Yesterday, we took a look at potential draft prospects playing during the Saturday session of the Round of 32. Today we'll take a look at who 76ers fans should keep their eye on today.
Again, the primary focus will be on guys who may be options for the 76ers first round pick, but some potential second rounders will be mixed in there.
Sunday, March 24th:
12:15 PM CBS - Ohio State vs Iowa State
After producing some high draft picks in recent years, this game is surprisingly fairly quiet from an NBA perspective. Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft are probably the two most likely to get drafted. Craft isn't likely a target for the 76ers, but I have some interest in Thomas in the second round. He's done a good job stepping up to be the Buckeyes #1 offensive option since the departure of Sullinger, and has rounded himself into a fairly versatile offensive player.
While Chris Babb is a very good perimeter defender, Iowa State's defense really struggles to protect the paint, so you could see Thomas go off today if they're able to free him up for some shots near the basket.
2:45 pm CBS - Indiana vs Temple
Okay, first of all, this is one of those games where I won't be watching this as a scout today, but as a fan. I'll record the game and re-watch it a few times between now and the tournament.
Second of all, Temple has no shot. Sorry TU fans.
Finally, while I don't consider Khalif Wyatt a real legitimate NBA prospect, Indiana is chock-full of them. Cody Zeller is somebody who is all over draft boards, and is either a top 3 pick or somebody who could be available around the 76ers pick, depending on who you ask. I have a feeling he'll go before the 76ers pick, as 7 footers who can walk and chew gum usually do, but he's an option should he slide or the 76ers move up. He gets labeled a lot with tags that I'm not sure really apply to him, but he's somebody we'll discuss quite a bit in the next few months.
He's not the one on Indiana I really have my eye on, though. I love Victor Oladipo. Absolutely love him. He's not going to change the franchise, but he's a shooting guard that you can plug next to Jrue Holiday for the next 10 years and have the best defensive back court in the league. He's also in an insane learning curve, which such great progress on his jump shot that I have little doubt he'll be a good spot-up shooter, and he has good body control and touch around the rim.
Sadly, it's looking like he'll be gone before the 76ers pick as well, but if he falls or the 76ers can move up, he's a very real option.
5:15 PM CBS - Kansas vs North Carolina
Ben McLemore is the prize here, although there are again a wide range of opinions on him. He creates very little off the dribble, and I have a hard time taking someone top 3 who doesn't create much for himself or his teammates. But he clearly has some very good and valuable skills, and in a draft that doesn't have a lot of sure things, I can see why he's ranked highly.
Jeff Withey is another player who will be around when the 76ers pick, and certainly fills a void the 76ers have in the shot blocking department. He has some definite deficiencies, but he doesn't have to develop into a huge low-post threat to be valuable in the NBA. He'd be a big reach in the top 10, but he's a player to keep an eye on.
On the UNC side of the ball, James McAdoo is the player to watch in the first round. I actually like him a bit, but I'm not sure he really fits with Thad, as he'd be undersized to play center. But how well he can perform against Withey's length could impact his draft stock. Dexter Strickland, P.J. Hairston, and Reggie Bullock are also likely to get drafted.
6:10 PM TNT - Florida vs Minnesota
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Not as a team, as Florida is still playing tremendous team basketball. No, I'm referring to Patric Young. Thought to be a sure-fire top 10 pick during his freshman year, Young now very well may not be drafted in the first round. He has an NBA level body and not much else, which is a much bigger concern now that he's 21 than it was when he was 19.
The other major draft prospect in this game is Kenny Boynton, who the 76ers shouldn't have interest in. Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams could see their name called from Minnesota's team.
7:10 PM TBS - San Diego State vs Florida Gulf Coast
Florida Gulf Coast!
Moving on, the player to keep your eye on here is Jamaal Franklin. He plays bigger than his 6'5" listed height, with a strong frame, long arms, and tremendous athleticism. What's interesting to me from a 76ers perspective is that he's primarily an isolation scorer and has legitimately good slashing ability, something the 76ers lack. Also, he gets to the friggin free throw line.
He has some sizable question marks, specifically consistency on his outside shot, shot selection, and the fact that he's a black hole. Also, he plays quite a bit out of position on the defensive end as SD State plays a lot of small ball.
7:40 PM TruTV - Mississippi vs La Salle
Eh, this game doesn't have much from an NBA perspective. Go Explorers.
8:40 PM TNT - Miami vs Illinois
Shane Larkin is the player most likely to be drafted in the first round, but a 5'11" point guard? Not likely on the 76ers roster.
9:40 PM TBS - Duke vs Creighton
Who's ready for some Mason Plumlee?
Currently projected at 12th at DraftExpress, he's not going to be a fan-favorite as draft time approaches. He's made tremendous strides this year, and he'd likely be a valuable rotation big man, but it took him until he was 22-23 to really start putting his physical tools to use. I'm hoping there's somebody better available at the 76ers pick, but he's somebody to watch throughout the tournament.