Prospect Watch: Willie Cauley-Stein

“You’re a 100 million dollar player”

Hall of famer Larry Bird said a few great things in refrence to the most athletic center in the 2015 NBA draft. Unfortunately for Bird, the Pacers may not have a high enough pick to select him, but trading up for the kid may actually be a very smart decision in the long run.

Willie Cauley Stein may potentially be the most under-rated prospect in the 2015 draft. Very rarely are 7footers such fluid athletes, nor do they have the ability to run the floor like small fowards. The main knock on his game has been his lack of offensive polish but when you factor his Deandre Jordan-like verticle leap and his much improved 15 foot elbow jumper, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

The Defense: On the defensive side of the floor WCS(Willie Cauley-Stein) may honestly be in a league of his own. Quite frankly his unique blend of height, fluidity and balance put Cauley-Stein in a position to legitimately defend all 5 positions on the collegiate level. The pro’s will be a different story but WCS should still seemlessly translate atleast as a similar player to Joakim Noah with a lot more verticle bounce.

The Offense: Like most big men Cauley-Stein cannot establish his own offense. He has to be set up in half court sets to be able to score effectively. On the positive side he has pretty soft hands and does not make a habit of fumbling passes, especially on the break where he really stands out. Even though he will probably never be the (dump-it-down)  back to the basket center that Al Jefferson is, he does have the physical tools to be one of the best rim protectors in the league…

Chris Webber Shade

(Earlier in the year C-Webb was quoted saying.)  

…he’s a college kid and I don’t want him to be privy to the type of dogging of athletes that we’re going to do at this level since he’s still in college,” Webber said. “But that’s where we get in trouble. There’s no way in the world that he’s a DeAndre Jordan. That’s one of the most ridiculous statements that I’ve ever heard.” ….

This kid is like 7-foot, he weighs like 200. He won’t start in the league. You can’t play in the league if you can’t score, people. You know what I mean? So no, he will not start in the league, he’s a great kid, and hopefully he’ll have an NBA career”

Obviously thats a lot of criticism by Webber, but is he accurate?… Not according to the 2015 NBA combine. Stein is on record jumping over 6 inches higher than Deandre Jordan did in 2008. He also measured favorably to Jordan in every other measureable stat, *except wingspan.

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It’s no secret that the NBA is becoming a full court, fast paced league. Now more than ever teams and coaches seem to be focusing more and more on the transition game. Being drafted to a team with unselfish lead guards will go a long way for Stein’s development, but either way, athletes like him are a hot commodity, so dont be surprised like Chris Webber when you see him go as far as top 5 in next month’s draft.

-Fresh

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