Daequan Cook, 64, SG, Freshman, Ohio State
22 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, 9-15 FG, 3-4 3PT, 1-2 FT
Cook was getting his scoring done mostly from mid and long range today, doing so off a variety of moves, showing how dynamic a scorer he can be when his shot is on. He started off the game by missing a contested 15 footer, but bounced back quickly, hitting on his next three field goal attempts, showing excellent touch and composure from the mid-range. First he went off one dribble into a turnaround, contested jumper from 10 feet out, then he hit two floaters, one from 10 feet and one from five feet in transition, banking it off the glass with perfect touch. As the game went on, Cook extended his range, hitting on two three-pointers, one from 25 feet out with the shot clock winding down and one by pulling up with a hand in his face. He hit on another pull-up shot from 20 feet out as well, to go along with an 18 foot stepback shot off a jabstep that he sold very well. Cook also hit on some other shots from the 15-18 feet range in the game, which is where most of his misses came from as well. One thing to be really impressed with about Cooks shooting from any range is how effortless he makes it look, making his moves quickly and not being bothered by hands in his face. Shots that would be difficult for other players, Cook converts at a good clip, as he has really good strength on his shot and keeps his mechanics consistent on long-range shots and shots where hes fading away or pulling up.
Cook didnt really impact the game in many other ways, but he did make a few nice passes, not forcing the issue with his shot and adjusting in mid-air on a couple of occasions to make a pass out, avoiding a turnover or a poor shot attempt. He had no trouble making entry passes when he did, and also picked up two assists, one on a perfectly thrown alley-oop lob in transition and the other coming on a mini drive-and-dish kickout in transition, making the pass despite being amidst a crowd of defenders.
Cook didnt get off to a good start at the camp, but he showed here how dynamic a scorer he can be, and how he can do it against this level of competition, so all things considered, his stock probably didnt fall or rise much, as its very commonplace for even the best scorers to have some off days, as Cook did in his first two games. If he chooses to remain in the draft, hes likely a late first or early second round pick unless someone falls in love with him, and that could be very nice value for some team willing to take their time letting him develop, as with another season or two in college, he could certainly be projected higher in future drafts.
Jared Jordan, 6-2, Senior, Point Guard, Marist
6 points, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, 3-4 FG
Defensively, Jordan struggled a bit with the explosiveness of Dominic James, not really having the lateral quickness to stay in front of him. Most of the scouts we spoke with still didnt come away convinced from the excellent showing Jordan had here at the pre-draft camp, citing his poor physical attributes (size, strength, athleticism) and the liability he might present as a defender, perimeter shooter and shot-creator late in the game or shot-clock. Still, it only takes one team to like you, and Jordan gave all 30 of them plenty of food for thought in his excellent week here.
Dominic James, 511, PG, Sophomore, Marquette
7 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-8 FG, 1-3 3PT
James made some very nice moves taking the ball to the hoop today, probably moreso than hes done on any other day here, but he wasnt always able to finish, just adding to the frustration he must be going through here at the camp. James started the game off by picking off a pass with his quickness and anticipation on the defensive end, then taking the ball the length of the court, only to miss a weak lay-up when he shouldve gone harder to the hole to draw contact and finish strong. James next made a very nice crossover dribble move going from right to left, taking the ball forward with his left hand, but he missed on a pull-up jumper from 10 feet out as he moved across the lane, taking an off-balanced shot that he was unable to convert. James missed on a similar play later in the game, with that attempt actually coming from 20 feet out, a shot with an even higher degree of difficulty.
James got his first score of the game on a nice right-handed drive into the lane where he put up a floater off the glass, over an attempted block by the opposing teams big man. James made some other decent drives in the game as well, but he wasnt able to finish at the hole over the big man most of the time, or he decided to pass the ball off before he got there. James did he an NBA three-pointer in the game, coming off a screen for a pull-up shot, something he hasnt proved he can do consistently yet, as his outside shot is suspect.
In terms of playing the point, James did a pretty good job keeping his teammates involved, making some nice passes, though his teammates didnt always finish or even catch the passes. He had some drive-and-dishes, kick-outs, and dump-offs, occasionally doing so off advanced dribbling moves like his crossover. Defensively, James was a mixed bad, letting opposing point guard Taurean Green by on a few occasions, but playing some aggressive defense on him at others.
Its really tough to project where James will be drafted if he remains in this years draft, as weve seen two vastly different sides of him in the past nine or so months. Depending on what player the scouts buy into more, the one we saw early in the season or the one weve seen of late, he could be all over teams boards, being in the 20s on some and on the border of not being drafted on others. James can still help himself out in workouts some, but as a point guard, the main factor in evaluating him should be real-game, 5-on-5 situations, which he probably wont be participating in again in front of scouts or teams until summer league, well after the draft is over.
