Tag:2011 NBA Draft
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:34 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2011 10:39 pm
  •  
 

Prospect Watch: Irving makes triumphant return

How did some of the NBA's top prospects do the first Friday of the NCAA tournament? Posted by Ben Golliver.
kyrie-irving


Kyrie Irving, Duke: 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block

The projected No. 1 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft delighted college and pro basketball fans alike with news that he would make his return to the court during the first round of the NCAA tournament. As Irving hadn't touched the court since December due to a toe injury, the pre-game questions were more about how he would fit in chemistry-wise rather than how polished his play would be after all the time off. 

On both counts Irving's Friday performance was a smashing success, although his fill-up-the-boxscore effort came against much weaker competition. As Irving has nowhere to go but down when it comes to his draft stock, he didn't really show scouts anything he hasn't shown before. However, he did look like his normal self and that's enough for just about everyone. More dimes in the next round will have everyone breathing totally easy once again. For more on Irving, check out this column for CBSSports.com by Eric Angevine.

Harrison Barnes, UNC: 24 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two steals

The rout was on for North Carolina on day one as they rolled up 102 points en route to hammering Long Island University. Barnes' stat line was impressive but his efficiency wasn't exactly consistent, as he shot 7-9 on two-point field goals while bombing away (errantly) to the tun of 2-10 from downtown. Still, his highlight reel smoothness with the ball in his hands was evident and he compensated for his quick trigger by hitting the glass hard. 

Something to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses: turnovers. Barnes finished with a team-high four on Friday, understandable given it was his first taste of the tournament stage as a freshman. Possessions are a premium at the next level, though, especially for top-flight wing scorers that need touches in volume. 

Derrick Williams, Arizona: 22 points, 10 rebounds, one block

It's safe to say that Williams, a versatile forward, won the highlight of the day as he helped secure a dramatic victory in a back-and-forth game with Memphis by blocking a last-second shot attempt. It was his only block of the night, but plays like that have a way of enduring in the memory, especially if Arizona can mount a bit of a run through their region. 

Williams scored 22 points on just 11 shots, hitting all nine of his free throws and exerting his physical presence against a smaller Memphis team. He showed the ability to finish while taking contact and also stepped out to confidently knock down the only three-pointer that he attempted. He displayed the full offensive arsenal.

For more on Williams, check out CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball Blog.

Tristan Thompson, Texas: 17 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks, one assist

Thompson will almost certainly be a late riser up the NBA mock draft boards this spring as his solid frame, elite timing and aggressive attitude will translate excellently to the pro game. His seven blocks were certainly not by accident, as his long arms and quick springs let him contest and alter shots many other players would simply watch go over their heads.

Thompson essentially traded baskets and rebounds with Oakland senior Keith Benson, a player to whom he gives up three inches of height. Thompson's length and instincts more than make up for his average height for a power forward (6'8") and his ability to get low to establish rebounding position is essential at the next level. His buzz will only grow stronger.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Thursday's NCAA Tournament top draft prospects

A look at the NBA draft prospects playing Thursday in the NCAA tournament. 
Posted by Matt Moore




March Madness. One of the greatest sporting events of the year, where emotions run high and so do the office pools. But the tournament also serves as a reminder to us pro-ball types that the draft isn't that far away, and gives us the best opportunity to see the prospects in a high-profile scenario, under the brightest lights. It's also the first time a lot of NBA fans will pay attention to these players, period. So with that, here's a guide to the players to watch out for in Thursday's first-round games.*

*Sorry, not going to treat the play-ins like a round. They're their own thing, like Neopolitan ice cream.

