A number of college underclassmen are lining up to enter the NBA draft, lockout or no. Well, most are really testing the waters — if they don’t sign with an agent they do not lose eligibility and can return to college. But there are some names to watch and here are some of them.
Tyler Honeycutt (6’8” small forward, UCLA, has agent): He is has a smooth, fluid game with a lot of versatility. He can pass (too often at times), defend and shoot. What’s not to like? Well, his motor is the question. He seems to play passive at times and had some very lackluster games for UCLA. But Ben Howland seems to produce guys that are hard to read in college then break out and are better away from him and his system. Honeycutt will get a good look but will have to pull himself out of the second round with workouts.
Nikola Vucevic (6’10” forward/center, USC, has agent): A real big, strong NBA-body who has developed some touch from the outside (think pick-and-pop). He can rebound and plays a pretty smart game. There are questions about how he’ll handle more athletic players at the next level and he is a second round pick — but one with options to play in Europe as well. He could get drafted in the second round, get stashed overseas for a couple years to develop, then come back and contribute.
Malcolm Lee (6’5” shooting guard, UCLA, has not signed with agent): He is the latest in the line of UCLA guards — Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday — who bounced between point and two guard for Howland and never seemed comfortable to find a home. He shot 29.5 percent from three last season — his shot has gotten better over the years but it is not NBA ready yet. There is question of his fit in the NBA. He may test waters and return to Bruins, at this point he is a second rounder (if that).
Ashton Gibbs (6’2” point guard, Pittsburgh, has not signed with agent): He shot 49 percent from three this season and he has NBA three shooting range and then some. And that’s about it. He would go undrafted, he needs better ball handling and some penetration to impress scouts. Expect him to return to Jamie Dixon.
Jordan Williams (6’10 center, Maryland, has not signed with agent): He likely is just testing the waters as he has a ways to go to get drafted. Physical presence in the paint, can rebound, but not athletic at the NBA level and his offensive game isn’t there. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress described him as this year’s Omar Samhan (but better).