Tag:Power Forward
Posted on: June 24, 2009 5:30 pm
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NBA Draft Prospect: PF DeMarre Carroll, Mizzou

DeMarre Carroll:  6-8, 225, SF/PF, Sr. (University of Missouri)

Draft rank: #41

PF rank: #8

Strengths:

Has a great motor.  Can handle the ball at the top of the key and get the offense set if need be.  Does most of his work down low on hustle plays.  A very good athlete.  Has a good wing span.  Can really get out and defend on the perimeter but also doesn’t mind banging down low with bigs.  Gets his hands on a lot of balls and creates turnovers.  Takes high percentage shots.  Has no problem with playing a role.  High energy rubs off on teammates.  Has improved his shooting and extended it to beyond just the paint.  Can put the ball on the floor when facing up and attack the rim.  Does a great job of pressing and getting after his man the entire court on defense.  Very good speed.  Doesn’t fear playing against or attacking bigger players. Does a good job of protecting the ball when driving to the rim.  Does a good job of putting his body into the defender so that he can score inside.  Has the ability to grab the re-bound and push the ball up the floor himself.   

Weaknesses:

Doesn’t have post up moves and really struggles with his back to the basket.  Is extremely limited offensively.  Is a power forward but is undersized to play the position.  Likes to handle the ball outside of the paint too much which leads to turnovers.  Stays out on the perimeter too much on offense.  While he likes to go to a jump hook in the paint, he doesn’t have good arc or elevation for it to be consistently productive at the next level.  Often loses the ball or forces up tough shots when he is slashing to the hoop.  

Mental:

Carroll’s energy really comes sticks out.  Whether it is on offense setting screens or on defense setting up Missouri’s press he always seems to be around the ball.  He has clearly worked on his game over the past 4 years and has actually become a decent shooter.  His motor is what makes him effective and he has a toughness about him that will get him into the league.  He was a winner in college and he was the leader of a very good Missouri team. 

Extra info:

--Transferred from Vanderbilt after his Sophomore year. 

Comparison: Louis Amundson, 6-8, 221, PF

Would be a good fit for:  Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, or Golden State Warriors

Conclusion:

Carroll is a high energy guy who isn’t afraid to battle despite his shortcomings.  He is everything that you look for in a 2nd round pick, but I think he would be a stretch as a 1st round pick.  He will fight for his contract and you can tell that the guy loves to play ball.  Few players bring the type of energy and hard work that Carroll does to the basketball court.  He is a junk yard dog type of basketball player that has also shown improved perimeter skills in his four years at college. 

He reminds me of Louis Admundson with the difference being that Carroll can float out on the perimeter more as a 3/4 and Admundson is better inside as a 4/5 player.  But, I see him providing a team with similar hustle minutes and tough defensive play.  Carroll would be best suited in an up tempo system like a Phoenix or Golden State where he won’t be confined to a slower, more drawn out half court style of play.  He was a perfect fit at Missouri because of their desire to play the entire court and he would benefit from a similar system in the NBA.  While Carroll’s upside may be limited, he is the type of guy who will continue to improve and I could see him improving to the point where he can be relied upon at the small forward position as well.  All in all a team should give him a serious look in the 2nd round if they are looking for a high energy guy that could change the pace of the game.   
 

Posted on: June 23, 2009 3:36 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 12:36 am
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Taj Gibson, USC

Taj Gibson: 6-9, 214, PF., Jr. (University of Southern California)

Draft rank: #30

PF rank: #7

Strengths:

Gibson can do a lot of the little things you look for in a role player. He likes to initiate contact down low when establishing his position and he squares up to the hoop and shoots a mid-range jumper in rhythm. He's deceptively athletic when attacking the glass to rebound and is a great offensive rebounder who understands how to beat his man to a spot. He has a freakishly long winspan and legit size to play the 4, which makes him a serious shot blocker and active help defender. He also has quick feet and isn't afraid of contact.

