NBA.com: Irving Thomasâ€™ Top NBDL Prospects
Lakers scout Irving Thomas covers the NBDL. He also goes to college games in the midwest and southeast, as well as CBA games and high-school tournaments. With the 10-day contract period having begun, Thomas talked about his top NBDL prospects.
Thomas: "We recently signed an NBDL player, Ime Udoka. He's a big guard who's definitely talented, but there's more to him than that. He has a lot of intangibles, and does a lot of little things that allow him to fit in with an NBA team. You might not see these things on a stat sheet. For instance, he can defend, he's strong and he can rebound; all these traits are great for a guard. He also makes great post-entry passes, he's not a selfish player, and his basketball IQ is great.
"He doesn't necessarily score, which is fine. Some guys think they're going to score their way to the NBA. That can be a tough thing to do. Basically, Udoka is a nice, solid basketball player.
"When I go to a game, I look at everything: attitude, character, the way you handle yourself on the bench, the way you handle adversity, and the way you handle yourself as a professional. All of that comes into play.
"Here are nine guys (listed in alphabetical order) who I think could get called up to the NBA in the near future."
Rick Apodaca, G, Huntsville
Thomas: I haven't seen Apodaca play enough. He doesn't play much in Huntsville, but he's an intriguing player, and I'd like to see more of him. He has proven that he can come off the bench and be a scorer, which shows a lot, because a lot of call-up players will have to come off the bench. He plays hard, and he distributes the ball well."
Jason Collier, C, Fayetteville
Thomas: "Collier's got a big body, and he has a nice touch when he gets the ball inside. Plus, he has a nice basketball IQ. He can make plays when he catches the ball inside. He's not a shot-blocker, but he does provide a decent presence with his size and he's physical. Certainly has some fight in him."
Omar Cook, G, Fayetteville
Thomas: "Cook seems to be progressing pretty well. He has an NBA body and has great court vision. Plus, he passes the ball exceptionally well and he has very quick hands. He's interesting because he's improving as a shooter, which has always been the knock against him. That's what scouts want to see ... Is he improving? Is he working on his game? Is he getting better? I think he is. I think he has a chance.
Britton Johnsen, F, Fayetteville
Thomas: "Johnsen has a chance in the NBA because he's got good size for a small forward. What's going to get him over the top is that he plays very hard. He battles; he fights. He competes. That's what catches my attention when I see him play. He's fearless. But he has to improve some as a shooter to play the three in the NBA, and he has to become a slightly better defender on the perimeter. He also has to be a little better with the ball off the dribble in order to finish plays and get his own shot off. But he's a nice player, especially given how hard he plays."
Ken Johnson, C, Huntsville
Thomas: "Johnson has all of the physical attributes to be an NBA player. He has an NBA body, he's long, he can score inside with either hand, and he also has a nice touch facing the basket. He's a great shot-blocker. Like Mikki Moore, I think that he needs to work on his intensity, and being mentally ready to play every night. He's a potential call-up, but I saw him play with the Heat this year, and he needs to learn to play without fouling. He takes himself out of games a lot. He has to work on that. The intensity really goes up on the next level; the game is even more physical."
Mikki Moore, C, Roanoke
Thomas: "Moore has great length, he has big hands and he's versatile. Of all the big guys in the league, he has the greatest range, about 18-19 feet. He can step away from the basket and can score with his back to the basket. After bouncing back and forth between the NBA and the NBDL, he's certainly a potential call-up. But he still needs to get stronger. At his size, he needs to get in the weight room. And he also needs to work on his mental approach to the game."
Terence Morris, F, Columbus
Thomas: "Morris is a very talented player. He does so many different things. He's multi-skilled and multi-talented. Plus, he has good size. But he lacks a little motivation; he doesn't have the fire and intensity that you need. Look at his results in the D-League; he's a productive player, but at this level he should dominate. Why he doesn't, I don't know. But as far as his size and talent, he's got the skills. If only he can raise his intensity."
Marque Perry, G, Roanoke
Thomas: "Perry is pretty similar to Omar Cook. He has great vision and can pass the ball. The big knock on him is his perimeter jump shot, which is decent but still neds to improve. But he's quick. He makes good decisions with the ball, he has a good body and he competes. I think he still has to get more used to playing the point position, especially at his size, which he has to show he can do at this level. I think he was a two in college; it's difficult to make the transition from being a scorer to being a playmaker. He needs to improve on making plays, but he has a chance as well."
Lavor Postell, G-F, Asheville
Thomas: "Postell's a big guard with good size. He can score and he can defend. He's smart, crafty, and understands the game; and I think he understands his limitations as well. He's not the greatest athlete or the quickest player, but Postell has a high basketball IQ and he has NBA experience."
Hmmm, I wonder which one will become a Laker?