Lifted from the Open Thread ...
As someone who follows the NBA pretty closely and used to scout and write for one of the more prominent NBA Draft sites, I have to tell you that Patterson and Meeks have a long way to go before they’re NBA ready.
Patterson is a well above average college “4” but doesn’t have the ball skills to back away from the paint. He has a nice jumper, but an awkward and long delivery, so he needs work away from the basket. The kind of work that a giant man-child named Orton playing center would allow him to get. Patterson has played out of position his first two years and done a remarkable job playing center at what is probably closer to 6’8". He does have a long wingspan, but he’s not an overpowering athlete in the Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh vein. He’s more like Al Horford from Florida/Hawks, but he has not shown the killer instinct enough that Horford has. Simply put, no top 20 NBA draft pick can get blocked seven times by a Gamecock. If you do, you’re not ready.
Meeks is an interesting case because (a) he’s more on the radar than Patterson now after his Tennessee game/scoring binges. As much as we’ve all seen it, most folks, and lots of NBA folks, haven’t seen Meeks’ recent struggles up close. But those struggles will be what scouts back away from — namely Meeks is not a strong dribbler and loses the ball too often in the paint.
Of the two, I believe Meeks is more ready to play his position in the NBA. He’s physically as ready as he’ll ever be, and his “motor” is already NBA material. There are few player existing in the NBA right now who could keep up with Meeks for 48 minutes. But the NBA is not a “screener” league like college. Just ask JJ Redick, who thrived coming off screens to the tune of over 2,000 career points.
There is always a place for shooters in the NBA, but that place is often as a 7th or 8th man. If Meeks wants to not only make a team but contribute, he’ll need to spend the summer working on his midrange game, drives to the hoop in the halfcourt and ability to play ON the ball/point. Ideally, Meeks would be more of Gillispie’s “lead guard” option and less of a screen and pop player.
I have a feeling both will declare, both will see that they have work to do and both will return well before the deadline, though I think Meeks is the more likely to stay in if he has a strong draft camp or personal workouts.
Just my .02.