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Hassan Whiteside/Daniel Orton Workout

Wed, 05/26/2010 - 12:05pm

On Tuesday, Hoops Daily editor Eric Guilleminault and I got a chance to attend a workout with upcoming NBA draft picks Hassan Whiteside and Daniel Orton in San Francisco.

Daniel Orton & Hassan WhitesideDaniel Orton & Hassan WhitesideBoth players are amongst the biggest mysteries in this year's draft, so this was a great opportunity to see how they are training and preparing themselves for workouts with teams in the next month leading up to the draft. The pair are working out with Frank Matrisciano and Bob Hill who have trained players such as Blake Griffin, Patrick Patterson and Arron Afflalo in recent years.

Frank works with the players on what he calls "Chameleon training", which utilizes all natural training exercises without the use of free weights and machines, as well as improving the player's diets. He does a lot of core exercises and gets the players out at the beach in San Francisco running on the sand and dragging sand bags to build up strength and endurance.

Hassan WhitesideHassan WhitesideFrank conceded that neither player was truly "NBA ready", but said neither were any of the other players in this year's draft. He said both kids had been working hard and have come a long way since he's been working with them over the past few weeks.

Bob Hill is a former NBA coach and he works with the players in the afternoons on basketball related exercises with individual skill development and then some one on one, two on two and some light half court scrimmages.

We have been very high on Hassan Whiteside all season, and he did not disappoint us, displaying immense upside.

Daniel Orton actually surprised us with his skill level and maturity. After averaging just 3.4 points per game in his freshman season at Kentucky, it's safe to say he's still got a lot to prove to NBA teams, but based on this workout, he is a surefire first rounder and should really impress teams in individual workouts.

We got a chance to sit down with both kids and pick their brains on their freshman seasons, the Chicago draft combine interviews, and workouts with Frank Matrisciano and Bob Hill. Their interviews will follow the workout report.

Both players have been working out with Houston Rockets bigman Hilton Armstrong who looked like a man body wise compared to the pair. In the one on one exericse, the trio would take turns going one on one against each other.

Armstrong beat them 5-0-0, showing that the young bucks still have a ways to go. They just could not score on Armstrong or against each other, while Armstrong used his strength, experience and savvy to find ways to score on them.

Hassan Whiteside's combine numbers almost seemed too good to be true. He checked in a 6'10.5 barefoot making him a legit 7 feet. His 7'7 wingspan was the most of any combine player. His 5% body fat at 227 is very impressive. And his 9'5 standing reach would have been higher had he not shown up in flip flops for the measurements.

Hassan WhitesideHassan WhitesideWhiteside's agent Andre Buck mentioned that he also bench pressed 185 - 12 times in the combine athleticism tests. Which shows that despite being very skinny, he has good strength.

Whiteside is obviously an upside pick, and will take a few years to reach his potential. He's like a big kid and lacks maturity, so it will be important that he lands in a good situation where he feels comfortable and can be brought along without losing his confidence. We got the sense that he's a good kid, still very naive about being a professional athlete, but seems to have his head on straight in order to deal with the temptations and distractions that accompany being an NBA player. He also shows a real exuberance for the game. He wants to get better and is not just a kid that was pushed into playing basketball because of his size.

Orton impressed us with his confidence and maturity. His offensive game is more polished than people realize. He can catch and shoot with good balance and rhythm and despite barely seeing the floor as a freshman should be able to contribute to an NBA team before too long. His upside isn't that of Whiteside's and based on being unproven at the college level he probably will be taken outside the lottery, but not long after.

Daniel OrtonDaniel OrtonWe came away impressed with Orton, although he will need to continue to work hard at keeping his body in shape. he appears on his way to becoming a solid NBA role player and appears to have a solid understanding of what it will take to get there.

Bob Hill on Whiteside and Orton

"They're different players. Hassan can dribble the ball, shoot the ball, blocks a lot of shots. He's a good kid. He's more of a big forward because he doesn't have the strength to play center. As he continues to mature, he's got a really bright future."

"Daniel's the opposite. He can play big forward and center. He's got good range on his shot. He's a little bit bigger and a little bit more confident (offensively) around the basket. He's more physical than Hassan."

"They can both block and they can both shoot. It's going to be a matter of both players getting indoctrinated this summer into what pro basketball is all about to understand the length of the game and the pace of the game."

Eric Guilleminault's observations:

Hassan Whiteside

Hassan WhitesideHassan WhitesideLong, athletic ... Shy personality ... Has an "innocent' demeanor to him ... Not sure if he can develop as a #1 option ... But is in no way a problem child (reports of bad attitude seem overblown). Not sure why he is viewed so negatively by the media. I think he is just shy with the media and scared to say anything ... This is his first time he's dealt with stardom and he is a pretty simple, laid back kid ... Does not possess the in your face attitude of a Garnett ... He could frustrate a coach because of his expressionless demeanor ...