The "Big name on the marquee" Guy: Kemba Walker, G, UConn
Walker is that guy who all your friends will ask you about in terms of the NBA. "That guy can just play" will be a common phrase. What they really mean is "That guy can really score in college," which is not the same thing at all. This isn't to say that Walker hasn't been phenomenal dropping huge scoring numbers all season and especially in the Big 10 tournament. The questions will be about Walker's ability to translate into an NBA guard at his size. Walker's 6-1 officially (beware the "official" numbers), and that kind of size causes problems for 2-guards (ask O.J. Mayo). Walker's most readily compared to Rondey Stuckey and Jonny Flynn, but defensively, O.J. Mayo may be comparable. Mayo's a shooting gaurd who gets overwhelmed by the size of NBA 2s. Offensively, though, the Flynn-Stuckey comparisons are sound, but have their issues as well. From SBNation's Mike Prada: 
The issue with Walker, though, is something that we've touched on before on this site. Walker, at this point, is essentially a six-foot shooting guard. The comparisons to former Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn, who rode a similar surge in the Big East Tournament two years ago into an ill-fated high lottery selection, are obvious. They are different players, but those differences don't exactly clear up the Kemba puzzle. Walker carries a much more significant load for his team than Flynn does, but he also scored less efficiently and dished out far fewer assists, as we noted. Walker all commits far fewer turnovers, which is a feather in his cap, but also a byproduct, in a way, of his increased usage i.e. he'll occasionally shoot a bad shot instead of committing a turnover, which is better, but not by much.
via Kemba Walker Is A Household Name Before 2011 NCAA Tournament, But Is He An NBA Player? - SBNation.com.

Interestingly, on offense, Walker has the great numbers you'd expect, but Synergy Sports reveals a few interesting facets. For starters, UConn runs a lot of pick and roll with Walker, his second highest play count. He's great at drawing fouls in that set, but that can partially be attributed to the kind of pick and roll defense in college. He shoots just 36% in that set, which is pretty good, but not nearly the 42% he runs off-screen or the 52% off the cut. In short, Walker's a better shooter in catch-and-shoot situations than he is with the ball in his hands (39%). (All numbers courtesty of Synergy Sports.)  
All this won't keep Walker from going top-10, however, since as your friend says, "Man, that guy can (score)." 

Expected Selection: DX: 8 NBADraft.net: 22

Plays: vs. Bucknell, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)

The "Did that guy break the rim? Because I think that guy broke the rim" Guy: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky

Jones is your prototypical hyper-athletic big who throws down the occasional dunk to make you fear him the way primitive homo sapiens feared lightning. He's also your prototypical tweener who thinks he has a better mid-range than he does. As Tom Ziller at SBNation notes: 
He creates his own shot well; according to Kenpom.com, Jones takes 28 percent of Kentucky's shots when on the court, more than even trigger-happy guard Brandon Knight. Jones is OK at getting to the line -- he won't be a Carmelo Anthony/LeBron Jamesstyle foul-drawer, certainly, but he'll get to the stripe -- and a rather inefficient scorer in total. It's hard to see how Jones could ever become a really efficient scorer at the NBA level -- you can see it in Barnes and Williams, but not Jones. His three-point shot is suspect (though he started the year very well) and despite being Kentucky's best paint option, he relies on his mid-range jumper quite a bit. If that continues, it'll depress his field goal percentage and free throw rate, hurting his value.
via Terrence Jones Looks To Squelch Concerns In 2011 NCAA Tournament - SBNation.com.

Jones has a .64 points per possession mark in the post, and shoots 33% there. That's really, really bad, even among college players who lack footwork, coordination, touch, and a basic understanding of the properties of space.  Jones could really use a better distributing point guard to create opportunities for him, but that's not really Brandon Knight's bag. Jones' defense could be what really helps his stock in the tournament, though. Jones is an elite defender in the post this year, allowing just 32% shooting and fouling just 11% of the time. That's big time stuff. 

In the pros, however, he may be undersized, which means those shooting numbers have to go up, and his ability to defend ISO has to improve. Jones is in the exciting but dangerous area, where if things go right he's a big that can do multiple things, and if they go wrong, he's a wing who can't play in space. 

Expected Selection: DX: 9 NBADraft.net: 11

Plays: vs. Princeton 2:45 p.m. EST (CBS)

The "Gosh, the other Calipari guards were so good" Guy. Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky

Here's the deal with Knight. Your standard point guards that come out of the Calipari's system are athletic wonders who have tremendous speed and vision but can't shoot worth a lick. Brandon Knight is an athletic talent with underwhelming vision who's shooting 44% from the field and 39% from 3-point range this season. That ain't bad. According to Synergy Sports, Knight shot 49% in ISO, 40% in spot-up, and drew shooting fouls 12% of the time in transition. 

