John Gilchrist: 9 points, 4/9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists Gilchrist didn't have the type of headlining performance he had Wednesday, but he continued to show that he is amongst the most impressive prospects at the camp. His overall athleticism and strength are outstanding, and this combination allowed him to impress on both ends of the floor. His off-the-dribble ability might just be the best in Chicago. Unfortunately, Gilchrist again looked to be playing for himself most of the game and did not do a great job of getting his teammates involved.
Brandon Rush: 10 points, 4/8 shooting, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 4 turnovers While Rush's offensive explosion in the second half of his first game didn't carry over into Thursday, he still managed to show some very impressive raw skills. His shot wasn't falling, but he did hit an impressive spinning jumper. He is a truly exceptional athlete, and this is most obvious in the surprising number of blocked shots he has registered thus far at the camp. Players just don't expect him to make up so much ground so quickly, and several of Rush's blocks would make the camp highlight reel, if one existed.
Eddie Basden: 13 points, 5/12 shooting, 4 steals After a somewhat disappointing first couple of days in Chicago, Basden is finally making believers. Not insignificant is his officially measured height of 6-5 1/2 in shoes, which helps him in his quest to become a defensive specialist in the NBA. His shot isn't there yet, but it has definitely improved, and he even hit a three-pointer from the top of the key Thursday. Basden gets high marks for his overall physicality, and his ability to slash. While he spent most of the day guarding bigger combo forward types, Basden continues to come up with a lot of steals. Based on his performance throughout the camp, it looks like a second-round selection is in the cards.
David Lee: 8 points, 2/2 shooting, 2 rebounds It was a bit of a disappointing day for David Lee, who might be regretting his decision to attend the camp considering the way it has panned out so far. He isn't getting his touches on the offensive end, despite shooting 100 percent from the field and the free-throw line, and ended up looking very out of it mentally. He still has time to put in a highlight performance, but he'll have to do a much better job of demanding the ball down low and especially going after every single rebound that is even remotely in his area. He was slowed Thursday by a minor knee injury that kept him out of the combines, so that might have had at least something to do with that.
Travis Diener: 4 points, 2/6 shooting, 4 assists, 1 turnover (8 points, 2/7 shooting, 5 assists, 2 turnovers) Travis Diener continued his excellent play from Day One, and even got to play in an extra game as Dee Brown's replacement. Diener didn't shoot the ball like he did Wednesday, but it was quite apparent that those in attendance weren't really concerned about that. Diener is proving to be the best pure floor general at the camp, and something positive seems to happen every time he touches the ball. His creative passing and scrappy attitude are causing his stock to skyrocket, and it now looks like Diener is about as much of lock to get drafted as he's ever been in his career so far.
Dwayne Jones: 10 points, 3/4 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 block Jones impressed in the early game with several highlight plays, including a couple of rim rattling dunks and an emphatic blocked shot. While Jones' offense remains somewhat raw, it is becoming evident that he has many athletic tools that the scouts love. He would have better luck in next year's draft if he returned to Saint Joseph's and polished up his offensive skills, but his stock is definitely on the rise.
Aaron Miles: 2 points, 0/3 shooting, 7 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 steals It was the same Aaron Miles we were used to seeing at Kansas, as he showed fantastic, physical defense, solid floor leadership, and got to the basket several times (even though he couldn't get a shot to go down). Miles continues to show improved shooting touch in the drills, converting on 7 of 10 NBA three-point attempts.
AFTERNOON WORKOUTS AT MOODY BIBLE
Martynas Andriuskevicus: Andriuskevicius was the feature in a workout that matched him up against former Penn State big man Jan Jagla. Guards Donell Taylor and Drake Diener also participated. In another workout that was controlled in order to showcase only players' strengths, the majority of the time was spent in shooting and agility drills. While Andriuskevicius has a smooth jumper and runs the floor quite well for a big man, it was impossible for him to hide in the two-on-two drills near the end of the workout. In the pick-and-roll drills, he had a hard time staying on his feet and hit the deck quite a few times with a thud. Jagla, quite a skinny post player himself, was able to keep Andriuskevicius from doing much on the block, and soon he was settling for outside jumpers. More disturbing was his obvious lack of conditioning. Andriuskevicius became noticeably winded within a couple of minutes of half court two-on-two, and the trainers had to resort to stopping the drill until he could catch his breath.
