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Tag:Small Forward
Posted on: June 24, 2009 8:13 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 9:05 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Dajuan Summers, G-town

DaJuan Summers: 6-8, 243, SF, Jr. (Georgetown University)

Draft rank: #42

SF rank: #10

Strengths:

Very solid stand still three point shooter.  Has the size to play the three in the NBA.  Very strong.  When he gets going to the rim he can finish at the rim extremely well.  Has good mechanics on his shooting stroke that will allow him to extend his range to the three point line.  Has a great wing span.  Has the ability to rise up and shoot over smaller defenders.   When he does decide to take the ball to the hoop he does have good touch and uses the glass to his advantage.  Has the strength and size to be able to take a blow and still get his shot off for and 1 opportunities.  Has very good body control that allows him to maneuver through traffic and finish in the paint.  In the mid-range game he has a nice jab step that he can use to create space and rise into his jumper. 

Weaknesses:

Settles for jump shots rather than attacking the rim.  Often plays lazy on both ends of the floor.  It is pretty hard to explain how he wasn’t a more efficient and dominant player in college.  Doesn’t make his teammates better.  Is not a good passer.  Turns the ball over way too much for a wing.  Hasn’t progressed or improved different elements of his game in his three years at Georgetown.  Should be  a better re-bounder.  Doesn’t seem to care about winning.  Is very stagnant on offense and doesn’t move without the basketball or make himself a target for his teammates.  Doesn’t do a good job of slashing to the hoop when off the ball and often is content with standing in place and waiting for the ball to come to him.  Doesn’t have good explosiveness around the hoop.  Doesn’t post up against smaller players or when he has a mismatch.  Doesn’t have a good feel for the game. 
 
Mental:

He has yet to live up to his potential.  He plays a style of basketball that is selfish and I worry that this will continue at the next level.  He didn’t show leadership when his team was struggling this year and I don’t think he has the work ethic to become an NBA player.  Does he really have the desire to do what the team needs to win?  I really think that he is more concerned with his stat line.  He has all of the skills that you look for in a 3, but I think mentally he isn’t there and that will make or break him to make it to the NBA.  Often gets frustrated with teammates and sulks rather than helping them and bringing positive energy to the game. 

Comparison: Ira Newble, 6-7, 220, SF

Would be a good fit for:  Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves or Chicago Bulls

Conclusion:

It’s rare that I write more weaknesses than strengths in regards to an NBA draft prospect, but I just can’t bring myself to falling for Dajuan Summers.  Sure he has the tools to be a productive small forward with his combination of size, touch and athleticism but there are so many negatives that come with Summers as well.  The guy was a problem for an underwhelming Georgetown squad and he just doesn’t understand how to use his God given talents to become the best player he can be. 

Summers lives on the perimeter despite the fact that he could have often taken advantage of his size and length in the paint.  The NBA combine proved what we already knew.  Summers has all of the physical tools to compete in the NBA.  But, there have been plenty of physically gifted players who haven’t been able to find a home in the NBA.  Guys like James White, Rodney White, Reece Gaines, Luke Jackson, and Kirk Snyder come to mind as players who had the talent to play in the NBA but could never really find a home for many reasons. 

What I am trying to say is that Summers may be an NBA talent, but there is more that goes into being in the NBA then just talent.  He will really have to prove that he is more mature then what he showed at Georgetown and will have to work on his game to really develop a nice niche for himself.  I’ll believe it when I see it. 

Posted on: June 23, 2009 11:53 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Omri Casspi, Israel

Omri Casspi: 6-9, 220, SF (Maccabi Tel Aviv)

Draft rank: #34

SF rank: #9

Strengths:

Has good NBA size to play either forward position in the NBA.  Knows how to back his man down in the post and play with his back to the basket when he has a mismatch.  Has good handles for a forward that allows him to bring up the ball if he can’t find a guard.  Likes to initiate contact and does a great job of drawing fouls.  Doesn’t mind coming to the top of the key where he can run pick and roll with the point guard.  Does a good job of stepping into his shot.  Is very active on the offensive end either setting picks and banging down low or flashing and cutting towards the rim which always make him part of the offense.  Is a very fluid spot up shooter.  Goes after loose balls and doesn’t stop hustling even when he misses shots.  Does a good job of slashing to the hoop.  He actually does a good job in the post on defense as he shows great toughness against stronger players. 

