2007 NBA Draft: Centers
By Aran Smith
The center position has one goliath (Oden), one potential lotto pick in Hawes and a number of other first round possibilities. The position is never usually deep or talented, so having a potential dominating center at the top makes this an excellent center year.
[img_assist|nid=3793|title=Greg Oden - AP Photo: Charlie Neibergall|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=350|height=362]1. Greg Oden 7-0 265 C Ohio St. Fr. -- 15.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.3 bpg, 61.6 fg%, 62.8 ft% -- LeBron James' Dad (Oden) was criticized by some for not showing enough emotion during the year, but the same can be said for four time NBA Champion Tim Duncan. Oden's game is nothing like Duncan's as he's more of a raw physical specimen, but like Duncan underneath his calm demeanor lays a warrior with a passion to win. And like Shaq he shows a real playful side, as he has been a riot in the predraft interviews, which should only increase his fan base and marketing value.
Outlook: Oden said he'll be happy to go anywhere in the first round. If he ends up going second, GM Kevin Prichard and the Portland Trailblazers won't be happy about being second guessed for the next 20 years.
2. Spencer Hawes 6-11 250 C Wash. Fr. -- 14.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 53.2 fg%, 75.5 ft% -- What Hawes lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in post skills and toughness. His boyish face is misleading as he enjoys physical play and has a football mentality. His skill level in the post for a freshman is maybe the best on the college level since Bill Walton. On the negative side, his legs look a little gimpy and could be prone to injuries over the course of his career.
Outlook: Hawes should find a spot in the late lottery. His ability to be a quality scorer on the block makes him very desirable to teams.
3. Marc Gasol 7-1 270 C Spain 1985 -- 10.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 62.6 fg%, 66.0 ft% -- Gasol is a lumbering center who only fits in with certain teams, but he's shown a lot of improvement in the past year and become a intriguing center prospect. As Pau's brother, he's got the bloodlines, but is a far different type of player. Some question Gasol's motivation level, but he's got a great frame and toughness to play the position.
Outlook: Gasol has a real shot to sneak into the late first round. With teams such as San Antonio always on the look out for players to leave in Europe to develop for a couple seasons.
4. Sean Williams 6-10 235 PF/C BC Jr. -- 12.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.0 bpg, 54.8 fg%, 70.0 ft% -- Williams has shot blocking ability like few on the NBA level, because of that he's a real wild card in this year's draft. How deep the rabbit hole goes is the question. The specifics on why he was kicked off the BC team were never revealed, however sources close to the program claim he put up a tent in the common room of his suite after being forced to live with a RA he didn't get along with. After which the BC program put him on a final notice and when he tested positive for marijuana, he was out. Teams are certainly wary of disrupting team chemistry after seeing the carnage that players such as Ron Artest have left in their wake. Williams remains the only person I've ever seen go through lay up drills (at BC before a game) with a tooth pick in his mouth. Talented? Extremely. Eccentric? Yes. Disruptive? Maybe.
Outlook: Williams has lottery talent but getting kicked off the BC team for rules violations and his weed problem could drop him into the second round depending how big an issue teams see his off court behavior being.
5. Kyle Visser 6-11 250 C Wake Forest Sr. -- 17.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 58.4 fg%, 64.4 ft%, -- Visser was a one hit wonder of a college player as he only shined in his senior year. But he made a great impression in that year showing solid low post skills and the ability to run the floor. His mobility gives him the nod over Aaron Gray.
Outlook: Visser cannot be ruled out as a possible late first rounder. He may never be more than a solid backup but he shows the potential to be a contributing NBA center.
6. Aaron Gray 7-1 280 C Pittsburgh Sr. -- 13.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 56.5 fg%, 54.8 ft%, -- Gray probably messed up in not turning pro a season ago. He was seen as a likely top 20 pick whereas most scouts see him falling into the second round this year. He lost some weight going into the Orlando predrat camp, but he still looked stiff and mechanical.
Outlook: Gray is likely to land somewhere in the early to mid second round.
7. Stanko Barac 7-1 220 C Bosnia 1986 -- 11.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 62.0 fg%, 61.0 ft%, 0 3p% -- Baric is very skinny so he'll need to add weight but he's a nice prospect with the ability to pass and shoot the ball. He also has a solid feel for the game and he's not a stiff, a team likely takes him with the thought of leaving him in Europe for a few seasons.
Outlook: Barac is a sleeper pick who some scouts have mentioned as a possible late first rounder, but probably gets selected in the second round somewhere.
8. Kyrylo Fesenko 7-0 240 PF/C Ukr. 1986 -- 7.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 60.0 fg%, 54.8 ft% -- Fesenko is a lot bigger and more athletic than Barac but much less polished. A team will be looking long term on Fesenko as he's a real upside pick.
Outlook: Fesenko is considered a likely mid second rounder.
9. Shagari Alleyne 7-3 270 C Manhattan*Sr. -- DNP -- After transferring to Manhattan and sitting out the year, Alleyne decided to put his name in the draft and surprisingly chose to leave his name in. He's got amazing length with the ability to dunk the ball with barely leaving his feet. He struggled in 3 years at Kentucky for playing time and with the speed of the game.
Outlook: He still needs to get stronger, but shows amazing mobility for a player his size and is a sleeper pick in the late second round.
10. Ionut Dragusin 7-4 300 C Romania 1985 -- Who? Dragusin is a late bloomer but as they say bigmen take the longest to develop. The second round is normally littered with unknown Euros, so Dragusin is a guy to keep an eye on. He's obviously huge and has shown solid development in his mob
Outlook: Dragusin is a bit of an unknown but sources indicate he's getting some looks from NBA teams as a potential second rounder. If the Romanian gets drafted it will be a perfect 10 as far as Dragusin is concerned.
Others: Mirza Begic 7-2 220 PF/C Slovenia 1985 | James Hughes 6-10 220 C Northern Illi. Sr. | Nikola Pekovic 6-11 230 C Serbia 1986 | Alexandr Rindin 7-4 246 C Azer.1985 | Sidiki Sidibe 7-0 270 C France 1985 | Ian Vouyoukas 6-10 250 PF/C St. Louis Sr. | Darryl Watkins 6-11 258 C Syracuse Sr.