Offensively he makes a high percentage of his shots thanks to his keen selection process. He makes crisp passes out of the post and double team. A runner who does a good job of making himself a target around the hoop by constantly having his hand up or showing both hands to signify he wants the ball. With his length and athleticism he can really take off from 2 feet in the paint and he likes to dunk the ball with both hands. 

Weaknesses:

While he has quick feet, he often becomes robotic with his back to the basket and often gets his shot blocked because of his lack of creativity in the post. Turns the ball over too much.  Often becomes clumsy when turning towards the basket in the paint.  Needs to get stronger if he wants to bang down low with the bigs in the NBA.   Often gets tossed off his post by bigger and stronger players.  Often loses the ball and fumbles it when he faces physicality. Often walks when he is trying to attack the basket from the post.  Gets into foul trouble.  Really gets into trouble when he doesn’t go quick in the post.  Struggles when he is forced to put the ball on the floor and make a move toward the rim.  Doesn’t have three point range.       

Mental:

Gibson brings emotion you love to see from a big man. He works hard and is constantly trying to make his teammates raise their games. Big men don't often show emotion and I worry about those players because you constantly must have an edge and an intimidation factor over your opponent. While physically not imposing, he has a tough mentality that will be very valuable for him at the next level.

Extra info:

-- Is already 24 years old
-- Led the Pac 10 in blocked shots

Comparison: Darrell Arthur, 6-8, 216, PF

Would be a good fit for: Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls or L.A. Lakers

Conclusion:

One of the big concerns is Gibson's strength and how he will be able to do in the post against NBA bigs. At 24 I am not sure how much stronger Gibson will get, but his abnormal wing span and length do make up for some of his lack of strength. Gibson measured in as the second longest player in the draft with a 7 foot, 4 inch wingspan. It partially explains his shot blocking numbers as well as his ability to rebound on the offensive glass.

Gibson is the type of power forward who really is suited to coming off the bench. That will negate the foul trouble issue and his lack of strength won't be exposed as he goes against other team's second units. As a backup, Gibson will do what he does best: go after boards and block shots.

As for comparisons he reminds me of Darrell Arthur. I usually try to give a more proven NBA player in my comparison pieces, but Arthur was the guy who kept popping into my head as I watched film on Gibson. Only time will tell how good Arthur becomes, but we should be able to get a good read on Gibson as early as next year.

Look for Gibson to contribute with interior scoring, rebounding and shot blocking, which are ideal for backup big men. Gibson's length will definitely be useful to many teams and I think his age and maturity will help him compete for minutes right away.

Category: NBA
Posted on: June 19, 2009 1:58 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2009 4:31 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Jeff Pendergraph, ASU

Jeff Pendergraph: 6-9, 240, PF, Sr. (Arizona State University)

Draft Rank: #26

PF Rank: #6

Strengths:

Steady power forward who isn't afraid to mix it up down low and do the dirty work. Has a soft touch around the rim and from the foul line on in. Does a good job of transitioning from the post to face up and turn into a mid-range shooter. Really takes pride in beating his man down the floor and setting up shop in the post. Has a good, solid frame and strength to play the 4 at the next level. Gets up to the rim very quickly and has good explosiveness when in the paint. Makes good shot selections. He knows his role as a big and doesn't try to play on the perimeter.

Does a good job of attacking the boards with two hands. Has great length for a big man. Seals his man and puts his hands out to make him a target for passes. Is constantly working in the post. Excels at setting picks. Has the ability to finish even when he is pushed into a tough angle under the basket. Likes to initiate contact in the post and doesn't back away from physical play. Does a good job of slipping to the paint after setting picks. 

He can take a hit with the body and still finish around the rim. Takes advantage of smaller players when they are switched to him. Does a good job resealing his man when he can't get position the first time. Due to his size he should be able to play some center at the next level. Good motor and does well moving without the ball in his hands. Knows how to play alongside a great player. Has a nice one-handed shot that he hits with regularity along the baseline from the post. Very good hands. Does a great job of running and finishing on transition. Was an anchor in the paint for a team that basically surrounded him with four guards.

