Four different Scouts talk about Best Players in 10' Draft
I'm very against taking anything seriously about what Scouts say about prospects off of any Media Outlet web site, but when it's four different scouts giving their opinions it's hard to not at least read what they say, but as always, at least watch the games and develop your own opinions.
5 Top picks for the draft
I reached out this week to four NBA scouts for their opinions on the elite players in this year's draft (assuming those players declare for it). They agreed on two points: That this will be a weak draft, and that three players at the top have separated themselves from the pack. Based on their analysis, I am now viewing this as a three-player draft, with a big drop-off thereafter.
• John Wall, 6-4 freshman point guard, Kentucky. Three of the scouts think the world of Wall. "The only true star I've seen," said the No. 2 executive of an NBA team. "I thought he was very special when I saw him in person and the way he took command of the game. I didn't expect anything like that. He's a better version of Derrick Rose because his hands are so quick."
Another second-in-command NBA executive agrees that Wall could be superior to Rose, the reigning Rookie of the Year. "He's a better shooter than Rose, a better defender than Rose. He doesn't quite have that strength and body that Rose had, but give him a couple of years and he might even be quicker and faster than Rose. He has such unbelievable speed and quickness and length and intensity at both ends of the floor. Let me say he's far from being a perfect player and he has a lot to learn, but he's one of those guys who will be better served to play in the NBA than in college, because the open floor space and the way the NBA is designed will suit him better.
"He has to improve his shot, but he has the makings of a floor general: tough, aggressive, willing to put his neck out and be a leader. He is far from being organized and establishing a rhythm on the court, but he looks like he will be able to do that eventually. At the very worst case, he should become a starting point guard on a top team."
The same scout adds that Wall may define himself most at the defensive end: "I've heard guys say he could be Gary Payton. That's a hell of a thing to say, but he has that type of body and quickness."
Here is more of the same from a third scout: "Wall is up there with Rose, Chris Paul and all of those guys. You get him and you'll have your point guard for the next 10-13 years based on his size, speed, length and basketball IQ. And he can defend. He's not a great shooter, but no one can stop him from getting where he wants to go on the court. And that, for me, is the greatest asset for a point guard, when you can collapse the defense and get into the paint, and then when they have to start helping, they're done. He reminds me of Micheal Ray Richardson -- that guy was the best; he was Magic Johnson when he played. That guy could get 15 rebounds and 15 assists, and he wasn't a great shooter, but he could get 20 every night. That's who Wall reminds me of."
But one scout isn't entirely sold on the presumptive No. 1 pick. Will he be able to execute plays at the slower pace of the NBA playoffs? "Wall is a broken-field runner," the scout said. "He's like a punt returner who zigs and zags and gets to daylight, but he's doing this against bad college teams. When he's forced to play half-court basketball, then we'll see."
• Evan Turner, 6-7 junior swingman, Ohio State. The scout who is skeptical of Wall believes Turner should be ranked as his peer. "Wall and Turner are Nos. 1 and 1a. Turner is going to be an All-Star. I have great faith in that. His size, his approach, his style of game -- all are suited to the pros."
On Dec. 5, Turner fractured the second and third lumbar vertebra of his spine when he fell flat on his back following a failed dunk in transition. He returned a month later after missing only six games. "You can see he's a guy who enjoys playing," the scout continued. "His ability to improve his shooting will control his greatness. He's like Oscar Robertson. He can have that type of impact. Oscar wasn't a guy people worried about when he went behind the pick and launched the bomb -- you almost preferred him to do that -- and that's how it is with Turner."
I mentioned this high praise to another scout, who responded as the devil's advocate. "Evan Turner is the most interesting guy in the whole draft, because a lot of guys feel that way about him and really like him. And then there are a lot of guys who absolutely don't like him. I'm wrestling with it. The reason you wouldn't like him is because he can't play without the ball -- he's a turnover guy. He so dominates his team and I wonder what that's going to mean in the NBA. And then you see he's not a deep shooter. His game is based on strength and aggressiveness, he's a very skilled guy and he's in relentless attack mode from the opening tip. How is that going to work in the NBA if he's playing out of control? He's a guy who has had triple-doubles including turnovers.
