Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NBA Scout: Kentucky’s Towns Could Be In Mix For No. 1 Pick, Cats’ 2nd Five Better Than Most Teams’ 1st
Just how good is this Kentucky team that features nine McDonald’s All-Americans and has gone 5-0 on its trip to the Bahamas with one game remaining?
One veteran NBA scout who has watched the games told SNY.tv that freshman big man Karl Anthony-Towns of New Jersey could be in the mix for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and that Kentucky’s second five is better than a lot of teams’ first five.
“They are loaded,” the scout said of Kentucky. “It will be hard not to see them playing in the [NCAA] championship game in April of 2015. Their second five may be better than most of the teams they have on their schedule.”
Through the first four games of the Bahamas trip, Kentucky played 10 different players — 10 — at least 18 minutes a game and none averaged more than 20.
Three players averaged in double-digits in scoring: Alex Poythress (15.3 ppg), Towns (12.8) and Aaron Harrison (10.3). Marcus Lee averaged 9.5 points and Dakari Johnson 8.5.
Kentucky coach John Calipari can run waves of McDonald’s All-Americans at opponents this season and may keep playing 10 guys 20 minutes each.
“Understand all these guys are doing this in 20 minutes,” he Tweeted during the trip. “Just shows you don’t need 40 minutes to show who you are as a player.”
As for the 6-11 Towns out of St. Joe’s-Metuchen, he averaged 12.8 points and 7.5 rebounds through the first four games — including a 19-point, 10-rebound performance — and then managed just 5 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes in Saturday’s 77-72 win over Chalon-Reims of France.
Aaron Harrison had 15 points in the win, Tyler Ulis scored 12, Andrew Harrison had 11 and Devin Booker 10.
“Towns has a chance to go No. 1 but not out of the top five,” the NBA scout said. “Poythress has gotten better but he’s still a 4 more than a 3. The twins are better but not lottery picks. Ulis is a nice college guard. Booker is a prospect in a few years.”
DraftExpress.com currently has Towns at No. 4 in the Draft behind Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Emmanuel Mudiay.Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.