Weaknesses:

Isn't dominant in one area of his game. Needs to improve his pick-and-pop capabilities. Has limited range on his jump shot. Doesn't have the ability to handle outside of the paint. Needs to improve his passing. Is often predictable as to where he is going once he receives the ball in the paint. Needs to be quicker in his decision making in the paint. Needs to improve his footwork in the paint, including a better drop-step move that can get him going toward the basket rather than fading away for jump shots.  Often relies on size and strength in college instead of good post moves to get his baskets. Defensively it's tough to judge him because of the matchup zone that ASU played, but he isn't a good shot blocker and often struggled when he got quick fouls.

Mental:

His motor and hard work on the floor is often what allows him to score. I love the way he puts his head down and just runs up the floor to catch his opponent off guard. Furthermore, while Harden struggled in the tourney, Pendergraph was a consistent rock until he ran into foul trouble against Syracuse. I also love that he understands his role and knows his limitations. Mentally, Pendergraph isn't bothered by who he is going up against and brings the same intensity night in and night out. Has a tendency to get into foul trouble.

Comparison: Kurt Thomas, 6-9, 235, PF/C

Would be a good fit for: Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, or Chicago Bulls

Conclusion:

Pendergraph does so many positive things on the floor it's hard not to like his game. In a world where many of today's 4s think they are guards, Pendergraph knows his role as a big man down low. All he does is efficiently produce, which is what a team should ask for from a guy who translates as a backup big in the NBA. Does he have the all-around offensive game that teams look for in a starting 4? Probably not. But he will rebound, play defense, set picks, bang down low and run his opponent ragged. Not to mention he measured out with legitimate big-man size.

As for comparisons. He could end up like a Lawrence Roberts-type who never really produced in the NBA, but I believe he will end up being more like a Kurt Thomas or even a Tony Battie type of player. Sure he needs to work on his jumper to become as reliable as Thomas has been over his career, but he has the form to become better from out there and his physical play reminds me of Thomas.   

I think Pendergraph is the classic case of a guy who will get overlooked because teams will look at all of his limitations. But the bottom line is that his positives far outweigh his negatives. He is solid all around and while he may not wow you with athleticism or the ability to go inside and out, he is a true power forward. I really like Pendergraph as a guy who is NBA ready and will find a way to contribute and get easy buckets for a team. I think he would look very good in Cleveland as he would help them in the post and give them somebody who understands how to get open when playing with a superstar.

Posted on: June 17, 2009 2:14 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2009 5:36 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Dante Cunningham, 'Nova

Dante Cunningham: 6-8, 230, PF, Sr. (Villanova)

Draft Rank: #25

PF Rank: #5

Strengths:

Has improved drastically each year. Really knows how to do the little things and play the game the right way. Has a very smooth and effortless face-up jump shot. Very soft touch on his jump shot. Will be an effective pick-and-pop big man. Consistently hits everything from the foul line in. Is the best mid-range shooting big man in this year's draft. Plays bigger than his height and has a long wing span. Has a very high basketball IQ. Shoots high-percentage shots. Gets his hands on a lot of balls defensively, which create turnovers. Tremendous motor and doesn't remain stagnant when he doesn't have the ball. Loves to go down low and post up his defender, but when he can't get position he makes sure that he pops back up to set picks. Has good shot selection. Understands positioning on the boards on both ends and uses his body to box his man out and grab boards. Uses a very good jab stop to create space on his jumper. Does a good job of clearing space for his teammates to attack the rim.

Weaknesses:

Really limited offensively. Doesn't have penetration ability or strong post moves. Undersized for a big man. Doesn't get great elevation on his jump shot. Needs to improve his handle and overall scoring ability.  Doesn't have range on his shooting to extend to three-point range. Is robotic while in the post. Doesn't have elite leaping ability or explosiveness around the rim. Doesn't get to the foul line as much as you would like for a big man. Defensively he is an undersized big and doesn't have the footwork to defend wing players.