"But the other side of it is that you could put him at the point and, if he refines his skills, you could wind up with a guy who is bigger and tougher than Brandon Roy -- like Brandon Roy on steroids, a beast. Now, part of Roy's beauty is that he never tries to do what he can't do, he plays within himself and he's a smart player. This kid is like Roy unleashed, so watch out because he plays on emotion and he can be his own worst enemy. No matter what, he's not going to slip far because of all that talent."
The other two scouts fully endorse Turner as a top pick. "He's a point guard in our league, or a point-forward. He has the ball in his hands for Ohio State 90 percent of the time. He's strong, he can really, really pass, he's a great rebounder and he's tough. He's not a great shooter, but he can score 20 a night on tip-ins and mid-range jump shots. Why shoot threes if no one is able to stop him from 15 feet and in? If he works at it -- and everything I'm told is that he has a great work ethic -- he can learn to make enough threes and become a great player. He's a monster."
Added the fourth scout: "He has personality, charisma, he's a big guard who has no fear driving to the basket. He has to improve his outside shot, but he can do anything on the floor."
• Wesley Johnson, 6-7 junior forward, Syracuse. "Wesley Johnson has been the surprise of the year," one scout said. "He has a lot going for him -- size, skills -- and he's the reason behind Syracuse's 18-1 season. He has the potential to be very special, and I'm told he has a good basketball mind. At the end of the day, he can be a 20-point scorer, a good rebounder and a passer."
All four scouts endorse Johnson. "He's probably the best athlete in the draft," a team executive said. "He can shoot it, but at the same time he's shown a willingness to play within the team's system and not be selfish. He's another guy who's probably better off in the style of the NBA than in college. He's so freakishly athletically, he can hit a college three and he can pass it."
But the same executive expressed concern with Johnson's defense, as is often the case with prospects from Syracuse. "He's way, way behind defensively. Syracuse is actually trying on defense this year; their zone is the reason they're doing well. For a college team it's a great way to guard, but for us it doesn't help. You watch some guys in college and you can see they help to make the zone better, and then you watch other guys like Johnson and it looks like they're trying to hide in the zone, and that if you pulled him out of the zone and asked him to play man-to-man against NBA players, it could be scary. But I hear he's a great kid and willing to work."
Two of the scouts rate Johnson as the No. 2 player in the draft. "He is Shawn Marion," another scout predicted of Johnson. "He's an insane athlete who can make some shots, a much better shooter at the same stage of his career than Marion ever was. He's a little small -- he's 6-7 and slight -- but he can run. Last month, he got 19 rebounds [at Seton Hall], which is a big number at any level, but in the college game it's off the charts. He doesn't have a great handle -- he's a one-bounce player who can get from the wing to the basket. But he's not good in the open court; he's more of a straight-line player who is not very creative."
"Wesley Johnson is definitely worth talking about," said the scout who is skeptical of Wall. "He is a scorer, a complete package -- jack-of-all-trades, master of none. He grades out well in everything except for breaking you down and getting his own shot. A pretty good player."
• Cole Aldrich, 6-11 junior center, Kansas. The No. 4 spot is where the scouts started having trouble coming up with names. All agree that Wall, Turner and Johnson will share the top three picks, but Nos. 4 and 5 generate a variety of names with little conviction for any of them.
"I just don't think this is a very good draft," said one team exec who rates Aldrich as a potential No. 4 pick. "There is going to be a group of seven or eight guys who separate themselves, which means that teams will pick for need. The order of teams in the lottery is going to determine who goes where in this draft.
"Aldrich is a solid, safe pick as a guy who is going to show up every night," the executive continued. "He's big and long, he has good hands, he knows how to play. Is he a go-to guy? Is he going to have the upside to become an All-Star? I don't know. But everybody needs bigs who are long and play hard every night and run the floor, who can catch and finish, who hit their free throws. He's an energy player, and when you put all of that together, you can't help but rate him somewhere this high."
