NBA AM: Is Steph Curry Done For The Season?
Curry Still Struggling With Ankle: Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reported this weekend that Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry saw an ankle specialist in LA last week to go over the chronic pain and discomfort he is experiencing in his surgically repaired right foot and ankle.
The Warriors have decided to shelve Curry until his ankle is 100% and the team is exhausting all resources to try and get to the root of the problem.
“He would love to play. In fact, that’s been one of the problems,” Warriors’ GM Larry Riley said. “He’s wanted to be out there probably before he should have at times. He wants to play.”
Curry has missed 21 games this season after missing 8 games last season. The Warriors plan to take it slow with Curry who can not seem to get right with his ankle.
Curry has been battling ankle issues for the last two years and opted for surgery in May of last year for what was called “instability that existed in the ankle due to recurrent ankle sprains.”
Curry has consulted with virtually every ankle expert in the country and has even been fitted for custom shoes with endorsement partner Nike.
The Warriors will have the option of extending Curry’s contract this summer, however with the uncertainty involving his ankle both parties may opt to hold the line.
Curry is owed $3.9 million next season and would require a $5.3 million qualifying offer in July of 2013 to secure his restricted free agent rights.
Helped Or Hurt Their Draft Stock?: NBA General Managers and talent evaluators say they never judge a player on a single game, and that a players’ true NBA potential may not always be reflected on the court in college games.
All of which is probably true given the track record of the NBA draft, however there is no doubting that players who show up big in the March Madness tournament tend to have an edge and player who struggle on the big stage have to carry that into NBA workouts.
Here are some of the players that clearly helped themselves:
Bradley Beal – SG – Florida: Brad’s a little undersized for the NBA two guard spot, but he has likely played himself into a top 5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft regardless. Beal showed up big for the Gators and proved he could handle the pressure of the tournament, but more importantly play big against double teams and trapping defense.
Word is the Washington Wizards are enamored with Beal from afar and given that the Wizards could be picking in the top 3, Bradley Beal may have played himself into a very good situation.
His journey started before the Tournament, but strong play over the last two weeks has cemented Beal into a ‘must see prospect’ for a number of teams drafting in the lottery.
Thomas Robinson – PF – Kansas: If you had Thomas Robinson being this good this year raise your hand… yeah right. To say Robinson came out of nowhere is an understatement, but he has been HUGE all year and over the last two weeks he has been a beast.
Robinson was a top 8 pick before helping Kansas punch a ticket to the Final Four, but today it’s going to be interesting to see where Robinson actually lands.
With several notable “named” prospects not playing well in the tournament, could a national championship run push Robinson to the front of the list for some teams, even teams with proven guys at the four spot? Maybe.
What team couldn’t use a double-double machine that plays big and tough?
Robinson has done well for himself, solidifying what people have been saying all year. Thomas is a virtual lock for the top 10 in June, the question is can he sneak into the top 5?.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – SF – Kentucky: MKG was telling people for months that he was coming back to Kentucky for his sophomore year, however it seems highly unlikely that he is going to follow through on that.
Kidd-Gilchrist is an NBA player and a looks to be a pretty good one at that.
While teammate Anthony Davis will be the top overall pick in June, Kidd-Gilchrist could be the more NBA ready of the two.
Davis will go through the typical struggles of a big man adapting to the size and physicality of the NBA game. Kidd-Gilchrist looks like he’ll plug in right away.
Kidd-Gilchrist was likely a lottery pick before the tournament started, and the way he has handled the pressure of the big stage and the intensity of each round, there is no doubt he’ll have a very full dance card with workouts for teams with the top 8 picks.
There is a dark horse chance Kidd-Gilchrist stays at Kentucky for another year, but even Kentucky coach John Calipari would be hard pressed to convince MKG to stay given how hot his stock is.
Not sure Kidd-Gilchrist changed anyone’s perceptions of his game in the tournament, but he sure has solidified how most people viewed him coming in.
Tyshawn Taylor – PG – Kansas: Tyshawn really put it all together yesterday, helping Kansas seal their Final Four berth. He isn’t going to be a lottery pick, but in a league starved for point guards Tyshawn may have played himself into serious first round consideration after been a lock for the 2nd round coming into the tournament.
