NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

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NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by AgsRock » March 10th, 2020, 10:34 am

Sam Merrill | PG/SG | Utah State | NR

With a large contingent of scouts -- including multiple NBA general managers -- in Vegas for the Mountain West Conference tournament, Merrill, 24, made his case as the next collegiate senior to sneak his way into the NBA and have an immediate impact.

The 6-5 Utah State combo guard averaged 27.6 points over the course of three games, capped by a winning 30-foot jumper with just over four seconds left to knock off San Diego State in the title game, handing the Aztecs their second loss of the season. Not only did Merrill splash tough jumper after tough jumper from all over the floor, he put the clamps on potential draft pick and conference player of the year Malachi Flynn, limiting the 6-2 guard to a 6-for-20 performance, partially answering questions about how Merrill will survive defensively in the NBA.

Even before Merrill's championship performance, scouts and executives half-jokingly deemed him the Luka Doncic of the Mountain West for his step-back 3s, cerebral game and ability to get to all of his spots by way of deception, forceful change of direction and strength. Although clearly not in the same stratosphere as the 6-8 Doncic, Merrill did show that same type of clutch gene as a primary shot creator against both SDSU and New Mexico early in the tournament, never getting rattled or sped up, playing at his own pace and drilling a handful of off-the-dribble 3s from well beyond NBA distance. While not the most creative live-dribble passer, he's more than capable of running the show for stretches, seeing over the top of the defense and making the right read, especially with teams having to fight over ball screens because of his shooting.

With short arms, an undefined frame and less than stellar run-and-jump athleticism, Merrill will still have some skeptics in NBA circles. He has had some trouble containing more explosive perimeter players over his career, he doesn't always turn the corner against long athletes, he's not the most reliable finisher in traffic, and it remains to be seen whether an NBA team would give him the same type of on-ball freedom he receives at Utah State. He'll also already be 25 by draft night. For reference, since 2000, only two players age 25 or older have been drafted -- Florida State's Bernard James and Auburn's Mamadou Ndiaye.

Whether or not Merrill gets drafted, we're in an era when some teams are looking for players more than prospects. They aren't quite as excited to spend years and resources to develop raw prospects only for another franchise to eventually reap the benefits. Thanks to his size, shooting, IQ and ability to function on and off the ball, Merrill could step into an NBA game tomorrow and have an impact. He's the exact type of veteran shotmaker built to help the Aggies in a deep tournament run, likely turning even more doubters into believers in the process. -- Schmitz
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by AgsRock » March 10th, 2020, 10:35 am

This was the write-up on ESPN+ this morning regarding our very own Sam Merrill



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by brownjeans » March 10th, 2020, 11:01 am

Most NBA players are used to, and want to be, their team's no. 1 option. While Sam has been our no. 1, I think it's clear that if he was surrounded by great players he'd be totally happy to fulfill a role. His skills + that kind of attitude should make his transition to professional basketball player smoother than most.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by AggieFBObsession » March 10th, 2020, 11:09 am

Questions related to this article. Again, seems like someone talking out of his a$$. Don't get me wrong, getting attention is better than none.

However...
#1. Is Doncic really 6-8 or even 6-7? I doubt it.
#2. Short arms? Based on what?
#3. Unreliable finishing in traffic? Based on what?
#4. Doesn't always turn the corner on long athletes? Again, based on what? Maybe it's better that he doesn't turn the corner because it's the wrong choice.
#5. What's Sam's age? I've searched for it and come up short. As if it really mattered, see Manu Ginobili.

The last paragraph is spot on. Merrill would make an immediate impact and any NBA franchise would be stupid to let him slip through their fingers.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by brownjeans » March 10th, 2020, 12:32 pm

AggieFBObsession wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 11:09 am
Questions related to this article. Again, seems like someone talking out of his a$$. Don't get me wrong, getting attention is better than none.

However...
#1. Is Doncic really 6-8 or even 6-7? I doubt it.
#2. Short arms? Based on what?
#3. Unreliable finishing in traffic? Based on what?
#4. Doesn't always turn the corner on long athletes? Again, based on what? Maybe it's better that he doesn't turn the corner because it's the wrong choice.
#5. What's Sam's age? I've searched for it and come up short. As if it really mattered, see Manu Ginobili.

