RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Terrico White

Posted by rtmsf on June 23rd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Terrico White

School: Mississippi

Height/Weight: 6’5, 203

NBA Position: Shooting Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Overview: Combo guard Terrico White stepped onto the Ole Miss campus with a top 100 ranking as a high school senior, the Tennessee AAA Mr. Basketball crown, and the hope of Rebel supporters that he’d inject a little hoops excitement into Oxford.  He didn’t disappoint during his freshman year, taking over at point guard after teammate Chris Warren was injured — a move that definitely suited his game — and won SEC Freshman of the Year honors.  Many fans were disappointed in his sophomore campaign, citing decreased numbers across the board, but that has to be attributed to going back to playing shooting guard, and to the presence of a returned Warren and a couple of improved teammates in Murphy Holloway and Eniel Polynice.  He will play mostly SG in the NBA, but his turns at PG really showed off his entire game better.


Will Translate to the NBA: He’s got great pace bringing the ball up the floor on the break, and the one of the best parts of his game is that he’s able to pull up and drain a jumper or juke his defender and drive to the basket with no fear.  He gets down so low when he breaks down a defender, we mean it as a compliment when we say that he may be 6’5, but at times plays shorter than that.  He knows how to use a screen to his advantage and loves coming off the curl to go straight up or use his quick first step to dart by his defender.  Also, he has great one-on-one skill, which only increases his NBA marketability.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Larry Sanders

Posted by rtmsf on June 23rd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Larry Sanders

School: VCU

Height/Weight: 6’10, 222

NBA Position: Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Overview: Larry Sanders has come a long way from the awkward kid who as a sophomore in high school scored a basket for the other team as he was just learning how to play the game.  But this embarrassing moment in Sanders’ career reveals a salient point: as good as he has become by the age of 21, he has still only played organized basketball for a total of six years.  There is significant room for improvement, especially on the offensive end, but his mysterious upside is tantalizing NBA scouts and GMs scattered throughout the second half of the first round.  He mostly relies on his God-given gifts at this point, but he has shown an ability to pick up fundamentals quickly and has a knack for getting his long arms on the ball on the boards.  The team that ultimately chooses Sanders must be aware that he is not likely to come into a situation and put up big numbers in the first couple of seasons.  But with proper coaching and drills, he is the type of player who could pay off big dividends a few years down the line.  The question that teams have to ask themselves is if they can afford to wait on a prospect such as this in the ever-changing and pressure-packed waters of the NBA.

Sanders Needs Time, But He Could Very Well Pay Off

Will Translate to the NBA:  Hops and length.  Sanders has an NBA body with NBA athleticism, particularly a 7’6 wingspan that allows him to block shots, drop in putbacks and keep balls alive that other post players simply can’t get to.  As you probably expect given his physical gifts, his help-side defense is much further along than his offense, but there are reasons to believe that he can learn how to play effectively in the post (witness going from 4.9 PPG in his freshman season to 14.4 PPG last year).  The greatest likelihood is that Sanders will ultimately earn his paychecks in the League as an elite defender and rebounder.  He averaged 2.8 blocks per game in his career and became one of the best per-minute rebounders in the nation by his junior season on both ends of the floor.  With additional honing of his mechanics and timing, there’s no reason to believe that can’t continue at the next level from the power forward slot.     

Needs Work: Sanders is not yet a refined post player on either the offensive or defensive end, but his work ethic is strong and he has improved considerably every year since he picked up the game.  He’ll need to develop some actual post moves to flourish in the NBA because he’ll no longer be facing up against inferior athletes the likes of which he was regularly seeing in the CAA.  He will also need to get stronger so that he can hold his ground against the powerful NBA fours so that his unbelievable length and athleticism doesn’t get neutralized.  These are areas that he can work on during his rookie contract with the thinking that by the time he is three or four years into the League, he can become a solid contributor. 

