The 2012 NBA Draft is still a long way off but that didn't stop the writers at SBNation.com from already breaking down college prospects, and on Friday NBA Contributor Jonathan Tjarks did just that for the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, Syracuse University.
In Tjarks's NBA Draft Toolbox: Syracuse System Puts A Shine On, Obscures Pro Prospects he beams a professional spotlight on Syracuse basketball players like sophomore center Fab Melo (he could leave after this year?) and senior forward Kris Joseph.
However, the SU player that Orange fans are most curious about is sophomore guard Dion Waiters, who's quickly becoming a star with a fast developing skill-set that (along with his off-season issues with head coach Jim Boeheim last year) is getting some scared about his possible departure.
No worries, though, because Tjarks has Waiters becoming a possible lottery pick in 2013.
Dion Waiters: Extremely athletic 6'4 sophomore combo guard with length to defend multiple perimeter positions (averaging 2.2 steals this year). Complete player who can shoot from the perimeter (36.2 percent from three), drive the ball to the rim and create shots for teammates (2.9 assists to 1.5 turnovers). Despite playing behind two upperclassmen, scoring 12.9 points while shooting a preposterous 53.3 percent from the field. If production translates over 30-35 minutes a night, will be a lottery pick in 2013.
In my opinion, there's a chance that if somebody tells Waiters he could go in the middle of the first round he might leave.
I just get the feeling, Waiters returned from an up-and-down 2010-11 campaign and a rocky offseason to show everybody what he can do and that's why he's playing with a fire -- an edge or anger that most stars play with -- that has made him a valuable assets to the No. 1-ranked program.
Now, what is hurting Waiters is the fact he's coming off the bench, which limits his playing time and overall production (stats). I am sure that NBA scouts would like to see Waiters get a full season of starter minutes and see how he handles it -- can he play a mistake free 30-plus minute performance? Is he able to go that hard with that much intensity for that long?
That's why I think Waiters will stay after finishing out this season. I think there's another level that No. 3 wants to rise to (isn't that scary?) and next year could be a special one for Mr. Waiters.
Meanwhile, Tjarks says Melo's best-case scenario in the NBA is that he becomes center Robin Lopez of the Pheonix Suns, while Joseph's as a replacement-level forward.
To read about what Tjarks thinks about Joseph, Melo, sophomore forward C.J. Fair, sophomore center Baye Moussa-Keita, and freshmen, point guard Michael Carter-Williams, and forward, Rakeem Christmas, click the link.
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