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David Aldridge

Nik Stauskas
Michigan's Nik Stauskas has the shooting touch and game of an NBA-ready shooting guard.

Great Lakes State duo, UK pair pace shooting guard crop


Posted Apr 7, 2014 9:42 AM - Updated Jun 25, 2014 9:28 AM

In a Draft with as many potentially impactful big men and small forwards as the 2014 Draft could be, shooting guard can be overlooked. It is, traditionally, the easiest position to fill on an NBA team.

There aren't a lot of point guards with the physical ability, temperament and consistency of decision making to transfer quickly from college to the pros. There aren't many big men who come out of college who understand the pounding that NBA centers take every night, night after night, year after year.

But there are almost always lots of 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 guys who can shoot the rock or get to the cup. And that, really, is what you're looking for in a two guard. It's great if they can defend people who play their position as well, but let's be honest -- teams say that defense is important, but they don't draft great slide-drill guys in the first round.

So, this week, we continue our pre-Draft coverage with a look at the twos. You can see the rest of the schedule, with power forwards (May 5) and centers (May 19) coming just before the May 20 Lottery that will determine the top half of the Draft's first-round order.

(Again: this is not a mock Draft, though I'll be doing one before the actual Draft. Again: we are ranking people at the position where more NBA types currently feel they'd play as pros, which is why we've listed a player like Bogda

n Bogdanovic as a shooting guard, even though he played the point out of necessity most of this season for his European team.

There are more rules below, just to clarify things for those new around these parts.)

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DA's Big Board Schedule

POINT GUARDS | SHOOTING GUARDS | SMALL FORWARDS
POWER FORWARDS | CENTERS

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Shooting Guards

A note on the rankings:

This is not a predictor of when these players will be taken. These rankings, based on discussions with dozens of NBA and college coaches, and NBA college scouts and team executives, address the question of how ready players are to play the position which they are assigned: In other words, if there was a game tonight, who would play better at that position tonight, not in three years. Players are ranked based on the position that the coaches and scouts believe is their best NBA position, and even then, there is always disagreement between teams.

For example: UCLA's 6-foot-9 sophomore, Kyle Anderson is a point guard in college (he's a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's top point guard). And he'll certainly handle the ball a lot as a pro whenever he's drafted. But more NBA teams with whom I've spoken list him as a power forward prospect as a pro -- some compare him with the Spurs' Boris Diaw, who displayed point forward skills early in his career with Atlanta and Phoenix, but is now a more traditional frontcourt player. So we will list Anderson as a power forward on the Big Board.

Again: This is not a mock Draft. They are a complete waste of time, especially this long before June. No one has any idea what will happen between now and then; we don't even know all the teams that will be in the lottery, much less in which order they'll be picking. We don't know if there will be a major injury that will impact what a team wants or needs, (Of course, I will humiliate myself yet again and post a mock Draft just before the June 26 extravaganza. Y'all seem to like it.)

In the interim, what follows is a rough consensus of what NBA personnel people, GMs and coaches, and college coaches that I trust -- and that, obviously, can't be quoted by name -- believe is the pro potential for this year's crop of college and international players.

• "Sleepers" are players almost certain to go in the second round but who may have first-round talent or otherwise have an impact on the teams that select them if they overcome perceived shortcomings.

• "Some Scouts Like" are players who are not certain to declare, but are viewed as potentially draftable if they do -- with an emphasis on "potentially."

All measurements are the official ones available after the Chicago pre-Draft combine. Measurements for players who did not attend the pre-Draft camp are from their respective university or team.

David Aldridge's Big Board 2014: Shooting Guards

RANK | NAME | SCHOOL/TEAM | CLASS/AGE | HT | WT > Projected

1. Nik Stauskas | Michigan | Sophomore | 6-6 1/2 | 207 > Mid-Late Lottery

2. Gary Harris | Michigan St. | Sophomore | 6-4 1/2 | 205 > Late Lottery

3. James Young | Kentucky | Freshman | 6-6 3/4 | 213 > Mid-1st

4. K.J. McDaniels | Clemson | Junior | 6-6 | 195 > Mid-1st

5. P.J. Hairston | UNC/Texas Legends (NBA D-League) | 21 | 6-5 1/4 | 229 > Late 1st

6. Jordan Adams | UCLA | Sophomore | 6-4 3/4 | 209 > Late 1st/Early 2nd

7. Nick Johnson | Arizona | Junior | 6-3 | 198 > Early 2nd

8. C.J. Wilcox | Washington | Senior | 6-5 | 201 > Early 2nd

9. Bogdan Bogdanovic | KK Partizan | 6-6 | 215 > Early 2nd

10. Jabari Brown | Missouri | Junior | 6-4 1/4 | 202 > 2nd Round

Honorable Mention: DeAndre Kane, 6-4 1/2, 200, Iowa State; Lamar Patterson, 6-5 1/4, 257,

