So, your team just drafted Diamond Stone.
But where does he fit in in today's NBA?
The NBA is moving away from back-to-the-basket scorers in favor of quicker and more versatile big men, something that doesn't favor Stone in the slightest. But the big man isn't extinct just yet and luckily for Stone, there's always room in the league for big men that can put the ball in the basket.
At 19-years-old, Stone is one of the youngest prospects in this draft. The 6-foot-10, 255-pound center from the University of Maryland came to the Terrapins as one of the most heralded recruits in school history, ranking as the sixth best player in the Class of 2015.
Stone had his ups and downs throughout the course of the season. He averaged 12.4 ppg on 57% shooting and 5.5 rpg to go along with 1.6 bpg in his only season in College Park that ended in a Sweet 16 loss to Kansas.
While not gaudy numbers, Stone often deferred to a talented Maryland roster that featured the likes of Melo Trimble and Jake Layman.
Stone was seen as a sure fire lottery pick coming into the start of the season, but concerns about his fit in the NBA and motor have drug his projection down in the last few months.
Given that this is the right situation with the right people surrounding him, the [insert team] might just have a steal on their hands.
- Scoring- Stone's ticket to the next level is his scoring. He is developed beyond his years on the block and has a multitude of post moves in his arsenal that once had him slotted in the lottery. He uses his strength and big body to establish position in the post and can go over either shoulder without a hitch.
- Physical Tools- Outside of his scoring ability, Stone doesn't stand out, but what he does have is an intriguing set of physical tools (7'3'' wingspan, quickness around the rim) , that if the Los Angeles Clippers are able to tap into, they may have themselves a quality big man in a league where it is becoming increasingly hard to find.
- Passing- Stone may very well be the worst passing big man in this draft. According to DraftExpress, Stone averaged just 0.7 assists per 40 minutes this season, which was good for third worst among their Top 100 while his 4.1 assist percentage ranked fifth worst. He is a bit of a black hole when he receives the ball down low. He gets tunnel vision, puts his head down and looks to score. While that may have worked for him at other levels, it won't work in the NBA. Stone may never be good enough to warrant feeding him the ball down on the block and telling everyone to get out of the way, so if he wants to stay in the league, this is an adjustment he needs to make.
- Willingness to compete- Too often Stone looks lackadaisical on defense and apathetic on the boards. If he's isn't seeing touches on offense, he falls asleep on both ends. This can likely be attributed to, like many uber-talented prospects, that he simply hasn't needed to channel that side of his game yet. But, as an NBA team, you want to see that competitive drive regardless and Stone purely didn't show it at times as a Terrapin.
Los Angeles took a calculated risk in drafting Stone. He has the scoring ability and tools to play in the NBA for a long time. Now it's up to Stone to hone his craft and the Clippers coaching staff to help him thrive. If he flames out, he could be out of the league in a Daniel Orton type of way, but if he puts it together he could very well make an impact this season. When it's all said and done though, Stone could be a steal for the Clippers at this point in the draft.