Stock Watch for Top 10 NBA Prospects in the Big East

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJanuary 3, 2013

Stock Watch for Top 10 NBA Prospects in the Big East

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    This is probably the last first week of Big East play with the conference breaking up like a rock band with too many egos.

    There's been some shuffling amongst the group with some new faces added to the list.

    Over the next few months, we should be getting a better feel for who has solidified themselves as legitimate NBA prospects. Going head-to-head will allow some to rise above their direct draft day competition and make a statement to scouts and evaluators.

Stock Up—1. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse—6'6'' PG

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    Michael Carter-Williams missed a triple-double by one rebound against Central Connecticut, and racked up his ninth double-digit assist game of the year in their conference-opener against Rutgers.

    He bounced back after two subpar games, which is always a positive sign for scouts to take note of. Carter-Williams is the craftiest playmaker in the country, and the most lethal because of his size, length and instincts.

    As the only player in the country averaging double-digit assists, Carter-Williams is still our top point guard off the board in the 2013 NBA draft.

Stock Unchanged—2. Otto Porter, Georgetown—6'8'' SF

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    Georgetown hasn't played since December 22, so Otto Porter's stock remains unchanged.

    Porter's stock is unlikely to ever plummet because of his ability to consistently make plays, even if his shot isn't falling.

    He's just a solid all-around utility man who can score, pass, rebound and defend. In a draft with few sure-things, Porter's reliability should boost his value amongst scouts.

Stock Down—3. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh—7'0'' C

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    The cotton candy guy was more visible than Steven Adams was against Cincinnati, where he finished with zero shot attempts in 24 minutes.

    The best way to show scouts you have no idea how to position yourself offensively is by going that long without taking a shot. Adams looked like a chicken with his head cut off when his team had the ball, seemingly always in the wrong place at the wrong time. To make things worse, Adams bobbled a number of balls that he could have finished at the rim.

    His mobility, size and athleticism is what's given him appeal as a prospect, but he just hasn't figured out when and how to use them. A second year in college is looking more and more likely.

Stock Down—4. Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati—6'4'' SG

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    Cincinnati lost their first game of the year to New Mexico, when Sean Kilpatrick shot a disastrous 5-of-22 from the floor.

    He's now 11-of-42 (26.1 percent) from downtown over his last five games—not a good look for someone who's attempting to draw interest with a 3-point specialty.

    I still like Kilpatrick as one of the better two-way prospects in the conference, but if he doesn't present himself as a consistent long-range threat, then teams won't have a reason to seek him out as a solution.

Stock Up—5. Jack Cooley, Notre Dame—6'9'' PF

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    Jack Cooley looks nothing like his Hollywood name suggests. He's consistently the most deceiving player on the floor, lacking the agility and sexy explosiveness you see from most dominant interior players.

    Just ask Niagra how sexy they thought Cooley was when he dropped 24 points and 15 boards on them.

    He's pretty much automatic on the glass, which is something that generally translates from one level to the next.

    Cooley's work ethic, fearlessness and physical play inside will make him an attractive option to teams looking for some toughness in their frontcourt.

Stock Unchanged—6. C.J. Fair, Syracuse—6'8'' SF

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    It's tough to consistently produce in a rotation with so many weapons, but C.J. Fair's contributions remain constant.

    He finished with 13 and 10 against Central Connecticut and 15 points in a win over Rutgers.

    One of Fair's priorities heading into the year was to improve on his outside game. He's gone from 25 percent from downtown to 40 percent, and now looks capable of handling stretch-4 responsibilities at the next level.

    Fair has improved off the dribble, which will really help in the long-run when he has to make the transition from playing inside to playing on the perimeter. He won't wow you with any one part of his game, but his instincts, fluidity, length and skills are all NBA-caliber.

Stock Up—7. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville—6'11'' C

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    After missing seven games with a wrist injury, Gorgui Dieng returned in a limited role against Kentucky, and a major one against Providence.

    He played 36 minutes in a win over the Friars, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, a line we're used to seeing from the space-eater in the middle.

    Dieng's hands, coordination and agility have all improved since his first days on the job, and now he has appeal as a rim protector and a low-block finisher. Teams looking for interior defense are typically willing to overlook offensive skills for size, and Dieng fits that bill.

Stock Up—8. Russ Smith, Louisville—6'0'' SG

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    Russ Smith has taken his volume scoring and motor to a new level.

    In two wins this week he dropped 23 points on Providence and 21 points on Kentucky. He's in constant motion, whether it's on defense, hustling for a loose ball, as a scorer or an off-guard.

    Normally volume perimeter scorers like this deal with awful field goal percentages, but Smith is shooting a respectable 44.3 percent on 15.1 shot attempts.

    Though he's only 6'0'' without a "combo" in his label, Smith presents a package that's built for a scoring guard off the bench. Think Leandro Barbosa or Louie Williams.

    He's averaging 20 points a game, and has emerged as a legitimate NBA prospect despite his size limitations.

Stock Up—9. Jerian Grant, Notre Dame—6'5'' PG

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    Jerian Grant certainly passes the eye test as a lengthy 6'5'' combo guard, but what really stands out is his pass-first mentality.

    Grant is averaging 5.3 assists despite sharing the ball with Eric Atkins. He finished with 13 points and eight assists against Niagra, the fifth time this year he's finished with at least seven dimes as a timeshare ball-handler.

    He's dangerous because of his ability to operate as a scorer or facilitator playing the off-guard slot on the wing.

    Notre Dame is a tough place for Grant to showcase his skills because of the pace and patience of the offense. He'll be a candidate to creep up boards during pre-draft workouts and athletic testing. 

Stock Up—10. D'Angelo Harrison, St. Johns—6'3'' PG/SG

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    D'Angelo Harrison is on a massive tear, and can't go unrecognized. He has now scored over 24 points in three consecutive games, most recently a wasted 36-point effort in an overtime loss to Villanova.

    Harrison is a speed-guard who can put up points in bunches. He's a pure shoot-first scorer at 6'3'', which is why he's never been considered a realistic NBA prospect. But sometimes you have to overlook that one or two-inch disadvantage and trust what you see on the court.

    Harrison is becoming one of the more dynamic perimeter scorers thanks to his ability to shoot off the dribble, attack the rim and convert from 25-feet away. He's moved into second round flier-status for a team looking for offense.