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Andy Katz on Damion James

I somehow missed this article earlier in the week, but apparently Katz in talking with some NBA folks, thinks Damion James will stay in the draft. See the second paragraph after the combine list.

I've heard that it's always been first round or bust for Damion, but some out there feel that an early guaranteed second round pick would be enough to entice the athletic forward into making the jump to the League. One thing working against Texas here is the new combine format that virtually does away with scrimmaging, and instead focuses on individual workouts. Individually, Damion should test off the charts. On the other hand, if Damion's being evaluated in game situations, he's going to have a difficult time convincing scouts he can be an effective small forward unless the conditions are optimum.

For instance, considering Damion has such a tough time getting his own shot against defenders with similar athleticism, he's going to find the going pretty tough scrimmaging against other 3's in the combine like Dajuan Summers, Tyler Smith, and Gerald Henderson. And with Damion's struggles making good decisions with the basketball, he'll find playmaking in this setting even more difficult.

What he needs is to be paired with a playmaking backcourt that can get him shots by creating help and recover situations away from the ball. We know Damion can catch and shoot, or take one power dribble and get to the goal. With a guard tandem that makes defenses help and then run at Damion in recover situations, it makes his draft stock much more attractive. Damion can handle a two way go. Catch and shoot, or catch, shot fake, and power dribble to a dunk past a recovering defender.

Since there won't be an opportunity to show in game settings, Damion has to hope that his individual skills auditions for personnel people eclipses the questions about his lack of creating and playmaking on tape in the college game. If James comes back to Texas, the latter will be taken care of when he's taking power forwards off the dribble because Hamilton, Bradley, and the 3 headed point guard monster of Balbay, Lucas, and Ward are doing the creating for him.

Remember when Connor Atchley was a surefire first rounder? That's what happens when a perimeter oriented 4 is surrounded by playmakers. Remember when Mason was a point guard? Ditto. Sure it's fool's gold with respect to Damion being a playmaker in the League, but gold nonetheless.