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. Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Top 5 Shooting Guard Prospects

This year's crop of shooting guards is average at best. Only OJ Mayo, and potentially Eric Gordon, look like they have the chance to be stars in the league. But there are a good number of guys with the potential to be solid role players or big-time shooters off the bench. For the two-guards, I rated them more on the likelihood that they will have long, successful careers as opposed to the higher risk prospects with more upside. Click on the player's name for more in-depth analysis.

1. OJ Mayo, USC: A lot of people have Mayo listed as a point guard, but I think he is going to be more of a scoring guard in the NBA, even if he does end up bringing the ball up the court (think Gilbert Arenas). He doesn't quite have the quickness or explosiveness of Arenas, but he is as good of a shooter and maybe a better playmaker. He can come off of screens and knock down shots off of the catch just as well as he can off of the dribble. His handle is better than average, but could still use some improvement. He has shot up draft boards recently, to the point where it looks like he could even go third to the T'Wolves.

2. Eric Gordon, Indiana: Gordon had an up-and-down freshman year. He started off looking like a top 5 pick, but mailed in the end of the season after Kelvin Sampson lost his job. Still, Gordon's skill set is pretty impressive. He is strong and explosive, and has range well beyond the NBA three. He can hit just about any shot he wants. He is a little short for a prototypical NBA two, but his athleticism, strength, and range should make up for that. He probably will end up being a Ben Gordon type scorer.

3. Chase Budinger, Arizona: Budinger is an interesting case. His best asset is probably his intangibles - he has a great work ethic and is a smart player, especially on the offensive end. He makes good decisions, is a solid passer, and is excellent at reading screens. He also is a very good shooter, with excellent hops and a high release point. He still struggles when he's forced into an isolation situation, but his improving ball-handling means that this area could develop. He probably isn't going to be a star in the NBA, mainly because he is a bit passive, which is perfect for a third option. He projects as a Mike Dunleavy or Brent Barry type player.

4. Shan Foster, Vanderbilt: This ranking is a lot higher than other rankings I've seen, but I am very high on Foster. He is an unbelievable three-point shooter, and his awkward shot means he has a very high release point, especially when you consider his height (6'6") and long arms. He is also another one of those guys with a great work ethic. He is a little less skilled than Budinger, but is a better shooter with unbelievable range and a knack for being able to hit tough shots from beyond the NBA line, even with a hand in his face. He had a better senior year than either Jason Kapono and Kyle Korver, and is a better athlete than either of those two. Look for him to follow in the footsteps of those two.

5. Brandon Rush, Kansas: Rush is projects as a very good role player off the bench in the league. He is a good defender, a great athlete, and a dead-eye three-point shooter, especially when he gets his feet set and has a good look at the rim. He doesn't really have the make-up of a star, which is probably better for him because he is not talented enough to be one. He makes good decisions and seems to be the type of guy that could slide right into any system, play some defense and knock down open three's. What team couldn't use a guy like that?

Honorable Mention: Wayne Ellington, UNC; Danny Green, UNC; Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky. Continue reading...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Top 5 Point Guard Prospects

his year's crop of point guard's is pretty good, with as many as eight guys with a shot at being a first round pick, depending on how you classify guys like OJ Mayo (SG on my list) and Jerryd Bayless (PG). Five of them are potential lottery picks. So without further ado, here is the first of my position-by-position prospect rankings. Click on the player's name for more in-depth analysis of each player.

1. Derrick Rose, Memphis: Not only is Rose the top point guard prospect in the draft, he may be the best overall prospect. It is rare to find a player with his size (6'3"), strength, and athleticism that is as skilled as he is. He also has great point guard instincts in that he is able and wants to get his teammates involved, but in the tournament showed that he can take over a game and wants to take and make the big shot. I've said it before and I'll say it again - he is Deron Williams with Dwayne Wade's athleticism.

2. DJ Augustin, Texas: Augustin drew a lot of comparisons to Steve Nash throughout the season. He is an excellent shooter and a good distributor, who plays a very similar style to Nash (keeps the ball in his hands a lot, shoots three's off the dribble well, decent athleticism, crafty finisher in the paint). But Augustin's size (5'11", 170 lbs) is still a bit worrisome, as is his relative lack of explosiveness, but he has a strong build and is a very smart player.

3. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona: Bayless is an explosive athlete and a very talented scorer, able to get his shot off from just about anywhere on the court. But he seems to be more of a shoot-first point guard. He has shown the ability to take over games, but has a fairly poor assist to turnover ratio (1.33:1) and only averaged 4.0 apg. He will be the most successful if he lands on a team where he can be the lead scorer (i.e. a Gilbert Arenas in Golden State), otherwise he will need to develop the ability to consistently get his teammates involved.

4. Russell Westbrook, UCLA: Westbrook is another guy who is kind of stuck between positions. His skills are more in line with that of an off-guard, but he has a point guard's size. He is a very athletic player, with a lot of the same tools as a Leandro Barbosa - he is an explosive athlete that can get up and down the floor very quickly. Defense is by far is best skill as he can defend either of the guard positions, and is a terror in the passing lanes.

5. Ty Lawson, UNC: Lawson is a lightning quick point guard that was probably the fastest guy in the country baseline-to-baseline. He can weave through traffic with the best of them, and has excellent court vision. He has three-point range, but needs time to get it off. He also can lose focus defensively at times. More than any other point guard, and maybe anyone else in the draft, Lawson needs to be put into the right system. If he ends up with a team like the Warriors that like to get out and run, he can be a very good player.

Honorable Mention: Mario Chalmers, Kansas; Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin; Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga. Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

NBA Draft Lottery Results

Congratulations are in order for the Chicago Bulls, who won the right to choose between Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose with the first pick in June's NBA Draft despite having just a 1.7% chance of winning. Since 1994, only twice has the team with the worst record earned the first pick in the draft. This year, the Miami Heat, who only won 15 games, got the second pick. Memphis, New Jersey, and Seattle all have two first rounders, while Atlanta, Dallas, and the Lakers are without a first round pick. The order for this year's draft is:

1. Chicago ................. 16. Philadelphia
2. Miami ................... 17. Toronto
3. Minnesota ............. 18. Washington
4. Seattle ................... 19. Cleveland
5. Memphis ............... 20. Denver
6. New York .............. 21. New Jersey
7. L. A. Clippers ........ 22. Orlando
8. Milwaukee ............. 23. Utah
9. Charlotte ............... 24. Seattle
10. New Jersey .......... 25. Houston
11. Indiana .................. 26. San Antonio
12. Sacramento .......... 27. New Orleans
13. Portland ............... 28. Memphis
14. Golden State ........ 29. Detroit
15. Phoenix ................. 30. Boston

Chicago now has a very tough, if enviable, decision to make. Clearly, they need a low-post scorer and have needed one for a long time. While I think Beasley will end up being more of a face-up, 15-18 foot kind of player, he still gives the Bulls a player with the ability to create his own shot and score inside. He is also athletic and mobile, and can get out and run the floor, which means he should fit in well with the Bulls style of play.

But Beasley is still a bit of a risky pick, based on his work ethic and demeanor. Rose would be a huge upgrade over Kirk Hinrich and Chris Duhon. And he would bring leadership to the point guard position. Chicago has had all sorts of off-the-court issues with guys like Ty Thomas and Duhon, and bringing in a guy with the leadership qualities that Rose has could help to quell that problem.

Although Miami did not win the lottery, they still may get Rose, the guy that they want, because Chicago may take Beasley. Seattle fell the furthest out of any team in the lottery, dropping from 2nd to 4th, but they will still likely end up with Jerryd Bayless, who is a very good fit for their team. Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who will be the 1st pick in this years draft?

