The NBA draft is held in June but that doesn’t mean that what happens in March isn’t important. While it might be somewhat counterintuitive to place so much emphasis on only a few games, it is certainly true that players in the past have been able to improve their draft stock with three or four good games in the tournament.
Dewayne Wade’s epic 2003 tournament in which he led Marquette to the Final Four, as well as recording a triple-double against the No. 1 seeded Kentucky Wildcats helped propel his draft stock high enough to have him forego his senior season. Wade was selected with the 5th pick in the 2003 NBA draft and many executives will say that his performance in the tournament thrust Wade into the national spotlight.
Tyrus Thomas is another player who saw his draft stock rise dramatically because of his tournament performance. In 2006 the lanky forward helped to lead the LSU Tigers to an unexpected Final Four. Thomas elected to turn pro after completing his freshman season and amid his inspired tournament play was taken 4th overall in the 2006 NBA draft.
The tournament can be a great opportunity for players at smaller programs to get their name known by putting together a couple of good performances. It can also be a chance for more well known players to answer questions that NBA scouts have about them.
Players like John Wall and Evan Turner don’t have to worry about their draft stock rising or falling because they’ve been the projected No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft for a couple of months now. But there are many players who are on the fringe of the draft and may have played themselves into or out of the first round, or even into or out of the draft all together.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at 8 players who aren’t necessarily lottery picks but have seen their draft stock rise or fall during the tournament this year.