DraftExpress All-Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Teams

DraftExpress All-Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Teams
Jun 15, 2006, 03:36 am
DraftExpress All-Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Teams

MVP: Kenny Adeleke

First Team:

Kenny Adeleke
Louis Amundson
Renaldo Balkman
Taj Gray
Justin Williams

Second Team:

Morris Almond
Will Blalock
Denham Brown
J.R. Pinnock
Darius Washington

Third Team:

Rashad Anderson
Bobby Jones
Sean Dockery
Jordan Farmar
Paul Millsap

First Team

Kenny Adeleke, 6-8, Senior, Power Forward, Hartford

Jonathan Watters

In a camp full of disappointments, the one player that everyone in attendance can agree had a standout week is Hartford power forward Kenny Adeleke. Adeleke doesn’t have experience at a big time college program on his resume, but that hasn’t stopped him from being effective everywhere he has played this past year. That includes a senior season in which he challenged Paul Millsap for the right to be called the nation’s top rebounder, and a very impressive Portsmouth showing at which he was named to DraftExpress’ All-Tournament Third Team. Therefore, maybe it shouldn’t have surprised anybody that Adeleke ended playing the best basketball out of any player in Orlando.

Adeleke certainly doesn’t stick out from the crowd at first glance. With a round body and awkward open-floor gait, he almost appears out of shape. However, conditioning wasn’t a factor when he started banging bodies in the paint. Adeleke has an impressive natural understanding of how to operate in the post, almost always appearing to be a step ahead of the competition mentally. He knows what he wants to do in the paint offensively before the ball arrives, and has already completed his move by the time any sort of help can get to him. He can rely on an assortment of hooks and scoop shots to convert around the rim. Adeleke has a relentless, physical nature to his game, relishing contact and never giving up on the glass. Despite seeming to be limited athletically, Adeleke gets off the ground remarkably well around the basket. He was a terror on the offensive glass here, and does an outstanding job of anticipating where a missed shot is headed. Simply put, there was no prospect at the camp capable of containing Adeleke around the basket.

So where does this leave Adeleke in terms of draft stock? After two impressive pre-draft camp performances in a row, it is hard to see him not getting drafted somewhere in the second round. However, there is some question as to how Adeleke’s game will translate into the NBA. He was able to dominate this camp with his physicality, but it must be emphasized that there probably weren’t very many NBA big men in attendance. It remains to be seen how effective the 6’8 Adeleke will be at operating amongst the trees he will find at the next level. Adeleke has significant work to do on his body, but he also looks like a player that will put the work in to improve that area. A toned up Adeleke can certainly carve out a niche for himself in the NBA, in a Reggie Evans-style role.

Louis Amundson, 6-8, Senior, Power Forward, UNLV

Jonathan Givony

One of the most entertaining players seen here all week, Louis Amundson did not stop hustling from the second he got off the plane in Orlando and until the moment the camp ended. Amundson got off to a great start right as things kicked off in day one, working his butt off in the drills and giving his matchup fits with his relentless motor. The most impressive thing he showed here had to be his activity level, as he is always the first one to hit the glass thanks to his terrific quickness, and is usually up off his feet to try and put-back the offensive rebound before the defense can react. Defensively, Amundson scraps, claws, flops, hustles and generally gives everything he has in the tank for every moment he is on the floor. He is a pesky type who gets right underneath your skin and does not relent until he either fouls out or drives his matchup insane. Offensively, Amundson is raw, and has no problem showing you that, but he managed to do his damage with his excellent quickness and leaping ability by catching the ball around the paint and scoring off of one or two short dribbles. Anything else gets him in trouble as his ball-handling skills are very poor, and you could hear the crowd groan in angst every time he stepped onto the free throw line. Amundson’s athleticism and rebounding ability reminds a bit of David Lee, while his work-ethic and attitude are comparable to Mark Madsen. Amundson may or may not be drafted depending on how much value teams put in a lunch-pail type garbageman, but its hard to not see him making a team through summer league or training camp.

Renaldo Balkman, 6-6 ½, Junior, Small Forward, South Carolina


Joseph Treutlein

Balkman had a very strong camp, jumping into the draft picture and possibly propelling himself into this year’s second round. If he chooses to remain in the draft, he will definitely have a chance at making an NBA roster, even if it’s through summer league.