By all accounts, the top two picks in this year's draft will be Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. Both are supremely talented basketball players that will be able to contribute to an NBA team immediately, but are still a long way from reaching their full potential. So who will get picked first? Based strictly on the numbers they put up this year, Michael Beasley is the obvious choice as he averaged a ridiculous 26 points and 12 boards, both top 5 in the country.

When it comes down to it, who the first pick is will depend on what team wins the lottery and their specific needs. For example, if Seattle wins, wouldn't it make more sense to take Rose, who fills their void at point guard, will be willing to give Kevin Durant all the shots he can take and avoids clogging their frontcourt with Beasley, Durant, and Jeff Green? If Miami wins it, then wouldn't taking Beasley and putting him on the court with Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion all but guarantee at least a shot at making the Playoffs in the East (although personally I would still take Rose and team him with Wade in what would be the most athletic backcourt in the league)?

So with that in mind, let's assume that we are drafting to start a team, or more simply, that we are trying to pick based on who will be the better player in the NBA, not based on who fits better with which ever team ends up with the first pick.

Personally, I don't think Beasley is going to be great. He is immensely talented and has incredible physical tools. Offensively, his only drawback is that a bit raw skill-wise, especially with his handle, and doesn't yet really have a feel for the game, rather much of what he does is a result his talent and instincts.

There are a few reasons I believe Beasley will be a good and not great NBA player, none of which (well, one of which actually) has to do with his basketball ability.

What's the difference between guys like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan and guys like Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudamire? Why are the first three considered all-time greats, while the second three are considered very good players? Because of defense. Kobe, KG, and Duncan are all familiar with the NBA all-defensive teams, and more than just blocking a few shots or picking a few pockets, they actually take pride in shutting their man down. Yea, VC will pick off a few passes and take them for a dunk, but have you ever seen him take a charge or try to deny his man the ball? Yea, Amare set a career high in blocks this year, but have you ever seen him front in the post or at the very least consistently fight for position?

But it's more than just defense. It's about heart and doing what it takes for your team to win. It's about being a team leader. Do you think anyone on the Celtics is going to play lazy defense or take bad shots when they know they have to deal with KG? What about with Melo or VC? And which category do you see Beasley falling under? For the record, I know that Beasley is not an emotional player (like a KG or Kobe is), but neither is Duncan, who is a quiet leader. Can Beasley ever command his teammates respect the way Duncan does? I don't think he can, mainly because half the time when he is playing he just seems completely disinterested in the game. Maybe that is just his demeanor, but even in the NCAA tournament second round, when Wisconsin built a big lead in the second half, Beasley just looked like he packed it in instead of trying to lead a comeback.

Going along with the idea of heart, Beasley, by all accounts, has no work ethic. Check out this article from the Washington Post when he was still in high school (actually, his fifth high school in four years). Beasley actually stopped lifting weights because he said that the weight room in his school was too cold and he did not want to catch a cold. Doesn't exactly sound like he's a workaholic. And he also does not seem to have the ideal character or maturity to be an NBA player just yet. He actually managed to get himself kicked out of Oak Hill Academy - a private school that has been criticized for putting too much emphasis on basketball.

Rose, on the other hand, reportedly has an incredible work ethic, and that showed through during the season. The biggest element was the development of his mid-range game. Early in the season, Rose was struggling because he was working too hard trying to get to the rim everytime he put the ball on the floor. But by the end of the season he had developed a good, if a bit inconsistent, pull up jump shot, and had started taking floaters and runners instead of trying to use his athleticism to get all the way to the rim. He also is a good defender, and works hard on that end of the floor, using his size and athleticism to overwhelm smaller point guards.

He also proved he has the ability to shine on the biggest stage. One of the main reasons he is in the discussion as the first pick is the fact that he put it all together during the NCAA tournament, dominating games and playing nearly flawless basketball (until a late free throw). Even when he was struggling in the finals, playing with a stomach bug, he carried Memphis for a ten or twelve minute stretch of the second half, the same time when Memphis built the eventual nine-point lead with two minutes left (which really should have won the game for the Tigers, if they could hit foul shots). Isn't that what you look for in a guy? Someone that will elevate their game at the most important times, even when they aren't 100%?

