Posted on: June 24, 2009 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 9:28 pm

NBA Draft Prospect: C Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga

Josh Heytfelt: 6-10, 260, C, Sr. (Gonzaga University)

Draft rank: #44

C rank: #3


Great fundamentals for a big man.  Uses the backboard to his advantage when shooting the ball from both sides of the basket.  Has great pick and pop ability at the next level.  Can shoot the ball with ease and has great range on his J.  Has very soft hands and good feet for a big man.  Doesn’t look uncomfortable playing.  Has good instincts in the paint.  Sets solid picks.  Has three point range capabilities.  Shoots for a good percentage.  Solid free throw shooter for a big man.  Has good size to play Center in the NBA.  Can knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency.  Has a nice fade away jumper that he uses effectively once he has his man beat in the post.  Has alley-oop capabilities on the fast break.  Does a good job of slipping to the hoop after picks. 


Plays below the rim in the half court.  Has character issues (got arrested for illegal mushrooms).  Doesn’t have back to the basket scoring ability.  Doesn’t have great quickness.  Disappears during games.  While he has good instincts, he needs to be more of a presence on defense, as he often becomes passive and doesn’t block enough shots, or grab enough re-bounds.  Likes to stay on the perimeter too much when he should be posting up inside.  Doesn’t fight for position or look to seal his man in the post.  Doesn’t like to play with his back to the basket.  Doesn’t go up strong to the hoop.  Struggles on defense when his opponent puts the ball on floor with good quickness.  Really struggles when he is double teamed or trapped.  Doesn’t do a good job of punishing smaller players when they are switched to him.  Doesn’t sprint up the floor.  Is slow in his moves in the post.  Doesn’t good elevation from the post. 


Heytfelt has solid skills to be a solid big in the NBA.  But, I really worry about his mentality and if he has the work ethic to be a successful pro.  He doesn’t bring it every night and often becomes passive and soft in games.  He can’t have that mentality if he wants to succeed in the NBA.  I also worry about his drive and if he realizes what it will take for him on and off the court to be a successful pro.  There are serious character issues with Josh that could end up leaving him on the outside looking in on the association.  I also don’t like his body language when he’s on the court. 

Extra info:

--Got arrested for psychedelic mushrooms

Comparison:  Brian Cook, 6-10, 234, C


Heytfelt’s shooting ability could allow him to find a home in the NBA.  He has good pick and pop capabilities and teams look for bigs that can extend a defense.  But there are also so many weaknesses in his game that he is really going to have to continue to work and be a team player if he wants to stick in the NBA.  I have major questions about if he is willing to make that happen. 

Heytfelt’s off the court issues have to be discussed when you are talking about a borderline NBA player.  Do teams really want to deal with a guy who may be at the end of their bench and has off court issues?  Yes, he is 6-11 with a solid build and a good shot, but I would take my chances on a guy with no off court issues that is going to work to improve his game. Guys like Carroll, Cunningham and Pendergraph would love to have that extra size but how much is that extra inch or two really worth?  I say go with the guys who you know will bring energy to your practices and to the game when they enter. 

I compared him to Brian Cook, because I see some similar shooting ability and face up skills in both guys games.  They measured out pretty similarly with Heytvelt being a little stronger and athletic and Cook being a little bit of a better shooter.  I hope that Heytfelt can turn into a more aggressive player on the floor, but I just don’t see it happening.  He had the ability to dominate in college and he just never did.  To have that size with his touch should’ve been a recipe for a dominant big man.  Instead he was often aloof and looked uncomfortable on the floor.  He will surely get drafted due to his god given ability but Heytfelt will have to understand that there are plenty of guys his size at the next level and he will have to really carve out a niche for himself as a consistent and reliable big-body shooter. 

Posted on: June 24, 2009 12:22 am

NBA Draft Prospect: C BJ Mullens, OSU

BJ Mullens: 7-0, 260, C, Fr. (Ohio State University)

Draft rank: #37

C rank: #2


Has legit size to play the 5 at the next level.  Gets up and down the floor very easily.  Has good footwork inside. Doesn’t remain stagnant in the post as he constantly moves his feet.   Does a good job of coming down with the ball and rising back up to put the ball off of the glass.  Has a nice drop step that he uses to get to the rim when he is on the block.  Has good leaping ability for a 7 footer.  He does a very good job of following the ball whenever it gets swung around the perimeter and he always makes sure to put his hands out to create a target.  Keeps the ball up high so that it can’t be stripped by smaller opponents.  Doesn’t try to come outside of the paint and knows that he can do his best work when he is close to the basket.  Is very quick with his decisions once he gets the ball in the paint.  Has good form on his jump shot.  Finishes strong with two hands.  Has great tip in ability on the offensive boards.  Takes high percentage shots. 


Way too passive on the offensive end.  Doesn’t do a good job of setting screens.  Doesn’t establish himself and demand the ball in the low post.  Has not shown he can play away from the hoop at all.  Needs to get stronger.  Needs to get tougher.  Doesn’t dominate smaller players when they get switched over to him.  Can’t put the ball on the floor.  Needs to improve his free throw shooting.  Doesn’t re-bound at a high enough rate.  Doesn’t draw enough fouls.  Turns the ball over too much in the paint.  Doesn’t do a good job of backing his man down with his back to the basket to get closer to the hoop.  Defensively he doesn’t fight for position and often struggles against smaller players.  Often forgets to box out his opponents on the defensive boards.  Relies heavily on dunks and layups for his offensive production.   He has good form on his shot, but he doesn’t hit the mid-range jumper with any sort of consistency.      


