Stock Up, Stock Down for 8 NBA Prospects
In Week Four of college basketball, a number of NBA prospects have separated themselves from the pack, looking to make that jump into the next tier of draft range.
On the other hand, we've seen some disappointing performances from guys who were expected to make the leap.
Though early, sometimes all it takes is one standout performance, whether negative or positive, to sway a scout's thought process on a particular player.
Every game is an audition for these prospects looking to find a career in the NBA.
Stock Up: Michigan's Trey Burke, 6'0'' PG
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Michigan continues to plow through opponents with Trey Burke doing the driving.
He's balancing scoring with playmaking, now averaging 17 points to go with 6.9 assists a game.
Burke nearly tested the waters last year but returned to school with the likelihood he couldn't get a first-round guarantee. Chances are he gets one this year.
Burke is shooting 50 percent from the floor, an extremely impressive number for a point guard taking 12.6 shots per game. Compared to last year, he's getting more separation on runners in the paint and jumpers on the perimeter, making it easier for him to convert from the inside and out.
He's putting his name in contention for the title of best point guard in the country. It probably won't hurt Burke's chances if Michigan remains a top-three program.
Stock Down: Baylor's Isaiah Austin, 7'0'' PF/C
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Isaiah Austin, though extremely skilled for a seven-footer, is having trouble asserting himself and consistently making an impact.
He hasn't brought in more than five rebounds in three consecutive games, nor has he attempted more than three free throws a game during the stretch. This is a reflection of how much muscle he needs to put on, as he's more comfortable drifting on the perimeter than banging inside.
After scoring 22 points on opening day against Lehigh, Austin has seen his scoring production gradually decrease.
He's down to 12 points, seven rebounds and a preposterous .6 blocks a game. Top-five talks have subsided, as others make their move up the board.
Stock Up: UNLV's Anthony Bennett, 6'7'' SF/PF
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Anthony Bennett is figuring it out faster than any freshman in the country.
In a one-point win over California, Bennett put up 25 points and 13 boards, raising his averages to 19.5 and 8.3 respectively.
A player with interior touch just needs position around the basket to use it. Bennett's gladiator muscles and upward explosiveness allow him to gain this position and consequently finish at a high rate inside.
Bennett is producing on a consistent basis, having scored at least 16 points in seven of his eight games played. He'd be higher up on draft boards if scouts were convinced of his natural position, which at 6'7'' is still to be determined.
Either way, we've seen plenty of prospects with Bennett's strength and athleticism overcome an inch or two disadvantage.
With UNLV's Mike Moser out indefinitely, Bennett will have even more scoring opportunities to improve his draft stock.
Stock Down: Florida State's Michael Snaer, 6'4'' SG
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The self-proclaimed best shooting guard in the country is having trouble backing up the talk.
As the unquestioned leader of the Seminoles, the same team that has already lost to South Alabama, Minnesota, Mercer and Florida, he's shooting 37 percent from the floor and turning it over three times a game.
And while he's making two three-pointers a night, he's only making 1.9 two-pointers. Snaer has shown little as a shot-creator, limiting his outlook to spot-up duties and lockdown defense.
His three-point range will factor into his draft stock, as teams will want to know if he can stretch the floor considering he's not a creator with the dribble.
Snaer should still be on second-round radar based on his shot-making abilities and defensive tools, but that's all we can say at this point in time.
Stock Up: Creighton's Doug McDermott, 6'7'' SF
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Doug McDermott has his scoring average up to 22.7 a game, but it's how he's getting those points that has his draft stock on the rise.
McDermott has made 17 of his last 24 three-point attempts over a four-game stretch. He's going to have to become dependent on the three-ball, as his lack of size and athleticism doesn't bode well for scoring small forwards.
Part of the adjustment process calls for prospects to understand their limitations. While McDermott can score in a variety of different ways at the college level, that just won't be the case in the pros.
McDeromott's best shot at earning regular rotation minutes is by adding a specialist tag to his name. He's currently shooting 52 percent from downtown after shooting 48 percent last year. These are special numbers.
Stock Down: Green Bay's Alec Brown, 7'1'', Center
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Alec Brown came into the year as a mid-major prospect to watch. Hopefully for your sake, you've ignored these directions.
After averaging 13.8 points, eight rebounds and three blocks a game, Brown has regressed in almost every category across the board.
Through eight games, he's had three with more than four turnovers and five with four fouls. Couple that with the fact he's only averaging 1.1 blocks, 6.6 rebounds and 11 points a game, and Brown is experiencing one of the strangest junior slumps you'll see.
At 7'1'' and having only played one program from a power conference, 33 percent from the floor seems impossible.
If Brown can't turn it around, he'll be better off returning as a senior.
Stock Up: Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe, 6'8'' PF
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Trevor Mbakwe seems to be regaining some of his explosiveness after tearing his ACL last year.
With coach Tubby Smith easing Mbakwe back into the swing of things, his overall stats don't reflect the progress he's making on the floor.
Against North Dakota State, he recorded two powerful dunks we just haven't seen from Mbakwe in a while. In 21 minutes he scored 14 points and grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds, controlling both sides of the glass.
Offensively, he illustrated why he was considered one of the most skilled post players in the country before the injury. Mbakwe's footwork and ability to get his defender to bite in the post allows him to excel as a scorer facing up or with his back to the rim.
At full strength, his skill set is worthy of lottery consideration. While Mbakwe isn't there yet, he's moving in the right direction.
Stock Down: Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, 6'8'' PF
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Tennessee's offense has been borderline atrocious, and Jarnell Stokes should share some of the blame.
Easily the team's most skilled offensive player, Stokes has attempted a total of eight shots and five free throws in the past two games, scoring nine total points against Georgetown and Virginia.
As an under-the-rim, undersized power forward, Stokes needs to add a mid-range game in order diversify his offensive repertoire.
He's incredibly strong but is limited without much hops or upward explosiveness.
Stokes had some big games early this year, but it's not a good look to die out against better competition, especially when there are question marks surrounding the transition process to the next level.