2008 NBA Draft: Overrated/Underrated
Kevin Love (UCLA)
[img_assist|nid=1222|title=Kevin Love|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=378] Love is a classic example of a great college player who is unlikely to be a great NBA player.
Without question Love has his strengths. He is an extremely intelligent player who possesses a high basketball IQ. He has great hands, range out to the three point line, and boasts an array of fundamentally sound post moves.
He is also a very gifted passer who sees the floor well for a big man and his excellent ability to outlet pass, which might just be the most grossly exaggerated skill ever.
While Love’s skill set is very advanced, he has several physical limitations that are obvious, problematic and ultimately fatal.
Athletically, Love is nowhere near NBA-caliber. His naturally thick frame fixes him to the floor, and he struggles to explode off the ground when jumping. He is slow in transition and cumbersome when running the floor, and tires quickly.
Love further compounds his weaknesses with his lack of agility and lateral movement, which may result in him becoming a major defensive (and rebounding) liability, especially in pick and roll situations.
Reports indicate that Memphis is likely to select him with the fifth overall pick. Love may end up becoming a solid NBA player, but is he really the right choice at five?
Had Josh McRoberts left after one year at Duke, he might not of gone top 5, but he certainly had some of the same skills and hype as Love. But the problem is you can't run an offense through a slow 6'9 power forward, so a lot of Love's great ball skills will be sacraficed.
Even at 19, Love has little upside and is unlikely to become a first option-type player on offense. With a mildly intriguing nucleus of young, athletic players like Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, Mike Miller and Javaris Crittenton, you really have to wonder where a predominantly half-court oriented player like Love will fit in.
JaVale McGee (Nevada)
Among many weaknesses, McGee most importantly owns extremely poor fundamentals and bad footwork. Besides a fall-away baby hook, McGee has no consistent post moves.
He doesn’t defend and plays soft. He coasts through games and gets thrown off easily when struggling. Sound like somebody you’d like to draft? The word “project” would be compliment.
True, JaVale has a ludicrous 7’6 wingspan, and he runs the court fluidly for his height, making him an alluring prospect. But, at age 20, McGee is extremely raw and has very little basic ability when it comes to basketball.
And when one takes the fact that he was unable to dominate a weak WAC, putting up a pedestrian 14-7 per game, it's easy to see a team drafting McGee only to watch him bloom with his second team, after needing a fresh start.
The fact that McGee's camp decided to only work out for teams in the top 12 means that there's a real chance he will slide come draft night, possibly into the 20s.
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
After a great 2006-2007 junior campaign at Georgetown, Hibbert made the decision to return for his senior season to get another shot at a national title and improve his draft stock.
He failed in achieving both, as his individual game failed to improve and Georgetown went out early in the tournament via Stephen Curry.
Hibbert’s inability to advance his game should raise serious concerns regarding his ability to improve on the next level.
To add further concern, he may be the most unathletic prospect in this year’s draft. Hibbert has a very stiff, upright posture and runs the floor sluggishly.
He also has no vertical leap to speak of, and his mechanical post game would make C3PO proud. As the saying goes, you can’t teach size and Hibbert at 7-2 270 certainly has that. But, with very little upside and no athletic ability to speak of, Hibbert is overrated.
If Hibbert is taken towards the end of the first round, he could be a solid pick and become a servicable starter in the league. But there is word that teams such as Sacramento will consider taking him as high as 12, and he will likely be gone before the 20th pick, in which case he would be highly overrated.
Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
Widely considered by most experts as the top international prospect available this year, Gallinari is an offensively sound prospect.
At the young age of 19, Gallinari was able to put up solid numbers against the best competition in Europe, averaging 17.5 ppg and 5.7 rpg.
But, Danilo struggles athletically, as he is neither quick nor fast. He has stiff legs and will likely struggle on the defensive end of the floor.
Furthermore, Gallinari doesn't rebound well, which suggests that he could become a one-dimensional player.
While Gallinari can be a solid NBA player and is more NBA ready than most, his upside is limited and taking him within the top 10, as he's expected to be, he is one of this year's overrated prospects.