Mental:

The only reason Cunningham will make it is his mental makeup. Other players are more athletic, bigger and stronger, but his great basketball IQ and work ethic allow him to compete. Few players have improved as much as Cunningham has in his four years at 'Nova. He came in as a freshman and did the dirty work for a very good team. Year after year he did what was best for the team and this past season he became an important scorer on another very good team. He will be able to contribute at the next level and I believe he will be a solid role player because of his work ethic and team-first mentality.

Comparison: Malik Allen, 6-10, 225, PF/C

Would be a good fit for: L.A. Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, or Atlanta Hawks

Conclusion:

Cunningham is one of my favorite players in this draft because he understands what it takes to contribute to a team. He will be a solid backup big man. He will be able to give steady minutes backing up the 4 and the 5 at the next level. His pick-and-pop capabilities will really prove to be valuable in the NBA, a role that almost every team looks for in a backup big.  His mid-range touch is something a lot of big men in the draft don't possess and really can separate him from others. The easiest way to make it in the NBA is to excel at one thing and Cunningham does that with his mid-range game.

I compared him to another Villanova big, Malik Allen. Allen has had a solid career as a backup because of his shooting ability and willingness to play a role. Cunningham's draft measurements are similar, with Allen having about an inch on Cunningham. But Cunningham showed a little more strength and athleticism in the combine. As far as production goes, their Villanova numbers are similar. Take a look at how the two mid-range post players compared.

Cunningham info:

MINPTSREBASTTOBLKFG%FT%
19.1 2.2 4.0 0.8 0.8 0.6 47% 40%
27.3 8.7 5.4 0.7 1.7 0.6 51% 78%
30 10.4 6.5 1.1 2.3 0.9 54% 69%
31.6 16.1 7.5 1.2 2.2 1.2 52% 70%
Career 9.35 5.85 0.95 1.75 0.825 51%
64%

Allen info:

MINPTSREBASTTOBLKFG%FT%
10.8 2.0 2.9 0.4 0.64 0.55 47% 42%
24.7 8.3 5.8 0.8 1.38 1.38 47% 72%
27.7 11.2 6.3 1.0 1.75 2.22 56% 79%
33.4 14.2 7.4 1.0 2.24 1.88 51% 69%
Career 8.9 5.6 0.8 1.61 1.51 51% 70%

Look for Cunningham to either be a second-round pick or possibly go undrafted, but as I noted earlier he should be able to crack a roster and become a contributor right away. That is why I have him in my top 30. In a weak draft Cunningham has shown he can produce and help a team win. When a team gets into the 20s, it really should look for a guy who is going to come in and work hard to stay in the league. I have no doubt Cunningham will do that and find a role in the league.



Posted on: June 4, 2009 1:08 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2009 8:30 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

Tyler Hansbrough: 6-9, 234, PF, SR. (University of North Carolina)

Draft Rank: #24

PF Rank: #4

Strengths:

Has a great feel for the game. Really plays well when he faces up to the hoop and can either shoot the mid-range jumper or pump fake and take the ball to the hoop. Loves to be around the rim. Uses the rim to shield off opponents and score. Has very soft hands and a great touch on his shot. Plays with amazing energy and loves to be around the basketball. Understands positioning on rebounding and attacks the ball on the boards. High b-ball IQ. Has a great knack for getting to the foul line and knows how to use his body to take a blow and still get a shot off. Dives for balls on the floor and is constantly moving on the offensive end. Has good defensive position inside the paint and knows how to use his feet to draw offensive fouls. He has good speed getting up and down the court. Sets very solid screens. Is at his best when he is running down the floor ahead of his defenders and sealing the paint -- which he does often. Has good size to play the four in the NBA. Very good free-throw shooter for a big man.

Weaknesses:

His offensive game is very robotic. Struggles when playing against bigger and more athletic players. Not a good help defender or shot blocker. Doesn't have range on his shot to extend a defense. Plays below the basket. Is not a great passer. Lacks the foot speed or the quickness to defend outside of the post. Struggles defensively on pick and rolls. 