Sammy Mejia, 6-6, Guard, Depaul Senior
9 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3/7 FG, 3/5 FT
Mejias shooting mechanics looked slightly improved over the course of his senior season from behind the three point line, though his free throw shooting dropped to a dismal 60%. In Orlando, he hasnt taken many jumpers, but he knocked down a couple of open 20 footers today. His free throw shooting still needs to be addressed as well. Mejia certainly has better vision than most guards as he displayed today on a couple of drop passes near the basket, but ball handling certainly isnt a strength of his right now.
Sammy Mejia has the talent to someday make an NBA roster, but there are concerns as to how he will fit in as a role player. Hes the type of player that needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective, and players like Mejia usually arent allowed to dominate the ball at the NBA level. It seems doubtful that he will be drafted, but it will be interesting to see how he performs during summer league this year.
Taurean Green, 6'1, Junior, Point Guard, Florida
9 points, 1 reb, 3 ast, 2 to, 2-6 FG, 5-5 ft's, 0-2 3-pt
Antanas Kavaliauskas, 6'10, Senior, PF/C, Texas A&M
6 pts, 4 reb, 2 stl, 2 to, 2-7 fg's, 2-3 ft's
Sun Yue, 6-8, 1985 International, Small Forward, Aoshen
2 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 6 turnovers, 3 rebounds, 1-3 FG
Dashaun Wood, 6-0, Point Guard, Senior, Wright State
2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnover, 1 steal, 1/6 FG
Game Eight: Team One 93 Team Six 89
Zabian Dowdell, 63, PG/SG, Virginia Tech
13 points, 3 assists, 1 to, 4-10 fgs, 3-4 fts, 2-4 3-pt
Mustafa Shakur, 63, PG, Arizona
8 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block, 3-8 fgs, 2-3 fts
Jermareo Davidson, 610, PF, Senior, Alabama
16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 6-11 FG, 4-4 FT
Defensively, Davidson was on and off, struggling a bit with perimeter defense on Ivan Radenovic, not really showing much in the line of fundamentals defending perimeter drives to the basket. He also lost Radenovic a few times with off-ball defense, leaving him open on the perimeter. Davidson did do a good job contesting shots from the weakside in the lane, though, using his athleticism and length to make some nice blocks on opposing drivers. Davidson did manage to grab a nice amount of rebounds over the course of the game, but he doesnt always box his man out and he could pursue the ball in a crowd a bit better, as he has the tools to rebound over most players here.
Davidson has a great set of physical tools and some nice groundwork in terms of skills, so teams will definitely take a long look at him in the early second round. Davidson could use some more bulk on his frame, though, and he would also be a more complete player if he spent more time in the post, as he often settles for face-up type stuff from the mid-range.
Chris Richard, 69, PF/C, Senior, Florida
12 points, 4 rebounds, 6-8 FG
Defensively, Richard played some strong post defense on Ryvon Covile, using his body to keep his man away from the basket and to force tough shots. He also helped a bit on perimeter defense, hedging on pick-and-roll situations and stepping up when necessary.
Richard may not be an NBA player, but he should get chances in summer league to prove some of the doubters wrong. He has a strong body and he knows how to use it, but at 68 without much in the line of offensive skills, its going to be tough for him to establish a niche in the league.
Herbert Hill, 610, PF/C, Senior, Providence
5 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 2 turnovers, 2-5 FG, 1-1 FT
Hill did a good job on the defensive end today, showing off his timing, length, and athleticism in blocking some shots from the weakside, also getting a few blocks in a man-to-man situation against Ryvon Covile. Hill also pulled in a lot of rebounds, but he relies a bit too much on his physical tools in that area, lacking in fundamentals like boxing out his man, something hell need to really improve on at the next level.
Hills stock probably hasnt changed much here in Orlando, as he was already viewed as mostly a project player outside of his arsenal of moves from the mid-post area. Hill will need to work on his defensive and rebounding fundamentals, develop a more consistent mid-range shot, and add some more strength in the weight room before he can make a significant impact for an NBA team. But given how he improved so drastically in his final season at Providence in terms of production, hes probably capable of making many of those improvements.
[c]Spencer Hawes shows off his beautiful jump-hook[/c]
There were some rumors early on that there will be workouts conducted with the top prospects in the draft on the last day of the camp, and that turned out to be true after the first game of the morning. Three to four of the physical only players were added to each of the six pre-draft camp teams, and they ran a light 30 minute or so workout doing things like the 3-man weave, the long legs outlet pass drill, and the pitch and fill. Other basic fundamental moves were also conducted, such as using a simulated screen to get to the basket off two dribbles, pull-up jumpers and floaters (for guards), and post moves (jump-hooks, drop-steps, turnaround jumpers, etc) for the big men. Opinions here were firmly split as to whether these workouts mean very little, or absolutely nothing at all. No one we talked to thought there was really anything major to be taken away from this at all, but the better teams in the league were at least pleased to be able to get a chance to see the top picks in the draft up close and in person, to evaluate the way they move, the technique they show in the drills, and their body language.
