With NBA draft, there are players that have a more complete skill set than others. Usually, they are older NCAA players, but this draft has a few exceptions.
Marcus Smart is a polished prospect. He is just 20 years old. As a captain of the Team USA FIBA team, he excels at both ends of the floor. His athleticism isn’t as outrageous as Zach LaVine, but he plays excellent man-to-man defense, forces turnovers, has a developing jumpshot, and is adept at attacking the basket and finishing through contact. He seems the most likely to contribute to the NBA floor, providing defense, energy, and the ability to attack.
Julius Randle is a polished prospect. Yes, he has a lot of things to work on, but his NBA skill is based around the painted area. There, he has an exceptionally high finishing rate at the rim. He draws fouls against paint players at a high level. He converts over 70% of his free throws. He has the ability change direction, anchor is pivot foot, and take a shot through contact. He’s an exceptional rebounder as well. He had 24 double-doubles as a freshman player alone. While he needs to work on his jumpshot, defense, and passing ability, his offensive skills and rebounding ability are so great, he should be able to play extensive minutes as a rookie player.
Doug McDermott is a polished prospect. Out of Creighton, he leaves as a traditional 22-year old senior. While his athleticism at the NBA level can be considered average at best, his perimeter shooting touch in catch-and-shoot situations and off-the-dribble is extraordinarily great. He has range behind the NBA 3-point line. His basketball IQ within the halfcourt set is advanced. He works equally well both on and off the basketball. He adapted his finishing style around the rim to include quick-flip shots before the defense can react. He has been an elite NCAA scorer the past several years, and his best NBA quality is his perimeter shooting touch. With the right team, he could contribute immediately as a 3rd option player. If he adds a post game with an unblockable shot, watch out.
Nik Stauskas is a polished prospect. Like McDermott, he’s a tremendous shooter. Unlike McDermott, he’s an above average playmaker, excelling in pick-and-roll situations. He is a surprising ball-handler and works equally as well off-the-ball. He has NBA level perimeter touch, but his basketball IQ and offensive versatility allow him to fit within any offensive structure at the small forward or shooting guard positions. Defense is an opportunity for him, but as a 3rd or 4th option freshman for Michigan, they won the NCAA title. His skill level and athletic ability from his freshman to sophomore year changed dramatically. Now, he’s able to finish explosively around the rim.
Polished prospects may have lower projected upsides compared to project players, but a team knows what they are getting. They are more likely to contribute immediately. This is the difference between Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Anthony was a more polished prospect out of Syracuse with his isolation skills. LeBron made the jump, developed his body, and the rest is history. While it may be considered safe to take a polished prospect, sometimes they don’t work out as well.
Brian Cook was a polished prospect once.
Andrew Bynum, wasn’t.