Draft Express--Top Two Rebounders Collide in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Lakers scheduled an interesting workout this past Friday pitting Louisiana Tech Junior Paul Millsap against Hartford fifth-year Senior Kenny Adeleke. Also joining them were Seniors Maurice Ager of Michigan State and Bobby Jones of Washington. What made this workout interesting is the fact that Millsap and Adeleke were neck and neck all season long in the NCAA’s rebounding statistic category, with Millsap edging Adeleke out eventually and winning the rebounding crown for the 3rd straight season.
Adeleke had his revenge on Friday, though. According to multiple sources who were in the gym, he got the better of Millsap by far and left the Lakers wondering which of the two power forwards has better potential at the NBA level both now and down the road. Adeleke measured out an inch taller (6-9 opposed to 6-8) and shot the ball better both from mid-range and the college 3-point line. Millsap did not show up out of shape, but at a whopping 264 pounds on his 6-8 frame, his body has a long ways to go and will probably need to be overhauled completely (ala Udonis Haslem) to reach his full potential as an athlete. He currently struggles to get off the ground on his first and second bounce and noticeably lacks quickness defending in and out of the post, which Adeleke exploited. A series of power and finesse moves were too much for Millsap to handle, particularly when being stretched outside of the paint. The Lakers run a lot of sets that are pulled straight from their Triangle offense to see how players might react. Their full-court ball-handling drills are also more geared towards the full-court rather than the half-court like most teams run.
In terms of the Swingmen, it was Maurice Ager who had the best showing. Ager might be “leading” all draft prospects so far in terms of the amount of workouts he’s scheduled--six--with this being the second time we’ve heard of him playing extremely well. Ager is testing out as both a freak athlete and a killer scoring threat, jumping extremely well and shooting the ball with great confidence from the college and NBA 3-point range. Being away from Michigan State’s rigid offensive system appears to be allowing him more freedom to show off his individual skills. The Lakers oddly tested the players from just a step inside the NBA 3-point line, and Ager hit an impressive 18 of his 20 shots in the drills. He is measuring out a legit 6-5 with good length, which is important for him since some have speculated that he might be shorter. His quick feet and experience under Tom Izzo make him a very capable defender in these type of settings.
His matchup Bobby Jones does not seem to have anywhere near the same polish on the offensive end, particularly in terms of his perimeter shooting and ball-handling ability, but still managed to flash excellent potential as an NBA player. He is measuring out a legit 6-7 with excellent size and good strength, and doing extremely well in the agility testing. Defensively, he is as usual terrific, but he might be even more impressive off the court with his focus and attitude. He did a good job keeping Maurice Ager in front of him for almost the entire workout, but Ager still hit a number of tough, contested jump-shots with a hand in his face.