Balkman, at 6’6 ½ with a long 7’1 wingspan and a wiry build, projects to be a small forward in the NBA. Here at the camp, he made most of his contributions by simply out-hustling the competition with his athleticism and quickness. His greatest contribution was on the glass, both offensive and defensive, where he’d frequently come from nowhere to grab a rebound or score a putback. That’s where Balkman got most of his scores, as he’s a pretty raw player on the perimeter, where he isn’t very accurate with his jump-shot. He did show some nice flashes of a slashing game and some ball-handling in the fullcourt, though. He also threw out a few nice passes in both the half and fullcourt. Defensively, Balkman did a solid job at the camp, but with his physical tools, he has the potential to develop into a very good defender at the swingman positions.

Balkman’s game is not much unlike current NBA player Trevor Ariza’s. They have the same knack for rebounding, the same long and athletic physical attributes, the same energy on the floor, and the same raw perimeter game. Ariza is a better ball-handler than Balkman, and has recently developed a larger semblance of a mid-range jumper, but otherwise, Balkman could play a very similar role for an NBA team that Ariza does, providing energy in the passing lanes and on the break while contributing some slashing and rebounding offensively.

Taj Gray, 6-8 ½, Senior, Power Forward, Oklahoma

Eric Weiss

Taj Gray did nothing but help himself with his play in Orlando. Gray’s energy and relentless aggression led to a high level of productivity in a camp where stats were hard to come by. Gray was a force at times on both ends of the court, using his superior quickness and explosive burst to block shots, tip loose balls, and coral rebounds. Offensively, Gray showed much better technique on his jump shot as well as from the free throw line. More than anything, it was Gray’s heart and intensity that stuck out the most.

As far as weaknesses were concerned, Gray still did not show tremendous footwork in the post and his fundamentals on his rebounds were hit and miss. As a face up power forward, Gray will need to hone his ability to consistently hit the mid range jump shots and use the threat of that shot to drive when the ball is in his hands.

Gray’s game is most similar to that of David West. West took 3 seasons to fine-tune his game and develop his go-to moves that enabled him to star last season for the Hornets. Gray has the beginnings of the skill set and the energy to develop into this type of player if he works at it. He is a superior athlete and that should get him drafted somewhere in the early-mid 2nd round.

Justin Williams, 6-9, Senior, Power Forward, Wyoming

Jonathan Givony

Continuing the trend of NCAA seniors who had better showings at the Orlando pre-draft camp after getting off to a good start at Portsmouth, we find 6-9 jumping jack Justin Williams from Wyoming, who gave players of all shapes and sizes fits around the basket with his combination of length and shot-blocking ability. Williams was impressive throughout the camp on the defensive end, displaying phenomenal timing and impressive leaping ability, being absolutely tenacious with his constant work-ethic, but managing to avoid foul trouble with his outstanding timing and cool, calm demeanor. Williams is capable of blocking shots both on the ball in the post or on the perimeter, as well by rotating over from the weak side. He was the top shot-blocker in the camp by far, and had a near triple double in his second game.

Williams showed off more offensive ability than we’d seen in his college career and at Portsmouth, stepping away from the basket and knocking down shots from 14-16 feet away from the hoop in the first game, and also wreaking some havoc around the hoop by coming up with offensive rebounds and going straight back up with his extremely quick second bounce. When receiving the ball in the high post, he was unselfish enough to make a pretty bounce pass into the post to his fellow big man. Continuing with the aggressive theme, Williams went out of his area on a number of occasions for long rebounds. Someone is going to want a defensive specialist with good size and a decent amount of upside that will be untapped as he continues to add strength to his frame, so Williams stands a very good chance of being drafted.

Second Team:

Will Blalock, 6-0, Junior, Point Guard, Iowa State

Jonathan Watters

Blalock is the perfect example of a player who really separated himself from the pack, despite not standing out in the box score. Even with a shaky-looking first game (1 assist, 6 turnovers), Blalock answered some major questions in Orlando. First off, he proved that he could run an offense effectively. While Iowa State’s backcourt developed a reputation of thinking score before pass, Blalock distributed the ball well and generally made good decisions. He plays much bigger than his listed height, thanks to large 6’6 wingspan, good strength, and some serious bounce in his step. This most clearly showed on the defensive end, where he was able to really bother opposing point guards as they attempted to initiate half-court offense. As a scorer, Blalock earns mixed reviews. Except for a stunning power dunk down the middle of the lane in game two, he rarely got all the way to the basket. There were a few successful midrange forays into the lane, but he doesn’t appear to be that “blow-by” guy on the offensive end. His shot is also a major concern, as he struggled to connect all week. Blalock’s game two was one of the week’s best individual showings of the camp, but a badly airballed 3-point attempt in the closing moments put a damper on the performance.