Tyshawn still has a lot of work to do convincing NBA teams he has the motor to run a NBA club, but the way he’s played in the tournament has to give you a glimpse of what he could be and that’s a pretty decent backup NBA point guard.
With the possibility of two more games on the horizon, Tyshawn could be the guy that’s draft stock benefits the most for a strong tournament run.
We’ll have to see if NBA scouts forget how average he’s been over the last two years.
Here are some of the players that clearly hurt their stock:
Harrison Barnes – SF – UNC: For two years Harrison Barnes’ name has been cemented at the top of NBA scouting reports and Mock Drafts. The problem, and it showed up big this week, is that Harrison Barnes plays small. Really small.
Barnes has been woefully average as a college player and when the moment is required, he tends not to be the guy. That could be by design, or it could be he’s just not that player.
That’s going to be a problem for a kid that has all the physical tools to play at the next level. Barnes doesn’t seem like he has the “it” factor that teams covet.
If there is one player on the draft radar that hurt his stock the most it has to be Harrison Barnes.
On the big stage, he showed up awfully small and awfully average.
Perry Jones – PF – Baylor: NBA talent evaluators often reference the “eye test” – does a player look the part. It’s the least analytic part of the evaluation process, but from an ‘eye test’ point of view Perry Jones looks like a NBA player.
The problem is he really doesn’t play like one.
Jones showed up big again Xavier, and held his own yesterday versus Kentucky, but for a kid that was supposed to be a man-child type athlete, he just hasn’t delivered.
NBA scouts questioned Perry last year, and while he has had a better all-around season, he still has as many questions surrounding him as answers.
You can’t teach 6’11, and that will keep him on the draft radar in the lottery range, but there are more and more Anthony Randolph comparisons floating around than I think anyone in Perry Jones’ life would like. Perry didn’t crater his draft stock, but he surely didn’t help it.
Kendall Marshall – PG – UNC: Kendall has a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. It’s one of the bones just below your thumb and it’s a nasty injury, because this bone rarely heals right.
Marshall is going to have a tough choice to make. If he opts for the NBA draft he is going to have his wrist poked and prodded more than a hundred times. As NBA teams are going to want to know what they are getting into.
Marshall is arguably one of the better point guard prospects on the 2012 NBA Draft radar, but even with that designation he was likely a “teens to twenties” pick before the injury and projecting his range with the uncertainty of his wrist gets cloudy.
If Marshall opts for another year at UNC and a year to let the wrist heal right, he’ll gain some draft stock points for sure in 2013, but convincing a player that’s had a nasty injury to wait one more year might be more than he’s willing to risk.
Marshall is still a solid NBA prospect, but given the uncertainty of his wrist he could slide to the bottom of the first round where the financial risk is lower or even into the top of the second round where the risk is almost nonexistent.
Marshall may not have played his way to a lower draft stock, but his injury surely impacts how teams will value him.
The NCAA enacted a new rule that goes into effect this year which will force NCAA players to decide whether they are going into the NBA by April 10th this year, a full 69 days before the NBA requires a decision.
The consensus among talent evaluators are most of the top 20 players will be coming out this year.
The NBA Draft lottery will be held on May 30th, with the 2012 NBA Draft taking place in 94 days at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Money Talks: So the word is that new Thunder guard Derek Fisher gave up the entire Player Option year on his contract worth $3.4 million to gain his release from the Houston Rockets.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are reported to have given Fisher $2.3 million for the balance of this season, so it wasn’t quite the sacrifice it seemed at first.
The Thunder still had roughly $3 million of their Mid-Level Exception money left and gave the balance to Fisher for the remainder of the year.
It’s also the reason Fisher chose the Thunder over the Miami HEAT who could only offer a pro-rated NBA minimum deal.
The HEAT however did land Ronny Turiaf, but reports from Miami say that the HEAT landed Turiaf because they gave him a player option year worth $1.2 million for next season.
The HEAT already have $79.2 million committed in salaries next season.
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