2007 NBA Draft: Power Forwards
By Aran Smith
With three potential top five picks (Horford, B. Wright and Yi), and 7-8 potential first rounders, the power forward position in the 2007 draft is both talented and deep. There are upside picks such as Yi, Wright and Smith, and instant impact guys such as Horford and Noah. After the dust clears on Thursday, power forward could end up producing the most first rounders of any position.
[img_assist|nid=3796|title=Brandan Wright|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=389]1. Brandan Wright 6-10 210 PF UNC Fr. -- 14.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.8 bpg, 64.6 fg%, 56.7 ft% -- Captain Stretch has the most upside of any player in the draft outside of Oden and Durant. He's a few years away from being an impact NBA player due to his body, but he shows signs of filling out considering the muscle definition he added in his year at UNC. Wright's 56% free throw shooting should also improve to 70-75 percent after a few years, as he has good touch, he just needs to condense his free throw shooting motion.
Outlook: If Memphis passes on Wright in favor of Conley, he could slide a little ways with the 5-7 pick's GMs on the hot seat, but he won't slip far as teams such as Charlotte, Chicago and Sacramento could all be waiting to grab him.
2. Al Horford 6-10 245 PF Florida Jr. -- 13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.8 bpg, 60.8 fg%, 64.4 ft% -- After the top 2 (Oden and Durant) Horford is seen as the most NBA ready impact player in the draft. He should come in and produce right away as a force on the boards as well as add some offense. The two national championships don't look too bad on his resume either.
Outlook: Horford is seen as a virtual lock for the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Atlanta will probably take him and hold onto him but they will also listen to offers.
3. Yi Jianlian 7-0 242 PF China 1987 -- 25.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 62.1 fg%, 81.6 ft%, 19.6 3p% -- The workout strategy of not participating in competitive workouts against other players and not going to Orlando for the combine could ultimately backfire. Yi remains a hot commodity as a player with both basketball skills and great marketing potential. Whether that's enough to vault him into the top 5 remains to be seen, but Boston has shown a lot of interest, and they have been very active in looking to move their pick as other teams are targeting Yi at 5.
Outlook: Yi has a good chance of going fifth overall with teams such as Phoenix and Golden State attempting to move up for him. If Boston holds onto the pick they could grab him or Green, and if he slips past 5 he could be in the same boat as Wright with teams 6 and 7 looking for more instant help.
4. Joakim Noah 6-11 227 PF Florida Jr. -- 12.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.8 bpg, 60.5 fg%, 66.3 ft%, 100.0 3p% -- Noah likely would have been a top 3 pick in last year's draft but probably falls to the mid-to-late-lottery this year. There's no questioning his intensity and desire, but his ceiling is limited some by his lack of shooting fundamentals.
Outlook: Noah has developed the reputation of a partier which obviously isn't unusual for college players but maybe a bit excessive in his case. To his credit, he's had reason to party after back to back national championships, but when scouts mention it possibly having an affect on his draft stock, it's not a good sign. He's still likely a top 10 pick, with Minnesota at 7 and Charlotte at 8 both showing a lot of interest, but could slide a little with other more skilled players available.
5. Jason Smith 7-0 240 PF Colorado St. Jr. -- 16.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 bpg, 57.9 fg%, 77.0 ft%, -- Smith's amazing fluidity and offensive skills for a 7-footer have teams giddy about his potential. He's still a project as he doesn't respond well to contact and needs to prove himself against high level competition, but his upside is very intriguing.
Outlook: A dark horse to sneak into the lottery, Smith is seen as a likely mid first rounder that could go anywhere from 15-22
6. Josh McRoberts 6-10 240 PF Duke So. -- 13.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.5 bpg, 50.2 fg%, 66.4 ft%, 21.7 3p% -- For a guy who was projected as a possible top 10 pick a year ago, McRoberts had a rough season. He struggled to show an inside game and never found any flow within the Duke offense. His workouts have been solid, but not spectacular.
Outlook: McRoberts will likely end up in the later half of the first round. He could find a spot in the early 20s or slip to a team like Detriot at 27.
7. Tiago Splitter 6-11 240 PF Brazil 1985 -- 11.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 62.0 fg%, 61.0 ft%, 0 3p% -- Though he's limited somewhat offensively, Splitter gives solid effort and should make a solid NBA role player as a banger and rebounder, provided his body is strong enough on the NBA level. He runs the floor like a deer for a 7-footer, and has been a solid contributor for one of Europe's top teams over the past few seasons, Tau Ceramica.
Outlook: Splitter's buyout issue could drop him some, but figures to find a spot in the late teens to early 20s.
8. Carl Landry 6-9 235 PF Purdue Sr. -- 18.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.9 bpg, 59.7 fg%, 72.6 ft%, 21.1 3p% -- Landry impressed in Orlando with his toughness and tenacity in the post. He has a great understanding of playing inside with offensive moves and positioning. His performance in the tournament outplaying Joakim Noah also opened some eyes.
Outlook: Landry lacks star potential but should be a solid role player due to his work ethic and heart. He is a solid mid-second rounder who could find a role with a team in the right situation.
9. Nick Fazekas 6-11 235 PF Nevada Sr. -- 20.4 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 bpg, 56.8 fg%, 84.8 ft%, 43.1 3p% -- On paper Fazekas is a first rounder, and if you watched clips of him playing without the transition game he would appear to be a lottery pick. His biggest issue is running the floor as he moves like he has a physical deformity. As ugly as he is in the open floor, he makes the game look so easy in the half court, rebounding with his abnormally long arms and shooting with tremendous touch.
Outlook: A half court team could look at him at the end of the first round, but more likely he will find a spot somewhere in the early to mid second round.
10. Glen Davis 6-8 280 PF LSU Jr. -- 17.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.0 bpg, 48.4 fg%, 71.3 ft%, 34.7 3p% -- Davis is a gregarious kid with a personality as big as his baby body. But despite losing 40 pounds, he still struggles with foot speed and agility. His determination and intensity is great and he will surely be a great clubhouse guy, but how effective he can be at getting shots off and defending is another story.
Outlook: There are rumors that Davis has interested teams in the first round including the Rockets at 26, but he would be a major reach at that spot. Davis will likely land in the mid second round area.
Others: Warren Carter 6-9 220 SF/PF Illinois Sr. | Coleman Collins 6-9 240 PF Va. Tech Sr. | Ryvon Covile 6-9 250 PF Detroit Sr. | Jermareo Davidson 6-10 220 PF Ala. Sr. | Zoran Erceg 6-11 235 PF Serbia 1985 | Lamont Hamilton 6-10 242 PF St. Johns Sr. | Herbert Hill 6-10 240 PF Providence Sr. | Ekene Ibekwe 6-9 220 PF/SF Maryland Sr. | Stephane Lasme 6-8 225 PF Massachusetts Sr. | Leonardo Mainoldi 6-9 235 PF Argentina 1985 | Ivan Radenovic 6-9 244 SF/PF Arizona Sr. | Milovan Rakovic 6-10 240 PF Serbia 1985 | Chris Richard 6-9 250 PF Florida Sr. | Terrence Roberts 6-9 228 PF Syracuse Sr. | Courtney Sims 6-10 245 PF Michigan Sr. | Ali Traore 6-9 239 PF France 1985