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Apr 17 2014

NCAA Tournament Stock Watch: Week 3

The Sixers have five second-round picks to spend on the night of the 2014 draft thanks to Sam Hinkie’s trade-deadline flurry, and based on what happened in last year’s draft, it’s unlikely they hold onto all of them. Instead, the picks could be packaged to move back up into the late first round or acquire a young player on the cheap.

But if they do hold on, the Sixers are projected to have two top-10 picks in the second round (their own, the No. 32 pick, and Cleveland’s, the No. 39) and there’s a few prospects from the Final Four (yes, that was forever ago) who might be worth taking in that spot.

Let’s take a look at how the key player from each squad fared throughout the NCAA tournament.

Aaron Harrison, SG, Kentucky

Season averages: 13.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.6 TO, 42.3 FG%
NCAA Tournament: 13.2 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 1.7 TO, 42.4 FG% (six games)

Aaron Harrison likely earned himself a fat paycheck during the NCAA tournament.

If you like shooting guards who don’t shrink from the moment in high-pressure situations, Harrison is your cup of tea. The freshman 2-guard drilled clutch 3-pointers in three consecutive games, against Louisville, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Here’s the Michigan shot:

And here’s the clutch three against Wisconsin:

He couldn’t conjure the 3-point magic against UConn in the national championship game and on the season, he hit 62 of his 174 three-point attempts (35.6 percent), so his 15-of-30 (50 percent) shooting from downtown during the NCAA tournament was somewhat of a revelation (or fluke).

At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, Harrison has solid size at the 2 in the NBA, especially once he packs on a few extra pounds of muscle. Even if he’s not a great 3-point shooter, he may still be a worthy second-round pick. (According to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, scouts and GMs have him between 25-40).

If he falls to the mid-second round, don’t rule out the Sixers taking a flyer on him.

Stock: Up

 

Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin

Season averages: 13.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.7 BPG, 1.0 TO, 52.8 FG%
NCAA Tournament: 16.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 1.0 TO, 54.8 FG% (five games)

The best and worst of Frank Kaminsky were on display during the NCAA tournament.

During the second weekend of March Madness, he scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and swatted six shots in 34 minutes against Baylor in the Sweet 16, powering Wisconsin to an Elite 8 matchup against top-seeded Arizona. Kaminsky went absolutely HAM in that game, scoring 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting (including 3-of-5 from three-point range) and grabbing 11 rebounds in the one-point overtime victory.

Against Kentucky in the Final Four, however, the 7-footer was a nonfactor. He only scored eight points on 4-of-7 shooting, pulled down five boards and blocked two shots in 32 minutes. His counterparts, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson, combined for 26 points and 12 boards in the Wildcats’ one-point win.

The 7-footer is what he is at this point: An offensively gifted prospect who is likely to struggle on defense in the NBA. With the league trending toward stretch big men — Kaminsky shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range this year — his defensive limitations might not be a death knell for his draft prospects.

After the Final Four loss, both Kaminsky and teammate Sam Dekker vowed to return to school next year, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. If he changes course, he’s likely an early- to mid-second-round pick who could serve as an intriguing complement to Nerlens Noel.

Stock: Up

 

Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn

Season averages: 18.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.9 TO, 42.9 FG%
NCAA Tournament: 21.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 3.5 TO, 46.3 FG% (six games)

No player did more for their draft stock during the NCAA tournament than Shabazz Napier, whose Kemba Walker-esque tear may have taken the mid-second-round candidate into the first round..

Napier kicked things off with 24 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in the Huskies’ round-of-64 overtime win over St. Joe’s and never looked back.

He went off for 19 or more points in five of UConn’s six-game title run, and the one game he didn’t — the Final Four matchup against Florida — he racked up six assists and four steals while DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright shouldered the offensive load.

Over the course of the tournament, he went 20-of-43 from three-point range (46.5 percent) and 87 percent from the charity stripe. Throw in his 2.5 steals per game and he posted one of the most well-rounded performances of any prospect.

Ford reported that “many scouts now see him as the fourth-best point guard in the draft, behind Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Tyler Ennis.” At 6-1 and 180 pounds, he’s undersized for a combo guard, but if he can play the point full-time in the NBA, he’d be an intriguing late-first-round or early-second-round pick.

Stock: Soaring

 

Scottie Wilbekin, PG, Florida

Season averages: 13.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 1.7 TO, 40.2 FG%
NCAA Tournament: 14.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 1.0 TO, 43.3 FG% (five games)

Of the four prospects featured here, only Scottie Wilbekin did more harm than good to his draft stock during the NCAA tournament.

That’s not to say Wilbekin didn’t have his own share of highlights. He dropped 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting against Pittsburgh in the round of 32, and he scored nearly 40 percent of the Gators’ points (23, to be exact) in their 62-52 victory over Dayton in the Elite 8.

In Florida’s other three games, however, Wilbekin finished with a combined 27 points on 11-of-31 shooting (35.4 percent). UConn’s pesky duo of Napier and Boatright harassed him into his worst performance of the tournament in the Final Four — four points on 2-of-9 shooting, four personal fouls and three turnovers.

The senior point guard just turned 21, so it’s not as though he’s a lost cause in terms of his NBA potential. (Philly’s own Michael Carter-Williams, who declared after his sophomore season, turned 22 before the start of his rookie season.) There’s little reason to believe Wilbekin wouldn’t be available with in the latter half of the second round, however, especially given his inconsistency throughout March Madness.

Stock: Down

 

ICYMI

Week 1: Top-five prospects & Doug McDermott
Week 2: Late-lottery prospects (for the Pelicans pick)