NBA Draft.net: Orlando, Florida – The NBA's official pre-draft camp kicked off today at Disney's Wide World of Sports with a two hour session in front of 500 or so NBA GMs, scouts and coaches as well as media members.
This is the first year the main pre-draft camp has been held in Orlando, after numerous years at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. The facilities here are 10 times better with more room above the courts for scouts to see all the action.
But the reaction of NBA personnel about the move seems to be more negative than positive. One scout said in Chicago he never needed to rent a car there and had become used to the familiar restaurants and atmosphere.
Another factor is the travel time for West Coast teams, with 2 days essentially being lost due to travel, which gets magnified by the draft being in just a few short weeks. Regardless, the camp appears to have a new home despite the moans and groans of scouts.
On the first night, what was scheduled to be a one hour drill session turned into a two hour drill and game session. First the teams broke off into stations and ran passing and shooting of of pick drills for 40 minutes. Then it was simulation games with refs stopping play after dead balls and turnovers and teams alternating in subs every 2-3 possessions. The games went longer than expected and gave scouts a good preview of what's to come over the camp.
Day One Observations:
Jordan Farmar is the one player that decided to play in the camp despite being a projected first rounder. Scouts mentioned being impressed that he decided to play here and felt that it would take a lot for him to damage his stock. He's already proven himself (during the season and tournament), and scouts are down on the (bubble first round) players who did not end up playing at the camp. It gives the impression that they have something to hide. Farmar looked very impressive setting up teammates for scores and making sound decisions with the ball. Some of the more physical point guards tried to bump him around, but he appeared unfazed.
Look for UNLV's Louis Amundson to have a huge camp. Out of all the players here he played with the most energy in day one and definitely turned some heads. He was all over the court blocking shots, grabbing boards, and knocking down 12-15 foot jumpers. If he continues to impress, especially shooting the ball, he could move all the way to the top of the second round. Late first round is not even out of the question.
Hartford power forward Kenny Adeleke looked impressive in day one. He had one emphatic block on an Amundson shot and told him to "get that expletive out of here!" He also showed a lot of heart running the floor and converting on a few dunks and showing surprising mobility. He's got one of the biggest bodies in camp with broad shoulders and long arms and shows decent agility. He looked considerably better than Taj Gray today.
Matt Haryasz and James Augustine are teammates on Team 3 and similar sized, long and agile players. Both looked decent in drills but didn't do much that stood out in the practice games. Augustine has more strength inside, while Haryasz is more explosive and has better touch on his shot. Both players have a decent shot to be drafted and have a lot at stake at the camp.
PJ Tucker was examined by the medical staff and was advised not to participate in the camp due to injury (strained groin). Tucker returned home where he will be evaluated by his personal physician.
Frans Steyn did not participate in day one but will be at the camp.
Craig Smith was evaluated by the medical staff and has a wrist injury. He is wearing a brace over his wrist but it appears he will play.
Daniel Gibson and Leon Powe chose not to participate in the camp.