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With the first ten picks in the books (Top 5, Picks 6-10), we now shift are attention to the last players that will be selected in the lottery. The youth movement continues in this draft, as all five projected picks are players 19 years old or younger.
The 6’8 Jones was the most dominant freshman the first few weeks of the college basketball season. He tailed off towards the end of the season and would be best served if he returned to Kentucky for one more year. Despite a sub-par second half, Jones still averaged 15.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game.
For starters, Jones‘ offensive game is pretty versatile. He has good scoring instincts and a good IQ. His best work comes when he is able to catch the ball and it put on the floor. He attacks the rim primarily with his left hand and does a nice job handling the ball. He is explosive first step also gives him the ability to attack the rim forcefully. On the defensive end, he gives good effort. He does a good job of closing in on defenders and rarely takes a play off. His biggest problem on the defensive end is that he tends to lose his man because he spends a good amount of time watching the ball and not his man.
The reason Jones needs another year at Kentucky is because he is not polished. His low post game is not there, he struggles against bigger players and does not have any moves at the moment. Offensively, he needs to improve his three-point shooting, which was just 32.9%. He also needs to develop a right hand. With that said, he does have an NBA-ready body and a high ceiling, but he just needs a bit of seasoning.
NBA Comparison: Andrea Iguodala
Biyombo is a guy that is rising up many draft boards. At 6’9, 240 lbs and a motor that never stops, it is easy to see why scouts are falling in love with him.
His stock has probably risen the most over the past year. A relative unknown, his Nike Hoop Summit put him on the map. While there, he registered the first ever triple double, going for 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks. His athleticism is what he has going for him (he has a wing span of 7’7). He can play power forward or center and has good leaping ability. He gets up and down the floor with ease and his motor never stops.
My question is: could Biyombo be just another product of an overseas player with athleticism? Another red flag should be the fact that he has only been playing basketball for four years. Biyombo’s rise shows just how weak this draft class is. He will be a lottery pick based on potential alone, the problem is that he is at least three years away from contributing in the NBA.
NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka
Consistent is a good word to describe Leonard. He was Freshman of the Year in the MWC last season and this season, he only got better. Leonard improved his scoring and rebounding numbers this year, averaging 15.5 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.
At 6’7″, Leonard has good size to play at the next level. He has good leaping ability and is very dangerous off the dribble. Athleticism is another one of Leonard’s major strengths. His athleticism allows him to rebound the ball very well — if he misses his shot he often picks up the rebound. This past season, he averaged 3.1 offensive rebounds. On the defensive side, he does a good job sticking with his man on the perimeter. He also does a good job of tracking down rebounds and boxing out.
The knock against Leonard is that he has put up impressive numbers against mid-major competition. Another issue is that offensively, he has some work to do. His ball handling is average at best and as of right now, he is a non-factor shooting three’s. In order to be successful, he will need to improve that 29.1 % from downtown.
NBA Comparison: Richard Jefferson
If Burks were to return to college for another season, he would have been the Kemba Walker of college basketball. He’s grown to 6’6″ and is one of the best pure scorers in college basketball.
As a freshman, Burks averaged 17.1 points per game and 5 rebounds, this year he raised those averages to 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. His biggest strength is that he can create his own shot, as almost 66% of his offense came off of isolations, and pick- and-rolls. GM’s love players who can create for themselves, because Burks specializes in that he may rise even more. On the defensive side of things, he is solid. He would usually defend the opposing team’s best player and he shows good lateral quickness to stay in front of his man at the next level.
On the flip side, Burks will have to improve his shot selection. He takes a lot of contested jumpers and many of those shots come of balance. Another big issue is his consistency with his jump shot. He shot just 21 of 69 from three (29.2%). Burks does a great job in the open court and can attack the hoop as good as anyone in this class, if he can improve his outside shooting, Burks will find a place in the NBA.
NBA Comparison: Evan Turner
This was a breakout season for Jordan Hamilton. He rose his scoring and rebounding averages from 10 points and 3.7 rebounds to 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds.
His scoring ability is what scouts love the most. He can score in a number of ways and has excellent scoring instincts. This past season, he shot 44% from the field and 38.5 % from three. The area where Hamilton has improved the most this season is in the post. Last season, Hamilton was mostly a slasher/jump shooter. This season, Hamilton has learned how to play with his back to the basket and convert from the post.
With all the talent that Hamilton has, he still possesses some major flaws. He struggles to score off the dribble and does not create high-percentage shots for himself. He is not very explosive either, showing an average first step and often times settling for contested jump shots.
His biggest flaws, however, are on the defensive side of the ball. His fundamentals are weak, as he regularly bites on pump fakes and gambles way too much on steals. Hamilton has the talent to succeed, but he is probably best suited playing somewhere like Golden State, where he would not have to play much defense.
NBA Comparison: Chase Budinger