UCLA Basketball: Ranking the Bruins' NBA Prospects
UCLA boasts one of the best recruiting classes in all of college basketball this year. Top recruit Shabazz Muhammad has found his groove, and lowest-ranked Jordan Adams has surprised all with his superb nonconference play.
Unfortunately for the Bruins and all of college basketball, the current one-and-done mentality of most basketball players will leave UCLA without several star players next year, with Muhammad the most likely to be NBA-bound.
After watching this group of talented young players and their teammates perform this season, here’s a look at how the Bruins stack up for the upcoming 2013 NBA draft.
No Draft Potential
Travis Wear (junior, forward)
David Wear (junior, forward)
Larry Drew II (senior, point guard)
Tony Parker (freshman, forward/center)
As much as the Wear twins have improved in their second season at UCLA, they still won’t be considered potential NBA players until they can amp up their physicality and become more active around the rim.
Larry Drew II, despite being an outstanding facilitator, will also not be entering the NBA out of college due to his lackluster shooting. Unless his shooting dramatically improves during Pac-12 play, Drew won't be an attractive player to NBA teams.
As hyped as freshman center Tony Parker was coming from Lithonia, Ga., he is still a raw talent and has yet to prove his capabilities. His Josh-Smith-esque foolishness in picking up fouls and his recurring back and ankle injuries have limited his already numbered minutes, which has consequently hampered his development as a player.
4. Norman Powell, Sophomore, Guard
Powell isn’t yet known on the national stage, but he has the potential to be a decent NBA player if he can improve his jump shot. The 6’4” guard has incredible jumping ability and is an above-average defender.
He hasn’t stood out much in his sophomore season since relinquishing his starting position to freshman Shabazz Muhammad, and he has also been sidelined with injuries. But he still could be a good bench player in the NBA.
As it stands right now, Powell would be a very late second-round pick and there is no certainty that he would be picked at all even if he declares for the upcoming NBA draft.
Despite his potential NBA future, he’ll likely remain a Bruin for at least his junior season.
3. Kyle Anderson, Freshman, Guard
Anderson has yet to prove himself worthy of the hype that he brought with him from Fairview, N.J., but that doesn’t mean that NBA scouts have ceased to salivate over the 6’9” guard.
There are certain kinks in Anderson’s game, such as his lack of physicality and his quickness, that will improve with time or can be amended with proper training.
If he continues to perform at his current pace throughout Pac-12 play, Anderson would be a late second-round pick.
The decision to declare himself for the NBA is ultimately his own, but Anderson would be much better off playing an additional year or two in college to fine-tune his game.
2. Jordan Adams, Freshman, Guard
To the surprise of many, the lowest-ranked member of UCLA’s top recruiting class—Jordan Adams—has been the team’s best all-around player this season.
Adams is a terrific shooter who attacks the basket with precision and has the confidence necessary to play in the NBA. In addition to his impressive offensive play, the 6’5” guard plays relentless defense and has a raw determination to win.
He may not be interested in ending his UCLA career after his freshman season. But if he decides to take his game to the next level, he’ll be an early second-round draft pick.
1. Shabazz Muhammad, Freshman, Guard/Forward
There’s no doubt that Muhammad will be an early first-round draft pick if he decides to take his talents to the NBA next season.
Based on the amount of media attention he has gathered from being the No. 1 recruit of this year’s freshman class, there will be plenty of pressure on the 6’6” forward/guard to head to the big stage.
Muhammad has been ranked as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 7 in draft predictions, but it’s unanimous that he will be a coveted first-round pick if he stays on par with his recent performances and remains healthy.
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