Affirmed another scout: "Aldrich is going to be in there. A lot of it depends on how far Kansas goes this year. But he's already an NBA player -- not flashy, but he's a big man who can do a lot of things."
• Willie Warren, 6-4 sophomore shooting guard, Oklahoma. Take your pick here. "If a team needs a big, they'll take Aldrich; if they need a point guard, they'll take Willie Warren," an executive said. Though Warren is listed as a shooting guard for Oklahoma, he has the potential to shift to the point in the NBA. "He is talented, he's quick, he can shoot it, and I think he can be a '1.' If he was in last year's draft with all of those point guards, I don't think he would be rated this high. But this year, after John Wall [and potentially Evan Turner], there is no other point guard. So he is going to benefit from the timing of the draft.
"But I will say," continued this exec, "a lot of [NBA] guys are down on Warren because of questions about character. [Oklahoma coach Jeff] Capel benched him one game this year and, instead of saying he had a headache or he'd banged his knee in practice, he chose not to explain it. Obviously there's some friction there, and the team is not as good without Blake Griffin. But Warren is a talented guy and, at the very least, he's going to be a top-10 pick."
Another potential choice for the top five is 7-foot Donatas Motiejunas, a 19-year-old Lithuanian playing for Benetton Treviso of the Italian league. "He's got the talent, the body, the feet," an executive said. "Maybe he should wait one more year before declaring, because he's still too fragile in his upper body. He gets pushed around too easily. But if he can go in the top five in a weak draft, maybe he'll come out. He has good touch with both hands around the basket, he can shoot the three and he loves to play."
A couple of long-shot sophomores mentioned by the scouts are 6-8 Butler forward Gordon Hayward and Georgetown big man Greg Monroe. Here's one scout on Hayward: "He creates for others, which is a rare thing at that size out on the wing. There are comparisons to [Mike] Dunleavy, who is a better shooter, but this guy is better laterally on defense, which is Dunleavy's weakness. He is one hell of a complementary player, although when you say someone is a '3' man in the body of a '4' man, that's usually an NBA death sentence. But this guy may be the exception."
Here's another scout on the 6-11 Monroe: "He's not a jumping-jack, but he's a good athlete who rebounds the ones he should get, and he's an average shot-blocker. What he has going for him is that he's one of the best-passing bigs I've ever seen. That makes him a great complementary player if you're looking for someone to blend in."
Another highly rated prospect is 6-10 Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors, who is viewed as a high-risk power forward by all four of the scouts who spoke to me this week. One scout sums up their doubts: "He's a very enticing player with length and great hands, and I'm sure he'll go in the top 10. But I wouldn't push to take him. He's one of those guys that you hope the team in front of you takes so you don't have to make the hard decision to pass him up. He's talented, but I haven't seen him play very hard. He should be getting 12 rebounds every night and getting some of them above the square. His motor needs to improve."
Here's the Link to the article: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/ian_thomsen/01/22/countdow...
Wow nice article.
Willie Warren & Gordon Hayward possibly in the top 5? Whoa
whats funny is this is almost exactly what coach harrington said nba scouts told him. not as indepth though. and ive said the same thing about turner when people say he will be a point in the nba. he is very turnover prone.
I'm going to pick apart the column and some of the quotes.
"Based on their analysis, I am now viewing this as a three-player draft, with a big drop-off thereafter."
If the assessment is that there are three stars in the draft, then that isn't a weak draft. Last year's draft was viewed to have one (Griffin), maybe two with Rubio. A lot of people slept on Evans. More importantly though, it was a draft chopped full of fit guys. Sam Young, Blair, Taj Gibson, Casspi, Lawson, Collison, Jerebko, Beaubois, Carroll, Thornton, and Budinger are going to have a career. They'll get into the pension program. These were 18-44 pick guys. That isn't a bad draft. I look at this draft and there just as many "fit" guys, and more potential stars.
