A couple of weeks ago, Joseph and I debuted our “Google Chat of Doom” focusing on several players, mainly from Michigan and Michigan State.This week we’re back, with less doom, and more Duke (sheesh I’m almost as corny as Joe). The rivalry between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels isn’t just the greatest rivalry in college basketball, it’s arguably the greatest rivalry in all of sports, and we felt what better time than now to look at their NBA draft prospects?
At this point in the season you’d have to be living under a rock to be a college basketball fan and not be familiar with Jabari Parker, but Joseph and I delve deeper into the projected top-three pick’s game, and offer perspective on his teammates, and enemies.
Joseph Nardone: We should probably start with Jabari Parker. Who, at least early on, stole all the Andrew Wiggins shine. Parker is probably the most complete offensive player in this draft. Not because he can just shoot mid-range jumpers or has the ability to knock down a three here and there, but because his game is actually polished, which is something all of the other underclassmen can’t say.
Most draft services have him going anywhere between number one overall to number three, but it probably depends on which team gets the top-pick as to who is going to select him.
Jared Mintz: When I watch Jabari Parker I feel like I’m watching a slightly less athletic Tracy McGrady. Smooth looking jumper, gets to the rim almost whenever he wants, can make passes to anywhere from anywhere and seems to have great awareness when doing so. It’s also incredible that Parker’s played a LeBron like four for the undersized Blue Devils this season, and has proven to be quite a rebounder.
He’s probably a top-2 pick despite being thrown into that top-3 conversation, because from a skills standpoint he seems to be a bit ahead of Wiggins.
Joseph Nardone: To keep on your point about Parker playing the four. He has played out of position for most of the year. Duke has even put him at the five for large portions of the game. That is on both ends of the floor as well. That is a ton to ask of from a freshman, regardless of his skills.
I see him as a natural three, but can see him fitting in some systems as an undersized, stretch-four. That would only work in situational moments of a game, however. His talent is enough, though, that it could work.
Jared Mintz: The only team I could see him successfully playing the power forward position for would’ve been a Mike D’Antoni Suns team like Shawn Marion did. However, people love to compare him to Carmelo Anthony, which I guess when you consider how young Parker is and how much time he has to beef up isn’t all that ridiculous. But I see him as an NBA three, and a damn good one.
He’s been able to play the 4 out of necessity, Duke is tiny, he’s grabbing rebounds that need to be grabbed. But more often than not he looks outmatched when guarding bigger opponents.
Joseph Nardone: Folks love to compare him to Melo, but I liken him more to Paul Pierce. That’s almost solely due to both of them having those old-man jumpers. They look lazy and slow, but they really aren’t. Lots of guys at the college level who can score have really slow triggers, Parker doesn’t.Hopefully a time comes when Coach K will let him play the three for a long stretch of a game so we can get a better idea of all aspects of his game. Not just the pull-up jumpers, spot-up Js and whatnot. Really, that is because I am a selfish Jerkface Magoo and want to know how explosive of a first step off the dribble he has, which is one of the only concerns I have about him.
Jared Mintz: From what I’ve seen I’m saying he has it. I don’t know that he’s gone up against many NBA level wing defenders this season, but I said earlier he gets to the rim almost at will and I think his first step combined with his range are what keeps defenders on their toes and allows him more often than not to get good looks.
He’s a very mature offensive player, and I can’t see how anyone else leads NBA rookies in scoring next season.
Joseph Nardone: I agree on that. He isn’t the only Duke player who is a first-rounder, though. Rodney Hood is another guy who might sneak into the lottery. Most have him around the 17 spot. Your a closest Duke homer, thoughts?
Jared Mintz: Far from closet, I’m a huge Duke fan who got lured into the team by….wait for it…Chris Duhon, who I was a huge fan of as a prospect. With that out of the way, I really don’t love Hood at the next level at all. To go all Duke on you, he reminds me of another player who donned number 5, Daniel Ewing. He can score the ball but seems very limited when it comes to anything else, and if you force him to his right I don’t even know how good of a scorer he would be. With that said I think he has great athleticism and could get buckets as an NBA wing.
Garbage time buckets that is.
Joseph Nardone: That is a pretty spot on assessment. I don’t think folks realize how efficient he is scoring the basketball, though. Hood shoots just a shade under .50 percent from the floor and an astounding .45 from distance. Those numbers aren’t jaded either as Hood puts up shots (11 fga, 4.6 tpa per game). His game is smooth too. He feels like a role player to me, and there is absolutely no shame in that. I would feel comfortable as a team drafting him with the 16th pick or later. Folks sleep on his age because he is listed as a sophomore, but Hood is actually 21. I just don’t know how much better he can get. I can certainly see him being an important guy off the bench, though. Even the kind of guy who sticks in the league way longer than players drafted ahead of him.
Jared Mintz: I don’t think he’s a first round talent. I think he’s a very good college basketball player, and again, I think his size and skill set translate to the next level as a role player, but to go near the lottery in such a talent filled draft seems crazy to me.
Ok, I’m tripping…he’s definitely a first round talent, i had to reassess what I was saying. Lottery talent still seems like a stretch to me.
Joseph Nardone: I don’t see him as a lottery level type talent, but certainly the with the 16th-20th overall pick he fits. The top of the draft is heavy with potential stars. Then there are some ‘name’ college basketball players like a Mitch McGary, but they are dropping in a lot of mocks. I don’t see 20 more draftable players than him. I just don’t.
But then again, it is really early and March will help drop or propel some guys in the draft. He is probably one of those who could make or break his stock while wearing a slipper.
Jared Mintz: True indeed (I said this but had no idea what Joe meant TBH).
Joseph Nardone: As of now, I think that is it for the Duke prospects. There are some fringe guys, but nobody worth mentioning. North Carolina has two guys (not including the heaved carcase of P.J. Hairston), James Michael “I should have left after my freshman year” McAdoo and Marcus Paige. Let’s start with the always dropping stock of McAdoo.
Jared Mintz: Wait wait wait….
Before we get into UNC…I know this is a stretch but I think if there’s one other Dukie with NBA potential – maybe not drafted, but to play at the next level – it’s Marshall Plumlee.
I’m just kidding, but in all seriousness, Andre Dawkins is who I’m referring to. He’s 6-foot-4, is an absolute lights out shooter, and isn’t just a spot up shooter.
Joseph Nardone: Really? I don’t even see him as a summer league invite. You are free to discuss this kid on your own.
If he is an NBA player, Memphis’ Joe Jackson is going to be an All-Star.
Jared Mintz: But that’s not fair, he has a particular skill set (No Liam Neeson) that is very valuable at the next level. And he’s not a stiff.
Anyway…James Michael McAdoo it is.
Joseph Nardone: Okay. He is athletic, hasn’t improved (in the way scouts want, at least) and has dropped to not even being projected to declare this year. This is a few years removed from being a possible lottery pick after his freshman campaign. To describe it as an ouch situation would be an understatement.
His game, however, has technically gotten better, but his ceiling has shrunk. Which is something that kills his draft stock. Plus, I like too many other guys more than him to consider him a legit prospect.
Jared Mintz: When I put together my ACC preview for last season I said this guy had “Blake Griffin” potential…may
But really, McAdoo has dropped from a lottery pick to a middle of the second round pick according to NBADraft.net, and despite having a ton of great physical features, it’s his lack of development that has really hurt his draft stock. Which stinks when you look and see that his scoring, blocks, field goal percentage and turnovers are all improved from last season.
I don’t know if this can be contributed to UNC not having better players to get him going, but McAdoo was supposed to be a monster, and while I’ll take 15 and 7 out of him this season, it seemed he was destined for more.
Joseph Nardone: Experts want players to have drastic improvements when they stay in college. Especially from a production standpoint. I just don’t see how he fits in the NBA. He won’t be able to score on his own, he doesn’t even rebound that well at the college level (especially for a guy with his athletic abilities) and he is a ho-hum defender. I see him staying to finish his career, going undrafted and getting a camp invite, but that is about it. He brings nothing to a team that they can’t find in a younger player with more of that fancy potential everyone loves.
Jared Mintz: Yeah it’s too bad, I don’t want to say that he can’t re-invent himself at the next level, but sometimes it seems he’s unmotivated and that might be because of how much he’s struggled to take the step from “untapped potential” to “great player.” I would’ve thought the emergence of Marcus Paige would’ve helped McAdoo’s game out.
Joseph Nardone: Marcus Paige is an interesting player too. I don’t know if he comes out, but his skill set might be able to translate to the NBA. A pretty solid defender, has really improved on the offensive side of the ball this year and looks like he still has more room to grow as a player. I don’t think NBA execs have him as a second-round grade yet, but I can see that changing. I like him, in a platonic way of course.
Jared Mintz: Joe I know the only point guard you’ve ever liked more than a friend was Gerry McNamara.
But as for Paige, I think his draft decision will come down to what the other young point guards are doing. Say Marcus Smart and Tyler Ennis decide to come back, I think that definitely pushes Paige into the top of the second round. With some great camp workouts, maybe he gets into the first.
The NBA is so deep with point guards who can score the ball that I think Paige is definitely a player, maybe not a starter but certainly a contributor, at the next level.
He isn’t afraid to take big shots, he can shoot from distance, and he’s relatively fearless when it comes to attacking the basket despite being a shade over six feet tall.
Joseph Nardone: Here is my fear with him. He isn’t athletic. I don’t want to call him unathletic, because that would be unfair, but maybe he is just sneaky athletic. Except not in a good enough way where he could translate into being a guy who sees more then eight minutes of action a night. For that position I worry about guys who he might not be able to keep up with or blow by, players like a Rondo, Chris Paul or even a (gasp) Kendall Marshall.
Jared Mintz: I hear that, I don’t know I look at the progress he’s made from year one to year two and it definitely impresses me. My biggest concern with him at the next level is that his game is comprised so much of scoring, not distributing. It’s hard to be a 6-foot-1, not overly athletic, and not overly speedy score-first point guard at the next level.
Either way, I think he’s someone we’ll probably be talking about more next season.
Joseph Nardone: I agree. Outside of all of the draft talk, these teams obviously have really good-to-great college players on it. As far as the NBA goes, though, I see two first-rounders on Duke (Parker and Hood) and a bunch of second-rounders to not-ready or undrafted guys between the two of them.
Jared Mintz: Toats Magoats!