Mental:

Tyler is mentally extremely strong. He hits big shots and has leadership qualities. He doesn't take plays off and has an incredible motor. His high b-ball IQ will allow him to be in the NBA and be effective for many years. He is very tough and doesn't shy away from contact. He usually has his head up and isn't fazed by adversity. When he gets challenged physically he rises to the occasion and steps his play up. Mentally he is one of this draft class' most prepared for challenges of the next level.

Extra Info:

-- 2008 Naismith College Player of the Year

Comparison:

Kris Humphries: 6-9, 238, PF

Would be a good fit for: Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, or Chicago Bulls

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, the college and the NBA games are significantly different. The NBA game today relies on quickness, versatility and athleticism. Hansbrough struggles in those departments. It's hard to ignore his consistent production, but people have to remember the history of the NBA Draft and that great college players don't always make great pros. Do you remember J.J. Redick, Adam Morrison, Trajan Langdon, Mike Sweetney, Sean May, Gerry McNamara, Shelden Williams, Marcus Fizer, Christian Laettner and Joe Smith (Laettner and Smith both have/had decent careers), Juan Dixon, Bobby Hurley, Khalid El-Amin, Mateen Cleaves, and Lonny Baxter? They were all dominant in college, but didn't come close to having the same impact in the pros. Unfortunately, it happens. 

I do think he will be better than Kris Humphries in the NBA. But his game is pretty similar to what Humprhies' game is, and was, in his one year at Minnesota. The main difference is that Hansbrough has proven to be a winner and that he will do whatever it takes to help his team. Obviously, Hansbrough's four years of production at UNC compared to Humphries' one is a major difference, but if Humphries had stayed for four years what do you think his production would have been? I know that some will say, well if he had stayed then maybe he would've been more ready for the NBA like Hansbrough is now. But plenty of one-and-done or high school players have had success in the NBA. The top players in this season's NBA Finals never played any college ball.

Here are the freshman year numbers, and draft combine stats, for Hansbrough and Humphries, respectively.

Name MPG PPG RBP Assists Height w/o shoes Height w/ shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical Bench Press 3/4 Sprint Lane Agility
Kris Humphries (Minnesota freshman) 34.1 21.7 10.1 0.7 6' 8.25 6' 9.5" 238 7' 0.5" 36" 22 3.2 11.33
Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina freshman) 30.4 18.9 7.8 1.3 6' 8.25 6' 9.5" 234 6' 11.5" 34" 18 3.27 11.12


Do I think Hansbrough has a role at the next level? Yes. I just don't see him as a starter. I think he will be a guy who can come in and give a team some points and offensive boards. I see him as a hustle guy, which teams really do need and value. He does so many good things on the floor  he should be an asset for any team that he goes to. But I just don't see him being dominant in the low post or being a consistent starter at the next level. I know people don't want to hear it, but you do have to look at a guy's upside and try to figure out what he can become. I don't blame Hansbrough for being in college for four years or take anything away from his potential as a result of his time in college. I have seniors Sam Young and Terrance Williams ahead of him because I think their talents translate better. Look for Hansbrough to be a contributor off the bench for whatever team he goes to.



Posted on: May 29, 2009 6:27 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2009 5:06 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Gani Lawal, GT

Gani Lawal: 6-8, 229, PF, So. (Georgia Tech)

Draft Rank: #22

PF Rank: #4

Strengths:

Meat-and-potatoes big man. Understands his role as a post player and lives in the paint. Always is around the hoop on both ends of the floor. Gets up and down the floor with ease. Never stops hustling and has a great motor for a big man. Does a great job of sealing the defender so that he can be in a position to score. Has a great build for a power forward and is in great condition. Uses his size and strength to crash the boards.

Has good athleticism. Attacks the boards with two hands and dunks with two hands. Is constantly trying to gain position on offense. Has great lift when attacking the rim. Has a decent spin move and baby hook. Double-double machine. Good elevation and athleticism for a big. Really improved his game after his freshman year. Good length.

