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Early Underclassmen NBA Evaluation

Coach Ed Cutlip had an eye for evaluating underclassmen on the Wonder Years, and a decently funny twitter account

Men (and women), this week’s main topic is plain to see — the five underclassmen declaring for the NBA draft.  Before the season started, I expected all of these kids to probably leave for the league.  Winning a title only solidified that thought.  And they deserve it.  As much as I’d like to see them all come back and win another title, I’d do the exact same thing in their position.  When you can reach your dream, you grasp onto it before it slips away.  They accomplished one major dream by winning it all, and now it is time for another.  But I digress…

The general draft landscape has been discussed a bit, but in-depth professional evaluations aren’t exactly rife across the internet.  A good in-depth eval has emerged.  This one comes from former NBA scout Mike “Sweetchuck” Procopio, who is pretty well known for breaking down NBA games and players, just like he did for Kobe Bryant (and he’s even been referred by Rick Pitino while UK).  Sweetchuck breaks down the professional upside and downside of each of the five UK underclassmen going pro.  Procopio does your obligatory ‘here’s where this guy will go’ bit (Davis 1, MKG top 5, Jones top 20, Lamb top 27, Teague early second round at latest), but his real value comes in the detailed look at each player’s offensive and defensive game.

Sweetchuck things all five of these Wildcat heros will have the chance to play for a long time in the NBA, and he will tell you exactly why.  Please give this an article a read if you are interested in the dynamics of basketball and how certain things translate from college to the pros. He takes a close look at what each player does well on both sides of the ball, as well as whether they have the potential to do certain things better.  I’ll spare you the meat of the eval, as you should give it a read in full, but Sweetchuck does another cool thing: he predicts how each players career will/could pan out.  Check out each player’s career outlook below.

Davis:  Overall I expect Davis to have an impact on the NBA without question I think its unfair for some to compare him to Tim Duncan as TD is one of the best power forwards ever to play the game. I think he has a chance to be an all-star level player that will significantly impact whatever team selects him in June.

MKG:  I think Michael will really benefit from playing with a high level point guard. He’s one of those players that will struggle at times when he has to create on his own, so he needs a point guard to get him the ball where he can put his team in position to be successful. His game reminds me a lot of Gerald Wallace, a combo forward that can impact a game with his athletic ability.

Jones:  If he plays with Nash, maybe he can play that Boris Diaw role with them although hes more athletic. He needs to play in a style where it is up-tempo and you can roll him to the rim on screen roll. If he can keep focused and mature he can be a very good starting player in the NBA.

Lamb:  I see Lamb being a Jodie Meeks/Gary Forbes type of player. He can be a rotation player who can be an efficient shot maker. He’s a decent ball handler, but don’t think he can play point guard part time.

Teague:  His game reminds me a lot of Avery Bradley/Toney Douglas. He can be a guard that score points and be effective, especially in a two point guard system. He’ll be a solid player in time, but it won’t come over night.

Obviously, this is very subjective.  But it does come from a well-respected and season pro scout.  He sees Teague as the biggest wildcard, but all the guys have bright futures in his mind.

Agree?  Disagree?  Too busy celebrating @Bradley_YMCn2B’s and Ashley Judd’s birthdays to care?

Article written by Chris Thomas

13 Comments for Early Underclassmen NBA Evaluation

  1. ukcats14
    4:05 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink


  2. PAK
    4:07 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    MKG cant create his own shot? I disagree.

  3. FrankTheTank
    4:12 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    Teague made a mistake. Should’ve stuck around another year. Why leave after one year if you are going to be late first round and maybe even second round. The reward of staying would have far outweighed the risk. The same could honestly be said for Lamb. However, Lamb was dead set on going after this season prior to the season even starting. It was a no brainer for MKG and Davis obviously. Davi and MKG won’t just contribute. They will be All Stars. Lamb will be a solid contributor immediately. I wish them all the best but would not be surprised at all to see Teague struggle for playing time and possibly end up on a D League roster before working his way into being a serviceable pro.

  4. Biglaw Dawgin'
    4:22 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    Pretty spot on assessment if you ask me.

  5. Ridge Runner
    4:35 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    Only because I just this email and not to go away from topic…but, for those who may have had orders from FanOutfitters not filled, below is an email I rec’d & just passing it along…

    Due to the High volume of emails and phone calls we arent able
    to get back everyone at this time. There will be a note inside the package stating there is a back order on some of your products. Please allow up to 7-10 business days for us to receive your other item. We understand the frustration, we have experienced the same from our vendors. If this is not acceptable, please let us know and we will gladly cancel your order and issue a full refund.

  6. Let's Do It Again
    4:49 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    I can’t help but to agree with #3 regarding Teague. No doubt he is a quick study, look at the difference between the 1st half of the year & the second. He would even show two different looks at times between the 1st and 2nd halves of certain games due to great half time coaching. He definately found his way late in the season and throught the tournament, but it’s all still new for him. I think another year for him to mature and allow his game to develop on a permanent basis would have been good for him, not to mention good for the Cats. I hope I’m wrong and he hits the ground running and never looks back. Go Cats!!!!!!!!

  7. MKG for MVP
    4:57 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    MKG definitely can create his own in my opinion. During the games when the rest of the team couldn’t get going, he got it going on his own. I would agree he might struggle possibly in a half court setting. But otherwise, I only see his stroke being his only thing to work on.

  8. theWilkman
    5:03 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    Solid analysis, but the guy could’ve re-read his article before posting it. Spell check can’t fix everything!

  9. Marty
    6:17 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    I want to say thank you to all the guys on this years team. This year they collectively as an unselfish team won the National Championship for the University of Kentucky. We are so fortunate to have had these guys come to our school. They could of gone to other schools. We have an awesome Coach in John Calipari and he has great assistants who not only develop these men as a team but as men for later in life. I am so excited for all of our team and for whatever they choose to do with their life. We at Big Blue Nation need to be supportive of their decisions. I wish and will be praying for each one of these guys and their families. I want nothing but the best for you guys. Again thank you for choosing the University of Kentucky.

  10. Big Blue 66
    6:25 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    why does everyone always think that you cant develop or work on your game while being in the NBA? Everyone acts like, when you leave college and go the the NBA, that is it, you can not get any better or work on anything. Crazy

  11. AppyCat
    6:46 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    I’d like to see an article comparing one & dones vs those who came back and what happened to their draft status. Did they project higher the second year as compared to first year. Specifically the higher ranked freshmen and the SEC team from the state south of Georgia that won 2 in a row.

  12. Katdaddy
    9:53 pm April 19, 2012 Permalink

    What u said! Man i’m gonna miss these guys!

  13. Terry
    12:05 pm April 20, 2012 Permalink

    Speaking of Ashley Judd, Where can i get the hockey jersey like she is wearing in the poster?