NBA Draft 2011: Uh Oh, These 5 Players Are Seeing Their Draft Stock Plummet
With the NCAA Tournament over, the focus of the basketball world shifts to the upcoming NBA Draft.
While many players including Derrick Williams of Arizona, Kemba Walker of Connecticut and Brandon Knight of Kentucky saw their draft stocks rise during the tournament, other marquee players started dropping down the draft boards.
Though the tournament is not the sole identifier of success at the next level, NBA scouts view a player’s performance in March as the ability to handle pressure.
Here are five players who struggled under the bright lights in the tournament, and have thus seen their draft stock decline.
5. Josh Selby, PG, Kansas
Though only a freshman, Josh Selby had high expectations when he arrived at Kansas University.
After serving a nine-game suspension, Selby returned to the court with a bang and seemed to be on his way to being a lottery pick.
However, he struggled down the stretch and in the NCAA Tournament. Selby failed to score in double-digits over the final two months of the season.
He averaged less than four points per game in the tournament, which hasn’t helped his cause.
Selby still hasn’t declared for the NBA draft, and he may benefit from another year at Kansas.
4. Jon Leuer, PF/C, Wisconsin
Jon Leuer had a big season for the Wisconsin Badgers, averaging 18.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
He was in line to be a mid first round pick to a team looking for depth at the power forward/center position.
However, an abysmal performance in Wisconsin’s loss to Butler in the Sweet 16 may drive him down draft boards.
Leuer scored just three points on 1-of-12 shooting in 33 minutes.
While one game may not be the reason he misses the first round, it could lead to skepticism for a team thinking he could make an immediate impact.
Though he may not be the most athletic guy, ESPN’s Chad Ford believes he has some value.
3. Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
It’s hard to believe that a player who scored 32 points in his final game will see his draft stock decline as a result.
Well, such may be the case for BYU standout Jimmer Fredette.
First off, he shot just 38 percent from the floor on 11-of-29 shooting, including an “un-Jimmer-like” 3-of-15 from three-point land.
Additionally, Fredette showed that his defensive skills may need some work, as he failed to keep up with the speedy guards of the Florida Gators.
Yes, he can shoot; yes, he can score. However, making the jump to the NBA requires a more refined overall skill-set.
He’ll likely still go in the first round, but not as high as he was originally placed.
2. Nolan Smith, PG, Duke
Nolan Smith’s draft stock rose rapidly this season, as he became a dominant offensive player for Duke.
He was projected in the mid first round and seemed to be a player who would translate well to the NBA.
However, Smith benefited from Duke freshman Kyrie Irving’s injury. When Irving returned, Smith’s game suffered because he wasn’t the main offensive threat.
Except for his 24-point game against Michigan, Smith had a poor NCAA Tournament.
While Irving is projected to be a top-five pick, Smith may wind up falling to the late first round.
He definitely won’t be an NBA team’s main scoring option right away, so he will have to alter his game to fit this new role.
1. Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky
Freshman Terrence Jones was on pace to follow in John Wall’s footsteps as being a one-and-done player at Kentucky who was drafted in the lottery.
He averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the Wildcats this year.
However, on the biggest stage of his young career, he didn’t perform up to expectations.
He averaged just over 10 points per game in the tournament, while the other Kentucky standout, Brandon Knight, stole the show.
Knight may wind up being the lottery pick, while Jones slips down to the mid or late first round.
A stronger tournament would have placed him in the top-10 easily.