In Part 1 of the six-part installment, I will analyze the players themselves, but not the teams that draft the players. In the January edition, I will scout the first round players as ranked by ESPN.com. Then in February, I scout second round players followed by Mock Draft No. 1 in March. In April and May, I will re-scout the first and second rounds followed by Mock Draft No. 2 in June right before the draft.
First off, I will tell you who WON'T enter the NBA draft and tell you the reason why. At PG, I think Patrick Mills will return to St. Mary's, because he can improve his stock and this year is stocked with PGs. Nick Calathes also will probably stay due to Florida not reaching its full potential.
Last notable PG who should stay is Sherron Collins, who despite a great year, is relatively low in the draft. Waiting a year could raise his stock, because of his experience, and hopefully improved talent.
Anyway, the best-rated point guard in ESPN.com is Ricky Rubio and I agree. He is tall, lanky, tough, a leader, and plays in Europe. My next-rated is Jeff Teague, who has been an integral part of Wake Forest's run to dominance in the NCAA.
Based on production, which I value more than talent, but only to a certain extent, I choose Stephon Curry next. He makes solid passes, great shooter, and he is basically carrying Davidson right now. Jrue Holiday of UCLA is aggressive, versatile, and quick yet his little production could lead to a drop or him returning to school since he is only a freshman.
Willie Warren is my next favorite as he has helped Oklahoma round out its roster in having a solid front court and back court. I really like Brandon Jennings even with his struggles with the Euro-league. This has toughened him as a person as the coaches are not easy on him and it will prepare him early on in NBA as a role player.
Johnny Flynn's acrobatic style, Ty Lawson's quickness and great passing, and Darren Collison's experienced leadership ranked in order as my last three potential first round guards.
We have quite a few potential first round picks here. First off, the best SG and one of my personal favorites is James Harden, the left-handed scorer for ASU who has raised up the Sun Devils with his 22 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.3 APG.
No clear second has yet to emerge from the pack, but as of now DeMor DeRozan out of USC and Tyreke Evans out of MEM lead. They both have serious problems though as DeRozan has ball handling issues, a mid-game inconsistency, and needs to improve his defense and Evans seems selfish and not a team player.
In my opinion, Gerald Henderson is the next best due to his recent resurgence and he has lead Duke to their current No. 1 ranking. He may stay however if Duke is unsuccessful in their run to the title. My next choice is tough, but I choose Evan Turner over Chase Budinger, because OSU has a winning record in the Big Ten and Arizona does not in Pac-10.
Budinger is huge for a SG and knows how to score, but is lazy at times while Turner has more positives and his negatives are actually that he is still improving. Jodie Meeks is the next best player and his stock may rise due to his 54-point performance versus a very good Tennessee team (although not defensively).
Wayne Ellington amazes me with his shots with little space, but that is his only exceptional gift and he will come to the NBA because his good buddies Hansborough, Green, Ginyard, and possibly Lawson will all leave.
Terrence Williams would make a good role player in the NBA and with an improved offense a starter, because his defense is outstanding. Three potential SGs who are reliable seniors at little basketball schools are Lee Cummard of BYU, Robert Vaden of UAB, and Lester Hudson of Tennessee-Martin. Here is a last possible first rounder, although a long shot, K.C. Rivers of Clemson who excels at stealing the ball and being mistake-free.
Those who stay in school will/could be Manny Harris, because Michigan is on the rise and, with a top recruit, they might be able to contend, Greivis Vasquez returned last year with identical numbers as of now, Scotty Hopson as the talent, not the production, and Paul Harris has more to prove at Syracuse.
Here is a very thin class. This one is on gut instinct, but I think Austin Daye will return to take Gonzaga higher. Tyler Smith of Tennessee and Kyle Singler of Duke will both return. Devin Ebanks of West Virginia has a lot to prove and has had little production, Omri Cassipi of Israel will not get his first round guarantee, and DeShawn Sims will return with Harris to take Michigan farther.
Al Farouq-Aminu, a one-and-done freshman apparently, has had an excellent year for Wake Forest and that will be short-lived as he will not pass the Top Five possibility. Earl Clark of Louisville seems like he will be a solid SF as a good mid-range shooter, improved ball handling, and a good passer.
DaJuan Summers will be well prepared as will the other SF ahead from the tough schedule they face in their No. 1 ranked conference and his incredible talent. Damion James will be smart and leave for the NBA draft going higher than normal from the thin talent at his position and his next best player A.J. Abrams is leaving also.
Sam Young knows how to win and he plays tough teams regularly plus he is a solid shooter with some range, and he is still learning the game. Danny Green would win the Sixth Man Award if it were available by a large margin as he is an excellent offensive performer; however, his defense brings him down.
Lastly, Robert Dozier could be drafted in the first round just because he is the last available besides Micah Downs, who lets face it, will be lucky to be drafted.
Here is an excellent class with tons of talent. The POY in 2007-2008 is barely considered in the first round. DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh will stay; after all, his stock will rise barring injuries over the next two years. James Johnson of WF and Derrick Brown of Xavier will both stay likely not expecting much in the NBA plus they enjoy winning.
Blake Griffin is the clear No. 1 overall much less PF with his double-double average. He is strong, tenacious on D and rebounding, plus he scores. Greg Monroe is another one-and-done as there is no way he is passing up this opportunity with his talent. Jordan Hill of Arizona will leave with his classmate Budinger and their falling program.
Gani Lawai of Georgia Tech also averages a double-double. Patrick Patterson will likely leave with Jodie Meeks, because he is a Top 20 pick. Tyler Hansborough has the intangibles but apparently not the required talent to succeed. Josh Heytulet will try to bring his winning ways to a new team in a new league and Michael Washington will leave Arkansas for its losing ways.
Hasheem Thabeet leads the class of centers as a 7'0 lanky guy who can block anybody. He is a potential Top Five pick. B.J. Mullens was predicted after Thabeet but that has changed since Mullens hasn't performed well productivity-wise. Cole Aldrich has so much more to accomplish at Kansas so he may stay.
Jerome Jordan of Tulsa has been solid averaging nearly 10 rebounds and 14 points per game. Michael Dunigan and Tony Woods are talented freshman who haven't performed well while Andrew Ogilvy has a Vandy program on the rise. Ukraine center Vyacheslov Kravtsov will likely be a late first-round pick.
Overall if you need a surplus of shooters or passers for your back court, there is a plentiful of amount of them. If you need a banger in the post or a rebounding force, you need a Top Five draft pick.