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Prospect Watch: Tracking first and second round options

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While the NBA is away, we’ve got draft watch on high alert, including a new center exploding onto the scene.

NCAA Basketball: Oral Roberts at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect Watch is back after a week off, just in time for the NBA All-Star break. There’s plenty of Dennis Smith Jr. festivities for you to watch tonight and tomorrow, but tucked in between all of that we have a quick weekend lineup of players to keep an eye on come draft time.

We’ve spent most of our PW time looking at games featuring the elite of this draft class. But let’s use this weekend to look at a handful of players the Mavericks should be considering after that very important first pick. With the recent acquisition of an additional second rounder, the Mavs will be grabbing two intriguing projects, or packaging those two picks in an attempt to move back in to the first round. Either way, we should be covering our bases on prospects all over the map.

Let’s dive in!


*BONUS GAME: Boise State vs Nevada (2/14)

Yes, we missed this game, but in the spirit of focusing on potential second rounders this week, it’s worthwhile to bring up Chandler Hutchison, a 6’7 wing at Boise State. Over the last two seasons, he has established himself as a do-it-all two-way player that stuffs the stat sheet.

In their first matchup a few weeks ago, Hutchison put up 27 points against the Wolf Pack, and on Wednesday he contributed in all facets: 13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and two blocks. The one major knock on him is his inconsistency from three. But his 25.8 PER and per-40 minute averages of 25.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and nearly two steals give you a picture of his effectiveness all over the floor.

Draft experts can’t seem to agree on where he projects, putting him anywhere from late first to middle of the second round. He’s a guy worth monitoring over the next several months.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17TH

Arkansas vs Texas A&M (3 CT, ESPN)

We here at PW have probably not done our job in talking about Daniel Gafford really, until now. Over the last month or so, the Arkansas freshman big man has exploded on to the draft scene, with his athleticism, rim protection, and ability to run the floor.

I don’t know if there is another prospect highlight that I’ve enjoyed watching more:

The 6’11, 234-pound big man blocks a shot going to the baseline, then beats the nine other players down the floor, THEN unleashes a dunk that no one that size should even consider. And he did more of this against Vanderbilt in a game where he had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.

Gafford, a little talked of freshman with a 7’2 wingspan coming in to the season, is raw. But he has major upside, with per-40 averages of 21 points, 11 rebounds and 3.6 blocks, and will most likely fall in an area of the draft where Dallas won’t be picking.

Still the Mavericks should be doing their due diligence on this center that is quickly catching up to the player he’ll be facing this weekend, on draft boards. PW has been...let’s say low, on Robert Williams. But watching these two athletes going at each other Saturday will be a blast.

Kansas vs West Virginia (5 CT, ESPN)

Kansas simply doesn’t have an elite NBA prospect this season, though they’ve still mostly been the elite Jayhawks they usually are. Coming in to the year all eyes were on freshman forward Billy Preston, who announced last month that he was leaving Lawrence after being held out all season due to possible NCAA infractions involving a car. He’s headed to Bonsia to play basketball in advance of the draft.

Iowa State v Kansas Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images

But if there’s one player the Mavericks should keep their eye on, it’s Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, a player we’ve mentioned before. It wouldn’t be shocking if the sharpshooter went undrafted in June, but he might be a perfect candidate for that third pick the Mavericks have. Depending on what the Mavs do with Doug McDermott this summer, Mykhailiuk may fit perfectly in his spot.

The 6’8 Ukrainian flamethrower is surprisingly athletic and has the fundamentals to take defenders off the dribble from the wing. NBA spacing will do wonders for a guy shooting 44 percent from deep. Svi had 17 against West Virginia in their first meeting and will get another crack at this suffocating D again Saturday. And it’ll finish just in time for to catch the All-Star Saturday Night festivities!

Who are you keeping tabs on for the second round? Let us know down below!