Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top 5 Small Forward Prospects

Many of the best small forward prospects fall into the combo-forward category in the mold of a Shawn Marion or (to a lesser degree) Tyrus Thomas. There isn't much star power in this group, but a solid number of players that could have long careers as role players. As always, click on the player's name for more in-depth analysis.

1. Danilo Gallinari, Armani Jeans Milano (Italy): Gallo is a typical Euro player in that he is tall and has a greater stroke. But as a player, he can do much more. He does not have the quickest first step, but effectively uses fakes to get his defender off balance. His game is very similar to fellow Euro Hedo Turkoglu. His handle is better than average, and he is able to take the ball coast-to-coast. He still needs to add some strength to his frame (6'9", 210lb), but still looks to be a lock as a top 10 pick.

2. Anthony Randolph, LSU: Randolph is another one of those guys with scary NBA potential - 6'11", lefty, athletic, perimeter skills, great scoring instincts. He still needs to add some muscle and some weight, and his skills are still raw, but he has already shown the ability to put the ball in the basket. This year, he was at his best when he would face a defender up from about fifteen feet and use his quickness, and his jumpshot and post game could still use some work. He will probably end up somewhere between a Lamar Odom and a Demarr Johnson (pre-neck injury).

3. Joe Alexander, West Virginia: Already a solid lottery pick prospect, Alexander has been supremely impressive in his workouts, showing off outstanding athleticism (see the picture). Everyone already knows about his versatile game - he can post-up smaller players and take bigger players on the perimeter. He has the potential to be an all-star down the road.

4. Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis: CDR has proven that he has the ability to score in a variety of ways, and you can't play for John Calipari for three years with being a solid defender. He is not a fantastic shooter, and is not the best athlete, but he is a smart player and could definitely provide scoring and hustle off the bench for any team. That is probably the role he is best suited for in the NBA.

5. Bill Walker, Kansas State: Walker is a bit of a risky pick. He has already had multiple knee injuries and surgeries, and is a bit of a head case (he was prone to picking up tech's, had some games that he went O-fer, and at times appeared to quit on his team). But coming out of high school he was a top-5 recruit, and has reportedly lost some weight and improved his athleticism close to the point that it was in high school.

Honorable Mention: Nicolas Batum, France; Keith Brumbaugh, Hillsbrough CC; Donte Greene, Syracuse.

No comments: