2011 NBA Draft

Who are this season’s likely one-and-done college stars?

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For all the hype about one-and-done players and the impact on the college game, there aren’t that many of them. Last season there were just three taken in the first round (Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Tristan Thompson). The year before that had four, the season before that two. That’s nine in the past three years, for those scoring at home.

But the 2012 NBA Draft (in whatever form it takes) could be different. This is a very deep, very talented freshman class around the nation and a number of players could jump to the NBA after one season.

Chad Ford put together a top 10 at ESPN, and we compared that to the Draft Express 2012 mock draft (yes, it’s way too early but it’s a ranking) to come up with a list of nine guys to watch. All guys that could go in the first round next year.

Not all of these guys will make the jump, and the big board of prospects will shift as the college season starts, but these are the guys to keep an eye on. (The order is based on the DraftExpress prospect rankings, the reviews come from several sources but particularly DraftExpress.)

Anthony Davis, Kentucky: Scouts get excited when a legitimate big man prospect comes through, and that is what you have with Davis. He is 6’10”, with a 7’4” wingspan at 220 pounds. He can defend and rebound well. He needs offensive polish, but scouts think the fundamentals are there. Right now he’s the No. 1 pick if he comes out.

Andre Drummond, Connecticut: He is a real NBA center at 6’11” and weighing more than 250 pounds, plus he is wildly athletic for his size. He has the most potential of anyone in the draft, but there are questions about his passion and aggressiveness. That gives scouts pause, but if he can really tap that potential he could go to the top slot. He’s top 3 on everyone’s board right now.

Quincy Miller, Baylor: Everybody watches Baylor to see Perry Jones (with good reason), but Miller is the other forward and a balance to him. Miller is more a big (6’9”) small forward with an outside touch. He is coming off a torn ACL last year, so people will be watching to see how that impacts him.

James McAdoo, North Carolina: Very polished forward (6’8”) with a very high basketball IQ. He is likely going to be a good NBA 4 for a number of years.

Michael Gilchrist, Kentucky: A swingman/forward (6’7″) who can drive and fishish, a guy who you’ll enjoy watching because he plays with a lot of flair and energy. He’ll be all over sports center. What he needs is a jump shot to go with everything else.

Bradley Beal, Florida: He’s a two-guard who can flat out shoot — from the three, the midrange, and he can create his own shot doing it (think Eric Gordon). If he can prove he can do this consistently in college he will go in the first round because everybody needs a shooter.

Austin Rivers, Duke: He plays like a coaches son (Doc, of the Celtics) — he’s a point guard who is plays with a high IQ and does everything well. He’s not going to blow people away in workouts with his athleticism, but he is smart and steady and that can get you a long way in the NBA.

Adonis Thomas, Memphis: He’s smart and athletic, but at 6’7” he’s not really an NBA four even though that’s more his style of game. If he can develop a consistent midrange jumper and some handles, he becomes more valuable. Even with that, he’s still a likely first round guy because of his high hoops IQ.

Marquis Teague, Kentucky: He’s the younger (and most think better) brother of Jeff Teague, the PG the Hawks don’t play enough. Marquis is very fast and will have the chance to really impress scouts on a loaded Kentucky team, but like his brother he needs a more consistent jumper.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee go make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.

Rudy Gay, Vlade Divac clear the air

Rudy Gay
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Rudy Gay expressed displeasure with how the Kings were handling trade rumors. Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac retorted that Gay had his phone number.

Apparently, Gay found it.

Sean Cunningham of ABC 10:

Following those comments, Gay told ABC10 on Thursday afternoon that he had since spoken with Divac.

“I have talked to Vlade,” Gay said from his Nike Skills Academy at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. “I can’t say since Monday stuff has changed, but I just feel like we have a little bit of time to start changing things.”

Gay, who will be entering his 11th NBA season, has insisted he hasn’t demanded a trade and should he remain a member of the Kings by the time training camp opens in October, he says he’ll report and be ready to go.

“At this point in my career I just want to be happy,” said Gay. “I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Even if he hasn’t demanded a trade, it sure sounds like Gay would welcome one. I doubt the Kings would mind moving on, either.

But it takes another team to trade for Gay, and so far, one hasn’t emerged.

In the meantime, tensions appear to be eased. Open communication usually helps.