Weaknesses:

Doesn't have great quickness. Needs to work on his shooting. Needs to work on his ball handling. Hasn't dominated or led his team to a good season. While he has a couple of moves, he is still very uncomfortable scoring with his back to the basket. Sometimes moves his body faster than his feet, causing for him to be clumsy. A poor free-throw shooter. Doesn't have face-up scoring ability. Really struggles when playing against taller guys in the post.

Mental:

Lawal has good body language and is encouraging to his teammates. I do worry about his will to win as his team was just dreadful this year and the record didn't match the talent. But in the long run I don't see him as a leader or a superstar, but instead a guy who will come in and work hard every time he is on the floor. His energy and motor are what make him a first-round pick and I see no reason as to why that effort will change when he's coming off the bench.

Extra info:

Comparison: Leon Powe, 6-8, 240, PF

Would be a good fit for: Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, or Atlanta Hawks

Conclusion:

Behind Griffin, Blair, and Hill, Lawal is the next best natural power forward. Natural is the key word there as I think guys like James Johnson and Earl Clark will spend significant minutes at the 4. But unlike those players, I see Lawal as strictly a power forward. He has the size and the strength to play that position and he doesn't try to come out and play on the perimeter like a lot of 4s do. Lawal knows that his strengths are in the paint and he plays to his strengths.

In today's NBA so many bigs come out and play on the perimeter, but there is still a premium on guys who will go into the paint to get easy baskets. Teams are always looking for tough frontcourt players who can get them offensive rebounds and easy buckets inside and Lawal will play that role at the next level.

Name
MPG    
PPG RBP Assists
Leon Powe (California fresh.) 29.8 15.1 9.5 0.7
Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech soph.) 29.6 15.1 9.5 0.6

Does he have the inside-outside skill-set that today's power forwards require? Probably not. But, Lawal will go in and mix it up down low, which is something that a lot of teams need. I really see him as a solid energy-backup big along the lines of Leon Powe. It's actually pretty crazy how similar Lawal's sophomore number are to Powe's freshman numbers. Look for him to have a similar impact on a team as Powe (when healthy) has. Look for a team in the teens to come up and grab him due to the lack of big men in this year's draft.





Posted on: May 15, 2009 3:23 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2009 4:44 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Jordan Hill, Arizona

Jordan Hill: 6-10, 235 PF/C, Jr. (University of Arizona)

Draft Rank: #13

PF Rank:
#3

Strengths:

Energetic big man. Very wiry body that allows him to attack the rim and grab rebounds. Has great athleticism for a big guy. Has really improved his game over the years and now has the ability to dominate a game. Has the size and strength to be an effective four. Attacks the rim with both hands and finishes with a lot of power. Has a very soft touch on his jump shot. Releases his shot high up, which makes it very hard to defend. Has a nice fadeaway jump shot when working from the post. Does a great job of sealing his man down by the rim and forcing his defenders to gamble or stay on his backside. Runs the floor well for a big man. Very good shooter on the baseline when he squares up to the rim.

Weaknesses:

Really doesn't have a lot of offensive moves in the post. Needs to develop a drop step and a jump hook with his back to the basket. Needs to bulk up a bit. Can become robotic with his moves down low. Should be a more consistent dominant presence down low. He has to improve his foul shooting. Turns the ball over to much for a big man. Has to get stronger in the paint and get more lift from his lower body. His footwork is also a question mark. Needs to improve fundamentals on both ends of the floor. General basketball IQ.

Mental:

Often loses his focus on the court. Doesn't always understand he can really give his teammates a boost if he finds them and gets them open looks. One thing I really like about Hill is that he took his time in college to improve his game. He struggled early in his career, but he worked on his game to the point where he was a force this year. I also worry about his understanding of the game (basketball IQ). He often doesn't help his teammates on defense and struggles to understand what his team needs to win.

