John Wall Isn't All: 10 Other NBA Backcourt Prospects
Every one knows the name. He is the consensus No. 1 rated player in the country right now, and every NBA team has their eye on getting that lucky ping-pong ball come lottery day.
But, there will be much more to this class than John Wall. Many scouts think a certain combo guard in the mold of Brandon Roy could become this years backcourt gem.
There may even be a few second round surprises this year that could contribute for a future championship team.
This list is in no particular order. These are just the 10 best NBA backcourt prospects in college right now. Please feel free to comment and disagree as always.
Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
Evan Turner: 6'7" 210 lbs., Junior
Turner is widely considered a top five pick by many. The 6'7" swingman possesses a game very similar to Portland Trail Blazer Brandon Roy. Turner, like Roy, has an extremely complete game. He will not overpower you with athleticism, but he will out smart and out work you every game.
Turner will be able to play three positions in the NBA—point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. This will make him very valuable to NBA teams who are always looking to create match-up problems.
Look for Turner to definitely go in the top five. Minnesota, New Jersey, or Golden State would all be hard pressed to pass on Evan Turner.
Avery Bradley, PG/SG, Texas
Avery Bradley: 6'2" 180 lbs., Freshman
Bradley has not quite been the player that many scouts thought he would be in his first year. Nonetheless, Bradley still has a good chance to go one and done at Texas.
Bradley reminds me of an even more raw version of Monta Ellis.
At 6'2", he is a very undersized shooting guard. Yet he still has the athleticism and desire to be a major scoring threat.
Bradley will have to become more consistent with his shooting.
There are games that he seems to just disappear and miss most shots he takes. Still, Bradley has to be considered a top prospect in the NBA, based purely on potential.
Bradley should be drafted somewhere right out of the lottery. He will probably go around 13-17 to a team like Houston or New Orleans, who are in need of a scorer.
Wesley Johnson, SG, Syracuse
Wesley Johnson: 6'7" 205 lbs., RS Junior
Johnson is considered by many a top five pick. Johnson, like Turner, has great versatility as well. While many scouts think Johnson would be better suited as a small forward, he still has the ability to play guard, which is why he makes the list.
Johnson has a great mid range jumper that he is not afraid to take. He has a very short memory, so he will shoot often.
This could be considered a detriment to some teams, but others—like Golden State—would love to have this gun-slinger.
Johnson should most likely be a top five pick with Wall and Turner. Again, look for a team like Golden State to snatch Wesley Johnson off the board.
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State
James Anderson: 6'6" 210 lbs., Junior
Anderson is a classic "shooting" shooting guard.
He has unlimited range from the field, and he is not afraid to miss. However, he will have to add some bulk to his lanky build, and he will need to work on creating offense for himself.
James Anderson has done nothing but get better at Oklahoma State.
This junior shooting guard has improved his points per game along with his field goal percentage. Anderson should continue with the good work ethic and be a solid NBA player.
Anderson will be drafted to a team who needs a shooter. He could definitely see time coming off the bench because he needs to become more well rounded. Look for Anderson to go around where Bradley is taken—13 to 17.
Scotty Hopson, SG, Tennessee
Scotty Hopson: 6'7" 200 lbs., Sophomore
Scotty Hopson came to Tennessee with great expectations— a top five recruit according to rivals. So far, he has not quite lived up to those standards. Still, Hopson has shown signs of brilliance many games in his two years at Rocky Top.
The 6'7" shooting guard possesses amazing leaping ability to go along with a silky-smooth jumper. Hopson must learn to create better for himself, and he needs to become more aggressive to the basket.
Hopson should stay for another year at Tennessee in order to get better physically and mentally.
If Hopson comes out in 2010, he will most likely be a mid to late first round pick. But, if Hopson improves his game and comes out 2011, he could see himself potentially move into the lottery if not higher.
Hopson has the tools to succeed, now it is just up to him to use them.
Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
Xavier Henry: 6'6" 220 lbs., Freshman
Despite falling on many draft boards, Xavier Henry still has to be considered a top prospect for the NBA.
He is too physically gifted to be ignored, and he will most likely be one and done and Kansas.
Henry had enormous struggles at the start of Big 12 conference play. He became wildly inconsistent with his jump shot, and he was not confident at all on the floor.
But, that was the past.
Now, Henry has picked his game back and is starting to look like the player that we saw the first 10 games.
If the draft was today, Henry would probably be drafted somewhere right in the middle. But, Xavier Henry has the entire month of March to get the status back to lottery pick. Look for teams like Detroit and Chicago to take a hard look at Henry come draft day.
Willie Warren, PG/SG, Oklahoma
Willie Warren: 6'4" 200 lbs., Sophomore
Warren was considered by many scouts a top seven NBA prospect entering this season. He has not been bad this year, but he has not been the great player that many thought he would be.
Aside from the slight disappointment, Warren is still considered a top prospect for the NBA.
He is lightning quick to the basketball, shoots a very high percentage from the field, and he can get to the stripe with the best of them. Warren lacks a position right now, but I think he should switch to point guard. There, he can use his great size and control the game to his pace.
Look for Warren to be a mid to late first round pick if he comes out.
If Warren stays, he could move up in the lottery, but I do not see him staying another year. Look for a team like Boston or Orlando to take Warren as a role player.
Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis
Elliot Wiliams: 6'4" 180 lbs., Sophomore
Elliot Williams has wowed this year at Memphis. He has shown that he is a prolific scorer and a go-to-guy down the stretch.
Williams has a lot to improve on, but based on talent alone, cracks the top ten back court prospects.
Williams is not the biggest shooting guard ever, but he has great length, athleticism, and toughness to make up for it. He must become a more consistent shooter to make it in the NBA. He has great mechanics, now he just needs to put in the time practicing.
Williams will most likely be a mid to late first round pick if he decides to come out.
Scouts love his ability to run the floor, and he would be a great addition to either Washington, Boston, or even San Antonio.
Jerome Dyson, PG/SG, Connecticut
Jerome Dyson: 6'4" 190 lbs., Senior
Jerome Dyson has the potential to become a second round steal in the NBA.
He is a proven scorer and leader for Connecticut, and he should have no problem adjusting the NBA style of offense.
Dyson has been a great shooting guard in college, but he would be better suited playing the point in the pros. He has the tools to handle the ball at the next level, and he is unselfish.
I love the comparison of Leandro Barbosa to Jerome Dyson. Both are undersized shooting guards who can drain the three. If Dyson works hard, he could easily find himself in that kind of role.
Dyson will most likely be an early to mid second round pick.
Scouts are not sold on his height and small frame, but a team like New York, Milwaukee, or the LA Lakers may want a player like Dyson coming off their bench.
Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada
Armon Johnson: 6'3" 195 lbs., Junior
This Nevada junior has been shooting up most draft boards. Scouts are raving about Johnson's ideal size and ability to create offense. He is also a superb athlete who moves very fluidly on the court.
Johnson must improve on becoming a three point threat. Right now, this is a glaring weakness in his game, and NBA teams would severely take advantage of this.
Johnson must also improve on staying in control. At times, he gets too excited and will turn the ball over.
Johnson has been a huge surprise this year, and many scouts think he can go in the mid first round.
A team like Miami could really use a true point guard like Johnson, and with two picks in the first round, Johnson could be their man.