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Insider

Why Jahii Carson's draft stock could soar

12/27/2013

The better Trey Burke plays as a rookie this season, and more Isaiah Thomas continues to show that he could be one of the top 15 point guards in the league, the higher Arizona State sophomore Jahii Carson could be picked in the 2014 NBA draft.

Carson, like Burke and Thomas, is an undersized point guard who continually has to prove himself every time out on the court. But so far this season, the scoring guard has done just that. Though only listed at 5-foot-10, 180-pounds, Carson's play is standing out. He's averaging 19.6 PPG, 5.8 APG, and 4.1 RPG, but it's his shooting that might be the most impressive facet of his game. That was a big question mark entering the season, and so far he's answered it in a big way, shooting 49.7 percent from the field and a torrid 50.0 percent (18-36) from 3-point land.

ESPN's NBA draft expert Chad Ford lists the ASU star at No. 26 on the latest Big Board, but as Thomas continues to stuff the stat sheet in Sacramento and Burke shows that he belongs in Utah, teams around the league won't be inclined to pass on a player like Carson simply due to his short stature.

Here's ESPN Insider David Thorpe with the impressive month Burke has put together.

David Thorpe

Burke is making a quick impression

"As he completes his first full month of his rookie season, Burke looks like he has a lot of Damian Lillard in him. While Lillard wasn't a master of any particular part of the game during his rookie season, he was accomplished in a lot of areas on his way to becoming the league's rookie of the year. This season, his play has jumped thanks to his superior shooting and talent at running a high-powered offense. Burke is not in Lillard's class as they compare today, yet there are signs that he is headed in that direction quickly. His poise and overall understanding of the game are already above that of most young guards with more playing experience in the NBA. Watch him attack the paint off ball screens or out of isolations. See him play with patience most of the time. Admire his ability to use his body to create space or pivot around defenders who get too aggressive trying to take away that space. He is showing the willingness to be his team's best player and scorer when the situation calls for it, not being content to be just a ball mover who feeds his veteran teammates. As we look forward it will be hard not to expect much more from Burke, who has found a way to dominate games despite his lack of size and elite athletic ability, because Utah's schedule will get easier (the Jazz have played the most difficult schedule in the NBA so far). Plus, Burke has proven he has the ability to improve (like he did from his freshman season to his sophomore season at Michigan), which should give Jazz fans more reason to smile."