Which Prospects Have Something to Prove in the NCAA Tourney?
March Madness can have a profound effect on NBA Draft Stocks, giving players the opportunity to shine on college basketball’s biggest stage and prove to teams that they can deliver in the clutch.
As we head into the first round of the tourney, here’s a few prospects that have a chance to solidify their position in the draft or potentially make a leap in the rankings.
Jabari Parker, Duke
For a small portion of the season Jabari Parker was unanimously heralded as the best option for the top pick.
Then came the emergence of Kansas freshman Joel Embiid as well as the re-emergence of Andrew Wiggins, causing the rankings for number one to vary across the board.
In order for Parker to gain some steam, he needs to prove to scouts he can still play like the best offensive player even in the NCAA tourney. If he can post numbers similar to the month of November when he averaged 23 points on 65% shooting, it should be enough to convince teams he’s worthy of the top pick.
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Even though he leads the NCAA in scoring, McDermott is still being passed off as a lottery pick in some mock drafts due to his below average athleticism and the uncertainty surrounding his future position.
But others aren’t so quick to overlook the senior just yet, seeing shades of an undersized Kevin Love after posting 12 30+ point games this season, including a 45 point display against Providence.
There’s no doubt McDermott is a bonafide scorer, but he needs to step up in the tournament this year after failing to get Creighton out of the first weekend of March Madness the past two years.
If he can succeed against tough competition and carry his team deep, he has a shot to boost his stock. If he can’t, it’s just another reason for teams to pass him up come draft time.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Smart’s flashes of in-game rage have put a huge dent in his draft value, with some GMs questioning whether he can handle the pressures of the NBA.
“His stock is going to take a hit,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports. “He has shown in the past few months that he is prone to outbursts. He kicked a chair (against West Virginia). He’s under a lot of pressure. The team is not doing well, struggling.”
Smart needs to keep his cool and remain focused on leading his team to the promise land after an early exit last season. If he can remain effective as a floor general and prove to teams he’s not just a hot-head, there’s no doubt he could be a top 5 pick in the draft.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops