My early impression of next summer's draft: If the NBA draft websites are any indication, the Bucks might want to trade down out of the lottery. All of the prospects who look good to me are rated near the bottom of the first round, while all of the ones who scream "bust" are rated near the top. Thus, by trading down the Bucks could add a veteran while still picking up a choice rookie.
The bottom half of this draft is loaded with the very type of player the Bucks desperately need -- rugged, big, productive inside players who live to rebound and can score in the paint.
Meanwhile, all of the "athletic", suspiciously non-productive, "upside" players... aka the biggest risks to go bust... are bunched up in the lottery. I'm talking about big men who want to be small forwards and are too thin to absorb punishment, point guards who overshoot, centers who like to shoot 3s, big guys who don't board... all specimens of the "get your coach and GM fired" class of ballplayers. (Note: any time you read on a draft site that a guy is a "freakish athlete" with "unlimited upside", immediately cross him off your draft board).
Prospects who scare me
1. OJ Mayo, SG USC
This guy is a complete non-producer on the college level -- how's he going to get it done in the pros if he doesn't even come close to getting it done in college? He's a shooting guard who can't shoot and doesn't like to rebound. This guy just screams "Stay Away".
2. Eric Gordon, SG Indiana
Remember a fellow named Shawn Respert?
3. Michael Beasley, PF Kansas
Admittedly this guy is hugely productive on the college level, and will probably be a good pro. But I don't think he'll be great. He scares me shitless. He's a power forward who is smallish, lacks bulk, and likes to drift outside. That's the correct recipe for a flop. In fact, he might be best suited to play small forward at the next level.
4. Brooke Lopez, C Stanford
Why is this guy in everybody's top 10? He screams "Chris Mihm". He's a 7 footer who doesnt rebound all that well and shoots under 50% from the field. His productivity numbers do not project well, either. He looks for all the world like a below average underathletic center. He's got the bulk you want, but I'm telling you, whoever drafts him will regret it.
5. Darrell Arthur, PF Kansas
Power forwards who are tall toothpicks that like to play on the perimeter and don't particularly like to rebound are my least favorite prospects. Ever. Stay away.
6. Donte Green, PF Syracuse
See No. 5
7. Hasheem Thabeet, C UConn
For a guy his size, he doesn't rebound well at all. He's 265 and he's only grabbing less than .25 rebounds per minute. And history says you don't get better when you get to the NBA. If anything, you get a little worse. And he isn't exactly a dynamic offensive force, is he?
8. Tyler Hansborough, PF North Carolina
I hate putting this guy on my scared list, because he's been super productive this year, but I hate power forwards who lack bulk, and he's one. And if he can't establish himself in the post in the NBA, there is no other place for him to play. Plus, while he's rebounding well this year, that hasn't been the case in his previous college seasons, which also gives me pause.
9. Roy Hibbert, C Georgetown
I don't know what to make of this guy. Again, for a guy his size, he doesn't rebound much. He's only pulling .25 rebounds a minute now, and that would barely be getting by on the pro level. He's got a nice hook shot but he's glacially slow releasing it. He just scares me.
10. Derrick Rose, PG Memphis
First of all, history shows its always dangerous to draft point guards who haven't completed their sophomore season. Second, he turns the ball over way too much and that will only increase up the ladder. Third, his low college three point percentage is troubling, as is his poor free throw shooting. It suggests he isn't a very good shooter. But I do like his size for a 1.
Prospects who intrigue me
1. Kevin Love, PF UCLA
What's not to love about Love? He's unbelievably productive, and he has the size to confidently project that productivity to the next level. Plus he's got a crafty and efficient offensive game. He shoots free throws well, and he's an incredible passer. He reminds me of Wes Unseld... a guy who took the Bullets to 4 NBA Finals in a ten year span.
2. Tyler Smith, SF Tennessee
Another guy with incredible productivity on the college level. He's a Josh Howard type. If his NBA numbers correspond to the standard .66 percent college to pro correlation, he's going to make some team a hell of a lot better. An excellent shooter who attacks the basket aggressively and has become an excellent rebounder for a small forward. Good size as well. My only criticism would be the turnovers. He needs to get those down a bit, but they aren't horrible, either.
3. Mareese Speights, PF Florida
Again, incredibly productive with the physical size to project his numbers upward. He just rebound like a wild man, and has the bulk to play some center too. He's basically Al Horford all over.
4. Ryan Anderson, SF California
Under the right circumstances, this guy intrigues the hell out of me. If he's a small forward, he's going to be very productive, with his length, rebounding, and deadly outside shooting. Sort of like Keith Van Horn. On the other hand, if a team thinks he's too slow to play 3 and mistakenly trys to play him at power forward, with his frame and penchant for stepping outside, I don't like the fit.
5. Richard Hendrix, PF Alabama
Here is another incredibly productive power forward that the draft sites hate. I think one of the reasons they downgrade him is his height. Another criticism the sites have is his lack of an outside game, but in a power forward, that's an asset. As for his height, as I've mentioned before on this blog, the important "basketball height" is standing reach. And preliminary indications are he's got tremendous standing reach.
6. Will Daniels, SF Rhode Island
Just like Hendrix, this guy's basketball height is reportedly much taller than his 6'8'' head height. He rebounds very well for a small forward, he's very strong, and he knows how to score the basketball, although his range is somewhat questionable at this point. But I don't think that will affect his ability to produce on the next level. Almost like a cross between Desmond Mason and Ruben Patterson. My only question would be his competition level in college.
7. Joey Dorsey, PF Memphis
I don't get it. The draft sites spew all over the tall stick men like Donte Greene who don't rebound, and then when you have guys like Dorsey, who combine size with incredible productivity, they get downgraded. This guy's rebounding rate is simply incredible, almost Rodmanesque. In fact, his profile on nbadraft.net reads like the second coming of Rodman, both strengths and supposed weaknesses. (Just like Rodman he can't shoot a lick, and is strictly an opportunity scorer. But that's alright. If he can rebound, and I think he can, he can be extremely Win Productive.)
8. Devon Hardin, C California
I read in the New York Times that people were saying this guy was having a bad senior year and that he made a mistake coming back to school. Their main criticism of him was that he didn't score enough. I suspected just from what I read that the criticism was misplaced. And I was right. In fact, all of his key numbers are up, and his scoring efficiency is up, too. The reason he isn't volume scoring is because he isn't getting the ball... his possessions per game are way down. I like his size and his rebounding prowess. Looks like a lane jammer.
9. Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG Memphis
Excellent shooter with very good Win Score numbers for a guard. Tremendous accuracy from the college 3 point line shows he's a good shooter from range, yet his "basket attack" ratio shows he will take it to the basket as well. He also rebounds pretty well for a guard and has excellent height and physical size.
10. Darren Collison, PG UCLA
Good point guard whose arms make him play taller than his listed height of 6'1''. Good defender, pretty good shooter, a guy who will penetrate, and a point guard who will dish it. There's nothing not to like about this guy. Well, maybe he could get stronger and cut back a little on the turnovers, but that's nitpicking.