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Stock Watch for Top NBA 10 Prospects in the Big 12

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterDecember 21, 2012

Stock Watch for Top NBA 10 Prospects in the Big 12

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    The top 10 NBA prospects in the Big 12 had an up and down week just days before conference play begins.

    Baylor's Isaiah Austin had a performance that illustrated his ridiculously high ceiling, while Oklahoma State's LeBryan Nash is trying to shake himself out of a mini shooting funk.

    Texas' floor general Myck Kabongo has been unfortunately ruled ineligible for the rest of the year, which may or may not be a blow to his draft stock.

    This conference has a deep group of NBA talent, which should help produce some exciting contests during Big 12 play.

Stock Up- 1. Ben McLemore, Kansas- 6'5'' SG

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    Ben McLemore mas emerged as a potential top-five pick, and is now No. 3 on our latest NBA mock draft.

    He's scoring off the dribble and has been lights out from downtown. McLemore is 11 for his last 18 three-point attempts, drawing the most accurate Ray Allen comparison I've seen in the process.

    He's a no-risk prospect while presenting substantial upside. These are the guys who go higher in weaker draft classes, just like Bradley Beal did in 2012.

    McLemore is averaging 15.9 points, and is the new premiere NBA prospect of the Big 12.

Stock Up- 2. Isaiah Austin, Baylor- 7'1'' PF/C

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    Isaiah Austin had a big week, reminding us why he is thought so highly of as an NBA prospect.

    He went off for 23 points and 17 boards, and 12, 10 and five assists in back to back games. Granted, they were against Lamar and USC Upstate, who I can assure you does not have any NBA prospects to showcase.

    His ridiculous size, length and athleticism allow him to score in a number of ways throughout a game. Against Lamar, he was making plays in the open floor, finishing inside and converting on the perimeter.

    He might be the most versatile offensive weapon in the draft, and with unmatchable measurements and mobility to go with it, Austin will be a name to watch as a potential replacement for Cody Zeller in the top echelon of big men.

Stock Down- 3. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State- 6'4'' PG

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    Marcus Smart has been involved in some recent blowouts, so the numbers should not be that alarming.

    After a brief cold streak from three, he has made four from downtown over his last two games and looks to be getting back on track shooting the ball. 

    It is possible Smart goes through a number of different steaks throughout his one or two-year college career, and none of them should have much impact on his stock.

    A team is going to take Smart for his ability to manage a game and make his teammates better. Stats do not usually reflect the effectiveness of a guy like this.

    When Oklahoma State starts beating more highly regarded teams, that is when he will start drawing serious consideration as a lottery prospect.

Stock Down- 4. LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State- 6'7'' SF

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    Uh oh. The inconsistent LeBryan Nash is starting to peek its head through the door.

    After two tough games finishing with six and 10 points respectively, Nash bounced back for a 19-point, six-assist, five-rebound game against Central Arkansas, only to tease his NBA draft supporters.

    Nash followed up with a 3-of-11 shooting night against Texas-Arlington, committing a brutal seven turnovers in 27 minutes.

    We have seen the Nash that could draw lottery attention, and we have seen him go through the struggles that caused Perry Jones to slip to No. 28 in the draft. Let's just hope he picks one, so we do not have to go back and forth all year. Scouts hate that.

Stock Unchanged- 5. Myck Kabongo, Texas- 6'2'' PG

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    We had to get a Myck Kabongo update in here.

    After being rule ineligible for the season, you would think his career at Texas might be over. The whole college thing just is not working out.

    This ruling may in fact be a blessing in disguise. If he came in mid-year and struggled after a disappointing freshman season, his stock could have plummeted.

    You can be sure scouts did not forget how highly touted he was out of high school. Kabongo's stock will go unchanged for the next few months until he is forced to make a decision about his future.

    I say he gets out while he can.

Stock Up- 6. Jeff Withey, Kansas- 7'0'' C

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    If you are not at least a little intrigued by the way Jeff Withey is scoring the ball, than you probably never will be.

    It is starting to become routine. Withey scored 17 against Richmond, and now has his average up to 14 a game.

    He has not shown a hint of athleticism, taking a long time to execute his moves, but Withey has soft hands and the ability to finish with either one of them. It makes him unpredictable with his back to the basket, with defenders not knowing which shoulder he's going to turn over. 

    If the draft was tomorrow, I would have a hard time believing that 30 teams would pass on Withey's 5.4 blocks per game, mobility at the center position and soft hands at the rim. 

Stock Unchanged- 7. Pierre Jackson, Baylor- 5'9'' PG

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    Pierre Jackson's baseline-to-baseline speed is mesmerizing, and it should have a role and purpose in an NBA rotation.

    He can get off a shot whenever he pleases at the college level, ultimately a gift and a curse. But Jackson has done a nice job of balancing scoring with distributing, finishing with at least 15 points and four assists in every game but one.

    The schools that Baylor has been playing have no shot at containing him off the dribble, so his draft stock has remained unchanged. Putting the team on his back and making plays down the stretch will attract NBA teams looking for a punch off the bench.

Stock Up- 8. Cory Jefferson, Baylor- 6'9'' PF

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    Cory Jefferson has always looked like an NBA player, but now he is starting to actually give that idea some credibility.

    His NBA appeal stems from his physical tools, consisting of a strong, athletic upper body in a cut, 6'9'' frame. He is finishing around the rim, making what would be tough shots for others, easy conversions for himself.

    Jefferson runs the floor well and is frequently rewarded in transition because of it.

    He's not a guy who'll be posting up from the elbow or facing up from the perimeter, rather pose as a target on the low block and finisher above the rim.

    Consider Jefferson a bubble second rounder for now with room for his stock to grow. He is averaging 12 points, eight boards and 2.8 blocks a game.

Stock Up- 9. Elijah Johnson, Kansas- 6'3'' PG

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    Elijah Johnson is quietly making the transition to pass-first point guard, and it is showing up in the stat sheet.

    He has recorded at least seven assists in three of his last four games, and has his average up to 5.3 on the season, almost two more than last year.

    His strongest NBA tools revolve around his athleticism and explosiveness for a guard, but he has always been considered stuck between the 1 and the 2 positions.

    It would be a lot more beneficial for his stock if Johnson could raise his three-point percentage from 34 percent to 38 percent. He still has not shown a diverse enough skill set to warrant any first round consideration, but the assist numbers are a good sign moving forward.

Stock Down- 10. Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma- 6'9'' SF

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    Amath M'Baye is a smooth athlete at 6'9'' with the mobility and fluidity of a small forward.

    Unfortunately, he is not a very adept shot-creator operating on the perimeter, and his jumper is awfully suspect.

    M'Baye is only around 210 pounds, so the power forward position seems like an unlikely fit at the next level.

    His production has been sporadic throughout the year, scoring in double-figures in back-to-back games only once. He put up a zero-point, zero-rebound double-bagel against Texas A&M, and a three-point dud most recently against Stephen F. Austin.

    Without a regular role in the rotation, M'Baye's draft stock has taken a hit. He has moved into bubble-second round status.

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