Grading the campers
In evaluating the players, most were put into groups. The following represents the consensus opinions regarding those players.
IT JUST ISN'T IN THE CARDS
Players who just simply don’t have any NBA potential today. Things may someday change, but right now… Rather than belabor the point, the names are:
Tim Bowers, Mississippi State
WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR
Players with potential, but who are just not ready now.
Trevor Ariza: The talent is evident, but Ariza is a long way from an NBA player. His shot selection needs improvement along with adding some upper body strength. Perhaps another season in the Pac-10 would have given him the experience he needs.
Brandon Bass: He showed some sparks of a one-day pro career, but Bass is just too raw today to make the cut. Someone could take him late in the draft, but more playing at the college level will help.
Jackie Butler: I hear he’s just not college material. Too bad if that’s true, because Butler is raw, but sky-high on potential.
Deng Gai: This high elevator needs to develop more than a shot-blocking, rebounding game. It’s not clear another year at Fairfield would do the trick. But otherwise, he’s a perfect candidate for the D league.
Ryan Gomes:: Many watching him loved the heart, hustle and results. Others saw a player without a true NBA position. One more season with some wing play would help, but it may not be that he’ll get that much time outside the paint.
Martin Iti: He showed a lot of potential and a lot of raw play. Considering that he’s ticketed to play in Conference USA, another year or two would vault him into prime contention within the first round.
Lawrence Roberts: A true first round draftee – in the future. Roberts showed flashes of the game many love, but too much of the mediocrity that often permeates his game. Another college season is vital to his development.
Nate Robinson: Wow, is he quick. But is he quick enough to offset the dismal opinions about his height, 5-9 in sneakers? Robinson now has the luxury of playing knowing just what the NBA is thinking. He can’t grow five inches, but he can take over games and dominate play in school. And that may help dispel the negatives emanating from his lack of height.
Dijon Thompson: Simply not in possession of enough of the right stuff. Thompson is as athletic as it gets and runs the floor very well. However, he does not show enough NBA game to merit any draft consideration this June. Another year in college could be the answer.
Delonte West: An injury to Blake Stepp forced him to play point guard, and the exposure did wonders for his draft stock ... next year. If West comes out now, he’s ticketed for the middle of the second round. A full season at point and he could vault into mid-first-round consideration.
Players who didn’t make any significant changes to the opinions of many.
Tony Allen: Still a first-round possible, but did nothing to cement that notion. Allen, who had just one good game in three, will have to reply on workouts to capture a first-round nod.
Andre Barrett: He didn’t grow since the college season ended, so the opinion that he’s too short prevails. Another player needing workout success to move into the second round.
Tony Bobbitt: The Portsmouth MVP showed he can shoot it, but that alone hasn’t distinguished him from the pack.
Brian Boddicker: A likely late second-round selection, Boddicker played in Chicago the same he has ever played since arriving at Texas.
Andre Brown: The NBA is still waiting for him to display the talent that captured him a McDonald’s All-American award four years ago. Right now, he’s out of the draft – needing a workout explosion to change that.
Antonio Burks: A lot of teams like him in the second round, but he did nothing to help himself in Chicago.
Erik Daniels: He has some support in the late second round, but many teams don’t like him at all.
Marcus Douthit: Still a solid defender, but still little in the way of NBA type offense. Arrived in Chicago as a late second-rounder. Left the same.
Chris Duhon: Played hard if not smart, and has not gotten any better over his last two Duke campaigns. Chicago showed his middle-of-the-pack draft status.
John Edwards: The big guy may actually have upgraded his status, although it’s hard to tell. He does nothing real good, but does a lot of things okay. That he’s 7-1 in sneakers won’t hurt his chances.
Andre Emmett: Despite being here last year, Emmett still disappoints the NBA. A better scorer than shooter, he’s targeted for the D league even if drafted.
Desmon Farmer: A quirky, high-energy player, Farmer has not shown much of a reason to be drafted despite some skill. Another D league player.
Luis Flores: Okay, eventually someone’s going to have to say he can’t play the point. But he shoots it so well, that the Gang of 30 is willing to keep looking at him. More workout opportunities lie ahead.
Matt Freije: Yeah, he can shoot the ball from anywhere. But what else can he do? This draft’s Kyle Korver has arrived.
Arthur Johnson: Came into camp as a player with more questions than answers, and left the same way. He must prevail in the workouts as time is slipping away from him.
Herve Lamizana: An ankle injury prevented him from showing anything. A true incomplete grade.
Sergey Lishouk: Another injured player. Sergey will need to impress during the workouts. Otherwise, it’s back to Europe.
Rich Melzer: Had a few good moments, but overall he’s an obvious lower-division player. Some suggest a two-year D league trip, then he’s NBA ready.
Marcus Moore: It’s hard to explain why he came back here after a miserable performance last year. By the way, he didn’t vindicate himself. His play at the point reminded many why his stock dropped last year. Still, he’s 6-5 and can shoot it.
Michel Morandais: Much was expected after a stellar Portsmouth, but he had his game in cruise control this time around.
Rickey Paulding: So much was expected, and so little revealed. Paulding is a player who must perform in the workouts to save himself from a draft disaster.
Kelvin Pena: He showed flashes of point guard goodness, but never enough of it. Still, he interests some teams.
Omar Quintero: The Mexican PG played well enough to distinguish himself, but not enough to form a consistent opinion. He’ll get more opportunities to show more during the next two weeks.
Romain Sato: A player who came in with the great reputation and opportunity. His output was mediocre at best and now needs the workouts to salvage his draft dreams.
Pape Sow: Played well enough to warrant second-round consideration. And that’s why the workout invitations should come in droves.
Blake Stepp: Arrived with a sprained ankle and never played. But with the short list of point guards, he must get healthy and appear on the workout circuit.
Marko Tomas: One of many SFX-represented players of whom much was expected. He played well enough to intrigue many, but needs to show more before draft night.
Damien Wilkins: It’s hard to get interested in a player this selfish. But his name carries weight and, perhaps, he’ll accidentally pass the ball once or twice in the workouts.
AND THE WINNER IS...
The players who actually made the most of their Chicago trip. All seven of them have vaulted themselves in better positioning for the draft, and still have time to improve before D-day.
Ales Chan: How do you not get excited by a 7-2 center who runs the floor hard, plays with lots of energy and gets the job done? The best big man in camp, Chan took a game to get going. But once he did, he blocked everything in sight, grabbed all the loose balls around and still managed to show nice passing skills. Oh, and he can shoot it some, too.
Ivan Koljevic: Played with composure and a high level of intelligence. A good decision-maker and scorer. The drawback is that he does it all mostly unnoticed.
Randy Orr: More a project than prospect, Orr played consistently good and showed glimpses of NBA level abilities. His incredible athleticism will do him well. He needs some seasoning, but right now he may be more worthy of draft night consideration than Gerald Wilkins’s son.
Drago Pasalic: A classic Euro forward who shoots it well and runs the floor. Pasalic is also a solid defender who doesn’t shy away from contact.
Aerick Sanders: Does little that grabs stat sheet headlines, but does everything a coach would want – all those little things that make a difference, but hardly get noticed. A solid rebounder and better defender, Sanders plays very smart ball, wastes no energy and is an above average passer for a bigger man. A coach’s dream.
Beno Udrih: The best point guard prospect in camp. Played with no emotion, but played intelligently and smoothly. Showed an ability to bring it to the next level.
Jackson Vroman: The kind of player you keep expecting to fail, but he never does. A tireless, relentless player at both ends of the court, he is always in the middle of the action and seems to have a knack for coming up with the ball.
A lot of gym buzz late in the week focused on David Young, an unheralded player who reportedly rained shame on Kirk Snyder in a Seattle workout recently. Young, a one-time Xavier player, finished up his college career at North Carolina Central in fine fashion. Known as D.Y., he may have originally been part of the workout schedule to push other players. But after the Snyder bashing, he’s continued to climb on several NBA teams list. Already he’s had solid workouts for the Lakers, Wizards and Rockets. One GM, choosing to remain anonymous, suggested that he may be drafted between 38 and 50. There are reports that the Spurs, Pistons and Heat may all bring him in, and Seattle wants another look. Young is a 80 percent free-throw shooter who hits for nearly 40 percent from long distance. He’s a mystery player and has captured a lot of attention as the draft draws near.
George Rodecker is in his twelfth season of providing expert analysis on the NBA Draft. He has been diligent in pursuing analysis by acquiring the consensus opinions of experts. Rodecker also writes for Basketball Times, Eastern Basketball and College Hoops Insider, as well as consulting privately with several pro teams and leagues around the globe
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