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Old 01-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #106
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...rs-racing-time
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:08 PM   #107
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Nice thread
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:07 PM   #108
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faptastrophe
View ESPN Insider articles, no account necessary.

http://tinyns.com/insider.php


'Note: I'll be prettying it up sooner or later. But it works for now. Just make sure that http://insider.espn.go.com is the first bit of the URL. I don't think there will be any www action going on in there.
If there are any errors you come across or articles not showing up, PM me the article you're trying to browse and I'll take a look at it.
Another note: I'll be making it so that you can browse ESPN insider from within this script sometime in the future. But I just wanted a quick and dirty proof of concept before I went to that point.'



somebody took it down
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:46 PM   #109
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

could an insiders post this?

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft...-nba-prospects

thanks
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:23 PM   #110
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Baseball article, but I'm interested in reading:

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/...s-all-time-mlb

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #111
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Could someone please post this? http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...rade-scenarios

Thanks
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:21 PM   #112
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackWhiteGreen
Could someone please post this? http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...rade-scenarios

Thanks
OK, now what?

The Boston Celtics' gutsy win over the Miami Heat on Sunday goes down as one of the most memorable and uplifting January games in recent NBA history -- not just for the Beantown franchise. But there's a fair chance that the good times may not be rolling for much longer. Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL injury to his right knee could lead to the painful break-up of the Celtics' famed championship core.

Rest assured, the Celtics are not your typical NBA team. In the latest Forbes magazine, the Celtics franchise was valued at $730 million, which marks a 51 percent growth from last season alone due to a monster local TV deal kicking in. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, a private-equity businessman and the focus of Forbes' profile, has watched his team's revenue double over the past 10 years, growing into the fourth most valuable franchise in the league and one of the winningest teams around.

But the stakes are clear. Regarding the expensive contracts given to older players, Grousbeck told the magazine, "If it works, it's a championship. If it doesn't, it's a financial burden."

NBA Trade Machine
Put on your GM hat and make your own trades and deals.
Trade Machine

With Rondo sidelined into next season, those championship aspirations are all but gone this season. And the financials aren't looking pretty. In an effort to chase the 2012-13 title, the Celtics reloaded in the offseason, handing out nearly $130 million in contracts to Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. The latter four haven't nearly lived up to their lofty contracts and the Celtics still have to pay them through the 2014-15 season (and 2015-16 in the cases of Lee and Green).

The financially bloated roster has underperformed and that's before we consider the Rondo injury, a blow that could cost the Celtics about 14 percent in playoff odds, according to analysis by ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton. The team's books look like those of a championship contender, but the reality is as cold as the New England outdoors these days. Boston is two games under .500, trailing the Milwaukee Bucks by three games and holding on to the 8-seed with white knuckles.

As is, the Celtics are looking at the ceiling of a .500 team for this season if they maintain the status quo, and that ceiling may shrink as Garnett and Paul Pierce age into their late 30s. If this is a .500 team at best, is it really worth paying $75 million to pretend like it's a championship contender?

That's the essential question. And there are no easy answers. They could ride this season out and then waive Pierce over the summer, since he's guaranteed only $5 million of his $15.3 million next season. But Boston fans may prefer to see the Red Sox sign Babe Ruth from the grave than for the Celtics to cut Pierce at this stage in his career.

But there's a reason the Celtics guaranteed Pierce only $5 million for 2013-14; it was an emergency valve in case he, or the Celtics' season, went south. Teams may not be willing to absorb Pierce's contract at $15 million next season, but if they could trim $10 million off the top? That's more appetizing for a player who just missed the All-Star Game, even at age 35.

Garnett is a trickier situation since he has a no-trade clause, one of four players, including Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan, to hold that in his back pocket. Presumably, the ultra-competitive Garnett wouldn't sign off on a deal unless it meant he was going to a contender and the Celtics weren't looking like one themselves.

So, what can the Celtics do now? Holding on to their aging stars could lead to a slow and painful death. The most likely scenario is that the Celtics look to shed salary and get under the luxury-tax line by jettisoning one of the contracts of Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry or Jeff Green. But finding takers for those deals will be difficult. The "blow it up" scenario may be a popular one on Twitter, but that rarely happens in the NBA and it's much easier said than done.

With that said, here are some potential trade partners and deals for the Celtics.



