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NBA Draft 2016 analysis: some potential solid bigs at the end of the first round

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Previously: #1-5 | #6-10 | #11-15 | #16-20#21-25

Diamond Stone

Diamond Stone's body has a high Mohs scale figure, but he is actually not very physical at all. Takes contact well on offense though. I think that's primarily because he has excellent feel as a finisher. He uses both hands in the paint really well.

He always seems like he's moving with a weighted vest on. To use a marvelous coinage by Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting, he often needs to "buffer" to jump. And he still doesn't get too far off the ground.

He's a 6'10'' center who does not seem like he will be a plus defender. I have a little rule for estimating a big's pro BLK%. Just take the per40 pace adjusted number and add a % to it. So since Stone recorded 2.9 per40 pace adjusted, I would expect Stone's pro BLK% to be about 2.9%. That is not very good. And it's not like he has shown much potential as a PnR defender, either. I would like to see other offensive skills than just post scoring out of a guy like that. I'd feel so much better about him if he showed any facility for passing the ball.

I guess he has small hands? That's surprising. One of his best attributes is his offensive rebounding (he's rubbish on the defensive glass though), where it seemed like he was able to attempt a decent put-back every time he touched the ball. I would think you would need the ability to really control the ball to do that and, therefore, big hands.

CEILING: Nazr Mohammed

MEZZANINE: Greg Smith

FLOOR: Jeremy Tyler

Chinanu Onuaku

The first thing that stood out to me is how strong this guy is. Core, legs, hands are all very powerful. He's going to be able to push people around even as a pro I think. One area where he needs to make better use of this ability is in screening. He needs to set more disciplined and harder screens as a pro. He could be really good at that, but he was nonchalant as a collegiate screener. It would help if his conditioning were better.

He's not crazy long, but he uses his length really well. Closed out quickly and effectively on shooters. Seemed to block a lot of jumpers. His defensive range was excellent and is a big reason why he led 2nd best defense in the country. He seemed to talk a fair amount on that end as the conductor of the defense. He also seemed to admonish his teammates from time to time. Sometimes that's perceived as leadership and competitiveness, other times as immaturity. Who knows?

Not very skilled as a scorer. Probably why his team had to resort to prostitutes. His body control is not that great for a decent paint scorer. Looks like a stiff when he tries to score in the post. Great hands, length, and feel allow him to finish really well anyways.

What to make of this: he shot quite a few 2pt jumpers this year and made 52% of them. And an unusual share of those were unassisted, which often means off-the-dribble. Variance or skill? FT% suggests variance. However his jump shot form looks pretty fine to me. I'm not sure why he has to shoot FTs underhanded. I guess it's pretty cool that he does though. Shows self-confidence if nothing else.

Onuaku made some really impressive passes this year, though he possesses a strange fondness for jump passes.

So far I have tried, with fitful results, to restrict the focus of these profiles to what can be observed on the court. But this is another case where I have to talk about how other people are evaluating a prospect.

Onuaku had a 26 PER and a BPM of almost 14 this year. That is an exceptionally rare level of production for a teenager in a major conference. Guys who put up numbers like that get drafted in the lottery unless they are crazy or their body is broken. Onuaku did have an extremely rare congenital heart disorder called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, but he underwent a surgical procedure this year to fix that and my understanding is the correction is both utter and permanent.

Conveniently for us we have a guy this year in Deyonta Davis who put up similar numbers (but a little worse), and is very similarly sized, and is almost the same age (but 1 month older, actually. Onuaku is very young for his class), and also played a big role on a very successful team in a major conference-- and he is going in the lotto. That's as it should be. Onuaku is projected to go in the 2nd round right now. What exactly is the difference?

Anyway, there is reason beyond his age and aggregate production to think that Onuaku has excellent upside. If you look at the things he is good at (blocks, steals, and rebounding), all of these translate quite reliably from college to the pros. Now let's suppose his passing is real and he could be, let's say, a +7 AST% guy in the pros. That is quite good for a big. Bigs who rebound, block shots, get steals, and have strong assist rates are almost all very awesome players. And the ones who are not in a conventional sense are still guys who put up very gaudy +/- numbers.

