The NCAA Tournament started Thursday and already some of the top players expected to be drafted in this year's upcoming NBA Draft have been eliminated.
Marcus Smart scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists in Oklahoma State's 68-55 upset loss to Oregon. Smart shot only 5 for 13 from the floor and committed five turnovers. It was not an impressive performance for the freshman.
Similarly, UNLV's Anthony Bennett struggled with 15 points and 11 rebounds on 4-for-11 shooting in the 64-61 loss to California. He had moments where he looked like he dominated, and then he had moments where he hovered around the 3-point line too much.
There will be plenty more action tonight with Kansas' Ben McLemore, Indiana's Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo and UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad take the court.
With that in mind, I reached out to Ed Isaacson of NBA Draft Blog to take a look at some of the top prospects and the questions we want to have answered about the top prospects entering this draft. As Ed said yesterday on my post on the depth on display in the NCAA Tournament, the draft may not be top heavy but there are still several players who can be big contributors. Just remember, these questions were asked before the Tournament began.
Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily: What top prospect can help himself the most in the NCAA Tournament? Who could fall if he does not have a good Tournament?
Ed Isaacson, NBA Draft Blog: Again, I hate to say that a quick loss or a deep Tournament run can significantly affect a player's Draft position, but this would apply most to the young players, freshmen and sophomores. Guys like Anthony Bennett, Marcus Smart, Cody Zeller, where there have been clear issues that people have been concerned about, a deep tourney run can help put some people at ease if they show improvement.
PRR: It is starting to sound like Ben McLemore is gaining some separation as the top pick in this Draft class. What does he do well that would fit with an NBA roster? What areas does he still need to work on?
Isaacson: McLemore is an explosive athlete and a great perimeter shooter. What makes him a popular prospect is that he would fit seamlessly into any offensive plan, and he is still improving. He's not a great defender, and there have been concerns about him stepping up in big situations. He has had some very quiet games when Kansas could have used him to make some plays.no comments