With the NBA playoffs about to head into the second round, the soon to be hot topic will be the NBA Draft. This is a great time of year for young college kids to realize their hoop dreams and for organizations to determine what players they will need in order to address various needs within their roster. Here is a short list of five underclassmen who should be selected within the top ten at the worst.
Evan Turner is a junior from Ohio State who decided to turn pro early. Turner is 6-7 and will provide any team with a favorable match up in the backcourt. Evan Turner averages during the 2009-2010 season were 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6 assists along with nearly two steals per game. Evan Turner is also a proficient shooter connecting on over 50% of his field goal attempts. The only negative in Turner’s game is that he turns the ball over more than four times per contest. With regards, to draft potential, I would say that it will be a toss up between him and John Wall out of Kentucky as to which player could possibly go as the overall top selection of the 2010 draft.
John Wall is a freshman out of Kentucky who decided to go pro after only one year in college. At 6-4 , Wall will have a size advantage against most opposing point guards in the NBA. During the 2009-2010, Wall averaged nearly 17 points along with 6 assists and 4 rebounds per game showing he is not only capable of scoring and facilitating the team’s offense but can also crash the boards among the big men. Like Evan Turner, Wall has a high turn-over rate of over four per game which will need to be improved upon at the next level. Wall has already drawn comparisons to second-year Bulls guard Derrick Rose and to Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks. Wall could have possibly benefited from another year in school but when you’re being projected as a potential number one pick, it can be difficult to look the other way.
DeMarcus Cousins; a teammate of John Wall, is also a freshman from Kentucky who also decided to forego his collegiate career after only one year in college. Cousins is a load inside at 6-11, 260 and can score from just about anywhere in the painted area. Cousins averaged nearly a double-double during the 2009-2010 season with 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. DeMarcus also is very efficient shooter connecting on nearly 60% of his shot attempts. There is never a shortage of big men who can both score and rebound in the NBA and Cousins definitely fits that bill. While his stock has said to have decreased recently, he should still be a top five pick in the 2010 draft.
Derrick Favors is a Sophomore Power Forward out of Georgia Tech. According to scouting reports one of the positives of Favors’ game is that he runs the floor really well for a big man and has soft hands enables him to catch the ball well in traffic. Favors has the ability to score from either side of the post and able to get off good shots with his off-hand. Favors’ averages during the 2009-2010 campaign were a respectable 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest. The knock on his game is that he needs to improve on increasing the range on his jump-shot and handling the ball better in the post. Drawing comparisons to Atlanta Hawks’ Forward Al Hortford, Favors should be taken within the first ten spots of the draft.
Wesley Johnson is a junior small-forward from Syracuse. According to scouting reports, Wesley Johnson is that he is able to contend for rebounds and not afraid to be a physical despite his slight frame at 6-7 195 pounds. He is also considered a very team-oriented player who scores his points within the flow of the offense. Johnson averaged nearly 17 points and 9 rebounds during the 2009-2010 season. Johnson is also considered a good decision maker in regards to shot selection. This is evident with him connecting on 60% of his field goal attempts including a respectable 41% from three-point range. While Johnson will need to improve his handling and defense at the next level, he is considered to be a great asset to any team that drafts him and he can play either the Small Forward or Shooting Guard position for a variety of teams in the NBA. This potential versatility is a big reason why Johnson is a projected top five selection.