"The other two scouts fully endorse Turner as a top pick. 'He's a point guard in our league, or a point-forward. He has the ball in his hands for Ohio State 90 percent of the time. He's strong, he can really, really pass, he's a great rebounder and he's tough. He's not a great shooter, but he can score 20 a night on tip-ins and mid-range jump shots. Why shoot threes if no one is able to stop him from 15 feet and in? If he works at it -- and everything I'm told is that he has a great work ethic -- he can learn to make enough threes and become a great player. He's a monster.' "
I do not believe there is a team who will pull the trigger on Turner going number 1, and it has nothing to do with Turner the player. It has everything to do with there being an abundance of awful lottery teams who need buzz as much as they do talent. I can understand how someone can grade out Turner and Wall similarly as prospects. They cannot grade them comparably with regard to generating buzz for a rebuilding team.
"Two of the scouts rate Johnson as the No. 2 player in the draft. 'He is Shawn Marion,' another scout predicted of Johnson. 'He's an insane athlete who can make some shots, a much better shooter at the same stage of his career than Marion ever was. He's a little small -- he's 6-7 and slight -- but he can run. Last month, he got 19 rebounds [at Seton Hall], which is a big number at any level, but in the college game it's off the charts. He doesn't have a great handle -- he's a one-bounce player who can get from the wing to the basket. But he's not good in the open court; he's more of a straight-line player who is not very creative.' "
So I read, that he is "slight" with mediocre handles, and a guy who is "not good in the open court; he's more of a straight-line player who is not very creative." How is that #2 in the draft?
" 'Aldrich is a solid, safe pick as a guy who is going to show up every night,' the executive continued. 'He's big and long, he has good hands, he knows how to play. Is he a go-to guy? Is he going to have the upside to become an All-Star? I don't know. But everybody needs bigs who are long and play hard every night and run the floor, who can catch and finish, who hit their free throws. He's an energy player, and when you put all of that together, you can't help but rate him somewhere this high.' Affirmed another scout: 'Aldrich is going to be in there. A lot of it depends on how far Kansas goes this year. But he's already an NBA player -- not flashy, but he's a big man who can do a lot of things.' "
Took the words right out of my mouth. The team who takes him isn't going to have ticket sales skyrocket the day after the draft, but they will get a starting center.
"Take your pick here. 'If a team needs a big, they'll take Aldrich; if they need a point guard, they'll take Willie Warren,' an executive said."
Damn. Some people still really like this guy. I think he is a lottery pick, but top five might be a bit much. How much of Warren's draft status was built up because of Blake Griffin? I think if someone judges him weighing this season more heavily than last that it would be hard to call him a top five pick.
"Here's another scout on the 6-11 Monroe: 'He's not a jumping-jack, but he's a good athlete who rebounds the ones he should get, and he's an average shot-blocker. What he has going for him is that he's one of the best-passing bigs I've ever seen. That makes him a great complementary player if you're looking for someone to blend in.' "
God help me, this is twice I have completely agreed with what a scout has to say.
"Another highly rated prospect is 6-10 Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors, who is viewed as a high-risk power forward by all four of the scouts who spoke to me this week. One scout sums up their doubts: 'He's a very enticing player with length and great hands, and I'm sure he'll go in the top 10. But I wouldn't push to take him. He's one of those guys that you hope the team in front of you takes so you don't have to make the hard decision to pass him up. He's talented, but I haven't seen him play very hard. He should be getting 12 rebounds every night and getting some of them above the square. His motor needs to improve.' "
Should he really be getting 12 rebounds a game when he is playing next to Lawal? GT cleans the glass incredibly well. They have a +6.7 rebounding margin per on the year. Should he be stealing boards from his teammates? I don't get it. Also, if you would not push to take him then why would you worry about passing on him? It really sounds like someone who is saying, "I know I should like him because others do, but I don't and I'm scared I could be wrong." If that is a scout's approach, then sadly he isn't very good at his job.
gotta remeber number 2 in this draft may not be number 2 in another draft. in some drafts a number one pick would be number 5 in another draft. as far as the 12 rebounds. he doesnt have to steal from gani to get 12. all he has to do is steal the rebounds from the other team.
