Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky, Fr.
I like a ton of things about the way this Wildcat plays the game. He's a gamer, has good size for the NBA, gets after it on defense, rebounds the basketball, and understands how to play the game. If Kidd-Gilchrist had a better outside shot, he would be a top-five candidate. Still, there is no way he slips out of the top 10 if he is indeed a one-and-done.
Will Barton, SG, Memphis, Soph.
Over his last four games, Barton is averaging 26 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He is dynamic scorer off the bounce and in transition, and has also improved his consistency shooting the ball from the outside. Barton has the potential to be a lottery pick if he declares for the draft this summer.
Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State, Jr.
A year after suffering a season-ending foot injury, Lillard is leading the nation in scoring at almost 27 points per game. Besides his struggles against Cal in the Wildcats' last game, he has shot lights out early in the season. Lillard has good size and strength for a NBA point guard and rebounds well for his size. He is not a terrific distributor but can certainly dish out dimes when needed. Since he received a medical redshirt for last season, Lillard should technically be a senior this season which might mean he turns pro after this year. If so, he could get first round looks especially if he keeps up this high level of production.
Alex Young, G/F, IUPUI, Sr.
Young is a mid-major guy you have probably never heard of, but exploded for 43 points in a win against Western Kentucky last weekend. At 6-6, he has ideal size for an NBA wing and uses that to get to the basket. Young is an inconsistent outside shooter but should get second-round looks and could be a draft-day sleeper like the last Jaguar to be selected; George Hill.
2012 NBA Draft Stock: Selling
Jordan Taylor, PG, Wisconsin, Sr.
The Pre-Season All-American has struggled with his shot early this season, hitting just 37 percent from the field, 31 percent from distance, and 69.2 percent from the charity stripe, including a somewhat perplexing 0-10 shooting performance versus UNLV's aggressive guards last weekend. Taylor still has one of the top assist-to-turnover ratios in the country, but his slow start to the season doesn't help my claim that he can be a first-round pick.
Yancy Gates, PF, Cincinnati, Sr.
I'm guessing punching an opponent in the face and playing a major part in an on-the-court melee is not going to improve your NBA Draft stock. I have never been a fan of Gates' potential as a pro. He doesn't play hard on a nightly basis, relies too much on his jump shot rather than throwing his big body around inside, and just lacks any real intensity on the court. That is until, the end of the Xavier game when he throwing punches like it was the Malice at the Palace. No NBA GM is going to waste a draft pick on a guy like Gates.