Can C.J. play in NBA?

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl said several times during the 2005-06 season that he thought Vol point guard C.J. Watson has the skills to make the roster of a National Basketball Association team.

The media experts tend to disagree. None of their mock drafts even list Watson as a potential NBA draftee. So, can C.J. play in the pros or not?

To bring this question into sharper focus, let's take a look at how Watson fared against three point guards he faced last winter who are expected to be first-round NBA draft picks:

Daniel Gibson, Texas, Dec. 17: Gibson had an awful game against Watson, producing 2 points and 0 assists in nine dismal minutes with 2 turnovers. Watson hit 5 of 8 floor shots and finished with 17 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and 6 rebounds. Advantage: Watson.

Darius Washington, Memphis, Jan. 18: Washington sank just 2 of 12 from the floor but mopped up at the foul line (12 of 14) to finish with 17 points, 5 assists and 5 turnovers. Watson also had a cold night from the field (2 of 10) and a good night from the foul line (8 of 11), finishing with 14 points, 2 assists and 2 turnovers. Advantage: Even.

Rajon Rondo, Kentucky, Feb. 7 and March 1: Rondo posted slightly better numbers in the first meeting – 11 points, 6 assists and 3 turnovers compared to Watson's 10 points, 4 assists and 2 turnovers. Each grabbed 5 rebounds. Rondo went off in the rematch, though, hitting 8 of 9 from the floor en route to a 16-point, 8-assist night. Watson was 5 of 15 from the field on his way to a 15-point, 5-assist evening. Advantage: Rondo.


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