There’s been little question that Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is the best of a potential-filled group of bigs at the top of Thursday’s NBA draft.
Ayton was a force in his lone college season and looks like the favorite to land with Phoenix as the No. 1 overall pick. Behind him are several talented big men including Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Xavier Woods Jersey , Texas’ Mo Bamba and Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., who like Ayton all played just one year in college and could all hear their name called in the first 10 selections.
Here’s a look at the top prospects:
The 7-foot, 250-pound big man can single-handedly dominate defenses, monopolize the boards and alter or swat shots.
STRENGTHS: Ayton offers an impressive mix of power and touch . He averaged 20.1 points and was a force around the rim with 75 dunks while shooting 61 percent from the field, yet he had enough range to hit 12 3-pointers to pull defenders away from the paint, too. At the other end, 8.2 of his 11.6 rebounds per game came on the defensive glass to secure a stop.
CONCERNS: He wasn’t particularly effective (14 points on 6-for-13 shooting) in the first-round NCAA Tournament loss to underdog and undersized Buffalo. His lofty draft stock assumes he continues to develop physically and build on his game, including on the defensive end (averaged just 1.9 blocks despite his physical tools).
JAREN JACKSON JR.
The Michigan State one-and-done big man is a possible top-five pick with size, length and a reliable jumpshot.
STRENGTHS: The 6-11 Jackson, who averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds Jake Ryan Jersey , offers two intriguing skillsets. First, he shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range even as he attempted nearly three per game. He also averaged 3.0 blocks per game, aided by a wingspan measured at more than 7-5 at the combine.
CONCERNS: The 18-year-old (he turns 19 in September) had issues with foul trouble during the year, which helped limit him to 21.8 minutes per game on the season.
The 7-foot freshman from Texas has the potential to be an elite defender and rebounder – and that’s just a start.
STRENGTHS: Bamba averaged 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the floor. But it’s the defensive potential that stands out here; he ranked second nationally with 3.7 blocks per game, aided by a wingspan measured at an incredible 7-10 at the combine – three inches more than any other player.
CONCERNS: While he’s a good athlete, he’ll need to add some strength to a 225-pound frame to hold up physically in the paint against stronger opponents.
WENDELL CARTER JR.
Duke’s ”other” one-and-done frontcourt presence had his own big season, even if overshadowed by teammate and possible top overall pick Marvin Bagley III.
STRENGTHS: The 6-10, 259-pound Carter is a bit of a throwback with his post play. He has back-to-the-basket skills yet can step behind the 3-point arc, too. Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds, posting 16 double-doubles. And he’s got enough bulk to battle up front at the NBA level.
CONCERNS: He doesn’t have a lot of foot speed http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/tony-romo-jersey , which can affect him in transition or at the defensive end. He also had bouts with foul trouble, ending when he fouled out in 22 minutes during an overtime loss to Kansas in the NCAA Elite Eight.
OTHERS TO WATCH
– MITCHELL ROBINSON: The five-star recruit curiously opted to play for Western Kentucky, then never suited up at the college level. The 6-11 center is a first-round prospect with upside to develop thanks to his length and athleticism.
– OMARI SPELLMAN: Spellman was the inside-out big man who shot 43 percent from 3-point range for national champion Villanova. He could be the defacto post presence capable of stretching the floor in a small lineup in the NBA, though he’s a likely second-round pick.
– ROBERT WILLIAMS: Texas A&M’s 6-10 sophomore is a gifted athlete (check out the windmill dunk he threw down in the Aggies’ NCAA Tournament win against Providence for proof). That and his defensive potential is a big reason why he’s a possible lottery pick.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera may have figured out the only way to avoid injuries to key players in training camp.
”Not practice,” Rivera said after Wednesday’s practice.
The Panthers are less than a week into training camp but have already lost two key players to potential season-ending injuries.
Right tackle Daryl Williams, a second-team All-Pro last season, dislocated his patella and tore his medial collateral ligament during blocking drills on Saturday. Two days later, cornerback Ross Cockrell broke two bones in his leg while trying to break up a pass in the end zone during 11-on-11 team drills.
The Panthers aren’t the only team hurting.
The Green Bay Packers have lost inside linebacker Jake Ryan and safety Kentrell Brice to severe leg injuries, while Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett also went down. Other teams have lost important players to injuries Cody Whitehair Jersey , too.
It’s nothing new, of course.
Injuries happen every year in training camp, a reminder of the fine line coaches must walk between preparing their team for the physicality of the regular season and avoiding injuries to key players that can derail a season.
”If you look at what happened (with our injuries) the truth of the matter is there is nothing you can do about it,” Rivera said. ”That was a freak injury for Ross where the receiver was falling to the ground and he happened to step into it and got rolled up. Daryl was kick-sliding and turned his ankle and came down on it.”
Rivera said injuries are the ”unfortunate nature of this game.”
Still, as a coach he is always looking for ways to prevent them, constantly telling players to ”be smart” on the field.
He did that prior to Wednesday morning’s practice on a slick field at Wofford College following overnight rain.
”I told the defensive backs and the linebackers, `Hey, let’s be smart about the receivers crossing because we don’t want to catch anybody in a bad spot,” Rivera said.
Some injuries can be prevented.
That’s why Rivera and his assistants were unhappy with rookie safety Rashaan Gaulden earlier this week he knocked wide receiver Jarius Wright to the ground in the back of the end zone with a vicious blow to the upper body – one that might have collected a fine from the league had it happened in a game situation. Wright remained on the ground for almost a minute before getting up.
He returned to practice a short while later.
Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess immediately yelled at Gaulden after the play, saying ”that’s what we talked about – you have to know better.”
Coaches later called Gaulden aside to reprimand him.
”Hey Ramon Humber Jersey , that’s going to be very suspect because it falls right into the ram, butt and spear idea of using the helmet,” Rivera said. ”So we’ve got to make sure these young people understand it.”
Overall, Panthers left Matt Kalil said that ”sometimes you just can’t control” injuries.
”You want to play aggressive out here and you want to go full speed and get a game-time simulation,” Kalil said. ”We want to be smart. I think what we can do as veterans, and as players, is we have a guy who is about to fall we want to keep him up and keep him off the ground. But it’s hard because there are a lot of guys flying around out here.”
Panthers cornerback James Bradberry said there is a contact on every play.
”It’s very tough because one of the key components of making a Super Bowl run is having everybody healthy. And when you have prominent guys go down, it’s tough,” Bradberry said. ”You’ve just got to have that next-man-up mentality. And that’s what we have here.”
Baltimore Ravens Customized Jerseys