Sleepers: Joe Harris, 6-6 1/4, 215, Virginia; Andre Dawkins, 6-5, 215, Duke

Some Scouts Like: Joseph Young (JR) 6-2, 185, Oregon; Casey Prather (FR) 6-6, 212, Florida

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Stauskas a shining prospect to many

This year, the state of Michigan has the upper hand in shooting guards.

Nik Stauskas
Nik Stauskas' toughness continues to impress NBA scouts.

Scouts go back and forth on which Great Lakes State sophomore they feel is the better prospect -- Michigan's Nik Stauskas or Michigan State's Gary Harris. Both have suitors -- Stauskas for his shooting ability, Harris for his consistency and potential as an NBA defensive stopper. But Stauskas appears to be inching in front of Harris, though both are expected to go either in the mid-to-late Lottery or shortly thereafter.

The Big 10's Player of the Year, Stauskas was a second-team Associated Press and Sporting News All-America, and made the all-America first team of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He is among the latest in the vanguard of Canadian players who have come to the States and made a major impact. Andrew Wiggins got more hype coming into this season, but Stauskas emerged as the leader of a Wolverines team trying to get back to the national championship game before falling to Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

But that was hardly Stauskas's fault. He made 44.2 percent of his 3-point attempts this season, playing on the ball as the de facto replacement for Trey Burke. Burke left school early for the Draft last year and is now the Utah Jazz's starting point guard.

"He killed us," said a college coach whose team played Michigan this season.

"I didn't know his level of toughness," the college coach said. "He's tougher than I thought he was. I thought he was a little soft. (But) he's tough. He is good. He has a cockiness about it. You have to have a little toughness (in the NBA). He did some things defensively that kind of impressed me, because I didn't know he had it in him."

NBA types believe Stauskas might be able to initiate offense in the manner of a Gordon Hayward with the Jazz. But like Hayward, no one expects Stauskas to be a primary ballhandler. He'll make his money from behind the arc.

"He shoots that ball the same way every time. It's just pure," a Southeast Division executive said.

"He was one of the best shooters in college this year," a Central Division executive said. "He showed a little bit more ballhanding this year. Not great, but enough to show NBA teams that he can put it on the floor as, say, J.J. Redick, as opposed to just being a catch and shoot player. I think that's probably the biggest difference in his game this year and last year. He probably can't put the ball on the floor against starting twos, but he's gotten a lot better at it."

Scouts spoke admiringly of the edge with which Stauskas played -- just enough to notice, not enough to be over the top and causing chemistry issues with teammates. That will help him when he has to try and guard opposing twos in the pros. He gives effort, but he will have problems staying in front of some people, though some think he'll figure out how to space opponents defensively in the NBA.

"He's got a little edge on his shoulder that you've got to have when you're a 6-6 white wing player in our league," a Western Conference exec said. "He's not going to be a (defensive) liability, but he's also not going to be the guy you put on the other team's best wing player."

Stopping power is Harris' greatest asset

Defense, on the other hand, could be Harris' calling card.

He was named to the Big 10's all-defensive team, also earning first-team all-Big 10 honors in leading the Spartans to the Elite Eight. After thinking about leaving for the pros after his freshman season, Harris returned to East Lansing and took on an even bigger role. At least one general manager likened Harris to Washington's Bradley Beal, though he has yet to show the shooting range and touch Beal did in his one season at Florida.

Gary Harris
Michigan State star Gary Harris is seen as an NBA-ready defender.

"I think he has a chance to be a really good pro defender," a Northwest Division executive said. "When you're talking about two guards, he might be the best two-way player in college at his position."

Having the Michigan State pedigree does nothing but help Harris as well.

"What makes him coveted, at least from my perspective, is that he was with (Michigan State Coach Tom) Izzo all that time," an Eastern Conference general manager said. "That kid comes in as a grown-ass contributor, because all he's tried to do is produce."

Harris' shooting numbers went down this season, even as his scoring average increased. But scouts think he's a pretty good catch-and-shoot player. He was hampered with a series of nagging injuries throughout the season, and he'll have to show pro scouts he can come off of screens and sets better than he displayed in college. He also must improve his ballhandling, and some scouts are concerned about his size.