The first three players to work out were Acie Law, Brandan Wright and Spencer Hawes. Law seemed to blend in to a certain extent with the other pre-draft camp guards he was working out with, showing a flat-footed jump-shot that didnt always fall and fairly limited intensity throughout.
On the other side of the court Spencer Hawes seemed to be taking things quite seriously, looking absolutely phenomenal in the post drills with his gorgeous jump-hook shot and incredibly soft touch off the glass. Hes clearly one of the most fundamentally sound players in the draft. He told us hed help himself here a few weeks ago when we interviewed him, and if this is any indication of how the drills portions of his NBA private workouts are going to go, he is absolutely right.
Next to him, Brandan Wright did not do much to quell most of the fears about him, even if there was only so much you could take away from this setting. He doesnt appear to have added any weight to his frame since the season ended, and his jump-shot and ball-handling skills were virtually non-existent as weve been mentioning all season long. The fact that he was working out in the 3rd gear didnt really help him out. On the positive side, he did look pretty effortless getting off his feet and ran the floor extremely well. In the post, he also showed great fundamentals, with a beautiful hook-shot and great touch spinning to either shoulder. His arms are freakishly long.
The next workout featured Josh McRoberts, Al Horford and Mike Conley Jr. McRoberts looked pretty nervous and therefore didnt shoot the ball all that well, at least not anywhere near the way he did when we saw him a few weeks back working out in Santa Monica. Besides that, though, he seems to be in great shape and looked even more athletic than Al Horford getting up and down the floor, executing his moves in the post, and getting off the floor to finish. Hes obviously an extremely smooth and fluid player with solid fundamentals and technique, even if he missed some easy shots that he normally would convert.
Al Horford looked a little stiffer than McRoberts in the drills, but was night and day compared with the Duke sophomore off the court. He was extremely relaxed, smiling constantly and playing around with his new teammates (for example Jared Jordan). Hes in the same incredible shape hes always been in, and did a very nice job shooting the ball with his feet set and executing his post-moves with his back to the basket.
Mike Conley shot the ball very poorly throughout the workout, not looking to have any range at all outside of 16 feet. Expanding his shot to the NBA 3-point line is going to take him quite a bit of time and effort. In terms of his demeanor, he looked very serious and business like, executing the drills crisply and picking up on everything he was told to do almost instantly, as the first player in line. His floater looked terrific and did his quickness getting up and down the floor.
Julian Wright, Rodney Stuckey and Al Thornton were next, and we quickly began to lose interest as the intensity level seemed to level off. Wright seemed to take things very seriously, but he was paired with the big men once they were split up, meaning he was just asked to do things like shoot jump-hooks and turnaround jumpers. Needless to say, there isnt a lot of value in that. Al Thornton was part of the perimeter players drills, but didnt seem like he wanted to be there at all. He looked lackadaisical in his effort and pretty average in the amount of shots he hit. Stuckey looked a bit better, but not by much.
We skipped the Nick Young and Jason Smith workout for the 2nd half of what turned out to be a terrific ending to the pre-draft camp games between teams 4 and 5, but were told by some scouts that both looked pretty good. Nick Young apparently shot the ball extremely well.
Kevin Durant was marched out next with Thaddeus Young. Durant looks as skinny as ever, but he drew were some gasps once the dunking drills kicked off. Its pretty amazing to see how high above the rim his arms get when hes elevating for dunks. For some reason he was also given the big man workout drills, so we didnt get to see any real shooting except on occasion (which he was just so-so at). While he wasnt screwing around the way some other players here were, it didnt seem like he really wanted to be here either.
Thaddeus Young seemed to be taking thing a lot more seriously on the other hand, punishing the rim every time he dunked it and showing off his sculpted Corey Maggette esqe-physique. Him shooting jump-hook shots for the remainder of the workout didnt tell us much more than we already knew.
Greg Oden, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah were the last ones to work out. Oden impressed big time with the way he ran the floor and got off the ground dunking the ball, even if he seemed to be sleepwalking as well at times. His shooting and ball-handling looked good for a player his size. At the end of the workout, he insisted on not leaving until he managed to knock down an NBA three. On his third attempt, he finally got one to drop, and promptly turned around towards the crowd with his arms in the air like a prize fighter to celebrate his accomplishment with a big grin.
Joakim Noah ran the floor hard, handled the ball well, shot the ball decently, and seemed to put in a solid effort. Corey Brewer shot the ball better than you might have expected, even though hes clearly more of a five on five player than someone who is going to shine in this type of setting.