The way he plays is also very important. He is a very unselfish player, with above average (although not great yet) court vision. He averaged 4.7 assists per game, which isn't exactly Jason Kidd like, but is low because of his slow start to the season and the fact that Memphis lacked perimeter shooters (so when he would draw defenders and kick the ball out, the guys he hit would then attack the basket, canceling out the assist).

Great point guards are few and far between, but can make a huge difference on a team (think about where Atlanta would be right now if they had Chris Paul or Deron Williams with the athletes on that team). I just don't see how you could justify passing up on one with the ability, athleticism, and mentality of Derrick Rose, especially when the other options has some very obvious question marks and (at least to me) seems like a fairly risky pick (Derrick Coleman anyone?). Continue reading...

Monday, May 5, 2008

NBA Draft Prospects - Who's Going to be a Bust and Who's Not?

This years NBA Draft is very deep and there will be a lot of guys that would normally be top 10 picks or lottery picks falling to the late teens and early 20's. This year's consensus top two (Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose) probably doesn't have as high of a ceiling as last year's (Greg Oden and Kevin Durant), but there are plenty of players that are potential all-stars if they work hard and continue to develop as well as plenty of guys that will be better than average role players for years to come.

This year, it seems like there are an unusual number of guys with out-of-this-world potential, but lacking any semblance of skill at this point - the kind of guys that will make an NBA GM look like a genius or lose his job. Who will develop into good NBA players and who will the next Kwame Brown, Sam Bowie, or Michael Olowokandi? For full analysis of this year's crop of prospects, click here.

Top 5 Players Most Likely to be a Waste of a 1st Round Pick
1. JaVale McGee, Nevada - He has the physical tools to leave scouts drooling over his potential. He's 7 feet tall. He has a wingspan of 7'6". He has a vertical of 33". He can run the floor and finishes extremely well, either by way of a dunk or a soft turn around jumper or jump hook. He can block shots and has good timing coming from the weak side. But there is a reason that he plays at Nevada - the kid plays with no heart. He gambles for steals, doesn't hustle, plays no defense (Draft Express has a statistic that says that he gets scored 66% of the time the man he is guarding touches to ball in the post. And that's in the WAC), doesn't have good footwork, and by all accounts has no work ethic.

So why is he projected at the end of the lottery? Because he could end up being one of the best centers in the league. He could also be gone after his rookie contract.

2. DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M - Jordan has pretty much the exact same tools as McGee, only he is left-handed. Both are athletic 7-footers that are mobile, but are still raw offensively and weak defensively. Like McGee, Jordan has a long way to go before he is ready to play consistent minutes in the NBA, and it will take a lot of hard work (and one of the knocks on Jordan is that he does not have much of a work ethic). But there is a difference. Jordan has a bit of a mean streak in him, it's just a matter of whether or not it will come out. He seemed to be a bit passive this season and had trouble maintaining focus (although that was something that plagued the A&M team as a whole this year) throughout a game. But he could go on runs of three or four possessions where you really saw what this kid could be (take a look at this clip if you don't believe).

For Jordan, like McGee, it is all going to come down to how hard he is going to work and how good he wants to be in the league. Although he is not as polished offensively, Jordan hustles more and works harder on defense (he is still too weak to battle with NBA centers, but that will develop with time), which is what puts him behind McGee.

3. Donte Greene, Syracuse - I actually like Greene's game. He is a very good, if streaky, shooter that doesn't have a conscience. He ball-handling ability doesn't go much farther than a two dribble drive to the basket, and he's a bit inconsistent if he has to shoot on the move (i.e. not spotting-up). He would be a nice as a second round pick to fill a role if he was 6'5". But he's 6'10", So scouts are going to see that length and athleticism and think that he can play the role of combo forward, when in fact he isn't anything more than a three point gunner. He is going to draw comparisons to guys like Rashard Lewis and Mike Dunleavy, when in fact he isn't much more than a poor man's Al Harrington.

He may not end up being a bust, depending on how he does in the pre-draft camp and his work outs (if he struggles and drops to the end of the first round/start of the second round, he's not a bad risk) and where he ends up being taken. But he is way too risky with too low of an upside to garner a lottery pick, especially in this year's draft.

4. Kevin Love, UCLA - More than anyone this side of Tyler Hansbrough, Kevin Love's game may by the most suited to college ball. He is a very smart player, a great rebounder, big and strong, and a phenomenal passer for his size. He has a great touch around the rim and on the perimeter, but he is very slow. He also does not possess great athleticism or explosiveness. He has had back and knee problems through out his career, and still could probably drop 20-25 pounds (which is worrisome given it has been an issue since his high school days). Even is he does, there is still a question of who he could guard at the net level - he's too slow for perimeter players, but may be too short for centers.

Love is all over the board right now - some have him as a lottery lock (even top 10), others are saying he could drop to the late teen's. Regardless, Kevin Love is talented and a smart player, it just depends on whether or not he will be able to physically go up against the likes of Amare Stoudamire or Chris Bosh.

5. Kosta Koufus, Ohio State - Koufus is an especially interesting case because of the rumors that he may end up playing in Greece with center BJ Mullins going to Ohio State next year. Koufus is projected as a mid-first round pick this year, which is probably where he should be given his skill set. He is 6'11" with some nice post moves and NBA three-point range. He defense was hidden by OSU's 2-3 zone, but he has a strong base and blocks some shots. The problem is that he has dual Greek citizenship, and although he grew up here, he still has strong ties in Greece (including playing on the national team). If he doesn't like where he is picked or who he is picked by (assuming he stays in the draft), there is the possibility that he doesn't even suit up for that team and goes to play in Europe.

More likely than not, Koufus will stay in the draft and play in the NBA next year, but if your a GM do you really want to take the chance that he won't, especially in a draft as talented as this one is?

Top 5 Players Most Likely to Fulfill Their Potential
1. Anthony Randolph, LSU - Randolph is another one of those guys loaded with potential. He is 6'11" with long arms, mobility, athleticism, but a fairly skinny frame. But he is still only 18 years old. The difference between him and a guy like JaVale McGee is that Randolph already has a lot of offensive skills, and he is much more of a perimeter oriented player. While he is still raw physically, he already has fantastic instincts - he is just able to put the ball in the basket. His jump shot is a little awkward looking, but he can hit it to about 15 feet. He is also able to take a rebound and go coast to coast and finish on the other end with a dunk or hit a teammate for an open shot or lay-up.

I only saw him play twice this year, but both times I came away very impressed. He still has a ways to go before his body is NBA ready, but if he continues to develop his game he could be scary good.

2. Brook Lopez, Stanford - One of the things you look for when scouting prospects in any sport is work ethic and intensity. Lopez has both of those. He proved during the off-season he has the dedication to turn his body into NBA form by adding 25 pounds of muscle. He still could use some added strength, but not too much as it will cut into his mobility and athleticism. Another reason that he is likely to live up to expectations is that, despite being projected as a top 5 pick, he really does have a sky-high ceiling. He doesn't have the physical tools of a DeAndre Jordan, but he is much better-than-average about just about all facets of the game. If you expect the second coming of Brendan Haywood, and you end up with Chris Kaman, you're happy. If you expect Dwight Howard and get Chris Kaman, you're probably not.

3. Eric Gordon, Indiana - Gordon's lofty expectations, and his draft stock, fell as he sleep-walked his way through the final third of Indiana's season, but it doesn't diminish what this guy can do. He is a great athlete - explosive, quick, and strong - and great scorer. He can hit just about any shot he wants, and has range well beyond the NBA three-point line. He is a bit short for a two-guard, however, and the biggest question with him will be whether or not he can switch over and play the point at all. If he can, he could end up being a guy used like Ben Gordon.

It does not look good for a player when he gives up on his teammates because of a bad situation, but that is exactly what Gordon did. Does he really have the heart to play for a team that is going to be near the bottom of the league? Who knows, but if that is the biggest problem with his character in this day and age, that isn't really all that bad (see Derrick Caracter or Robert Dozier).

4. DJ Augustin, Texas - Skill-wise, Augustin can do anything you ask from a point guard. He has a great handle, great vision (especially in the open floor), he has NBA range, he can finish in the paint with floaters or off the glass, and he is unselfish. He needs to get stronger to be able to defend NBA point guards, but the quickness is there. The biggest thing is that this year Augustin proved that he was a potent scorer, averaging almost 20 ppg.

Because of his relatively small stature and his average athleticism, Augustin has fallen a bit on draft boards. He is receiving a lot of the same knocks that Jameer Nelson got when he came out, but Nelson has turned out to be a very solid NBA point guard.

5. Derrick Rose, Memphis - Part of the reason that Derrick Rose is so low on this list is that he is so highly rated. After some dominating performances in the NCAA tournament, this kid looks like a sure thing (I would even take him over Michael Beasley at this point). The problem is that everyone believes that. In reading about him, I've seen people compare him to everyone from Dwayne Wade to Deron Williams to a bigger Chris Paul to mini-Lebron James. Those are four pretty good basketball players, and that's a high ceiling for a guy that really seemed to figure it out for only about the last seven or eight games of his freshman season.

As much as I like the mini-LBJ comparison because of the similar physical tools - athleticism, strength, quickness - the best comparison is probably Deron Williams, which still will make Rose a top 5 point guard. Still, it's tough to live up to expectations when there are people saying that your worst-case scenario will be Deron Williams.

Top 5 Value Picks
1. Marreese Speights, Florida - Speights still needs to greatly improve the effort his gives on the defensive end, but offensively this guy is as good as they come. He played behind three NBA players his freshman year (Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Chris Richard) but this season averaged 25 points and 14 rebounds per 40 minutes. Fundamentally, he is still not quite there, but he is a terrific athlete with long arms who has a nose for the ball. Think somewhere between Al Jefferson and Brandon Bass, which is pretty good for a guy who will probably drop to twenties.

2. Russell Westbrook, UCLA - Westbrook brings a lot of things to the table. He is a tremendous athlete with explosive quickness and leaping ability, he is an unbelievable defender (both on the ball and playing the passing lanes), and he is a good passer and very unselfish (4 assists per game). He still needs to develop his offensive game a bit, but he is a late bloomer that still needs to grow into his body. Right now he is looking at the end of the lottery or the middle of the first round, but he could end up being a role-player/sixth-man in the Leandro Barbosa mold.

3. Danny Green, UNC - Green is a defensive stopper. He is 6'6", 215lb, which gives him the size to match-up with NBA wings. He is a tough kid that loves contact and isn't afraid to get up in someone's face defensively. He also has a nice offensive game, averaging 11.5 ppg in just over 22 minutes, and can hit open three's out to NBA range. Depending on how much his offense comes around, he will end up being in the Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen mold. What NBA team wouldn't want to use a second round pick (that's where Green is being projected) on a guy like that.

4. Robin Lopez, Stanford - Robin Lopez is much less-developed, especially offensively, than his brother is, but is still a good NBA prospect because of his size, athleticism, and determination. He is a mobile 7-footer with long arms that loves playing defense, hustles his tail off, and is a very emotional player. He is projected as a late first-round to early second-round pick, but looks to be another Anderson Varejao/Joakim Noah, with the long hair to boot.

5. Richard Hendrix, Alabama - Hendrix is 6'8", 250lb of solid muscle, and is not afraid to use it. He is a very good rebounder because he takes up a ton of space and is impossible to move, but also has a nice array or post move to go to. Defensively, he's not going to block any shots but he is going to make life miserable for any one trying to establish position against him. He is projected all over the board, from late first-round to a second round pick, but he looks like another Paul Millsap, who dropped to 47th last year but is having a very productive season. Continue reading...