But it was funny after he blocked a shot, he went over to his agent and said “that is what I do”. And agent laughed and Whiteside gave a big grin. Appears to have a very small circle of trust but seems like a good kid ... Overall the kid lacks maturity and is going to have an adjustment to NBA lifestyle ... Does not have the “give me the damn ball" personality but definitely wants to be present at all times on defense and protect the rim ... Very raw compared to the others in drills. Had harder time in dribbling exercises ... Was the worst of group in dribbling skills (mostly guards) and hunched way over but was also the tallest and performed pretty well for a 7 footer.

Shooting form is not pretty, he puts his off hand over the ball and the release on his shot has some sort of reverse spin ... Does have nice arc but his shooting release is very slow and mechanical ...With all these problems it is surprising that no one has decided to reconstruct his shot completely and shoot the correct way ... Missed most of his free throws, but after practice went 4 for 4 from 3 point line.

Post foot work was best of the group. He was the most fluid on the reverse spin drop step dunk on the left block ... Quick and pro like. Had harder time with going middle on his post moves. Also miss timed a couple alley oops from Bob Hill but it was a communication thing ... Likes to reverse dunk and can dunk with ease and fluidity because he is so long ... He also is very inspector gadget like because of his arms able to dunk the ball around the basket quickly and from improbable angles ... Not a Power dunker though ...

Was a human eraser on the defensive end and because of his length has a good habit of not jumping unless he has to on block shots, which should keep him out of foul trouble ... Needs to put on some weight but he's not frail ... His upper body strength is adequate but could use a little more in the post when Armstrong and Orton tried to push him out of position ... Defense is obviously ahead of offense at this point.

Daniel Orton

Daniel OrtonDaniel OrtonNot the athlete that Whiteside is but more polished ... Big hands and long arms that allow him to easily catch one handed alley oops ... His length helps negate his lack of elite athleticism ... He has a well build upper body with thick shoulders ... He should be able to easily gain upper body strength and definition.

He is at the limit of where his body fat should be (13.8% body fat) ... He is not out of shape but definitely is not going to pose as an abs model ... Shooting form is good but flat. he pushes the ball out in front of himself too much on his release ...

More polished offensive player, pretty good dribbler, more professional demeanor, more intense, confident personality ... He never loses focus on the task at hand and already acts like an NBA professional (something that Whiteside did not always demonstrate: this may be due to the fact that Orton was at Kentucky and Whiteside at Marshall).

No glaring weakness in Orton’s game but not as gifted as Whiteside athletically (other than having similarly huge hands) He could use more arc on his shot ... Of the 3 big men - Armstrong and Whiteside being the other two, he seemed to have the least amount of lift in his legs ... Orton guarded Armstrong in 4 on 4 while Whiteside guarded a college level center because Orton had more muscle to not get backed down n the post ...

*Check back for the interviews with both players.

StF616
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Umm.. Hilton Armstrong plays

Umm..
Hilton Armstrong plays for the Houston Rockets not New Orleans Hornets
Just wanted to point that out
http://www.nba.com/playerfile/hilton_armstrong/

Jim E
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Armstrong

Actually Hilton Armstrong plays for no one. Houston released him on 4/10/10. He is an unrestricted free agent.

NathanStacey
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"He checked in a 6'10.5

"He checked in a 6'10.5 barefoot making him a legit 7 feet."

kind of funny/ironic to think about

Ang Puti Lalaki
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upside

yup, i still find it funny, why not just use the naked foot as the standard?
"6'10.5 barefoot making him a legit 7 feet."

wd40rocks
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I'm not sure if I want to

I'm not sure if I want to draft either of them if Hilton Armstrong can score on them....

Hoop Guru
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Youngsters

Both young, give them time to develope into their bodies and gain some experience. Whiteside to Hornets (Pistons to early?) Orton to Heat or Celtics.

smurfy
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Roy or Horford?

RealGM is repoting that Sixers are taking Favors instead of Turner. I know it's premature but I'd rather have Al Horfod over Brandon Roy, just because Talented Big Men are of few and far between. What do you cats think?

smurfy
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Whiteside=Hilton Armstrong

I'm pretty sure there combine measurements were pretty similar. Freshman Whiteside is only 1 year younger than Armstrong( as a college senior) when he entered and was taken 12th. I don't take Hilton Armstrong part 2 if I am the Hornets. I've seen too many Saer Senes, &$#%#&@! POBS, and Petro's to know better.

severin
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armstrong

somebody sign hilton armstrong. I am very impressed to hear of how well he performed. a team like cleveland could definetly use him.

Meditated States
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Horford over Roy?

No. Not now not ever.

the-beard
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Whiteside's potential

Reading up on him, and it does seem like a mixed bag. He's definitely got the potential to grow in the league. Gotta keep in mind the kid is young, and I'd rather have someone who wants the ball, believes in himself, and is an asset on defense. SLAM put up a little review, but gotta agree with his more prospect than pro, but could be a gem in the league. Stats are too good to ignore. http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2010/02/2010-nba-mock-draft-top-10-...

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