As a reminder, incoming freshmen have been excluded from this series.
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big Ten: Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#6-10), Part Three (#11-15)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12: Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#6-10), Part Three (#11-15)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10: Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#5-10)
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC: Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#5-10), Part Three (#11-15),
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big East: Part One (#1-5), Part Two (#6-10), http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Top-NBA-Draft-Prospects-in-the-Big-East-Part-Three-11-153327
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC: Part One(#1-5), Part Two (#6-10), http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Top-NBA-Draft-Prospects-in-the-ACC-Part-Three-11-153330, http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Top-NBA-Draft-Prospects-in-the-ACC-Part-Four-16-203331
#1 Larry Sanders, 6-9, Junior, PF/C, VCU
Having profiled Sanders in a fair amount of depth this summer at the LeBron James Skills Academy, we will wait until the season kicks off to revisit his scouting report and evaluate his progress.
#2 Jerome Jordan, 7-0, Senior, Center, Tulsa
Having profiled Jordan extensively at the end of last season and this summer at the LeBron James Skills Academy, we will wait until the season kicks off to revisit his scouting report and evaluate his progress.
#3 Gordon Hayward, 6-8, Junior, Small Forward, Butler
Having profiled Hayward in depth this summer at the USA Basketball tryouts, we will wait until the season kicks off to revisit his scouting report.
#4 Paul George, 6-7, Sophomore, SF/PF, Fresno State
No longer flying underneath the radar after a solid, yet inconclusive freshman season playing for a bad team in the weak WAC conference, Fresno States Paul George enters this season facing far higher expectations than he did last year.
Standing 6-7, with a very narrow frame, long arms and good, but not incredible athleticism, Paul George possesses prototypical physical attributes for an NBA small forward prospect, even if he currently sees more time at the power forward position. He has nice quickness and solid explosiveness, but still has yet to reach his full athletic potential with how underdeveloped his body appears to be at the moment.
Offensively, Georges main virtues clearly lie in his terrific perimeter shooting accuracy. He shot an outstanding 45% from beyond the 3-point line last year, on a more than adequate sample size of just over 4 attempts per game, making him one of the top NBA prospects in that category going into just his sophomore season. While his shooting mechanics are mostly flat-footed and a bit on the unorthodox side, his release is extremely quick and the results are obviously extremely impressive.
A pretty cool customer who does not appear to force the issue that often, George lets the game come to him and seems to be a pretty good teammate. He has the length and athleticism to make plays around the rim, particularly in transition using nice footwork and some quick spin moves, and is not afraid to attack the basket and try to finish emphatically with a powerful dunk. He gets to the free throw line in turn at a solid rate, even if he did not convert quite as well (70%) as you might hope from the charity stripe considering his prowess from beyond the arc. With only one season of college basketball underneath his belt, he obviously has plenty of time to improve on this part of his game. Despite being an excellent perimeter shooter with his feet set, his percentages drop off considerably when forced to pull-up off the dribble.
Beyond his ability to make spot-up perimeter jumpers and use his physical attributes around the basket, George is rather raw offensively at this point in time. Though he displays a very nice first step, he has a difficult time fully utilizing his athleticism due to his extremely underdeveloped ball-handling skills. George looks very limited trying to create shots for himself from the perimeter, even against the weak competition he faces in the WAC, struggling to change directions with the ball and being fairly turnover prone when forced to put his head down and make things happen.
George has a difficult time finishing plays around the basket at times due to his lack of strength, possibly lacking a degree of toughness here, and cannot really take advantage of his size advantage in the post at the WAC level due to these same reasons. He will likely take a few more years to fully fill out his frame with how underdeveloped he appears to be physically at this point in time.
Defensively, George has the physical tools (size, length, athleticism) to be a terrific option on this end of the floor, and will already make some terrific plays from time to time. He possesses the ability to fill up the stat-sheet with rebounds, steals and blocks, but also impresses with his ability to slide and smother opponents with his excellent length, appearing to have the potential to defend multiple positions at the next level. He still has a ways to go here too, though, looking a bit too upright trying to stay in front of smaller players on the perimeter, not always showing the best fundamentals, and likely lacking some experience defending the small forward position. Getting stronger will probably help, as will the added maturity that comes with another year of college basketball.
It will be interesting to see how George manages to deal with the notoriety of being (prematurely?) hyped by some this summer as a potential top-10 pick. Fresno State had a dreadful season last year (going 3-14 in the WAC), and George will be expected to carry his team offensively and lead them to much better results. Clearly he has the potential and then some to play at the next level with his intriguing physical attributes and budding skill-set, but it remains to be seen whether hes prepared for the scrutiny of having NBA scouts at every game and practice of his as well as the burden of trying to carry a team on his back and make the NCAA tournament. We will have to wait patiently and see how things develop.
#5 Chris Wright, 6-8, Junior, SF/PF, Dayton
Having profiled Wright at the conclusion of his NCAA Tournament campaign, we will wait until the season kicks off to revisit his scouting report.