Future Prospects: Highschool to College.

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#31
One final note on the rankings. I use McDonalds, Nike, Adidas, Espn, and Rivals as the source of my top 100 rankings, and I do think they have value. Maybe not in the results of the end game, but they do give you an idea of where a player is at a given point in time. If you keep track of players by dividing them into the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 classes, you can tell which players are actually improving and which aren't. If a player is ranked at, lets say number 68 while in the U-16 class, and the next year moves up to number 10 in the U-17 class, you take notice. Your always going to get your late bloomers that will surprise you, but in general, the guys that stayed at the top of the rankings throughout thier highschool careers, like a Michael Gilchrist, are usually guaranteed success at whatever level they play at.
 
#32
I've grown to like Cousins as well, and I do think he's more eccentric/temperamental than really having real attitude problems. Sort of like the Lakers' current day Artest, who's sort of mellowed out from previous years (although I thought he mellowed down somewhat during his stint with us). I still wonder about the immaturity, but hopefully that improves. Cousins is actually lucky that immaturity didn't knock him down more pegs--that just goes to show you how his game was perceived, that it overrode attitude concerns. I really liked Cousins in my rankings as well, and he was thrown into the fire with us this year, showing quite a few unique big skills for a big.

As a disclaimer as well, I don't know much about high school rankings, but I've read articles and seen like on average, only 20-30 of the top 100 make it to the NBA. I know Dave Telep and other scouts adjust this stuff based on subjective things such as attitude and work ethic. The rankings are improving as we have more of the past to draw on and what types of player succeed/don't succeed, and I do think attitude/tweener status has a lot to do with it.

This year's draft I really liked Irving, Derrick Williams, Biyombo, Tristan Thompson, Valanciunas, Chris Singleton, Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, Nikola Mirotic and Tyler Honeycutt. If I were to use my indicators, Biyombo might drop a couple of spots due to being a PF/C tweener, and some have thought Chris Singleton was a SF/PF tweener so he would drop too (I had him at #6, but he was drafted at #18). I really liked our own Honeycutt in this class (had him #10), but obviously he fell to us at #35. That's why I think attitude/motivation problems might drop players 20 spots.

Now, next year's class (2012) seems more interesting: I'm actually high on Terrence Jones (currently #3) but if he's still construed as a SF/PF then he can go down 12 spots and land in the mid-teens. I'm unnaturally high on Minny's Trevor Mbakwe as well. Brute of a PF. There's two that currently land in my mid-teens, amazingly: Rice's Arslan Kazemi and Purdue's mightily injury prone Robbie Hummel. But if these two are SF/PF tweeners, then they could easily go down 10 spots in my rankings and land in the 20-25 range (if Hummel is injury prone, might knock him down another 10 to 35-40 at this point). I like John Jenkins, but he might fit that "undersized shooter with few passing skills category", and that could make him go down 15 spots and land in the early 2nd instead. I was high on Tu Holloway, but sub-6 foot guards who lack a great outside shot, great passing or great athleticism don't tend to do that well, so I could bump him down 20 spots. So that's just an early look at who I think as potential at this stage, and where my ratings fit in.
 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#33
I would agree that only the top thirty or so have a realistic chance of making it in the NBA, but that only applies to the top thirty in their senior year. The trick is trying to figure that out in the freshman class. You have to remember that college's get commitments out of some of these players in their sophmore year of highschool. Every college out there wants to get their hands on the top players, and the sooner you can strike, the better your chance. Unfortunately a player in the top thirty in his sophmore year, may end up being in the bottom 30 of the top 100 his senior year. Your probably still getting a productive player, but not necessarily a game changer.

I liked all of the US players you had listed. I thought the Kings got a steal in Tyler Honeycutt where they drafted him. I'm not a big Howland fan as far as player development goes on the offensive side of the ball. But his players all seem to thrive once in the NBA. I suspect Honeycutt will follow that pattern. I didn't get a chance to see the international players like I did the US players. Something I'm working to rectify in the future. However when I did get a chance to see Valanciunas, I was very impressed with him. Singleton was a favorite of mine, and if you play him at the SF spot I think you'll have a defensive all star on your hands. I think he lacks the feel to be a good offensive player, but he'll be good enough to justify being on the floor. If Burks can buckle down and refine his shooting and passing skills, along with increasing his defensive intensity, he can be a star in the league. If not, he'll be a good player, but thats it. I obviously liked Fredette more than you did, but then I probably saw him play more than any other player in the draft, and thats saying a lot.

