March Madness has finally concluded, with the entire tournament being a nail biter. The tournament featured plenty of top NBA prospects looking to help their case in the upcoming NBA draft. Seniors and freshmen alike have seen their stock fluctuate up and down
Stock Up: Brandon Ingram, Duke
The star freshman has announced his intentions enter the NBA draft, and will likely be a top two pick when the time comes. The Kinston, North Carolina native was Duke’s best player for much of the season, scoring 17.3 points per game while shooting 41% from three point range.
His length helped him shoot and finish over defenders, while also helping him on the defensive end, as he racked up over a steal and block per game. Ingram will be able to cover shooting guards, small and power forwards in the NBA. He poses matchup nightmares and doesn’t have many weaknesses heading into the draft. He’ll need to put on some weight (he’s currently just 200 pounds) and get better at finishing in traffic and at the rim. He’s also a pretty good rebounder for a player who spends most of his time out of the perimeter.
In three NCAA Tournament games, Ingram scored 20 or more while only sitting one minute total in those games. He scored 20 against UNC Wilmington, 25 against Yale and 24 against Oregon in a Sweet Sixteen loss.
Stock Down: Ben Simmons, LSU
I know Simmons didn’t even touch the court in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT Tournament, but it was an all around bad March and season for Simmons. His college career ended with an embarrassing 71-38 loss to Texas A&M, where Simmons had 10 points, but took 11 shots to get there, only hitting four, and got himself into foul trouble and also had three turnovers.
While Simmons’ rare skill set will make him a top two pick in the draft, he’s no longer a lock for the number one spot. He’s a 6’10” forward in a point guards body. He’s ambidextrous and can pass, shoot and finish with either hand. He has remarkable court vision and is his best in transition and taking it to the basket.
However, Simmons has a host of concerns entering draft season. He legitimately can’t shoot, something NBA teams value at every position in today’s game. The freshman from Australia also has some turnover issues, as he turned it over 3.4 times per game. Simmons may also have some mental off the court and some motivation issues on it.
There’s no denying Simmons can develop into a special talent on both ends of the court, but he still has a ways to go in his development.
Stock Up: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
The newly crowned Naismith Player of the Year capped off a brilliant college career with a legendary senior year. He was the best scorer in college basketball, dropping in 25 points a game, while shooting 45% from deep and 88% at the line.
His college career ended with a disappointing performance against Villanova in the Final Four, but his stock was already maxed out. He’s gone from second round pick to a potential top five one in the course of one year.
He went over 30 points twice in four March Madness appearances, and took over against VCU in the round of 32. Hield loves to shoot the ball from outside, but he’s still efficient from the field despite all the jumpers he takes. He’s also a sneaky good athlete and can get open using screens and back cuts for easy dunks and layups.
Hield may not be a superstar at the next level, but his shooting and shot making ability will hold NBA value for any franchise.
Stock Down: Jaylen Brown, Cal
While Brown still hasn’t decided whether he’s returning to school or declaring for the NBA draft, it would be a surprise to see him return to school for a sophomore season.
Brown is a powerful and explosive athlete at 6’7″ 230 pounds and is a force taking it to the basket, where he can finish through or over traffic. His defense is also a strength and can rotate and cover three positions.
The Marietta, Georgia native is far from a finished product, and it shows in his shot percentages. Brown shot just 43% from the field, 29% from three and 65% at the line. Brown also isn’t much of a playmaker on the wing, where he averaged just two assists and 3.1 turnovers per game.
He went one-and-done in the tournament, fouling out in 17 minutes, while committing seven turnovers and only scoring four points on 1/6 shooting and his Golden Bears were upset by Hawaii.
The potential for him to become a Jimmy Butler type player at the NBA level is a definite possibility, but he’s more of a project than some people projected.
Stock Up: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
The diminutive point guard has developed into the best point guard at the NCAA level, and while his NBA ceiling may be limited, Ulis should still have a productive NBA career.
His high basketball I.Q. led to a 7:2 assist to turnover ratio this season as the lead guard in a dynamic backcourt that featured Jamal Murray. But Ulis got his own looks, scoring 17.3 points per game. Although he stands just 5’9″ at 160 pounds, Ulis is as tough as they come.
On defense, he’s obviously undersized, but has lighting fast feet and hands that lead to 1.5 steals per game. He became Kentucky’s best player down the stretch in March. In the SEC Championship game he dropped 30 on Texas A&M in an overtime win. In a round of 32 loss to Indiana, Ulis was once again the best player on the court, scoring 27 points before fouling out in the final minute.
Gif via SPorts Vice, SB Nation, DukeReport, MakeAGif, BBallBreakdown
Cover Photo via CBSSports