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2012 Draft Thursday, June 28th: Raptors select Terence Ross

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  • Top prospects offering lots of risk ESPN Insider

    With the college basketball season behind us, you'd think that NBA scouts would have a firm grasp on the potential (or lack thereof) of every prospect in the draft.

    You'd be wrong.

    It's getting to be late April and scouts and GMs are still hotly debating the draft worthiness of a number of top prospects.

    These players have amazing talent but also major question marks with huge draft ranges that swing Nos. 10 to 15 on our draft board. For them, the college season offered more questions than answers. And now, with NBA workouts getting ready to begin in a few weeks, they have yet another chance to dramatically improve or hurt their draft stock.

    Here's a look at five players in our Top 20 who continue to inspire major disagreements in war rooms across the NBA.

    Andre Drummond

    The prosecution: Drummond was a major disappointment as a freshman. He disappeared for huge stretches, despite having a size and athletic advantage over virtually every player he faced. He lacks any sort of offensive refinement, is one of the most hideous free throw shooters to ever play the game and just doesn't look like he really loves to play.

    The defense: Drummond is young (the second youngest player in his class). A broken nose before the season began really held back his development. He was in a horrible situation at UConn with two guards who refused to get him the ball. Defensively he was already very impressive and he has all the physical tools to be a dominant player offensively someday, too.

    The verdict: He's a likely top-five pick. Some teams still have him rated as the No. 2 prospect in the draft. A small handful have him anywhere from the late lottery to mid-first round. The majority have him somewhere between Nos. 3 and 5 on their Big Boards. He's a risk (Kwame Brown anyone?) but GMs are usually willing to gamble on athletic bigs. Unless he's just awful in workouts, it's hard to see him sliding too far.

    Perry Jones

    The prosecution: Jones is a 2 guard trapped in a big man's body. At his size, he's too big to play the wing, but too soft to play in the post in the pros. Jones might be a tough kid off the court, but on it he too often shies away from contact and settles for shots that take him out of the fray. He's a nice kid who just plays too nice to ever make a difference in the NBA.

    The defense: Baylor head coach Scott Drew just didn't know how to use Jones. Folks who have over-promised on what he can deliver at a young age have unfairly maligned him. Once he gets to the NBA, with more progressive offenses and coaches, the game will open up for him. He has the size, athleticism and skills to be a dominant wing player at the next level.

    The verdict: Way too early to tell. A few veteran scouts swear he's the second best player in this draft and will be, at worst, Rudy Gay. A number of personnel people also said they wouldn't touch Jones anywhere within the first 10 picks of the draft. They believe his motor will never rev up. However, most guys sit somewhere in between and see him somewhere in the 6-to-12 range.

    John Henson


    AP Photo/Gerry Broome
    Scouts love John Henson, but aren't sure how he fits in the NBA.
    The prosecution: Henson is a player without a position in the NBA. He's too weak to guard the post and doesn't really have the feel for the wing. While he can cause problems on the defensive end, he doesn't really have one go-to move offensively.

    The defense: Henson plays hard. He plays smart and he'll be able to guard multiple positions at the next level. While he might not be the most creative offensive player in the world, he scraps and doesn't need the ball to be effective.

    The verdict: Whenever you hear scouts talk about him, they are generally positive about his game and the improvements he made. However, when you press a little further and ask them how he fits with their team, they balk. Again, I know a handful who prefer him to both Drummond and Jones. I know even more who don't have him as a serious lottery pick. I've stuck with Andrei Kirilenko as a comp for the past two years, and I still believe he's got the chance to be him at the next level.

    Austin Rivers

    The prosecution: Rivers is living off the hype he created in high school. He thinks he's Kobe Bryant, but lacks the explosive athletic ability that gives Bryant an edge. He struggles to contribute if the ball isn't in his hands. His cocky attitude won't play nearly as well at the next level.

    The defense: Rivers can score as well as anyone in the draft. He's got a killer crossover, a quick first step and a very solid perimeter game. He needs refinement, but once he gets it, he could be one of the top scorers in the draft.

    The verdict: All over the place. Some teams like him in the 6-to-10 range. Others in the 20-30 range. No kidding. Teams seem to love him or hate him. Workouts against the top talent in the draft could seal the deal either way for him.

    Tony Wroten Jr.

    The prosecution: Wroten is a selfish guard who tries too often to overpower his opponent. His game can kill team chemistry. To say his jump shot is broken would be an act of charity. It's ugly. His out-of-control game has the potential to spill over into other areas of his life.

    The defense: The draft is devoid of talented point guards who could be franchise players. Wroten might be the only one who could be an All-Star someday -- if he settles down. His strength, his size, his athletic ability and aggressiveness make him, at the very least, another Tyreke Evans.

    The verdict: Good luck. Most teams are scared to death of him. They love him, but very few seem to have the courage to take him over safer names like Kendall Marshall and Damian Lillard. Even Marquis Teague might pass him by draft night.
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/blog/...-top-prospects
    @Chr1st1anL

    Comment


    • Finding a Niche For: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

      as he actually took the smallest percentage of shots (18.6%, 7th on the team) of any player in Kentucky's rotation, relative to minutes played, according to Ken Pomeroy.

