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NBA Draft Prospect: Le'Bryan Nash

With the NBA draft less than 36 hours away it's time to try and convince some NBA GM's to pick Le'Bryan Nash in our NBA Draft Prospect for the former Cowboy.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Le'Bryan Nash sat on ESPNU and committed to Oklahoma State in October of 2010 no one expected the 10th best high school recruit to stay in Stillwater for more than a season. But year after year, Nash announced that he would return to play basketball for another year in Gallagher-Iba Arena. But the year is now 2015 and Nash is up for grabs in the 2015 NBA Draft that is now less than 36 hours away.

Le'Bryan Nash sat on ESPNU and committed to Oklahoma State in October of 2010 no one expected the 10th best high school recruit to stay in Stillwater for more than a season. But year after year, Nash announced that he would return to play basketball for another year in Gallagher-Iba Arena. But the year is now 2015 and Nash is up for grabs in the 2015 NBA Draft that is now less than 36 hours away.

Now I probably won't convince any GM's to select Nash because I'm not really that convincing but hey maybe I could convince some NBA coaches (looking at you George Karl).

When you take a look at Nash's numbers while at Oklahoma State you'll see that he had a highly productive career in the orange and black.

SEASON AVERAGES - ESPn.com
SEASON TEAM MIN FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% REB AST BLK STL PF TO PTS
2014-15 OKST 31.7 5.7-12.4 .462 0.1-0.6 .100 5.6-7.1 .791 5.7 2.0 0.9 0.8 3.0 3.2 17.2
2013-14 OKST 29.9 5.0-9.6 .520 0.0-0.2 .000 4.0-5.4 .739 5.5 1.6 0.8 0.5 3.4 1.9 13.9
2012-13 OKST 31.9 4.8-10.5 .462 0.4-1.5 .240 3.9-5.3 .741 4.1 1.8 0.2 0.6 2.7 2.6 14.0
2011-12 OKST 30.1 4.6-11.6 .394 0.6-2.4 .235 3.6-4.9 .730 5.0 1.5 0.4 0.6 2.9 2.6 13.3

At first glance it you see that Nash steadily improved year after year but part of that is because of his role changing from a role player to the star of the team during his senior season. But after watching Nash in person for three years now I am here to tell you that he is essentially the same player that he was four years ago when he stepped on campus.

Part of that is Travis Ford's inability to develop players, the name Marcus Smart comes to mind. Part of that is likely that Nash seems to be a lazy player who doesn't hustle on the floor. I can't pass complete judgment because I haven't seen Nash practice, but what I can say is that he doesn't seem to hustle up and down the floor and hasn't improved substantially like other forwards in this draft.

That being said, I think that Nash could very well fit into an NBA roster somewhere later in the second round.

The best expert analysis is by David Ray on NBADraft.net. Ray gave Nash an overall rating of 85.

Strengths: Le’Bryan’s size and ability to defend are his biggest selling points when looking towards the NBA. Standing 6’6.5’’ barefoot, possessing a 6’10’’ wingspan, 8’6’’ standing reach, and weighing in at a powerful 232 pounds, Nash has really solid measurements for an NBA small forward ... He’s proved to be a solid, and physical defender at the NCAA level, and his physical traits and athleticism project him to be a player capable of guarding the small forward spot at the next level ... Not a player that really stuffs the stats on the defensive end, his role with the Cowboys was to defend their opponents most prolific wing, something Le’Bryan did with great success ... Offensively, Nash has a great first step, and has really developed into a polished slasher at the college level ... He not only has the speed to get past defenders, but the hops and strength to dunk over, and finish through contact ... Nash made 7.1 trips to the line per contest last season, and he hit 79% of those shots, very good marks ... His offensive game is limited within the 3 point arc, but he’s a 40.6% jump shooter on 2 point field goals, and his a good shooter off the dribble out to about 18 feet ... He knows his game, and as a first time 1st option as a senior, scored at a high level (17.2 ppg) and hit double figures in every game this season ... He uses his strength on the glass as well, and is an above average rebounder for his position (5.7 rpg, and 7.2 per 40 minutes).