Blalock was a big reason for his team’s somewhat surprising success, and won his individual matchups all week. Even though the stats didn’t completely show it, he looked like one of the top all-around floor generals at the camp. With his ability to run a team and defend, Blalock looks like a prime candidate to get drafted in the second round and fill a third point guard role for a couple of developmental seasons. If Blalock can make strides with his jumper, he could develop into a very successful point guard down the road.

Morris Almond, 6-6, Junior, Shooting Guard, Rice

Joseph Treutlein

Almond showed off some very impressive scoring abilities at the camp, though he still could use some improvement before venturing into the NBA. He can score in many different ways, spotting up from mid and long-range, attacking the basket, or pulling up for floaters in the lane. But aside from scoring, Almond didn’t stand out in any other area here, and his scoring ability still has room to improve.

Almond’s ball-handling was respectable here, but he would do himself well to improve it to the point where he could use it to create his shot more. Most of his attacks on the basket here were predicated by him using a shot fake, not taking his man off-the-dribble with his quickness. If he could get a little bit more explosive and improve his ball-handling so he could out-quick players more often, that would make him an even better scorer. That extra quickness and ball-handling would also make Almond more suitable to playing the SG position in the NBA, to go along with SF, which is where he is best suited now.

Almond would be entering his senior season at Rice University should he choose to return to college. He may be able to make an NBA roster now, or possibly even get drafted, but would probably be best off returning to school for another year to improve on some things before heading into the NBA.

Denham Brown, 6-5, Senior, Shooting Guard, UConn


Joseph Treutlein

Brown had an up-and-down camp, at times showing off some good scoring abilities from the mid-range and around the basket, but at others forcing his shot and hurting the flow of his team’s offense. Brown didn’t show off much of anything new here, showing the same versatile game he showed at UConn, which is lacking one true standout ability.

He has a good in-between game, but at only 6’5, it’s hard to say how well that ability will translate to the NBA, where he will be going up against bigger, more athletic players. He doesn’t have exceptional quickness, so it’s not going to be easy for him to create some of the mid-range shots he took here and effectively get them off over bigger defenders. He’s not an exceptional three-point shooter either, though that’s something he’ll probably need to work on to find some place to stick in the NBA. He is a good defender at the swingman spots, and also a pretty solid passer, ball-handler, and rebounder for the position.

As noted above, Brown is a very versatile player, but in terms of NBA translatable skills, he doesn’t have one standout quality, which is what most teams look for with role players. Brown has a decent change to get picked in the second round, and probably make a roster, but it’s tough to see him cracking a team’s rotation until he develops something teams could rely on consistently offensively.

J.R. Pinnock, 6-4, Junior, Shooting Guard, George Washington

Jonathan Givony

Understanding the urgency involved with being a junior who already gave up his remaining college eligibility after signing with an agent, Pinnock did a very nice job catching the eyes of scouts with the combination of potential and current production he dropped consistently throughout the camp.

Pinnock started off a bit slow and seemed to blend in with the crowd, but by the 2nd and 3rd games he began to establish himself as one of the top players here. Coming into Orlando, we already knew that Pinnock was a phenomenal athlete who is blessed with an NBA-ready body. Much of the poor decision making skills and wild inconsistency seemed to have been left at the DC area before he decided to show up here, though. Pinnock used his first step and excellent strength to get into the lane time after time and finish strong in traffic at the hoop, and even showed an in-between game by pulling up off the dribble and knocking down shots. When given the opportunity, he did not look terrible shooting the ball from college 3-point range either, although this will probably be the #1 thing he’ll have to show to make and stick in the NBA. Measuring out an inch short at 6-4 did not help matters much, but Pinnock has shown that there is more to his game than we initially thought, with even better things to come from him in the future. He helped his cause tremendously.

Darius Washington, 6-1, Sophomore, Point Guard, Memphis


Eric Weiss

Washington accomplished his biggest goal by addressing the doubts about his ability to effectively run a team without looking for his own offense first. Washington’s aggressive and intelligent playmaking was evident throughout. Despite his team’s lack of off-ball movement, Washington was able to set a good rhythm for his team’s play on the offensive end. When the shots presented themselves Washington was able to convert from long range quite effectively as well as getting into the lane for the strong finish. Perhaps his strongest asset was his vocal assertiveness with his teammates. Washington pumped up his team’s energy level with words of encouragement and got players into position whenever he could.

