Almost a month into the season, some NBA prospects have already begun to stand out, whether for the right reasons or the wrong ones.
Sustaining the ups and minimizing the downs is the name of the game for those trying to attract NBA attention. With conference play approaching in January, prospects will have another month to iron out the kinks and build on the positives.
Otto Porter hasn't shown many weaknesses this year, contributing in all facets of the game and doing so with efficiency.
He's only played in four games, but he's averaging 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks on 57.6 percent from the floor. In his first appearance, he only played six minutes, bringing his season averages down quite a bit.
The two most promising signs he has shown scouts so far have been his consistent outside stroke and the ability to score in isolation, which he did in the closing seconds to get a crunch-time bucket against UCLA.
Porter's attractiveness as a prospect has to do with his "sure thing" outlook. He's a low-risk guy whose ceiling has yet to be determined, but his basement sits higher than the majority of competing prospects.
James McAdoo looks like a lion, except instead of ruling the jungle, he's lost in the desert.
His appeal to this point has stemmed strictly from his physical tools, which include an immaculate 6'9'' frame that runs and jumps better than anyone on the floor. If you didn't know squat about basketball, you'd guess that McAdoo was the best player on the floor solely based on appearance.
But McAdoo's offensive skill set is awfully raw, and his poor decision making has reflected that.
He's taking difficult shots and turning the ball over as a featured member of the offense.
He's a lot more effective playing off the ball, where he's given less responsibilities as a scorer. This isn't a bad thing. It just lowers his ceiling.
Michael Carter-Williams is picking apart defenses like an NFL quarterback with time in the pocket.
He was never considered a lottery talent because, as a scorer in high school and a scrawny 185-pounder, he just didn't look the part.
Now he's showing the world he can be a pass-first point guard, and a special one at that.
He's leading the country in assists at 9.3 per game, and that's with Brandon Triche getting some ball-handling opportunities.
Carter-Williams seems to make a play with every touch, breaking down the defense and using his length, vision and passing to set up a teammate for an easy basket.
His physical tools may not translate to an NBA scoring guard, but as a point guard, they're exceptional.
Right now, he looks like the second-best point-guard prospect behind Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State.
"Stock down" isn't even the right way to put it. It's more like stock eliminated.
Joshua Smith quit the UCLA basketball program, likely ending his career as an NBA prospect.
A top recruit out of high school, Smith never gained control of a weight problem that consequently took control of him. Summer after summer, we heard he was ready to fix the issue, but it never happened.
It's unfortunate because his extremely high talent level helped him earn the reputation of elite high-school prospect at age 17.
At 6'10'' with hands softer than cotton, he had serious potential as a polished offensive big man.
The fat jokes were humorous for the majority of his career, but now that he no longer has one, there's nothing left to laugh about. Hopefully, one day there will be a comeback story about Josh Smith because he was an excellent ballplayer.
I don't know who Jeff Withey thinks he is, but he apparently wants us to know that he's a bad, bad man.
Withey followed up a 25-point, seven-block game against Saint Louis with a 12-block triple-double against San Jose State. Through six games, his stats are unheard of, averaging 14.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.2 blocks in a hair under 29 minutes.
The key number here is the 6.2, which is actually equivalent to a block every 4.7 minutes he's on the floor. He finished second in the country last year in blocks per 40 minutes, and he's starting to look like a genuine talent.
Whether he can sustain his nightly double-digit scoring numbers is irrelevant. Teams in need of depth at the center position will take him for his defensive prowess and ability to defend the post.
He's moving closer and closer to solidifying first-round value.
Adonis Thomas' numbers are underwhelming when you consider his size, athleticism and high level of talent.
He's only averaging 12 points a game, which is understandable playing in an offense where the guards dominate the ball and the frontcourt is overcrowded.
But there's no excuse for averaging only 4.2 rebounds a game.
The three-ball that was supposed to propel him to the next level has yet to fall. He's only made one of his thirteen attempts on the year and has yet to establish an offensive identity for himself.
Whether or not he has a predetermined desire to leave school after one year, Thomas' stock might be more susceptible to growth if he stays until he's a junior.
He might have a hard time producing consistently in this offense, leaving his potential as the only real selling point for NBA scouts.
Isaiah Canaan just can't be stopped in the Ohio Valley Conference. He's coming off back-to-back 30-point games in which he nailed a total of 12 three-point field goals.
Easily the most underrated shooter in the country, he's got his percentage from behind the arc up to 42.6 percent, which has been a staple statistic throughout his four-year career.
His leadership qualities, along with an NBA-point-guard frame and fearless instincts, will make at least one first-round general manager fall in love.
If Canaan wants to be considered lottery-worthy, he'll have to prove it in March against superior competition. But until then, as long as he continues to dominate mid-major schools, he'll remain a legit first-round prospect with room for his stock to grow.
For most seniors, no visible improvement might as well be classified as regression.
Elijah Johnson still hasn't seemed to turn the corner, and though it's early, he looks like the same player we saw last year.
He hasn't put together a complete game that at least flashes what he might be capable of down the road.
He's averaging 4.2 assists to go with 2.7 turnovers, not the greatest ratio in terms of efficiency. Only shooting 41.8 percent from the floor, he just hasn't shown that he possesses a true strength that should convince a team he's their guy.
He'll make an individual play a game that makes you believe he's NBA-caliber, but his whole body of work lacks substance overall.
Johnson should have the ball in his hands a lot this year, so the opportunity to capitalize will be there.