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Tag:USC
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: 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. 





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