Weaknesses: 

Often lacks the coordination and athleticism to be effective on the fast break.  Doesn’t have good range on his jump shot.  Doesn’t do a lot of damage by beating his man off of the dribble.  Doesn’t finish above the rim.  His shot has a tendency to get blocked.  Relies heavily on his right hand.  Is not a very good decision maker at the top on the perimeter and often struggles when he is not in a catch and shoot situation.   Needs to get stronger so he can finish in the paint.  While he has good size, he doesn’t have great length.  Struggles on defense.  A bit of a tweener who lacks the foot speed to guard perimeter players.  He uses one handed shots a lot when in the paint, but he often misses them.  Doesn’t block a lot of shots or steals.  Shoots his ball from his hip which makes it hard for him to create for himself and shoot.   

Mental:

One on one Casspi is a very tough player.  He won’t back down from guys and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line.  He has good body language when on the floor and can be seen constantly encouraging his teammates.  He plays with a good motor and isn’t afraid to get after it.  I think his military background will help him battle for a roster spot and stay in the league.  

Comparison: Andres Nocioni, 6-7, 225, SF

Would be a good fit for:  Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons or San Antonio Spurs

Conclusion:

I think Casspi’s natural position is at the small forward spot, but he could give a team minutes at the four as well.  His ability to mix it up and fit into the offense is really important as he tries to make an NBA team.  He does a lot of positive things on the floor and I think he has solid potential as a backup combo forward.

Casspi won’t wow you in any one way but he is just solid across the board.  He has good size to play the 3 and should develop into a consistent shooter.  His energy is good and I think that’s really important as he tries to carve out a niche for himself in the NBA.  Overall, he reminds me of a combination of Nocioni and Leinas Kleiza.  I am not sure he will be as good as either of those players are, but he should be able to produce in a similar fashion. 

A team in the late first round may look to take Casspi and store him over in Israel.  He is still only 21 years old and could use a couple of years to improve his game.  Maccabi is one of the best teams overseas and he will be playing with a lot of former NBA players who can continue to help him develop.  He has limited potential but his fundamentals are very sound and he looks like he could contribute to a team in need of some solid forward play.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 10:17 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2009 11:57 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Chase Budinger, Zona

Chase Budinger: 6-7, 206, SF, Jr. (University of Arizona)

Draft Rank:  #32

SF Rank:  #8

Strengths:

Has very good leaping ability when getting a full head of steam.  Very good perimeter shooter.  Shoots the ball with great fundamentals and arc that will allow him to continue to extend his range.  Good elevation on his shot.  Quick release on his shot.  Uses picks well to get open.  Has good size to play the 3 in the NBA.  Good free throw shooter.  Is very smooth when dribbling and taking the ball to the rim.  Has very good touch from everywhere on the court.  Very good spot up shooter.  Is unaffected when being contested on shots.  Does a very good job at getting to a spot where he can set himself up to shoot and score.  Can go up and get alley-oops.  Has a nice scoop shot that he uses when attacking the basket.  Is a good finisher in transition.  Has a nice hesitation move that he uses when he is on bigger players to get to the hoop.  Good ball handler for a wing player.       

Weaknesses:

Very soft on both ends of the floor.  Has struggled to take over games at the college level.  Will be a liability on defense in the NBA.  Is very passive when passing the ball the perimeter.  Doesn’t have a great wing span.  Often telegraphs passes.  Isn’t assertive enough.   Struggles when he plays against more physical players.  Needs to do a better job of slashing to the hoop with the ball.  Doesn’t have good post up skills.  Should be a better shot blocker. 