Despite the fact that this was a workout intended solely to display his strengths, all Andriuskevicius showed were weaknesses and some ability to inconsistently knock down the NBA three-pointer. Andriuskevicius probably will end up withdrawing from the draft, as we doubt any team would give him a lottery promise after Thursday's workout. It was a highly entertaining workout but for all of the wrong reasons. Jan Jagla deserved props for bulking. He looked to be about 25 pounds heavier than he was at Penn State. He's obviously not a great athlete, but the difference between him and Andriuskevicius isn't as far off as you might think.
Rudy Fernandez: Next up in the afternoon workouts was the Spanish guard. Toney Douglas, Torin Francis, and Jermareo Davidson also participated. Fernandez showed off smooth athleticism and a nice jumper in some non-competitive drills, before getting down to business in some two-on-two action. Fernandez doesn't have the quickest first step in the world and is still a bit thin, and this showed up in the competitive drills. He wasn't able to dominate offensively the way that a potential mid-first-rounder should have been able to against this type of competition. However, it's very possible that Fernandez's game is more suited for a more team-oriented setting. This workout was more of a mixed bag than anything else.
Ersan Ilyasova: The final individual workout at Moody Bible, run by trainer Idan Ravin, featured Ersan Ilyasova, one of the more underexposed players in this draft. His workout was an individual one, so we weren't able to see how he stacks up in a competitive setting. However, nearly everything that he was able to show off was quite impressive. He shoots the ball very naturally, even if his release is a bit unorthodox. He hit approximately 60 percent of his shots from the college three-point line, and this percentage didn't change throughout the workout, even after 45 minutes of moving around on the court. While he is far from impressive NBA-ready physically, Ilyasova has a solid frame, and it looks like he is headed in the right direction strength-wise. He looked smooth putting the ball on the floor, but probably needs to get a bit more explosive if wants to become a full-time wing. The questions about his true age and injury concerns remained unanswered, though, as did the questions about his athleticism and ability to create off the dribble. We still need to see more of Ilyasova in a competitive environment, but he certainly showed some encouraging signs Thursday. Whether or not that is enough to guarantee him a spot in the first round considering his complete lack of experience at the senior level is anyone's guess. Seeing him workout in a real basketball environment might have helped him more.
Hakim Warrick vs. Danny Granger: While the Fernandez and Ilyasova workouts were going on at Moody Bible, a large chunk of NBA executives made the short trek over to the Lake Shore Athletic club to take in a highly competitive workout between two potential lottery prospects in Danny Granger and Hakim Warrick. The two promising forwards were joined by Jay Straight from Wyoming and Paul Marigney from St. Mary's. The workout started off with a variety of different shooting drills in which Granger looked extremely impressive, showing off a much better three-point shot than you may have expected. At one point, he hit 12 NBA threes in a row, doing it with a high and quick release and good elevation on his shot. Granger has a super soft touch off the glass which he uses to bank shot after shot from the mid-range area. The whole experience looked quite effortless for the very smooth Granger. Warrick, on the other hand, shot the ball pretty well considering that this is considered one of his biggest weaknesses at the moment. With that said, he has odd mechanics, particularly his inconsistent release point, wasted motion, and the fact that he kicks his leg out while releasing his shot. Compared with Granger, Warrick's jump shot looks very violent and not very natural. He still did a decent job here in the shooting drills.
After the drills, the players went into a one-on-one matchup where the are asked to start from the opposite three-point line and take the ball full speed at his opponent on the way to the basket. Warrick looked outstanding in this drill, thanks to his superb athletic ability and what appeared to be a slightly improved handle. In one sequence, he took the ball at Granger at full speed, and then pulled up with a sharp crossover before elevating for a sweet mid-range shot. Any player would have a tough time keeping up with Warrick's speed and tenacity, and Granger is no exception here. We started to wonder about Granger's lateral quickness at this point, as he was beaten numerous times off the dribble and had a very tough time staying in front of his man. On the other end, Granger seemed to settle a bit too much for pull-up jump shots, which he did not hit at anywhere close to as good of a rate as he did in the one-on-zero drills. He looked a bit soft and not as focused here as he did previously in the workout, letting Warrick get into his head a bit, and being noticeably bothered by his superb length.