But he's expected, at worst, to be a solid rotation player for a long time.

"He's a little blah, but he's also a low-risk guy," a Western Conference executive said. "He's good enough to plug into your rotation. He didn't shoot it great but he's going to shoot it good enough. Rock-steady guy. High-character guy ... I don't think if you're trying to hit it out of the park you're going to do it with him, but he's a very safe pick. He's got really good feet and he's going to stay in front of his guy. He's one of those guys that it's hard to shake him. I'd feel much better putting Gary Harris on a James Harden than a Nik Stauskas."

Kentucky's Young (and youngsters) make impression

Kentucky reached the national championship game, as ever, on the strength of highly touted freshmen. But most of this year's crop of young Wildcats took a long time before displaying Final Four-caliber talent. Guard James Young, though, wasn't one of them. Young has been on the NBA's radar for months, having gone for 20 or more points eight times this season.

James Young
James Young's scoring touch has some front offices drooling over a future with him.

There's not much else to the 18-year-old's game right now; phrases like "below-average defender" and "defensively, he gets lost" describe his attention to the other end of the floor. He's also left-hand dominant right now. But if you're going to have one NBA skill coming into the league, scoring is a good one. His coach, John Calipari, had no problem predicting that Young would score 25 points in Monday night's championship game against Connecticut.

"He's a super talent," one Eastern Conference GM said of Young. "Super feel for the game on the offensive end. The scoring comes very easy for him. Scoring comes very naturally to him. He's one of those guys who can just step on the floor, not having stretched, not having warmed up, not having gotten any shots up, and can go out and score 25. The Harrisons (twins Aaron and Andrew, also freshmen Wildcats) have probably shown it more in the tournament, but James has shown it more since November."

At least one executive hopes that Young will return for his sophomore season at Kentucky, but given the school's recent track record, that's not very likely. So teams will have to project the maturity track of a kid who won't turn 19 until August.

"People are going to love him because of his upside and potential," another GM said. "I think he's more prototypical in terms of his size to skill ratio, but he's also much further away from realizing NBA strength, NBA skill. He'll take longer to be an impact player."

Aaron Harrison
Aaron Harrison's performance in the NCAA Tournament has drawn some attention of late.

Aaron Harrison is impacting the tournament, and improving his Draft position, with every succeeding game-winning shot he makes in the NCAA Tournament. Whether or not the Wildcats beat Connecticut Monday, the Harrison twins have started living up to the incredible hype they generated when they decided to go to Lexington.

In his last three games -- the Sweet 16 against Louisville, the Elite Eight against Michigan and the Final Four against Wisconsin -- Aaron Harrison has drained a long jumper in the final minute to give the Wildcats the lead. The latest, from about 25 feet Saturday, with 5.7 seconds left, lifted Kentucky to an improbable 74-73 win over Wisconsin and put the Wildcats in Monday night's title game. It continued one of the great one-player NCAA runs in recent years, more than holding its own against the likes of Kansas' Danny Manning in 1988 or UConn's Kemba Walker in 2012.

"He didn't blink an eye in taking it," one admiring scout said. "He knew he was going to take it as soon as the ball came around to him."

It's not that he's scoring or shooting at a high clip -- in those three games, he's a combined 10 of 29 from the floor. He only had eight points against Wisconsin. But his, um, courage, has pro scouts intrigued.

"I still have not been able to grasp whether he is better" than Andrew, one team executive said. "If you watch those guys, one day one plays better, and the next day the other one does. Some people like Andrew with the size he has to play point guard. But I have heard Aaron is more dominant of the two in terms of personality. That may be one reason people think Aaron will be better."

Said another exec: "I think he plays harder than his brother. He's more aggressive, more assertive than his brother. But his brother is a 6-5 point guard whereas Aaron is a 6-5 two, so there maybe isn't that intrigue from a physical standpoint. He's a sneaky athlete. He doesn't come across as particularly explosive but he's better than you realize. He competes defensively. He's not a weak link."

Neither Harrison is a lock to be an impact pro, and most scouts have both going somewhere late in the first round. But the league is likely to have its third set of twins next season, joining the Lopez Brothers, Robin and Brook, and Markieff and Marcus Morris.

All-around skills make Johnson enticing

Arizona's Nick Johnson doesn't have a twin pro prospect, but he does come from classic NBA bloodlines. His uncle was the late, great Celtics guard and Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson. DJ's nephew has picked up the gene that made him one of the toughest on-ball defenders of his era.