and as a basketball player a coach will tell you to go after every board. dont just assume youre teammate is gonna get it. my old coach used to call it the rodman way
Look, I would get it if they weren't dominating the glass but they are. Rebounding is not a purely individual stat. Gerald Wallace has always been a good rebounder. Up until this year, he was playing with Okafor another very good rebounder. He was averaging 7 per rather consistently. Okafor gets dealt, and Chandler has been hurt. Now, he is getting 11 per. Garnett's rebounding numbers dropped as soon as he went to Boston. It wasn't because he was a worse rebounder that he went from 13 per to 9, it was because he was surrounded by other good rebounders with the Celtics and he wasn't in Minnesota.
its not but if you watch favors you can see he could get more rebounds which is why they say he could get 12. sometimes he doesnt box out or doesnt ttack the glass. he still gets alot of rebounds without even doing that. he could easily get more rebounds if he had a higher motor
There's no such thing as a selfish rebound. I think the scout was trying to explain more than anything that Favors as of right now has a weaker than average "motor", that his talent should translate to getting more than 9 rebounds, even though that's still a pretty good number, especially with Lawal playing next to him.
I agree with essentially all of this....But I don't think Gordan Hayward will be effective in the NBA. He seems like a poor man's Adam Morrison than Mike Dunleavy. Even though I can see the comparison somewhat.
I don't think the motor is a problem. I keep going back to the problems some have with expecting young big men to be great from the word go in college. People talked about the great motor of Blake Griffin as a freshman and he averaged 9 rebounds a game on a team that did not have the same sizable rebound margin advantage that Georgia Tech has. Longar Longar and Taylor didn't clean the glass as well as Lawal does. I just think that people had this complete misconception about what Favors would be as a freshman, and they want to hold it against him despite the fact that they were the ones who were wrong.
I've been to quite a few Butler games now and Hayward is a legit prospect. He's DEFINITELY more Dunleavy than Morrison lol... He's a legit 6' 8" and still growing. He has a shakey left hand, but he can handle the ball and has very good court vision. Average athleticism. He's going to be a good player in the NBA, but he needs one more year of college.
but you can see the motor isnt great by watching the games. you look how he sometimes jogs down court or doesnt go hard for a rebound. and he does it often. whats good is even though he does this he is still a good rebounder and of course everyone thinks his motor will get better but the scouts are talking about favors right now as in this years draft not next year or the year after. what exactly are they wrong about as far as what favors is right now this season?..
I see jogging and not going hard for every player. It only gets picked on by certain players. When Patrick Patterson takes possessions off it doesn't get critiqued in the same way. When Ekpe Udoh quits crashing because there was always a Morris brother waiting to check him, nobody points that out. Watch a UNC game and tell me Ed Davis has a high motor. He does some nice things, but like a lot of guys on that Carolina team he'll also take a nap from time to time.
its because favors take more possesions off then the norm and the fact that favors has higher potential. the fact is he can do better then hes doing and this motor thing has been something that been talked about even when he was in highschool. hell even his coach says he wants favors to play at a higher level more ofte. these arent just made up statements out of left field. yeah other players can do better but we are talking about favors right now right?
I feel now it is safe for me to come out of hiding and say I like Turner over Wall too like that lone scout. It's not that I think Turner is a much better player, it's just I'm one of those versatility fans. And Turner solves so many issues for a team it's not even funny. He can play 3 frickin positions legitimately. You want him to run the point? He's a pretty good passer and ball-handler although he needs to improve both cut down on turnovers. You like him at SG? He shoots a good percentage from all over the court and can finish at the rim, which is actually more important for a 2 guard than being automatic from the three point line. You have a hole at SF? Turner can hit the outside shot and slash like mentioned, but he is one of the best and most aggresive rebounders in the draft.
Now I would take Wall (and he WILL be 1st overall) if my biggest hole was PG because he is purer at the position than Turner which counts. But maybe I'm a team with a solid point in which Wall would be an upgrade but multiple other positions to fill? Turner is really intriging to me.