Comparison Players:  Andrew Bynum is the player who first comes to mind in terms of his rawness and NBA-ready body type.  They’re roughly the same age, too, although Sanders hasn’t had nearly the level of elite coaching that Bynum has had at this point.  A young Marcus Camby is another solid comparison although Camby’s offensive repertoire was far more developed at the same age.  The key point here is that with hard work, scouts believe that Sanders could become as good as either of those players, which is high praise for a mid-major prospect who was on nobody’s draft radar coming out of high school. 

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Patrick Patterson

Posted by jstevrtc on June 23rd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Patrick Patterson

School: Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6’9/235

NBA Position: Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: Late Lottery

Overview: John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins may have been flashier and grabbed more headlines, but if you ask people around Lexington who their favorite Wildcat was from this past season, Patrick Patterson’s name will come up more than you’d expect.  While his numbers were impressive enough (14.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.9 BPG), that’s not what Kentucky supporters use as the reason for their reverence — and reverence is the right word, there.  They’re quick to point out that those numbers were actually down from the previous season (17.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.1 BPG), and the reason they were down was because he was fine with scoring less and yielding the spotlight to his aforementioned young teammates, as that’s what the team dynamic required.  They love talking about how he finished his bachelor’s degree in three years, while at the same time going far above the call of duty when it came to community service and public appearances during his time in the Bluegrass.  In short, people in Lexington love this guy, and why shouldn’t they?  He played three seasons that can be credited to three different head coaches; he was recruited by Tubby Smith, played two years for Billy Gillespie and a final one under John Calipari.  Basketball wasn’t fun at UK for those first two years for the players or the fans, and especially not for Patterson, who didn’t even get to play in an NCAA Tournament.  You couldn’t blame Patrick if he had sulked in his dorm room for a while and then caught the first bus out of town.  Instead, he flourished — in the classroom, on the court, and in the community, knowing if he kept working hard that sweeter days would eventually come.  Those sweeter days arrived last season.  And the next one is Thursday night in New York.

Patterson finishes confidently at the rim, but it was the jump shot he debuted last year that wowed scouts...and fans.

Will Translate to the NBA: Patterson’s physique got more impressive each year at Kentucky, the biggest and quickest transformation coming last summer when he moved out to California and worked with a personal trainer.  His body is therefore NBA-ready, and it also speaks to his work ethic.  He’s also shown that he’s willing to eschew personal glory in favor of the betterment of the team, and there might not be a better “character guy” in the draft.  He added a jump shot over the summer before last season, then hit it consistently during the year, a move that greatly increased his appeal to NBA scouts, and it goes nicely with the fair range of post moves he already possesses.  Whether it’s him who scores or not, good things tend to happen when he gets the ball in the post; he’s a nice interior passer and easily finds the open man on the perimeter.  He was an underrated defender down low at Kentucky and seems to love going body-to-body with opponents who are trying to overpower him.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Dominique Jones

Posted by rtmsf on June 23rd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Dominique Jones

School: South Florida

Height/Weight: 6’4, 205

NBA Position: Combo Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round/Early Second Round

Overview: Despite playing in the far outreaches of the Big East, Dominique Jones had a junior season, and really a strong three-year career, to make the rest of the basketball-strong league stop and take notice. As a junior, he won the Big East scoring title with 21.4 PPG, he grabbed a spot on the All-Big East team and an honorable mention on the AP All-American team, and dropped 46 in a January game against Providence, falling two points shy of tying the Big East record for points in a game, all while willing his undermanned Bull squad to NCAA tournament consideration and an eventual NIT berth. Jones was always the primary focus of his opponent’s defense, but still managed to carry his team at times, knocking down 45% of his field goal attempts and getting to the line a whopping 282 times (9.2 free throw attempts per 40 minutes), converting those chances at a nearly 75% rate. While Jones is more of a scorer than a shooter, he isn’t necessarily a volume shooter, getting his points in a very efficient manner.

