Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

NBA draft tracker: breaking down the mid- to late-first-round underclassmen (10 items)

By , For the Deseret News

April 26, 2014

The deadline for early entries in the NBA draft is fast approaching, and the list of underclassmen throwing their name in the hat is piling up. Now that the Harrison twins of Kentucky have announced that they are returning to the Wildcats, just about every big-time prospect has made his intentions known. Even though plenty of young stars made the choice to test the NBA waters, more than a fair share of big-time players opted for another year at the college level. Included in that list are Jordan Adams (UCLA), Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Wayne Selden (Kansas), Chris Walker (Florida) and the Kentucky foursome of Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress. This time around we take a look at the underclassmen who have already declared who didn't land on our draft tracker during the season. Note: Even though most Jazz fans are focused on what could potentially be a top five pick, Utah does have a second choice in the first round, and these are some of the players who will be taken into serious consideration for that spot.

1 of 10. Tyler Ennis, freshman, Syracuse

Ennis started from day one at Syracuse and did an impressive job of filling the shoes of another freshman point guard who left the Orange after one year in Michael Carter-Williams. Ennis is a great leader and a solid ball-handler who is best when he is getting into the paint. He is a good distributer who can also finish around the rim and also score from the free-throw line. Ennis led Syracuse to the third round of the NCAA tournament before they were upset by the Dayton Flyers.

On the season, Ennis averaged 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals a game. His most impressive offensive game of the year came in a November win over the California Bears when Ennis set his career-high with 28 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. That day, Ennis also added four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

2 of 10. Jerami Grant, sophomore, Syracuse

Grant is an athletic freak who made huge strides in his sophomore year at Syracuse. Even though Grant was the third or fourth option most of the season for the Orange, he more than tripled his scoring output from 3.9 points to 12.1 points a game. He also improved in every other major statistical category along the way.

On the season, Grant averaged 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists to go along with his 12.1 points a night. His most impressive game of the year came in a February overtime win over the Duke Blue Devils when Grant finished with 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with a dozen rebounds.

3 of 10. Kyle Anderson, sophomore, UCLA

Anderson flourished under new Bruins coach Steve Alford and proved that he is one of the most versatile players in all of college basketball. Anderson is a big guard (6-9) who can really handle the ball and find the open man. Even though Anderson looks to pass a lot, he still has the ability to score the ball at a high level.

On the season, Anderson averaged 14.6 points on 48 percent shooting to go along with 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals a contest. One of his most impressive outputs of the year came in a February win over Colorado when Anderson registered 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.

4 of 10. Zach LaVine, freshman, UCLA

LaVine is an athletic wing who has far more upside than polish at this point in his career. He played well to start the season, but his numbers and playing time took a hit as the Bruins got to the conference and NCAA tournaments.

On the year, LaVine averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game. One of his best games of the year came in a February loss to the Oregon Ducks when LaVine totaled 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

5 of 10. Nik Stauskas, sophomore, Michigan

After being considered just a shooter after a sold freshman campaign, Stauskas showed that he could do it all in 2013-14 and earned consensus second-team All-American honors in the process. While Stauskas didn't lose any of his ability to shoot the ball, he did show that he can really get to the basket and finish strong. Stauskas also proved that he can handle the ball and be a willing passer.

On the season, Stauskas averaged 17.5 points on 44.2 percent shooting from behind the arc as well as 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game. One of his best games of the year came in a January win over Iowa when Stauskas finished with 26 points, five rebounds and five assists.
1. truth in all its forms
henderson, NV,
April 26, 2014

I highly doubt that the jazz would use a 1st round draft pick on Mitch Mcgary. He is declaring early after failing a drug test for marijuana. That would not fly in conservative Utah.

2. Thriller
Saint George, UT,
April 26, 2014

Kyle Anderson, TJ Warren, Tyler Ennis, in that order. If any of those three are available, most likely Warren, then take them.

3. sptfyre
April 27, 2014

0 chance Ennis or Stauskas fall to the Jazz at 23, especially Ennis who is widely projected as a lottery pick and Stauskas as a potential lottery pick. And why would the Jazz ever want TJ Warren? He is a scorer that can't shoot! He was a 27% 3 pt shooter and only 69% from the foul line.

4. coleman51
Orem, UT,
April 27, 2014

If Zach Lavine is available at 23, then no doubt he should be taken by the Jazz. He would be by far the most athletic of the entire group. The others are role players in the NBA with little upside. In some cases, they may not even be drafted at all. Let's see who the Jazz take first and then what happens after will be much more clear.

5. TerryHaimes
Sturgis, MS,
April 27, 2014

If the League goes crazy over this draft as has been advertised, the Jazz need to trade trade trade.