But Nick Johnson's all-around game is what made him a first-team all America selection by AP, the NABC and the United States Basketball Writers' Association. He led the Wildcats in scoring, scoring 20 or more 11 times this past season, teaming with fellow NBA prospect Aaron Gordon in leading Arizona to the Elite Eight.

"Very good defender," said a coach whose team played Arizona this season. "Great passer. He also is very good in the moment, those plays that need to be made, he's there. Whether it's a shot or a pass, he does what's needed. Not a great jump shooter. He probably has to improve on that if he's going to play the two in the NBA. He can dribble some and get into the paint. Super athlete. He can defend. He will continue to improve in defensively. I thought they were the best defensive team in the country. He won't have any problem getting into his stance."

Johnson is a classic combo guard who will probably play both positions in the pros.

"I love what he brings on the defensive end," a Northwest Division executive said. "He's tough, physical, good feet, takes pride in guarding. Offensively, it's mmmm. Usually you're trying to guard guys at the defensive end; this guy you're trying to hide at the offensive end."

Johnson isn't quite that bad; he's just streaky -- one scout compared him with Jerryd Bayless, another former Wildcat, who has had to play on the ball in the NBA.

"He's just not a total knockdown shooter, although there are nights when he's on that he makes everything in sight," a Pacific Division scout said. "Is he [ex-Arizona star] Miles Simon? He could be the same deal. Miles Simon was a hell of a college player."

Johnson also has plenty of explosiveness -- "it surprised me at times how he could rise over people and go over them to get the rebound," one scout said -- that could make up for him being slightly undersized at the next level. His high basketball IQ, which also runs in the family, will help him out as well.

"He has great intangibles -- exceptional intangibles," one GM said. "He's a guy that an play hard for you every night, can defend. Makes good basketball decisions. I still think he's a guy that's going to be streaky for you from a scoring standpoint...but I think he's a winner. I think he's a guy who'll find his place, no matter where he's drafted. It's just a matter of making the transition of guarding NBA players than in college."

'Giften' Hezonja needs to bulk up

Croatian Mario Hezonja will also have to make the adjustment to the NBA game, but it will come from further away. The 19-year-old is one of the top European prospects in the Draft, having completed a three-year rise to the top of the charts, which began when he was named MVP of the European Under 16 championships for Croatia in 2011.

Since then, Hezonja's 6-foot-6 frame has filled out, and now he has the body to take the pounding going to the basket along with his ability to make shots.

"He's extremely gifted," one Western Conference executive said. "The game comes extremely easy to him. From what I've seen he's always been the most talented player on the court, and it hasn't been close."

But it's not a given that Hezonja will even be in the Draft, or taken highly if he enters his name. He has not played big minutes this season for Barcelona, even though that's hardly a crime, given that team's standing in Spain's ACB League, generally considered the best pro league in the world outside of the NBA. But there are also questions about Hezonja's demeanor and willingness to work with teammates.

Athletic Brown draws some raves

Oklahoma State's Markel Brown had to show he could co-exist with a potential NBA Lottery pick, guard Marcus Smart, this season. And he did it pretty well, in the midst of a wild season in Stillwater that featured injuries, suspensions, arrests and a late run to the NCAAs.

Brown, a senior, was the one consistent in all that craziness, garnering second team all-Big 12 honors and finishing second to Smart on the team in scoring. He played alongside Smart much of the season, with the two interchanging at the point and the two during the season. But while Brown played the point at times, he's going to have to be a shooting guard in the pros.

"You've got a competitor, somebody who can make a shot," one scouting director said. "He's probably going to be a bench player most of his career. But he does compete and he's not scared of anything."

By the way -- saying a college player will be a reserve in the pros is not an insult. That's what most college players become in the pros. But it's Brown's athletic chops are what have NBA types thinking he has a pro future. Pro scouts think he may well be able to be a scoring threat in a good team's rotation.

"I'm a big Markel Brown fan," one Eastern Conference executive said. "He's a little undersized for a two, but the x factor with the freakish athleticism will offset."

Hairston's path concerns some

Scouts aren't quite as convinced about P.J. Hairston, whose controversial stint at North Carolina ended with the team's leading scorer as a sophomore not playing a single game for the Tar Heels as a junior. An investigation into alleged impermissible benefits given to Hairston ended with North Carolina deciding in December not to seek reinstatement for Hairston with the NCAA.