Two-on-two drills ensued and Granger regained his focus. He started to pull ahead of Warrick in the individual matchup between them again. Granger received the ball closer to the basket this time and used his footwork and strength to back down Warrick a bit and showed off a very nice turnaround jump shot in the process. Granger caught fire for a while and barely missed once again from almost anywhere on the court. Granger may not yet adequate at creating his own shot, and is better when others get him the ball in a good position to score. Warrick really struggled putting the ball on the floor from static positions and was forced into settling for numerous outside shots, which is clearly not his game. That, combined with his weak ballhandling skills, once again let Granger establish superiority.
All in all, this was definitely the most competitive and insightful workout we've seen so far this week, with a lot to be learned about both players' strengths and weaknesses. We think this matchup ended up as a draw, but every NBA team in attendance will draw their own conclusions and will decide which prospect better suits their needs.
It should be noted that Paul Marigney was a pleasant surprise thanks to his outstanding athletic ability. He is quick and explosive and showed a pretty nice touch from outside as well. He would be a great prospect if he was 6-foot-6 rather than 6-foot-3, but due to his lack of height he will have to make the transition to the point if he has any NBA aspirations. This workout did not give us much of an idea about how far along he is in that aspect of his game.
GAME 2 / TEAM 5 - TEAM 2 (97-81)
Luther Head: 21 points, 8/11 shooting, 4/5 3-pointers, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 turnover Day Three of the camp belonged to Luther Head, as he put in what was probably the most dominant performance so far. A flurry of three-pointers midway through the second half gave him the great stat line, but Head excelled throughout the game. He showed lock-down defensive ability, quick hands in the passing lanes, terrific shooting ability, and good vision on the break. He didn't play much point guard, but did manage to show a bit of potential as a floor general when he had the ball in his hands. It is very obvious that even if he doesn't have the experience to be considered a natural point guard, he looks more than capable of defending the point guard position. Based on Head's performance in the camp thus far, we feel he is one of the few prospects in Chicago that has a legit shot in the first round. Head compares very favorably to last year's Chicago invitee and eventual first rounder Delonte West. In fact, he is probably better that West in nearly every facet of the game.
Mike Bell: 17 points, 7/11 shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 turnovers Bell did his best to disprove his reputation as a soft player. He didn't fade to the perimeter and was very active in the paint. He showed a lot of emotion, and finally appeared capable of cashing in on the potential that he has shown in the past. Bell scored in a variety of ways, and continues to display a nasty combination of length and athleticism. One knock on Bell is that he has the tendency to get down on himself and disappear if he gets off to a slow start. On Thursday, he started off strong, and built on that throughout the game.
Robert Whaley: 12 points, 6/10 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks In one of the biggest shocks of the camp thus far, Robert Whaley seems to be getting better and better by the day. He was dominant in the morning drills, scoring at will against whoever attempted to guard him in the one-on-one section. This carried over into the game, as Whaley was effective doing a variety of things whether it was scoring in the post using a combination of quickness and strength, beating his man down the floor, or showing off soft touch from the perimeter. His defensive mentality remains a question mark, but the major issue here remains how NBA teams will react to his troubled past. If the draft was based solely on Chicago camp performance, Whaley would be worthy of a draft pick.
Jawad Williams: 12 points, 1/7 shooting, 9/10 free throws, 1 rebound
Williams has to rank as one of the most disappointing players in this camp, and he just hasn't been able to get anything going. His shot is ice cold, and he still looks out of place on the perimeter as a wing and down low as a power forward. He still seems to be forcing the issue quite a bit. Williams did seem to shake off the mental frustration and put in a better effort Thursday, but it just wasn't his day yet again.
Drago Pasalic: 13 points, 4/9 shooting, 13 rebounds - Pasalic was able to take advantage of his team's lack of big men, posting the camp's only double-double thus far. Although he continues to put up decent numbers, Drago has not impressed us with any one facet of his game.
Sean Banks: 10 points, 2/9 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers After an impressive performance in Wednesday's game, Banks did not capitalize on his momentum and reverted back to his old style of play which includes making one good play followed by a horrible one, hanging out on the perimeter too much, taking poor shots, and not giving solid effort.
