Tuesday, June 27, 2006

NBA Draft Preview--Top 25 prospects (#11-25) Part 2

Part II--#11-25 draft prospects:

11) Ron Brewer (Arkansas) 6-7 SG/SF-- Great athlete with a strong build & long arms. Great ball-handler with point guard skills. Very good & willing passer. But has an ugly shooting stroke that could be a major liability at the next level. Very good defender who can guard multiple positions & get plenty of steals. Decent rebounder for a primary perimeter player. Could be similar to Josh Howard, although not quite the rebounder Josh is, but a better playmaker on the perimeter.

12) Patrick O'Bryant (Bradley) 7-0 C-- One of the few true centers in the draft, most likely the best. Good size with a good reach and decent frame that can handle more weight. Alright athlete for a center. Solid back-to-the-basket skills, maybe the best in the draft, although there aren't many who have much. Good shot-blocker at Bradley. I am a little hesitant about him panning out. You always have one or two guys per draft that you get a bad vibe about--he's the main one for me in this draft. You know it could just be me, but I think he's going to be one of those big guys who is going to be hard to motivate consistently. Its just a gut feeling, no real background info about him, just a personal feeling.

13) Rajon Rondo (Kentucky) 6-2 PG-- Very good athlete with extremely long arms. Uses his speed to get in the lane & can finish well at the hoop. Great rebounder for a point guard and good defender who can translate it to the next level. The one thing holding him back from a high lotto pick is his ugly shot mechanics. Opposing defenders sag off, daring him to shoot and this will certainly continue in the NBA. Has the ability to be a career starter in the NBA.

14) Jordan Farmar (UCLA) 6-2 PG-- The second best passer in the draft after Marcus Williams. Just has the look of a player who was born to play point; great natural feel for the game. Sees the floor very well and sets up teammates well. Likes to shoot floaters in the lane. Nothing special of a perimeter shooter. There were some questions about his athleticism during the season, but has tested out extremely well. Not much of a defensive stopper either. Tries to do to much some times & this leads to a fair amount of turnovers. I feel he can be a long-time starter in the pros.

15) Hilton Armstrong (UConn) 6-11 PF/C-- Very good athlete for a center. Has a long, lean build but weighs more than you would expect. Really improved year-by-year at UConn and only started this year. Very active defender who covers a lot of ground to change/block shots. I think he's a great asset for the new wave of the NBA, where you need athletic frontcourt defenders who can go out on the perimeter and also recover fast to challenge all the penetrating guards. Alright rebounder, but the numbers are hard to judge cause he had to fight Boone & Gay for boards. As of right now, not too much in the way of offense. But has shown some sparks of post skills with occasional spin moves. Not a bad interior passer either.

16) Josh Boone (UConn) 6-10 PF/C--Similar to his UConn frontcourt partner. A good athlete, not quite as good as Hilton, but still good. Very long arms which could help him guard centers. Has a frame with wide shoulders that can handle more weight. I've felt for awhile he reminds me of PJ Brown. Great all-around defender. Fundamentally sound like PJ. Good on the ball and is not flustered moving out on the perimeter. Block shots as well. Runs the floor well & can catch the ball on the move. Very good rebounder since he's been at UConn & his numbers could be higher cause he has to share with all the other UConn post studs. Same with Hilton--not much in the way of offense. Has showcased a little jump-hook here & there, but not much variation after that. The big stumbling block with Josh is he has a rep right now of being too passive, and its dropping him down the charts. It's justified, but he still has the ability to be a better pro than Shelden.

17) JJ Redick (Duke) 6-5 SG-- Probably the most hotly debated prospect in the draft for the last year. Some people see him as the next Jeff Hornacek or even Rip Hamilton and other people see him as a Steve Kerr-clone or even worst Trajan Langdon, Jr. I think he falls somewhere in between. The one thing that's not debatable is JJ can flat-out shoot the ball, and this fact alone will keep him floating around the league for 10-12 years. The other fact that is not debatable is that JJ will be a major liability on defense. He maybe can be a decent help defender, but there is no doubt he will get abused trying to defend one-on-one, especially with the new hand-check rules. The debate comes too a head when trying to decide if JJ will be able to consistently get his shot off in the mid-range. I am in the camp that he will really struggle to do it. I know he improved his mid-range game in his senior season, but was he getting his shot off vs. 6-6 great athletes every game? Not nearly enough. And guess what, he will be matched up vs. a 6-6 athlete every night in the NBA. He struggled in the LSU game, he did not want anything to do with any mid-range shots vs. Carney, Mardy Collins bothered him as well. Needs to be in the right situation to start--preferably next to a dynamic SF who can slash & draw doubles, the Rockets & the Cavs are places he could start. Not a very good ball-handler, so the idea of him being a combo-type like Kerr is not likely.