The last paragraph is spot on. Merrill would make an immediate impact and any NBA franchise would be stupid to let him slip through their fingers.
Doncic is whatever height the NBA lists him as (they list him at 6'7"). The NBA had everyone measured at the start of this season and changed every players listed height to their true height. I actually trust the Luka's listed height more than Sam's.
Age matters in terms of the draft. There really are very few players Sam's age who are drafted - if they are, they are drafted late second round. Ginobili was 24 when drafted (turned 25 about a month later) and was taken with a 2nd round pick, no. 57 overall.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by OrangeCountyAggie » March 10th, 2020, 12:37 pm

Most of what they said was accurate except, he's actually an excellent finisher in traffic, has normal size arms and he'll only be 24 on draft night.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Aggie in Boise » March 10th, 2020, 12:39 pm

Sam turns 24 in May.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Elkaggie » March 10th, 2020, 12:47 pm

Crazy to think about.. he’s the same age as Donnie Mitchel.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Mr. Sneelock » March 10th, 2020, 2:35 pm

I love me some Sam Merrill, but there are several things that hurt his draft stock:

1. Age. 24 is like Methuselah when it comes to the draft. It is a huge negative. It would be better if he were 21 or 22. Not many college seniors get drafted. Even fewer that took two years off.
2. Let's face it. Sam is not very athletic. He is smart and crafty, and can score in a variety of ways. He can finish around the hoop through contact against college players who are also not particularly long and athletic. But the NBA is a totally different game athletically, and teams will have serious concerns about him getting to his spots, getting his shot off, turning the corner, and finishing at the rim in the NBA.
3. He doesn't have the measurables. He isn't very tall (6'5" may be a bit exaggerated), and most importantly, he isn't particularly long. It would be a lot better if he were 6'7" with a 6'11" wingspan.
4. He is better off the dribble than he is a catch and shoot guy. In other words, he kind of has the Jimmer disease. He works best in iso situations with the ball in his hands. That won't be available to him in the NBA.

His game reminds me of a poor man's James Harden (who is also 6'5") which isn't a bad thing, but Harden is really long (6'11 wingspan), is an elite ball handler, and a very smooth athlete, all of which help him get his shot off.

I'll take Sam on my college team any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But I would be a bit disappointed if my NBA team drafted him. Maybe as a late second rounder I would be OK with it, but most guys drafted in that range don't stick. Especially if they have very little growth potential.
Last edited by Mr. Sneelock on March 10th, 2020, 2:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by GoldcoastAggie » March 10th, 2020, 2:44 pm

AggieFBObsession wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 11:09 am
Questions related to this article. Again, seems like someone talking out of his a$$. Don't get me wrong, getting attention is better than none.

However...
#1. Is Doncic really 6-8 or even 6-7? I doubt it.
#2. Short arms? Based on what?
#3. Unreliable finishing in traffic? Based on what?
#4. Doesn't always turn the corner on long athletes? Again, based on what? Maybe it's better that he doesn't turn the corner because it's the wrong choice.
#5. What's Sam's age? I've searched for it and come up short. As if it really mattered, see Manu Ginobili.

The last paragraph is spot on. Merrill would make an immediate impact and any NBA franchise would be stupid to let him slip through their fingers.

I think its fairly good take outside of his age being off.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by BigBlueDart » March 10th, 2020, 2:50 pm

Also, it was 2 and half seconds left after his shot, not over 4!



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Murkymerk » March 10th, 2020, 2:59 pm

BigBlueDart wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 2:50 pm
Also, it was 2 and half seconds left after his shot, not over 4!
That was the first thing that stood out to me in that write up as well. In the writer’s defense, there were 4.1 seconds left when he released the shot :noidea:



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Aggie19 » March 10th, 2020, 3:05 pm

Mr. Sneelock wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 2:35 pm
I love me some Sam Merrill, but there are several things that hurt his draft stock:

1. Age. 24 is like Methuselah when it comes to the draft. It is a huge negative. It would be better if he were 21 or 22. Not many college seniors get drafted. Even fewer that took two years off.
2. Let's face it. Sam is not very athletic. He is smart and crafty, and can score in a variety of ways. He can finish around the hoop through contact against college players who are also not particularly long and athletic. But the NBA is a totally different game athletically, and teams will have serious concerns about him getting to his spots, getting his shot off, turning the corner, and finishing at the rim in the NBA.
3. He doesn't have the measurables. He isn't very tall (6'5" may be a bit exaggerated), and most importantly, he isn't particularly long. It would be a lot better if he were 6'7" with a 6'11" wingspan.
4. He is better off the dribble than he is a catch and shoot guy. In other words, he kind of has the Jimmer disease. He works best in iso situations with the ball in his hands. That won't be available to him in the NBA.

