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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

ACC Conference Preview

PGs

Shane Larkin
Quinn Cook
Lorenzo Brown
Ian Miller
Erick Green
Marcus Paige

The ACC is famous for their point guard play, but this year may lack a first rounder. Lorenzo Brown has the best shot and conference play will be important for him. He will be more experienced than most of the ACC point guards and will be expected to lead NC State to a high finish in ACC play. Anything less than second place will be a disappointment.

Erick Green is the leading scorer in the country and ACC play won't stop him. He's a very talented offensive player and deserves second round looks in the draft. He is very quick and has tight handles, allowing him to play with defenders. He does a great job in the pick and roll, able to turn the corner or hit the long jumper. He is a scorer first, but is able to find teammates on kick outs. He can go left or right and his go to move may be a left handed drive finished with a soft, right-handed floater. He's a controlled driver and finishes well at the rim. In transition, he is deadly because of his speed and ability to avoid defenders. He shows good leadership and encourages teammates, but also coaches them up and expects a lot out of them.

SGs

PJ Hairston
Seth Curry
Rodney Purvis
Dexter Strickland
Durand Scott

Durand Scott has been one of my favorite players to watch this year. Despite other higher profiled players, I think either Durand Scott or Erick Green is the best guard in the ACC. Durand Scott is a tough competitor and a great defender. He has no problem breaking down defenses and finishing with creative layups. He also has added a 3-pt shot to his arsenal. The majority of Scott's shots are tough and he is actually a better shooter off the dribble and unbalanced than he is spotting up. He has done a fine job fitting in with Shane Larkin and picking his spots within the offensive flow. He isn't a guy who moves great off the ball and creates easy scoring opportunities for himself, but he is so talented in the sense that he doesn't need easy ways to score. Miami is best in the halfcourt when Larkin and Scott can breakdown defenses.

In terms of scoring, Seth Curry is right up there with Scott and Green, but isn't as athletic or as much of a playmaker. This year he has stepped up and shown the world that he is creative off the bounce and can create his own offense. I think he's always had it in him, but between trying to play point guard and sharing the ball with Austin Rivers, this is his first chance to focus on scoring the ball.

PJ Hairston is actually the best per minute scoring shooting guard in the ACC, but is only averaging 18 minutes per game. And rightfully so. He can shoot you out of a game just as well as he can shoot you into a game. He has followed up his freshman year by continuing to be a streaky scorer who settles for jumpshots. Hairston looked like he could be a nice threat heading to the rim out of college, but he tries to get to the rim and the explosion isn't prominent.

Defensively, Dexter Strickland and Rodney Purvis both get after it. Strickland's draft stock hasn't been helped this year, as he doesn't look fully recovered from his torn ACL injury. He has done a good job setting up teammates and acting as a point guard when needed. Yet his potential as a NBA point guard looks dim. With lost athleticism, Strickland is taking more jumpers inside the arc and has done a so-so job of converting. He gets nice elevation on his jumper to get shots off, but his form isn't pretty.

On the other end, the way Rodney Purvis has came on as a freshman with great defense is impressive. He also runs the court very well, leaking out in transition like a wide receiver. Offensively, he can hit the jumper and get by defenders with a nice first step. He has a floater that he can utilize as well.

SFs

Rasheed Sulaimon
Reggie Bullock
TJ Warren
Milton Jennings
Okaro White

Sulaimon is a shooting guard, but plays a lot of small forward in Duke's offense. The UNC/Duke games are always interesting for a multitude of reasons, but as a draft enthusiast, Im looking forward to see how Sulaimon fares against the older Bullock.

Milton Jennings has improved his jumper and looks comfortable out on the perimeter in his senior year. It seems like he has been around forever. He actually is pretty smooth shooting off the dribble, but his strength holds him back from being much of a force. He struggles to get where he wants to on the court and still gets pushed around.

PFs

CJ Leslie
Ryan Kelly
James Michael McAdoo
Kenny Kadji

All four of these power forwards are face up types and generally avoid contact, but they are all very different. Kelly has the best basketball IQ and a complete skillset, but is an awful rebounding big. CJ Leslie is the most physically talented, but lacks any sense of the game. James Michael McAdoo has a great feel AND athleticism, but has been extremely soft and turnover prone. And Kadji flashes some guard skills, but will be 25 by draft night!

Leslie vs McAdoo will be must watch games and could help McAdoo's stock. He will get a chance to show he can hang with an athlete like Leslie, while being the much smarter player. UNC better have someone step up at the center position though, or else McAdoo may be getting abused by Richard Howell all night instead.

Cs

Alex Len
Mason Plumlee
Richard Howell
Reggie Johnson

All four of these guys could end up getting draft this year and all are heading into conference play with their heads held high. Plumlee has injected himself into player of the year conversations, Len has been talked about as a top 5 pick, Howell has been NCSU's best player, and Johnson has lost weight and been impressive in the early going. Now with conference play, each will have a chance to prove themselves.

Len vs Plumlee will be huge - but what about Howell going up against them? Howell has the ability to shut either of them done and bully them. Howell has the most to gain heading into conference play. For Alex Len, he has the most to lose. He improved a lot over the offseason, but he still has only had one good game against NBA caliber big men - and they were playing in their first ever college game! He will be expected to continue to produce consistently against the ACC and that is no sure thing.

Top Ten Defenders

1. Michael Snaer
2. Reggie Bullock
3. Richard Howell
4. Durand Scott
5. Mason Plumlee
6. Dez White
7. Ian Miller
8. Rasheed Sulaimon
9. Reggie Johnson
10. Dexter Strickland


Top Ten Shooters

1. Scott Wood
2. Seth Curry
3. Erick Green
4. Reggie Bullock
5. Ryan Kelly
6. CJ Harris
7. PJ Hairston
8. Quinn Cook
9. Marcus Paige
10. Shane Larkin

All Freshman Team

Marcus Paige
Rodney Purvis
Rasheed Sulaimon
TJ Warren
Charles Mitchell

Seth Allen
Justin Anderson
Marcus Georges-Hunt
Robert Carter
Joel James (Over Brice Johnson because I think James is more ready for ACC play)


Top 25 NBA Prospects (young players with limited playing time omitted)

1. James Michael McAdoo
2. Rasheed Sulaimon
3. Alex Len
4. Mason Plumlee
5. Richard Howell
6. TJ Warren
7. Dez Wells
8. Michael Snaer
9. Lorenzo Brown
10. CJ Leslie
11. Marcus Paige
12. Rodney Purvis
13. Durand Scott
14. Erick Green
15. Joel James
16. Reggie Johnson
17. Ryan Kelly
18. PJ Hairston
19. Seth Curry
20. Kenny Kadji
21. Ian Miller
22. Travis McKie
23. Milton Jennings
24. Daniel Miller
25. Dexter Strickland

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