Mental:

The biggest thing holding Buddinger back is his passive nature.  His team the last couple of years really needed him to be more assertive and he often let them down when it mattered most.  He has all of the skills that you want from a small forward, but he often doesn’t challenge himself or his opponent and instead settles for whatever the game dictates.

Extra info:

--All American volleyball player.

Comparison: Jarvis Hayes, 6-7, 220, SF

Would be a good fit for:  Sacramento Kings, LA Lakers or Minnesota Timberwolves

Conclusion: 

Budinger is another wing player who has the skills to be successful in the NBA, but I worry about his lack of aggressiveness.  I do think that he will be able to fit in on a team and have a role because of his ability.  He is going to have to show more confidence and more assertiveness as his outside shot will probably be his meal ticket.  While he does have terrific leaping ability his game is really reliant on his shooting ability and his ability to score from the outside. 

He reminds me of Jarvis Hayes.  Like Hayes he has good leaping ability but he doesn’t always utilize that leaping ability to get to the rim.  Like Hayes he will get most of his looks in spot up opportunities on the perimeter.  Hayes was a similarly accomplished college player and their numbers are very similar across the board. 

Overall there’s a lot to like in Budinger’s game.  But I don’t see him ever being a difference maker in the NBA.  He could fit in as a nice piece off the bench, but I don’t think he is starting material.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 3:26 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2009 5:38 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Austin Daye, Gonzaga

Austin Daye: 6-11, 190, SF, So. (Gonazaga)

Draft Rank: #28

SF Rank: #7

Strengths:

Great versatility for a guy his size. Very soft hands and smooth shooting stroke. He does a great job of squaring his shoulders up to the basket and rising into his jump shot. Has an effortless stroke, which allows him to extend his range to the NBA three. Has a great wingspan. Can handle and pass the basketball. High basketball IQ.  Shoots the ball from above his head, which will make it extremely hard for teams to stop him from getting his shot off.  Understands positioning and what he needs to do to block out his opponent on defense. Understands spacing on offense and can play within the flow of an offense. Does a good job of shooting the mid-range jumper. Does a good job of shot faking from the perimeter to get into his mid-range game. Has very good spot-up shooting ability. In the post he does a very good job of squaring up to the hoop where he can rise up and shoot, or take the ball to the rim. Has solid ball-handling skills for a player of his size. Very good fundamentals. Has good touch around the hoop. Does a good job of jabbing to the right and then dipping his shoulder down so that he can drive to the left. Creates matchup problems due to his ability to put the ball on the floor. Very good shooter along the baseline. Doesn't change his form, no matter what angle or what distance he is shooting from.  He has great coordination for a player of his size. Good shot blocker.

Weaknesses:

Rail thin. His lack of strength will become a problem at the next level as he will have to go against stronger forwards. Still doesn't play the game at a fast level. Unable to finish when he gets into the lane because he can't take a hit to the body. Is a liability inside on defense in the post and outside on the perimeter as well. He is often lost and passive when his man doesn't have the ball. Falls for ball fakes a lot, which allows his opponent to break down the entire defense. Is a bit of a tweener. Doesn't attack the rim when he is in the paint and instead often settles for jump shots. Doesn't get to the free-throw line enough. He often tries circus shots in the lane rather than attacking into the defender's body and drawing the foul. Has had knee issues in the past.  Isn't explosive around the hoop. Often goes up for rebounds with just one hand. Turns the ball over a lot when passing into the post.

Mental:

I don't see the confidence in Daye that most players with his skill level possess. Daye's body language is often clearly visible and you can tell he gets down on himself when his shot isn't falling or he isn't getting calls. Because he doesn't play physically, he often doesn't get calls that others may get, which in turn leads to him making faces or showing frustration when he doesn't get calls. I worry about his toughness at the next level as it is significantly more physical than what he experienced in the WAC. He will have to show he is not afraid of stronger players and has confidence he can physically play with the big boys.

Extra info:

-- Father Darren played in the NBA.

Comparison: Tayshaun Prince, 6-9, 215, SF

Would be a good fit for: New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls or L.A. Lakers

Conclusion:

I am not as high on Daye as a lot of other people are. I just think he is way too passive for a guy who will already be handicapped by his lack of strength. Daye will definitely have to play the 3 in the NBA because of this and I worry that while he may create mismatches on offense, he'll have serious struggles on defense. While I am not high on him, I can understand why some people are. It's very rare to find a 6-10/6-11 player who has the skill set he has. His shooting stroke is so effortless and he has tremendous coordination. His skills are on par, or higher, for what you look for at the small forward position. Combine those skills with a monster wing span and you have a guy who should be a mismatch every time he touches the ball.

The comparison to Prince does have a lot to do with their body types. Both guys have freakishly long arms and the ability to put the ball on the floor or shoot the three with tremendous ease. While offensively they bring similar skills to the table, the big difference I see is on the defensive end. Prince takes great pride in being a good defender and cherishes every possession on that end. You can't say the same thing about Daye. While Daye is a good shot blocker, he often loses his man on defense and I think he will be really taken advantage of in the isolation -- 1-on-1 style of the NBA. Guys will attack Daye and I really think he will struggle physically on the defensive end. If I was his coach I would show him tapes of Prince and tell him to take the same pride on the defensive end Prince has. Daye has a long way to go before he can give a team what Prince does, but he does have the potential to grow into a similar player.

I see a super talented player who needs to do a better job focusing on the court if he wants to stay in the league. The strength is obviously an issue and will continue to be an issue for many years. But the guy has some skills other players just don't have -- and aren't capable of. His shooting stroke is as good as it comes and you just don't find guys with his size that have the coordination and capabilities he possesses. That is why he will be a first-round pick as someone will fall in love with his touch, length and overall skills set. But I would caution whoever drafts him to understand he is still physically and mentally very raw. 

 




Posted on: June 22, 2009 7:31 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2009 1:53 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Derrick Brown, Xavier

Derrick Brown: 6-8, 225, SF, Jr. (Xavier)

Draft Rank: #27

SF Rank: #6

Strengths:

Very long and athletic wing player. Can really create mismatches due to his ability to go inside and outside. With his combination of strength, length and athleticism, he has a great NBA body. Has tremendous leaping ability. Has good, smooth shooting mechanics and follow thru. When he is making his shot he is able to use the pump fake to get into the lane. Once he's in the lane he has a nice running floater that is virtually unstoppable due to his length. Shoots very well from three-point range and from mid range. Can grab a rebounds and take it coast to coast to finish on the other end. Does a great job of hesitating to get the defender off balance before attacking the hoop. Can get his shot off even when he is pushed off balance. Has a nice rise-up jumper that he uses once he gets into the paint. Does a very good job of adjusting in mid air and has great hangtime. Is very calm on the offensive end.  When he makes up his mind to attack the rim he can really get up and finish. Has an effective drop shot that helps him get to the glass. Can finish well above the rim in transition. Has a great feel for when the defender is sagging off of him enough so that he can rise up and get his shot off with ease. Has great speed when he leaks out and is running in transition. Brings great versatility as he can give you minutes guarding both forward positions.

Weaknesses:

While he has mismatch capabilities, he doesn't dominate smaller players like he should, instead he often settles for outside shots. Despite his physical gifts he doesn't block a lot of shots or get a lot of steals. Needs to do a better job of moving without the basketball. Needs to learn how to seal his man when he has a mismatch so that he can take advantage down low. Doesn't fight for position down low. Would rather fade away on a jump shot then go straight up toward the rim. Once he gets the ball in the offense he almost always looks for his shot rather than creating for his teammates. Doesn't like to play physical. Doesn't move well when he is forced to dribble east to west or crosses over to his right hand. Doesn't have a quick release. Doesn't set good screens. Gravitates toward the three-point line rather than slashing to the hoop. Often shoots bad shots from the perimeter. Sometimes gets out of control when he puts the ball on the floor. On defense, his positioning is a little too hunched over, which hurts him when he is trying to guard quick, wing players.