P.J. Hairston portrait with Texas Legends
Many NBA scouts aren't sure what to make of former UNC standout P.J. Hairston.

Hairston opted to sign with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League, and he is eligible to be drafted in June -- a similar path taken by guard Glen Rice, Jr., who was kicked off of Georgia Tech's team in 2012 after twice being suspended by the Yellow Jackets. Rice played the 2012-13 season with Rio Grande Valley, won NBADL Finals Most Valuable Player honors and was taken in the second round of the 2013 Draft by Washington.

Since being claimed by Dallas in late January, Hairston has put up monster numbers, scoring 40 points in his second D-League game and averaging 21.8 ppg over the season, good for sixth-best in the league.

But the question with Hairston, of course, is not whether he can score. Was he just immature? Was he greedy? Was he like a lot of other people in college basketball who just happened to get caught?

"He's got some background issues," one GM said. "If he didn't, he wouldn't be in the D League. But I thought the D League helped him. He went in and put up some numbers that were incredible for a kid his age."

But others aren't convinced.

"I'm going to pass," another GM said. "I think he's high volume, low efficiency in the league, and he's not worth putting up with."

If ever a player needed to ace his interviews with prospective pro teams, it's Hairston. Everyone isn't going to dismiss him just because of the controversy at Carolina, but he's going to have to explain how that isn't indicative of character problems that would follow him to the pros.

"I can't tell you he's definitely late first or early second," another Northwest Division executive said, "but just the fact that he can shoot the ball (helps). There's not enough shooting to go around, really."

And there's more ...

• Another ACC product, Clemson guard K.J. McDaniels, doesn't have nearly as many questions, other than whether he's actually going to come out. Sources indicate the junior, a first-team all-ACC selection, is genuinely torn about what to do. But if he does enter the Draft, a lot of teams will be interested in developing his defensive potential.

McDaniels displayed unusual skill sets for the Tigers this season, finishing seventh in the ACC in scoring (17.3 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.0 rpg) and first in blocked shots (2.7 bpg), standing 6-foot-6.

"He's a super athlete," said an ACC coach whose team played against Clemson this season. "At that (NBA) level, big time defender. I think he can guard twos, maybe some threes. He can be a lockdown defender. Better slasher than straight jump shooter. Right now, it's more of a set shot. I think he's got to get more consistent. But in the open court, he can do some stuff. Reminds me of (Tony) Allen. In the college game, he was a hell of a weakside shotblocker. I don't think he'll do that in the pros, but he has the ability to move his feet, stay in front, and contest."

Said another ACC coach: "I love his improvement. Sick athlete, and a specialist as a defender."

• Missouri's Jabari Brown has decent size for a two guard, and he's very strong, but he will give him a chance to show he can get his shot off against grown men as easily as he did in college.

A first team all-SEC selection, Brown led the conference in scoring and was the Tigers' most prolific scorer since Anthony Peeler in the early 1990s. Brown showed he could score out of pro-style sets at Missouri, coming off of screens and producing on the move.

"He's tough, he's a lot of things, but he's sort of a jack-of-all-plays and a master of none," one GM said. "And I think as a role player in the league you have to do something really well."

There are any number of other prospects who have a chance to break through.

• Washington's C.J. Wilcox is one of the best perimeter shooters available. After opting to return for his senior season, Wilcox earned second team all-Pac 12 honors, led the team in scoring for a second straight season and finished second on the school's all-time scoring list.

"I think he's a lock 10-year pro, because he's a prototypical two," a college head coach said. "He's a really good shooter, probably the best in the league ... the last three years, including the first part of this year, I thought he was the best guard in the league. Sneaky athlete. He's probably a little bit better at everything than you think he is. It's pure. It's pure. Like the nets may not move sometimes."

Wilcox needs to show some bounce and that he can put the ball on the floor better in his pre-Draft workouts. Scouts don't think he's capable of carrying a team offensively given he's more of a catch and shoot player, but they also think he also suffered by not having the kind of teammates around him this season to take pressure off of him. "Teams would get on him and eliminate his perimeter shooting," one scout said.

Teams also think Wilcox is a high-character guy who "wasn't as selfish as some would want him to be," as another scout said. "When they had Tony Wroten (taken by Memphis in the first round in 2012), he just kind of allowed Tony to do his thing, never bickered with him."

• Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic was on a lot of boards early as a potential first-round pick, but that ardor has cooled in recent weeks. Still, the 21-year-old is likely to go early in the second round, having played both point and shooting guard this season for KK Partizan, the legendary team that sent the likes of Vlade Divac to the NBA. He can score.

