Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011 NBA Draft Stock Watch: January Edition

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
January started on a miraculous note and that is exactly how it ended.

Many players have increased their draft stock tremendously, but none as much as BYU's Jimmer Fredette. Alec Burks has emerged as one of the marquee players in the nation, and has Colorado thinking about the NCAA tournament.

Jared Sullinger has continued to impress and his game is continuously evolving.

More importantly, Josh Selby couldn't have started the year off any worse than he did. Elias Harris, and Steven Gray's draft stock continues to plummet, while Marshon Brooks is on the rise.

Nonetheless, many players helped their draft stock, not many players hurt it.

Here is a look at players with rising, and falling NBA draft stocks.


Tristan Thompson - Texas (January stat line: 13.8 pts, 6.6 rebs, 2.5 blks)

Thompson's stats don't do him justice. He means so much to this Texas squad and has the physical tools to excel at the next level. During the month of January, Thompson helped Texas stop the Jayhawks 69-game win streak accumulating 12 points, six rebounds, and five blocks.

Thompson is not only physical on the glass, but has the potential to be a paint protector.

Thompson has a ton of potential and he consistently improves game-by-game. The only dark spot of his game is his inability to convert at the line. Other than that, you're looking at a potential lottery selection.

Jimmer Fredette - BYU (January stat line: 32.3 pts, 4.2 ast, 3.7 rebs)

Saying Jimmer Fredette exploded in January would be an understatement. He literally, put BYU on his back in countless games, while showcasing his scoring ability. His January stat line was more impressive, scoring wise, than any other player in the country.

Fredette posted three 40-point games during the month of January, doing so by shooting 54 percent from behind the arc.

I've seen comparisons to Duke great J.J. Redick, and Steph Curry, but I assure you, Fredette will have his own legacy and should excel at the next level.

Alec Burks - Colorado (January stat line: 20.8 pts, 8.1 rebs, 2.7 ast)

Burks, a lanky 6'6'' prospect has emerged as a potent scorer, rebounder, and leader on the court. His defense still needs work, but other than that Burks is a sure lottery selection.

This January, you might remember Burks posting 36 points on his hometown school Mizzou in a winning effort.

Burks has the ability to play on the wing, or in the backcourt as an off guard. His handles could use some improvement, but his jumper has gotten better, as well as, his court vision. I expect to see Burks start playing smart basketball and limit his turnovers.

Burks has that "p" word many scouts crave: potential, and a lot of it.

Derrick Williams - Arizona (January stat line: 21.6 pts, 8.7 rebs)

Derrick Williams could be the No. 1 draft pick come June. Williams is the most efficient player in game right now, and is still improving. During a crucial game against Washington State, Williams snagged 19 rebounds, while scoring just 17 points.

Williams has the ability to play on the wing, and his athletic ability continues to evolve under coach Sean Miller.

Williams has a ton of potential, and his solid games in January only helped his cause as a possible No. 1 pick come June.

Talor Battle - Penn State (January stat line: 19.3 pts, 3.4 ast, 3.3 rebs)

Talor Battle has proven his ability to lead. After contemplating the draft last season, Battle has improved many aspects of his game and his draft has been rising, slowly but surely.

Battle led Penn State to back-to-back victories over Michigan State, and Illinois, while putting pressure on No. 1 Ohio State.

His best game last month came against Wisconsin when Battle ended the game with 22 points, five rebounds, three assist, but more importantly, no turnovers for the just the third time this season. Battle isn't the flashy guard most teams go after, but his progression is worth noting.

Watch: Marshon Brooks, Klay Thompson, Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, and Jared Sullinger


Josh Selby - Kansas (January stat line: 11.2 pts, 3.3 ast, 2.7 rebs, 3.1 TO's)

For a player that started off with a game winner, and another impressive showing at Cal, Selby has underachieved since then. Selby took around nine shots per game during January, and converted on an average of three.

It's too early to say Selby fell off because last years freshman Xavier Henry had a similar slump at the same time last season.

Either way, Selby hasn't been as effective as he should have been in January.

Fab Melo - Syracuse (January stat line: 1.8 pts, 1.8 rebs)

Fab Melo has been the most disappointing freshman in College Basketball. Melo hasn't produced a double-digit game scoring or rebounding. BYU's Jimmer Fredette matches Melo's scoring total all year in one game this season against New Mexico.

At 7-foot Melo hasn't shown any sign of the magnificent player Syracuse offered coming out of high school.

Melo has yet to transition to a fast paced game, which is killing his draft stock.

Watch: Elias Harris, and Steven Gray

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