Mental:

There is no doubt Brown has talent, but he sometimes gets lost and becomes passive during the game. His numbers were really underwhelming when you look at the talent he has. He should be an elite shot blocker and ball thief but his lack of aggressiveness holds him back. As Brown adjusts to the NBA, he has to learn how to fit into a team that will not be running isolation plays for him. He will have to walk that fine line of becoming more assertive and active in the NBA, while also realizing that doesn't necessarily mean taking more shots.  He has taken his three years at Xavier to steadily improve his shooting stroke, which is a plus if people are looking into his work ethic. But mentally I am concerned Brown doesn't have what it takes to provide a team with positive play.

Comparison: Thaddeus Young , 6-7, 210, SF

Would be a good fit for: Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, or Phoenix Suns

Conclusion:   

Brown has some of the same issues that the aforementioned Earl Clark has. His combine measurements backed up the idea he can definitely play at the next level, but the game is more than what a guy's measurements are. Brown has the abilities to be a very good three-point shooter, finisher in transition, and mismatch creator on offense. And on defense, his abilities should make him a good shot blocker and someone who records a lot of steals. Yet he often doesn't take advantage of his abilities.

On pure talent alone, Brown has it all. Where he lacks is in his mentality and his understanding of how to best help his team. While Brown shoots a good percentage from downtown, he is unbelievably deadly when attacking the rim. When he attacks he also forces a defense to get out of position and therefore creates opportunities for his teammates. Unfortunately, Brown doesn't drive nearly enough, and when he does he usually looks for his own shot rather than creating for teammates.

Brown reminds me a lot of another long and athletic lefty in Thaddeus Young. Young's freshman statistics match up very well with Brown's junior statistics, which might not be such a positive for Brown. Their measurements are pretty similar to each other, and ultimately I see Brown's ceiling being similar to the type of player that Young has become.

It will be interesting to see where Brown goes. He is definitely a first-round talent, but his production in college raises question marks about how he will do at the next level. Brown will wow you one play and then make you scratch your head the next. There also were games this year where he disappeared and didn't figure out a way to help out his team and stay involved. Brown almost waits for his number to be called and when it is he usually makes something happen. The key for him is going to be staying focused and active as his number will almost certainly not be called as much as it was at Xavier. He also has to learn how to use his strengths and physical gifts to really put his imprint on a game. If he learns how to do that then he may become a starter in the NBA. If not, then he could find himself playing overseas in a couple of years. It's really up to him.




Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:39 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2009 3:54 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF DeMar DeRozan, USC

Demar DeRozan: 6-7, 220, SG/SF, Fr. (University of Southern California)

Draft Rank: #20

SF Rank: #5

Strengths:

Has a great body for a 2 guard. Has the quickness and strength to finish around the rim and take the contact from big guys. Plays very well without the basketball in his hand and moves well without the ball. Really runs well off of picks to create space for his jump shot. Likes to step back and shoot a fade jump shot that is virtually unstoppable when it's going in. Understands how to be successful inside the three-point line with his mid-range game. Has soft hands, which allow him to go left and right. Is aggressive on the boards and helps defensively on the glass as well. Has good explosiveness and leaping ability. Has a variety of moves and ways that he can attack the rim. Is great at slashing into the paint. Has very quick feet. Very good in transition. Knows how to use his steps wisely and to shift his feet when he is attacking on the break. Has a good understanding for spacing on the floor. Has the size and quickness to be a good defender. Should be able to play the 2 or the 3.

Weaknesses:

Doesn't have great playmaking skills. Doesn't excel when he has to put the ball on the floor and create for himself or his teammates. Needs to become a better passer when he is getting double-teamed. Needs to cut down on his turnovers and get more assists. Not a good three-point shooter. Not a good free-throw shooter. Must improve his overall perimeter skills so teams won't sag off of him. Needs to improve his ball handling skills. Didn't consistently produce when his team was counting on him to do so. 
    
