Vernon Macklin, Florida, Sr. – PF
Overview: I’ve followed Vernon Macklin since the days Georgetown recruited him as a McDonald’s All-American and sure-fire one-and-done pro, to our days in sociology class together, (scene of my favorite Big-Ticket line: “my research has been through the internet, library research, and this book I found”). I watched him show zero skill for two years and squander his professional aspirations, shooting 25% from the free throw line in one year. If you told me four years ago that I’d be writing about Vernon as an NBA prospect, I’d have laughed. But he’s come a long way since he turned in his Hoya Blue for the Gator uniform.
Best case scenario: Macklin continues to improve at the same blistering rate and fulfills his potential. Don’t look for him to be in the MVP discussion, but at the peak of his potential, Macklin could play to the level of someone like Serge Ibaka, mostly a defensive threat. Don’t forget, in their loss to Butler, how heavily the Gators relied on Macklin, and how convincingly he delivered.
Worst case scenario: Macklin has already peaked…there’s no more room to grow. If that’s the case, he won’t be playing in the NBA. He’s got the NBA body, now he needs to develop the skill set to match.
Terrence Jones, Kentucky, Fr. – SF
Overview: Since his outburst at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, NBA scouts tabbed Jones as a guaranteed lottery pick. Given his decision to play at Kentucky, it’s safe to say Jones went to college because he had to, not because he wanted to. He’s leaving, and few would argue with his decision once he makes it. He has an NBA body, a variety of post moves, and mobility to get his shot off from outside the paint.
Best case scenario: It’s important to mention that Jones produced at the college level at the rate one would expect from a lottery pick. Sure, he’ll be drafted with the expectation that he will improve, but GMs scouting Jones know they’ll be getting a player ready to produce right away. I don’t see All-Star games in his future, but if he can stay healthy, Jones should enjoy a long career with only minor interruptions for inquiries on his college eligibility.
Worst case scenario: I don’t see Jones flopping. However, I worry about how he will fit into an NBA system. He doesn’t really dominate down low, and he seems to want to play point guard, while trapped in a big man’s body. Oh right, we’re talking about the NBA. He’ll be fine.
Chandler Parsons, Florida, Sr. – SF
Overview: I’m a little surprised that Parsons hasn’t been given more credit as an NBA prospect. In flashes of athleticism, he has proven his ability to get to the rim and protect it on the other end. He’s got a great jumper, decent range, and plays fundamentally sound defense (again, I’m forgetting the prerequisites for success in the NBA).
Best case scenario: If everything goes perfectly for Parsons, I don’t think it’s too great a stretch to cast comparisons to Mike Dunleavy, Jr. Not an All-Star, but a solid producer for a number of years.
Worst case scenario: The worst case scenario seems, at the moment, to be the most likely: that Parsons doesn’t get the opportunity that his college career should have earned him. It’s so difficult to crack an NBA roster from the undrafted ranks, Chandler might be headed to the dreaded D-League.