The final recap
So many times, the NBA descends upon Chicago awaiting a possibility of being blown away by a player or two during the pre-draft camp, and leave the Windy City less than fulfilled.
This year once again the expectations exceeded the results, but all was not for nothing as many varied results were indeed reported from not only Moody Bible Institute where the camp was staged, but from private and semi-private workouts all across the city.
While the camp itself produced several interesting findings, it was what went on away from Moody Bible that created the biggest buzz.
But first the camp.
Several players received acclaim for their performances – some positive, others negative.
- Alex Acker: Performed fair, likely set the stage for a summer-league invitation, but appears headed overseas.
- Deji Akindele: Intriguing big man showed what happens when you play against lesser competition in college. Still seven-footers usually get a push. A probable mid-second-rounder.
- Mustafa Al-Sayyad: The late addition did nothing to get noticed after a solid Portsmouth effort. He may have played himself out of the second round.
- Alan Anderson: Had some very good moments in camp and will garner follow-up invitations to some workouts, but has his work cut out for him. Did several things well, but nothing exceptionally well enough.
- Kelenna Azubuike: Pulled out with an injury.
- Sean Banks: The gifted, but troublesome wing player cannot validate his first-round game with his off-the-court troubles. Still should be a second-rounder.
- Eddie Basden: Has some strong second-round support after Chicago and an up-and-down week. Workouts will determine what finally happens.
- Mike Bell: Continued to impress with his raw athletic game. Bell needs to improve his decision-making, but has moved into the second-round mix.
- Dee Brown: Let camp on crutches but early work showed he needs to wait another year.
- Will Bynum: Time spent with Chicago conditioning coach Steve Pratt paid off as his energy and hops compensated nicely for his lack of size. He shot it very well and impressed many teams. Bynum’s lifted his status amongst scouts and will warrant serious draft night consideration.
- Marcus Campbell: Size is an asset – but being unconditioned isn’t. Campbell could get the seven-footer push into the second round, but needs to get in shape if he wants to make a team.
- Will Conroy: A solid performance will help what was a non-existent second-round dream come true, but he still needs to handle the ball more and be better with it.
- Taylor Coppenrath: Followed up a decent showing in Portsmouth by blending into the background and likely hurt his draft standings some. He now needs impressive workouts to regain momentum.
- Travis Diener: Coming off an injury, Diener was perhaps the best ball distributor in camp. Despite lacking good size, he played with solid passing, very good defensive and was a leader on the floor. Certainly helped his stock rise some.
- Daryl Dorsey: The unknown point guard played well, but simply not well enough to merit any further attention.
- D’or Fischer: The big man played with a lot of hustle and determination, but needs to become more active offensively to get into the second-round mix. Still he’s a seven-footer...
- Eddy Fobbs: Came out of nowhere to be one of the camps biggest surprises. Raw and not ready to make an impact in the pros, his size, leaping ability and wingspan stood the pros on their heels.
- Sharrod Ford: You would expect an ACC player who scores in double figures to hold his own, but Ford failed at the task and has seen his limited window of opportunity close. Only workouts can save his chances for draft night recognition.
- Torin Francis: The power player has yet to fully recover from his back injury and it showed during a stiff performance. NBA teams are very worried about his long-term health.
- John Gilchrist: One of the biggest surprises in camp, Gilchrist outperformed each point guard he was matched up against and showed solid court instincts. He clearly improved his standing.
- Marcin Gortat: Being one of a handful of foreign players in camp, Gortat was expected to impress but didn’t. He looked stiff and tentative and his standing took a hit as a result.
- Chuck Hayes: Despite the pedigree of Kentucky, Hayes appeared to play within the middle of the pack and did not impress as he did in Portsmouth. Still he has his supporters.
- Luther Head: Teams wanted to see him handle it, but Head appeared stiff with the point guard duties. He shot it well enough for the NBA to like, but still needs to get the point guard duties down pat.
- Jared Holman: The effort in Portsmouth was duplicated in Chicago, but Holman may still be 10 picks away from the second round. His hustle and powerful energy will keep his hopes alive.
- Dwayne Jones: Jones was in camp to measure his game and it came up short for this go-round. Despite a reputation as a non-scorer, he got his chances and cashed them in. Still he’s another college season away from the NBA.
- Jason Klotz: A good college player does not an NBA player make. Klotz plays hard but doesn’t really perform at a higher level.
- Carl Krauser: He showed that he’s not ready yet. Turnover prone at Pitt, he displayed some of the same out-of-control moves and decisions. He can shoot it, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
- David Lee: An outstanding effort has launched serious first-round chatter for Lee, who starred in Chicago with fantastic defense and a solid outing every time.
- David Lucas: A disappointing trip to the camp has all but destroyed any aspirations for a draft slot.
- John Lucas: The diminutive point guard can shoot lights out, and is blindingly quick, but is just not good enough to contribute at the NBA level.
- Jackie Manuel: The first night scrimmage knocked Manuel out and he never really got to participate. Now he needs to recover and push it real hard in workouts.
- Rawle Marshall: The player from the obscure college (Oakland) played well at times and improved his standing by simply getting noticed.
- Jason Maxiell: He bolted after a day for personal reasons leaving most NBA teams more annoyed than sympathetic. While Maxiell remains in the second-round mix, he’s raised several questions about his departure.
- Ivan McFarlin: After a solid Portsmouth, he delivered a lukewarm Chicago and damaged his draft chances somewhat.
- Juan Mendez: He followed up a very good Portsmouth with a mediocre camp in which he repeatedly looked to launch three-pointers.
- Pops Mensah-Bonsu: A rugged performance in which he frequently mixed it up in the low blocks, Mensah-Bonsu is a workhorse inside who has gained notoriety for his tough play.