"He doesn't shoot it well enough to be a two, but he shot it better this year," an Atlantic Division executive said. "Somebody went down on that team and he had to take more responsibility, even at the point. So people see him now as a point guard. It will be tough (to guard backups). It's almost like all these guys, every team has have, like (Toronto) has (Greivis) Vasquez. He's a borderline guy, or Shelvin Mack. But he (Bogdanovic) has good talent."

Scouts also think he's tough enough to play in the league.

"He's not a super quick, dynamic ballhandler or athlete or playmaker, but most nights he's pretty mistake free," one scouting director said. "He defends his position pretty well. Has great size. If you're looking for a dynamic backcourt player, that's probably not his game."

Said another GM: "an average feel for the game, but an exceptional feel for scoring. The game overall he's okay with. Scoring, he's great with. Very crafty, very clever. Reminds me of (Denver's Evan) Fournier. He knows how to figure out a way to score. Everything else, he's just average."

• UCLA sophomore Jordan Adams was part of a very talented underclassman group that took the Bruins to the Sweet 16. He isn't the quickest guy in the world, but he showed an ability to come off screens and shoot that will get him a good look from NBA teams.

"He doesn't showcase great athleticism, but he has a way of getting off his shots," a Western Conference executive said. "He knows how to play, which helps a lot. He's not a bad midrange shooter. He has an understanding of how to play the game."

• Iowa State's DeAndre Kane really knows how to play, according to scouts. His basketball IQ is extremely high, and he played very well this year for former NBA player (and likely future NBA coach) Fred Hoiberg. He was an honorable mention all America selection, first team all Big 12 and was Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, helping the Cyclones reach the Sweet 16 with Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim.

Unfortunately, there are other things about Kane that are less certain. He transferred to Iowa State after spending three years at Marshall, where he played well at times but also led the nation in technical fouls. He's also, already, 24 years old, which is a little late to be getting started on your pro career.

Still, he already has his undergraduate degree from Marshall and is working on a master's in child development. He played the point at Iowa State and could spot there in the pros, but he'll likely be judged as a two. Some scouts compare him with the Pelicans' Tyreke Evans in that vein.

"He gets to the basket very well, passes it well," one team executive said. "Not afraid to take big shots. He's a pretty good player. Hoiberg does a lot of pro stuff in terms of allowing DeAndre to make a play in a freestyle type of offense, whether he gets in the paint or gets it to Georges (Niang) or to Melvin for a jump shot."

Defensively, Kane will have to show he can stay in front of smaller, quicker guards. Offensively, he'll have to develop more consistent shooting mechanics. And there were rumors of sharp clashes at Marshall both with teammates and the coaching staff.

"He was both good and bad," one chief scout said. "I just don't quite see the consistency from day to day that you'd like to have. Is he going to make a team? Sure. I'd take him in the second round."

• Pittsburgh's Lamar Patterson has several suitors as a potential second-round sleeper -- "that kid is good," one GM said -- though he may not be drafted. But Patterson puts some in mind of Jimmy Butler, taken with the last pick of the first round by Chicago in 2011, and who has become a valued member of the Bulls' rotation. Patterson handles the ball well, shoots decently and is a very good passer: "the ball's on a string when he has it," one college coach said. "He's good at the pick and roll, in the open floor. He makes really good decisions with the ball. He plays like a 10-year vet."

• Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick, Virginia's Joe Harris and Duke senior Andre Dawkins also have sleeper potential.

Kilpatrick had an outstanding season for the Bearcats, averaging 20.6 points per game and leading Cincinnati to the third round of the NCAAs. He was named a first-team all-American by Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News, and made the USBWA's second-team all-America list. He also finished second to Oscar Robertson on the Bearcats' all-time scoring list.

But, like Kane, Kilpatrick is already 24.

Harris was a first-team all ACC performer as a junior who took a slightly different role as a senior. With redshirt Malcom Brogdon leading the team in scoring, Harris became more of a perimeter player, shooting 40 percent from the floor on threes and becoming a terrific wing defender for Virginia, which won the ACC regular season and conference tournament before falling to Michigan State in the Sweet 16/

Dawkins is a pure, exceptional shooter who can get on major rolls. He had to adjust to playing this season with freshman sensation Jabari Parker, and after taking a year off to deal with the depression created by the death of his sister in 2009, Dawkins didn't have the same spot in the Blue Devils' rotation. But he gets marks from NBA types for returning to the team and having a credible senior season.

Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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