No NBA? No problem.

2 Nov

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

If you woke up this morning and went to your favorite sports website to look at the box scores of the NBA games from last night, well, keep looking. That ain’t happening.

Your consolation, at least for now, is a tremendous college basketball season with future pros abound. Nearly all of the stars came back to college. Instead of watching Dirk defend the title and LeBron doing what he does in the fourth quarter, whatever that is, we have a full slate of games that should appease your pro pallet.

The guys at The Painted Area went through the 25 games that you’ll need to see if you are a NBA Draft fan. And let’s be honest, who isn’t a fan of Adam Silver’s second round comedy hour?

The Painted Area had me at “If this were 1996, we’d have the font blinking and in a different color for this one,” when describing the big match-up between North Carolina and Kentucky. You had me at font blinking

“This game could really include as many as 10-12 first-round picks – and maybe eight lottery picks – down the road if everything breaks right. Don’t miss it.”

We won’t.

I do find it interesting that DraftExpress.com has Terrence Jones at No. 12 in the current mock draft (which is completely meaningless this time of year). Kentucky has six games on this list. That’s a half-dozen prime match-ups to see if Jones can be the top five pick that I think he is. The same goes for Anthony Davis, who Jonathan Givony has cemented at No. 1 of his current mock.

Other guys to watch this year:

Thomas Robinson will have his chance to prove himself worthy of a lottery pick with games against Kentucky, Ohio State and Baylor twice. That’s Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger and the collection of freakishly athletic forwards otherwise known as the Baylor frontline.

Andre Drummond was a late addition and with the continued improvement of Jeremy Lamb, UConn is a team you have to watch if you are a NBA fan. Drummond will contend for the top overall pick. At 6-foot-11 and athletic as Amare Stoudemire, you have to watch him if you are a fan of the 82-game season. He’s a pro. No debating that.

What is under debate is the value of Lamb as a pro. Go back to the summer when Lamb shined in the U19 World Championships. Givony argued that Lamb may be the most debated player in the 2012 NBA Draft pool. I countered. It is a storyline that I think begs a lot of attention this year, from a NBA perspective.

The post also posed a good point about the Tar Heels:

Surprisingly, I had trouble finding many relevant games for Carolina. Other than two vs. Duke, Kentucky and this, nada. No other ACC teams are in the preseason Top 25s, and N.C. State’s C.J. Leslie (31/31) is the conference’s only Top 50 prospect outside of UNC/Duke.

Translation: Good for the Tar Heels to maintain the No. 1 spot all season. Bad for the NBA to really get a good gauge. Moreover, the ACC isn’t very good this year.

This season of college hoops is more than an appetizer for the NBA. It is the full course. At least of today. And that’s not too bad now is it?

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