CEILING: Andrew Bogut

MEZZANINE: Ed Davis

FLOOR: Kyle O'Quinn

Patrick McCaw

Kind of a sneaky athlete. Very smooth. Can show explosiveness but doesn't very often. Part of this might be his efficient style of movement. He almost never dunks on breakaways. But I suppose it is possible exploding is not super easy for him?

I like that he gets steals in a variety of ways. Sometimes he plays the lane, sometimes he simply takes the ball from the guy he's guarding, sometimes he busts up a PnR, sometimes he takes the ball from bigs playing at the elbows. He causes a lot of havoc.

Really a finesse player. That concerns me. I figured he would be a guy like Klay or Danny Green or KCP who would be the size of a wing but at their best when defending smaller guards. But McCaw does that even in college. I wonder if that's unusual for a college wing. Like Klay and KCP, McCaw doesn't mix it up on the glass.

What's maybe stranger is how often opponents chose to guard him with their small guard. I guess he played a lot of de facto PG for UNLV though (they were so thin at guard. I think that's a good reason why their offense was so excremental. Something to think about for Stephen Zimmerman, I guess). Maybe the opponent thought they could stop him with a quicker defender? That probably was not a bad idea. McCaw can't post as all, and while he has a crossover and good court vision, he doesn't really have many other dribbling moves. His in-and-out dribble is particularly sloppy.

His shot could be good. I don't know-- how do you predict that? His shooting numbers are better than Bradley Beal's were as a freshman at Florida. They are basically identical to Terrence Ross' or Allen Crabbe's junior numbers, and those guys have shot pretty well. They are worse than Tony Snell's junior year at New Mexico, and he's shot like garbage as a pro.

CEILING: Kerry Kittles

MEZZANINE: Kent Bazemore

FLOOR: Laron "Step 3" Profit

Malcolm Brogdon

I am a little worried how much of his offense comes from exploiting lapses in shoddy NCAA help defense. Virginia was well coached and threw in stuff like elevator doors that seemed too advanced for college defenses to handle. NCAA help defense stinks.

Brogdon has good size and strength for a SG, but he is very ground bound. Not very fast, either. His lateral quickness is okay and probably his best athletic attribute.

You might look at Brogdon's 4.1 assists per40 minutes pace-adjusted this year and think he has some play-making ability. I do not think that is true. Brogdon rarely got any non-system assists. Just basic reads hitting guys off screens, or throwing the ball back to popping bigs. We're not talking about a guy who bends defenses with his play making, even at the college level.

There are some good arguments for Brogdon being a decent NBA shooter, but..... I'm a mite skeptical. He's so slow. He doesn't jump when he shoots. And the release point is at the top of his head. I just wonder if it is going to be a big adjustment for him to figure out how to even get shots off at the NBA level. This would worry me less if he weren't 24 years old. Seems like a very old project.

CEILING: Roger Mason

MEZZANINE: Wayne Ellington

FLOOR: Sean Kilpatrick

A.J. Hammons

I was shocked at how much I liked this guy.

He doesn't seem to fight that hard for post positioning on either offense or defense, and is not very physical in general. This hurts him a lot as a rebounder. I know he had good numbers this year but I don't think he has a talent for the ball.

Hammons is a good shot blocker. He also had surprisingly good spatial feel defending the PnR. He's enormous and that helps a lot.

But he's also surprisingly smooth. Doesn't have many post moves, but seems to react well to the defense. Shoots a lot of righty hooks over people. I'm not sure I saw him use his left ever. Seems to prefer shooting immediately from the catch rather than making a move to get closer to the rim and then shooting.

His jumper looks good. I don't know if the 3pt talk is too reasonable, but I could easily see his range going out to 20 feet.

Definitely has Spider Man hands. Finished 87% around the rim this year. That's the highest number I've seen from an NBA prospect since this data became public in 2011.

Hammons is probably a low upside guy because he doesn't seem to love playing basketball. His quotes where he addresses his work ethic are pretty concerning. Seems like a guy who might put up good per-minute numbers but won't get on the court very often because his practice habits and demeanor turn off the coach. Then he'll be traded once or twice, find himself in the middle of his life, lost in a dark wood; and if it's going to really work out for him it will be on team three or four.

CEILING: Brendan Haywood

MEZZANINE: Timofey Mozgov

FLOOR: Jerome James

Stats will either be from hoop-math.com or DX.com or sports-reference.com.