NBA AM: NBA Draft Prospects To Watch
Draft Watch Weekend: As the NCAA Tournament moves into the Sweet Sixteen this weekend, there are obviously NBA lottery picks still playing such as Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, a virtual lock for the top overall pick. But there are also some guys that may be flying a little under the radar that are worth catching this weekend and their possible draft status could change if they can show up strong on the big stage.
Here are some guys to watch:
Bradley Beal – Florida – SG – 6’4″
Don’t let Bradley’s shooting percentages fool you. He is the best shooting guard on the NBA draft radar. He has all of the physical tools to be a top tier pick in June’s NBA Draft and its very likely he’s coming out this year.
Bradley takes a ton of threes, and connects on about 33% of them. He is fundamentally a solid shooter, he’s just taking way too many threes.
If and when he declares he’ll land with a NBA trainer who will help him dial in his three ball, but overall there really isn’t much not to like with Beal at the next level.
He is fun to watch and if your teams needs a two guard, Beal is the guy to get on draft night.
Cody Zeller – Indiana – C – 6’11″
62% from the field. A legit 6’11 and he plays nasty. If you have not seen Cody Zeller play, he’s worth the price of the ticket.
He has a great feel for the low post game. He can score from several places on the floor and he is flat out aggressive on both ends of the floor.
Cody is the second best big man on the draft radar and if opts to stay at Indiana for another year he might be the top overall pick in 2013. He has that kind of upside.
It is unlikely Cody is going to stay, so make sure to get a look at him this weekend.
Indiana plays Kentucky, so he’ll be facing a solid team. If he shows up big against Kentucky and can get Indiana into the elite eight his draft stock will go up.
Cody’s draft range is 6 to 12 right now and he really could help himself with a strong tournament run against elite talent.
Dion Waiters – Syracuse – SG – 6’4″
Dion was terrible as a freshman, and has made huge strides as a sophomore. He might be best served staying at Syracuse for another year, but if he does jump to the NBA he’s going to get sniffs in the first round for sure.
Dion will remind you a lot of Denver’s Aaron Afflalo. He’s a little smaller than Aaron, but he can really push the ball in the open floor. He is a great defender and he plays his role incredibly well.
Dion is not a lottery level talent, but a playoff team in the teens to twenties that needs a defensive minded two-guard might look guard at Waiters.
A strong run to the Final Four will help his visibility and his draft stock. He’s clearly worth taking a look at this weekend.
Tyshawn Taylor – Kansas – PG – 6’3″
Tyshawn might be best served with another year at Kansas, but he is a senior, so when he does opt for the 2012 NBA Draft class, he could be the second or third best point guard in the class.
He is a turnover machine, but he is fast. He is big and he can hit the jump shot off the screen or the pick and roll.
Tyshawn is absolutely fun to watch especially when he pushes the tempo.
If your team is looking for a backup guard and is sitting on a pick in the 20’s, Tyshawn might be the guy. He needs some work, but 6’3, speedy guards are hard to come by, especially late in the draft.
Draymond Green – Michigan State – PF – 6’6″
Draymond is the archetype for undersized power forwards. He is listed in some places at 6’7 and that’s a stretch. If he measures in at 6’6 some scouts will be shocked and that’s going to hurt his draft stock, but with guys like Paul Millsap and DaJuan Blair excelling in the NBA, it’s going to be hard for teams to pass up such a proven and polished player.
Draymond does it all. He rebounds. He plays tough and physical defense. He has a proven jump shot and is arguably the most NBA ready forward on the radar.
Watch him play this weekend and tell me he doesn’t remind you of Paul Millsap, and the fact that most NBA teams could get him in the late first round, early second round he might be the best value guy on the draft scene.
There are a couple of things to know about this year’s NBA draft…
1st – The NCAA has set their own deadline of April 10th for players to withdraw from the NBA Draft and keep their eligibility intact. This means most players won’t have the luxury of “testing the waters” as was common in the past.
2nd – The NBA Draft Lottery will be held on May 30th this year because of the lockout-adjusted post-season.
3rd – The NBA deadline to withdraw from the draft is June 18th. This date is now more about International players, although domestic players can pull out of the draft and opt to play in Europe or the D-League and enter the draft again at a future date.
Lastly – The 2012 NBA Draft will be held on June 28th at the Prudential center in Newark, as Madison Square Garden will continue its three year renovation as soon as the Knicks season ends.
Kobe Happy For Fisher: Laker star Kobe Bryant understands why the LA lakers traded long-time teammate Derek Fisher. He’s also happy Fisher found a situation with a winning team signing with and playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.
But Bryant, who would step on your mother to win a game, says he has no plans to go easy on his longtime friend.
“Look, we don’t get five championships by being sympathetic towards each other and kissing each other’s ass during the game,” Bryant said to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “I’m going to demolish him. He understands that. If he switches off on me in the post, there’s going to be problems. I’m sure he’ll put an elbow right in my back, and that’s why we love each other.”
Bryant said he was not surprised Fisher selected the Thunder over the many teams at the table.
“I expected that,” Bryant said. “The Thunder needed him, in terms of having a backup point guard who brings a lot of stability and obviously veteran leadership and an ability to make big shots. I could see that coming.”
Fisher will make his return to Staples Center to face the Lakers on April 22nd. Bryant says he expects it will be an emotional game.
“It’s going to be emotional, I’m sure for everybody and him and I in particular,” Bryant said. “Still, in all, I wish him the best.”
The Thunder sit at 35-12 on the season and have a six game lead in the Western Conference over the third place Lakers.
Oops! JJ Hickson Claimed By The Blazers: When the Sacramento Kings waived JJ Hickson it was all but agreed that Hickson would be clearing waivers and joining the Golden State Warriors. In fact Hickson was in New Orleans with the Warriors yesterday awaiting the word that he could join his new team.
Then a funny thing happened… The Portland Trail Blazers claimed his contract and JJ is now a Blazer.
Hickson has 48 hours to join his new team, and according to the Blazers he’ll wear jersey #21 and should be with the team sometime today.
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NBA Chats: There are two NBA chats today starting with my weekly NBA Rumors Chat at 10:30am EST. Get your questions in now as the chats do fill up fast. Senior NBA writer Joel Brigham will host his weekly NBA Chat at 1:30pm EST. Joel covers the Central Division for HOOPSWORLD. You can always find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.