NBA teams that get their scouting right already have a very good picture of a college prospect by this point in the season — they’ve seen the film, seen it in person, spoken to their coach, and have a good idea of what they could design . While the scouts are watching the NCAA tournament games, it shouldn’t move the draft board much — until the owner falls in love with a player during the tournament and blows it all up.
At the top of this year’s NBA draft board are many guys who are not participating in the tournament – Victor Wembanyama plays in France, Scott Henderson is in the G-League, the Thomspon twins are in Overtime Elite, and even someone like Villanova’s Cam Whitmore didn’t do the big dance. However, here are five players NBA fans — particularly those of you in San Antonio, Houston, Detroit and Charlotte — should keep an eye on.
1) Brandon Miller (Alabama)
Thursday, 2:45 vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Let’s start with the very first question about the Alabama forward: Will his extra-judicial issues – Police say he brought a gun to former Alabama teammate Darius Miles, who allegedly used it to shoot and kill Jamea Jonae Harris – impact on his draft status? No. Multiple front-office sources have told NBC Sports it won’t change its status unless Miller is arrested and charged with a felony — he wasn’t and the district attorney said there were no plans to do so — it will be do not change status.
That status has improved to the point over the course of the season He’s in the mix for number 2 with Scoot Henderson. As can be seen, Miller may be the best straight shooter in the draft (39.9% out of 3), but what impressed the scouts is his improved finishing on the edge and his style of play. Scouts believe he could become a next-level elite offensive player due to his size and athleticism.
At 6’9″, he can play the three or the four in the NBA, quality positions in the league. It won’t be hard to overlook what he’s doing, he’s Mr. Everything for Alabama.
2) Nick Smith, Arkansas
Thursday, 4:30 vs. Illinois
Smith slipped into bottom lottery during the season because he missed part of the season with “knee maintenance” and shot just 34.4% from 3 while the Thompson twins and others played and climbed. Smith, an elite combo guard, is back for the tournament and it’s a chance for him to make a statement and for fans to get a look.
He’s a high upside pick, a catch-and-shoot specialist who can put the ball on the floor and finish or create a little. He’s not a one, but in the best version of himself he can get a little on point – this idealized Smith has a similar game CJ McCollum. But Smith still has a long way to go to prove he can do it and this tournament can be a first step.
3) Keynote George, Baylor
Friday, 1:30 p.m. vs. UC Santa Barbara
George is a 6’4″ point guard who was picked as the middle of the first round and has a game based more on cunning and craft than explosive athleticism. He averaged 15.8 points per game and shot 34.9% from 3, although his fights inside the arc raised eyebrows. That shooting, especially from 3 onwards, will be his food ticket to the next level, so he’ll have to prove he can pull it off under pressure.
George has improved defensively throughout the season, leading to a good test in Baylor’s tournament opener against Ajay Mitchell[theGauchocomboguardwhowastheBigWestPlayeroftheYear[denGaucho-Combo-GuardderBigWest-SpielerdesJahreswarführte[theGauchocomboguardwhowastheBigWestPlayeroftheYear
4) Jarace Walker (Houston)
Thursday 9:20 p.m. vs. Northern Kentucky
Projected as a top-10 pick, the Houston forward will enter the league with an NBA physique – he’s a solid 6’8″ but with a 7’2″ wingspan that lets him protect. While imagining him as a versatile defender has increased his draft stock — that and his consistent energy on the court — he’s improved as a marksman and good passer who could thrive at the next level as a fourth or fifth offensive option (but more defensively Stopper). With star Marcus Sasser suffering from a groin injury, the first few games could be a chance for Walker to shine for the No. 1 Cougars.
5) Cason Wallace (Kentucky)
Friday 7:10 p.m. vs. Providence
There’s a long list of guards in the NBA who looked good in Kentucky and then thrived when they came out from under Caliparis’ thumbs – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, and the list goes on — and Wallace could be next in line. The Combo Guard has been a good defender for the Wildcats, and on offense he’s a good shot (34.7% of 3) who can create a few secondary shots.
Wallace is projected as a late lottery player with a high level – he can help a team – which could surprise if his offensive play is better than expected at the next level.
Here’s more on the 2023 NBA Draft
Reports: Brandon Miller in the mix for #2 with Scoot Henderson The G-League is shutting down presumptive No. 2 pick Scoot Henderson for the season Has Brandon Miller’s draft inventory dropped after it was revealed he supplied a gun…
Five potential lottery picks for NBA fans to watch in the NCAA tournament originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Source : sports.yahoo.com