Draft Express: The players went through an hour and a half of drills and short 5 on 5 games. The players learned their team's very simple plays, and did one offense, one defensive possession in the five on five.
Here are a few players that caught our eyes so far. Keep in mind that there was not all that much to see in day one as the players were only here for an hour and a half. All five DraftExpress scouts will be reporting.
Louis Amundson: From what I saw, Amundson got off to the best start of the pre-draft camp so far. He was incredibly active around the basket, pulling down numerous offensive rebounds, hedging quickly on the pick on roll on the perimeter, and just throwing his body around on every possession. He did more than just hustle, though, stepping out to hit a nice looking 15 footer (which comes as a surprise), and running the floor like a deer and throwing down a monster jam in transition. His aggressiveness will serve him very well here in Orlando if he can keep it up.
Bobby Brown: In the few possessions he was playing point in front of us, Brown knocked down some perimeter jump-shots (two from NBA range), airballed another shot and did a pretty good job
Darius Washington: Washington obviously came here to prove something, and did a good job beginning to separate himself from the pack early on with the way he played. A nice steal here, a strong offensive rebound there, a heady pass in transition, Washington is doing what he needs to so far to keep scouts interested. From his activity level He obviously understands the urgency involved, which is half the battle. He looked more interested in making the extra pass rather than look for his own shot, which is a good sign
Kenny Adeleke: Adeleke was extremely active and had a number of really nice moves in the post. When a missed shot came off the rim anywhere near his area, he was usually there to pull it down. He looks fired up and ready to go so far.
Bobby Jones: The perennial glue guy. Superb defensively, picking pockets, rebounding, passing unselfishly. Finishing inside off good feeds or an offensive rebound. Continuing his strong play from Portsmouth so far.
Carl Krauser: After a poor showing in last year’s camp, Carl Krauser came to show the scouts that he is a better player than that. He took the ball strong to the hole on a number of occasions, finishing either off the glass or with a pretty floater. Defensively he was active and as vocal as ever, getting in the passing lanes and firing himself and his teammates up after every stop. He fed his big guys in the post and showed excellent leadership skills throughout.
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.
Draft Express--Orlando Pre-Draft Camp: Day 2
Jonathan Givony - President
Mike Schmidt - NBDL, NCAA Scout
Jonathan Watters - Director of NCAA Scouting
Game Three, Final Score: Team Four 91, Team Three 78
Justin Williams - 10 points, 5-9 FG's, 4 reb, 2 blk
Know for his athleticism and great instincts, Williams put on an impressive display today. He had his few amazing blocks, and was able to get his hands on a lot of missed shots as usual. Much more surprising than this was the fact that Williams knocked down 3 shots from 14-16 feet out. His form looked a little Shawn Marion-ish, but they dropped into the hoop perfectly. There were other times where he received the ball with his back to the basket and was unable to do anything, and he struggle to bring down rebounds after getting his hands on the ball. If Williams manages to bulk up, and continues to develop areas of his game that don’t rely on his great instincts, then he could stick around a while in the NBA.
Victor Keyru - 5 points, 1-2 FG's, 2 reb, 3 stl, 3 TO
Keyru possesses a good body with room to add muscle to his frame, and he is pretty athletic. He can hit mid-range jumpshots pretty well too, and he has great form on his jumper from 15 feet. Unfortunately, he plays out of control. On a few possessions today, Keyru could have gone right to the hoop, but choose to try and make fancy moves. This led to a number of turnovers throughout the game. He is pretty skilled, and he has a knack for getting to the free throw line, but it would take a vast improvement in his basketball IQ for him to truly become an NBA player. Keyru also loses focus on the defensive end, and tries to bring the ball up as a point guard too often. Rather than move off the ball, Keyru just floats around and attempts to get his teammates to pass the ball. He has a lot of flaws in his game, but a few tools to work with should he ever decide to play like a real basketball player.
Mustafa Shakur-13 points, 5-11 FG's, 3 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl, 3 TO
It seems that point guards often have the best chance to make a name for themselves at this sometimes individual-dominated camp, because they end up with the ball in their hands. Shakur took this to heart, able to completely control the ball as the only player with point guard ability in his rotation. It must be said that Shakur is one of the better (if not the best) athlete amongst the point guards at the camp. He is both strong and explosive, and finished several drives directly into opposing big men. Unfortunately, for every impressive moment, there were two where he completely forced the action. Shakur overdribbled time and time again, and seemed content to take the ball to the basket against multiple defenders with little regard for any potentially open teammates. This writer wrote down the word “forced” way too many times over the course of the game. Not surprisingly, the offense stagnated whenever he was in the game. The form on his shot is still far from ideal, but he was able to hit one outside jumper in the second half. Shakur was better defensively, showing quick reaction time and forcing a few turnovers. Mustafa Shakur clearly has the physical attributes to succeed at this camp, but would be smart to re-evaluate how much of the spotlight he attempts to take for himself over the course of the week.
CJ Watson-4 points, 2-5 FG's, 6 ast, 3 TO
Watson followed up on his impressive scrimmage yesterday with a very solid game today, running his team's offense well and dishing out a ton of assists and nice passes doing so. Watson's court vision was on full display both on the break and in the halfcourt, as he threw a flurry of assists in a variety of ways, including on drive-and-dishes, something his game has lacked in the past. Watson used some impressive ball-handling today, using spin moves and a low dribble to get past his man and into position to create for himself or his teammates. He didn't create for himself much here today, and failed on the few attempts at floaters he had. He did hit one long two pointer, on which he exhibited his picture perfect shooting stroke.
Defensively, Watson played great man-to-man defense on his opponent, Gerry McNamara, when he had the ball, but often gave him too much space without the ball, leading to the red hot McNamara hitting a bunch of spot-up three pointers. Aside from sticking his man without the ball, though, Watson did a good job on the defensive end of the court, never letting his man get past him when matched one-on-one and constantly playing up on him. Watson and his team did have problems dealing with screens, though, as he often got caught trying to go through them while his teammates didn’t step out to hedge the path of his opponent, letting him get into the lane at times.
Curtis Stinson - 6 pts, 3-9 FG's, 2 reb, 6 ast, 3 TO
Stinson didn't have a very good game, showing some of the inconsistency and decision-making problems that have plagued his game at Iowa State. He played the majority of his minutes off the ball, but he still managed to force a lot of shots and passes, many of which resulted in turnovers. The form on his outside shot is still very shaky, and it showed here where he wasn't able to convert any long-range attempts.
On the positive side, Stinson got to the hole fairly well, making a few lay-ups, and also made some nice passes in a variety of ways. He tallied his assists by using drive-and-dishes, pick-and-rolls, passing ahead on the break, finding a teammate for the open three-pointer, and on one occasion, throwing a perfectly timed alley-oop from behind the three-point line.
Defensively, outside the confines of Iowa State’s constant use of a zone, Stinson struggled a bit, letting his man by him on a few occasions.
Will Blalock - 7 points, 3-7 FG's, 1 ast, 3 stl, 6 TO's
Blalock didn’t have the best of games, being fairly indecisive with the ball, committing multiple turnovers, and not being able to score from long-range. His six turnovers came from both passing and dribbling, though he was not as out of control as that number would suggest. He most likely had an off-game running the point, as he’s usually a much more poised floor general.
Blalock did have some positives today, the most notable of which was his defense, which was superb against opponent Mustaka Shakur. He used his outstanding length and deceptively strong frame well to keep Shakur in front of him and frequently poke the ball away, as evidenced by his three steals on the game.
Blalock also looked good attacking the basket, as when doing so he possesses excellent body control and elevation, to go along with a good deal of creativity and ability to finish at the rim. He adjusted to defenders in the lane well in this game.
Gerry McNamara-16 points, 6-11 FG's, 4-6 3-PT, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 TO
McNamara looked solid in his debut game. McNamara is on a team with little interior support, but managed to get open for a couple signature 3’s. McNamara got into the lane decently when on-ball and had a couple of nifty floaters as well as some sharp passes that weren’t converted by his teammates.
McNamara continued to show good court awareness and leadership ability during his second half play. McNamara used the threat of his 3 point shot to get into the lane, where he displayed his underrated vision to find spot up shooters and cutters. Unfortunately, none of McNamara’s teammates were finishing the plays he set them up for so his assist totals were not indicative of his play. McNamara displayed some slick ball-handling and change of direction to free himself up for some nifty shot attempts going toward the basket as well.
Watson was solid in transition and picked up some nice assists when going toward the basket. His spot up shot was solid as usual and he had a nice steal in transition for a give-and-go that he finished cleanly with his left hand.
Brad Buckman - 6 pts, 3-8 fg's, 8 reb, 1 blk
Buckman battled a bit under the glass and put himself on the floor a couple of times. Buckman missed 3 spot-up perimeter shots, very uncharacteristic of his usual play.
The second half was better than the first for Buckman. He fought for some tough rebounds and blocked a James Augustine dunk attempt as well as taking a hard charge to his midsection.
Steven Smith 10 points, 3-8 FG's, 2 reb
Smith came out with the type of aggressiveness you love to see from a player in this camp. He took three shots in the first minute fourteen seconds of the game, but from that point let the game come to him and found his looks through the context of the offense. He handled the ball more than we were accustomed to at La Salle, and did not look half bad doing so; taking the ball very strong to the basket and getting to the free throw line. He also pulled up very smoothly off the dribble from mid-range a few times and knocked down his looks. All in all this was a very solid showing for Steven Smith.
James Augustine-11 points, 5-8 FG's, 11 rebounds
Augustine is challenging Paul Millsap early on for the “most disappointing player” award, mostly because of his apathy on the offensive end. He managed to contribute to a certain extent with his activity on the defensive glass, but barely looked for a shot on the other end of the floor. When he did touch the ball, a weak turnaround was all he could muster up. His teammates aren’t really looking for him that much, but it would be nice to see him go out of his way and make them give the ball up. In the 2nd half he got himself involved slightly by hitting the offensive glass and then running the pick and roll with the anemic Mustafa Shakur, helping his stat-line to a certain extent.
Game 2 Final Score: Team One 73 - Team Two 72
Darius Washington Jr. - 14 points, 6-8 FG's, 3 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 1 TO
Of the point guards on the floor in this game, Washington was clearly the best. He was very vocal today in directing his teammates and calling out plays. In the past, he might have forced a shot after an offensive rebound, but twice today he pulled the ball back out and called a new play. Washington’s passing looked great today, both in transition and in the half court. He set up teammates very well for a player with a reputation of being a shoot first point guard. On multiple occasions, Washington bounced the ball through tight areas perfectly to a cutting teammate. He did force up one three outside the flow of the offense, but also knocked down his other three point attempt from NBA range. Washington seemed content sitting back and directing the team, picking his spots to drive to the basket and create plays. His decision making in transition has been very questionable in the past, including yesterday, but he was able to finish some nice layups on the break as well as drawing contact for free throws on one occasion. When attacking the hoop, Washington controlled his body well, and made some nice shots while off balance. He didn’t use his mid-range game a whole lot, but it wasn’t really necessary with the way he was passing and finishing around the hoop. Defensively, Washington has improved, though he is still not consistent in this area. He played Farmar well for most of the game, but still lost his focus from time to time. Gambling is also a problem for Washington on defense. He grabbed a couple steals while gambling which led to a few easy baskets, but other times it created a bad situation for his team when he wasn’t able to grab the steal. The intensity that Washington played with today is reminiscent of his freshman year where he nearly led Memphis to the NCAA tournament.
Allan Ray - 12 points, 5-9 FG's, 1 ast, 3 TO
Ray played a very solid game, despite the fact that he didn’t convince anybody he was an NBA player. He started out by hitting a couple of long range jumpers, and made a great move to the basket, though he blew the layup. His shot selection was a lot better than when we last saw him in the NCAA tournament, and he played with great effort on the defensive end. Despite this, the taller shooting guards he went against elevated over him to get their shots off. A few times he tried to create Ray ended up turning the ball over. Though his limitations as a player hurt his NBA potential, he made the games today a lot more watchable.
Brandon Bowman - 10 pts, 3-5 FG's, 1 reb
One of the day’s biggest surprises was Georgetown small forward Brandon Bowman. Combo forward may have been a more accurate word throughout Bowman’s college career, but today he looked like a legit 3 man. He began the game with a nifty fadeaway jumper off the dribble over the outstretched arm of Steve Novak, and was very productive slashing to the basket throughout the first half. These were more slashing moves than Bowman legitimately creating his own shot, but Bowman did display a bit more understanding of when to attack on the offensive end than he has in the past. Bowman’s shot isn’t exactly textbook, but he was hitting today. Bowman finished with 10 points, but easily could have ended up with more. He hit one 3-pointer from the deep corner with his foot on the end line, and had another one rim in and out. While Bowman’s ability to slash was on display in the first half, he attempted to force a few drives in the second half and wasn’t nearly as productive. Brandon Bowman clearly has the physical characteristics to catch on in the NBA, but will need to continue to develop his understanding of how to play as a full-time perimeter player. The first half of his game today was a step in that direction.
JP Batista - 9 pts, 2-7 FG's, 3 reb, 3 ast, 2 TO
Yesterday I mentioned that it could be a make or break tournament for JP Batista, in that here he would prove whether or not his game translated well against the more imposing level of big man he will face in the NBA. The results certainly weren’t encouraging in this first outing. Going up against Solomon Jones once again, Batista had to fight quite hard to gain position in the paint. He didn’t get consistent touches on the block, and when he did, his shots were fiercely contested and often altered. Without the low-block production, it was much harder to overlook some of the holes in his game. Batista is one of the more grounded big man in the camp, and this showed on defense and on the glass. He wasn’t hitting his outside jumper, and had one embarrassing sequence where he missed an open layup followed by a blown dunk directly beneath the basket.. He is likely to have more opportunities to show off his post offense as the camp continues, but it was not a good start for Batista.
Steve Novak - 11 pts, 3-4 FG's, 2 reb
The camp directors did their best to pair Steve Novak with a player that would get him the ball in Jordan Farmar, but Novak still wasn’t able find many open looks this afternoon. He generally struggled to get open with the long, athletic Brandon Bowman shadowing him most of the way. Novak showed a remarkably quick release on an early 20 footer and then failed to attempt a shot until late in the second half. He was able to work off screens for a pair of slick looking jumpers in the games final minutes, backing up his reputation as the top shooter at the camp. Offense doesn’t appear to be a problem for Novak at any level, but defense probably will be in the NBA. Both Brandon Bowman and Denham Brown were able to score at will with Novak defending them. It is Novak’s task the rest of the camp to prove that he can put up a better fight on that end of the floor.
Jordan Farmar - 8 pts, 3-7 FG's, 3 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 2 TO
Nothing spectacular, but Farmar did a solid job of running his team’s offense and defending the opposing man on the other end of the floor today. He pushed the tempo of the game nicely and got into the lane to find the open man unselfishly on the drive and kick. When the opportunity was there, Farmar managed to score around the hoop as well with a nice floater or finger roll. There were quite a few minutes when he struggled to get things going too, though, being contained in the half-court due to his average first step. All in all, this was an above average showing for Farmar, but we know he is capable of much more.
Solomon Jones - 1 pt, 0-3 FG's, 4 reb, 3 blk
This was not the most productive game for Jones, but he still showed plenty of flashes that lead you to believe that he has plenty of potential to reach the point that he can contribute to an NBA roster down the road. Good things; like fighting in the post, a nice pass and a couple of very nice on-ball blocks, were mixed in with bad things, like a very late goaltend, an airball from 15 feet and some very raw post moves.
Paul Millsap - 2 pts, 1-6 FG's, 6 reb
Millsap is the early candidate for most disappointing player of the camp so far. His energy level is extremely low and he is struggling to separate himself from the dozens of other undersized power forwards through his work offensively or on the glass. His lack of size and athleticism were highlighted by two embarrassing blocks by 7-2 Frans Steyn, and another weak shot that did not even hit rim. A good pass or two was the only highlight of this game for Millsap. He’ll have to step it up tomorrow and show some more energy if he doesn’t want to slip into the depths of the 2nd round here for good.
Daniel Horton - 6 pts, 3-8 FG's, 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 TO
Horton had a Jekyll and Hyde type performance, not much unlike the way he's played his entire college career. One second he's throwing great passes on the break and hitting long pull-up jumpers with hands in his face, but the next he's forcing the issue both passing the ball and driving to the basket, making him a turnover waiting to happen. His decision-making leaves a lot to be desired, with him often dribbling into the hands of opponents, throwing careless passes, or pulling up for an off-balanced, contested shot early in the shot clock. At times today, as in the past, Horton displayed some excellent point guard abilities, and he certainly has the physical characteristics necessary to be a good NBA point guard, but he just doesn't have the right mentality for the majority of the time.
Horton did have some very notable positives today, for the time when he took on a point guard's mentality and really ran his team's offense. He made some excellent passes both on the break and in the halfcourt, displaying strong court vision and the ability to put the ball through the seams of the defense. He also played some very strong defense on Darius Washington for the time he defended him, getting up in his face and not often allowing him to get by.
Bobby Jones - 4 pts, 2-6 FG's, 4 reb, 2 stl, 0 TO
Jones had a decent showing, doing what he normally does: hustling for rebounds, loose balls, and playing great defense. Jones didn't get many opportunities offensively here, as he still lacks the ability to really create for himself. He looked noticeable discomfortable when he was forced to dribble with his left hand on one fast break, and he wasn't able to finish on the ensuing lay-up attempt. He wasn't able to finish on most of the lay-up attempts created for him by his teammates, missing at the rim on most tries. He did have one very impressive and-1, though, where he attacked the basket strong and plowed through multiple defenders to lay it in. He wasn't able to convert any long-range shots today, but he did hit one spot-up mid-range shot on the baseline.
Defensively, Jones was his normal self, playing great man defense on whomever he defended, including the much quicker and smaller Allan Ray. He forced multiple turnovers in man-to-man defense, as well as on the weakside, where he frequently helped out his teammates. He had one very impressive block coming over from the weakside in which he reached from behind a cutter on the baseline to block his shot, using his length and athleticism to avoid making contact with his body. Jones also did well on the glass, frequently getting rebounds outside of his range and constantly fighting for any loose ball he could.
Denham Brown - 12 pts, 6-10 FG's, 3 reb, 1 stl
Brown had a pretty good game on both ends of the floor, playing some solid man defense and breaking up passes on that end while hitting a large assortment of mid-range shots on the other. Brown hit pull-up jumpers, fadeaways, off-balanced shots, and contested shots from the baseline and the shoulders. Most of them were created by his teammates, but on one he showed off some impressive ball-handling abilities including a behind-the-back dribble to get the space for his shot. He also was consistently going after loose balls and rebounds on both ends of the floor, getting his hands on a few and breaking up multiple passes. His man defense was also solid as always.
Half Time: Team One 28- Team Two 26
Nothing spectacular, but Farmar did a solid job of running his team’s offense and defending the opposing man on the other end of the floor. He pushed the tempo of the game nicely and got into the lane to find the open man unselfishly on the drive and kick. No points yet, but that doesn’t appear to be what Farmar has come to show here.
Millsap is the early candidate for most disappointing player of the camp so far. His energy level is extremely low and he is struggling to separate himself from the dozens of other undersized power forwards through his work offensively or on the glass. His lack of size and athleticism were highlighted by two embarrassing blocks by 7-2 Frans Steyn, and another weak shot that did not even hit rim.
Game 1 Final Score: Team Six 80, Team Five 76
Nik Caner-Medley 22 points, 21 minutes
Medley was very solid offensively during his first game. He hit two of his 3 outside shots and grabbed a number of loose balls and offensive rebounds, which he put back for the easy score. Medley lacks superior quickness or explosion, but he managed to work his way into the lane using his broad shoulders to bull his way toward the basket where he finished quite well.
Taj Gray- 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 19 minutes
Taj Gray was one of the more impressive players in the first game, as his raw explosiveness and strength translated well into the camp setting. Never much of a back to the basket presence, Gray made an impact by crashing the glass hard, running the floor, and generally outhustling the competition. The usual assortment of put back dunks and emphatic rebounds were on full display (don’t believe the boxscores here – Gray made a significant impact on the glass). Despite the presence of several other interior players that weren’t going to back down from anybody, Gray’s power around the rim was blatantly obvious. He managed to get a hand on the ball several times when he appeared to be boxed out fairly well.
Gray will never be recognized as an effective back to the basket scorer, and doesn’t appear to have improved his footwork or offensive awareness in the paint. However, it does look like Gray has improved the form on his jumper quite a bit. He was solid in the morning shooting drills and looked much better at the free throw line than we have seen in the past. One particularly impressive play saw Gray grab a rebound and hit Yemi Nicholson in stride with a full-court lob for an open dunk. On the whole, Taj Gray accomplished something significant in that he showed he can make a difference in that hustle type of role
Yemi Nicholson- 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 18 minutes
Yemi Nicholson put in a solid first outing, as he displayed the soft hands and nice touch that we expect to see from him. Nicholson appears to have improved a bit as an athlete, and is running the floor with a bit more ease than he did at Denver. Nicholson used his bulky frame to his advantage in the paint, and got more lift than I expected in fighting more athletic post players for rebounds. His back to the basket game came into play on several occasions, and he continues to display mastery of the short jump hook. His feathery touch is something that can be matched by few post players in this camp, and is quite a weapon for someone checking in at his size. Despite the obvious improvements in mobility and conditioning, Nicholson is still sub-par in these areas. This shows up more on the defensive end, as he doesn’t always contest shots the way that he should. All in all, this was a good start to the camp for Nicholson.
Kenny Adeleke- 9 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 21 minutes
Adeleke continued right where he left off at Portsmouth, being an absolute load inside, scoring off the glass and throwing his body around at will. He ran the floor extremely well on one possession, being the perfect trailer coming off a wide angle in transition and being rewarded with it by an excellent pass from his pick and roll buddy Chris Quinn. He also crashed the glass extremely well, showing his length and toughness. His demeanor has been excellent throughout the camp. It was surprising to see Adeleke only finish with 9 points, although he did leave quite a few points at the free throw line by going only 5/10, largely due to his extremely ugly stroke from the free throw line. The four field goal attempts he supposedly had did not do justice to how big of a role he played offensively for his team. What was most impressive to see was just how many fouls Adeleke managed to draw, using his body to constantly establish position in the paint, pin his defender and get the ball in a place where he had to get fouled. He was constantly around the ball, even getting in the passing lanes on one occasion and taking the ball coast to coast on a steal before being fouled. All in all this was an excellent showing for Adeleke.
Louis Amundson 6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 20 minutes
Amundson continued to establish himself as one of the top players in the camp during the first half. He was extremely athletic around the basket, finishing with contact time after time and hitting the offensive glass extremely well. He beat people up the floor and scored off of plenty of garbage points just by being in the right place at the right time. The only thing he couldn’t do here was hit the mid-range jumper, or knock down his free throws for that matter. In the 2nd half he cooled off considerably, not being as big of a factor inside the paint with his quickness, length and tenacity. He became a factor in the closing minutes for his team, though, coming up with a clutch block and rebound with 29 seconds remaining before being fouled (he missed both free throws very badly) and then coming up with another big rebound in traffic that might have sealed the game for his team. He’s doing a great job here showing that he has a niche somewhere in the league with the way he’s played so far, looking like a bit of a mix between David Lee and Mark Madsen.
Bobby Brown 4 points, 1 assists, 3 turnovers, 18 minutes
Brown did not have the most impressive showing in his first game here, but still showed plenty of nice tools in almost everything he did. His quickness was a major factor, getting by his man time after time and being a blur in the open floor. When he did get by his man, he tried to shoot a floater on three different occasions, but got a bit unlucky by seeing all of them rim out. He showed sparks of potential as a point guard running the pick’n’roll and on the drive and dish, but still needs some time to adapt to his teammates. A sweet pull-up mid-range jumper from 18 feet might have been his best play of the day. He also quickly hit a college 3-pointer off a broken play. On defense he showed good hands on a number of occasions to pick his opponent’s pocket.
Brad Newley - 3 points, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1-6 FG, 1-1 3P
Newley had a pretty solid performance overall, though he seemed to have trouble adjusting to the American style of play at first, which was noticeable through the first day and up until the later part of the first half in this first official game played at Orlando. Once Newley became comfortable, he began to show off his skills, dishing out nice passes, driving into the lane, and shooting the outside jumper. He was only credited with two assists and three points in the official scoring, but he played better and showed more promise than that would indicate. He didn't try shooting any mid or long-range shots off the dribble, which was a skill he showed in the individual drills earlier, but this is something to look for in the rest of the games this week.
As mentioned above, Newley got into the lane well, but he was very unselfish when he got there, at times forcing a tough pass when he had an open shot at the rim himself. On one drive that he did attempt to finish, he was blocked from the weakside by Yemi Nicholson. He seems lacking in confidence with finishing around the rim even though he possesses the tools to get there. One very notable tool is an obvious ambidexterity that Newley possesses, in that he can adeptly dribble and lay the ball up with both his left and right hands. Newley did manage to show off his court vision in the lane, which he took advantage of to dish out a few nice assists and would-be-assists that his teammates couldn't finish. He recognized multiple defenders well, then found the seam to get the ball to his teammate in position to score. He has an unorthodox compared to most players in the NBA, using misdirection and throwing a lot of sidearm and underhand passes either directly to his teammate's chest or on a bounce. He consistently gets the ball to his teammate, though, which is all that matters.
Newley wasn't exploited defensively because his opponents did not challenge him much there, though this had shown to be a problem against more talented opponents earlier in the week. Newley's lateral quickness is below average, and he is prone to being taken off the dribble or not getting around screens.
It will be interesting to see how Newley plays in his next two games, once he becomes more comfortable with the tendencies and skills of his teammates, along with the new style of play that he is adapting to. Newley plays in the Australian League and while only 20 years old, is one of the most dominant players there, where his role entails taking on a much larger scoring burden than he has so far here. We've yet to see just how well his scoring can translate to the American game, though early indications show that Newley is a very smart and talented prospect with a lot of promise.
Sean Dockery – 2 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 0-0 FG
Dockery didn’t have the best of games, not getting off to a good start following his play at Portsmouth. Offensively, Dockery tried forcing the issue multiples times passing and dribbling, often getting into trouble because of it, as evidenced by his four turnovers. Dockery didn’t take a single shot attempt in the game either. Dockery wasn’t all bad offensively, though, as he had a few nice passes, most of which came towards the end of the game when the tempo quickened and he seemingly got a bit more comfortable running the offense. Dockery had some good passes running the break, as well as by getting in the lane, getting his defenders in the air on two occasions, only to bring the ball down and under them to dish it to his open teammate near the basket. Overall, Dockery did a good job keeping his team’s offense flowing, even though he wasn’t able to get directly involved often.
Defensively, Dockery was a bit over-aggressive, sometimes letting his man get by him on a steal attempt, and others playing very touchy defense that would not fly with the new rules in the NBA. He uses his hands very often, putting them on his opponent on the perimeter, which is something the NBA has really cracked down on recently. Dockery will need to adjust his style of defense in order to be effective in the NBA, and given that defense is Dockery’s most valuable skill, this is something he certainly needs to work on. To Dockery’s credit, he played good defense in this setting, picking up a pair of steals, as well as constantly poking at the ball when his opponent had it, causing constant discomfort. He also had a clutch steal with under a minute remaining in the game, the steal that clinched the game for his team.
Chris Quinn – 4 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 0-8 FG, 4-4 FT
Quinn didn’t have one of his better games here, not getting into a rhythm with his shot and not racking up as many assists at the pure point guard is accustomed to. Quinn missed a variety of long-range shots, mid-range shots, and lay ups over the course of the game, including one floater in the final seconds of the game that possibly cost his team the game. None of Quinn’s shots were really forced or out of the flow of the offense. He was just unable to convert on any of his attempts. Quinn did a decent job running the offense, throwing some good passes in full court and half court sets, but his team didn’t finish all of them.
Defensively, Quinn had some problems against the quicker Bobby Brown, letting him blow by him on a few occasions. Fundamentally, Quinn is a very sound defender, and he’s also very competitive, always putting in the effort on this end of the floor. He did a better job when matched with Sean Dockery, picking his pocket on one possession.
One of the more interesting battles of the day transpired when Bobby Brown and Sean Dockery battled head to head in the one on one drills. Brown started out with the ball, and was able to blow by Dockery a number of times. He is very quick with the ball, and he uses the threat of his first step to create space for his mid-range jumper. He missed a few layups inside on drives in this drill, but Brown’s jumper went in nearly every time. Dockery was able to beat Brown nearly every time on when he was on offense. He hit 5 mid-range jumpers in a row off the dribble, but didn’t really take it to the hoop at all.
The main court held a few scrimmages prior to the first real game of the day, and a few players managed to stand out. Kenny Adeleke was being his normal self, fighting relentlessly for every rebound and finishing around the rim. Taj Gray had an impressive block, but struggled offensively, where he wasn’t very fluid getting off his moves in the post and had trouble on one occasion dribbling the ball on the break, trying to do too much and making a turnover because of it.
On one of the side courts, coaches held more of the one-on-one drills from the wing, and Chris Quinn was a standout in his group including Keydren Clark, Brad Newley, Antywane Robinson, and Tarency Kinsey. Quinn was extremely competitive on both ends, poking the ball away on defense and hitting some outside shots on offense. Defensively, he played solid man defense, keeping his center of gravity low with good fundamentals and not letting bigger or quicker players go past him. Brad Newley showed off some nice skills, despite being a bit slow-footed with the ball. He has an uncanny ability to hit shots off-balanced with a hand in his face, and displayed so multiple times in this drill. He also showed some signs of ambidexterity, dribbling and attempting to finish left, though he was blocked by the bigger Antywane Robinson. Keydren Clark, despite being much smaller and quicker than everyone involved, refused to try and get past his defender, instead trying to force off-balanced shots over the longer, bigger defenders, though he was able to hit a few.
In the scrimmage, Louis Amdunson continued his strong play from yesterday, being the most active player on the floor again, hitting the offensive glass like a mad man, setting screens, and putting his toughness on display at all times. He did get caught up at times trying to do a little too much, and exposed his below-average skill level by handling the ball in the full-court or trying to create his own shot in the post.
Mike Schmidt/Joe Treutlein
The players on the first side court started with one on one drills where they would get the ball on a pass from the coach around the three point line, and make a move to score on the defender. Darius Washington displayed his impressive ability near the hoop, including one play where he exploded by Bobby Jones with one dribble, and dunked right over him. Jones struggle to get his shot off throughout the drill, but his defense was solid as always. It is clear that he will need to work hard to be able to create anything for himself at the next level. Denham Brown had similar struggles creating for himself, but also did a solid job defensively. Dwayne Mitchell used his impressive athletic abilities on the defensive end, but had trouble getting to the rim to finish in this drill.
Next some players moved to some five station shooting drills, first from about 15 feet, then behind the NBA three-point line. The players took a shot at each station moving left, then went back around the court, taking a shot at each station moving right. Most players had noticeable problems adjusting to the footwork moving left, but did better moving right. Gerry McNamara looked outstanding in all of the shooting drills, knocking down nearly everything in sight. He, like others, had struggles moving left, but went 5-for-5 moving right, from behind the three-point arc, in the drill. Taquan Dean also did well in this portion of the drills, while Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson struggled with their long-range consistency, as they have all season. Stinson’s shot form seems to be improved, though he has a tendency to drift his arm to the side while shooting. Brad Buckman was unable to knock down the mid-range jump shot with any type of consistency, but he was able to make 6 of his 10 attempts from NBA 3 point range.
Team One scrimmaged against itself by splitting the ten players into two teams. The teams not playing in the 11 AM game then started doing 3 on 2 transition drills leading into 2 on 1 transition . After that the players went through their sets to make sure everyone is on the same page for the games today. NBA and NCAA 3-point drills followed, with pull-up mid-range jumpers and more.
Jordan Farmar- Farmar was probably the best overall player in the morning session. He ran his team with terrific poise, making excellent decisions on the pick and roll and beginning to develop some cohesiveness between his unit as far as becoming familiar with each other. He found the open man time after time in both the game and the transition drill, and did a good job scoring the ball himself unselfishly when the opportunity presented itself.
Solomon Jones- After a bit of a rocky start in day one, much like in Portsmouth, Jones rebounded and began to show off his terrific physical tools early and often. He ran the floor like a deer on more than one occasion, either coming up with a super athletic dunk, drawing the foul or coming up with an offensive rebound. His quickness in the open floor was always evident. .
Steve Novak- After pulling the string a bit early on both yesterday and today and missing plenty of shots he’d usually knock down in his sleep, Novak calmed down a bit and started doing what he does best. He knocked down a few open NBA 3’s and did a decent job rebounding and being active defensively.
Taj Gray 4/10 college 3-point line station.
Louis Amundson- 4/10 NBA 3-point line. (4 in a row at one point).
NBA Draft.net--2006 Orlando Predraft Camp: Day 2
By Aran Smith
9:00 AM -- Half of the players showed up for the morning session and warmed up with stretching exercises and then had a 2 hour drill session. The drills included coming off screens as well as players shooting from all areas from outside. Louis Amundson struggled some shooting from outside after shooting better the day before.
The teams then had some individual scrimmages against teammates. The games got physical as Michael Southall took an elbow to the nose and was crumpled on the baseline for a few minutes before returning to the bench. Teammates in college and in the camp, Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock squared off against one another.
11:00 AM -- Game 1, Team Six 80 - Team Five 76
The first game of the camp turned out to be highly competitive and exciting as it wasn't decided until the closing seconds of the game. The forward combination of Nik Caner-Medley and Louis Amundson proved to be too much for Team 5 to handle. After building an early lead, team 6 fell behind by 10 points with Amundson and Caner-Medley's line on the bench.
They entered back into the game with around 4 minutes left and were able to rally their team back into the game. Caner-Medley hit a number of clutch shots in the closing minutes and Amundson was huge on the boards grabbing two rebounds in the final minute to help seal the victory. Amundson struggled shooting the ball (3-9) and appears more comfortable shooting on the move and with defenders in his face than spotting up for open 12-15 footers.
For Team 5 Chris Quinn found Blake Schilb for a beautiful and-1 ally-oop and has shown a great feel for setting up teammates with ally oops. He struggled shooting in this game however (0-8) 4 pts. Marcus Slaughter showed off his athleticism with a number of putback jams, and his speed stood out in the full court sprint drill.
Taj Gray got the better of Kenny Adeleke today showing excellent defense and much better quickness and speed in the open floor. Adeleke is a load and plays very well in the half court set, but struggles in transition and lacks great control of his legs. But Adeleke got the huge edge in rebounding 14-2.
Caner-Medley was the camp leader in points in the first day of action with 22 pts on 8-12 shooting, (1-2) from 3 pt and 5/6 from the line. Also registering in double figures in scoring were Yemi Nicholson with 13 (5/9 FG) and Taj Gray with 10 (3/4FG) and for Team 5, Marcus Slaughter had 11pts and 4 steals, and Torin Francis had 10, while Kenny Adeleke gathered a game high 14 boards and 9 pts.
1:05 -- All the media in Orlando were cleared out for two workouts at 1 o'clock for NBA personnel only. NBADraft.net was granted access to the workouts.
Patrick O'Bryant Workout
Also working out with O'Bryant were Yemi Nicholson plus guards Darius Washington and Rashad Anderson. The focus of the workout was obviously on Patrick O'Bryant as 150-200 of the NBA scouts in Orlando were on hand for the workout.
O'Bryant struggled some on his jumpshot but overall had a positive workout. He showed good agility and speed in the open floor and though he doesn't get way off the ground, his length allows him to jam virtually anything around the rim. His balance and coordination were not always perfect but he's still improving upon it and is one of the most intriguing bigmen in the draft this year.
O'Bryant didn't hurt or help himself with this workout and appears to be a solid (upside type) late lottery pick for the draft.
Nicholson looked decent, his ability to move in the open floor is poor, however he might be the best shooting bigman in the camp and showed a feathery touch on his jumpshot from outside.
Washington showed some athleticism dunking the ball on 1-0 drills and shooting decent. Questions linger about his ability to run a team and his attitude. Anderson showed off his lethal shooting ability. But there wasn't much to take from the workout for either guy as their play in the camp will be more revealing.
1:45 PM--Cedric Simmons/Kyle Lowry Workout
Of all the players who worked out, Lowry had the best showing. Coming into the workout, the big knock against him has been his inability to shoot the ball, however he shot very well in this workout. After missing his first two shots, he got on a roll and converted 10 of his next 12 from outside. He was 18/25 at one point and then began showing his range from 3 point hitting 5/9 from the top of the key and 6/12 from the left side. Later he hit 3/6 from the top right 3 point arch.
As the workout came to an end, his shot trailed off some as he shot from the right corner inside the 3 point line. He hit his first 3/4 but then missed 6 in a row before hitting a few at the end and finishing 5/13 there. Overall he shot over 50% from 3 at 14/27 and over 60% 23/38 from 12-18 foot range. With so many teams on hand, Lowry basically locked up a first round spot with his tremendous shooting in this workout.
Simmons' workout was very basic. Around 90% of his shot attempts were dunks. But he looked extremely impressive dunking the ball. He's not only incredibly long, but incredibly explosive as well getting his head at rim level on numerous dunks.
He mostly struggled with the few outside shots he attempted, but overall he had a strong workout blocking shots on Torin Francis in the 2-2 drills and breaking free for dunks offensively. As expected Lowry consistently got the better of Keydren Clark in their match up in the 2-2 drills, beating him off screens and denying him the ball defensively.
5:00 PM -- Game 2, Team One 73 - Team Two 72
In another close game, Jordan Farmar was able to lead his team to a comeback victory despite just 8 pts on 3/7 shooting. He had 3 assists and showed solid decision making. The blue squad (Team Two) was able to build a 10 point second half lead, but with the first string back in for the final minutes Team One was able to rally to cut the lead to 4 with 4 minutes remaining. Farmar split the defense with a drive to his left and laid in a nifty layup to take a 1 point lead (73-72) with 45 seconds remaining.
Krauser missed with 30 seconds on the clock and after Farmar's shot was too late to beat the shot clock 2.6 seconds remained on the clock giving team Two a final opportunity. Krauser got pressured and was caught between a shot and a pass and fumbled the ball out of bounds as time expired.
Allen Ray was impressive shooting from outside, especially in the first half with 12 pts (5/9 FG). Dwayne Mitchell had the dunk of the day off a steal after Allen Ray slipped to the court, Carl Krauser found him with a lob which had a number of scouts buzzing. Maybe even more impressive was his ability to control a lob which he missed the dunk attempt but the pass was up above the top of the square. Mitchell's arms and upper body look something fit for a defensive lineman, think Julius Peppers, not a basketball guard.
Mystery bigman Franz Steyn played today and is somewhat interesting. He has good size at 7-1 and runs the court hard. He had one and one and a few block shots which got his teammates excited.
Despite the loss, Denham Brown was impressive creating shots for himself off of picks and scoring on drives to the basket. He finished the first game with 12 points on (6-10 FG). Darius Washington outscored with 14 pts (6/8 FG) and had a few very nice plays including a half court bounce pass which turned into a missed dunk by JP Batista. Krauser was the goat in the end, but showed a lot of passion and is easily the most vocal player in camp always cheering on his teammates and being a positive influence.
6:15 PM -- Game 3, Team Four 91 vs Team Three 78
Team Four was able to build a 15 point second half lead and cruised to the only lopsided win of the day. Gerry McNamarra led all scorers with 16 pts shooting 4/6 from 3 point and 6/11 from the field. Renaldo Balkman got the game started in style with a set play ally oop which raised a few eyebrows as the ball appeared out of reach before he went high to snag it and throw it down. He finished the game with just 8 points (4-10) and 6 boards but stood out as an energy player and one of the top athletes in camp. If he chooses to remain in this year's draft, look for him to be taken somewhere in the mid to early second round.
Juco forward Tedric Hill had 14 points on 5/12 shooting but alot of his points were garbage baskets in garbage time. He's a nice athlete but a notch below Balkman in energy and athleticism. JR Pinnock scored 11 doing a lot of his damage from the free throw line (6/8) 2/5 FG and Paul Miller was solid in the post with 10 pts.
Victor Keyru is an interesting player that was at the Reebok Treviso Camp last year and many scouts are getting a first look at. In 13 minutes of action he was wild at times but desplayed solid ball handling ability for a 2-guard.
Mustafa Shakur played well in defeat with 13 points on 5/11 shooting. He has unquestionably the ugliest shot in camp, however he's making a lot of outside shots both in warmups and in the first game. He also finished with 5 assists. James Augustine finished with 11 points on 5/8 shooting and 11 boards. He looked solid crashing the glass and running the court. Justin Williams and Steven Smith each chipped in with 10 points a piece.
Draft Express--Orlando Pre-Draft Camp: Day 2
Jonathan Givony - President
Mike Schmidt - NBDL, NCAA Scout
Jonathan Watters - Director of NCAA Scouting
Final Score: Team Six 103 – Team Three 100 (Overtime)
Morris Almond – 24 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 9-15 FG, 2-3 3P, 4-4 FT
Almond had an extremely impressive game, scoring in every way imaginable and looking very good doing so. He didn’t do much other than scoring, but he still contributed a great deal to his team. His ball-handling, which was largely viewed as a weakness heading into this camp, was not a liability at all here, though he didn’t do anything spectacular with it, just being proficient enough to get to where he needed to go.
Almond scored nine field goals in the game with them coming from all over the floor. He hit two spot-up three pointers, a long spot-up two pointer, hit a variety of floaters and lay-ups off the glass, and got to the free-throw line by driving to the rim, usually predicated by a shot fake to get a step on his man. On one occasion he came out of nowhere to make an extremely athletic putback lay-up. He also was in constant motion off the ball, always working to get open and doing a good job of it here.
Defensively, Almond was solid at keeping his man in front of him, though did nothing especially noteworthy on that end of the court.
Almond will be entering his senior season at Rice University in Conference USA if he chooses to go back to school. Given what he’s shown here, he would probably be best served going back to college, working on his ball-handling and improving his already efficient scoring ability. He had a strong performance here, but doesn’t really stand out in any way as an NBA player at this stage in his development. Another year of college basketball could go a long way for him.
Louis Amundson – 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 7-10 FG, 3-8 FT
Thus far, Amundson has been one of the biggest surprises of this tournament, and has improved his stock here as much as anybody. He is a great energy player and has a terrific nose for the ball, especially on the glass. He was helping his team tremendously on both ends of the court today, breaking up passes, tracking down loose balls, attacking the glass, and scoring around the basket.
Offensively, Amundson is not a particularly skilled player, not having much outside scoring ability and only being a decent ball-handler. He has a little bit of a post-game, but gets most of his points slashing to the basket, dumping in easy shots around the rim, and getting putbacks on the offensive glass. Today he was constantly around the basket, scoring both in transition and in the halfcourt, mostly by getting open around the basket or putting back an offensive rebound. He also got to the line frequently, but wasn’t able to convert many of his free throws, as his shot mechanics are poor and he’s not an efficient shooter from the line. Some notable things he did around the basket today were putting down an alley-oop, hitting a hook shot posting up, scoring a reverse lay-up, and getting a couple of And-1 opportunities.
As mentioned above, Amundson has a terrific nose for the ball with rebounds, and is constantly amidst the action with players bigger and stronger than he, though he always seems to get a hand on the ball or pull down the rebound. His knack for rebounding the ball is not unlike David Lee’s, who is a player he compares fairly favorably to. The main thing he lacks that Lee possesses is Lee’s excellent passing and ball-handling abilities for a power forward. Lee also developed somewhat of a mid-range jump shot recently, which is something Amundson should invest time in developing. Amundson’s only attempt at a mid-range shot today was easily blocked by the larger Justin Williams.
Defensively, Amundson was solid, breaking up passes and even getting a blocked shot early in the game on Justin Williams. He’s yet to show if he has the lateral quickness to guard most small forwards or if he has the strength to guard most power forwards, so he’s a bit of a tweener in that sense. His matchup today was Steven Smith, another tweener forward, so he didn’t have any especial difficulty in man-to-man defense.
James Augustine – 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3-3 FG, 3-4 FT
Augustine had a very quiet game, being invisible for most of the time and not really asserting himself to make the impact he is capable of in this game. He had a spin move down low for a jam, made an open jam created for him by a teammate, and hit one long range shot. Aside from that, he didn’t do much of anything, often standing around and watching while people battled for rebounds or cutters came near him on defense. This was certainly not a good showing for someone who has long been pegged as a first-round pick.
Victor Keyru – 11 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4- FG, 2-2 FT, 1-1 3P
Keyru had a much better day today than yesterday, playing much more under control and showing what he is capable of doing with his skillset and physical attributes. He was still reckless at times, but for the most part, played within the flow of his team’s offense.
Offensively, Keyru showed the ability to score inside and out, hitting a contested three-pointer, hitting a long contested two, and finishing some shots around the basket. One very impressive sequence featured Keyru posting his man on the baseline, faking to get his man in the air, spinning, and then fading away for a pretty jump shot. Keyru did take a lot of contested shots in the game, and over-dribbled the ball at times, but for the most part, he was efficient scoring the ball. Keyru also made some nice passes in transition during the game.
Defensively, Keyru played solid, in-your-face defense for most of the time, but had a few lapses letting his man get by or giving his man too much space without the ball, resulting in an open shot. He chased down loose balls and usually was working hard to play prevent defense, using his length to keep the ball out of his man’s hands.
Keyru is a very fluid and athletic player with some nice building blocks of a skillset. His outside shot is considered his biggest weakness according to those we’ve spoken to that have seen him in international play, but his form looks solid here and he has had decent results with his shot in the games, scrimmages, and drills. His free-throw form is especially impressive, looking as if it came straight out of a textbook. The biggest thing he needs to work on is his game mentality, in that he needs to play more under control and not force the issue with his shot and dribble.
Gray put on an impressive display for the second day in a row. He used his athleticism to block shots throughout the game, and elevate above everybody for rebounds on both ends of the floor. On one occasion, Gray grabbed a defensive rebound he had no business getting, ran the floor to get an offensive rebound, and threw down an impressive putback dunk. On offense, he had some spectacular dunks, including one towards the end of the game where he took off from the block and threw the ball down hard while getting fouled by Justin Williams. Gray tried too hard to create his own look on offense on a few occasions, which led to some turnovers. However, it appears he has added a nice mid-range shot to his repertoire, and his footwork is improving to the point where he can create his own look off the dribble from time to time. Gray has helped his stock as much as anybody, and has the potential to be a great hustle player in the NBA.
After a very quiet first game, Anderson came to life in a big way on day two. His outside shot was deadly from the opening moments of the game, where he swished two midrange jumpers right away. He was a consistent source of offense the rest of the way, where the opposition had little chance of altering his quick release jumper. He worked well off screens, hit set shots, and connected effortlessly heading to the basket after one or two dribbles. It was interesting to see Anderson working in the 15-18 foot range, rather than try to extend his range out to the NBA 3-point line. He looked very comfortable creating his shot in the midrange, and even took the ball to the basket on one occasion. While everybody knew that Anderson was capable of a scoring outburst such as this, his crisp performance today will surely stand out in the eyes of scouts at the end of the week.
Harysaz is only worth mentioning because of how much of a disappointment he’s been in this camp so far. His production has been paltry just as much as his effort has. He has not shown any discernable skill here to separate himself from any of the players here, not in his shooting, not in his post-up game, not in his rebounding, and certainly not defensively. Beyond the fact that he is not really getting many touches, he has not shown exactly how he’d be able to get off the bench for an NBA team.
Shakur had himself a very nice half leading a talented team to an early lead. He did a good job mixing up his scoring with his passing, putting his excellent first step and ball-handling skills on display to get into the paint and either finish the play himself or find the open man. He pushed the tempo and injected a bit of life into what otherwise would have been a pretty boring game, over-dribbling at times, but not being selfish in the least bit. His defense has been very good and there is very little doubt that he is the most athletic point guard at this camp. The only problem is his jump-shot, which is both incredibly ugly and also very much ineffective as he showed here.
Caner-Medley came down to earth today after a scintillating 22 point performance in day one. He tried to create his own shot and failed miserably for the most part due to his extremely weak first step. He was bailed out a few times by the refs, and settled for weak fade-aways and turnarounds when the angle to the basket would get cut off. Much like his time at Maryland, his jumper is there one day, and gone the next.
Final Score: Team Five 80 – Team Two 74
It was another solid performance for Brad Newley, who has impressed in unconventional ways so far this in this camp. Where most players remain overly assertive here and end up forcing things, Newley lets the game come to him. He works tirelessly off the ball, coming off of screens and making productive passes. That doesn’t stop him from hustling, however. Newley always remains active, hitting the deck for loose balls, pressuring the ball in the backcourt, and always looking for ways to make a positive contribution. He had been a non-factor as a scorer thus far in the tournament, but managed to hit three nice looking midrange jumpers in this game. Newley hasn’t separated himself from the pack enough yet (a chance to see what he can do off the dribble would be nice), but continues to contribute for his team doing the little things.
Washington had a pretty nondescript game offensively, being the victim of a team consisting of many players who didn't spend much time moving off the ball and also didn't have the ball-handling abilities to relieve him of the duty at times. His wings for the game were Bobby Jones and Brandon Bowman, neither of whom are proficient handling the ball and both of whom didn't do much to get open without the ball. Because of this, Washington spent a lot of time dribbling the ball on the perimeter, trying to find an opening, but rarely making a pass that led to a score. He had very few assists on the game. Washington didn't do much to help matters, though, never looking to get in the lane to create in the halfcourt, which could've helped his team get more easy shot opportunities.
Washington did have some positives in the game, as he hit two three-pointers with his feet set, one after a push-off on his defender and the other dribbling around a screen. He also had a few nice passes in transition, but his teammates finished none of them. Defensively, Washington was extremely vocal and intense in covering his assignment, doing a good job on Keydren Clark and Chris Quinn for most of the game. He was constantly calling out switches and urging his teammates to step up their intensity on the defensive end. He also helped out in the post defensively on a few occasions and dove for one loose ball that he poked away from Chris Quinn.
Jones played his great defense as usual throughout the game. He was overly aggressive for much of the game however, which led to the other team picking up a lot of fouls. On the offensive end of the floor Jones struggled in the first half, turning the ball over while trying to create, and missing an open jumper. In the second half Jones improved on this half of the floor, and was able to draw a foul in transition, as well as knocking down a 22 footer in the flow of the offense. At this point, he struggles to get away from his defender to get open, and he turns it over frequently while handling the ball in traffic. Jones is probably the best defensive player here, but he will have to put in some work to become a competent offensive player at the next level.
Final Score: Team Four 94 – Team One 78
Blalock turned in the most impressive performance of the morning. He completely dominated his matchup with Daniel Horton on both ends of the floor, getting into the lane at will on the offensive end and giving Horton nothing easy defensively. Horton is known for being strong and athletic, but Blalock clearly had another gear today. Blalock impressed as a floor general today, and showed none of that tendency to overdribble that we have seen in the past. He threaded the needle on several passes into traffic, and generally did a good job of keeping the offense flowing. Despite looking to create offense with his passing at times, he managed to play relatively mistake free. The play of the game came midway through the first half when he split a double team and exploded to the basket for an emphatic dunk. He also hit a couple of contested midrange jumpers, but his outside shot remains a weakness. The last notable Blalock moment in this game was a badly airballed 3-pointer. Nonetheless, Will Blalock’s excellent play set the tone for his team’s easy victory, and he clearly went a long way towards proving that he can play point guard.
Paul Millsap played better than he did in his initial showing, proving his worth as a rebounder, but overall the performance must still be rated as lukewarm. He beat his man for offensive rebounds the entire game (I counted at least 6), and clearly has a very impressive nose for the ball. Despite this, Millsap isn’t showing the same type of lift and explosiveness that we had expected. There were no exclamation point-style putbacks on those offensive rebounds, and he generally had to settle for initiating the body contact and heading to the line where he was terrible. There was one nice spin move and finish in the lane, but he doesn’t look like a premier back to the basket option at this camp.
Renaldo Balkman - 14 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive), 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 6-12 FG, 2-3 FT
Balkman had a surprisingly effective showing, using his combination of athleticism and hard work to track down loose balls and rebounds relentlessly while also finishing a lot of shots around the basket. Balkman is about 6'6, long, athletic, and provides a constant energy on the floor. He was most impressive today attacking the glass, where he'd frequently grab rebounds away from opponents much larger and stronger than he is. In terms of the NBA, his game appears to best translate to a small forward, where he would serve a type of garbage player role, as he is not particularly skilled at any one thing. He hasn't shown much proficiency with outside shooting, though he did have quite a few nice passes today and handled the ball fairly well. He also has a good touch around the basket and finished a lot of baskets both in the halfcourt and transition today.
J.P. Batista - 16 points, 10 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 5-6 FG, 6-8 FT
Batista had a decent game, having a constant presence on the boards, but not getting much chance to show off his versatile back-to-the-basket game. Almost all of his points came on easy lay-ups near the basket created by his teammates, and when he did get his few chances to post up, he was fouled before he could get a move off. He was excellent rebounding the ball and boxing out, using his wide body and strong base to maintain position down low on both ends of the court, keeping his opponents away from the ball. Defensively, he didn't show much prowess, especially on the weakside, where his height and lack of leaping ability prevented him from contesting lay-ups by cutters. On the occasions where he attempted to block or contest a shot, he often was nowhere close to doing so.
Farmar was able to get into the lane all day, with Gerry McNamara not being able to keep up with him at all. He made a few nice shots in the lane, including a beautiful floater off the glass while he was fading away from the basket. He has a lot of the tools necessary for a point guard to score over taller players in the NBA. His floaters dropped into the hoop with ease, and he was able to keep defenders on his back while making layups. Farmar was unable to make most of his shots however, and his passing was nowhere near what we saw in college. He did find his teammates for some good looks in transition, but struggled to find guys in the half court. Part of this may be due to the fact that his teammates weren’t executing plays well, but he had to deal with that for much of his college career. Farmar’s passing in the half court might be better if he had a better feel for his teammates’ tendencies. His shooting was inconsistent, hitting a few long range jumpers but being well off on quite a few more. This was the first occasion when watching Farmar where his finishing in the lane has actually been better than his passing. On the defensive end, Farmar kept McNamara in check for much of the game, but still lacked focus at times. Farmar did a lot today to prove that he can score, he just needs to go out and display the court vision he was known for in college.
Taquan Dean was the best and most productive player on the floor in the first half game one, putting up plenty of points in his typical fashion. He has been playing the 2-guard position almost exclusively here, which seems to be his best position as far as the NBA is concerned. Two college 3’s early on got Dean off to a good start, both coming in the flow of the offense moving off the ball crisply. Another pull-up jumper in transition followed, and a steal and lay-up in transition got him in double figures before he had played 10 minutes of basketball. Dean capped things off for the half by knocking down a 3-pointer from NBA range. In the 2nd half he came out firing and hit another 3-pointer, but slowed down considerably after that and struggled to make much of an impact in the last 15 minutes of the game. Part of this had to do with the fact that he was asked to handle the ball a bit more, showing tunnel vision and a very average first step that hampered him from making his presence felt.
After a terrific game yesterday, McNamara is showing his inconsistency today that has led him to have to play in the pre-draft camp in the first place. He split minutes with Blalock and Stinson at the point, but did a very good job running the offense when he did have the ball in his hands, making nice decisions in both the half-court and in transition and finding the open man unselfishly more than he did yesterday. The drive and dish has worked for him well on a number of occasions. Poor shot selection has plagued him today, as well as terrible work on the defensive end trying to defend Jordan Farmar, who he just could not stay in front of. In the 2nd half we saw more of the same; a very tough three moving right while falling away that rimmed out, being blown by time after time by Farmar, and finally an open 3-pointer with his feet set that fell for him.
This was a lackluster performance for Steve Novak, not seeing the ball an awful lot, being a bit too unselfish compared with how some of the others are playing here, and not knocking down a number of outside shots that he would usually knock down with his eyes closed. His passing looked crisp and excellent throughout the game, though, and his defense was quite a bit better than it was yesterday.
Horton had a terrible showing for himself in his second game of action. Will Blaylock’s defensive pressure made things difficult from the start as he challenged his shot after denying dribble penetration and stripped Horton in transition when Horton took his eye off of him. After about 8 minutes, Horton really became passive and didn’t show much else the rest of the game.
Miller was quietly efficient throughout the game. Miller started off by hitting three consecutive jumpers, one spot-up 3 and two catch-and-shoot 17 footers. Miller ran the court well and showed good hands on one play, where the ball was deflected right in front of him and he was able to readjust, catch, and finish. Miller showed some toughness inside as well, fighting for the ball.
Stinson started strongly with solid defensive pressure on Allen Ray. Offensively, Stinson showed some decent point guard skills, keeping his head up and finding the open man as well as splitting the double team on one occasion. Stinson didn’t show much in the second half, he deferred to McNamara on a lot of possessions and mostly played off-ball where there were limited opportunities for him to do much.
Adeleke has been the best player in this tournament by far. For the second consecutive day, Adeleke attacked the competition with a good-spirited intensity that got results. Adeleke is extremely vocal with his teammates on defense and plans out his attack strategy early in the possession. On one play Adeleke was defending against the much larger Frans Styn. Knowing that he couldn’t challenge Styn’s release if he let him get on the block, Adeleke stepped away and waited for Steyn to turn into his drop step which he then attacked and forced Styn to travel by denying the dribble.
Offensively, Adeleke showed tremendous hustle and skill. His footwork is quick and decisive and he executes secondary moves so well off his pivot the refs assumed on 2 occasions that he must have traveled-not the case. Adeleke shot two beautiful left handed hooks after banging bodies with Eric Hicks, showing soft touch after impact. On another occasion, Adeleke scooped up a low bullet pass right off his shoe tops and finished in one fluid motion. His double jump and aggressive fight for every rebound was impressive. Adeleke’s best rebound came on a possession where the perimeter inlet man faked the pass and shot the ball, which put Adeleke behind his man and the basket. Adeleke was able to twist around his man and tip the ball to himself before going up for another easy bucket. This was the best individual performance to date.