Defensive consistency and focus were Washington’s biggest weaknesses. Washington allowed far too many players to get into the lane against him for no reason other than a lack of aggressive ball pressure. Washington has the athleticism to play solid defense, so if he concentrates on improvement in this area he’ll be on his way to being a more complete player. Overall, Washington was a very solid performer during the week and may have moved himself into a position to get a much longer look from teams looking for depth in the backcourt. Summer League shouldn’t be a question for Washington as far as getting invited is concerned, what happens from there is up to him.

Washington has a workout scheduled for June 22nd with Sacramento, four days after the pullout deadline, which tells us all we need to know about his plans regarding staying in the draft or not.

Third Team:

Rashad Anderson, 6-4 ½ Senior, Shooting Guard, UConn

Jonathan Watters

Anderson had an up and down camp, with two poor performances countered by one truly outstanding showing. Day two of the camp belonged to Anderson, when he poured in 24 points on 11-18 shooting. There were other impressive point totals over the course of the week, but no performance where a player scored with such effectiveness and such ease. Anderson poured in mid-range jumpshots from every conceivable angle. He had no trouble getting shot off, easily setting up his man working off screens or giving quick pump fakes. There were one dribble “jump stop and pops” and absurdly smooth step back swishes, all executed so quickly that the defense had little chance to alter or even react to the shot. Anderson even managed to get to the basket a couple of times, finishing one drive on the baseline and throwing down a transition dunk.

There are plenty of different criteria one could use in coming with an “All-Orlando Team”, but the main goal of the camp for every player is to get picked. Putting up flashy stats or dominating certain matchups is one thing, but for the camp to be a success for a player, he must show that he can play some sort of role in the NBA. Anderson’s all-around game might not be there, but he absolutely proved that he can score on any level. Thus, don’t be surprised at all if Anderson’s name is called on draft night, or if he develops into a solid NBA scoring specialist down the road.

Sean Dockery, 6’2, Senior, Point Guard, Duke

Eric Weiss

Sean Dockery continued to show just how little we all got to see of his overall game during his time at Duke. Dockery’s ball-handling skills are significantly greater than he’s given credit for and his court vision and passing creativity are on par with any of the guards in this camp, if not better. Dockery showed off some very clever moves when penetrating toward the basket, using good body control and touch to finish a number of NBA caliber shots in the lane. Defensively, Dockery is a bit physical but is extremely effective when he doesn’t gamble for the steal. He’s got quick hands and quick feet which enable him to disrupt the opposing point guard’s rhythm and concentration.

Dockery’s biggest weakness is his ability to consistently hit shots off the dribble or with his feet set. His shooting mechanics are solid from the waist up, but he has a tendency to drift on his jump. There are flashes of his ability to create shots for himself, but he has practiced it so little over the last 4 years it will take quite some time to master.

Overall, Dockery’s intelligence and overall ability are worthy of a 2nd round pick for any team looking for help at the point guard position. Even if he goes undrafted, Dockery has shown enough to warrant a Summer League invite where he can continue to develop the latent skills that he has as a primary ball handler.

Jordan Farmar, 6-2, Sophomore, Point Guard, UCLA

Jonathan Givony

The most highly touted player coming into the pre-draft camp, Farmar’s burden of expectations was considerably higher than anyone else participating. The end result was a bit mixed, as it was hard not to come away disappointed at times from what Farmar was showing here—or rather from what he didn’t show. He certainly did not play poorly, but considering how much better we all know he is than anyone else at this camp from what we’ve seen in his two years in college, he didn’t do a great job putting it all together in his four days here.

Farmar was at his best in his second game when going up against a hobbled Gerry McNamara. He got into the lane at will, scored in bunches with sweet floaters off the glass, and did a pretty good job of running his team. Farmar’s ball-handling looked terrific throughout the camp, and he used it along with his craftiness to keep his defenders on their heels and constantly guessing as to where he would go next.

The problems Farmar encountered mostly had to do with his decision making. He would follow up a terrific play with a boneheaded one, trying to be way too flashy and over-thinking things quite a bit. And while this is nothing new to those who have watched him play consistently through his college career, it was quite frustrating at times to see him force the issue time after time in some stretches. Farmar ran his team’s offense about as well as any other point guard when taking all three games into account, which might not be saying all that much, but wasn’t exactly the exhilarating and incredibly unselfish playmaker we’ve so often seen at UCLA. He appeared to be looking to show off his scoring ability more than his passing, and did a pretty good job as mentioned of scoring inside the paint.

