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Ummmmm Ok
06-25-2003, 03:43 PM
http://www.nba.com/knicks/news/PreDraft_Coverage_030623.html

NBA Draft 2003 Preview: Getting Into Position

by Tom Kertes

Withdrawals, schmiddrawals. The 27 last-minute changes of mind -- leaving the early entry numbers at a still-significant 46 (29 college players and 17 foreigners) -- will barely touch the depth and quality of Thursday's NBA draft.

In the main, the players who withdrew should never have declared for the draft in the first place. The significant exceptions are 7-4 Russian center Pavel Podkolzine and 6-10 forward Anderson Varejao of Brazil -- both potential lottery selections; Viktor Khryapa, a 6-9 small forward from Russia -- a late first-round possibility; and 6-foot point guards Chris Thomas (Notre Dame) and Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph's) -- both borderline first-round picks.

New Jersey high school phenom Charlie Villanueva, a 6-10 swing forward, also withdrew after some not-so-impressive workouts. He will attend UConn.

All this still leaves this draft as the best in eons. But, even in the best drafts, all positions are NOT created equal:


SMALL FORWARDS

LeBRON JAMES, 6-8, St. Vincent-St. Mary's H.S. (Ohio)
CARMELO ANTHONY, 6-8 Fr, Syracuse
JOSH HOWARD, 6-7 Sr, Wake Forest
DAHNTAY JONES, 6-6 Sr, Duke
BORIS DIAW-RIFFIOD, 6-8, France
ALEKSANDAR PAVLOVIC, 6-7, Yugoslavia
LUKE WALTON, 6-8 Sr, Arizona
DAVID WEST, 6-9 Sr, Xavier
UGONNA ONYEKWE, 6-8 Sr, Penn
KYLE KORVER, 6-7 Sr, Creighton

SIGNIFICANT SLEEPERS: JAMES JONES, 6-8 Sr Miami; RONALD DUPREE, 6-7 Sr LSU; JASON KAPONO, 6-8 Sr UCLA; TRAVIS OUTLAW, 6-9 Starkville H.S. (Miss.); NDUDI EBI, 6-9 Westbury Christian H.S. (Texas)
This is the most outstanding group to enter a draft at ANY position in a number of years. James and Anthony are surefire NBA superstars; Diaw-Riffiod is the most athletic Euro of them all; and Korver is the best pure shooter available this year (with Kapono not far behind). Pavlovic is another exceptionally skilled, though at-times inconsistent, all-around swingman who can dominate the floor when "on".

High schoolers Outlaw and Ebi are Not (Yet) Ready For Prime Time Players, but both own exceptional upsides.

And that's far from all: Howard was College Player of the year in many circles for a reason -- he can play -- and he can do it, and do it "good", on BOTH ends of the floor. Onyekwe is a remarkable sleeper with all kinds of game who stood out at Portsmouth with his cerebral play. And the word that Walton is not impressing in workouts only shows why workouts are just one tool when making a selection; this classic 6-8 point forward has a Larry Bird-type feel for finding the open man -- something you obviously can't evaluate in workouts -- and should be a valuable asset to any team.

James Jones, a muscular 6-8 pure shooter with excellent all-around skills who stood out at Portsmouth, should also make the league.

Which still leaves the top sleeper of them all -- Dahntay Jones. It's a downright Agatha Christie-esque mystery why the electrifying superathlete, a devastating defender who shot 40 percent from three-point range last year at Duke, has not stirred up a bigger buzz.


POWER FORWARDS

DARKO MILICIC, 6-11, Yugoslavia
CHRIS BOSH, 6-10 Fr, Georgia Tech
MIKE SWEETNEY, 6-8 Jr, Georgetown
MACIEJ LAMPE, 6-11 Poland
SOFOKLIS SCHORTSANITIS, 6-9 Greece
MARIO AUSTIN, 6-8 Soph, Mississippi State
MALICK BADIANE, 6-10, Senegal
NICK COLLISON, 6-10 Sr, Kansas
CHRIS MASSIE, 6-9 Jr, Memphis
BRIAN COOK, 6-11 Sr, Illinois

SIGNIFICANT SLEEPERS: RYAN RANDLE, 6-10 Sr Maryland; ZARKO CABARKAPA, 6-11 Yugoslavia; TOMMY SMITH, 6-10 Sr Arizona State; ROBERT JACKSON, 6-10 Sr Marquette; SZYMON SZEWCZYK, 6-10 Poland; THERON SMITH, 6-8 Sr Ball State; JEROME BEASLEY, 6-10 Sr North Dakota; BRANDON HUNTER, 6-7 Ohio; JULES CAMARA, 6-11 Sr Kentucky; RON SLAY, 6-9 Sr Tennessee.
Another extra-deep group with impressive overall quality: Minnesota's Rick Rickert and Florida's Matt Bonner will both be selected on Thursday, and could not even make it into our group of top sleepers.

Milicic and Bosh both own Kevin Garnett-type qualities and should go in the top four. Lampe (more of a perimeter player a la Dirk Nowitzki), Schortsanitis, and Sweetney are all likely lottery selections as well, though the latter two, along with Austin, are a tad short for the "four" spot. But no matter: Baby Shaq is rock strong, while the Elton Brand-ish Sweetney and "Super Mario" are long-armed warriors with enormous hearts and good hands who play far larger than their actual size.

Badiane is an extreme athlete who leaped to the forefront in workouts. Jackson showed unexpected scoring potential in private showings as well. Cabarkapa has great all-around potential. Hunter is a too-brief boarding beast with a heart the size of Rhode Island. Massie and Randle are vastly underrated sleepers, while Tommy Smith and Beasley have been THE discoveries of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.