18) Maurice Ager (Michigan St.) 6-4 SG-- Very explosive athlete. A little undersized for a 2, but makes up for it with long arms & great physical gifts. Pretty good shooter and defenders just can't sag off to try to neutralize his speed. Solid rebounder for a SG with roughly 4 per game this year. Questions about if he has a mid-range game--its either perimeter shots or drives all the way to the rim with him. Needs to develop more variety to his offense. Has the ability to be a very good defender.

19) Shannon Brown (Michigan St.) 6-3 SG-- Basically could just copy the above synopsis of his teammate. Seriously, they're clones. The only minor difference is that Brown is slightly smaller. Not much difference & separation between the two Spartans.

20) Shawne Williams (Memphis) 6-9 SF-- Shows the potential to be a multi-faceted SF in the future. He seems to handle the ball decently & has solid passing skills. Solid athlete, although not overwhelming. His shot is not great & needs a little work. He did not shoot the ball particularly well at all this year--41% overall, 31% from 3pt. Pretty good rebounder for a SF. Tough to tell what kind of defender he will be--has good size, but his lateral movement is not amazing.

21) Leon Powe (Cal) 6-7 PF-- A lot of people have him in the 2nd round, but I love what he brings to the table, & I don't see too much of difference between him & Ike Diogu who went #9 last year. Yes, I know his height is an issue, but he does have long arms & is built rock-solid just like Diogu. I also understand that his knees are a question mark as well, but he moved well this year & he seems to me to have pretty solid athleticism. Averaging 20 & 10 in the Pac-10 can't be tossed aside, similar to what Ike did. Ferocious rebounder, and this usually transfers over well for undersized PFs. Offensively, he's not as polished as Duncan, but he's not bad either. His footwork is solid, and he is surprisingly good driving to basket when facing up from around 12 feet & in. Not a bad ball-handler & improved passer. His shot is a little awkward, & he needs to improve that so to take bigger 4s away from the paint. Solid post defender, but not nearly the shot-blocker that Diogu was. I think he can have a long career as back-up, & wouldn't be stunned if he starts down the road.

22) Mardy Collins (Temple) 6-5 PG/SG-- Has the ability to play the point which always perks up the interest of NBA GMs cause he's 6-5. Nothing special of an athlete. Very good ball-handler & understands how find his teammates with good passing. Very good defender who can guard multiple positions, but might be in doubt a little if he can pull it off in the NBA with his lack of great speed. Got a lot of steals this year. Very good rebounder for a guard, he got nearly 5 per game. Does not shoot the ball particularly well--he shot 43% overall, 30% from 3pt.

23) Guillermo Diaz (Miami) 6-2 PG/SG-- Very explosive athlete who's well-built. Great hops, and uses it to rise up high on his jumper. Much more of a 2-guard, and this brings some pause to GMs cause of his height. But I think his crazy athleticism can make up for a lot of it. Needs to work on his ball-handling & passing, but has only been playing basketball for a couple years. Needs to make better decisions with the ball, sort of relies on his speed too much & get way out of control sometimes.

24) Kyle Lowry (Villanova) 6-0 PG-- Probably the most overrated player in the draft right now in my estimation. I see a lot of people have him in the mid-teens, & project him as the 2nd best PG. No way I take him over Farmar or Rondo, and this Rodriguez guy from Spain sounds better than him. First off, he's 6-0--not good. Next, he does not shoot the ball well. You combine those two things & your off to a bad start right there. Personally, I don't think he possesses the pure point guard instincts of a TJ Ford or Telfair, which does not make things easier. He's no where near the distributor that either of those guys is. I know he was a scrappy college point, but that was all he was--a very good college point. To me, he projects to be a Lindsay Hunter or Jacque Vaughn-type career back-up who will play 15 minutes a game & provide a change of pace. He does have the ability to put pressure on the ball & be a nuisance on defense like Hunter for limited minutes. The good thing for Lowry, a lot of teams need this--Sacto is one team in particular at the #19, maybe the Nets with the 22 or 23.

25) Bobby Jones (Washington) 6-7 SF--This might be a little high for Bobby, but I think he's the draft's ultimate sleeper. One of the best defenders in the NCAA. Moves his feet extremely well, uses quick choppy steps like Bruce Bowen. And that's the guy he should pattern his career after. Can guard multiple positions, anywhere but the center position. He did a great job on Dee Brown in the tourney. Very good athlete. Good rebounder for a SF. Not much in the way of offense. Shot needs a lot of work. Does run the floor well & can finish well in transition. Would be a great addition to any club as a rotation guy, and just maybe break into a starting lineup like Bowen.