Mental:

DeRozan improved as the year went on this year as he adjusted to the college game. I give him credit for adjusting and becoming a much more dominant player as the year went on. DeRozan is a tremendous athlete, but he will have to rely heavily on a strong work ethic and mental toughness at the next level. There were times this year DeRozan really disappeared and there were games in which he really didn't stand out. The lack of focus and consistency in college is a concern. When he gets to the next level it will be the first time in his career that he won't be "the man" on his team. He will need to help his team anyway it needs and adjust his game according to that team's needs. Mentally, I worry he won't be able to make that adjustment.

Comparison: Dahntay Jones, 6-6, 210, SG/SF

Would be a good fit for: Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats or Indiana Pacers

Conclusion:

Originally I had DeRozan listed as a shooting guard, but after watching more film on him I believe that he will end up being a small forward. He will be a little undersized at that position, but it fits his skill set more than what teams rely on from a shooting guard. At the end of the day, a lot of teams have interchangeable shooting guards and small forwards, so that may not really matter anyway.

DeRozan does have a lot of upside, but he has serious flaws in his game that he will need to sure up before he gets to the NBA. He does possess the size and athleticism to be an effective player and even a star player, but I think he is far away from being a starter at the next level.

The best place for DeRozan to end up would be with a rebuilding team that will give him an opportunity to grow, but also to contribute and play right away. I worry about him getting stuck behind other players on the bench and becoming erratic when he enters the game.  I believe he will definitely go in the lottery due to team needs and his star potential, but those teams really need to realize that he still has serious work to do. 





Posted on: May 28, 2009 3:58 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 4:24 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Earl Clark, L'ville

Earl Clark: 6-9, 220, SF/PF, Jr. (University of Louisville)

Draft Rank: #18

SF Rank: #4

Strengths:
Extremely long and athletic player. Uses his wing span to attack the ball and rebound at its highest point. Has good form on his shot and should be a solid mid-range shooter at the next level. Has improved his shooting and should be able to extend to NBA three-point  range. Can finish at and extend above the rim. Uses his wing span and athleticism to score, play defense and rebound. Is a step-into-the-ball, rhythm shooter who is at his best when his team uses ball movement to get him open looks. Has the type of game that could really create mismatches at the next level. Creates a lot of deflections, which lead to steals and blocked shots. Should become a good pick-and-pop type of player.

Weaknesses:
Makes bad decisions. He will wow you one play and then make you scratch your head the next play. Not a very good ball handler. Sometimes tries to do too much. Doesn't dominate games. Doesn't shoot for a good percentage from three-point range. Is a bit of a tweener at the next level. Loses focus in games and often disappears. Turns the ball over way too much for a forward. Doesn't get to the foul line enough. Settles for his jump shot. Doesn't have great post moves. Needs to become more physical and tougher.
 
Mental:
Like James Johnson , Clark has a lot of the tools teams look for in a starting forward. My main concern is that he may lack the drive and determination to be great. He also coasts in games at times and doesn't assert himself when his team needs him to. Clark's also one of the most inconsistent players in this year's draft and he really needs to improve his focus if he wants to be consistently relied upon in the NBA. I really worry about his mental toughness.

Comparison: Rashard Lewis, 6-10, 215, SF/PF 

Would be a good fit for: New Jersey Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, or Sacramento Kings

Conclusion:
I compared him to the Orlando Magic's Rashard Lewis, but he would really have to improve his shooting to be on his level. However, he does have the potential and the form to be a similar type of scorer. He has a great build for a small forward and also has the ability to move over to the 4. The problem is that he may be stuck in between those two positions and he needs to improve his shooting ability to be successful at the three.

The lack of physical and mental toughness is the reason why he isn't in my top 10. The guy is blessed with an amazing frame and with great coordination, but he is just too inconsistent and lacks the toughness you have to have in the NBA.

