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Tag:Wake Forest University
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.

Posted on: May 15, 2009 12:48 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2009 4:32 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospects: PG Jeff Teague, WFU

Jeff Teague: 6-2, 180, So., PG (Wake Forest University)

Draft Rank: #10

PG Rank: #4

Strengths:

An absolute assassin on the offensive end. Can score in a variety of ways. Shoots for a tremendous percentage from the three-point line. Can take the ball to the rim with great control and finishes strong. Runs the floor very well. An above-average passer. Breaks down a defense and either creates for himself or his teammates. Wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Clutch player. Plays solid defense. Very good basketball IQ. Really sees the entire floor and is a tremendous distributor when running the break. Does a very good job of using his steps to shift away from his opponents. Has a very good first step as well as a pullback jumpshot. Good free-throw shooter. A good finisher once he gets into the paint. Has a terrific crossover. Has the size and athleticism to finish in the paint. Does a good job of scoring off the dribble. Has great speed and quickness. 

Weaknesses:

Sometimes doesn't play with great energy. Is not a vocal leader. There are times when he needs to elevate his teammates, but he doesn't. His body language is very stoic and often when his team needs him to boost energy, he doesn't do so (which is very important for a point guard). While he is a good passer, he often looks for his scoring rather than his teammates, which leads to an awful assist/turnover ratio. Needs to be more consistent. Needs to improve his catch-and-shoot capabilities.  

Mental:

Teague loves the ball late in the game, which is definitely a positive as far as his mentality is concerned. However, he often disappears for long stretches in big games. Despite the fact that he gets lots of touches, he sometimes manages to take himself out of the flow of the game. As a point guard he will need to demonstrate more leadership qualities if he wants to be a starter. I am really concerned that he may not be mentally strong enough to quarterback a team. Wake had a lot of talent this year, yet they underachieved in large part because Teague wasn't able to grab the reins and get his team in a position to win. I worry that he will struggle leading a team at the next level and will not be selfless enough to play the point.

Comparison: Randy Foye, 6-4, 210, PG/SG

Would be a good fit for: Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks or New Orleans Hornets

Conclusion:

I think he will either be a stud or a dud. Point guards are very hard to read and Teague is no different. He has all the tools to be a very successful point at the next level, but he will have to bring the same confidence as he did in college to be successful. He is a rhythm scorer who is almost unstoppable when he gets going. The key for him will be consistency and his ability to run a team.
 
I worry that he lacks the mentality to get his teammates going. Coming into the NBA he will be expected to be a distributor first and a scorer second. In college he was at his best when he was scoring first and getting his teammates involved second. This ended up hurting not only his stock, but also his team in college. He definitely needs to become more of a distributor.

With that said, Teague's scoring ability is hard to ignore. He can get to the rim, create his own shot and has good NBA size to play the point. He also looks to be a solid defender with his combination of size and quickness. His numbers are very similar to Randy Foye's in college and I look for similar production at the next level. Like Foye, I don't think he will ever be a true point guard but I do think he will be able to help a team with his scoring ability.

 
 
 
 
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