So for teams looking at him, if they want someone with upside, Knight may not be the guy. Averaging 4 assists per game, he's more of a scoring point guard. But for teams that want someone who can come in and produce points immediately, he's a good fit. In a system where the point guard isn't the primary playmaker, Knight could be a great fit. And his athleticism is such to see some considerable upside in terms of attack. It's the assist-turnover ratio you have to worry about. If Knight isn't drafted into the right situation, he could struggle. 

Expected Selection: DX: 16 NBADraft.net: 13

The "Jimmer" Guy: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU

22-years old. Beware the 22-year-old senior. Guys with limited improvement potential are scary for first-round picks. But, I mean, it's Jimmer. I don't have to explain to you who Jimmer is. But I'll throw some numbers out for you. If you throw the ball to Jimmer spot-up? He hits it more than he misses. No matter where. He shoots 55% in spot-up situations. Creating a shot off the dribble, he shoots 39% in ISO situations, despite having to do so 27% of the time he's on the floor and being the primary offensive weapon for BYU with no one close as a second option in terms of effectiveness. He's a monster shooter, there's no other way to put it. 

Defensively, that's the rub. Fredette's limited in size, athleticism, speed, savvy, and ability. There's little options for his improvement, and if he can't, he's looking at being too much of a liability at the NBA level to justify keeping him on the floor as a shooter. From DX's profile: 
The biggest concern about Fredette's transition to the NBA clearly lies on the defensive end. He is a poor defender, even at the college level, showing average length, heavy feet and unimpressive lateral quickness. He rarely gets into an actual defensive stance, fails to get a hand up on shooters and shows little interest in trying to fight through screens. The same laid-back approach that makes him so difficult to get off-kilter offensively is a serious detriment to his work on the other end, potentially making him a liability in the NBA. With all this in mind, one of the biggest factors in determining the type of success Fredette will have in the NBA is the team he ends up on. In a fast-paced offense predicated on getting shots early in the shot-clock and a coach willing to live with defensive lapses, Fredette will be an incredible weapon. Put him in the wrong system, though, with a team that likes to grind it out and a coach who demands perfection on every defensive possession and we could be looking at a disaster.
via DraftExpress NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Jimmer Fredette, Stats, Comparisons, and Outlook.

The best option for him? Model himself after Duke legend J.J. Redick. Redick suffered for two years trying to get any level of appreciation from Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy told him to improve on defense, so Redick committed himself 100% while retaining his natural shooting ability and adding muscle. As a result, Redick is a terrific perimeter defender, the best defender of Ray Allen I've seen in the league. He works constantly, and without complaint, and can also Heat up from the perimeter. Fredette can gain a lot by looking to Redick as a model, even if he's not as athletically gifted as Redick. 
Expected Selection: DX: 17 NBADraft.net: 10
Plays: vs. Wofford, 7 p.m. EST (CBS)
Posted on: March 15, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Jimmer's family wants the Knicks to draft him

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette's family wants him to join the New York Knicks. Posted by Ben Golliver. jimmer-fredette

Newsflash: The NCAA tournament is about to kick off later this week, which means BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette, who is currently averaging a ridiculous 28.5 points per game while shooting 45.6% from the field and 40.4% from deep, is about to make the leap from household name to national sensation. 

Fredette, a squeaky-clean sniper, is originally from upstate New York and this excellent Philly.com profile notes that his family is hoping the local team will take him in the 2011 NBA Draft.
DraftExpress currently predicts Jimmer will go 13th (to the Phoenix Suns) in the 2011 NBA draft, although his stock fluctuates with questions about his size, speed, and defense. What isn't a concern is his endorsement potential: One agent said companies are lining up to use his squeaky-clean image and market his electrifying game and trouble-free persona.
The ideal NBA landing pad for both brothers - basketball for Jimmer, music for T.J. - would be New York.

"We want him to go to the Knicks," T.J. said without hesitation. "That's our team."
Stop me if you've heard this before: A New York native with the ability to fill it up takes a multi-year trip to the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and now wants to make a triumphant return to the Big Apple. It's just like the Carmelo Anthony situation, except without all the bitterness and the need to unload Eddy Curry's contract.

So what of the fit? Certainly, Fredette's quick trigger and lack of defensive aptitude would be right at home under coach Mike D'Antoni. However, both Anthony and forward Amar'e Stoudemire are set to be taking most of the shots for years to come and Chauncey Billups will be spending next season gunning for one final pay day. Put it together, and Fredette would be better off landing with a team that needs to fill a scoring hole more immediately.  