I'm also a big fan of Terrence Jones, the Jones that did live up to expectations last season. I still look at him as a SF, and think thats the position where he would be the most comfortable. I think he has the ability and strength to be an Artest like player with a little more athleticism. Of the freshman coming in this next season, my favorite is Michael Gilchrist, a 6'7" SF with a 6'11" wingspan. The kid is just fun to watch. He's dedicated, extremely athletic, with great Basketball IQ, and a player that takes pride in his defense as well as being a good offensive player. Biggest weakness is his outside shot. Other than that, he has all the tools and the attitude to be a star at any level he plays at. I would also suggest you take a look at Marquis Teague, Jeff's younger brother, and the better player of the two. He should be the number one ranked PG in the draft by seasons end. Terrific ballhandler, with terrific quickness. He's a genuine ankle breaker. At just under 6'2" and with a 6'7" wingspan, and with creative passing ability, that will give you your share of wow moments, he will be fun to watch. Kentucky is stocked this season.

Will Robbie Hummel make it through an entire season? He's a talented kid. John Jenkins is another one of my favorites. I can definitely see him in the NBA. Might be nothing more than a good role player, but I can see him playing a BJax type of role somewhere. By the way, one of your favorites, Perry Jones, is going to have some competition this next season from incoming freshman, Quincy Miller, a player I like quite a bit. Another guy to watch is the slighly undersized PF, James McAdoo, who although, only 6'8.5" in shoes, has that big wingspan of 7'1" going for him. Almost all undersized PF's that have been successful have that long wingspan that makes up for the lack of height. The fact that McAdoo is a good athlete, and is very skilled doesn't hurt either. Geneticaly he's a can't miss, since his uncle is HOFer Bob McAdoo.

Of course all this is nothing more than speculation at this point. Thats what the games are for aren't they? A place for me to go window shopping..

Anyway, I'm back to Duke and Marshall Plumlee..
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#34
Marshall Plumlee: Duke. 79th ranked highschool player in the nation. 6'11"/7'0", 225 pounds, PF. I have no offical measurement history of Plumlee. By all accounts he's somewhere close to 7 foot. I guess coach K just can't have too many Plumlee's on the roster. This makes his third, and will certainly give him plenty of depth at the center and PF position. One has to wonder just how much playing time Marshall will get playing behind his two older brothers, Mason and Miles, both of whom are in the 6'10" range. However from what I've seen, and from listening to scouting reports, Marshall should be the best of the three.

Marshall is a legitimate athlete with good size and length. He runs the floor very well, and has quick feet around the basket. He has a good offensive game out to around 15 feet from the basket. From beyond 15 feet, its a work in progress. Around the basket he uses a nice dropstep, and has a nice display of post moves. He has a good hook shot that he can shoot with either hand. The further away from the basket he gets, the less effective his offensive game is. But his mid-range game is improving, and you have to guard him there. One bad habit I noticed, is his inclination to put the ball on the floor even when he's near the basket, instead of just going to the basket.

He's a good rebounder in his area, both defensively and offensively. He's fundamentally sound in that area. Defensively, he has the ability to block and alter shots. With his quick feet he stays in front of his man well, and has good instincts at blocking shots. His problem on defense, to some extent at the college level, and definitely at the NBA level is lack of strength. He really needs to get stronger. Since he's likely to be a four year player at Duke, he has plenty of time to accomplish that. His senior year he averaged 11.5 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 2.5 BPG.

I realize that were talking about a player thats ranked 79th in a class of 100. But there's a lot to like about Marshall. He's a very good athlete, and can play above the rim. Despite his lack of muscle, he's not afraid to bang under the basket, and isn't one of those 7 foot 3 pt shooters we've all come to love. If he stays all four years at Duke, he should be a very polished player whose ready to play in the NBA. So he's someone to keep you eye on for the future. Right now there's a shortage of bigs being produced in the USA. In last years draft, almost every player taken in the top 20 over 6'9" was from another country. So Players like Marshall, while maybe or maybe not a future starter in the NBA, could still be of great value to a team.

