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NBA Stock Watch: January 2013

It's been a while since we've popped the hood and checked out where the current Kansas University basketball players stand with regard to this year's NBA Draft.

By now, we all know that freshman guard Ben McLemore quickly has become one of the top prospects in the country and could very well be in line to be one of the top picks in the June 27 draft.

In this, the January edition of NBA Stock Watch, we'll look at exactly what all of the mock drafts are saying about McLemore and we'll also look into what's going on with the other Jayhawks who have a shot at getting drafted this summer.

Enough lead-in, though. You know how this works. So let's just get right to it.

BEN MCLEMORE: RS-FR., GUARD, 6-5, 195 pounds
Stock Assessment: Regarded in 2012 by Bill Self as the team's top pro prospect (even though he didn't play), McLemore certainly has shown why Self thought and said that a season ago. Gifted with incredible range, as pure a jump shot as there is and good size and great athleticism, McLemore certainly has what you're looking for in an NBA guard and also owns that always-important “upside” because he's still so young.
Average Mock Draft Position: 3rd
Current High: 1st (NBADraft.net)
Current Low: 5th (MyNBADraft.com, DraftExpress.net)
Overall Movement: + Rising + McLemore's stock continues to rise with each game. By now, he's proven himself to be more than worthy of this kind of hype and, as he continues to show improvement on defense and a well-rounded and polished offensive game, NBA scouts continue to fall in love with him. There's been some talk lately that he could be the top pick in the draft, but it certainly seems very likely, at this point, that he will at least be Top 5.

JEFF WITHEY: SR., CENTER, 7-0, 235 pounds
Stock Assessment: Entered the season as a likely first-round pick with the potential to creep his way into the lottery. There's no question that, defensively, Withey has what it takes to hang in the NBA, but in order to be a highly sought after prospect, Withey needs to get stronger and continue to develop offensively.
Average Mock Draft Position: 27th.
Current High: 24 (MyNBADraft.net and HoopsHype.com)
Current Low: 29 (HoopsHype.com)
Overall Movement: • Holding Steady • Despite being the front-runner for defensive player of the year, nationally, Withey continues to be slotted near the end of the first round in mock drafts. He's a legit 7-footer with good athleticism, but it seems like his light frame may be keeping him from moving up draft boards. Because big men are so tough to find, it's possible that Withey could surprise some folks with his pre-draft workouts and climb a little higher in the weeks leading up to the draft. For now, though, continued dominance on defense along with expanding his offensive game seems to be the best way for him to move up the board.

ELIJAH JOHNSON: SR., GUARD, 6-4, 195 pounds
Stock Assessment: In line to become the next great guard to come through Kansas, Johnson began his senior season with high hopes and even higher expectations. After losing Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson to the NBA, Johnson was the first player many thought about when talking about picking up their scoring slack. A different player than Taylor but every bit as athletic and armed with a better pure shot, Johnson has a chance to emerge as a rising prospect with a strong finish.
Average Mock Draft Position: 50th.
Current High: 48th (DraftExpress.com)
Current Low: Not listed (MyNBADraft.com)
Overall Movement: — Falling — A couple of these draft boards had Johnson as a late first-round pick heading into the season but his new role as this team's point guard and shooting numbers worse than most expected have dropped him into the second round in most cases. Because of his athleticism, explosiveness and solid size, Johnson has a chance to be a fast riser, but until he becomes a more consistent and efficient force on the floor for the Jayhawks, he'll likely remain a second-rounder for now.

Draft sites used for the player positioning portion of this blog include: NBADraft.net, MyNBADraft.com, DraftExpress.com, HoopsHype.com and DraftSite.com.

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Comments

Eric Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

Is there no talk of Releford in the mock drafts? It's a shame to see the best on-ball defender at KU in years, and one of the hardest workers in the game period, not get at least a little NBA attention.

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Matt Tait 1 year, 7 months ago

I didn't see him listed anywhere and I can't say I'm surprised. Releford is a great college player and has a chance to make some money overseas if he wants to go that route.

But he seems like an NBA long shot at best.

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Jason Keller 1 year, 7 months ago

I think Relly slips in late second round. It's a weak draft and by then his size, shooting numbers and defense will look like something worth taking a chance on.

Unfortunately, I don't see mr. EJ being drafted. His knees aren't healthy right now, I don't care what anyone says. Poor guy.

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VaJay 1 year, 7 months ago

That's too bad, because I think he would do well, especially as a defensive stopper - there used to be a few of them around (a la Bruce Bowen), but you don't see them much in today's game - its all about scoring more than the other team, not stopping them.

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Hank Cross 1 year, 7 months ago

Relleford's size and strength - and cheap price tag - may get him to the NBA in some fashion. I can see him in a role where he comes in when a team's 2 or 3 gets if foul trouble in the 1st half. Spot minutes, but still a paycheck.

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mphawk27 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't understand why Withey is so low this year. His stats are right up there if not nearly identical offensively and defensively as last year's #1 pick Anthony Davis, who had quite a slim frame as well, yet he was regarded all year as the likely #1 pick. Matt do you have any idea why there seems to be a double-standard here with Withey? Is it just because he's not as touted since he's not one of Calipari's freshmen phenoms? I think Withey will be a better pro by far in the long run than Davis.

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Matt Tait 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree. Defensively, Withey is every bit as good as Anthony Davis and certainly a similar size.

But Davis' offensive skills and — more importantly — his offensive potential are light years ahead of Withey.

Davis is an incredibly skilled athlete who moves very smoothly, has soft hands, great feet and is very quick and elusive.

If Withey were a little smoother offensively I think he'd be much higher. That said, I'd still take him in the lottery if it were me picking. Nobody's going to ask him to play offense in the NBA. They'll want him for defense, rebounding and a team-first attitude and he's well above average in all three categories.

We'll see what happens.

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andymax 1 year, 7 months ago

Withey has one spectacular ability, and nothing else above average. How would he guard DaMarcus Cousins? Al Jefferson? Amare Stoudemire? Or alternatively, Bargnani, Ryan Anderson and other bigs that play outside the lane. Most damagingly, Withey is a below average rebounder for his size. There is a spot for him in the NBA, particularly if he can develop a good mid-range jumper. But it's hard to find a successful comparable for his limited skillset - Samuel Dalembert? Bismack Bayombo? Kosta Koufos?

B Mac's skills, on the other hand, are bountiful. He can guard 2 positions well enough, good NBA athlete, sweet stroke - ticks off all the shooting guard boxes, like an Eric Gordon. He still acts too deferential, but he's still young.

Travis has an NBA head on a CBA body. His trademarked fast break layups would not cut it in the pros, and he can't create his own shot. But his jumper is decent and he'll make money playing somewhere overseas because he guards, has decent size, and makes few mistakes.

As someone else mentioned, I too suspect that Johnson's knees are far worse off than has been revealed. He's playing tentative like he's trying not to get hurt (worse). His contributions are the biggest wild card for the team's tourney success.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Um, he's averaging what? 2.5 pts. less than Cody Zeller, yet Cody's being slotted most times ~ 7th?!?! And Cody doesn't have NEARLY the defensive abilities of Withey and is EVEN SLIMMER AND LESS TALL (6'-11 still not being exactly short) than Withey. Only REAL advantage for Cody is being 2 years younger.

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Boouk 1 year, 7 months ago

He's 23 years old. GM's want 18 and 19 year olds, not 23 year olds. I think that's a joke considering how few NBA players, even lottery picks, spend their whole career with the team that drafted them.

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actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

You nailed it, Boouk. I think it's a combination of his offensive limitations and his age. But you also nailed how ridiculous that policy is, since players so rarely stay with the team that drafted them.

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Joe Ross 1 year, 7 months ago

Kansas emphasizes team play. This is true even when we have standout players. In 2008 we had a lot of threats and Coach seemed to like that fact that if you shut down one person, another could pop up and hurt you. Kind of like a hydra. In essence, the Kansas offense under Bill Self runs better when everyone functions as a team versus when one person is featured. This may hurt stock in some cases, though it increases our performance as a team. The "Best of Both Worlds" situation is something like last year, where you had many big-time performers (Releford, Johnson, Taylor, Withey, and Robinson), and because the TEAM excels, individuals garner a lot of personal recognition. Self's philosophy is different than John Calipari's.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

GMs need to be taking a look at Releford.

Our best three players all year have been McLemore, Withey, and Releford. Travis has been incredibly consistent offensively this year and he's even improved his defense from being the best on the team last year, to being probably the best in college basketball this year.

Before this season I didn't think that he had NBA stuff, because his offensive game was too inconsistent, but this year he's proven that he can provide real offense. I have to believe that he's going to turn a lot of heads when he shows up at NBA gyms for workouts this post-season.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

YES! I'd be EXTREMELY disappointed if Withey doesn't see more time on the floor than Aldrich has thus far. Heck, I think he's better in all aspects than Cole was/is with maybe the lone exception being rebounding.

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Michael Luby 1 year, 7 months ago

If KU wins it all this year, and thats a big if, then Travis gets drafted.

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PSM 1 year, 7 months ago

Took the words right out of my mouth. The further KU goes in the tourney, the more likely it is Travis will get drafted.

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REHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Optimum draft scenario for Travis: We win the national title and he lights up a stat sheet in one of the 2 Final Four contests. A Mario-type three at halftime or end of game might put him over the hump. He has already shown ability to hit such a shot when left unchallenged.

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Zstegs 1 year, 7 months ago

Props to the GM who picks Travis up late. He will have just picked up the next Battier/Bowen.

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