NBA draft analyst on Kentucky's talent

Kamalsky on Miller (pictured): "I'd like to see him become more of a threat to score from the midrange and develop his ballhandling ability." analyst Matt Kamalsky (@mattk22 on twitter) certainly figures to be paying a lot of attention to Kentucky coach John Calipari's talent-laden roster this season and offered a variety of insights into the Wildcats' 2012 draft potential during a recent interview. He says freshman Anthony Davis could be the top pick in the 2012 draft, Doron Lamb might not be in a rush to leave UK after his sophomore season and that there could be a spot in the draft for senior Darius Miller depending on how he plays this season.

Here are his thoughts on the Wildcats' talent going into the season.

Question: Who is the top-rated NBA prospect going into the season?

Kamalsky: Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), and Andre Drummond (Connecticut) comprise the extremely early top-three for most scouts. I would be remiss to ordain one of them the top prospect in this draft in October, but I think those three are going to be the major players for the top spot. Davis is the top guy for most scouts at this point because of his potential impact on both ends of the floor, which isn't surprising. He's an easy player to like considering his physical potential and how high a level he competes at on a nightly basis. Of those three guys, Drummond may have the most long-term potential, and Barnes has the best intangibles, but each of them could become a national star this season."

Question: Can sophomore guard Doron Lamb play himself into a first-round pick?

Kamalsky: "There is no doubt in my mind that he is capable of doing so, whether it is this year or down the road. Is he a prototypical NBA athlete and fit the high-ceiling mold we sometimes see late in the first round? No, but he was one of the best jump shooters in all of college basketball for long stretches last season. He hits spot-up jumpers at a NBA level, and scouts develop an appreciation for guys that have a clear cut tool for the pro game.

"I'd like to see him get stronger, become a better defender, and do everything he can to reach his athletic potential, but he has plenty of time to do develop. Despite what we've seen in recent years, Lamb may not be in a rush to leave Lexington just yet. As I said a year ago, he might be the most valuable member of the Brandon Knight class since I think you can expect him to stick around and mesh with the waves of one-and-done guys Cal continues to bring in year after year."

Question: What about senior Darius Miller? What does he have to do to impress scouts more?

Kamalsky: "I'd like to see him become more of a threat to score from the midrange and develop his ballhandling ability, but that may be a tall order with the amount of talent UK will be putting on the floor offensively. At the end of the day, the best thing he could do would be take a page from DeAndre Liggins. If he can offer the same lockdown defense and maintain his dramatically improved shooting consistency from last season, there's no doubt in my mind he could hear his name called next summer. Despite the depth of this draft, there is still a place in the NBA for a defensive stalwart who can knock down the open catch and shoot 3 and finish the occasional lead pass on the break."

Question: Can sophomore Terrence Jones play himself into a top five pick, or even number one, as both Calipari and him say he wants to do?

Kamalsky: "Of all the questions you've asked me about individual players over the years, this is easily the hardest one to answer. I think that it is going to be extremely difficult to tell where Jones truly stands until March. More so than last year or the year before, it is going to take a bit of time for the pieces that Cal has brought in to fit together this season considering the overlapping sophomores and incredible talent level.

"What that means to Jones is that he may attempt 12 shots one night in November, but only a handful the next. The best thing he could do is take that in stride, hone his jump shot, and show the consistency he lacked as a freshman. We saw this year with Tristan Thompson that after the first tier of guys, the draft can be wildly unpredictable, so I'm not going to count him out entirely, but it will be a battle."

Question: Are all four UK freshmen potential one-and-done (if that rule stays in place)?

Kamalsky: "No, as I can't see Kyle Wiltjer getting enough opportunities to be able to entertain that decision, though he should have some good games this season. Like Lamb, he's the type of program builder Cal needs in each of these elite classes to truly compete for a national championship each season. Similarly, if Wiltjer improves his physique, defense, and consistency, he could be a first round prospect down the road."

Question: Are you still higher on this group of UK freshmen going into the season than you were on the group two years ago that ended up producing four first-round picks?

Kamalsky: "I had to think about this one for a while, and I am higher on this year's group from a NCAA perspective, but only marginally. I think this group has the tools and toughness to go farther in the NCAA Tournament and should leave at least one member behind for the 2012-2013 season, a factor that can't be understated from a long-term perspective. From a NBA perspective, I don't think its fair to say at this point because I see John Wall having a breakout season and DeMarcus Cousins could easily emerge as one of the top offensive big men in basketball if he gets his head right for any extended period of time. We can answer this question definitively in a few years."

Question: What should folks be looking for on your site now?

Kamalsky: "We're in the middle of our preseason coverage, so we're checking in on the top returning prospects in each conference. At this point, we're just looking forward to the beginning of the season like everyone else."

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