Toronto Raptors
Celtics receive: Kyle Lowry and Linas Kleiza

Raptors receive: Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Boston's 2013 first-round pick


This is the non-blow-it-up move for Boston to stay relevant this season. Everyone wants to know: Are the Raptors going to choose to keep longtime point guard Jose Calderon or the younger, more volatile Kyle Lowry? Whispers around the league suggest that the Toronto front office is divided on the issue and the Celtics could swoop in and take advantage of that possible dissension.

Lowry remains one of the most efficient point guards in the league (21.3 PER), but his uneven effort on the defensive end has reduced him to a 20-minute role off the bench for defensive-minded coach Dwane Casey. The Celtics could take on Linas Kleiza's contract that pays him $4.6 million this season and possibly next season, though the Celtics would probably hope he turns down his 2013-14 player option to go back overseas.

In order to give up Lowry and his tidy contract, the Raptors would likely need to receive young assets in return. Such a deal would likely require involving Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and a future first-rounder. But that would also necessitate the Raptors absorbing Green's undesirable four-year deal to make the money work. Would Toronto decision-maker Bryan Colangelo do that? We didn't think he'd give five years and $53 million to a then-30-year-old Hedo Turkoglu, either.



Los Angeles Lakers
Celtics receive: Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Chris Duhon

Lakers receive: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Collins


The blockbuster of all blockbuster deals. The Celtics would never send Pierce and Garnett to their once-hated rival, right? Stranger things have happened in this league. (Remember when Cleveland agreed to sign-and-trade LeBron James, or the time Phoenix gift-wrapped Steve Nash to the Lakers?) Obviously, the Celtics make this move to mold their next championship core around a healthy Rondo and Dwight Howard, but such a package is risky considering that Howard could walk at the end of this season.

But that's a risk the Celtics can take with a player like Howard, especially because they could offer a five-year deal to Howard in free agency when all other competitors could offer only four, thanks to the new CBA. For a guy recovering from back surgery, five years of security could be worth more than the extra money itself.

The Lakers would presumably only do this deal under three conditions: (1) The season goes back into the tank again; (2) Howard makes it clear that he's not signing long-term to be Kobe Bryant's sidekick; (3) Pau Gasol's trade stock continues to plummet. The Lakers would start five future Hall of Famers, but at the cost of kissing good-bye any hope of signing LeBron James in the summer of 2014 sweepstakes, if the reigning MVP is available.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:21 PM   #113
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

part 2



Memphis Grizzlies
Celtics receive: Rudy Gay and Tony Wroten

Grizzlies receive: Paul Pierce and Chris Wilcox

This trade makes sense from the perspective that the Celtics would exchange Pierce for a younger, higher-upside talent in Gay. Additionally, rookie Tony Wroten could take over the point guard duties as a poor man's Tyreke Evans (remember, the Celtics don't have a pure point guard right now) and serve as Rondo's backup long-term.

On the Memphis side of things, the small-market club wouldn't have to look at Gay's swollen contract that pays him $17.8 million next season and $19 million after that if he enacts his player option in 2014-15. There's a chance that Pierce could sour upon arrival in Memphis, but those odds might be mitigated by the presence of former teammate and fellow "grit-and-grind" aficionado Tony Allen as well as the fact the Grizzlies have a better shot at a title than the Rondo-less Celtics.

But there are serious obstacles here. For one, the Celtics may not be enthused with Gay's good-but-not-great production and unpredictable future at that price tag. And yes, waiving Pierce in the offseason could shed $31 million off Memphis' books compared to keeping Gay, but Memphis would still have to find a small forward in addition to bringing back Allen, who is a free agent this summer. But Pierce is a superior floor-spacer and much more dependable defender than Gay. Could that put the Grizzlies over the top in the West?



Utah Jazz
Celtics receive: Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams, Jamaal Tinsley and Raja Bell

Jazz receive: Paul Pierce, Avery Bradley, Chris Wilcox and Boston's 2013 first-rounder

Utah possesses a boatload of bigs and the Celtics could use one. Believe it or not, Garnett won't be around forever and this deal would give the Celtics their next big man to solidify their long-term foundation next to Rondo. It would also give the Celtics a pass-first (pass-only?) point guard in Jamaal Tinsley, which is kind of a big deal considering the C's don't have a pure point guard on the roster without Rondo.

