Fraschilla: Top 5 Players By Position

Fraschilla: Top 5 Players By Position

Postby JSM on Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:02 pm

Fran Fraschilla of ESPN wrote:Point Guard

1. John Wall, Kentucky
The consensus top freshman in college basketball has all the physical attributes to have a Derrick Rose-like impact immediately in the NBA . Remember, Wall was dominant all season long while Rose came on strong late in his freshman year in the NCAA tournament. Expect a lot of highlight-reel plays for Wall and the Wizards next season.

2. Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky
While he's been compared to the Thunder's Russell Westbrook, a fairer comparison may be with former UK Wildcat Rajon Rondo. Bledsoe is the better shooter at the same stage, but both entered the draft as athletic players who needed to grow into their roles as playmakers. Obviously, Rondo has done that. Bledsoe's development as a point guard was stunted by playing alongside Wall, but there is enough evidence to suggest that he can succeed given how he is coveted right now.

3. Armon Johnson, Nevada
Johnson possesses an NBA point guard's athleticism -- a 38-inch vertical at the Chicago combine -- and that makes him intriguing. A great first step gets him into the lane easily, but the lack of a consistent outside shot and a lack of a point guard's understanding right now makes him a work in progress.

4. Dominique Jones, South Florida
Jones was best this season with the ball in his hands and, while a prolific scorer at South Florida, he is a more-than-willing passer. His size and strength allow him to bull his way into the lane and, if his jumper were a little more consistent, Jones would be in the top half of the draft.

5. Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
After Wall, the point guard position is shallow with talent in this draft. Vasquez is on my list because I believe that past performance is indicative of future success and he played well in all four seasons in a top conference. The ACC Player of the Year has some deficiencies athletically and could shoot the ball better, but he is a winner who, even as a second-round pick, should make a roster.

Value Pick: Mikhail Torrance, Alabama
The 6-foot-5 guard can shoot with either hand but that's not why NBA teams like him. In addition to his size, he's got a good handle and is already effective in pick-and-roll situations, a staple of NBA basketball.

Shooting Guard

1. Evan Turner, Ohio State
The 6-7 junior was the most versatile player in college basketball, playing four different positions for the Buckeyes. He'll fit in nicely at the shooting guard spot, once he hones a jump shot that, while accurate, wasn't needed much to dominate in the Big Ten. In addition, he's got great intangibles, including an insatiable desire to keep improving.

2. James Anderson, Oklahoma State
A lack of supreme athleticism has been a chink in his armor but Anderson has the positional size and skill be a productive NBA player. While shooting the corner 3-point shot will be his bread and butter, the 6-6 junior is a deceptive passer and has learned to use his dribble as an effective weapon.

3. Xavier Henry, Kansas
To his credit, Henry had the kind of freshman season at Kansas that most expected of him. His shooting ability was utilized well by coach Bill Self, as Henry fit into a talented team led by two All-Americans. At 6-6, Henry has prototype NBA shooting guard size and range. A lack of lateral quickness, however, could rear its ugly head on the defensive end of the floor.

4. Avery Bradley, Texas
Bradley is your classic combo guard. While known for his defensive prowess in high school because of his relentless attitude, strength and quickness, he became a more than reliable midrange shooter. Unfortunately, the freshman did not show the kind of basketball acumen to run an NBA team right now.

5. Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
"Born Ready" is not ready for the NBA just yet. But, if he matures and channels his competitiveness in the right direction, Stephenson could be a great late first-round pick. He's got NBA size, strength, skills and a high motor. He's a high risk/high reward pick.

Value Pick: Andy Rautins, Syracuse
He's smart, experienced, has good size, is an excellent passer and has an outstanding long-range stroke. In fact, Big East observers, including teammate Wesley Johnson, felt that he was the Orange's most valuable player last season. There's room on a roster for him.

Small Forward

1. Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
The Iowa State transfer turned into a home run for Syracuse. He sensationally used his athletic ability in transition and on the offensive glass and has elevated into an accurate midrange jump shooter. His lack of ballhandling skills scares me, but a good coach will play to what he does well. He may have trouble guarding physical small forwards, however.

2. Paul George, Fresno State
The 6-8 George is rising fast up draft boards as NBA people remind themselves of his enticing combination of size, athleticism and shooting ability. Also in George's favor is that he just turned 20 years old. If he can shed the "soft" label, the sky's the limit.

3. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Aminu is one of the best athletes in this draft but his transition from power forward to small forward will be tricky. Because he has not shown the ability to shoot the jumper with accuracy or handle the basketball, he is the classic tweener.

4. Gordon Hayward, Butler
Hayward is a very good athlete whose slashing ability against slower defenders was utilized perfectly in Butler's spread offense. While he's been stereotyped as a great shooter, Hayward struggled with the deep ball last season because of a lack of strength, in my opinion. That weakness will be exploited at the NBA level if he doesn't bulk up that 210-pound frame.

5. Damion James, Texas
The Big 12's all-time leading rebounder is a power forward trapped in a small forward's body. The hope is that James can marry a relentlessness on both backboards with an improved perimeter skill level and become an effective rotation player in the NBA.

Value Pick: Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
Wow! I had this guy pegged as a lottery selection last summer because of his positional size, defensive skill and rebounding ability. If he overcomes some issues that plagued him early last season, as well as improves his jump shot, he has a chance to help a team as a rookie.

Power Forward

1. Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Favors is a fabulous athlete whose skill level around the basket is on the come. Remember that he was hidden much of the season in Tech's offense as the basketball went through Gani Lawal and Iman Shumpert. At worst, Favors is Al Horford, and that's a pretty good start for a young big man who will be a "no maintainance" guy for his coaches.

2. Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
If you are looking for a low-maintenance, high-basketball IQ guy with the size and athletic ability to be a defensive-oriented power forward who helps a team right now, Udoh is your guy. While the 23-year-old's age is being used against him, his maturity level is a huge positive. He can be in the rotation of 20 teams right now.

3. Ed Davis, North Carolina
Many of us were expecting to see a dominant player this past season, after Davis made some key contributions to North Carolina's NCAA title run in 2008-09. It didn't happen. Before a wrist injury ended his season, Davis was a one-dimensional low-post player who lacked the strength to physically dominate opponents. At 21, he may be a good "future" pick, but he still has work to do.

4. Luke Babbitt, Nevada
The former McDonald's All-American had two very productive years for his hometown team. At 6-9, he is not only a player who can stretch a defense with his jump shot, but can score inside or handle the ball on the break. The more NBA teams study his game, the quicker he'll end up in the lottery next week.

5. Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
What you see is what you get with Patterson. He's a hard-working, undersized power forward who will rebound the ball well but will struggle scoring over length. An improved midrange shot will help his pick-and-pop ability. In addition, Paterson's intangibles are off the charts

Value Pick: Kevin Seraphin, France
France has produced a number of good, young, under-the-radar draft prospects recently, including Nicolas Batum and Roddy Beaubois, and Seraphin should be next. At 6-9 and 274 pounds, he's built like the Celtics' Kendrick Perkins and is a good value pick at the end of the first round.

Center

1. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
There is no denying Cousins' prolific talent. He has All-Star potential. At 6-11, he has phenomenal basketball skills for his size, including a reliable jump shot and excellent passing ability. Because of immaturity issues in the past, the team that drafts him will be holding its breath, though.

2. Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Monroe is battling the perception that he is a soft big man because he rarely dominated a college game with his scoring. However, if an NBA team values an all-around skill level and great passing from its big man, Monroe is a unique fit.

3. Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Aldrich may never be an NBA All-Star, but he'll be in the league for a long time because he can rebound, block shots and be in the right place on the court defensively. He's been coached hard by Bill Self and has a high maturity level.

4. Daniel Orton, Kentucky
Orton is a gamble, but one who could pay off down the road because he has prototypical NBA center size at 6-10 and 260 pounds. This is a player who missed most of his senior year of high school with a knee injury and played only 13 minutes a game at UK. This is a feast or famine pick.

5. Hassan Whiteside, Marshall
In their dreams, NBA executives see a young Marcus Camby in Whiteside. And, with the way he blocks shots, it's easy to understand why. However, his lack of experience and maturity right now makes him a player who is all over the draft board. I probably have him lower than most.

Value Pick: Jerome Jordan, Tulsa
The 7-footer with a 7-5 wing span will likely be around in the early part of the second round and, while some expect more from him, he's constantly improved over four seasons -- check his numbers out. By the way, he averaged almost 19 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks against Whiteside this season.
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JSM
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