Jones is a Spectacular Scorer at Times

Will Translate to the NBA: Jones is perhaps a couple inches shorter than ideal for an NBA shooting guard, but has enough ballhandling skills to be able to take some minutes at the point in the NBA. Not a stereotypical point, Jones could be more of a facilitator than a creator, although with the ball in his hands he is capable of creating for himself. With a powerful first step, Jones is able to get penetration with ease, relishes physical play and is able to maintain body control and still finish around the rim through contact. His shotmaking skills are excellent, with midrange jumpers, a beautiful floater and plenty of acrobatic tricks. Defensively, Jones is a competitor that never backs down from a challenge and makes up for his average athleticism with tenacity and smarts.

Needs Work: Jones’ perimeter game is just average. He knocked down just 31% of his threes as a junior and was just an average shooter even on open perimeter jumpers. His jumper will need to improve from him to stick in the NBA, and he even had some trouble in college getting separation for his jumper when closely guarded, a problem that will only increase at the next level against bigger and more athletic competition. Jones does have good mechanics, however (a slightly slow release notwithstanding), and should be able to clean up his jumper in due time.

Comparison Players: The best comparison we’ve seen is Rodney Stuckey, and Jones may have a little more upside than Stuckey. Both players are capable of playing either guard spot, and both are equally capable of playing with the ball in their hands or off of the ball, running through screens and traffic. Stuckey is bouncier than Jones will ever be (Jones sports just a 33-inch vertical), but Jones makes up for his relatively earthbound game with strength and savvy. Another former Piston comes to mind as a good upside for Jones: Vinnie Johnson. Jones has a couple inches on Johnson, but Jones has a similar physical style and the ability to play both guard positions, and when he heats up, Jones can score points in bunches, much like the Microwave did.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: James Anderson

Posted by nvr1983 on June 22nd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: James Anderson

School: Oklahoma State

Height/Weight6’6″, 210 lbs

NBA PositionShooting guard

Projected Draft RangeMid-to-late first round

Overview: The casual college basketball fan may not be as familiar with Anderson as they are with many of the bigger names higher up the Draft board, but that does not mean he is any less prolific a scorer as the Cowboys junior guard averaged 22.3 PPG last season on his way to Big 12 POY Honors and a 1st team All-American selection (by The Sporting News). The questions for Anderson come for the other areas of his game beyond his ability to score from the outside and that will most likely keep him out of the lottery. Although he lacks the requisite athleticism to get one of those goofy draft labels Anderson has shown that he has the ability to get to the basket at times during the past season in Stillwater.

We know that Anderson can do this, but what else can he do?

Will Translate to the NBA: A solid shooting guard with great range. Anderson’s game is a pretty well-known entity to most scouts with a relatively narrow floor and ceiling. Anderson already has all the tools he needs to become that sort of player right away in the right setting, but will need to work on some of his weaknesses (see below) if he wants to fulfill the promise he showed at times in Stillwater.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Damion James

Posted by rtmsf on June 22nd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.  

Player Name: Damion James 

School: Texas 

Height/Weight: 6’8, 227 

NBA Position: Small Forward 

Projected Draft Range: Mid-to-late first round  

Overview: Damion James is one of only a small handful of seniors with a good chance of hearing their names called by David Stern in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft. Over the course of his career in Austin, he played with several NBA-caliber players, including former first-round picks Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin, yet still managed to post impressive numbers. James’ scoring average increased every year, from just 7.6 a game as a freshman to 18 a night last season, and James always produced on the glass, posting 10.3 rebounds per game in both his sophomore and senior seasons, and an average of 9.3 RPG over the course of his career. As a result of being undersized for his natural power forward position, James has worked hard on his perimeter jumper, improving from a poor shooter (he hit just one of his 11 three-point attempts as a freshman) to a 37.5% three-point shooter over the final three years of his career, a facet of his game that will need to continue to improve.    

