Big men get another representative on Brew Hoop's draft board at #7, with junior center Willie Cauley-Stein of the University of Kentucky taking another close contest to earn the spot.
Cauley-Stein split time, like everybody on the Kentucky roster, with a host of other talented prospects in his junior year. He elected to put off his NBA debut for two seasons despite being projected as a high pick in both years. A departure from the usual career path of top prospects to be sure, but it definitely seems to have paid off.
You could easily make a case for Cauley-Stein as the best defensive player in all of college basketball last season. He was the anchor on a Kentucky squad that was playing historic-level defense for much of the year. What was perhaps most impressive was WCS's versatility. Not only could he check opposing big men, but no college center was more comfortable or adept at stepping out on the pick and roll to guard smaller players. His defensive rebounding was a bit underwhelming given his size, but that was partly due to a defensive role that took him out of rebounding position.
Offensively, Cauley-Stein has an extremely limited game, although he does do a few things very well. He's great in transition and rolls hard to the basket, using his athleticism to finish above the rim. He improved as a shooter in his junior year, but not to the point where it's likely to be a reliable element in his game without a ton of work. WCS is going to be drafted for his defense, which might seem like too little to justify a top-10 pick, but he has the potential to be a truly game-changing player on that end.
Brew Hoop Draft Board 2015
1. Karl-Anthony Towns - PF/C, Kentucky, Freshman - DraftExpress Profile
2. Jahlil Okafor - C, Duke, Freshman - DraftExpress Profile
3. D'Angelo Russell - G, Ohio State, Freshman - DraftExpress Profile
4. Emmanuel Mudiay - PG, International - DraftExpress Profile
5. Justise Winslow - SF, Duke, Freshman - DraftExpress Profile
6. Mario Hezonja - G/F, International - DraftExpress Profile
7. Willie Cauley-Stein - C, Kentucky, Junior - DraftExpress Profile