Thursday, June 24, 2010

NBA Draft Prospects: Soloman Alabi, Florida State

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Stats: 11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 53.4% FG, 79.4% FT


  • Listed: 7'1", 251 lb, 22 yrs old
  • Combine: 7'0 3/4" (with shoes), 237 lb, 7'5" (wingspan)

About Him: Solomon Alabi is your typical, raw college big man. He has ideal height and length for an NBA center, checking in as a legitimate seven-footer in shoes with a wingspan of 7'5". But as far as NBA readiness is concerned, his size is about the only aspect of his game that can translate to the NBA right now.

For starters, Alabi needs to add some weight, some muscle, and quite a bit of lower body strength. Right now, he has a great deal of trouble holding position on the block on both ends of the floor, even against smaller opponents. It also hurts him on the glass, where he is an alarmingly bad defensive rebounder, in part because he gets pushed to far under the rim. He is a pretty offensive rebounder, however.

While Alabi's size makes him a good shot blocker, in both one-on-one situations and when rotating from the weak side, Alabi does have some bad habits defensively. He goes for far too many steals on entry passes, he has trouble defending the perimeter, and he needs to improve how well he steps out on a pick-and-roll.

Offensively, Alabi has made some strides, but he still has a long way to go. Alabi isn't much more than a catch-and-dunk center right now, but there are some signs that a back to the basket game could develop. As he has added some strength and coordination in his time at Florida State, Alabi's ability to finish through contact and use his left hand has continued to get better. He has a decent and improving little half-hook-half-jumper over his left shoulder, and was able to use his height to get off a shot over his right shoulder this past season. A nearly-80% shooter from the line, Alabi has a soft touch, which is a good sign for the development of his turn around and midrange jumpers.

One concern with Alabi is his age. He's 22 years old already, which means that his ceiling may not be as high as some of the seven footers that are younger than him. That said, he also has not been playing organized basketball as long as some of the american kids in this draft (Alabi is Nigerian), so some believe his development could come quicker.

  • Best Case Scenario: Alabi's size alone should allow him to be an effective player on the defensive end of the floor, which is why I like the comparison with Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert had a couple years where he averaged nearly a double-double while blocking a couple shots a game. I also think that Sagana Diop is a good comparison as well.
  • Worst Case Scenario: How many big men drafted on potential have been flops? Saer Sene? Patrick O'Bryant?
Outlook: Alabi is going to be a contributor on the defensive end of the floor if he can add 20-30 pounds of muscle. He's too long and too good of a natural shot blocker not to be a defensive addition to any roster. The question is going to be how well he develops as an offensive threat. If he can learn how to run the floor in transition, add a consistent 15 footer, become a consistent finisher at the rim, and add a jump hook and turn around jumper, he may one day be a starting center in this league. If you can land a starter with a pick in the 20's, that's a good pick.


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