James is a Tough Kid Who Will Make His Way in the League

Will Translate to the NBA: James’ athleticism, rebounding ability and motor are his biggest strengths, and those will be the traits on which James’ NBA career rests. James has strong hands, is quick off the floor on multiple jumps, and is a tireless worker, all ingredients in his outstanding rebounding numbers. As a bonus, James is a more than capable outlet passer and relishes getting up and down the floor. While he is undersized for a full-time NBA power forward, he is versatile enough to spend some minutes at both forward spots, and can very effectively guard face-up or perimeter-oriented NBA fours.

Needs Work: Since James can’t do a whole lot to make himself taller, he’ll need to polish his skills at the small forward, his best fit in the NBA. While he has improved the range on his jumper, he’ll need to extend that out a couple more feet to the NBA three-point line while increasing his accuracy on his existing range. Although he has worked on offensive moves to free himself up, he’ll need to further develop his ball-handling skills in order to create space against superior defenders at the next level. There are plenty of things that are just going to be off-limits to James due to his lack of height, so he’ll need to solidify every other area in his game in order to make up for his shortcomings.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Hassan Whiteside

Posted by jstevrtc on June 22nd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Hassan Whiteside

School: Marshall

Height/Weight: 7’0/227

NBA Position: Center

Projected Draft Range: Mid First Round

Overview: Hassan Whiteside surprised a lot of people when he spurned several SEC schools to play his college basketball at Marshall University, but his attendance at a comparatively small school didn’t mean the NBA scouts wouldn’t find him.  They didn’t need to search very hard. Whiteside’s impact on the Conference USA landscape was immediate, posting a 14 point/17 rebound/9 block performance against eventual NCAA second-rounders Ohio University early in the season.  He’d end up with three triple-doubles on the year — the first three ever for Marshall — all with blocks as the third statistic.  His 12 other double-doubles helped propel the Thundering Herd to an overall 24-10 record and 11-5 in a very competitive CUSA.  His 182 blocked shots was tops in the nation, averaging out to an amazing 5.4 BPG.  And even though he was only there for the one year, he ended up as the all-time leader in blocked shots at Marshall.  Mind you, we don’t mean for a freshman — that’s for a career.

Defensively, he's ready. And it's funner to learn offense. (C. Jackson/Herald-Disptach)

Will Translate to the NBA: Obviously his shot-swatting prowess is his biggest asset, and will be the primary reason for any early minutes he gets in the league, but he’s no single-note player.  He’s not just a tall, thin, awkward shot-blocking specialist. He’s good at using his size to get in position for grabbing boards, and shows a knack for peeling off more than his share of offensive rebounds.  He has better hops than most players his size, and he gets off the floor quickly.  Hassan is one of those players who, when you see him play, you can tell how much fun he’s having and that will endear him to teammates and fans.  And he knows what it takes to be a professional athlete; his father played five seasons of professional football in the NFL and CFL.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Daniel Orton

Posted by jstevrtc on June 22nd, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Daniel Orton

School: Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6’10/255

NBA Position: Power Forward/Center

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Overview: If you needed any further proof that the NBA Draft selects players on potential and not on actual past performance, look no further than Daniel Orton.  That’s not to say that Orton didn’t produce for Kentucky in his one season there.  He certainly did everything that was expected of him, and did it well.  But we’re talking about a player who averaged 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and just 13.1 minutes a game.  That said, Orton was excellent in his role as a backup to DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson as needed, excelling on defense, specifically shot-blocking, and showing enough raw offensive skills to have the scouts salivating. He only hit double-figures twice all season, but that’s just because of the limited minutes.  With talent like this, if he’d have gotten the time (or stayed in school longer) his numbers would have probably been about triple what they were.

An intense, imposing physical specimen, Orton will carve out a living hitting the glass and blocking shots.

Will Translate to the NBA: Orton’s body was NBA-ready by the time he played his first college game.  He frequently uses that size to overpower defenders on his way to the basket and finish with confidence.  Though it could stand a little more arch, his jumper is fairly solid at this early stage.  He is physically imposing but actually has very nice touch on his shot after a post move and certainly as he gets right up to the rim.  On the defensive side, he’s way ahead of the curve in terms of shot-blocking ability, and that skill is evident whether he’s guarding his man straight up or if he’s  leaving his man and helping from the weak side.