GAME 3 / TEAM 6 - TEAM 3 (109-92)
Will Bynum: 11 points, 4/5 shooting, 2 assists, 2 turnovers The diminutive point guard continued to help himself throughout the camp showing scouts that he is able to consistently score, whether he plays on or off the ball. While Bynum did not have quite the performance that he had over the previous two days, he still showed a great combination of explosiveness and strength, and was very reminiscent of Nate Robinson.
Steven Smith: 23 points, 9/14 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks Smith was one of the best players in the camp Thursday. He was able to show the ability to legitimately play small forward, doing a lot of different things on the floor. Steven was very smooth, shot the ball well, and showed good athleticism for a small forward prospect.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu: 13 points, 4/7 shooting, 2 rebounds Mensah-Bonsu is clearly one of the top athletes at the camp, but showed very little in terms of actual knowledge for the game or basketball skill. He has the combination of size, athleticism, and heart that scouts dream of in a power forward prospect, but could really use another year of college to hone his all-around game.
Rawle Marshall: 13 points, 4/9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists Rawle continued to show a lot of NBA potential, playing impressive defense and using his great length to disrupt opposing players. He showed a wide variety of pro moves throughout the day, handling the ball well, nailing sweet pull-up jumpshots off of the dribble, and boasting top level athleticism.
Ronny Turiaf: 8 points, 4/6 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks Turiaf showed us the exact same thing that he showed us all week, just not at the same clip that he had over the previous two days. He still blocked shots, scored from the post, and rebounded the ball well, but did not have quite the same intensity or motor that he had in his other games. It would only take one 20-point game for him to solidify himself as the best player in the camp, but he hasn't given us that yet, leaving the top player in camp still up for debate.
Eric Williams: 18 points, 8/12 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks Although Williams had a bit of a disappointing measurement at just 6-8 1/2, he was able to make up for his lack of size with a great game Thursday. He showed the ability to score on virtually anyone from the low block and continues to display striking athleticism for a player his size. Williams would definitely benefit from another year of school, where he would have the opportunity to be the primary scoring option.
Carlos Powell: 12 points, 5/9 shooting, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers Carlos Powell put in a second consecutive impressive day at the camp, continuing to show off his sculpted body and explosive athleticism. Powell is a quick leaper, and is very adept at slashing to the basket.
Tre Simmons: 17 points, 7/11 shooting, 3/4 3-pointers, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers Simmons played some point guard Thursday, and once again did not look out of place doing so. His jumper is silky smooth and is clearly his main draw as an NBA prospect. He may have sold some teams here on his ability to do a bit more than that, and therefore has seen his stock rise in this camp so far.
Will Conroy: 17 points, 7/15 shooting, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 turnovers Conroy was apparently asked to do a better job of establishing himself on the offensive end and he responded right off the bat by scoring eight points in the first few minutes. He continued to do a solid job of running his team and playing good defense. He mixed up his improved jumper with the ability to get in the lane and either finish or find the open man. Conroy has arguably been the best point guard in this camp so far, and has made a nice case for himself as a backup PG for the NBA.
Jared Homan: 5 points, 2/7 shooting, 1 rebound, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks Homan put in an impressive spring and had hopes to see this carry over into Chicago, however he hasn't been able to get things going at all this week. The post touches that he needs have been few and far between and the level of competition down low is clearly bothering him. Thus far, Homan is one of the bigger disappointments of the camp after a very impressive Portsmouth performance.
Ellis Myles: 7 points, 1/2 shooting, 5/6 free throws, 7 rebounds, 3 assists Although he lacks athleticism, Myles has been able to produce at a very good level throughout the camp. His combination of quick post moves and brute strength have garnered Ellis attention from many European teams and will have numerous offers if he is unable to make an NBA roster. His lack of height and scoring ability will most likely cause him to go undrafted for now, but his combination of basketball IQ and ferociousness make him a unique prospect to observe.
Anthony Roberson: 14 points, 6/12 shooting, 5 assists, 0 turnovers While Roberson will never be a pure point guard in that sense that he will make everyone around him better, he did a really nice job of putting the ball in the basket and picking up easy assists. He has a very quick trigger, for good or for bad, but can obviously shoot with the best of them from NBA range. A longtime European scout was quite confident that Roberson will find a spot in the league as a Troy Hudson-type point guard, but we feel that he still has a good amount of work to be done to get to that level. Teams will either love or hate the Saginaw native. Certain teams in need of a scoring guard off of the bench will definitely take a flyer on Roberson.