But the biggest problem here is that Fredette won't last until the Knicks get around to picking. Someone in the lottery will take a chance on him given that he's demonsrated the ability to score in volume, especially after his hype train goes crazy once he's the toast of the nation in about a week and a half.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:21 pm
 

Hunter's statements ring in Freshmen ears

NBA labor dispute could have impacts not only on NBA players but freshmen headed for one-and-done status.
Posted by Matt Moore

Kyrie Irving was busy tearing up teams on Duke's way to dominating the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Terrence Jones was making a name for himself in Maui. Josh Selby was continuing his ineligibility thanks to Team Melo. Harrison Barnes was struggling to find himself, and Enes Kanter, well, he wasn't doing anything much at all.

The country's best freshmen draft prospects were a little distracted last week when NBA Union head Billy Hunter said he was 99% sure there would be a lockout next season . But don't think the comments didn't trickle their way into the youngsters' ears at some point later, along with Ken Berger's report of hope emerging in the talks just as Hunter talks doom and gloom.

You're going to hear a lot from these kids as the year goes on about how they're not paying attention to the CBA talks. You're going to hear about how they are just focused on their team and trying to win now, for their teammates. And everything you hear is ignoring the reality which is that the current tensions between the owners group and the union has to have these standout freshmen concerned.

The freshmen have a bigger decision because "one-and-done" players are usually the most talented and have the best chance of getting drafted as high as possible. There are certainly exceptions (Evan Turner and Blake Griffin are two that spring immediately to mind). But "one-and-done" has come to mean high profile draft pick in recent years and next year's projected draft class is chock full of them. Five of the top six players projected in the 2011 class by Draft Express are freshmen (though it's hard to argue Enes Kanter is a freshman anywhere at this point).

A lockout means leaving college puts them in a precarious position financially should they elect to jump to the draft this summer. Staying in college increases the odds of injury, their stock dropping, or other forces beyond their control impacting the number of millions they're able to collect when they decide to become a professional.

So it's kind of a big decision.

The question is if the concerns surrounding a lockout for the freshmen will be enough to keep them at their schools next year. If they do talk kids off the professional highwire ledge, it could have huge impacts on next year's college basketball season. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com isn't convinced the lockout concerns will freeze the freshmen, because they'll have other options to make some dough before their contract dough gets sorted out. But if they do, it'll make for a stellar college basketball season in 2011-2012. As Parrish told F&R:

"I'm not certain a lockout would force everybody back to college the way some suspect because the elite guys, at the very least, will still have options. A freshman coming off a great season and deep run in the NCAA tournament -- Jared Sullinger? Kyrie Irving? Terrence Jones? -- might be high-profile enough at that point to secure endorsements that can't be turned away, or maybe a European club offers big money to bring a 'name' over. Beyond that, academics could always force the hand of a few who never intended to be in school more than a year. So we shall see. But if a lockout comes and guys subsequently decide it's to their benefit to just remain in college, wow, we could be in for a great 2011-12 season of college hoops.

Imagine Kentucky adding Mike Gilchrist, Anthony Jones and Marquise Teague to Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. Or Duke operating with Kyrie Irving, Quinn Cook and Austin Rivers. Or Baylor putting Quincy Miller beside Perry Jones. Or Texas with Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Myck Kabongo? Or Memphis returning every relevant player from a team currently ranked 14th, and then tossing Adonis Thomas into the mix.

Again, I'm not sure a lockout will create all or even any of this because returning to school wouldn't be the lone option for the current crop of freshmen, especially the ones who spend March turning into household names. But are the possibilities fun to consider? Yes, absolutely."

The union naturally isn't concerned with players who aren't in the league, beyond some preliminary talks about eliminating the age restriction. They've got bigger concerns for established veterans and trying to fend off the losses in revenue share being discussed. (Read more about how the union is softening on that stance in Ken Berger's column here.) But this situation goes to show how massive this lockout situation is. It will hold an impact on the NBA which is enjoyed success it hasn't seen since Jordan retired (the second time), players, owners, agents, and even those youngsters making a name for themselves in front of the student bodies.

It's just another example of a world that could be dramatically altered not by play on the hardwood, but by talks held in boardrooms over the next ten months.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com