Needs Work: Orton played so little compared to a lot of prospects, teams just don’t have that much to go on.  He had surgery on his left knee during his last year of high school, and while he never appeared to be favoring it, there were times when simple post moves or getting up the floor on a break seemed a little harder than one would think.  Because he’s going to make his living down low, he’s going to be getting to the free throw line a lot, and raising his percentage up from the 52% he shot at Ketnucky (to be fair, that was also his field goal percentage) is required.  Finally, it was a single incident, but the in-game sideline spat with coach John Calipari in the SEC Tournament was highly publicized, and Orton didn’t help his image by actually leaving the bench and going back to the locker room, even if he was under orders.  He’ll need to convince teams that his head’s in the right place and he won’t make a habit of openly questioning authority.

Comparison Players: Orton’s use of his physique to do things like create space for shots, set screens, and out-muscle opponents for rebounds reminds us of Leon Powe of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  If a Kentucky example is needed, his physique brings to mind the Rockets’ Chuck Hayes; like Hayes, Orton’s greatest value to an NBA team will come on defense.  Hayes is a little quicker, but Orton actually has a higher offensive ceiling.

Best Case Scenario: The key to Daniel Orton’s success will be patience.  He has the body and all the tools to carve out a very nice decade-long NBA career, if not longer.  But because he’s being drafted largely on potential, the team that drafts him will need to see some of that potential become realized in practice and in limited game time before they’ll really unleash him.  That’s not the easiest thing for young players to accept.  If he can show off his defensive abilities enough through hard work in practice, he’ll get more minutes in games, and then the offensive chances will come.  If he’s satisfied with that, after a few seasons his game could be refined enough to where he’ll find a niche on a team that needs a tough-nosed, hard-rebounding, “glue-guy” type of player that the fans love, the type of player that embodies the hard work coaches would like to see out of their whole roster.

2013 Projection: The process described above will still be happening after three seasons.  We wouldn’t be surprised to see him start to get increased minutes late in his third season and thereafter.  Up to that point, we’d expect Orton to have made an early living as a rebounding and shot-blocking specialist while the full range of his offensive game continues to grow.

Best NBA Fit: Orton will be taken almost right in the middle of the draft, and while Oklahoma City (21st and 26th pick) needs front line help in a major way — and it’s a pick that would land Orton back in his home state — the best fit for him as far as teams in that range is the Boston Celtics (19th pick).  Despite their post-season success, Boston was one of the worst rebounding teams in the league (29th of 30) and averaged a -1.5 rebounding margin.  If Kendrick Perkins‘ knee remains suspect and the retirement rumors about Rasheed Wallace are true, the Celtics would be left without a true center, and the third man on the depth chart at PF would be the unimpressive Shelden Williams.  Plus, you could do a lot worse than to have Kevin Garnett as a teammate and mentor.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Xavier Henry

Posted by nvr1983 on June 21st, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Xavier Henry

School: Kansas

Height/Weight: 6’7″,  210 lbs

NBA Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Projected Draft Position: Mid- to Late Lottery

Overview: When Henry came to Kansas before last season–after initially committing to Memphis before the Billy Gillispie/John Calipari circus came to town–everybody had high hopes for the swing man coming out of high school with a NBA veteran’s physique. Early in the year, Henry’s exceptional performance led one SI/CBS pundit to say that Henry was every bit as impressive as John Wall. As you know that level of performance did not continue for the rest of Henry’s freshman season and his numbers tailed off considerably. Henry was able to occasionally show signs of brilliance later in the season including back-to-back games of 24 points (on 9/16 FG) and 23 points (on 9/13 FG) against Colorado and Oklahoma respectively in late February. However those signs of brilliance were frequently interrupted by games where Henry was a non-factor including the Jayhawks season-ending loss to Northern Iowa in which Henry was physically superior to anybody the Panthers could throw at him, but Henry managed just 8 points on 6 shots (although he did pull down 8 rebounds). While Henry’s play as a freshman is enough to merit first round consideration, it is his immense potential that makes him a lottery pick.