Farmar’s perimeter shooting was extremely inconsistent both in the games as well as the drills, and it appears that there will be a longer transition period than usual adjusting himself to the NBA 3-point line. Defensively, he was up and down as well, lacking strength (only 171 pounds) as well as some length (6-3 wingspan) and lateral quickness, but he’s clearly benefited from the tutelage he received on this end of the floor from UCLA coach Ben Howland in terms of knowing how to use his head to stay in front of people when he wants to.

All in all, Farmar had himself a fairly average outing at the camp considering the high expectations he set for us with his play over the past two seasons. If he ends up staying in the draft and landing in the first round (this year’s draft is too crazy to definitely make that assessment right now) it will be for other reasons beyond how he performed here.

Bobby Jones, 6-7, Senior, SG/SF, Washington

Jonathan Givony

Solid as a rock would be the best way to describe the best perimeter defender in the 2006 draft. Jones wasn’t the flashiest player in Orlando, but he got the job done for his team every single time he stepped out on the floor by doing all the little things. Using his terrific height (6-7) and length (6-9.5), Jones shut down every single player he was asked to match up against, doing a fantastic job not only staying in front of his man, but also intimidating him enough with his quick hands and excellent strength and hustle to force him to give up the ball with his sheer peskiness. When given the opportunity, Jones looked quite content going down to the post to help out on the glass or even rotate over for a blocked shot on a smaller player.

Being the type of player who serves as the glue for his team rather than the catalyst, it took him some time to adjust to his teammates on both ends of the floor. He was fairly passive offensively to start things off, making some nice passes in transition and not really looking out too much for his own stats, but got better each day until his best performance in the last day of the camp. It was here that Jones showed off the fact that he shouldn’t be considered a strict offensive liability at the NBA level, as he looked for his shot more often, slashed his way to the hoop, scored on a pretty floater and a pull-up jumper, and generally made the right play almost every time he touched the ball, including making some more unselfish passes. Jones’ perimeter shot wasn’t falling for him at this camp as a whole just like it didn’t for the most part during his college career; he’ll have to work on his unorthodox shooting mechanics that never allow him to find a consistent release point. For the role he projects playing in the NBA, though, Jones showed his value here as well as at Portsmouth and likely solidified himself somewhere in the 2nd round. The strengths he brings to the table along with his high character and excellent intangibles will almost certainly land him an NBA job this coming season.

Paul Millsap, 6-7, Junior, Power Forward, Louisiana Tech


Mike Schmidt

As one of the players with the highest expectations coming into the camp, Millsap was somewhat disappointing here, although he played solid at times. His athleticism did not look as good as it once did playing in the WAC conference, and his body carries too much weight for his size. To reach peak physical condition, he will have to drop about 15 pounds and work on becoming quicker and more explosive around the hoop. On the offensive end of the floor, Millsap lacks touch around the rim, though he has a few nice moves. His footwork is slow but solid, but it does no good when you are unable to finish inside. On one occasion, he backed his player down and tried to spin the other direction to finish a hook with his left hand. It was a nice move, but the hook was so off that it barely hit the right side of the backboard. Right now, Millsap is good at drawing fouls, and knows when he has his man off balance enough. This led to a number of free throw attempts, but his shooting stroke needs a lot of work. During one game, he went 1 of 8 from the free throw line. In addition, Millsap doesn’t have the face the basket game that a power forward needs. If he had the size to play center, he would be fine, but at 6-7 he will have to develop some touch from the mid-range area.

On the defensive end, Millsap played fairly well, but was burned a few times when players took him away from the basket. He does understand how to use his body and position himself in the best way to prevent the offensive player from scoring. This does not compensate for a lack of lateral quickness, however, and he will need to improve his defense to become a regular rotation power forward in the NBA.

The best part of Millsap’s game was clearly his rebounding, which was what he was best known for in college. On both ends of the floor, Millsap used his body to push players around, and was always able to keep his position long enough to get his hands on the ball. In addition to solid rebound fundamentals, he possesses the will to grab every single rebound. He was so active on the glass and was able to get many rebounds that he had no business being near. This is clearly Millsap’s strength at this point, and the skill he has the translates best to the next level. If he can improve his body and continue to improve offensively, Millsap has the potential to be a rotation big man on the next level.

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