It’s that time of year when analysis, anticipation, and a few surprises rule the day. That’s right, it’s NBA Draft time, the 2014 version. The Big Ten figures to be well-represented in the June 26 draft, with as many as five players listed as first-rounders in most mock drafts.
Let’s look at three areas that NBA GM’s and scouts may use to evaluate some of the Big Ten’s top players.
1. NBA player comparison
2. Pros and cons of each player’s game
3. Which NBA teams provide the best fit for each player
Noah Vonleh, Indiana
1. NBA player comparison: Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz – Vonleh’s wingspan of 7-4.25 was the 2nd largest in the combine. His hands were measured the largest. His ability to rebound is similar to Favors.
2. Pros: Relentless pursuit of the basketball on the glass. Good 3-pt shooter (college line). Quick footwork around the basket. Great athlete with long arms and huge hands.
Cons: Passing out of double team can be improved. Ability to defend away from the basket. Measured 6’8 without shoes, slightly undersized for power forward position.
3. NBA teams best fit: Jazz, Lakers, Kings
Nik Stauskas, Michigan
1. NBA player comparison: Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves – Nik’s ability to stroke it from deep will make opponents defend closer, allowing his improved ball-handling ability to get around defenders at the next level.
2. Pros: One of best shooters (Doug McDermott) in draft. Good size from “2” position. Moves well without the ball and can create off the bounce.
Cons: Defensive ability will be challenged, especially chasing opposing 2’s around screens. Will need to continue to get stronger.
3. NBA teams best fit: Sixers, Nuggets, Bulls
Gary Harris, Michigan State
1. NBA player comparison: Shannon Brown, New York Knicks – Gary’s ability to hit spot-up jumpers and free himself with use of picks make up for lack of prototypical “2” guard size. Good, but not great, athlete and willing defender.
2. Pros: Good long-range shooter. Very good on-ball defender. Good strength from 2-guard position. Can rebound the ball well.
Cons: Ball handling ability needs to improve. Passing ability when driving the rock needs to improve. Must stay healthy, sometimes injury prone.
3. NBA teams best fit: Sixers, Nuggets
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
1. NBA player comparison: Kevin Garnett, New Jersey Nets – Ability to score inside and out with accurate jump shot with range. Slight frame but likes to bang. Good communicator.
2. Pros: Can be a “stretch 4″ with outside shooting ability. Good rebounder on both ends. Can score in the post and doesn’t mind physical play. Can run the floor.
Cons: Improve conditioning in order to play longer stretches.
3. NBA teams best fit: Timberwolves, Suns
Mitch McGary, Michigan
1. NBA player comparison: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – Plays hard all of the time. Better perimeter shooter than he’s given credit for. Loves to bang and rebound and can pass for a big man.
2. Pros: Physical, can rebound on both ends. Runs the floor well. Can shoot 17-foot spot-up jumper. Very good passer for a big. Will give up body to free up teammates.
Cons: Back is a big question mark. Will he return back to 2013 Final Four mode?
3. NBA teams best fit: Clippers, Pistons, Bucks
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
1. NBA player comparison: Trevor Ariza, Washington Wizards – Freakish athlete with ability to finish at the rim. Streaky shooter.
2. Pros: Great athlete. Very good offensive rebounder. Under-rated defender.
Cons: Must be more assertive. Streaky shooter, only 31% from “3.”
3. NBA teams best fit: Thunder, Bobcats, Heat
Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross, and Roy Devyn Marble may get drafted, but more than likely will be free agents entering NBA camps this summer. In their cases, it may be better for them not to get drafted in order to go with teams that provide a better fit for their skill sets.
|About Stephen Bardo
||The BTN basketball analyst and former Flyin’ Illini star is a regular contributor to BTN.com. Follow Bardo on Twitter @stephenbardo, read his past posts right here, and use the form below to submit your questions to his Big Ten basketball mailbag.|