Favors remains one of the most promising young bigs in the game, averaging 15-and-10 every 36 minutes along with high-impact defense. But he's struggling to find 20 minutes a night with three other productive players in the Jazz frontcourt. By sending Pierce to Utah, this would be a cold move by the Boston front office, but the Celtics should have an eye on the future given Rondo's injury and this could save them about $1.5 million if they want to eventually get under the tax.

The only way the Jazz think about this deal is if they are big on Bradley's potential ahead of Gordon Hayward and they believe that Enes Kanter has a brighter future than Favors. Though Pierce would be reunited with former teammate Al Jefferson in this scenario, it may not offset the lifestyle change of moving from Boston to Salt Lake. But would a healthy Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Pierce, Paul Millsap and Jefferson make some noise in the West? Maybe, but it's hard to justify Utah going all-in this season without a backcourt player to build around; Bradley is probably not that guy.



Minnesota Timberwolves
Celtics receive: Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Luke Ridnour and Greg Stiemsma

Timberwolves receive: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger


The only thing that might top a Lakers deal? If KG goes back to Minnesota to finish out his career right where it started. Again, Garnett holds a no-trade clause and could nix this deal on the spot. But the only place that might be more sentimental than Boston for Garnett's swan song is Minnesota, the team that selected him fifth overall in the 1995 draft.

For Boston, you do this deal under the buy-low, sell-high rule in Business 101. It's hard to imagine a worse season for Kevin Love, who is shooting a paltry 21.7 percent from downtown this season and currently sitting on the sidelines with a re-fractured shooting hand. But he's one of the best handful of young players in the league (currently No. 8 on Insider's top 25 under 25 rankings and an unprecedented rebounder/sharpshooter talent). If healthy, a Rondo-Love connection is easily one of the most tantalizing tandems in the East. And Ridnour and Kirilenko give them help right away.

Now, would Minnesota do the deal? Depends on how much it wants to win now. Since 2008, no team has won fewer games than the Timberwolves (121). Believe it or not, this would be the eighth straight losing season in Minnesota if it keeps up. It's not hard to imagine why GM David Kahn may be ready to exchange Love, who has had an icy relationship with the front office, for a package that could give them star power on both ends of the floor. It's a long shot, but mixed emotions aside, this monster deal makes some sense.



Atlanta Hawks
Celtics receive: Josh Smith, Lou Williams, Devin Harris, Zaza Pachulia, Ivan Johnson

Hawks receive: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger

If Danny Ainge is looking at a blow-it-up scenario, it's easy to see why Atlanta GM Danny Ferry would be willing to talk. The Hawks are an obvious trade partner because of the ongoing disruptive behavior of their star-and-free-agent-to-be Josh Smith, but also because of their high-performing veterans on one-year deals, something the Celtics could covet. It's hard to find a highly productive player with more upside and more in need of a change of scenery than Smith.

To be clear, Smith is no spring chicken at age 27 and that's not the best time to hand out a max deal. But look around and you'll find that there's just not another player of Smith's caliber on the market. Elsewhere, the 26-year-old Williams would be a perfect platoon mate in the backcourt next to Bradley for the long-term and the Harris-Pachulia combo could fill out the Celtics' playoff-ready rotation for the rest of the season. Worst-case scenario is that Smith doesn't pan out and the Celtics shed gobs of money when Smith, Pachulia, Harris and Johnson's deals expire at the end of the season, which would fully engage them into rebuild mode for the 2013-14 season.

The upshot from Atlanta's perspective is it can flip its expiring contracts into a borderline contender in the East, but the Hawks would first need Garnett to waive his no-trade clause. Working in Atlanta's favor in such a scenario is that Garnett grew up two hours outside of Atlanta in Greenville, S.C. Not working in Atlanta's favor is that Garnett famously called out Atlanta co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. in the playoffs last season. Still, can't count out an Atlanta-Boston hookup, even though it seems Ferry's No. 1 priority is to maintain flexibility for a potential Dwight Howard chase.

Other teams to watch

Sacramento Kings
Tyreke Evans has long been the apple of Ainge's eye, dating back to the 2009 draft. But considering that the Kings are currently in the midst of a sale, a shake-up doesn't sound likely. DeMarcus Cousins is another name to watch, but it's unlikely for the same reason that Evans might be staying put. The Kings aren't looking to win now so it makes little sense for them to take on Pierce or Garnett at the moment unless a third team is involved.


Houston Rockets
The Rockets are always looking to find a star player to pair with James Harden and they have a crater at the power forward position, so a deal for Garnett's services is interesting on the surface. However, two things: Garnett would have to agree to the deal and, more importantly, is 37 years old with about $24 million left on his deal through age 39. Houston remains a possibility in trade talks simply because it can take on salary and wields attractive trade assets for a rebuilding team, but the Rockets are more likely to participate in a three-team deal, not a straight-up one. But don't count out a Kevin McHale-Garnett reunion.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:29 PM   #114
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

future repped.

Who stole this:

Quote:
Celtics receive: Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Chris Duhon

Lakers receive: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Collins


The blockbuster of all blockbuster deals. The Celtics would never send Pierce and Garnett to their once-hated rival, right? Stranger things have happened in this league. (Remember when Cleveland agreed to sign-and-trade LeBron James, or the time Phoenix gift-wrapped Steve Nash to the Lakers?) Obviously, the Celtics make this move to mold their next championship core around a healthy Rondo and Dwight Howard, but such a package is risky considering that Howard could walk at the end of this season.

But that's a risk the Celtics can take with a player like Howard, especially because they could offer a five-year deal to Howard in free agency when all other competitors could offer only four, thanks to the new CBA. For a guy recovering from back surgery, five years of security could be worth more than the extra money itself.

The Lakers would presumably only do this deal under three conditions: (1) The season goes back into the tank again; (2) Howard makes it clear that he's not signing long-term to be Kobe Bryant's sidekick; (3) Pau Gasol's trade stock continues to plummet. The Lakers would start five future Hall of Famers, but at the cost of kissing good-bye any hope of signing LeBron James in the summer of 2014 sweepstakes, if the reigning MVP is available.

And used it in a thread earlier?

Oh right, he referenced it. cool

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:08 PM   #115
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

could anybody post these?

http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-coll...na-best-player

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft...-nba-prospects

id really appreciate it.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:48 AM   #116
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Anyway somebody could post this article on Andre Drummond?

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...path-greatness
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:28 PM   #117
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

that would be great!
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #118
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by embersyc
Anyway somebody could post this article on Andre Drummond?

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...path-greatness

Nevermind on this request, somebody posted it on another site.

http://pistons.infopop.cc/eve/forums...1/m/7532907827
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #119
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by chips93
The discussion: Who is Indiana's best player: Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo?
Jay Bilas: To some, this may be a distinction without a difference and doesn't matter at all in a team game. And this is the perfect time to have this discussion, because we are coming off of a two-game stretch in which Zeller had his two worst games of the season while Oladipo has been at his best. In the past two months, I have been struck by how many basketball commentators seem to revel in saying that Oladipo is Indiana's best player. He is not.

I have heard several commentators, a couple of whom are respected voices who have been in the game for a long time, state that Oladipo is Indiana's best player "by far" and that "it's not even close." Reasonable minds can differ on such matters, but I do not agree. In fact, I disagree entirely.

Don't get me wrong. Oladipo, out of DeMatha (Md.), is a terrific player and is having a great season. He is among the best and most versatile defenders in the country who can guard multiple positions and get steals and deflections at a high rate. On the offensive end, Oladipo is much improved and has been hitting open shots, driving and getting to the foul line. He is a high-energy player who affects the game at both ends, and he has proved to be among the top 30 most effective players in the nation, in my judgment. I believe he is a first-round NBA draft pick.

However, he is not Indiana's best player. Cody Zeller is.


Zeller is Indiana's top scorer, averaging 16.0 points on just nine shots per game (Oladipo averages 13.9 points on eight shots per game). Zeller is also the Hoosiers' top rebounder, averaging 8.1 -- including 2.7 offensively -- a game. Oladipo is third on the team in rebounding, averaging 6.0 -- and also 2.7 offensively -- a game.

Both Zeller and Oladipo shoot high percentages, with Oladipo shooting 66 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range, while Zeller shoots 60 percent from the field. Zeller is more productive from the free throw line, shooting twice as many free throws and hitting a better percentage. Oladipo has twice the number of steals as Zeller, and Zeller has twice the number of blocked shots. Oladipo can guard more positions than can Zeller, but Zeller guards the post, the one position that Oladipo can't guard. Zeller is the guy whom opposing defenses double, and he is the first player on the opponent's scouting report.

The only thing that suggests Oladipo is Indiana's best player is surprise. Few expected Oladipo, a career 49 percent shooter (and 25 percent 3-point shooter), to have the season he is having. Oladipo already has managed as many steals this season as he had all of last season, and as many 3-point field goals this season as he has in his career. It's fair to state that Oladipo is Indiana's "heart and soul" or "most complete player" -- or Indiana's "best leader" -- but I think the label of Indiana's best player belongs to Zeller, and only Zeller. Zeller is a team player who is not a volume shooter and does not require touches to keep playing and to be a great teammate.

I believe most NBA personnel would agree that Zeller is Indiana's best player and prospect, despite the legitimate questions about his NBA future. There is disagreement as to just how effective Zeller will be in the NBA in the long run, but it is clear that he is a surefire lottery selection. With his ability to run the floor, face up and drive -- and with his skill level -- Zeller has value in the NBA. He needs to be a higher volume rebounder and to be more assertive, and he needs to be able to consistently hit a face-up jumper to range. Plus, he is not a shot-blocker. However, he can be a starter in the NBA, and he does not need the ball to play.

Chad Ford: A little more than a month ago, I had Zeller atop our list of the best college players in the country and had him ranked as a top-three prospect in the NBA draft.

Oladipo's shooting percentages -- and NBA draft stock -- have risen dramatically this season.
A month later, it's harder for me to argue for either ranking. As far as top college players go, his production simply doesn't quite reach the level of some of his competition. In fact, I think it's fair to argue that teammate Oladipo actually might be more valuable to the Hoosiers right now.

I know Jay disagrees and makes the statistical argument for Zeller. But after watching Indiana the past month, I understand those who side with Oladipo as well. He plays so hard, is so disruptive on the defensive end and sets the tone for this Indiana team. It certainly feels as if it's Oladipo, not Zeller, who sets the pace for the Hoosiers.

And if you want advanced stats for support, Ken Pomeroy's Offensive Rating has Oladipo slightly ahead of Zeller. Yes, Zeller rebounds slightly more than Oladipo, but Zeller is 6-foot-11 and Oladipo just 6-5. Zeller's rebounding rate for a big man is very average. Oladipo's rebounding rate is excellent for a guard. Oladipo shoots a higher percentage than Zeller despite the fact Zeller's shots are much closer to the basket. Oladipo's shooting percentages as a guard are ridiculously good.

Oladipo certainly was the best player on the floor Sunday against Michigan State. His 21 points (on 8-of-12 shooting), 7 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 blocks terrorized Michigan State on both ends of the floor. Once again, he was the engine that made Indiana run.

Zeller, matched up against the Spartans' big, athletic front line, struggled. He ended the game with just nine points on 2-of-7 shooting and seemed to shrink a bit from the physical play in the paint. Meanwhile, the Spartans' big man, Adreian Payne, produced against Zeller what might have been his best game of the season, with 18 points, nine rebounds and three 3-pointers.

As far as best college players go, Oladipo, Michigan's Trey Burke, Creighton's Doug McDermott, Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk and my personal favorite, Kansas' Ben McLemore, all would get the nod over Zeller at the moment.

NBA scouts are having an even harder time with Zeller right now. Teams are struggling to get their arms around what position he'll guard at the next level. He's not big or strong enough to be an NBA center. But the Michigan State game highlighted some of the issues with Zeller playing the 4.

More and more NBA big men can take it out past the 3-point line to stretch the floor. Zeller struggled all day guarding that shot from Payne, who made Zeller and Indiana pay. Offensively, while Zeller is incredibly efficient, his best skill is his ability to run the floor and get out ahead on the break. He's truly spectacular in the open floor in college. But at the NBA level? Can you name one NBA team that consistently leads the break with its big man? It's a skill that's unlikely to be particularly helpful in the NBA. Zeller's biggest NBA fans remain the stat heads; his high-efficiency game measures out nicely on a number of different metrics.

Don't get me wrong. I still think Zeller is an elite college basketball player and has enough skills/intangibles to be a good NBA player. But right now it's hard to justify him potentially being the No. 1 pick in the draft or the college basketball player of the year. In the past month, Zeller has dropped to No. 7 on my Top 100 and is in danger of dropping several more spots if his production doesn't rise in the last month of the season.

Oladipo's draft stock? He's steadily risen on draft boards all season. He's currently sitting at No. 17 on our Top 100 and, given his trajectory and Zeller's fall, I don't think it's out of the question that Oladipo goes ahead of Zeller on draft night.

Prospect on the rise

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Anderson is averaging 9.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for UCLA.
Ford: Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA Bruins

I think it's fair to argue that Anderson may be the most difficult prospect in the NCAA to scout. His game is as unique as any I've seen in college basketball. He doesn't have a real comparison at the NBA level.

His nickname is "Slo-mo" and it's well deserved. In a game of speed and athleticism, Anderson's game is deliberate and measured. He never appears rushed or in a hurry. But despite his plodding game, he has proved to be a remarkable player.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #120
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Default Re: ESPN Insider - The Official Thread

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His basketball IQ for a freshman is outstanding. Anderson is a special passer who can run the break and handle like a point guard. In virtually every game, he makes at least one Ricky Rubio-esque pass that puts your head on a swivel. He's also proved to be a terrific rebounder and really racks up the steals on the defensive end. Shooting is still his biggest weakness, and I have no idea where a coach will play him at the next level.

I have no idea if Anderson is a one-and-done player or where he'll land on draft night. However, I've had an increasing number of NBA GMs and scouts tell me that his game is growing on them and that they see a future for him at the next level.

Bilas: Kelly Olynyk, F, Gonzaga Bulldogs

Olynyk is a legit 7-footer who is physically mature, has a big, strong body and is skilled with a deft shooting touch around the basket and from range. Olynyk is not a great athlete, opposing offenses like to involve him in ball-screen action and he is not a high-volume shot-blocker. But he understands the game and knows how to play.

A face-up player when he first arrived at Gonzaga, Olynyk is now a low-post threat who can step away. Plus, he is able to use his size and skill to make smart moves and counters in the post and score with tremendous efficiency. In fact, there is not a more efficient big man in the nation than Olynyk. He turns the ball over at too high of a rate, but Olynyk has shown that he can play in both physical and fast-paced games.

What to watch for this week
Bilas: The best game of the week will be between Michigan and Indiana at Assembly Hall ). Michigan has the best offense in the country, and Indiana isn't far behind. Both teams are more athletic and have better defenses this season than last, and the atmosphere should be magnificent in Bloomington.

There are some other really good games this week, but I will be looking to the SEC to see if Mississippi is for real, taking on Kentucky and Florida back to back, and if Kentucky can move toward higher-level consistency. Kentucky's struggles don't indicate a problem as much as it underscores what an amazing job John Calipari has done in Lexington since his arrival. To reach an Elite Eight, Final Four and win a national championship in three seasons of "freshman orientation" is remarkable. What is happening now is normal. The past three seasons were extraordinary.

[+] Enlarge
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
Glenn Robinson III and the Wolverines have a tough test this week against the Hoosiers.
Ford: Obviously the game of the week is Michigan-Indiana. I wrote earlier about the draft prospects of Indiana's two stars, Zeller and Oladipo. Michigan doesn't have a player rated in the lottery, but the Wolverines have a number of intriguing draft prospects, led by sophomore point guard Trey Burke and freshman forward Glenn Robinson III.

Burke is making a strong case to be the national player of the year. His college stats are stellar: 17.8 points and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. Additionally, 30 percent of Burke's possessions end in an assist, compared to just 7 percent of his possessions ending in a turnover. That's remarkable. He's got the perfect balance between scoring and helping others, and he plays almost mistake-free basketball. If he were a little taller (he's 6-foot) or more of an explosive athlete, he'd be ranked even higher. However, Burke is slowly creeping up to the lottery range in this year's draft and current sits at No. 16 in our Top 100.

Robinson isn't far behind at No. 18. His ridiculous athleticism combined with an efficient game has really impressed scouts. The fact that he's shooting 41 percent from 3-point range, 58 percent from the field, runs the floor like a guard and can jump out of the gym have a number of scouts predicting that by June, he'll be a lottery pick.

Junior wing Tim Hardaway Jr. is also having the best season of his career. He's dramatically improved his 3-point shooting, picked up his rebounding and is scoring at a much more efficient rate. Many scouts consider him a potential second-round pick.

Freshman sharpshooter Nik Stauskas (shooting nearly 50 percent from 3) and big man Mitch McGary (averaging 5.6 rpg in just 16 mpg) also are considered potential first-round picks in either the 2014 or 2015 NBA drafts.
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