- Chad Ford, Senior Writer, NBA Insider
The college basketball season has been going strong for several weeks, and we've been documenting players who have gotten off to strong starts.
Unfortunately, the start of the season hasn't been great for everyone. A number of players have begun the season with a whimper instead of bang. While there is still plenty of time for them to get their acts together, it's hard to be impressed with their early body of work.
Here's a look at some players who have been dropping on our Big Board the past few weeks.
We detailed the concerns scouts had about McAdoo last week in our Maui Invitational blog. While McAdoo clearly looks the part and has a terrific pedigree, the result on the court this year has been disappointing. McAdoo, despite the much larger role in the North Carolina offense, doesn't seem to have improved at all over the summer.
He doesn't have a go-to scoring move anywhere on the court, has been a turnover machine and has lacked the intensity that scouts have been yearning to see. McAdoo is young and still transitioning into his new role, but if this keeps up all season, he probably slips to a late-lottery-to-mid-first-round type of pick.
Mitchell came into the season with huge expectations. Many scouts wondered aloud whether he'd be a surefire top-five pick if he played at a big school. Many thought he'd put up huge numbers this season. So far, Mitchell has been a major disappointment. His team is just 3-4, and his numbers are down across the board -- lower field goal percentage, shooting just 29 percent from 3, fewer rebounds, fewer assists. Scouts who see him in games are all coming back with the same question: Is he really a lottery pick? The answer: Not if he keeps playing this way all season.
Scouts knew coming into the season that Adams was going to be a work in progress. But none of them anticipated that he'd be this raw in early action. While he still has all the characteristics of an NBA defensive stopper, he has looked completely lost on both ends of the floor. The learning curve, from New Zealand to the Big East, has been a huge one for Adams, and at this point he looks years away from being ready. While he'll always sit somewhere on our Big Board because of his physical abilities, he definitely looks like he's a better candidate for the 2014 or 2015 draft than 2013.
Hailed as an elite athlete and high-motor player coming out of high school, Thomas has struggled to put it together this season for Memphis. Thomas isn't really excelling anywhere in the early going. He's 1-for-13 from the 3-point line and doesn't look much like a small forward or a power forward. Maybe in this case, those concerns about him being a tweener were legitimate.
Dieng was off to a pretty slow start before a wrist injury this week. Now he's set to miss four-to-six weeks and will have a screw placed in his scaphoid bone. Dieng got a lot of attention from scouts this summer and was supposed to be poised to have a breakout season. The slow start combined with the injury could knock him out of the first-round discussion if he can't bounce back soon.
Scouts at UCLA games are all saying the same thing about Anderson right now: What is he? Other than some strong rebounding numbers, there isn't a lot to love about Anderson in the early going. He's struggled with his jump shot, hasn't really taken to the role of point forward and seems too slow to really defend anyone at the next level.
His elite passing ability isn't really being used by UCLA, and the team's early struggles have been exacerbated by some poor games from Anderson -- 0-for-6 from the field in a loss against Georgetown and 0-for-2 from the field in an inexplicable loss to Cal Poly. No one I talked to knows where to place him on a draft board, but I've yet to find a scout or GM who has been very impressed.
Billed by many scouts as the best point guard in the draft before the season began, Brown has been anything but in the early going. He's shooting 34 percent from the field and 10 percent from 3-point range, and averaging a career-high 3.8 turnovers per game. Brown got completely abused by both Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart and Michigan sophomore Trey Burke in recent games. The scouts on his bandwagon are fighting each other for the remaining life rafts.
Last season, Roberson was a favorite of statheads everywhere. He was a beast on the boards, and all he needed was some semblance of an offensive game. While he has proved he can still rebound, his offensive game has actually regressed a bit this season. Can a team justify taking him in the first round based on rebounding alone?
Joshua Smith, C, Jr., UCLA
Another season, another disappointment. Smith is incredibly talented, but he showed up again this season overweight and unprepared. After playing some yawn-inducing minutes off the bench at the start of the season, Smith quit the team on Wednesday. While NBA scouts thought for several years that Smith had the talent to be a first-round draft pick, his ongoing weight issues and lack of energy on the court have probably killed his chances of getting drafted in either round.
Chad Ford examines several NBA prospects whose stocks are falling in the early part of the 2012-13 college basketball season, including North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo.