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Stock Watch for Top NBA Prospects After Sweet 16

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMarch 30, 2013

Stock Watch for Top NBA Prospects After Sweet 16

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    There was all sorts of action in the Sweet 16, resulting in the stocks of some NBA prospects either jumping in value or taking a hit.

    Sometimes, succeeding on the big stage can actually move the needle. Trey Burke, who completely took over for Michigan in a time where the Wolverines needed him the most, might have improved his draft stock within a 10-minute span. Chances are somebody out there fell in love with his late-game heroics.

    Cody Zeller, on the other hand, failed to step up in the spotlight, and it might have turned some people off who had previously considered him a top-five pick.

    This is a stock watch strictly for players who participated in the Sweet 16.

15. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, 6'11'', C

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    Stock Report:

    Through three NCAA tournament games, Gorgui Dieng is a combined 14-of-16 from the floor. His offensive game has really come around, showing solid footwork down low and a soft touch on his foul-line jumpers.

    Dieng's appeal as a prospect still stems from his rim protection, but his ability to finish around the basket has boosted his NBA draft stock.

    He looks the part of a backup center, which could be enough to justify a late first-round selection.

14. Adreian Payne, Michigan State, 6'10'', PF

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    Stock Report:

    Adreian Payne's stock jumped over the final month of the season, and his status as a potential first-rounder remains intact after the tournament.

    Payne went for 14 points, nine boards and two blocks against Duke and added 14 points, 10 boards and five blocks against Memphis.

    He's got the look of an NBA player, and when his motor is activated, he's a force to be reckoned with on the interior. And though his three-ball has been slightly erratic, he's got the confidence and mechanics for this to be a realistic threat down the road.

    There's a lot of potential here, though it may not come to fruition for another few years.

13. Jeff Withey, Kansas, 7'0'', C

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    Stock Report:

    Jeff Withey has been one of the most impressive players during this NCAA tournament, regardless of Kansas' meltdown in the Sweet 16.

    He went for 17 points and seven blocks against Western Kentucky, 16 points, 16 boards and five blocks against North Carolina and 12 points, eight boards and five blocks against Michigan.

    Withey is a dominant presence in the paint, not because of his strength, but because of his instincts, size and length. And while he's really only known for his defense, Withey has demonstrated a good feel in the post with a couple of countermoves to go with a reliable go-to hook.

    He should have a long career in the league as a backup center, which in a weak draft should be worthy of a late first-round pick.

12. Shane Larkin, Miami, 5'11'', PG

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    Stock Report:

    Despite Miami's loss to Marquette, Shane Larkin's draft stock is pointing up.

    He wasn't on NBA radars a year ago. Now, we're talking about Larkin as a potential first-round pick after leading his team to a Sweet 16 appearance and No. 2 seed in the Big Dance.

    Though he doesn't meet your typical size requirements for the NBA, Larkin's quickness, breakdown ability and three-point shotmaking could be coveted by teams looking for a spark at the point.

11. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke, 6'4'', SG

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    Stock Report:

    Rasheed Sulaimon didn't do much to make or break his draft stock, as he's likely a guy who will return to Duke as a sophomore anyway.

    He helped break open the game against Michigan State with a couple of open-court baskets, showing off his speed, athleticism and ability to finish at the rim.

    But Sulaimon still needs work at creating for himself. Right now he's finishing plays as a spot-up shooter and slasher, but a damn good one. He got to the stripe 14 times times against Michigan State.

    Sulaimon should get more opportunities on the ball as a sophomore.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Tim Hardaway Jr. has showed off the ups and downs of his game. When his jumper is falling, he looks like an NBA scorer.

    But when it's not, Hardaway is unlikely to factor into the offense.

    He only took four foul shots in three games of the NCAA tournament. He's an excellent perimeter scorer, but perimeter scorers are also low-percentage offensive players.

    It would have been nice to see him get to the rack a little bit more, but it shouldn't damage his draft stock.

    The late first round or early second sounds about right.

9. Vander Blue, Marquette, 6'5'', SG

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    Stock Report:

    Vander Blue has made quite the impression this March, getting the game-winner against Davidson, dropping 29 on Butler and then scoring 14 in a blowout over the No. 2 seed Miami Hurricanes.

