March is key for Plumlee, Thompson

Updated: March 3, 2011, 11:45 AM ET
By David Thorpe

Many NBA executives are completely in love with the new wave of statistical analysis sweeping the league. These metrics are obviously number-centric and, by definition, ignore the kinds of subjective variables that creep into human analysis. Still, the league is full of average players who were drafted high thanks to excellent play in March.

Fantastic finishes in tournament play, clutch plays in pressure situations, carrying a team through another tournament round -- these are memories that executives cannot shake when draft day comes around, even if the action in those few games does not represent what the player has done most of the season. Invariably, a player (or two) who most teams feel is not lottery-bound as March begins ends up drafted in the top 14, thanks to his play when the games counted most.

Here are four guys I'm targeting as the top candidates to be lottery busters this June, because of what they can do in the next few weeks.