They were the performances that nearly broke Twitter: Andrew Wiggins's no-show against Stanford. Shabazz Napier's combined 49 points against Saint Joseph's and Villanova. Jabari Parker's porous defense against Mercer. If social media chatter influenced NBA front offices, draft stocks during the NCAA tournament's opening weekend were more volatile than the bitcoin market.
But that's not the case. "One game has no impact," says an Eastern Conference assistant GM. "Teams are gearing an entire defense toward one guy for one game. You don't judge a guy on that. You judge him on what you have seen for the last six months. It didn't matter what Wiggins or Parker did in the tournament. They are still going to go in the top three."
Still, a player who puts together a string of strong games can enhance his stock. Connecticut's Napier—projected to be drafted 25th to 50th in a crowded class of point guards—has gained new supporters. "He plays with big balls out there," says an Eastern Conference executive. So has Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas, who made 46.7% of his threes in wins over Wofford and Texas. "I watch closely how players play under pressure," says a Western Conference executive. "A guy that steps up and helps his team win in big games, that's someone I'll definitely take a longer look at."