Will Xavier Henry live up to his NBA potential?

Will Translate to the NBA: Just looking at Henry you can see how he would fit into a NBA roster right away. With his strength, fluid game, and sweet left-handed shot he could be a nice change of pace player right away and could develop into an All-Star swing man. If Henry develops the ability to hit his shot off-the-dribble consistently he could become a very dangerous player in a few years. In either case he should be a swing man on NBA rosters for years to come. The question is will he be a complimentary player or will he be the go-to-guy who should be able to score from just about anywhere on the floor.
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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Cole Aldrich

Posted by nvr1983 on June 21st, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Cole Aldrich

School: Kansas

Height/Weight: 6’10”,  236 lbs

NBA Position: Center

Projected Draft Position: Mid- to Late Lottery

Overview: We have discussed our reservations about Aldrich before namely that although he was productive he never dominated games the way we would have liked him to do during his time at Kansas. We usually say that you should look beyond the numbers, but in Aldrich’s case we think the numbers tell you a lot about his game. As a sophomore Aldrich averaged 14.9 PPG (on 59.8% FG), 11.1 RPG, and 2.7 BPG, but as a junior averaged 11.3 PPG (on 56.2% FG), 9.8 RPG, and 3.5 BPG. Some might argue that is due to more limited touches, but his 40-minute numbers are down across the board except for his BPG. What is even more concerning is the drop in his free throw shooting–down from an extremely solid 79% as a sophomore to a more mediocre 68% last year. Having said that as his BPG and efficiency numbers indicate Aldrich is a player who can contribute even if he will never dominate a game (didn’t have a single game where he scored 20 points or more last year).

How will Aldrich's game translate to the NBA?

Will Translate to the NBA: A solid role player. I haven’t really seen any site/pundit claim that Aldrich will morph into a superstar even at the start of last season when some considered him a top 5 pick. Now with one more year of playing time allowing scouts and opposing coaches to dissect his game more thoroughly he is no longer a potential top 5 pick, but more where you would expect someone who with his limited upside. Before the Kansas fans pile on to the comment section let’s be clear on one thing: Aldrich could become a good NBA player. We just don’t think he has a legitimate chance of becoming someone you can build your franchise around (or even a national title contender as Jayhawk fans are all too aware after the Northern Iowa game). Aldrich is the type of guy who could average 10 PPG, 8 RPG, and 2 BPG in the right situation, but we can’t see him doing much more than that.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Luke Babbitt

Posted by rtmsf on June 21st, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Luke Babbitt

School: Nevada

Height/Weight: 6’9, 218

NBA Position: Small/Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: Mid-First Round

Overview:  Much like fellow WAC star Paul George, most basketball fans would have a lot of trouble picking Luke Babbitt out of a lineup.  When pressed, they might guess he was Kyle Singler or maybe even Gordon Hayward.  But Babbitt will probably be selected higher than either of those collegiate stars as a result of his rare mixture of NBA-range shooting ability and post play.  The 6’8 wing player who was named the WAC Player of the Year in 2010 averaged 21.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 2.1 APG while shooting over 50% from the floor last season, and in part because Nevada was only an NIT team, nobody outside of Reno and its environs has ever seen the kid play.  Luckily for Babbitt, the scouts go everywhere to find talent, and depending on which pundit you believe, the Wolfpack sophomore could be looking at a draft spot from somewhere in the lottery to as far down as the mid-20s.  The reason for the large disparity in his projection has to do with the fact that he’s considered a tweener with tremendous offensive skills who may really struggle to guard people at the next level.  The big question is whether he’ll be able to overcome that deficiency to justify giving him minutes on the offensive end of the floor, and the general feeling among many is that he will figure out a way to do so.   

