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Conference Stock Watch for Top Prospects in the SEC

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterDecember 30, 2016

Conference Stock Watch for Top Prospects in the SEC

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    Though most of the NBA prospects in the SEC slated for the top quarter of the draft all play for one team, there are others who've entered the conversation, and some who have exited it.

    The SEC combines a balanced mix of freshman, middle-class and upper-class prospects, all fighting for the same long-term goal in the same year.

    With only few meaningful games played, this stock watch is based off first impressions, which may or may not be lasting.

Stock Up: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky- 6'5'' SG

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    The potential that Archie Goodwin has been flashing has given us a glimpse of his ceiling, which is a story or two higher than we originally thought before the year.

    He's able to get himself easy points attacking the rim because of his ability to explode off the floor and up at the basket. 

    Goodwin has made at least five field goals in seven of Kentucky's nine games played. Being able to score easy points means a player can have an off-night shooting the ball and still find ways to contribute on the scoreboard.

    He doesn't have great point guard instincts, but he's recorded at least four assists in seven games so far. Goodwin can go on autopilot, allowing his quickness and athleticism off the bounce to do all the work with regard to creating scoring opportunities for others.

    Archie Goodwin has remained consistent all year, averaging 16 points, five boards and four assists while being forced to play out of position. He's a guy that could end up top six or seven picks based on his potential down the road.

Stock Down: Phil Pressey, Missouri- 5'11'', PG

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    One of the tinier floor generals in the game, Phil Pressey hasn't had many standout games in a season where he's supposed to be competing for National Player of the Year.

    In Missouri's only loss, Pressey turned the ball over eight times to Louisville's pressure defense. It's been a problem all year for him. He's averaging 3.3 turnovers to the 2.4 he averaged last season, and his assists are down from 6.4 to 5.8.

    The best explanation can be the lack of shooters he has around him in the drive and dish game, with Kim English on to the NBA and Michael Dixon transferring schools.

    Over his last five games, Pressey is 17 for 53 from the floor (32 percent), and is struggling to score easy baskets despite being the quickest player on the floor.

    With younger point guards emerging and Pressey's limited upside due to size, he could end being seen as more of a second round flier than a must-have prospect.

Stock Up: Erik Murphy, Florida- 6'10'', PF

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    Erik Murphy has really improved his efficiency as a perimeter forward, raising his field goal percentage from 48 to 56 percent while slashing his turnover rate nearly in half.

    He's taking the same amount of threes from the four per game, and remains consistent at that 42 percent mark, which means his improved overall field goal percentage reflects his improved game inside the arch.

    This year he's shown confidence using the dribble, stepping in and taking a mid-range jumper with balance.

    He's scoring the same amount of points at around 11 per game, but the idea that he's converting at a higher rate gives scouts a more compelling reason to think he's worth a spot in a rotation.

    Murphy's next-level role has already been defined as a stretch-4, so there shouldn't be any surprises regarding his capabilities. He's a 6'10'' disciplined shooter who forces big defenders away from the rim.

    With guys like Ryan Anderson and Steve Novak excelling in perimeter-oriented roles despite possessing the athleticism as your typical cafeteria lunch lady, Murphy has a shot if that three-ball remains consistent.

Stock Down: B.J. Young, Arkansas- 6'3'', PG/SG

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    Nobody's doubting B.J. Young's talent. The guy can score off the dribble as well as any guard in the country.

    But the three-point shot that made him such a multidimensional threat last year has failed big-time so far. He's shooting 18 percent from downtown and 68 percent from the line, which provides some reason to believe his percentages last year might have been flukey.

    He gets little elevation on his jumper, which could be a concern in terms of separating from NBA defenders who will have a good two inches and 25 pounds on him.

    Young failed to make an impact against Michigan, a game which scouts were surely watching, finishing with nine points and two assists.

    He either needs to become a better shooter or a better point guard in order to convince a team he's not just an undersized, ball-dominant scorer.

Stock Up: Alex Poythress, Kentucky- 6'8'' SF

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    Like teammate Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress is so physically gifted that he can rely on his athleticism and strength to get him easy baskets.

    He's missed a total of eight shots in the past three games combined, with most of his makes coming at or above the rim. Poythress is shooting 69 percent from the floor—a number you'd typically see from a 7-footer who takes four shots a game.

    But Poythress is actually shooting 69 percent on nine shots a game, and he's not even fluid when creating his own offense in the half-court.

    Poythress has scored in double-figures in all but two games, doing most of his damage off the ball.

    He's shown more reliability than upside, which in a weaker draft could be just as valuable.

Stock Down: Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee- 6'8'' PF

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    You don't need a program to know that Jarnell Stokes is listed at 6'8'', 270 pounds. You just need eyes.

    This is a big, strong kid—stronger than 85 percent of the big men he battles on a nightly basis. He's also talented. Stokes is crafty in the post, and can score in a number of different ways within 12 feet of the rim.

    But he lacks springs and explosiveness as an under-the-rim forward, and it's limiting him offensively.

    Stokes is too good to score four and five points respectively in back-to-back games against Georgetown and Virginia, which he did this past week. Stokes went 2-8 for seven points and four rebounds against Oklahoma State earlier in the month.

    These are the games scouts will be watching more closely than others.

    He'll need to pick up Tennessee's offense if he wants to pick up his 2013 draft stock.

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