Hicks had a strong showing going against some stiff competition. Hicks squared off against Kenny Adeleke for a number of stretches and held his own. Hicks used his anticipation as much as his explosive power to grab a number of contested rebounds, especially on the offensive end. Hicks also showed a decent touch on his jumper as he hit one baseline shot and surprised everyone with a picture-perfect 3 ball.
Defensively, Hicks was physical without fouling and used his timing to block a few shots. Although he was aggressive he was able to show patience on the block by not jumping at Adeleke’s myriad of fakes and footwork, which allowed him to block 2 of his attempts. Great overall showing for Hicks.
George started off slowly, forcing the action and not allowing the rhythm of the game to come to him. But, he adjusted quickly after hitting a pull-up midrange shot followed by a nice corner 3 ball. George opened up the arsenal and really showed a lot of different things. George had multiple steals throughout the game and each came after he missed a play, so it felt as if he cranked it up a notch to make up for it. George battled for a couple of key rebounds, tipping the ball away from the defense to himself. He certainly helped himself out today.
Dockery had a very solid game running his team today. Dockery started off steady and ramped up his level of play as the game went on. Dockery displayed some very crafty dribbling skills and used them to good effect as he was able to penetrate the lane and make things happen for himself and his teammates. Dockery showed a couple of nice floaters, using good body control and mid-air creativity to free himself up. The play of the game, a sick Taj Gray dunk, was set up beautifully by the attention Dockery was able to draw that helped free up Gray for the delivery and jam. Defensively, Dockery relied less on hand checking and more on footwork and quick hands to do the job which is key because he had been fouling too often before.
NBA Draft.net--2006 Orlando Predraft Camp: Day 3
By Aran Smith
9:00 AM -- After stretching, the campers got into drill work with rotating stations. On one court they worked on 1-1, as well as 3-3 half court on another court. On the court in front of the bleachers of scouts, individual team drills took place with a 5 on 0 half court drill with wings running off of double screens and shooting or passing, which was followed by individual shooting drills giving scouts an in depth look at each players shooting mechanics.
From 10:30 TO 11:00 Teams 4, 2, and 1 had team scrimmages.
11:00 AM -- Game 4, Team Four 94 - Team One 78
The first game of the day was close throughout the first half. Brad Buckman hit a nice 17 footer early before catching an elbow to the nose which knocked him out of the game for a few minutes.
Renaldo Balkman has been one of the camp surprises and once again was impressive with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He's very long and with broad shoulders appears to have a lot of potential to get bigger and stronger. With his great energy level, and sleepy eyes, he is reminiscent of a poor mans Dennis Rodman. As a 50% shooter, he still has some big holes to his game, but in a camp with only one surefire first rounder (Farmar) in camp, he is definitely one of the standouts.
Allen Ray looked impressive early with a breakaway dunk and a nice behind the back pass setting up Pops Mensah-Bonsu for a thunderous dunk. Ray led the losing team with 15 points.
Jordan Farmar has been solid and hit a running jumper to beat the clock and cut the lead to 4 at the half (47-43). Farmar finished the game with 14 points on 6-10 shooting.
Will Blalock looked impressive breaking down the lane early in the first half for a dunk and making a nice half court bounce pass to a cutting teammate. Blalock came into the drill session with great energy and appeared on a mission to redeem himself after his 6 turnover game yesterday. He scored just 6 points but played solid with 4 assists and shot 50% 3-6 FG. Scouts appear to be high on him despite the under whelming performance so far at the camp.
Blalock's teammate Curtis Stinson had 13 pts on 5-7 shooting, but with Blalock and McNamara on his team he hasn't been able to display the point guard skills that are in question. The decision to place him on a team with two other point guards was either a concession that he's a 2guard, or a product of a surplus of point guards in camp.
Paul Miller showed off his excellent range finishing with 12 points on 4/7 shooting. Taquan Dean (5/9) and JR Pinnock (4/8) each had 11.
For the losing squad, Daniel Horton and David Noel finished with 8 pts each.
1:00 PM -- Aaron Gray Workout
Aaron Gray worked out against Franz Stein who happens to be the only 7-footer in the Orlando predraft camp. NBADraft.net was not at the Gray workout, however scouts I spoke to after the workout gave mixed reviews. Those who said he looked good said his foot work looked solid and foot speed has been one of the big concerns with Gray.
Those that werent as positive about the workout felt that he lacked defense and has trouble going to his left. Some scouts feel he should return to school as Gray is not a finished product, but with a premium on bigmen most scouts consider Gray a likely first rounder for this year's draft.
5:00 PM -- Game 5, Team Five 80 - Team Two 74
In another close battle, Team Five was able to pull in front in the closing minutes thwarting the effort of Eric Hicks game high 21 points (6-11 FG) 8-10 FT. Hicks hit a 3 pointer with 22.8 seconds left to cut the lead to 2. But Adeleke's 2 FTs with 22 seconds gave team Five a commanding 4 point lead and after a few desperation missed threes by Denham Brown and Carl Krauser, the game was over.
Brad Newley was impressive shooting the ball. He finished with 8 pts on (3-6 FG). He'll have a decision to make after the camp whether to stay in the draft or pull out and play another year in preparation for the draft. He reportedly has offers from European teams and could be best server rolling the dice this year. He shows good passing and shooting ability and an scrappy attitude. He lacks an explosive first step or standout athleticism, but he's been solid at the camp.
Kenny Adeleke paced the winning squad with 17 points (6-15 FG) and 9 boards but had 7 turnovers. Tarance Kinsey who has impressed with his energy, despite a physically weak body had 9 pts (3-7 FG). Ian Voyoukas and Keydren Clark each had 9 pts. Antywane Robinson had 8.
Denham Brown had 13 points, but struggled shooting with 4/15 from the floor. He's impressive taking the ball to the basket and creating, getting to the line and converting 5/6 but struggled shooting from the perimeter.
Darius Washington had 8 on 2-3 shooting.
6:15 PM -- Game 6, vs Team Six 103 - Team Three 100
With the anticipation for game 1 of the NBA finals permeating the gym (and half the scouts leaving around halftime), Teams Six and Three played the closest game of the camp with 17 lead changes and the teams knotted throughout.
it was an exciting and high scoring affair and the game went into overtime (3 minutes). The game's star was Rice shooting guard Morris Almond, who lacks standout explosiveness but has a very smooth game. His game winning and-1 runner with 4.7 seconds remaining capped off a tremendous 24 point (9-15 FG) performance. He showed excellent midrange shooting and nice agility through the course of the game, and would have a good shot to be drafted if he remains in the draft.
The game featured an excellent match up between Marco Killingsworth and Taj Gray. Both players played well with Gray finishing with 21 (8-14 FG) and Killingsworth with 16 on a near perfect 8/9 shooting. Gray had a big dunk over Matt Haryasz in the first half. Coming down the stretch in regulation, Gray had a monster jam (of the day) over Justin Williams with a foul, which got his teammates off the bench.
Louis Amundson was very impressive once again with 17 points, he also created havoc on the boards on both ends of the floor. He finished with a game high 8 boards. Amundson continues to be one of the most intriguing players in camp, and has likely moved into the early second round picture with his hustle and athleticism.
Rashad Anderson matched Almond with 24 points (11-18) for Team Three. He had no three pointers but scored numerous outside jumpers and had one breakaway dunk.
Bobby Brown struggled shooting going 1-11 (4 pts) but had a camp high 8 assists. Mustafa Shakur had a similar effort with 1/5 from the field and 7 assists.
Matt Haryasz played solid with 8 pts and 6 boards and had a nice run in the second half
Russian SG Victor Keyru had an impressive performance showing off his combination of skills and athleticism. He finished with 11 points on (4-6) shooting.
Notes: Michael Southall and Tedric Hill missed their games today due to illness.
Rumored trade: The Jazz and Raptors are reportedly close to a deal which would send Rafael Araujo back to his college Utah area (BYU) for Kris Humphries and Robert Whaley.
One clarification, in the last draft buzz we made the statement that a scout had said that Oleksiy Pecherov had destoyed Hilton Armstrong in a workout. After speaking with a member of the Washington Wizards staff it was likely an erroneous statement as the representative said that both players showed well in the workout.
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