- Aaron Miles: An up-and-down performance in which one game he appeared ready to break out from the pack, and would follow it up with a poor game – confusing the pros. Still in the late second-round mix, but needs to bring his best effort consistently.
- Randolph Morris: Withdrew before camp began and instead performed at an individual workout.
- Ellis Myles: An inside player who is more inconsistent than talented. Has likely plummeted out of any second-round mix.
- Larry O’Bannon: Faded into the background as soon as camp began, and has little chance for any consideration.
- Drago Pasalic: Shot the ball well in Chicago. The jury will likely render a more complete verdict after some team workouts.
- Kevin Pittsnogle: Came to Chicago on the crest of his team's deep NCAA run, and showed much of what he showed in the tourney. His long-range shooting is fine, but he needs to do more.
- Carlos Powell: Played like any other wing player with some skills, but no skills good enough to make an NBA team.
- Roger Powell: Until he went out of the gym on crutches like teammate Dee Brown, he was starting to get his game together. Needs to work on ballhandling and taking his man off the dribble.
- Ronnie Price: Seemed out of place. Took too many shots ignoring open teammates and played uninspired defense.
- Anthony Roberson: Some games he looked like a first-rounder, other games he struggled. Certainly an active point who moves the ball around. The knock is that he looks for his own shot too much.
- Brandon Rush: After a slow first day, Rush charged into the forefront of the camp's players. He ran the floor well (as expected), but defended, blocked shots, crashed the boards and passed it well. The range on his jumper is NBA three, and his effort was very solid. Has quite possibly moved himself in to the mid-second-round, and changed opinions about him.
- Luke Schenscher: Played hard and showed some abilities, but is still considered a project by some, a prospect by others. Needs to refines elements of his game. He’s still on the second-round board.
- Tre Simmons: Had a couple of games in which he dominated. He passed very well, defended well and shot it well enough to raise the eyebrows of several pro scouts in the gym. He may be sneaking up into the latter part of Round 2.
- David Simon: Appeared to be outclassed and did little to dispel the notion that he cannot play in the NBA.
- Steven Smith: Several NBA teams dubbed Smith the best in camp. He did everything you would expect from a late first-rounder and stole much of the headlines. During one practice session he shot 10 balls from mid-range, 10 from the college three, and 10 from the NBA 3. He blistered the nets for an amazing 27-30, running 9-10 on each rack. No one player in this camp moved his stock higher.
- Salim Stoudemire: Had a bad ankle, and kept trying to play but could not.
- Chris Thomas: Had a good solid, but unspectacular camp in which he didn’t really change many minds. For Thomas, the workouts will tell the story.
- Omar Thomas: Liked by some, ignored by others, Thomas had a middle-of-the-road camp and left his supporters content and his detractors still unimpressed.
- Dijon Thompson: Had a good camp but didn’t jump ahead of too many players. He can shoot it, run the floor and defend, but may not do anything all that well.
- Ronny Turiaf: Turiaf played like the fierce warrior he was in college. He’s high energy, vocal and a monster to stop or defend. Several teams like him a lot. First-round material?
- Robert Whaley: Was a bit of a surprise with some big moments.
- Eric Williams: Played hard and gave a great effort, but seems to be a notch below and a year away.
- Jawad Williams: For most of the camp you didn’t really notice he was there. Played well at Portsmouth, so this result was disappointing.
- Bracey Wright: Everyone knows he can light it up from all over the floor. The question about Wright was if he could play the point, and he answered it quite well.
When I first arrived in Chicago, the buzz surrounded two workouts by Jay Williams as he recovers from his near career (and life) ending motorcycle accident.
What has the NBA’s attention was the second workout and the success he had against the lottery candidate Raymond Felton. Williams was described as being at 75 percent, yet his perimeter shooting has improved both in distance and accuracy. Williams reportedly has been told by Chicago that they do not have a spot for him when he’s ready to return, and word has it that Miami and New Jersey could be in the lead for his services. He has stated that he wants to play for a winner and both cities would easily accommodate that request.
Word is trickling down that Florida State’s Von Wafer may have killed his NBA shot this week during a private workout for the Suns. Reportedly Wafer was frustrated by the physical beating he was taking from Jan Jagla and while driving to the hoop laid an intentional elbow to Jagla’s nose drawing a rush of blood onto the court. Wafer supposedly ended the workout at that point.
Individual workouts were the rage again, but this year the NBA invited players to come to Moody Bible in a plan to keep the pro teams in the gym, and it worked somewhat as Rudy Fernandez and Martynas Andriuskevicius both participated. Each drew positive reviews but neither achieved the elusive top 10 promise both players and their agents are seeking.
The off-site workouts featured several players including Kentucky’s Randolph Morris, who showed rust and inexperience, but his height intrigues many. While he certainly needs more seasoning if he expects a top 20 nod, the strategy he and his agent choose may be to stay in the draft and take their chances.
Prep star Amir Johnson performed very well and got some rave reviews, but understanding that these workouts are nothing more than agent-controlled showcases, Johnson needs to show well in any team workouts.
Duke’s Daniel Ewing also was in a workout and shined brightly and is expected to be an early second-round selection.
Pepperdine’s Glen McGowan also worked out in a separate affair and continued to show well. His athleticism combined with raw power make him a hard-to-read prospect, but several teams view him as a player who could certainly make a team with or without getting drafted.
Several college coaches came to support their players. John Beilein (West Virginia), Billy Donovan (Florida), Skip Prosser (Wake Forest), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), Joe Mahalik (Niagara), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Jamie Dixon (Pitt), Mark Few (Gonzaga) and Tom Crean (Marquette) were joined by dozens of assistant coaches as well.
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
Tell us what you think about this article. E-mail us at HoopsHype@HoopsHype.com