By the way, this current drought of bigs from the US is about to end. There are some very good bigs waiting in the wings.
 
#35
I'm just not that sold on the Plumlees. Hopefully Marshall can develop into something since he's a blank slate in my book, but I don't think the oldest, Miles Plumlee, has any NBA potential whatsoever. He's so far off the 60th slot in my mock (84th) as of now and Duke is knee deep in terms of various NBA prospects--Andre Dawkins, Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, and now Austin Rivers--that he might never get that chance, although I think skills-wise he was limited to begin with. I know people have higher hopes on Mason, but I'm also concerned, particularly with his offensive skills. I still contend that he's a four-year player, but I'm not sure if staying four years will really make that much of a difference--in my view he's a mid-2nd round pick (#42-50).

The thing about centers in general is that in order to be in the elite crust, you have to come into the league young (or at least stay <3 years in college) and be drafted at the very worst, as a mid-1st round pick. Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Al Horford, Andrew Bogut, Nene, Javale McGee, Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez, Amare Stoudemire fit these criteria. Exceptions are those that stay in school at their own volition (obviously, Tim Duncan, Emeka Okafor?) or those that are Euro and stashed overseas (Marc Gasol, Marcin Gortat). The only guys who don't fit into either of these arrangements are hard working hustlers (Chuck Hayes, Anderson Varejao, Ronny Turiaf) or just really athletic shotblockers (Chris Andersen). And even these are just serviceable roleplayers. It's hard to box Plumlee into either of these categories, and that alone might make it difficult for him to cement a place in the league.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#36
I'm not a big fan of either Mason or Miles. But with the lack of bigs in the NBA I wouldn't be surprised to see one, or both find a nitch somewhere in the NBA. Marshall could be different. He's a lot more althletic than either of his brothers, and more aggressive than either. We'll have to see, and at Duke, coach K has the ability to hide the defects of his players within his system. That said, I'm not holding my breath on any of the Plumlee brothers. Sounds like a nice singing group. Might be a future alternative..
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#37
Back to the players. Moving on to UCONN, that I've bumped up to 4th with Drummond commiting a week ago. So with no futher ado...

Andre Drummond: Commited to UCONN. 6'10", 275 pounds, with a wingspan over 7 feet. With the addition of Drummond to their roster, UCONN jumped up near the top of the list as the potential NCAA champion this next season. Which would be a repeat. Drummond should be in the running as the top pick in the next draft. Unless they change the age qualification. Scouts have referred to him as a cross between Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard. Fairly high praise.

Athleticly, its easy to see the comparison. There's not much he can't do from an athletic point of view. Great leaping ability and quickness. Runs the floor like a gazelle. Skillwise, he still has a way to go. Around the basket, he's almost unstoppable at his current level. He's such an explosive leaper, and so strong in his upper body, that he simply dunks over the top of everyone. Blocking his shot, might earn you a broken wrist.

He's not without some post skills, and will show you nice footwork on occasion. He has an improving jumpshot, that he's starting to fall in love with just a tad too much. He also has a tendecy to hang around the perimiter instead of the post. But in fairness to him, he was used on the perimiter to better utilize his passing skills, which are excellent. Drummond and Cousins on the floor together would be a nightmare for the rest of the league. Unfortunately its only a dream for me.

Drummond is an excellent defender, and has the ability to guard smaller quicker players. He's also a very good shotblocker, and because of his great lower and upper body strength, almost impossible to budge in the post. I'm not sure of his position just yet, but I think he'll be able to play either PF or Center. The worse thing I can say about him is that he has a tendecy to float at times. I watched him do it in the first half of one of his games at the Adidas Nations games. In the second half, he came out and just dominated in the post. Almost like two different players. Its a little concerning, but he is young, and he's entering a good programm. So we'll see.

The sky's the limit for Drummond, and he could, and should be the best player in the coming draft. Doesn't mean he will be. This next draft is a very deep and talented one. So talented that Terrence Jones, who would have probably been drafted in the top ten of the last draft, might slide down to the late teens in the coming draft. He may regret returning to Kentucky for another year. Here's a video of Drummond..

http://youtu.be/DYlnK-kQuHA
 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#38
Jeremy Lamb: UCONN, returning sophmore. 6'5", 185 pounds, 7'1" wingspan. While everyone knows that Kemba Walker led the Husky's to a national championship, Lamb was a very important part of that team. You take Lamb of the team, and I don't think they even come close to winning the championship. Lamb is an excellent athlete, with very good quickness. He runs the floor very well, and plays without the ball on offense extremely well. If you watched UCONN's entire season, its a toss up as to who made more clutch shots, Walker or Lamb?