Weaknesses: Le’Bryan’s jump shot is by no means busted, but he simply does not have 3 point range ... Despite a surprising long range showing in the Portsmouth Invitational, he still doesn’t have a large enough sample size to sell himself as an improved 3 point shooter ... He was just 2-20 during his senior season, and didn’t make a single 3 pointer as a junior ... Merely getting his long range game up to the level where he can hit an open corner 3 would do wonders for his NBA outlook ... Nash’s physicality on defense is one of his selling points, but he fouls at a pretty high rate for a wing player. And he gained a reputation while in high school as a player that was averse to contact .... Adapting to the speed of the NBA game, while not giving up easy fouls will be key in his translation, but I’m confident this is a weakness Le’Bryan can improve upon with gained experience ... As a senior, his TO rate was a little high (3.2 per game), but as a junior when he was a 3rd option, he played well in a less featured role and only gave up the ball 1.9 times per contest ... Hopefully in an NBA system where he’s more of a cog in the machine rather than a featured offensive player, his turnover rate will settle down to the numbers he posted as a junior when he wasn’t a number 1 offensive option ... Probably pretty close to the player he’ll end up being, Nash has room for improvement, but not a particularly high ceiling at his age ...

Overall: Nash came into college as a top 20 recruit and decorated high school All American, but struggled to fulfill his promise as an elite level recruit ... He is a physical defender, who has a developed mid-range game, and the size and athletic chops to execute his strengths against NBA talent ... His lack of a 3 point jumper is the biggest hurdle for him to overcome, as he projects a mid-range and D player, rather than the 3 and D role which many players have excelled in during the past 10-15 years. Still, Nash is a mature player, who plays within himself, and with some continued polish in the D-League or on the end of an NBA team’s roster, could prove to be a nice option in the last fews picks in this year’s draft, or as a free agent.

I think that Ray offers some solid insight at the end of his thoughts when he talks about how the D-League would be beneficial to a guy like Nash. After covering the NBADL for a year and seeing the growth that so many players have in just a few months down there I have become an advocate for the NBADL.

I will say this in defense of the former Poke, the big thing at NBA scouts of knocked Nash on throughout this process has been his jump shot which is something that he has worked on continuously. At the Portsmouth Invitational he wowed scouts and coaches with his three-point ability.

Most mock drafts have Nash going undrafted on Thursday night and although I agree with those experts it's still fun to think of the scenarios where Nash could end up.

Nash worked out for nine NBA teams: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns.

I only see three possibilities where Nash gets picked up on Thursday.

Pick No. 52: Dallas Mavericks

Pick No. 58: Philadelphia 76ers

Pick No. 60: Philadelphia 76ers

I've heard for months now that Philly is highly interested in Nash and that he his high up on their draft board. Nash would likely spend time down in the NBADL with Philly's D-League team, the Delaware 87ers, before he made it up to the league.

Nash has also received some interest from the Phoenix Suns but the Suns' final pick is at 44 and I don't think they jump on Nash that early, which leaves the Mavs at 52.

Le'Bryan ending up in Dallas would be a dream for the Dallas native, I'm sure. But so much of what Dallas does is counteractive to Nash's game. Nash is a slashing forward who forces his opponents to foul and Dallas has relied on sharp shooters for years now.

At the end of the day, Nash could realistically end up with any of the nine teams that he worked out for but the above two are probably the most likely.

Regardless, Thursday will be a whirlwind for Nash, who will watch the draft from his home with his mother and daughter. If he isn't drafted then he will likely be invited to join a team for summer league and go from there. But from the day that he announced that he was "taking his game to Stillwater, OK", he has dreamed of making it to the league. That journey starts tomorrow.