Game Nine: Team Four 95 Team Five 93
D.J. Strawberry, 64, PG/SG, Senior, Maryland
13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers, 5-7 FG, 2-3 FT
But we already knew this. What we didnt know is that Strawberrys jumper appears to have improved significantly. There was nothing beyond the arc, but he poured in 13 points on 5-7 shooting, mostly on midrange jumpers. Several were contested, and he actually showed a bit of touch. This is a new development for Strawberry, in that he actually looked comfortable letting loose from the perimeter. It remains to be seen if this showing will get Strawberry drafted. Most scouts dont appear to like him, and even more missed what was one of the more significant showings of the entire event. Strawberry can do a little of everything, and has the kind of role-player character to stick in the NBA. But first, he will have to prove that his game 3 shooting exhibition wasnt a fluke.
Jared Dudley, 67, SF, Senior, Boston College
12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 5-10 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-3 FT
In the final three minutes of the game, Dudley aggressively pursued the basketball and showed how dangerous of a player he can be. He made an extremely nice play on a left-handed drive off a cut, drawing contact and fading away for a floater from eight feet, also getting the and-1 on the play. Next he pulled up from 15 feet for a very smooth mid-range jumper, followed by a putback tip on the next possession. Finally, he secured an offensive rebound with 15 seconds to go with his team up one, securing the game for his team. He crashed the boards aggressively throughout the game, always being amidst the crowd.
Dudley has a very good chance of being the highest player taken from this camp, and has a definite shot to go in the first round, where he would be a nice pick-up late for a team already in playoff contention every year. He has a winners attitude about him and his tough-nosed style of play coupled with his mid-range shooting and ability to finish at the basket and get to the free throw line will allow him to make fast contributions wherever he goes.
Dominic McGuire, 67, SF, Junior, Fresno State
6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 2-6 FG, 2-2 FT
McGuire also passed the ball very well in the game, netting himself four assists in a variety of ways. He made a nice pass on a pick-and-roll, had a dump-off to his teammate near the rim on a left-handed drive, and threw some nice transition passes, including a bounce pass through the defense and a quick, one-touch pass that went perfectly to his man ahead near the basket.
Defensively, McGuire was also active, chasing his man through screens, playing solid man-to-man defense on Reyshawn Terry, and picking off an entry pass by using his length on one occasion.
McGuire has a chance of going in the late first round, and will likely be snatched up early in the second regardless, as he probably has the most potential of any player here, given his physical abilities and the groundwork of skills he has in place. If he can play consistently aggressive basketball, especially in terms of taking it strong to the basket, he can contribute in many ways for an NBA team, rebounding, passing, and playing solid man and help defense.
Coleman Collins, 68, PF, Senior, Virginia Tech
18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 7-8 FG, 4-4 FT
Defensively, Collins was pretty active, making a few deflections and playing very nice man-to-man defense on Kyle Visser. Collins may not be an NBA player, as his size certainly puts him at a disadvantage, but he improved his stock here at Orlando for sure, and he can always try and improve his game in the D-League for a little while to see if he can ever make the jump.
Aaron Brooks, 60, PG, Senior, Oregon
14 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 4-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, 4-4 FT
In terms of passing the ball, Brooks didnt have the impact youd hope, as hes still very much a scoring point guard first. He made a nice misdirection play where he fazed his defender and made a nice pass to a cutter for an assit, and got his other assist off a drive-and-dish pass on the baseline.
Defensively, Brooks was trying hard, and has displayed good lateral quickness here, but he bit on a few fakes in this game. Brooks helped his stock here at Orlando by playing well and doing a bit of nice distributing while playing solid defense, but its still tough to say how much of an impact hell have in the NBA, or if hell surely get drafted. He could always catch on somewhere as a three-point shooting specialist, contributing in some other ways as well, but he still has some work to do to be a full-time point guard in the NBA.
Carl Landry, 67, PF, Senior, Purdue
12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 5-9 FG, 2-2 FT
Defensively, Landry used his strong body to hold his position well in the post, not giving up an inch and forcing his man into tough shots or pass outs on at least a handful of occasions. Still, there were other occasions where even though Landry played strong, he lacked the lift to contest some shots over his head, as at 67, thats something that will be a consistent problem at the next level, especially if he cant get up like some other successful undersized power forwards in the league do. Landry was a mixed bag in terms of his help defense, blocking a perimeter shot on one step-out, but failing to stay step-for-step with his man on another perimeter play. On the glass, Landry went hard to the basket, rebounding on both sides of the court and using his body to carve out space near the basket.
Landry is a skilled big man, moreso than he showed here at Orlando, and the recent success of so many undersized 4s in the NBA will help his case in finding himself a niche in the league. Hes a likely second rounder, though hes definitely not a sure thing, as he isnt in the same class athletically as many of those other players.