NBA prospects: The best of everything
When it comes to evaluating prospects before the NBA draft, teams look at everything.
How well do they shoot, pass and rebound? How fast do they run and how high do they jump? How smart are they? How hard do they compete? What's their upside?
We ask the same questions and make our own judgments, and here are our top five in a variety of important categories.
Leslie has super-human leaping ability that allows him to make a lot of plays around the rim. That, combined with his explosiveness, could make him an exciting and dynamic role player in the NBA. Think Shannon Brown.
Kanter has always been a load for opposing big men. During the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit he used his strength and skill to score a record-setting 34 points, as he just ate the USA roster alive -- including 6-9, 280-pound Jared Sullinger. Oh, and he did it with an injured back.
Walker has proven himself to be one of the deadliest scorers in college basketball with his combination of aggressiveness, ball-handling ability and absolutely unreal speed. It seems that no matter how fast he is moving, he always has a higher gear that leaves his defender in the dust. Kemba's quickness will be elite, even in the NBA.
Williams is exceptionally quick off his feet for a player who holds as much muscle as he does. His combination of strength and explosiveness draws some comparisons to Blake Griffin, though he's not quite the freak that Griffin is.
The big man from USC has the size and skills to be a nice player in the NBA, but the man can't jump over a phone book and that limits his potential. Still averaged a double-double for the Trojans, though.
Biyombo became a draftnik darling the minute his measurements at the Nike Hoop Summit were released. With a ridiculous 7-7 wingspan and great athleticism to boot, Biyombo could become an intimidating defensive player in time.
You could make an argument for any of four or five players here, but Jimmer will likely be the best shooter coming out of the draft class. He is absolutely automatic when left open and he has unlimited range. He is both a volume shooter and an efficient shooter (made 124 triples last season at a 40% clip), and he is dangerous off the dribble or when spotting up.
Despite only being a sophomore, Morris has proven himself to be one of the best playmakers in college basketball. His passing ability is off the charts and he has a great court awareness. He measured 6-5 in shoes, and this size helps him see over the defense and find open teammates.
Singleton has the length and lateral quickness to guard four different positions at the next level. He's also a stat-sheet stuffer as he collects a bounty of steals, blocks and rebounds every game.
Any college player who gets 200 offensive rebounds in a single season can rebound, and rebounding is a skill that transfers to the NBA. Faried may be undersized and offensively challenged, but he'll be a big-time threat on the glass any time he is in the game.
Thompkins is really a load down low. He looks great on either side of the rim, using numerous fakes and shifty footwork to maneuver his way to an easy shot around the rim. He also employs a nice turnaround jumper, which makes him dangerous with his back to the basket out to about 18 feet.
Walker is fearless on the basketball court. He does everything it takes to win, and UConn's championship this season is really indicative of that. He's a true leader and an extremely strong competitor.
Singler didn't have the best senior season, but he has a Final Four MVP under his belt and the national championship from his junior season. He won't be a superstar at the next level, rather a scrappy role player that does all the little things to help his team win.
High Risk/High Reward
Tyler is a big body with great length and a soft touch. At one point, he was even the top-ranked player in his high school class. Things took a turn after he decided to drop out of school to play overseas. He didn't respond well to coaching, didn't get along with his teammates and ultimately couldn’t get much playing time. His potential is through the roof and he could be a great player in time, but he's just as likely to be a waste of a pick and a cancer to his team.
Williams is the safest pick in this year's draft. He has an NBA-ready body, outstanding shooting ability and the athleticism to compete with just about anybody at the next level. He'll be a great and efficient scorer who will likely see a few All-Star games in his prime.
There are a lot of things to like about Biyombo. He has great length, athleticism, strength, a good attitude and a high motor. Not a bad prospect at all. He's only overrated because of the obscene amount of hype he's received since the Nike Hoop Summit. Getting compared to everybody from Serge Ibaka to Ben Wallace isn't fair for a player as raw as Biyombo is. Going in the top 10-12 picks is doing HIM a disservice.
Motie has a silky-smooth offensive game. He can handle the ball exceptionally well for a player his size, he has a remarkably diverse offense game and he's an underrated passer with a ton of potential in this area. He's not a good rebounder/defender and he needs to work on his consistency, but he has legit All-Star potential.
Thompkins' stock is supposedly slipping, but he's still a great talent offensively. He has great footwork in the post and range out to the college three-point line. If he lands with the right team, he could be a very effective player.