Another update on the prospect rankings I’ve been doing each month. This is the first one where I made an adjustment for pace. This had some effect, most notably with the North Carolina and Duke players who were all downgraded some because of the quick pace they play the game at. These ratings are a quick and dirty look at which college players compare most favorably to successful prospects of the past. They’re very objective, except for my top 60 at the bottom. My top 60 won’t match up well with other mocks around the web. I think we agree that Beasley and Rose are excellent prospects and Tyler Hansbrough isn’t. Other than that there are a lot of differences. That makes sense, because what I do is done almost strictly from a stats angle.
This won’t be my final ranking of prospects. That will happen much closer to the draft, after I’ve had time to crunch all the numbers and look at things from every possible angle. Players over 30 should be considered solid prospects. Because there are no players over 30 this year, I’m going to go ahead and call this a below-average draft. The good news is freshmen rarely score above 30 and this draft is pretty much all about the freshmen.
- Ty Lawson, North Carolina: 27.10
- Derrick Rose, Memphis: 25.16
- Tony Lee, Robert Morris: 22.16
- Sean Singletary, Virginia: 20.47
- Mario Chalmers, Kansas: 19.80
- Paul Stoll, Texas Pan American: 14.19
- Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth: 14.02
- DJ Augustin, Texas: 13.60
- Russell Westbrook, UCLA: 11.46
- Kevin Bell, Fresno St.: 10.80
Lawson’s numbers were hurt some after I adjusted for pace. I think the injury affected his defensive numbers some also, but I’ll have to look at that a little closer. I’m a little surprised that Lawson is rarely mentioned with the likes of Augustin, Bayless, Westbrook and Collison in the 2nd tier of PGs behind Rose. It probably has something to do with Lawson playing more of a supporting role to Hansbrough and Ellington than anything, but I expect that to change when they’re all put under the microscope. Rose emerged as a star during the tournament and put himself on a level with Beasley as a potential #1 pick. I moved Singletary here from the combo group. He improved his PG numbers enough that the move was warranted. Chalmers is probably better than his ranking, but that will be determined with more analysis. The PGs are an interesting group this year. There are a lot of good ones, but only a couple who look like sure things.
- Jerryd Bayless, Arizona: 20.89
- George Hill, IUPUI: 16.48
- Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin: 16.19
- Rob McIver, Houston: 16.07
- Jaycee Carroll, Utah State: 15.46
- JuJuan Smith, Tennessee: 13.63
- Brian Roberts, Dayton: 13.40
- Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati: 13.03
- Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown: 12.92
- Bo McCaleb, New Orleans: 12.55
Bayless had a nice finish to the season, but I still consider him more of a combo than a PG. Scoring is his strength and also what he looks to do first on the court. I wouldn’t put him in the top 5 as most mocks seem to have him now. His defensive numbers are way to low. None of the others look like anything other than longshots. Hill and Hudson are intriguing after putting up monster numbers at small colleges, but that’s a big jump to make.
- James Harden, Arizona State: 29.29
- Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis: 28.46
- Shan Foster, Vanderbilt: 27.09
- JR Giddens, New Mexico: 26.92
- Arizona Reed, High Point: 26.43
- Marcellus Kemp, Nevada: 25.12
- OJ Mayo, USC: 24.19
- Dionte Christmas, Temple: 23.68
- Reggie Roby, Colorado: 22.57
- Stephen Curry, Davidson: 21.47
The big change here from the end of February is that Duke and Carolina players like Nelson, Green, Ellington and Henderson, were all knocked off the list thanks to the pace adjustment I did. Harden is a player I’ll have to look at closely. The numbers are great. He’s been as good as any freshman in the country. When I watched him I didn’t get much of a feel for whether or not he’s really a SG, but more of an SF. He plays the forward position a lot at ASU. He doesn’t have the athleticism of a Mayo or Bayless, but he really produces at the important guard numbers. He’s apparently going back to college, so we’ll get another season to evaluate him. Mayo validated his top prospect status in the final month. Right now I have no problem kicking him into the top 5. He looks like a talented player who plays hard, but just needs some experience and coaching smooth over the rough edges and inexperience. Other than Douglas-Roberts, the juniors and seniors on the list are all longshots. They’ve been solid college players for most of their careers, but didn’t do much to separate themselves from other prospects. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them stood out at the camps and got themselves into the 1st round.
- Reggie Williams, VMI: 26.30
- Austin Daye, Gonzaga: 25.93
- Tyler Smith, Tennessee: 24.06
- Robbie Hummel, Purdue: 23.82
- Nick Calathes, Florida: 23.61
- Malik Hairston, Oregon: 23.60
- Josh Duncan, Xavier: 22.89
- Mykal Riley, Alabama: 21.98
- Bill Walker, Kansas State: 21.92
- Sonny Weems, Arkansas: 21.61
This is my favorite group of prospects this year. There’s so many players who impress me. This includes Singler and Budinger who didn’t quite make the top 10. Williams finished on top because of great stats, but is smallish and a senior at a small college. I don’t see him as anything more than a longshot. Most of these players could be back in college next year and all should improve. Smith and Walker should get their chance to shine with teammates leaving. Daye should get starters minutes. Hummel and Calathes should continue their strong play and put themselves more on the national radar. None of the seniors on the list are great prospects, but any one of them could surprise.