His game reminds me of a poor man's James Harden (who is also 6'5") which isn't a bad thing, but Harden is really long (6'11 wingspan), is an elite ball handler, and a very smooth athlete, all of which help him get his shot off.

I'll take Sam on my college team any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But I would be a bit disappointed if my NBA team drafted him. Maybe as a late second rounder I would be OK with it, but most guys drafted in that range don't stick. Especially if they have very little growth potential.
1. I agree his age is an issue.

2. Smart and crafty makes up for a little bit less athleticism. Worked for a really long time for a guy like Jeff Hornacek. Different era, I get it, but the point is the same, less athletic guys have made it in the league.

3. Average height/weight of shooting guards in the nba in 2017/18 was 6'5" and 204 lbs. Sam is 6'5" 205lbs. It would be better if every nba player had a 6'11" wingspan, not reality. What's Sam's wingspan, anyone known? I'm assuming we're just guessing, I haven't found that listed anywhere.

4. I disagree with this, he's not only an iso guy, he's hit big shots doing both. He and Jimmer are different players. Jimmer was all about shooting and nothing else. Sam is a more complete basketball player and a flat out smart player who plays pretty damn good defense, which Jimmer doesn't.

Im not sure Sam has a long career or any career in the NBA, I don't think he's a 1st rounderby any means. A lot of what is being said is pure opinion.


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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by AgsRock » March 10th, 2020, 3:18 pm

It's good to see he is now in the discussion, I think it would do wonders for Sam Merrill and Utah State if he was taken, even if its the last pick in the second round. Utah State needs some players to get drafted, to help with recruiting. Also, just so damn proud of the fact he has played so well in the last month that he is getting discussed.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by AggieFBObsession » March 10th, 2020, 3:18 pm

Jimmer never had a real chance at the NBA. The BYU hype machine let that get out of control. He never could play defense. BYU coaches have never been known to teach defense. Go figure.

Sam is guarding the best player on the other team almost every night. And if he's not, he's guarding the 2nd best player. It'll take time for these writers to dig themselves out of their ignorance. I guess I need to be more patient. It's not one of my strengths.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by hipsterdoofus21 » March 10th, 2020, 3:51 pm

Joe Ingles is currently on an NBA roster. I wouldn’t rule out Sam but it will take the right situation.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by WannabeAgAlum » March 10th, 2020, 4:02 pm

I think the write up is spot on.

Remember, he's being compared to NBA players.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by NVAggie » March 10th, 2020, 4:12 pm

It sounds like the opinion of someone who doesn't participate on this board. They aren't in our echo chamber. Sam has a very slim shot, but I'm sure he has a shot. He isn't a Jimmer and he isn't a Jaycee. Sam is his own guy.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by dogie » March 10th, 2020, 4:43 pm

He would be a better finisher at the rim if he made an effort to stay in his feet and not go to the ground six or seven times a game in an effort to draw the foul. I think that will be coached out of him pretty quickly at the next level. Plus it’s not good for his playing health.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Aggie19 » March 10th, 2020, 5:00 pm

I think it's pretty amazing for Utah State to have all the press about Jordan Love right now and Sam's potential to be an NBA player. Whether he makes it or not, it's still pretty cool to have them be in these discussions. There was a lot of years where we had nothing. Look at our history, not a lot there, even being in the discussion is huge at this point. Gives us something to build on, let's keep it going!

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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by OrangeCountyAggie » March 11th, 2020, 12:46 pm

Mr. Sneelock wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 2:35 pm
I love me some Sam Merrill, but there are several things that hurt his draft stock:

1. Age. 24 is like Methuselah when it comes to the draft. It is a huge negative. It would be better if he were 21 or 22. Not many college seniors get drafted. Even fewer that took two years off.
2. Let's face it. Sam is not very athletic. He is smart and crafty, and can score in a variety of ways. He can finish around the hoop through contact against college players who are also not particularly long and athletic. But the NBA is a totally different game athletically, and teams will have serious concerns about him getting to his spots, getting his shot off, turning the corner, and finishing at the rim in the NBA.
3. He doesn't have the measurables. He isn't very tall (6'5" may be a bit exaggerated), and most importantly, he isn't particularly long. It would be a lot better if he were 6'7" with a 6'11" wingspan.
4. He is better off the dribble than he is a catch and shoot guy. In other words, he kind of has the Jimmer disease. He works best in iso situations with the ball in his hands. That won't be available to him in the NBA.