His field-goal percentage actually took a major dip this year, which is another concern I have about his work ethic. However, he does have good mechanics and there is no reason the shooting ability shouldn't improve -- the question is how much? If he can be a consistent shooting force then that will open up his entire offensive game. He is the type of guy a team should take if they want to roll the dice on a potential all star, rather than make sure that they get a solid contributor. I don't see him as a role player, so he really is a boom-or-bust type of guy. Because of that I think a team that is really and truly rebuilding should take a shot at him, not a team that wants to add a top-8 rotational player. His athleticism, length and coordination are at a level few possess in this year's draft, but he will have to work on his game to be a consistent starter.

Posted on: May 28, 2009 1:24 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 1:47 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospects: SF James Johnson, Wake

James Johnson: 6-9, 235, SF/PF, So. (Wake Forest University)

Draft Rank: #17

SF Rank: #3

Strengths:
Has an inside and outside game. Has the strength to create three-point opportunities inside. Can rebound the ball defensively and bring the ball up like a point guard. Does a great job of crashing the offensive boards to keep plays alive. Runs like a deer. Already has an NBA frame. Has the potential to be a complete offensive player. A natural three, but he has the size to guard fours and the quickness to guard some twos. Good off-the-ball defender. Great body control inside so that he can take a blow and finish. Great passer in the post. Can really see the floor, which may even allow him to run the break and find his teammates. Tremendous in transition. Has very good feet that allow him to lose his man while in the paint. Solid shot blocker. Has a nice mid-range game that includes a very effective pull-up jump shot.

Weaknesses:
Loses focus, which can often lead to turnovers. Often shoots bad shots. Leaves his feet on pump fakes, causing him to fall behind and lose his man defensively. Is a bit of a tweener as he often stays out of the paint, but he doesn't have the perimeter skills to play the 3. Needs to improve his consistency shooting the ball. Doesn't shoot the ball well from three-point range. Relied heavily on his superior size and athleticism in college, which won't be as superior in the NBA. Doesn't have great post-up or back-to-basket moves. Needs to improve his on ball defense.

Mental:
He has all the size and athleticism you look for in a forward, but he often loses his focus and doesn't understand that he can dominate opponents close to the rim. If he really focused and worked on his post game he would be a handful -- but I haven't seen him improve that part of his game in his two years at Wake. That said, he does have an edge and a passion to him many of his Wake Forest teammates lacked this past season. He really needs to mature and show he can focus consistently if he wants to be a reliable NBA player. He does have a fighter's attitude, which I like, but he has to learn how to harness his emotion and use it the best way possible on the court. His mental makeup and his work ethic will ultimately make or break Johnson's game.

Extra Info:
-- Was an accomplished kickboxer while in high school in South Dakota.
-- Despite the fact he is a sophomore, he is already 22.

Comparison:

Al Harrington, 6-9, 250, PF

Would be a good fit for: New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns or Sacramento Kings

Conclusion:
Johnson's biggest issue will be that he's a bit of a tweener. However, his offensive skill set should create mismatches no matter who is covering him. His ability to go inside and outside is what makes him a commodity and ultimately what will probably lead a team to take him with a top-15 pick. He needs to learn that he could really hurt opposing teams when he is taking the ball to the rim and posting players up who may not have his size or athleticism. Ultimately, I wish he were a power forward prospect, but after watching him I am not sure he will be the type of guy who will want to do his work in the paint. If that changes he could be a really good pro. He has a ceiling that is much higher than guys like Sam Young and Terrence Williams.

He reminds of New York Knicks forward Al Harrington. His build is very similar, and like Harrington he is at his best when he is attacking rather than settling for threes. He also is a bit of a tweener like Harrington, which will lead to him struggling on defense.

Johnson's mental makeup and work ethic will be a big factor in how he does in the NBA. The game won't come nearly as easy to him as it did in College and he will have to continue to work if he wants to be a factor. His physical attributes and his skill set have the makings of a starting forward, but he still needs to improve and show that he can contribute consistently.

 
 
 
 
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