Comparison:  Antonio Davis, 6-9, 245, PF/C  

Would be a good fit for:  Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, or Detroit Pistons.

Conclusion:

I know that a lot of other people have Hill higher than this, but he didn't overly impress me this year. He definitely has legit size and a frame that will fill out. My main concern is how he will be able to do with the big boys down low at the next level. I think he will really struggle in the post as he doesn't appear to have dominant post moves. I also worry about his defense at the next level. 

I think he will be a nice backup that will come in and give his team pick and pop scoring. His shooting stroke is very fluid and I could see him scoring in a variety of ways using his jumpshot. His footwork and ball moves appear to be too robotic to be successful at the next level. You really have to value your possessions in the NBA, and I don't think he is talented enough to get the amount of touches that he did in college.

At the end of the day he will add value to a team that's looking for a big man who can score. He can give you minutes at the four or the five and if he brings more effort on the floor he could really be a factor in the paint. He will most certainly go higher than 12 in the draft as teams always overvalue size. Look for him to be a solid big man at the next level. Don't look for him to put up similar numbers as he did in college when his team ran the offense through him. But as I said, he should be a solid backup big.

Posted on: May 14, 2009 2:47 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2009 5:47 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospects: PF DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh

DeJuan Blair: 6-7, 270, PF, So. (University of Pittsburgh)

Draft Rank: #9

PF Rank: #2

Strengths:

Full of energy. Loves to mix it up down low. Has great bounce to his game. Plays with tremendous emotion. Very active on both ends rebounding the ball (especially offensive). Attacks the ball with both hands when rebounding. Plays bigger than his size. Uses his wide  frame to get position on bigger opponents. Uses his back side to get rebounds. Understands angles and where to go on the floor in order to rebound effectively. Lives for the big game and enjoys playing the role of spoiler or underdog. Can use either hand to finish around the rim. Knows how to get separation and then elevate to hit a jump shot. Isn't afraid of playing physical on either end of the floor. Has great feet and hands for a big man. Uses the baby hook shot very effectively as he digs his body into his opponent and then rises up. Uses the glass on both sides of the basket. Very soft touch around the basket. Good footwork that should allow him to become a solid back to the basket player.

Weaknesses:

An undersized big man. Gets into foul trouble very easily. Doesn't always make good decisions on either end. Not a good shot blocker. Isn't a good help defender and is often too slow when helping his teammates. Conditioning may become an issue as well. Not a good foul shooter. A little worried about past injuries. Plays below the rim. Can become erratic when putting the ball on the floor or squaring up at the top of the key. Needs to improve his jump shot so that defenses don't sag off of him when he sets picks. Needs to improve his free-throw shooting.

Mental:

Emotion, emotion, emotion. He is always smiling on the floor and you can tell he loves the big stage and loves playing basketball. His emotion can sometimes get the best of him, but I would rather have a guy with his motor and energy that makes some mistakes then someone that doesn't care about the game. I can also see him developing into a leader on the floor. His mental makeup is one that believes in competing and he clearly hates to lose. He provides his teammates with positive re-enforcement and I think his attitude and physical style of play rubs off on his teammates. He is a warrior who mentally will almost always have a positive effect on his teammates. 

Extra info:
-- Tore both of his ACLs in high school.   

Comparison: 
Craig Smith, 6-7, 250, PF

Would be a good fit for:  Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, or New Jersey Nets

Conclusion:

He is probably my favorite player in the draft. He will always have a role as a backup big in the league and provide a team with energy off the bench. I think he is similar to Craig Smith, but I think he will be better and be a guy that may even be able to start at the 4 in the NBA. If he can extend his range and lose some weight I see no reason why he couldn't be a dominant force on the offensive end. But until he does that he probably won't be a consistent starter in the NBA.

Look for him to come in and provide a team with positive and productive bench energy. In that role he can do what he does best, rebound, play physical and wreck havoc on opposing team's defenses. In a weak draft I think that he fits in as a top 10 pick. He will be able to contribute and help winning teams for many years to come.

 
 
 
 
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