I am on record admitting that I didn't watch too much college basketball this season. If it wasn't in the Big 10, all I know is from what I read on draft sites and ESPN and twitter and various other places. Now, keep in mind, I read a lot. I did quite a bit of pre-draft evaluation before last season's Draft, and I think for the most part my evaluations look pretty good after a year of results. So here are a few guys I find myself drawn to that will be around after the lottery.
Sergey Karasev- 6'7, 197 pounds, small forward, 19 years old
If the Cavaliers take Len or Noel with their first draft pick, Karasev is at the top of my wish list. The first thing I like about him is that he is from Russia; I had a Russian concentration in college. Karasev is incredibly young but has already led Russia's top pro league in scoring. Draft Express reports that at the Nike Hoop Summit he was the most mature player there, and boasts a high basketball IQ. While he is a gifted scorer, he has good court vision and is unselfish. It is easy to see him fitting in with a talent like Kyrie Irving. Again, he is only 19 years old. A lot of his scoring comes from catch and shoot opportunities; the Cavaliers desperately need someone that Kyrie and Dion can set up on the wing for catch and shoot opportunities. In Eurocup competition, which is a small sample size of only 11 games, he averaged over 16 points a game, and shot 49% from three point range. For the regular season in Russia he shot 38% from distance, impressive as he was the player opposing teams were most anxious to stop. He isn't very strong, or the quickest guy but he will shoot lights out. He is young enough to become a solid team defender and can bulk up. Chad Ford has him going 22nd in his mock draft. I would love it if the Cavaliers took him off the board a couple picks before that. It sounds as though he is available to come to the NBA immediately.
Lucas Nogueira- 6'11, 215 pounds, center, 20 years old
6'11 with a 7'5 wingspan, Nogueira has entered the NBA draft for a second time. He entered in 2011 before withdrawing, having never secured a commitment from a team to be selected in the first round. Now its 2013, and the rules state that if you withdraw once, you can't do it again. Nogueira has had his doubters for awhile now. While he is long and athletic, his effort level is inconsistent, and he is rail thin. Still, there is talk that he has matured a bit and his offensive game has slowly evolved over the years. He plays in the top league in Spain and has held his own. If the Cavs took him with the 31st or 33rd pick, he could stay over in Spain for awhile and the team could monitor his progress. Maybe he puts it all together, maybe he doesn't. But athletic dudes who can protect the rim and rebound don't grow on trees. Draft Express rates him as the 28th best prospect in this year's class.
Glen Rice Jr. - 6'6, 215 pounds, small forward, 22 years old
Glen Rice Jr. is an American who has played professional basketball in the United States and is still eligible for this year's NBA Draft. After being kicked off of Georgia Tech's team last March, he didn't have many options. He made his way onto the Developmental League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers and, for awhile, didn't do much of anything. Once he got his opportunity when another player on the team got hurt, though, he took full advantage, leading the team all the way to the developmental league championship. In the D-League finals, his team won in a sweep, and he averaged 29 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals per game. The D-League may not have the top talent that the NCAA has, but the talent is older and and much deeper. Chad Ford has Rice going 15th in his latest Mock, and Draft Express has him rated as the 31st best prospect. It is unclear if he will be available when the Cavs pick at 19, but it does seem that the Cavaliers really do value the developmental league and might be inclined to think highly of his performance there. If it were up to me I would take Karasev above him. he is a better shooter, is younger, and has less character issues.
As I hear about more prospects I may do another one of these type posts. As you can tell, I am pretty enamored with Karasev.