Darrell Arthur (Kansas)
[img_assist|nid=1223|title=Darrell Arthur|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=394] Multitalented, long and athletic, Arthur is an extremely promising prospect at the power forward position. Though plagued by inconsistency at times, Arthur enjoys incredible athleticism, soft hands, a nice face-up game and a silky turnaround jumper.
When able to gather the slightest bit of forward momentum, Arthur gets off the pine with lightning quickness, thunderously finishing at the rim when in or around the painted area. If paired up with a talented point guard, he could become an explosive pick and roll weapon.
Arthur was on a tremendously balanced Kansas squad where almost anybody in their rotation was capable of leading the team in scoring on any given night, thus limiting his opportunities to dominate nightly.
If given the chance to be a true focal point in an offense, Arthur could develop into a go-to guy in the low post at the next level.
"Shady" is a guy with lottery-level talent, but is expected to be available in the late teens of the first round. If he lasts that long, Arthur could very well become one of the steals of the draft.
Nicolas Batum (France)
In what is widely considered to be a weak international class, Batum is perhaps the most intriguing prospect of all the foreigners in this year’s draft.
Blessed with freakish athleticism and a 7-1 wingspan, the 6-8 Frenchman has ideal size and build to play on the wing. Due to his ridiculous vertical leap, Batum’s an extremely explosive finisher and is also able to elevate on his smooth jumpshot.
Nicolas has played at the highest level of European basketball, and has plenty of experience against big-time competition. Questions linger over his drive, assertiveness and aggressiveness, especially in big games. Then again, Rudy Gay was the subject of these very same criticisms when he was at UCONN.
At only 19 years old, Batum has a high ceiling and the potential to develop into a stat-sheet stuffing scoring machine. He's expected to be drafted in the late teens, and is definitely worth the gamble due to his upside.
With the recent heart concenrs, there's a chance that teams in the late teens and early 20's will shy away from him and he could slip all the way to the late first round. If this happens, a team like San Antonio could grab a tremendous steal.
D.J. White (Indiana)
In recent years, the NBA Draft has produced a number of effective undersized power forwards that were selected in the second round. Brandon Bass, Craig Smith, Paul Millsap, Carl Landry, Leon Powe and Glen Davis are just some examples, and their solid play has clearly illustrated that smaller power forwards have a place in today’s NBA.
At 6-8, Indiana’s D.J. White is a quintessential undersized PF, and is a true second-round sleeper. White was fantastic in his final season at IU, averaging 17.4 points and an impressive 10.3 rebounds per game, which earned him 2nd team All-American honors.
As his statistics indicate, D.J. is an absolute terror on the glass, especially on the offensive end, where he averaged over three offensive boards a game last season.
White has three key attributes that define good undersized NBA power forwards: great strength, a long 7 ft. wingspan and a tremendous motor. He also has a solid set of post moves, and possesses a nice mid range game, particularly from the baseline.
White has had injury problems in the past, and durability is certainly something to consider. But, if he can remain healthy, White should be an excellent choice in the second round for a team looking for a physical frontcourt player who can give good minutes off the bench.
Kyle Weaver (Washington St.)
Weaver gets overlooked due to playing in a defensive-oriented system. He's a versatile guard who is flying below the radar and is expected to be taken in the mid 2nd round.
Weaver's ability to run the show as a PG as well as defend make him an excellent prospect, but scouts seem to focus more on the things he doesn't do well.
Granted, he's not a great shooter, and has not put on a great deal of weight on his frame. But for a position (big points) that was so en vogue a few short years ago with players like Julius Hodge going 20th in a strong draft, Weaver has the same skill level only with a stronger mindset.
Weaver is a late bloomer, who over time could develop into a defensive specialist ala Bruce Bowen. Seattle is taking a long look at the local kid with their 32nd pick.
I couldn't agree more with this, great job Jon! I Think OJ Mayo is going to turn out to be the best player in this draft. I think Gordon is going to be a star. Here is my list of best players 4 years from now.
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Teammates Malik Hairston and Maarty Luenen unexpectedly heard their names called but Taylor didn’t.
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