With the 2011 NBA Draft less than two months away, we now know who’s staying and who’s leaving the Kansas University basketball program. So, too, do the NBA executives who will make the picks and the ever-increasing number of “experts” who crank out mock drafts faster than you can say Naadir Tharpe.
That makes this month’s edition of NBA Stock Watch by far the most accurate to date. But just because the current crop of mock drafts are dealing with more concrete information than any before them does not mean that things won’t change in the next six or seven weeks.
Still, at least now we’ve got something a little more solid to go on. We know the Morris twins are gone and that’s given the NBA scouts a chance to truly evaluate how their incredible college games will translate to the pro game.
We also know that Josh Selby’s outta here — like it or not. And even though the verdict remains split about whether he made the right decision or not, most mock drafts out there have Selby as a first-rounder. That’s not to say that coming back wouldn’t have helped his stock and, therefore, his bank account. But first round is first round and that’s where the guaranteed contracts are signed.
We’ll do at least a couple more of these before the June 23 Draft — at the Prudential Center in New Jersey this year instead of Madison Square Garden in NYC because of renovations — but here’s something to whet your appetite for draft season.
JOSH SELBY: FR., GUARD, 6-2, 183 pounds
Stock Assessment: Came to Kansas with the reputation as a player likely to be the second one-and-done player in KU history. Sat out the first nine games due to suspension and exploded onto the scene with a monster game against USC in his debut. From there, Selby went on one heck of a roller coaster ride, one typical of freshmen, but not the kind expected by top-ranked players. According to most, Selby underachieved this season. Part of that had to do with injuries and the rest, who knows?
Average Mock Draft Position: 28th.
Current High: 20th (DraftSite.com)
Current Low: 34th (NBADraft.net)
Overall Movement: • Holding Steady • Selby continues to be a major mystery as the 2011 Draft draws near. Some see his enormous potential and still are awed by his high school film. Others continue to measure him by what he did at Kansas during his freshman season. All of that added together has Selby as a fringe first-rounder, teetering between the late first round and early second. A strong showing at the pre-draft workouts could lead to Selby shooting up the draft boards. I think there’s a strong possibility of this happening as the guy is made for pick-up basketball and is at his best when able to showcase his abundant individual skills instead of attempting to show them off in team settings.
MARCUS MORRIS: JR., FORWARD, 6-9, 235 pounds
Stock Assessment: Entered the season as a likely first-round pick with the potential to creep his way into the lottery. The biggest question surrounding Marcus Morris’ pro prospects after his junior season was whether he’d be ready to leave KU if twin brother Markieff wasn’t. The twins answered that question a few weeks ago by declaring for the draft so now it’s the sky’s the limit for Morris. Loved by scouts for his ability to handle the ball, hit from the outside and play in the paint, Morris has improved by leaps and bounds during each of his seasons at KU.
Average Mock Draft Position: 12th.
Current High: 10 (NBADraft.net and HoopsHype.com)
Current Low: 16 (MyNBADraft.com)
Overall Movement: + On The Rise + Morris was a projected lottery pick in all but one of the five mock drafts used for this blog. That’s an improvement from the last edition in which Morris was out of the lottery as often as he was in it. The reason for this is simple — teams now know he’s eligible for the draft and therefore it’s a lot easier to project where he’ll go. Nothing’s changed about Morris’ game that has NBA scouts thinking any differently about him. He’s still an incredibly talented, all-around big man with good size, guard skills and the chance to play multiple positions. I’ll be shocked if Morris isn’t a lottery pick.
MARKIEFF MORRIS: JR., FORWARD, 6-10, 245 pounds
Stock Assessment: Entered his junior season as a question mark, at least for NBA scouts. Clearly had the size and strength to reach the NBA, but, because he was strictly a role player during his freshman and sophomore seasons, Markieff was one of the more unknown prospects in college basketball. Exceeded any expectations by leading the team (and the Big 12) in rebounding and having as many big nights as his twin brother. Behind his big junior year, Markieff showed he was a polished player and declared for the draft along with his brother.
Average Mock Draft Position: 15th.
Current High: 12th (NBADraft.net and HoopsHype.com)
Current Low: 19th (MyNBADraft.com)
Overall Movement: + On The Rise + While his average draft position is up five spots from our last edition, the bigger indicator of just how ready Markieff is for the NBA is the fact that he was listed no lower than 19th in the five mock drafts used for this blog. In our last edition, there was still one web site that had Markieff as a second-rounder. Not any longer. Like his brother, Markieff has good athleticism and great touch on his outside jump shot. Unlike his brother, however, Markieff possesses a little more legit NBA size, which, depending on team needs, make him every bit as attractive to the NBA talent evaluators as Marcus. Because of his solid junior season and his bulk, Markieff’s currently a fringe lottery pick. Don’t be surprised if you see the Morris twins drafted back-to-back in June.
** Note No. 2 — For those who might be curious, a couple of Jayhawks who announced they were returning next season also showed during my scan of current mock drafts. Not all of the sites used for this feature had their 2012 mock drafts ready yet, but those that did had this to say about KU guard Tyshawn Taylor and forward Thomas Robinson: NBADraft.net had Thomas Robinson penciled in as the 23rd pick in the first round and did not have Taylor listed at all in either the first or the second round. DraftExpress.com had T-Rob as the 15th pick and listed Taylor at No. 36, the sixth pick of the second round.
Draft sites used for the player positioning portion of this blog include: NBADraft.net, DraftExpress.com, HoopsHype.com and DraftSite.com and MyNBADraft.com.