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2015 NBA Draft Prep: Cliff Alexander

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Cliff Alexander came to Kansas as a five-star, top-5 prospect, and possible one-and-done. Let's see where he might be headed in the Association.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Alexander came to Kansas as a five-star prospect out of Curie High School in Chicago, IL.  Alexander was considered by most to be a one-and-done prospect, as he was rated the #3 overall recruit by ESPN and #4 by Rivals coming out of high school.  Alexander reportedly chose KU over Illinois, Memphis, and DePaul.

Let's take a closer look at Cliff and see where he might be headed.

Measurables

(Per DraftExpress.com, from the 2015 NBA Combine)

Height w/ shoes 6'8 1/2"
Weight 239 lbs
Wingspan 7'3 1/2"
Max vertical NA

Stats

(Per Sports-Reference.com)

Per Game
GP 28 RPG 5.3
MPG 17.6 APG 0.4
PPG 7.1 ToPG 1.0
FG% .566 SPG 0.2
3P% - BPG 1.3
FT% .671
Per 40
PTS 16.2 STL 0.4
REB 12.0 BLK 3.0
AST 1.0 TO 2.3
Advanced
eFG .566 STL% 0.6
ORB% 13.3 BLK% 7.7
DRB% 19.9 TO% 14.4

Strengths

(NBAdraft.net, DraftExpress.com)

Size - Alexander is commonly referred to by scouts as undersized for a typical NBA power forward, but they say what he lacks in height he can make up for with his length and bulk. In fact, one scout says, "His big hands, strong body and huge wingspan may even allow him to see some minutes at the center position in smaller lineups, which his skill-set might currently dictate he's actually better suited for."

Rebounding - This is Cliff's most NBA-ready quality, and could be what helps him see the floor in year one.  While he'll never be the most athletic fellow on the floor, he is adapt at positioning himself well and using the size we just discussed to move opposing players and get to the ball.  Scouts are especially impressed by his offensive rebounding prowess.

Weaknesses

(NBAdraft.net, DraftExpress.com)

Offense - Alexander was not what you would call a prolific scorer while at KU, and scouts call his offensive repetoire "lacking" and "predictable when trying to create for himself in 1 on 1 opportunites."  Scouts also comment that his footwork is "undeveloped."  They are also not impressed with Cliff's passing ability, saying he doesn't read the floor well, is predictable, and doesn't react well when the defense throws something different at him.

Defense - Scouts love the tools that Alexander brings to the table, but say his fundamentals and his technique are poor.  Cliff also tends to give up post position too easily and bites on fakes, causing him to commit "silly fouls."  Despite his shot-blocking ability, Cliff is "slow to react to what's happening on the floor" and "has a tendency to get lost badly off the ball."  His steal numbers are also well below what scouts would like to see for a player with his wingspan.

Conclusion

Alexander came to Kansas with the idea of dominating the post for a year before possibly taking off for the NBA.  He seemed to be at odds with the coaching staff at KU at times even before questions concerning his amateur status came about.  He can become a contributor at the NBA level, but will have to outwork his competition if he wants to retain a roster spot while continually working on improving his offensive and defensive abilities.

Prediction

As of 6/20/15, here are the various predictions for Cliff Alexander in the 2015 NBA Draft:

Site Overall Team
Draft Express #40 Miami
NBAdraft.net #35 Philadelphia
Chad Ford #44 Phoenix
NBA.com #29 Brooklyn
CBSSports.com #52 Dallas
Yahoo Sports #40 Miami
Bleacher Report #40 Miami

Even more so with Cliff Alexander than Kelly Oubre, Jr., there are too many possibilities of how draft night could actually unfold to know for sure where Alexander will go.  Only one of the above sites predicted Cliff to go in the first round.  That said, the official RCT prediction for Cliff Alexander will be in the second round, and I'll go with the majority and say #40 overall to the Miami Heat.

The draft is on Thursday evening, June 25, at 6 PM Jayhawk time.