Who is This Floppy-Haired Man?

Will Translate to the NBA:  You can teach shooting to a certain extent, but those who have the magic touch usually have had it from a very early age.  Babbitt is one of those players.  You cannot leave this guy open out to 25 feet.  The smooth lefty drained 75 treys in two seasons at Nevada at an excellent rate of 42% and utilized his mid-range game to draw numerous fouls for automatic points at the line (where he shot 89%).  He has a number of crafty jab step and fadeaway moves both in the post and on faceups that he uses to create separation from his defender and get clean looks — more often than not, the shot results in the other team catching the ball out of the net.  Babbitt is the kind of player who will be able to provide instant offense off the bench or as a third scoring option on the wing.  His offensive repertoire is NBA-ready.

Needs Work:  This will sound stereotypical, but there are legitimate questions about Babbitt’s ability to defend at the next level.  At the small forward position, he doesn’t currently have the lateral quickness to stay in front of the explosive first steps of the players he’ll be asked to defend.  At the power forward position, he doesn’t have the strength at 218 pounds to withstand nightly punishment in the post.  If he hopes to find significant minutes in an NBA rotation, he will have to shore up one of these areas.  The more likely option is that he adds muscle and gets used to blocking out bigger players down low.  If he can do that successfully, he can become a solid player in this league.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Eric Bledsoe

Posted by jstevrtc on June 21st, 2010

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Eric Bledsoe

School: Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6’1/190

NBA Position: Point Guard/Shooting Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Overview: Even with high school phenoms like John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Daniel Orton headed to Lexington back in the fall of 2009, Eric Bledsoe was immediately liked by Kentucky fans.  He was going to give their beloved team something they hadn’t had in a while — a designated shooter.  Though Bledsoe was primarily a point guard in high school with reliable handle, he was also known as more than just a serviceable shooter from distance, a combination Wildcat fans craved at the time, especially considering the poor marksmanship and turnover-prone nature of Wildcat backcourts that preceded the Wall/Bledsoe duo.  As if that wasn’t enough, even though Wall didn’t commit until later, Bledsoe won over many card-carrying Big Blue Nation members by expressing his desire to return Kentucky to hoops prominence, proclaiming on his signing day that he and his fellow recruits were coming to Lexington to “get shit right.”  Playing out of position for almost every minute of his only college season, he gave the Wildcats what they expected — a good shooter who also provided a second point guard option, as well as a better-than-expected penetrator and creator.  He shot 38% from beyond the arc, but his streaky nature meant defenses had to stay close to him, which enabled him to utilize his blistering first step to rocket past defenders.

If he can motivate himself to improve on the defensive end, his value will increase during his early years in the league.

Will Translate to the NBA: Bledsoe’s a rock.  He has tremendous upper body strength and he’s great at using it to blaze a path to the hoop, absorb contact, and still score.  He’s quick in every direction, including straight up off the floor, and doesn’t lose much of that pace even when he has the ball.  He’s shown that he can play both point guard and shooting guard at the elite college level, so the team that drafts him will feel like they’re getting a skill set that spans the job descriptions of two different positions.  He definitely possesses a shooter’s mentality, and shows no fear in firing away even if he misses his first few attempts.

Needs Work: Bledsoe is streaky from long range, and on off-nights he would occasionally sulk, resulting in less production, more turnovers, and extended bench minutes.  Though he started the season as a capable defender, this is an aspect of his game that actually got worse as the year progressed.  His quickness should translate quite easily to the defensive side, so the fact that he went backwards in this area points to the fact that it’s a matter of motivation, and that won’t do in the NBA.  Despite his upper body strength, he’s still just 6’1, and that underscores the need for him to get his head right as far as defense is concerned and become a good close-up defender.  Finally, even though he’s got great springs, he doesn’t get a lot of elevation off the ground on his jumper, and he could use that at his height.

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