In addition to the Jays, I was able to see games featuring Duke, Georgetown and San Diego State and the NBA Draft prospects those teams featured. I also was treated to the show put on by Dunk City (No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast for those that don't follow the tournament), but that's a different story.
In total, I watched about nine potential NBA players play.
Here's my take on the guys that have a chance to go in the mid-to-late portion of the first round.
- School, Class: San Diego State, Junior
- Position: Shooting Guard
- Measurables: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
- Projection: DraftExpress - 21, NBADraftInsider - 25,
Quote: "When the separation was created, I thought Franklin did a good job of getting into the paint and creating opportunities for others as well as scoring himself. He's just a terrific all-around player and a tough match-up. I thought his ability to get in and create good things for his teammates was a big key in the game." - Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger
Franklin is a high-flying guard that I really like. I got two looks at him in Philly and he put up two really solid performances showcasing his all-around game.
Franklin played 73 out of possible 80 minutes between his two games - the first a 70-55 win against Oklahoma and the second an 81-71 loss to FGCU - and racked up 41 points on 14-26 shooting (4-9 from downtown), 11-11 from the free-throw line, 19 rebounds, nine assists, seven turnovers and six steals.
I already knew Franklin was a great rebounder. His average of 9.5 per game as a guard (something that has only been done a handful of times) speaks for itself, but seeing him live, it's easy to understand why. Franklin has excellent athleticism, good length and strong hands, but even more than that, he has a strong motor and an ability to read the ball off the rim. He pulled down eight boards in the first game and followed it up with 11 in the second, figures that aren't the least bit out of the ordinary for him.
Franklin has a good body control and loves to use head fakes to get his defender off balance. He has a good post game for a guard, with solid footwork. There was one play in the second game against Florida Gulf Coast where he faced up from the high post, pump-faked, drop-stepped, then spun to the basket and finished. It was a brilliantly advanced move to see from a college guard, showcasing his balance, footwork, composure in traffic and strength to finish. It was one of the most impressive plays of the game for me, which is saying something considering he was playing against Dunk City.
One thing that I hadn't noticed before but that really stuck out to me is that Franklin is a capable, but more importantly, willing passer. He played well in the flow of the offense, looking to move the ball and find open teammates. In fact, he was almost too passive at times. At one point in the second game, the Eagles went on a big run and Franklin basically disappeared (although to be fair, most of that were his teammates taking bad shots). He needed to be more assertive with his teammates struggling; 13 shots was not enough.
Franklin's biggest problem as a prospect is his shooting. He only shot 40.4 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from 3-point range during the season. His jumpshot form looks decent enough; no hitches or anything like that. I think he can easily improve his shot and in fact has already done so throughout his college career. A lot of it is due to his shot selection as well, but I don't think it's bad enough to really be an issue moving forward if he is given a more defined role.
After losing to FGCU, Franklin remained out on the court to watch the Eagles celebrate. He just stood there and stared for a two or three minutes. This is a man who wants to win badly, and is willing to do the work necessary to do so.
Final Thoughts: I am a big fan of Franklin's game and how much he's grown from his freshman year. When it's all said and done, he'll probably end up in the middle of the first round and out of the Suns' draft range, but depending on what happens, the Suns should definitely consider him with their second pick (either at the end of the lottery from the Lakers or at the end of the first round from the Heat).
- School, Class: Creighton, Junior
- Position: Forward
- Measurables: 6-foot-8, 225 pounds
- Projection: DX - 37
Quote: "If you have a 6-8 guy that can really almost do everything, like he can make threes, he can take you off the block and everything, it's kind of tough because we're not used to like 6-8 guys, especially in our league, doing things like that." - Cincinnati sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick.
Doug McDermott is a National Player of the Year Finalist, a two-time All-American and, for my money, the best scorer in college basketball. I may be a tad bit biased considering that he plays for my school, but that also means I've been able to see almost every game he has played in a Bluejay uniform.
I'm not really sure where McDermott's stock is right now. Some places have him in the second round, others have him going in the latter part of the first. What I do know is that he knows how to play basketball.
McDermott is first and foremost a knockdown shooter. He has proven the ability to shoot the three at a high rate all the way out to NBA range (49 percent this season), both spotting up and running off of screens. He has also developed a very reliable face-up mid-range jumper that has really rounded out his game this season. McDermott's shooting touch will be his number one asset in the NBA.
However, what separates McDermott from a Matt Bonner or Steve Novak is his high basketball IQ and his ability to play in the post. McDermott has a terrific feel for the game and this allows him to be a pretty good rebounder on both ends. He doesn't have great physical tools, but his mental ones are top-notch. He has great touch on shots around the basket. He's not going to be able to play the same way he did in college - as a post-up power forward - but that ability to finish in the post and around the basket will certainly help him at the next level.
Against a really tough Cincinnati defense, McDermott was still able to get his and lead his team to a win. He finished with 27 and 11. He struggled mightily against Duke, shooting just 4-16 from the field, but he also went 12-12 from the line for 21 points. That would be more troubling, but McDermott is not going to be facing the same kind of defense (double-teaming and switching every screen) that forced that performance in the NBA.
McDermott is too good of a shooter and too smart of a player not to find a role offensively in the NBA. The big question mark with him is on the other end. Can he guard anyone? He's too small to defend most power forwards and he's too slow laterally to slow down quick or athletic wings.
McDermott should become a good role player at the next level if he ends up on a team that can put him in position to use his strengths while covering for his weaknesses. Comparable players would be Kyle Korver, Jared Dudley and Mike Dunleavy.
Final Thoughts: I'm as big of a Dougie fan as you'll find. I want him to go as high as possible and I want him to be very successful. However, with the disarray the team is in now and with Jared Dudley already on the roster, I don't think Phoenix is the right place for Doug. That doesn't mean I won't hope the Suns get him, either with that Heat pick or with the Suns' second rounder, though, as I can't help but want a Bluejay on the Suns.