His game reminds me of a poor man's James Harden (who is also 6'5") which isn't a bad thing, but Harden is really long (6'11 wingspan), is an elite ball handler, and a very smooth athlete, all of which help him get his shot off.

I'll take Sam on my college team any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But I would be a bit disappointed if my NBA team drafted him. Maybe as a late second rounder I would be OK with it, but most guys drafted in that range don't stick. Especially if they have very little growth potential.
Counter argument - according to coach Smith on a recent interview, Sam is a LEGIT 6'5'' and a better athlete than people give him credit for. While he's not dunking on guy's heads, he has a great second step and can explode to the rim, finishing in traffic. He's also able to get separation and get his shot off over bigger more athletic defenders. Those are translatable skills.

Also, he's close to a 50-40-90 guy which puts him in rarified air as a shooter. I hope you and I are not rooting for the same NBA team because I would be thrilled to have him in my team's guard rotation.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by OrangeCountyAggie » March 11th, 2020, 12:50 pm

Bottom line, I wouldn't bet against Sam Merrill.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by tugafan » March 11th, 2020, 2:29 pm

Aggie19 wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 5:00 pm
I think it's pretty amazing for Utah State to have all the press about Jordan Love right now and Sam's potential to be an NBA player. Whether he makes it or not, it's still pretty cool to have them be in these discussions. There was a lot of years where we had nothing. Look at our history, not a lot there, even being in the discussion is huge at this point. Gives us something to build on, let's keep it going!

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We can start adding Queta to that list again, considering that he is starting to appear in some mock drafts now.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by OrangeCountyAggie » March 11th, 2020, 4:29 pm

Serious question - Is there any thought that J Bean might turn into a draftable player in the next two years? He's an incredible athlete with a VERY unique skillset. He started looking like a player who could dominate a game coming off that Jamacia Tournament. Since then, he's just been his usual solid self.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by ThunderAggie » March 11th, 2020, 4:31 pm

OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 4:29 pm
Serious question - Is there any thought that J Bean might turn into a draftable player in the next two years? He's an incredible athlete with a VERY unique skillset. He started looking like a player who could dominate a game coming off that Jamacia Tournament. Since then, he's just been his usual solid self.
Thats a good point. He has good size and definelty the hustle. He literally has a magnet on his hands! He may be the best rebounder I have ever seen.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by hipsterdoofus21 » March 11th, 2020, 4:34 pm

ThunderAggie wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 4:31 pm
OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 4:29 pm
Serious question - Is there any thought that J Bean might turn into a draftable player in the next two years? He's an incredible athlete with a VERY unique skillset. He started looking like a player who could dominate a game coming off that Jamacia Tournament. Since then, he's just been his usual solid self.
Thats a good point. He has good size and definelty the hustle. He literally has a magnet on his hands! He may be the best rebounder I have ever seen.
If he can develop a consistent three point shot and show an ability to guard quicker guys off the dribble then yes.
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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by Imakeitrain » March 11th, 2020, 5:33 pm

Do I have espn + I signed up for the Disney plus package that has espn plus- but they never told me how to get o to espn plus. Or is article espn plus different than streaming?


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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by ThunderAggie » March 11th, 2020, 5:34 pm

https://www.deseret.com/sports/2020/3/1 ... tournament

It is as if someone read this message board and wrote about Sam's draft potential....

Either way it is a good article that highlights Mike Schmitz, the ESPN draft expert, and his take on Sammy.



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Re: NBA draft stock watch: Rising first-round picks and breakthrough prospects

Post by gomretat » March 11th, 2020, 5:47 pm

I would never question Sam given the heart and intangibles he has demonstrated. That often overcomes all kinds of other challenges and measures. And he clearly is a unique talent give all that he can do. That being said, my son played against him in high school and also 2 summers ago they played pick up games. Unless Sam has shot up recently I don't believe he is 6'5". The challenge he will face it that he is on the small side and less athletic that most NBA wings (even if he is 6'5") who happen to be some of the best athletes in the world. I also dont see him as having the foot speed or ball handling to be an NBA PG. That doesn't mean he can't make it in the NBA but he has a lot to overcome unless he has a freaky wingspan which I know nothing about. He could find a place in the right home and right system but I think he is looking for the perfect fit. The NBA is more and more about length and athleticism.



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