Stock Watch for ACC Prospects with Legit NBA Potential
The ACC has a number of high-end NBA prospects who are experiencing the typical highs and lows of a new college basketball season.
Throughout the year we'll be updating you on whose stock is rising and whose is slipping, all with regard to the 2013 NBA draft.
With the ACC in the midst of an inter-conference tournament, now is a great chance to get a look at some of the top prospects against unfamiliar competition.
Stock Up: Alex Len, Maryland
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Alex Len is starting to pick up steam and propel his name into the elite category of prospects.
Maryland has been involved in their fair share of early-season blowouts, so Len's usage rate has been down in the second halves. But in six games he's never shot below 50 percent and is averaging 15 points, nine rebounds and 2.5 blocks in only 26 minutes.
It's almost as if he's doing whatever he wants, when he wants, every minute he's on the floor.
Maybe it's just a bad habit to associate young big men with raw offensive skill sets and overall awkwardness.
So to see 7'1'' Len combine aggression with touch and clever footwork is a real eye-opener to those looking for the next breakout star.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see Len eventually establish himself as a top-five prospect in the country.
Stock Down: James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina
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James Michael McAdoo is not doing much to help his draft stock.
He was pretty much irrelevant in a blowout loss to Indiana, missing 11 of his 15 shot attempts despite almost all of them coming from within 10 feet of the tin.
Against Butler, he found the guy in the third row more than he found the net, turning it over seven times and making only five baskets.
As strictly an off-ball contributor, McAdoo has appeal because of his athleticism, size and ability to play above the rim. But he's clearly not a fit as a natural scorer.
McAdoo is much more effective and efficient playing off the ball. It's not a bad thing, it just lowers his ceiling as an NBA prospect.
Stock Up: Mason Plumlee, Duke
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Mason Plumlee is going to keep rising up the board until someone shuts him down.
Ignoring technical analysis and going by what you see, Plumlee just appears better than everyone else. And considering his size and athleticism, he's unlikely to take a step back.
While he's not as polished as Cody Zeller as a post scorer, he's stronger and plays higher above the rim. He's also a more feared shot-blocker and effective rebounder, and has some scouts questioning who the better prospect is.
The bottom line is that he's no longer looked at as an eighth man off the bench, rather as someone who can provide a daily impact and anchor a team's front line.
There's just not much defense 12 feet above the ground.
Stock Down: Ian Miller, Florida State
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Ian Miller was becoming a trendy pick as a breakout star in the ACC. That trend quickly went out of style.
Miller can't seem to consistently produce, and his minutes have been effected as a result. At 6'3'' with NBA-guard athleticism, he hasn't shown that in-between game that can help jump start his own offense and give him purpose on the floor.
Known for his shooting touch, the 33 percent he's shooting from downtown won't generate much attention. And for whatever reason he's 4-of-12 from the free-throw line, so to say his head isn't fully in it wouldn't be an unreasonable suggestion.
He scored two points Tuesday night against Minnesota and is becoming more and more irrelevant on the national prospect landscape.
Stock Up: Richard Howell, North Carolina State
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Richard Howell is easily North Carolina State's most underrated player and could arguably wear the same label with regard to the entire ACC.
He simply needs more touches, considering he's averaging 14 points a night on 74 percent shooting, good for second in the country.
Howell screams efficiency, making open mid-range jumpers and consistently converting on all opportunities at the rim.
At 6'8'' with a strong NBA frame, Howell is a legitimate second-round prospect who can provide depth and reliability to a team's front line.
This isn't likely to be the last you'll hear from me on Richard Howell. He's a strong candidate to play the role of the rising senior who finally breaks through.
Stock Down: Marcus Paige, North Carolina
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Dubbed a Kendall Marshall clone, that's simply just not the case.
Marcus Paige, though a freshman, isn't doing much to garner NBA attention.
At just 6'0'', I can't imagine any scout is concerned with his ability to score, considering it's unlikely to translate either way to the next level.
What is concerning is his 3.3 assists to 3.0 turnovers a game ratio, a pretty sad number when you think about the athletic finishing targets around him.
While never thought of as a legitimate first-round guy, Paige is looking more and more like a four-year guard with minimal NBA potential.
Stock Up: Erick Green, Virginia Tech
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Erick Green leads the ACC in scoring at 24 a game, which is crazy when you consider he's only shooting 32 percent from downtown.
Green has really found the groove as a scorer, and with the ability to dominate the ball, he'll have all the opportunities to keep his numbers up.
While not completely losing sight of his point guard responsibilities, he's averaging five assists a game to go along with his 24 points.
He's helped keep Virginia Tech undefeated with a convincing win Tuesday night over a solid Iowa team.
The obvious test moving forward is whether or not his scoring production translates to wins once conference play gets underway.
Stock Down: Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State
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Though it seems like a temporary blip on the radar, the beating Lorenzo Brown took from freshman Marcus Smart was simply not a good look.
Defended by a stronger, younger guard, Brown was held to one assist and seven turnovers.
It's not to say he's a bust, but considering his status as arguably the top pure point guard prospect in America, that title has now been brought into question.
He's struggling to convert baskets, shooting only 34 percent from the floor and 10 percent from downtown. You have to assume they'll start to drop, but until they do, his arrow is pointing down.
With a guy like Michael Carter-Williams surging up draft boards, scouts' attention might start to drift.