NBA Draft Scouting Guide to the 2013 NCAA Final Four Round
With the quartet of 2013 NCAA Final Four teams now established—and your bracket almost certainly long since busted—it's time to start looking ahead to the future of some of these teams' most promising NBA draft prospects.
After combing through projections and weeding out the players unlikely to be selected within the first 60 picks, there are no fewer than five potential draftees between Louisville, Michigan and Syracuse. (Sorry Shockers fans, nobody on Wichita State figures to even sniff the NBA draft.)
In analyzing each player's strengths, weaknesses and potential NBA comparisons, we can form an idea of what kinds of pros many of these amateurs will someday be.
So while it might seem a little hasty to skip right past the three remaining games in the NCAA tournament, it's never too early to get a jump on some preliminary pro scouting.
Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Michigan sophomore Trey Burke is a good perimeter shooter who also has the ability to penetrate and kick to open teammates.
Despite increased responsibilities and defensive attention in his second year as a Wolverine, Burke bumped up his three-point shooting percentage from 35 percent to 39 percent, which bodes well for his NBA future.
The biggest positives in Burke's game are harder to measure, though. He's a relentless competitor with terrific heart. And as the Kansas Jayhawks know, he's not afraid to take the big shot.
TREY BURKE FROM THE PARKING LOT! #SCtop10— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 30, 2013
According to Aran Smith of NBADraft.net, Burke is "undersized for the PG position and could struggle some to compete with bigger, quicker and more athletic point guards at the NBA level."
Lacking elite athleticism and quickness, Burke may find it difficult to survive against the bigger, more athletically gifted defenders at the pro level.
Best-Case Pro Comparison: Kemba Walker
Worst-Case Pro Comparison: D.J. Augustin
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
At 6'6", Michael Carter-Williams has excellent size for a point guard. Combined with his advanced passing skills, the Syracuse sophomore's ability to see over the defense makes him an able facilitator. That combination of attributes is apparently becoming pretty enticing for pro scouts.
Another stellar game for Michael Carter-Williams. Peaking at right time. NBA scouts warming back up to him in a hurry. 3 PGs in Top 10?— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) March 30, 2013
Defensively, his size is also an asset.
The jumper is going to be a problem.
Carter-Williams shot just under 40 percent from the floor and just under 30 percent from three this season. If he can't improve his outside stroke, defenders will be able to play off of him, inhibiting his ability to drive and shutting off passing lanes that would otherwise be open.
Best-Case Pro Comparison: Pre-injury Shaun Livingston
Worst-Case Pro Comparison: Post-injury Shaun Livingston
Glenn Robinson III, G/F, Michigan
Glenn Robinson III is already an NBA-level athlete with good length and explosive leaping ability.
Is there an alley-oop pass that Glenn Robinson III cannot dunk? Kid is a freak.— Michael Spath (@Spath_Wolverine) March 31, 2013
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the projected mid-first-round pick already has solid basketball I.Q. and can score the ball with ease.
Robinson could stand to improve his free-throw shooting (67 percent) and it wouldn't hurt if he developed a more reliable set of skills away from the basket. Players who only do their scoring around the rim and off cuts tend to have limited use in the NBA.
If he can improve his ability to get his own shot, Robinson will greatly increase his effectiveness at the next level.
Best-Case Pro Comparison: Andre Iguodala
Worst-Case Pro Comparison: Terrence Williams
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
With an NBA pedigree, good size at 6'6" and the ability to get his own shot just about whenever he wants, Tim Hardaway Jr. looks like a ready-made NBA sixth man right now.
Here's what Chad Ford had to say about him before the tournament:
Hardaway has been great this season, but he's still struggling to work his way permanently into the second round. A strong tournament could really help him. He's been playing especially well lately and when he's taking good shots, he can be very difficult to stop.
Shot selection has long been Hardaway's biggest issue. His questionable decision-making has been the subject of a fair amount of ridicule during the tourney:
I need Tim Hardaway jr to throw a ball fake and attack the rim. He's settling for jumpers, we need more from him. Attack the rim #GoBlue— Jarrod N Rudolph (@JRudolphSports) March 31, 2013
Florida's best player today has been Tim Hardaway, Jr. Good lord, put the jumper away, son.— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) March 31, 2013
An improved handle would certainly help TH II's game as well, which is ironic considering his father had one of the nastiest crossovers the NBA has ever seen.
Best-Case Pro Comparison: Jamal Crawford—if he works on that handle
Worst-Case Pro Comparison: Wayne Ellington
Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
During Louisville's stellar run to the Final Four, center Gorgui Dieng has shown the interior defensive presence and shot-blocking ability that have helped him climb draft lists faster than almost any other player in the tournament.
In four tournament games, Dieng has blocked 10 shots, changed countless others and has helped the Cardinals hold every opponent under 69 points.
And apparently, he's got a jumper, too:
Dieng automatic from the elbow? NbA scouts gonna love that. Is he too clunky to have a Nick Collison-type career (ceiling)?— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) March 31, 2013
Good length, athleticism, a surprising passing touch and now a solid shot from the elbow? What's not to like?
The only knocks on Dieng are his age (23) and his still somewhat unpolished offensive game. Those two factors combine to make the big man seem somewhat limited in his development.
Players his age naturally don't have as good of a chance to improve weaknesses, and considering just how raw Dieng is on the interior, it's possible he'll never be more than a limited role player.
Best-Case Pro Comparison: Nick Collison, because he's not too clunky, Mr. McIntyre.
Worst-Case Pro Comparison: Ekpe Udoh