POINT GUARDS

T.J. FORD, 6-0 Jr, Texas
KIRK HINRICH, 6-3 Sr, Kansas
LUKE RIDNOUR, 6-2 Jr, Oregon
REECE GAINES, 6-6 Sr, Louisville
LEANDRO BARBOSA, 6-3, Brazil
ZORAN PLANINIC, 6-6, Croatia
MO WILLIAMS, 6-2 Soph, Alabama
MARCUS BANKS, 6-2 Sr, UNLV
MARCUS HATTEN, 6-1 Sr, St. John's
HOLLIS PRICE, 6-1 Sr, Oklahoma

SIGNIFICANT SLEEPERS: JASON GARDNER, 5-10 Sr Arizona; JERMAINE BOYETTE, 6-2 Sr Weber State; STEVE BLAKE, 6-2 Sr Maryland; DREW NICHOLAS, 6-3 Sr Maryland; EDWARD SCOTT, 6-0 Sr Clemson; MARQUE PERRY, 6-1 Sr St. Louis; PACELIS MORLENDE, 6-3 France.
A confounding position, as usual: Ford, Hinrich, Ridnour, Gaines, and Barbosa are all rated as potential superstars by some scouts, and as no-more-than-solid NBA prospects by others. Ford, measured at 6-0 in Chicago with a 40-inch vertical jump, is the purest athlete and passer of them all. If he ever develops an adequate shot at the NBA level, he could become a truly outstanding team-first point guard.

Banks is quick, solid, and has worked out well. Hatten is small and loves to shoot. Still, he has too much funkily Iverson-esque flair NOT to eventually surprise.


SHOOTING GUARDS

DWAYNE WADE, 6-4 Jr, Marquette
JARVIS HAYES, 6-6 Jr, Georgia
MICKAEL PIETRUS, 6-6, France
MARQUIS DANIELS, 6-6 Sr, Auburn
TROY BELL, 6-1 Sr, Boston College
TRAVIS HANSEN, 6-6 Sr, BYU
CARLOS DELFINO, 6-6, Argentina
RUBEN DOUGLAS, 6-4 Sr, New Mexico
RONALD BLACKSHEAR, 6-5 Sr, Marshall
KIRK PENNEY, 6-5 Sr, Wisconsin

SIGNIFICANT SLEEPERS: CARL ENGLISH, 6-6 Sr Hawaii; MATT CARROLL, 6-6 Sr Notre Dame; WILLIE GREENE, 6-4 Sr Detroit; KEITH BOGANS, 6-5 Sr Kentucky.
Deep this position is not: the top three have a shot at the lottery -- the rest will be elated to be anywhere near the first round. Still, Wade is a Michael Jordan-esque athlete and an exceptional thinker who should be an immediate winner and an enormous asset to any team. Hayes, Pietrus, Bell, Blackshear, English, and Carroll are outstanding pure shooters, while the athletic Daniels and the solidly two-way Hansen leaped onto the NBA radar with their outstanding NCAA Tournament play.

Douglas led the NCAA in scoring at 28.0 ppg. Penny stood out for New Zealand at the World Championships. Delfino is spoken of as another Manu Ginobili but is coming off of a serious injury that has almost ended his career.


CENTERS

CHRIS KAMAN, 7-0 Jr, Central Michigan
JAMES LANG, 6-10, Central Park Christian H.S. (Ala.)
ZAUR PACHULIA, 6-11, Georgia
KENDRICK PERKINS, 6-10, Ozen H.S., (Texas)
SLAVKO VRANES, 7-4, Yugoslavia
WILL McDONALD, 6-11 Jr, South Florida
CHRIS MARCUS, 7-1 Sr, Western Kentucky
WESLEY WILSON, 6-11 Sr, Georgetown
JASON KEEP, 6-10 Sr, San Diego
MARVIN STONE, 6-10 Sr, Kentucky

Only Kaman registers as a potential star -- a few years down the road, he could be VERY good. Lang is an enormous 300-plus pounder who looked good in high school All-Star Games but failed to stand out in workouts. Wilson has shown flashes of NBA ability at Georgetown but left school early due to personal problems. Vranes is raw -- but that size!

Marcus is the strangest story of all -- a surefire lottery selection two years back, he elected to stay in school and has suffered from a series of stress fractures in his left foot. Now some team MAY give this onetime potential NBA star a shot in the second round -- or may not.

MavKikiNYC
06-25-2003, 04:27 PM
Is getting into position similar to assuming the position? Because I fear Mav fans are about to feel scrod.

kg_veteran
06-25-2003, 05:27 PM
Still, Wade is a Michael Jordan-esque athlete and an exceptional thinker who should be an immediate winner and an enormous asset to any team.

Another vote for Wade.

madape
06-25-2003, 06:17 PM
The problem is that Wade is a few inches shorter than Jordan. I like Wade's all around game. But he doesn't have the prototypical NBA body. Like Jay Williams, DeJuan Wagner, he's a man without a position. Too small to play shooting guard, not skilled enough to play point. Certainly incapable of playing three (I don't know where that came from). I think he'll be a nice player, but again, when it comes down to two guys of comparable skill levels, I'll choose the taller of the two.

madape
06-25-2003, 06:19 PM
BTW Chicago - they have your boy West labeled as a small forward. Tee hee hee.

David
06-25-2003, 06:35 PM
I remember when they labeled Harold Minor, "Baby Jordan". He had a long, fruitful NBA career. Not. I'll be glad when the draft is over. Then a lot of the hype will stop and we'll be able to see the actuality of these guys. They compare these undrafted players to all the different NBA players and when we see them in the league, they're no where near what the hype said they were, except for a few. Everybody can't be the "next Kevin Garrnet" or "the next Jordan".