Monday, December 31, 2007

Hasheem Thabeet - NBA Draft Prospects

Numbers: 10.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.5 bpg, 60% FG, 70% FT

About Him: Hasheem Thabeet, in only his sixth year of organized basketball, made huge strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons. The biggest difference was confidence and emotion. Even at 7'3", as a freshman Thabeet layed the ball in way too much and was nowhere near aggressive enough at the rim. This year was a much different story as he dunked just about everything he caught within three feet of the hoop, and actually looked like he was having fun playing basketball (yelling and screaming after dunks or blocks, playing to the crowd). The problem is that he has terrible hands, but they are getting better. He still has trouble because he doesn't expect some of the passes he gets from guys like AJ Price and Doug Wiggins, but that may just be a result of him being a late-bloomer. He has great tools and potential (7'3", 260lb, long arms, pretty good athleticism and explosiveness), but skills-wise he is still very raw. He back to the basket game is pretty much non-existant, although he did show a nice little baby hook that he used with either hand towards the end of the season. He is not a good passer at all, and at times has trouble just swinging the ball on the perimeter. He shot has improved, and he has the green light to shoot out to about 10 feet, and hit just under 70% of his free throws this year, up 20% from his freshman campaign. Defensively, he is a great shot blocker. Length aside, he has great timing and feel for getting blocks. He reads penetrators well and blocks shots coming from help-side, but also blocks the shot of the guy he is guarding in the post very often. The key is that he almost never bites on a pump fake, staying on his feet until the last possible moment. He also goes for blocks with his left hand, which means he received some coaching early on in that area. He has problems defending the pick-and-roll because he is not quite mobile enough yet, but improved a great deal through out the season (although where he ended up is still not great - he was horrific early on).

Comparisons: Dikembe Mutumbo, Samuel Dalembert

Bottom Line: Thabeet is probably making a good decision, assuming he continues working out as hard as he has been the past two years. If he continues to improve, he will be a top 10 pick in 2009, and depending on how much he improves, he could go as high as top 3. If he left, he probably could have snuck into the late lottery if he had some good workouts, but likely would have been a mid-to-late first rounder.

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