    He's transformed himself from being strictly an off-ball slasher to being a go-to scorer, using pull-up and step-back jumpers to go with his stellar on-ball defense.

    These few standout games don't erase his 30 percent three-point stroke, but his mechanics are excellent, his percentages have gradually increased and there's plenty of room for him to grow as a shooter.

    I fell in love with Blue's game over the past few weeks, and I can't imagine I'm alone. He should have a shot at the first round whenever he decides to declare.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Gary Harris had a poor game against Duke, finishing just 2-of-11 from the floor.

    He missed a number of floaters and runners off one foot, a low percentage shot that he sometimes relies on too much. Stopping and popping off two feet is a move he needs to add to the arsenal.

    Harris should return as a sophomore as one of Michigan State's top options in 2014. His ability to defend, slash and shoot gives him long-term promise. Harris will be in better position to receive lottery looks once he improves his ability to create easy scoring opportunities for himself.

7. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6'', PG

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    Stock Report:

    Michael Carter-Williams torched Indiana for 24 points, knocking down shots on the perimeter and finishing over defenders inside.

    He's tough to contain once he gets a step because of his size and length at the point guard position.

    It's games like the one Carter-Williams had in the Sweet 16 that remind us why he's such an intriguing NBA prospect. He's got all the tools to make a difference at the next level once he tightens up a few areas of his game.

6. Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', C

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    Stock Report:

    Mason Plumlee's stock remains pretty steady, as he's been a fairly consistent contributor in Duke's three tournament wins.

    He's really come a long way as an on-ball scorer and is a good bet for two points with room to operate in the post. He's got that jump hook down with both hands. The next step in his development is adding some countermoves, so he has more to offer when the help defense comes.

    With Cody Zeller's stock slipping, Plumlee could sneak up as a less risky option for an NBA team drafting in the lottery.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Cody Zeller was a non-factor against Syracuse after putting on a subpar performance against Temple.

    He shot 3-of-10 in Indiana's loss to the Orange, looking outmatched physically against Syracuse's long and athletic interior defense.

    Despite having loads of talent and a refined offensive skill set, he won't be able to use it if he can't play with a meaner streak.

    Considered a lock to go top-five before the year, Zeller is looking at a potential draft-day slide into the late lottery.

4. Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, 6'5''

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    Stock Report:

    Glenn Robinson III was terrific in Michigan's first two tournament games, and he came up huge for the Wolverines in their Sweet 16 win over Kansas.

    He pulled in an offensive rebound and converted it for two at the end of regulation, before coming up with a big steal in overtime that he took the other way.

    These are the type of plays that Robinson makes. He's not your typical ball-dominant scoring wing, but he'll make plays off the ball that give your offensive a greater margin for error.

    Though he still needs years of work, the promise here is evident. Someone who doesn't need immediate results should target Robinson's long-term upside.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Victor Oladipo won't take any heat for Indiana's loss to Syracuse. He wasn't the problem.

    Actually, while others vying for a spot in the lottery are struggling, Oladipo's consistent efforts should help his NBA draft stock.

    When teams look at Oladipo, they know what they're getting. That's not the case with his draft-day competitors, many of whom have uncertain futures as NBA prospects.

    At this point, he's solidified his position as a lottery prospect.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Against Kansas, Trey Burke made some memories that he, you and I will remember for the rest of our lives.

    Forget the fact he dropped 23 points and 10 assists, or that he was scoreless at the end of the first half.

    Burke's leadership qualities as a floor general stood out more than anything else. This is a guy you trust and want with the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.

    He knocked down a ridiculous 30-footer to tie the game in the closing seconds before taking over in overtime and leading Michigan to a miraculous win.

    Somebody out there will be willing to look over his physical deficiencies and snag him in the lottery. I know I would.

1. Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5'', SG

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    Stock Report:

    Ben McLemore salvaged what would have been a disastrous way to enter the draft with a strong game against Michigan.

    He bounced back from a 0-of-9 round of 32 game with 20 points on four three-pointers, finishing strong in transition and lighting up the perimeter.

    His ugly first two games were the result of a loss of confidence more than anything else. Again, those duds shouldn't cloud your judgement on McLemore's long-term potential.

    He should still be in the running for the No. 1 pick overall; however, that will likely come down to which team wins the lottery.

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