- Pat Calathes, St. Joseph’s: 23.95
- Ryan Anderson, California: 23.63
- Will Thomas, George Mason: 19.20
- Reggie Larry, Boise State: 17.60
- Damion James, Texas: 14.97
- Haminn Quaintance, Kent: 12.41
- James Johnson, Wake Forest: 11.92
- Jonathan Cox, Drake: 11.51
- Diamon Simpson, St. Mary’s: 11.39
- Donte Greene, Syracuse: 10.43
This isn’t a great group here. Like the SGs and SFs, the players to watch are the freshmen and sophomores. Anderson is probably the best prospect of the group right now, because of his scoring ability. The others have work to do. James is very intriguing, because he has such a nice collection of skills. Calathes also has some good skills and size, but faded some at the end of the season and wasn’t much of a prospect until his senior season to begin with.
- Richard Hendrix, Alabama: 29.60
- Michael Beasley, Kansas St.: 26.10
- Bryant Dunston, Fordham: 25.73
- Blake Griffin, Oklahoma: 25.64
- DJ White, Indiana: 20.98
- Joey Dorsey, Memphis: 20.79
- JJ Hickson, North Carolina St.: 19.97
- Kyle Landry, Northern Arizona: 17.64
- Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: 17.42
- Leon Williams, Ohio: 16.56
The fact that Hendrix continues to be listed in the 2nd round of most mocks is baffling. If this is the way things go, expect him to be a Carlos Boozer-type of surprise. Like every other group, the PFs are all about the freshmen. Beasley continues to be the best player available and both Griffin and Hickson look pretty good. Seniors Dorsey, White and Dunston all look like they could make it as useful reserves, though Dunston is on the small side.
- Kevin Love, UCLA: 26.71
- Marreese Speights, Florida: 23.87
- Jason Thompson, Rider: 19.00
- Shawn James, Duquense: 15.56
- Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida: 11.35
- Dwayne Curtis, Mississippi: 11.30
- Brook Lopez, Stanford: 8.95
- Devon Hardin, California: 7.85
- Goran Suton, Michigan State: 6.81
- Shaun Pruitt, Illinois: 2.15
Love continued to improve his shotblocking and right now has to be ranked with Rose and Beasley as the potential top pick. The mocks haven’t caught up on this yet, but I think it will happen. I’m not sure what the knock on Love is. He’s a great scorer both inside and out and is one of the better rebounders in the nation. He’s started to work on his defense as the year progressed and became a decent shotblocker by season’s end. He’s the best passing big man in ages and has a great basketball IQ. What’s not to like here? What makes smart people rank a long term project like DeAndre Jordan ahead of this guy? Speights faded towards the end of the year and is now a little more puzzling as a prospect. Previously I thought he just needed more minutes and better conditioning to become a force. Now the fact that he can’t stay on the court and his numbers are suffering concerns me. He’s declared for the draft and is good enough that some team will take him by the 20th pick at the latest. Brook Lopez has the size, length and athleticism, but has yet to put up great numbers. He hits less than 50% of his shots, which has historically been a real killer for big prospects. There’s nothing else in his numbers that are anything other than ordinary. Of the others, I probably like Hardin the best because he plays strong defense.
- Kenny George, UNC-Asheville: 26.84
- John Bryant, Santa Clara: 22.40
- Alecks Maric, Nebraska: 15.44
- Roy Hibbert, Georgetown: 14.52
- Cole Aldrich, Kansas: 9.43
- DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M 5.74
- Jerome Jordan, Tulsa: 5.10
- Dave Padgett, Louisville: 4.31
- Sasha Kaun, Kansas: 3.07
- Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut: 2.78
The centers have a ton of questions to answer before the draft. George has great numbers, but is heavy and has those foot problems that seem to plague real tall players. Hibbert’s numbers were down some this year, but I would still spend a late lottery pick on him, based on his two previous years and his defensive abilities. Other than that it’s the usual group of bangers, blockers and projects. There’s probably not a star in the bunch, but some who will be able to help out a team. DeAndre Jordan seems to be the favorite of many, but he has such a long way to go that any team drafting him should brace themselves for 3-4 seasons of waiting for him to develop.
The Top 60
Here are my subjective rankings of the top 60 prospects. These won’t match the numerical rankings. The reason is the rankings are meant to be more of a guideline than a hard and fast reflection of any players’ value. Another reason is the ranking doesn’t take age or experience into account. I’d rather take a chance on a freshman who might be able to play than a senior or junior who I know won’t be able to play, even though the senior might currently be a better player.
The top 4 seem to be at a level above the rest right now. I might eventually move one or all of the next 4 into that group after I look at each player a little more closely. Up until now the process has been watching games, talking notes and crunching numbers. When I look at a player more closely, break down his season, take other factors into account and compare his numbers to past prospects I can get a better idea of his potential.
This is the place for the frosh and soph who have yet to put up great numbers, but appear to have the ability to do so. Honestly most won’t make it, but some will and they might be pretty good. There are many of this type of player this year, so they’ll extend into the bubble 20.
Calling this group the “bubble 20” is my clever way of saying they’re all on the first round bubble. The bigger names here: Gordon, Budinger, Randolph, Westbrook, Jordan and Augustin are all good players, but I haven’t been impressed enough by any of them to rank them higher than this. That could change when I look at them more closely, but all have something in their numbers that screams “bust” at this time.
This group is a group of personal favorites more than anything. All are solid college players. All do some things well enough that there should be some glimmer of hope that they can latch on somewhere in the league. Most are unlikely to make it. The exception would be McGee, who is one of those long, athletic 7-footers with ordinary numbers who most mocks rank as an equal to Kevin Love.