By Stephen Shea, Ph.D. (@SteveShea33)
The very exciting 2014-15 college basketball season has ended. I can now calculate and report the final College Prospect Ratings (CPR) for the 2015 NBA Draft’s top college prospects.
The 2014-15 NBA regular season has also concluded. It was a particularly dreadful season for certain franchises and their fans. But the offseason brings hope. In a league that still rewards failure and incompetency, the NBA Draft can be franchise altering. The proper selection can save a drowning franchise, and breath new life into its fan base.
Below are the CPR scores for DraftExpress.com’s top 60 NCAA prospects. Each player’s DraftExpress ranking (DE rank) is listed in the first column. The group is ordered by their CPR score.
|DE rank||CPR Rank||Player||CPR|
The top 3 in CPR, Towns, Okafor and Russell, are the consensus top 3 NCAA prospects, although it’s quite possible that they are drafted in the reverse order of their CPR rankings.
The biggest surprise towards the top of the CPR board is St. Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry. As a 6’6” sophomore, he averaged 17.7 points, 3.6 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 0.9 blocks. He’s a jack-of-all-trades. His CPR rating doesn’t scream NBA superstar, but he scored high enough to catch teams’ attention. His score is similar to that of Kawhi Leonard in 2011. Leonard might represent the type of player Bembry could become if he finds the right NBA organization, and they develop him to his fullest potential.
DraftExpress.com has Bembry ranked 66th overall (including foreign prospects). That would leave him undrafted. I believe that is a bit low. If he enters the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bembry drafted in the early part of the 2nd round.
CPR suggests that there will be talent available in the middle of the first round. Looney and Portis, who rank 5th and 6th in CPR, stand out as individuals that could be mid-round steals. The key for both might be whether they can develop a consistent NBA 3-point shot. Both shot over 40% on 3s in college this season, but on a very small sample of 3-point attempts.
Willie Cauley-Stein is an excellent defender. In my opinion, defense is a bigger priority for an NBA center than offense, and so I like the potential in Cauley-Stein. Offensively, a center can “get by” if he can execute a pick and roll. Cauley-Stein’s tremendous athleticism should translate to excellence as the roll man. There’s DeAndre Jordan potential in this young center.
CPR does not like Willie Cauley-Stein. Part of the reason is that he contributes in ways that are not measured in the box score (such as with his help defense), and CPR is built on box score production. Still, his particularly low CPR score of 1.2 should be a concern for any team thinking of taking the center in the top 8 of the NBA Draft. For a junior with his size and athleticism, some of his stats were shockingly mediocre.
In the Final Four matchup with Wisconsin, Cauley-Stein played 33 minutes, but only recorded 2 points and 5 rebounds. He had 0 offensive rebounds. In the previous game, Cauley-Stein played 33 minutes and only recorded 6 points and 4 rebounds. Teams will need to study the film to determine exactly why Cauley-Stein isn’t getting more offensive putbacks or defensive rebounds.
For teams like the Knicks, Lakers and Timberwolves, the NBA Draft brings much needed hope. CPR has made its suggestions as to which players hold the most pro potential. Now let’s see what the teams think.