More than any other position I think it’s important for Centers to have confidence and be assertive.  A passive center is not going to be able to do the things that you want your center to do.  My biggest concern about Mullens and the reason I have him down here is because he seems to be content with being a decent player, which he was his Freshman year at OSU.  With big men you always wonder if they are truly basketball players or if they are just playing because of their size.  I have the same concerns when it comes to Mullens prospects of succeeding in the NBA. 

Comparison: Johan Petro, 7-0, 260, C

Would be a good fit for:  Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz or Detroit Pistons


You can tell that he has been taught how to play the game.  Fundamentally he is very sound for a center.  Mullens footwork and constant movement is a testament to the work that he has put in.  He knows that his role is to be in or around the paint and he doesn’t waste time once he gets the ball.  With all of that being said, he is still extremely raw as an offensive player and even more raw on the defensive end.  He is a giant project that will need a lot more work before he is an effective big man in the NBA.  But you can’t ignore his size and as the old saying goes, “7 footers don’t grow on trees”.  So I am sure somebody will snatch him up in the 2nd half of the 1st round.   I am however seriously concerned by his production in his one year at OSU and I am concerned that he is light years from being physically or mentally ready for the NBA

In my opinion Mullens has bust written all over him.  Every year it seems like a big man gets drafted way before he should just because he has the size to play the center position.  Sure, every once in a while a Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard or Shaq come along that you shouldn’t pass up on, but to stretch for a guy as raw as Mullens would probably be a similar mistake that almost every team has made throughout the years.  Names like Sene, O’bryant, Kwame, Araujo, Tskitivishli, Diop, Mihm, Borchardt, Petro, Swift, and Podkolzine probably ring a bell with your favorite team.  I could probably throw 15 other names that can help you out if none of those names applied to yours.  I mean, it’s like a guys 7 foot tall, can get up and down the floor and get above the rim and automatically he’s a first round pick. 

There’s no doubt that Mullens has potential due to his size, but I think he is very far away from being able to contribute in the NBA.  I would rather take my chances with a wing or an athletic freak who needs to work on his shooting.  I would rather take my chances with a point guard who may be a little undersized or a big man who has shown the willingness to work despite that he may have tapped out at 6-8.  As for Mullens, well I am not buying.

Posted on: May 8, 2009 3:30 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2009 12:48 pm

NBA Draft Prospects: C Hasheem Thabeet, UConn

Hasheem Thabeet: 7-3, 265, Jr., C (University of Connecticut)

Draft Rank: #2

C Rank: #1


His size is what makes him an intriguing prospect. He has legitimate NBA size to play the five. He gets up and down the floor very well for a 7-footer and understands he belongs down low. He is already a good shot blocker and understands the timing necessary to block shots. Because of his size he can actually wait until his opponents leave their feet and commit to shooting the ball, at which point he uses his length to alter shots. This also keeps him out of foul trouble and has opponents worrying about shots inside the lane because of his presence.

His touch around the basket also allows him to use his size to score at will. Has good hands for a guy his size. Has a bit of a mean streak. Appears to be comfortable in his big shoes. Has good bounce that makes it very hard to block his shots. Has become a very good
passer out of the post, creating ball movement and allowing an offense to work the ball from the inside-out. Can affect the outcome of a game without scoring.


He's still relatively soft on man to man defense. His offensive production has been nowhere near what you would hope for a guy his size. When he plays against guys of similar size he really struggles and becomes much less effective. His feet do not look like they are quick enough for him to be a dominant offensive-post player with his back to the basket.


He shows spurts of emotion and toughness that you like out of a guy his size. With that being said, he often becomes timid when he is playing against players who are physical. He is a team guy, which I think is important. He encourages his teammates and embraces the help-mentality that a team wants from a shot blocker. The key question mark for him is whether or not he will embrace the physicality that the NBA big men bring to the table and to make sure he isn't hesitant to mix it up with them.

Extra Info:

-- Began playing basketball when he was 15 years old. 

Comparison :  Dikembe Mutombo, 7-2, 260, C

Would be a good fit for:  Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, or Toronto Raptors


Thabeet has improved his game every year he has been at college. The big question mark is whether he will ever be a good enough offensive player at the next level. Everyone who I talk to says he will never average more than 12 ppg, and because of that, they aren’t very high on him. When I tel l people I think he’s very similar to Mutombo, many people call me crazy. But, if you look at Mutombo’s stats in college they are similar to Thabeet’s.

There is no doubt in my mind that Mutumbo is a Hall of Famer despite the fact his career average is only 9.8 ppg. The reason he’s a Hall of Famer is due to his incredible shot blocking and his terrific rebounding ability. His rookie year was his best point production when he averaged 16.6 ppg, but that was an anomaly as they ran the offense through him (averaging over 12 shots a game) and they were a 24-win team that year. After his rookie year he averaged mostly seven to nine and half shots per game and was normally right around 12 to 13 ppg in his prime.

So with all of that information I would like to think Thabeet should be able to put up stats similar to Dikembe’s. Like Dikembe, a team isn't drafting him for his offensive abilities, but rather in the hopes he dominates the defensive paint and has opponents worried that every time they go into the paint their shot may get blocked. At the very least he will be able to provide rebounding and a shot-blocking presence to a team. The best-case scenario would be that he becomes an all-NBA defensive force and that he improves his offensive skills to dominate his opponents on that end as well. Unlike many other players in the draft his ceiling is extremely high, but he has a ways to go offensively to be dominant on both ends of the floor. But for now I like what he brings to a team and a lot of the skills that a team looks for in a true center.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com