      His most prolific source of offense came from pushing the ball in transition, getting out on the fast break as well as any non-guard prospect in this draft. His size, strong frame, aggressive mentality and physical nature all help him out tremendously with his forays to the rim, as he simply refuses to be denied once inside the paint. Kidd-Gilchrist finishes 71% of his field goal attempts on the fast break, according to Synergy Sports Technology, which is #1 amongst all draft prospects.

      In the half-court, Kidd-Gilchrist doesn't have the most visually appealing style of play, but he finds ways to be productive, often through sheer desire and tenacity.

      He has the ability to go inside the paint and back down smaller wing players in post situations, showing great strength overpowering opponents and having no problems finishing through contact. He has nice touch around the basket and even a jump-hook he likes to utilize at times with his back to the basket situations, something that could become more useful as he improves his footwork and ability to recognize and take advantage of mismatches at his size.

      Kidd-Gilchrist has an excellent feel for the game, which shows up in the way he moves intelligently without the ball, as well as with his passing skills, which are very well developed considering his age.

      Not someone who can be expected to shoulder an offense considering his somewhat limited skill-set, he is the type of player who needs good teammates around him to fully utilize all the different things he does well. He really understands the nuances of making others better with his ability to set screens, pass, and make hustle plays, which is likely a big reason why he's always been considered such a winner from very early on in his career.

      With that said, he has a ways to go before he can be considered anything more than a complimentary offensive option, which is exactly what he was for Kentucky as their fifth leading per-minute scorer.

      He's an average perimeter shooter at best, making 26% of the 51 3-pointers he attempted this season, showing highly unconventional mechanics (shooting the ball on his way down, with his elbow flailing out) that could hamper him from ever becoming anything more than that later in his career. He doesn't have much of a mid-range game either, struggling to pull-up off the dribble effectively due to his crude shooting mechanics.

      Kidd-Gilchrist isn't a very fluid or polished shot-creator either, as he's not a very advanced ball-handler at this stage in terms of changing speeds and directions on his secondary moves. His first step is very effective, and he has extremely long strides and the ability to overpower defenders on his way to the lane, but if he can't simply blow by his man or get his shoulder past him, he struggles somewhat trying to create offense in isolation or pick and roll situations.

      Nevertheless, Kidd-Gilchrist found ways to help his team this year, be it crashing the offensive glass, cutting off the ball, getting out in transition, or drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line, where he converted a very solid 75% of his attempts this season.

      He's extremely versatile on defense as well, being asked to guard point guards to power forwards, sometimes within the same game. He has ideal physical attributes here, with his terrific size, strength and length. He also moves his feet extremely well, and is competitive a player as you'll find on this end of the floor. It's obvious that he truly enjoys his work here, which is pretty rare at his age. His shows outstanding instincts blocking shots and getting in the passing lanes, and does a great job of contesting shots, playing the game with a real nasty streak.

      The fact that he's strong and tough enough to defend many big men, yet has the agility to stay in front of guards makes him a real game changer covering the pick and roll, as he can switch onto virtually anyone without consequence. He also rebounds extremely well for a wing player.


      Kidd-Gilchrist is a unique prospect in this draft, as he doesn't really fit the prototype of what teams drafting in the top five typically look for offensively. What he lacks in scoring polish he makes up for in toughness and competitiveness, though, as he's a consummate teammate who shows no ego and only seems to care about helping his team win games.



      Combine that with the fact that he's by far the youngest player in this draft, not turning 19 for more than five months, and it's not unreasonable to think that he still has considerable room for improvement over the next few years, particularly if he can improve his shooting mechanics.

      In a perfect world, Kidd-Gilchrist would be drafted by a team that already has some talent in place, as he's probably not ready to carry a heavy scoring load early in his career. Regardless of where he ends up, though, it's difficult to see a team being disappointed in what he brings to the table, as he appears to be the type of player who will almost make the most of his potential, giving him very little downside.

      From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com#ixzz1t1Z2fQS1
      http://www.draftexpress.com
      OK I have a serious man crush after reading all that. C'mon lotto balls!
      @Chr1st1anL

      Comment


      • Chr1s1anL wrote: View Post
        OK I have a serious man crush after reading all that. C'mon lotto balls!
        All I've been trying to wish for all season long....

        Comment


        • I wonder how Kidd-Gilchrist will show in workouts. Similarly to Biyombo last year, his greatest assests do not necessarily show well outside of a game situation.

          I am not saying it is the same thing, but before the draft last year Biyombo was shooting up the draft boards everywhere due to his defensive instincts. His management team decided (as most teams of probable high picks do) that rather then risk being embarrassed and being shown-up by another prospect that they would workout in front of interested teams solo. How did this work out for him? I remember reading a quote from a GM saying that "Biyombo went one-on-none and he lost."

          Put Kidd-Gilchrist in an empty gym and what will you see? A less then pretty jump-shot, great athleticism and a confident kid who is ultra-competitive. I don't think this will force him to drop very far (if at all), but it could be possible. I have a suspicion that Barnes would look better in a individual workout then Kidd-Gilchrist, but viewing them all season tells a different story.

          This is also why I think Beal or Drummond will eventually be taken with the #2 pick...they will showcase better in workouts then someone like Kidd-Gilchrist. His defensive instincts, competitiveness/desire to win, scoring in transition, and ability to guard a variety of players would be missed in this type of environment.

          Does his agent/manager allow him to work out against other players as the favourite to go #2?
          http://twitter.com/m_shantz

          Comment


          • Shantz wrote: View Post
            I wonder how Kidd-Gilchrist will show in workouts. Similarly to Biyombo last year, his greatest assests do not necessarily show well outside of a game situation.

            I am not saying it is the same thing, but before the draft last year Biyombo was shooting up the draft boards everywhere due to his defensive instincts. His management team decided (as most teams of probable high picks do) that rather then risk being embarrassed and being shown-up by another prospect that they would workout in front of interested teams solo. How did this work out for him? I remember reading a quote from a GM saying that "Biyombo went one-on-none and he lost."

            Put Kidd-Gilchrist in an empty gym and what will you see? A less then pretty jump-shot, great athleticism and a confident kid who is ultra-competitive. I don't think this will force him to drop very far (if at all), but it could be possible. I have a suspicion that Barnes would look better in a individual workout then Kidd-Gilchrist, but viewing them all season tells a different story.

            This is also why I think Beal or Drummond will eventually be taken with the #2 pick...they will showcase better in workouts then someone like Kidd-Gilchrist. His defensive instincts, competitiveness/desire to win, scoring in transition, and ability to guard a variety of players would be missed in this type of environment.

            Does his agent/manager allow him to work out against other players as the favourite to go #2?
            +1 I Don't think he workout against anyone
            @Chr1st1anL

            Comment


            • If Perry Jones worst really is Rudy Gay.... wow. Unfortunately from a statistic perspective Jones was still much lower in the hustle stats of steals and blocks but he did get more rebounds - although he was playing at the 4.

              Comment


              • If we fall out of the top 5, Perry Jones it is.

                But if we're lucky enough to land a top 5 pick, I can't say I'd be terribly disappointed with any of the following:
                - Davis
                - MKG
                - Beal
                - Robinson
                - Barnes (I'd be tempted to take Jones over Barnes here, based on potential alone).

                Comment


                • 2 questions for anyone who cares to answer. I can't keep up with reading the posts so they're posted blind. Is there any player is or has the potential to be a 4th quarter player? and is there any update on MKG joining the draft?
                  in masai we trust

                  water covers 98% of the earth, Mitchell Robinson covers the other 2%

                  Comment


                  • MKG has already declared for the draft. And as a severe MKG fan with his innate desire and capability to be a very good defender and on the offensive side be great in transition or post play or getting an offensive rebound I would say that at this stage he is a better overall than Davis as a "last 2 min. player" meaning in crunchtime. As the review indicated his only flaw is the jump shot but surely with his age and coaching and general desire to improve it will come....and then watch out! If he had the last skill it would be a tossup who went 1st.
                    Last edited by Bendit; Wed Apr 25, 2012, 11:27 AM.

                    Comment


                    • ceez wrote: View Post
                      wow 9 pounds of muscle that's pretty impressive for that short of time
                      I doubt if it's even possible to gain that much muscle using steroids. He may very well have gained 9 pounds, but I can pretty much guarantee it isn't muscle.

                      Comment


                      • You think that MKG could get an offensive board in the last 2 mins. of a game more so that Davis? Davis has a huge wing span in comparison and equal if not greater motor, but I don't think either is a closer which I beleive is the question. For the guys with the "best" chance at being a closer I would go with the following (not ranked in any order):

                        Lillard (ready now)
                        Q. Miller (potential to be the best closer amongst first rounders)
                        PJ3 & Barnes (Both have the body and tools to get their shot off over anyone, but need to develop better handles to break down the defender off dribble)

                        Comment


                        • I'd say Beal probably.
                          @sweatpantsjer

                          Comment


                          • I'm getting senile to have forgotten Beal.

                            Comment


                            • It happens to the best of us
                              @sweatpantsjer

                              Comment


                              • Breakdown of ball percentages

                                Odds of pick 1, 2, or 3 based on end of season record:

                                No. 1 pick No. 2 pick No. 3 pick

                                1 25.0% 21.5% 17.8%
                                2 19.9% 18.8% 17.1%
                                3 15.6% 15.7% 15.6%
                                4 11.9% 12.6% 13.3%
                                5 8.8% 9.7% 10.7%
                                6 6.3% 7.1% 8.1%
                                7 4.3% 4.9% 5.8%
                                8 2.8% 3.3% 3.9%
                                9 1.7% 2.0% 2.4%
                                10 1.1% 1.3% 1.6%
                                11 0.8% 0.9% 1.2%
                                12 0.7% 0.8% 1.0%
                                13 0.6% 0.7% 0.9%
                                14 0.5% 0.6% 0.7%
                                Modified from this link: http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral...andings_a.html

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