Big Ten Basketball: Updated NBA Stock Watch for B1G Prospects

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Big Ten Basketball: Updated NBA Stock Watch for B1G Prospects
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

To no surprise, the strongest conference in college basketball has the deepest crew of NBA prospects.

And there are more than we originally thought. Many have emerged from the shadows over the past few months after being considered afterthoughts for the start of their college careers.

As we get deeper into March, the microscope will intensify, mistakes will be magnified and standout performances will be highlighted.

 

Cody Zeller, Indiana, 6'11'', PF/C

Stock Report:

Cody Zeller's stock took a hit when he got metaphorically slapped around by a couple of grown men. He finished just 2-of-9 from the floor with seven rebounds against a Minnesota front line that possesses NBA-level athleticism and toughness.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a worry all along, so to see him struggle with it this late in the year was not a promising sign.

Zeller is still the most talented big man in the country, but he presents risk as a top pick with the uncertainty that surrounds his physical transition.

Using a valuable pick on Zeller just doesn't seem as safe as it once was.

 

Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'5'', SG

Stock Report:

Victor Oladipo looks as steady as ever despite the new lofty expectations whenever he steps foot on the floor.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

He went for 19 points and nine boards while taking over against Michigan State, and finished with 16 points in Indiana's devastating loss to Minnesota.

The idea that he's scoring with consistency shows that he's added some tricks up his sleeve that he can rely on offensively. At times he looks like a pro playing at the college level. Many out there rely on the eye test instead of nitpicking at deficiencies, and Oladipo seems to ace it on a routine basis.

 

Gary Harris, Michigan State, 6'4'', SG

Stock Report:

Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Gary Harris has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the Big Ten, although he might not be ready to make an impact at the next level.

Harris has scored at least 14 points in four consecutive games, illustrating offensive efficiency at a position that makes it tough to do so.

He's been incredibly consistent for a freshman, failing to reach double-figures in scoring only six times all year.

If Harris returns to school, we could be talking about one of the premier prospects in the country and a potential 2014 lottery selection.

 

Adriene Payne, Michigan State, 6'10'', PF

Stock Report:

Adriene Payne has been on the NBA radar for years, but only because of his physical tools.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

He's finally expanded his offensive game, which now takes him out to the three-point mark.

At 6'10'', Payne has tremendous size and a wingspan that could allow him to tie his shoes while standing up straight. For a guy his size, he's nimble attacking the rim and shows the dexterity to finish in traffic when he's not just throwing one down.

Payne is a guy I expect to return to school and have a monster senior year at Michigan State.

 

Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'0'', PG

Stock Report:

Up until Michigan's loss to Penn State, Burke had been nearly flawless running the point.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

He went for 29 points, five dimes and zero turnovers in Michigan's first meeting with Penn State, and followed with 26 points, eight assists and one turnover in a win over Illinois.

Burke currently leads the country in assist-to-turnover ratio, which is a significant stat to evaluators who value ball security.

The only thing holding Burke back at the moment is his size, but we've seen guys like Chris Paul dominate the league at just 6'0'' tall. That one or two extra inches shouldn't keep Burke from landing a future starting job in the NBA.

 

Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, 6'5'', SG

Stock Report:

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The three-ball that's propelled Hardaway Jr. into a higher tier has failed him as of late. He's only made four of his last 22 three-point attempts over his last four games, two of which resulted in losses. 

Though he's had a stellar junior year, he has to show scouts he can contribute offensively if his perimeter game isn't working on that particular day.

Attacking the rim and getting to the line more often (only 3.3 free-throw attempts per game) should be on his to-do list moving forward.

 

Glenn Robinson, Michigan, 6'6'', SF

Stock Report:

Though Robinson doesn't get many opportunities to create on his own, he's converting the few he gets at an excellent rate.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

He's shooting 56.7 percent from the floor, a solid number for a wing. Robinson is also knocking down nearly 35 percent of his three-point attempts, a number that's certainly in position to rise with added reps and confidence.

Robinson isn't NBA-ready, and if he enters the draft, he'll likely be put on a two or three-year plan. But he's flashed the upside worthy of a lottery selection if a team that drafts him has the patience to wait.

 

Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota, 6'8'', PF

Stock Report:

USA TODAY Sports

Mbakwe seems to be getting some juice back in his knees, after torching Cody Zeller for 21 points and 12 rebounds.

He's always had the skill set of a lottery pick, but injuries and off-court issues have kept him in college an extended period of time.

If Mbakwe can prove he's healthy enough to play regular minutes, he'll draw attention toward the end of Round 1 because of his polished offensive post game.

 

Rodney Williams, 6'8'', SF

Stock Report:

USA TODAY Sports

Rodney Williams has been brutal offensively, converting only three field goals over Minnesota's last three games. However, he doesn't project as a scorer, and therefore his statistics won't really reflect too much on his draft stock.

He still needs to show scouts he's more than just an elite athlete. Williams has seen his scoring, field-goal percent and long-range shooting all take hits in his senior year, not a good look during your final audition.

 

Andre Hollins, Minnesota, 6'1'', PG

Stock Report:

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Hollins has been struggling offensively, making just 16 of his last 60 shots from the floor. He's best when he's attacking the rim as opposed to settling on the perimeter, and he's a strong enough athlete to consistently get into the paint.

Though still of the shoot-first variety, Hollins will need to do a better job of facilitating the offense if he wants to prove scouts he can be a primary ball-handler at the next level.

Hollins is averaging 13.6 points, and a 3.3-assist to 2.3-turnover ratio. He can do better.

 

Desaun Thomas, Ohio State, 6'7'', SF

Stock Report:

USA TODAY Sports

Thomas has now missed 23 of his last 28 three-point attempts, which isn't a good look considering he's auditioning for a role as a long-range specialist.

I've spoken to a few people who don't even have Thomas on their draft boards because of the defensive liability he presents and his lack of a natural position.

He still has a good shot at going second round because of his ability to put the ball in the hole, but don't expect the scoring numbers to translate.

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