NBA scouts offer opinions on college prospects, plus my AP poll (cont.)
Terrence Jones, 6-8 freshman forward, Kentucky
He's a lottery pick. He scores inside and in transition. His shot is low, but if he takes his time he can make shots. He needs to be a little less selfish with the basketball, but he's a talented kid. He's a poor man's Michael Beasley. I'm not sure I trust his shot yet, but man, he competes. People ask, What position is he? I say he's a basketball player.
Cory Joseph, 6-3 freshman guard, Texas
He can get his mid-range shot whenever he wants. He's so comfortable being part of a team. He carries a quiet confidence. He needs to come back to school because with Dogus Balbay back there he's not really playing point guard and he's too small to be a two in our league.
Kris Joseph, 6-7 junior forward, Syracuse
He's an interesting player. His shooting has improved, so I like that. He's just well-rounded. He can pass, he rebounds, he can handle, he can get his own shot. I'd like to see him be a little more assertive at times, but he has a nice ability to get a mid-range shot, and if he gets out in the open floor he's awfully good. The problem for him is there are a lot of wings in this draft.
Brandon Knight, 6-3 freshman guard, Kentucky
Mature personality, fantastic worker, can really shoot the basketball. Winning matters to him. He's in the first round if he comes out, for sure. People try to compare him to Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, but he's not at their level. The one thing I will say about him is he's an absolute gym rat. He loves being in the gym and working on his game. He may not be a prototypical point guard, but with his work ethic, size, speed and ability to shoot, you have to take a chance on him.
Kawhi Leonard, 6-7 sophomore forward, San Diego State
That kid is just a basketball player. The questions are going to be position and jump shot. He's a fantastic rebounder, obviously, with a decent handle. They use him as their backup point guard sometimes. And he's got the biggest damn hands I've ever seen. He makes the ball look like a grapefruit. He could be a Desmond Mason-type guy. The thing about him is they signed him early in high school, he went on to become California player of the year, he had a great freshman season and he has continued to make strides. So this kid has gotten better the last three years.
Travis Leslie, 6-4 junior guard, Georgia
Man oh man, what an athlete. He plays hard and he's getting better. Shooting is not his thing, but he's a great slasher. I've talked to some scouts who are crazy about him because the game is so wide open in the league. Let him run the lane, throw it up and he'll go get it.
Jon Leuer, 6-10 senior forward, Wisconsin
He's more skilled than you think. He can put it on the floor and has a back-to-the-basket game. The main question is, what position does he guard? And is he good enough? He's a little bit like Nick Fazekas. Nick is better than him in a lot of ways, and Nick is not good enough right now. But the two things I like about him are, he really understands how to play and he plays with passion. I'd think he's a second-rounder right now, but I can see him sneaking into the first round because he'll have some good workouts.
Demetri McCamey, 6-3 senior guard, Illinois
I don't think he's good enough. He and Deron Williams aren't even in the same ballpark. He's not that kind of athlete. He should be blowing it out, but he's not. He uses his size and body to get places. It looks to me like he does not get along with Bruce Weber. I don't think he's a natural point guard. When you draft a point guard you want these things to be second nature, but he has had to make himself into a point guard.
Khris Middleton, 6-7 sophomore forward, Texas A&M
I like him. He's got a pretty smooth game, like a miniature Kevin Durant. He has to get much stronger to be able to do more things on the floor. He was awful against Texas.
E'Twaun Moore, 6-4 senior guard, Purdue
I think someone will take him in the second round. He's small and not very athletic, so that's a bad combination, but the kid has found a way to get it done at a high level. But again, who is he? What does he bring to the table? He can get to the basket at the college level, but he doesn't shoot it great. He reminds me of Reece Gaines, who didn't make it in the league because he had no position. Or Joe Forte from North Carolina. Forte was better than Moore in college, but he didn't make it in the NBA.
Marcus Morris, 6-9 junior forward, Kansas
He's their best NBA prospect. He's just so talented offensively. He can step out and shoot it, put it on the floor, and he has a back-to-the-basket game as well. You wish he was a better rebounder, but I think he has made strides.
