Who to Watch in the NCAA Tournament

Published: March 20, 2014

So, in all likelihood the Pelicans will not have a draft pick heading into June’s draft, but that doesn’t mean they can not acquire one. They have assets like Austin Rivers and Pierre Jackson that might be able to fetch a late 1st. They can also buy a pick or trade for one by giving up a future pick. If Dell finds somebody he loves at the three or five position, you could see him trading one of the guards or convincing Benson to open up his checkbook to go and get him. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some guys you should keep an eye on over these next few weeks.

1. Terran Petteway, SG/SF, Nebraska

Petteway’s intensity and passion for the game is very reminiscent of Victor Oladipo, while his catch and shoot ability is similar to a guy like Anthony Morrow. He does play incredibly out of control at times, however, and he will never lead your team in assists due to his tunnel vision, but the Pelicans don’t need a guy who can create for others; they have plenty of those guys.

What they need is a guy who can give them what Morrow does on offense, but with the ability to disrupt offenses on the other end. Petteway is a bulldog on defense, as he has  non stop motor similar to Oladipo’s. He will probably fall a bit in the draft because of his lack of upside (will be 22 by the time the season starts), but he would be a steal if Dell can land him late in the first.

2. James Young, SF, Kentucky

Dell has said several times now that one priority this summer is to acquire a long wing player. Young is 6’7″ with a 6’11” wingspan. And he can shoot. While he couldn’t step in and be a starter in year because of his slight frame, Dell could see him as the small forward of the future. Maybe you get a guy like Caron Butler for the short term while developing Young for the long term.

Young isn’t going to stuff the stat sheet, but he will get you buckets and when he gets hot, he can change a game. On defense, he is very raw but has a ton of potential – pretty much what you would expect from an 18 year old (is the youngest guy in his class). He is a project that will probably need at least two years of NBA seasoning before you can give him a big role, but if you hit on  a guy like this, it takes your team to the next level.

3. Patric Young, PF/C, Florida

Young is going to fall to the second round because he is 22 and he doesn’t have a true NBA position, but mark my word, that guy will have a successful NBA career. He is only 6’9″, but as we saw in the Raptors game, hustle and strength will outrebound height anyday. Young is a bulldog who gives 100% every second he in on the court. He probably will never be a starter, but if he is your 7th or 8th man, you are in very good shape.

Imagine a more athletic and a much meaner Reggie Evans; that’s Patric Young. Can’t score, is a terrible free throw shooter, and doesn’t block or change many shots. But he will leave the guy he is going up against bruised and battered, and he is the ultimate team player. He is the exact type of role player this Pelicans front court needs, as they are admittedly more finesse up front right now.

NIT Players to Watch

1. KJ McDaniels, SF, Clemson

In my opinion, McDaniels is a perfect fit for the Pelicans and he would probably be the one guy I would be willing to give up a 2015 lottery protected pick for. He is super athletic with a good wingspan, and a jumper that is just starting to round into form. Remember, Kawhi Leonard wasn’t a good shooter coming out of college, but since the Spurs asked him to work on that and only that, without requiring him to do more than he was capable of as a young player, he got good real quick. McDaniels can do the same thing if he came here.

2. AJ Hammons, C, Purdue

7’0″ 278 pounds with solid low post moves and the ability to block shots at a high rate. Sounds like the exact guy that Dell is looking to put next to AD for 15 minutes a game, doesn’t it? Hammons will be 22 by the time next season starts and has a very mature game for a college player.  He gets to the line at a very high rate and doesn’t foul too much. You can probably get Hammons early in the second round and develop him for a year or two. In time, though, he could be the perfect complement to AD and Anderson.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.