The 2010-11 NCAA Basketball season is officially under way, and some players are already showing how valuable they can be to NBA Scouts. So who are the best potential NBA players from the Pac-10 Conference? SwishScout.com ranks the seven major prospects, in ascending order, to potentially enter the 2011 NBA Draft.
To read more about each prospect in greater detail, click their name linked to their respective scouting report.
Isaiah Thomas, Washington (Junior SG, 5’8”, 185 lb.s)- Quintessential college star who dominates play with his shooting and scoring talents. Maybe no better indicator of his potential NBA success than his predecessor at Washington, Nate Robinson. Conversely, being very undersized and not a true point greatly inhibit his NBA stock. Thomas is a nice shooter with explosive quickness and ball handling but can become too enthralled with the three-ball. Another player unlikely to leave after this season, but in case he does, some NBA team should be willing to take a chance on him to make a spark off the bench.
Projected Draft Stock: Second Round or Undrafted
Abdul Gaddy, Washington (Sophomore PG, 6’3”, 190 lb.s)- Before his college days, Gaddy was a supremely talented and highly-touted prospect. At UW, he disappeared as a freshman and was underutilized. With his true point guard play and court vision, he is a legit floor general who will emerge in his second season. His dribbling ability and passing skills are superb. However, shooting the ball was not his strength as a freshman nor was using his left hand. Good PG build and raw talent but must raise his draft stock with on-court performance. Love his upside and overall game but don’t expect him to leave this year unless has an extraordinary season, in which case his stock should greatly rise.
Projected Draft Stock: Second Round
Josh Smith, UCLA (Freshman PF/C, 6’10”, 305 lbs)- The hefty big man has yet to prove what he can do in college, but his size and skill set make him a legit prospect. Smith is a landmark in the paint who is physical and talented. He rebounds, D’s up, has great hands and has solid touch around the basket. Despite his talents, his perimeter shooting and fundamentals are abysmal. He is a raw post player who hasn’t proven he has moves or postgame to compete but has the potential. Conditioning is in question as well, but he may opt for another year instead of becoming a "One and Done."
Projected Draft Stock: Late First-Early Second Round
Malcolm Lee, UCLA (Junior PG/SG, 6’4”, 195 lb.s)- Lee is a solid, scoring point guard who excels at attacking off the dribble. He’s not a traditional backcourt leader, but he gets the job done on defense and with his playmaking. An indefinite "shoot first" point but is limited by his perimeter shooting inconsistency. He has a solid build and size for his position in NBA terms, but his athleticism isn’t outstanding. I don’t buy him as a legit NBA starter but could be effective as a backup in the NBA.
Projected Draft Stock: Mid-Late First Round
Klay Thompson, Washington State (Junior SG/SF, 6’6”. 200 lb.s)- The best shooter and pure scorer in the conference. He has a textbook shooting stroke and is deadeye from three. He has proven he can lead a team and be a primary scorer, but without elite athleticism, can he do it in the NBA? Conventional wisdom says no, and he is likely a role player or "spark off the bench scorer," and a good one at that. His stock is in questionable, but a solid Junior campaign should show NBA scouts his true worth.
Projected Draft Stock: Late First Round
Derrick Williams, Arizona (Sophomore PF, 6’8”, 240 lb.s)-Physical banger in the paint who plays aggressive and with a great motor. Williams is an athletic forward with good footwork and post moves, but limited by his size at 6’8”. Although undersized for his natural position, he will be able to overcome it to contribute for an NBA team in the paint. He’s teetering between draft rounds but expect him to put up big numbers to contend for Conference Player of the Year and raise his stock in 2010-11.
Projected Draft Stock: Mid-Late First Round
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA (Sophmore SF, 6’8”, 185 lb.s)- A versatile, "do it all" player who knows how to get involved and leave an impact in a game without scoring. Smart player with great passing and playmaking ability, but his hallmark is on defense. Biggest knock is his unselfishness, but if he becomes more assertive and a consistent shot maker, Honeycutt could easily play his way into becoming a lottery pick this year.
Projected Draft Stock: Mid-First Round