of 8508
you think minnesota drafts him?
post #270 of 8508
Originally Posted by DaComeUP View Post

Is he less skilled than Kawhi? Kawhil developed a corner three, but Stan's offensive game is more well-rounded and he can dribble better than Kawhi. Neither are super fluid athletes, but I'd say that Kawhi is a bit stiffer too. 

I think its close. I hold Kawhi in high regard
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
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