Markieff Morris, 6-10 junior forward, Kansas
His brother is probably better, but the gap is closing. He needs to continue working on the offensive skill part of his game. He does have a true position. He's a four in our league. It depends on your expectations. If you take him at 16, that's cool. If you take him at six, you'll expect too much.
Reeves Nelson, 6-8 sophomore forward, UCLA
I tell you what, that kid plays his ass off. His lack of vertical athleticism makes you worry, and he won't have the same strength advantage in our league, but you never discount a kid who plays that hard.
Chandler Parsons, 6-10 senior forward, Florida
He's good. He's big, he shoots it some, he has just never been really consistent. He gets 18 points one game and the next he's 2-for-7. But we're a league that wants to like him because of his size, and he's a pretty good athlete, better than a lot of people think. I feel like he's starting to get it. I think he can get drafted.
Mason Plumlee, 6-10 sophomore forward, Duke
He struggles playing in traffic. When you run and throw a lob to him, he can go get it, but if you throw it to him on the block he struggles. He's so big and athletic that there's a place for him in our league, maybe as a backup five, but I'd like him to continue to get stronger. He has no business coming out, though, if you ask me. At Duke, if you stick around, you're going to get better.
Jacob Pullen, 6-foot senior guard, Kansas State
I don't think he's good enough. He has a nice stroke, but he's not a point guard, he's small and he's not that good of an athlete. I could see someone picking him up in the second round and saying he was good last year, maybe he's being asked to do too much right now, so we'll go more on what he did last year. He has to be a point guard and he doesn't have natural point-guard instincts.
Josh Selby, 6-2 freshman guard, Kansas
He's still out of game shape. You can see him get winded on the sidelines. He seems not to quite have that full explosion at the rim that he had in high school. He's a two-guard, maybe a combo guard. He's pretty good defensively when he commits to it, but he can get awfully lazy and fall asleep. He'd be pretty close to the lottery, maybe in the 10-20 area.
Renardo Sidney, 6-10 sophomore forward, Mississippi State
I have no interest in him. He's a fat kid. The history on him is just not good. If he had no baggage and it was just a weight issue, then he'd probably get more attention. If you're going to have a weight issue plus baggage, you better be Shaquille O'Neal off the charts. Now some other team might say he's talented, we can deal with all this stuff, let's take him. But he's not for me.
Xavier Silas, 6-5 senior guard, Northern Illinois
I went to see him play and he was disappointing. He just didn't make his teammates better at all, and they're not winning. He does a fantastic job of getting into the lane and making plays for himself, but he doesn't make plays for others.
Kyle Singler, 6-8 senior forward, Duke
I'm a Singler guy all the way. He's not quite at the level of a Battier where he can be a starter, but he can be a great sixth man in our league. He's going to be a little bit challenged athletically, but he's going to play his tail off and work to defend and get some rebounds. I don't think he goes in the lottery, but he'll definitely go in the first round. He'll start off as a seventh or eighth man, but as he grows and gets a little stronger and gets a feel for the pro game, you can see him sliding up.
Chris Singleton, 6-9 junior forward, Florida State
He's never going to be a great shooter. To me he's still a four morphing into a three. Great athlete, can really guard, does a lot of blue-collar stuff. If he can be a backup guy on a fast team like Phoenix or Golden State, where they say go guard someone and then run ahead and get some runouts and dunks, then he's a good player.
Nolan Smith, 6-2 senior guard, Duke
I like his size, but I don't think he's a point guard. His decision making needs to tighten up, but I like the way he works off the ball, and he absolutely wants to be good. Can he make it as a two guard? That's the question. I'm not sure he has the kind of speed and quickness to be able to attack guys. I think he's proven enough to be drafted and he'll figure it out once he gets up there. I don't know that there are 360 better players than him in the NBA right now.