Lamb has a very good midrange jumpshot, and a good all around midrange game, using floaters and flipshots. His jumpshot tends to get less consistent the futher he gets from the basket. But with a lot of reps, I don't see why he won't eventually be a good shooter from behind the arc. He has good form, nice elevation, and a quick release. As you can tell, I really like Lamb. And the main reason is his defensive potential. He's an excellent defender. Now I'll be the first to admit, that there were times when he seemed to take plays off. But in general, he was very solid most of the time. In UCONN's game against Kentucky in the tourney, Lamb shut Brandon Knight down. Night after night, he usually ended up guarding the best player on the other team that played any of the three positions of PG, SG, or SF. He's terrific at playing the passing lanes without getting burnt. With his 7'1" (measurements from UCONN) wingspan, and his quick hands, he racks up his share of steals. His huge wingspan also allows him to play futher off of jumpshooters, which helps him stay in front of his man.

Now for the bad. Lack of strength, pure and simple. He's not blessed with a very big frame, so adding weight will be more difficult for him. At the moment he's as skinny as a rail. Think Kevin Martin when he first came to the Kings. His lack of strength affects him both on offense and defense. Offensively he doesn't attack the basket very much, and thusly, he doesn't get to the freethrow line very much either. When he does attack the basket, he's not the best finisher in the world. He doesn't attack with the same confidence that a Kemba Walker would. Defensively, he has trouble fighting through screens, and has a tendecy to go under the screen. Remarkably, he still defends fairly well off the screen because of his long arms. Off the ball he has trouble denyng postion against the stronger player. While he's a decent rebounder, adding strength would help him in this area as well.

I'm anxious to see him at the beginning of the season to see if he spent anytime in the weight room during the summer. This kid has a ton of potential, and should be in the spotlight more this season with Walker gone. He has good basketball IQ, and reportedly has a very good work ethic. I'm always excited about two way players, and Lamb has the potential to be one of those players. By the way, don't get him mixed up with Kentucky's Doron Lamb, who is also a very good player, but different...
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
#39
This next draft is a very deep and talented one. So talented that Terrence Jones, who would have probably been drafted in the top ten of the last draft, might slide down to the late teens in the coming draft. He may regret returning to Kentucky for another year.
Yeah, but if the new CBA changes the draft rule to two years post-high-school, T. Jones will have a real good shot at the top 5!
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#41
Ok company gone and time to get back to UCONN.

DeAndre Daniels: Ranked 10th in highschool top 100. 6'8", 195 pound, SF. No recorded wingspan. Daniels commited to UCONN before they landed Drummond, and he alone would have given Calhoun a good recruiting season. Adding Drummond was the cherry on the top. Daniels is one of the best offensive players coming out of highschool this year. He's an above average athlete who runs the floor very well. He can score from anywhere on the floor. He has a nice 3 pt shot. He can pullup and take the mid-range, or he can finish at the basket. So offensively he's a nice addition. He does have the tendecy to force shots at times, and that won't set well with Calhoun.

Defensively, at least so far, he has yet to prove himself. He plays with little effort on the defensive side. Don't get me wrong, he'll get his occasional blocked shot. But his perimiter defense needs to improve. If he wants to get minutes, he'll have to improve at the next level. Its reported that he's added at least 15 pounds of muscle during the summer, bringing him up to 195 pounds. That will certainly help him defensively, but also his rebounding. While he rebounded well in highschool, he'll be facing bigger, taller, and stronger players in college. He had trouble holding position in highschool at times, so the added strength is a necessity. His handles are pretty good at this stage. There are times when watching him, his style of play will remind you of Kevin Durant a little.

By all reports, he's a very hard worker and dedicated to improvement. While he doesn't come into college with the same fanfare as some others, he's certainly very talented, and someone to keep your eye on as the season progresses. I'm pretty high on this kid. I think he has considerable upside. Here's a little video of him..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUBj_NYR5R8
 
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