The end of March Madness is near with the Final Four set to be played this weekend. Several players have taken advantage of the tournament to bump up their stock for the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft in July, even those on the most successful teams.
2021 NBA Draft: Players Raising Stock in March Madness
Back Court Studs
Starting out with a team still in the tournament, Davion Mitchell from the Baylor Bears is a nightmare on both sides of the court. He’s been great all season long but continues to shine when the lights shine brightest. First and foremost, he’s a lockdown defender. This skill is going to translate well into the NBA and will be his forte. With this being said, he also has an extremely quick first step that allows him to blow by most defenders when driving to the rim. Pair that with his shooting, and he’s a tantalizing prospect.
Cameron Thomas has balled out all season long for LSU and solidified his place as a first-round prospect this March. He averaged 23 points per game all season long. This includes 27 points in the first round of March Madness versus St. Bonaventure and a valiant effort of 30 points versus Michigan. The freshman can quickly enter the league as a sparkplug off the bench.
Lastly, Oregon senior Chris Duarte is going to generate serious first-round buzz. Nothing necessarily stands out as exemplary from his game, but he’s very good at shooting, scoring off-the-ball, playmaking, and defense. This, of course, is a formula of success for a long professional career. Dropping 23 points and 7 assists in a massive win versus Iowa was his best game of the tournament.
Two Front Court Ballers
Both of these players are still fighting in the Final Four, and will conveniently face each other this coming Saturday.
The first is Corey Kispert of Gonzaga. He’s been a first-round prospect all year, potentially a lottery pick, but is looking more and more like a top-10 pick. His best skill, of course, is his shooting from deep. With the three-ball becoming more and more important in the NBA every year, teams will be lining up for a chance to draft Kispert. He can score at will, has a high basketball IQ, and is a career-winner. Comparisons to Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris are obvious, but Kispert has certain intangibles that can make him even better.
The second is Johnny Juzang from UCLA. His draft status is still in the air, as it appears more likely that he returns to school for another year, but a potential March Madness crown with his excellent play will shoot him up the draft boards. This season he’s averaging 15.5 points per game to go with four rebounds. He’s fresh off a 28-point effort during a massive upset versus first-seeded Michigan. He can be a tad streaky but make no mistake, Juzang is going to be a talented professional scorer.
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