2014 NBA Draft stock report: Sweet 16 and Elite 8 edition

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Every NCAA Tournament, college basketball players are put on a huge platform and under the microscope by NBA general managers and scouts. Some players see their NBA Draft stock soar through the roof in a few games while others drastically hurt their future draft spot. Here are some players who have both helped and hurt their NBA Draft stock during this weekend’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games.

BUYING
Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin, 7-0, Jr.
Frank “the Tank” was dominant against Arizona in the Elite 8 as he dropped 28 points and helped the Badgers dismantle the Baylor 2-3 zone in the Sweet 16. He has come out of practically nowhere to be a legitimate first round prospect. Kaminsky has a plethora of moves on the block, stretches defenses with his three-point shooting, and can drive past bigs. I doubt he turns pro regardless of Wisconsin’s outcome in the Final Four but he has definitely seen his NBA Draft stock skyrocket during the tourney.

Aaron Harrison, SG, Kentucky, 6-5, Fr.
Cue the Pedro Cerrano cojones clips from Major League II. Even though he didn’t play all that well versus Louisville (3-13 FG), Harrison hit some HUGE shots for Kentucky down the stretch against Michigan. Both of the Harrison twins have been highly criticized throughout the season but seem to growing up in front of everyone on the biggest stage of them all. Assuming they declare, both Harrison brothers should be late first round picks but that seems to be trending upwards.

Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn, 6-1, Sr.
Dude’s just clutch and doesn’t shy away from the big moment. I said prior to the tourney that Napier could have a Kemba Walker-like impact for the Huskies this March and that’s exactly what has happened. Shabazz is averaging more than 23 points per game during the NCAA Tournament and can create his shot with ease including a filthy stepback jumper. If I am a team drafting in the latter part of the first round and I’m looking for guard depth, I’m taking a long look at Napier. He was a bubble first rounder heading into the Big Dance but I think he has certainly done enough to solidify himself as a first round pick.

DeAndre Daniels, SF, UConn, 6-8, Jr.
Napier certainly hasn’t done it all for UConn. Daniels has stepped up in a big way including his 27-point performance versus Iowa State in the Sweet 16. He has always possessed ideal size for an NBA small forward and is a high level athlete but his all-around offensive game is starting to take form. Daniels has shown consistency with his mid-range game and an improved turn around jumper. I wouldn’t be surprised if he declared for the NBA Draft after next weekend and could sneak into the first round.

Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee, 6-6, Jr.
Richardson is another player who came out of nowhere to vastly improve his draft potential as a possible first round prospect. In the Vols’ four tourney games, he averaged more than 19 points per game, showing off his offensive versatility whether it be attacking the rim or knocking down outside shots. Where Richardson has really stood out though is the defensive end as he has drawn the responsibility of guarding the best offensive threat on the opposing team. He shut down Roy Devyn Marble in the play-in game and helped hold Nik Stauskas to 14 points in the Sweet 16 loss.

SELLING
Zach LaVine, G, UCLA, 6-5, Fr.
The athletic combo guard has already declared for the 2014 NBA Draft but did NOTHING during the tournament to show he’s ready for the next level. In UCLA’s three games, LaVine scored just eight points on 3-15 shooting. Based on potential alone, LaVine will still be a first round pick but his tourney performance definitely has a negative impact on his NBA draft stock.

Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin, 6-8, Soph.
It amazes me that some 2014 mock drafts still have Dekker in the first round. There is no way he is turning pro after this season especially after his struggles in Wisconsin’s last two games. Dekker scored just seven points in each of UW’s victories but his passiveness and poor decision-making have really stood out. Despite his athleticism and versatility, he is not ready to make the leap to the league and this past weekend proved just that.

Kaleb Tarczewski, C, Arizona, 7-0, Soph.
Foul trouble limited Zeus’ production in the Wildcats’ Sweet 16 game and he was abused by Kaminsky in the Elite 8. He needs to return for his sophomore season to improve his footwork on the block and defensive mobility on the perimeter.

minka-kelly

Keith Appling, PG, Michigan State, 6-0, Sr.
I have a better chance of getting seduced by Minka Kelly then Appling does of getting drafted. Look at his numbers during Sparty’s four NCAA Tournament games: 10 points, 12 assists, 9 turnovers. His constant ups and downs and poor decision-making drove Tom Izzo nuts for four years and I can’t imagine an NBA general manager seeing him and saying, “we need to draft him.”

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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