This summer, we’ve been taking a look at a lot of crap, and one of those craps is UCLA basketball players as NBA draft prospects. We’ve already taken a look at top NBA prospect Shabazz Muhammad. This time, we take a look at oft-maligned — but still potential-laden — UCLA center, Josh Smith.
Smith is a wonder. He’s an anomaly, in all the best and worst ways possible. The dude’s a potential force at any level or a major bust at any of those same levels.
His PER — a per-minute production stat that takes into account everything — was UCLA’s best. Yet, the 6’10” Smith only played 17 minutes due to his unwillingness to get fit and the foul trouble that came as a result. He was UCLA’s best player and a difference-maker, but only when he’s on the court, which is rare.
And his draft prospects are no different: He’s a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA draft, unless he doesn’t bother to care in the offseason to get in shape, which is as likely as him getting bumped from the UCLA rotation, which is to say, “very likely.”
Let’s take a look at his stats, if you have a hard time comprehending this guy (as UCLA fans have forever already):
And some advanced stats:
The per-game stats look mediocre, but the per-minute stats and advanced stats look incredible and is worthy of being a top-tier player nation-wide. If you don’t believe me, look at the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Andre Drummond. Per-minute, Smith is just as good — if not, better — than Drummond.
And UCLA fans know Smith is far more polished offensively than Drummond was in his only year at the college level. The dude’s footwork in the paint — and his ability to finish in the paint with some crafty moves — are incredible. 2012 No. 1 pick Anthony Davis has been consistently knocked on his ability to score in the post, where as scouts rave about Smith’s ability to score in the post. In this age of the NBA — where the league is entirely devoid of solid post players except for a very select few — Smith will be highly coveted.
Where does he stand now? DraftExpress has Smith going 18th in the draft, just four spots out of the lottery (which goes up to 14).
And that can be terribly underrated or overrated, depending on the season Smith has.
If he gets in shape in the summer? If he continues to prove his low post game? If his work ethic improves and if he works hard to make himself a force? He’ll be a top five pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
But if he fails to lose weight, fails to improve his stamina and fails to work on defending the paint without getting into serious foul trouble? If he refuses to work as hard as an NBA prospect should? He could go undrafted or, worse, kicked off the team before the 2012-13 college basketball season ends.
Smith can go wherever he wants in the 2013 NBA draft. Basically, it’s all up to him to see how far he wants to take his basketball career.
Hopefully, he’ll want to go the distance.