Jared Sullinger, 6-9 freshman forward, Ohio State
I love him. He's like Elton Brand but he's a better basketball player. If he's not No. 1, he's not lasting past the top three. He'll get his shot blocked just like Kevin Love did, but his shooting percentage already accounts for that. He's comfortable with both hands and he makes free throws. He just has a great feel for the game, and you can tell winning is important to him. My concern is that he doesn't have a lot of upside, he's a finished product. And he's not a great athlete, so he has a ceiling.
Jeffery Taylor, 6-7 junior forward, Vanderbilt
He could sneak his way into the middle of the first round. He's got a nice package. He's quiet, doesn't cause a ruckus, but I don't mind that. Some people say they want more emotion, but I don't think a kid has to be a thug to not be soft.
Isaiah Thomas, 5-9 junior guard, Washington
I like his moxie. He really competes. He's a guy you don't want to count out, but obviously his size is a deterrent. The best thing that happened to him was Abdul Gaddy going down with an injury, which means Isaiah has to run the show. I know he's short, but his body is strong, so he can take a hit and finish.
Trey Thompkins, 6-9 junior forward, Georgia
A little soft, but very skilled for his size. He's an NBA player for sure. He'll be a good pick-and-pop player. You might even be able to drag him to the three-point line one day because his stroke is pretty good. I think he'll struggle defensively against the better athletes, but somebody will take him in the first round. He can get you 10 or 12 points off the bench, and there's a lot of value in that.
Klay Thompson, 6-6 junior guard, Washington State
Terrific shooter. Moves well without the ball, very smart, high basketball IQ. If you put him out there with some better players and they have to double team somebody, you can swing it to him and he'll knock it down. He has to work on his handle and get a little stronger so he can finish, but he has some deep, deep range. He's definitely an NBA player.
Tristan Thompson, 6-8 freshman forward, Texas
Jeez, he plays his ass off. Just competes, runs the floor hard every play, gets early post position. Offensively his skill is still developing. He's physical, too. He and the Morris twins really battled. He took it right to them physically. You're not going to throw him the ball in the post and have him go to work like Zach Randolph, but he'll do a lot of blue-collar stuff. I don't know if he's going to leave, but someone would take him in the first round because of his upside.
Kemba Walker, 6-1 junior guard, UConn
I think he'll get his feelings hurt up here. He's a big-time competitor, but he's not the feel player these guys are up here in the NBA. He can be like a Jose Juan Barea. Just let him play pick-and-roll at the top. It's just hard to score in the NBA when you're little. I like the fact that he has matured because to be honest with you, I hated him last year. He made so many plays and it was all about him, but he has really gotten better with that. In draft rooms there will be a lot of discussions between him, Fredette and Brandon Knight.
Maalik Wayns, 6-2 sophomore guard, Villanova
I love his court demeanor. For a point guard, I think he has a real grasp of the game. He's tough, he can shoot the ball. He's not the athlete Kyle Lowry is, but he's still pretty good.
Derrick Williams, 6-8 sophomore forward, Arizona
He's not a great athlete, but he's physical, he has a high basketball IQ, and he's a winner. He's a little undersized, but he's pretty effective and his numbers are crazy. I love his patience. He's a four-three combo at the next level. What he's really developed this year is his outside shot. I question his motor a little, but he's definitely a lottery pick.
Jordan Williams, 6-10 sophomore forward, Maryland
He gets a double-double every night. He's a rebounder, he's tough, he can score it. If he could make a free throw he'd be putting up bigger numbers and getting more notice. The question with him is the athleticism -- he's a below-the-rim finisher. You wonder if there's a chance of development where he could step out and make a jumper. His free-throw shooting makes you wonder, but there's a place in our league for that kind of guy.
Tyler Zeller, 7-foot junior center, North Carolina
What does he do? He can't play in traffic, can't rebound in a crowd. You can pick-and-pop him because he can shoot it and he runs OK, but I don't see him as an impact player. He's not as strong as Michael Doleac, and he's not as good as Brad Miller. But he shoots it from 15 feet pretty easy, so maybe that's something people will bring up.
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