When Diamond Stone committed to Maryland in March of 2015, it was widely thought that he was a slam dunk lottery pick if he entered the 2016 NBA Draft.
With the draft set to commence in 11 days, why has Stone’s stock been falling since the season’s end?
One of the biggest factors is the amount of talented post players in the 2016 class.
International prospect Dragan Bender could go as high as the third pick, but will almost certainly go in the top five. Marquese Chriss (Washington), Deyonta Davis (Michigan State), Skal Labissiere (Kentucky), and Jakob Poeltl (Utah) have the potential to go in the top 10 as well.
The top 10 is projected to be very guard heavy with the likes of Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, and Jamal Murray going early on in the lottery. For a team that misses out on a guard in the early portion of the top 10, they could elect to dabble with a big man.
In addition to the depth at the position, it also doesn’t help Stone that he doesn’t have elite size for a post player.
Stone measures at 6’10 and 255 pounds, which is fine for an NBA player. However, he also isn’t extremely athletic.
For example, Davis is also 6’10, but he weighs 225 pounds and has a 7’2 wingspan. This is a very raw draft prospect, but his athleticism and potential are the reason that he’ll be selected far before Stone.
The same goes for Labissiere. While there wasn’t a ton of production for the former Wildcat, his stock is based on potential and his 7’2.5 wingspan.
For guys like Chriss and Poeltl, their production is higher than what Stone put together during his lone season in College Park.
If you’re looking at statistics, obviously Chriss and Stone have similar numbers. However, Chriss can jump out of the gym and has been compared to former LSU star Tyrus Thomas and even has a little bit of Aaron Gordon in his game.
As a prospect, Chriss is certainly more polished than Stone at both ends of the floor.
Stone also isn’t as aggressive as he could at times on the glass. In Maryland’s final two NCAA Tournament games, the former five-star recruit only grabbed a total of six rebounds, including just two against Kansas.
The former Terp doesn’t explode to the basketball and isn’t always in the best defensive position when going for a rebound. Part of the reason for not exploding towards the basketball has to do with his athleticism.
However, he also doesn’t always give maximum effort on the defensive end and on the glass. He also doesn’t use his weight to his advantage in terms of getting position for a rebound.
If Stone is more physical at the next level, he could be a very effective post presence in the NBA.
Some of the reasons why his stock is falling aren’t his fault. However, some have to do with effort.
While it isn’t a foregone conclusion that he’ll slip out of the first round, it isn’t highly likely either. Stone’s individual workouts with teams could go a long way in cementing his draft status next Thursday.