Editor's Note, by Rook6980: With only 2 days left before the Draft, and lots of prospects left to preview, I'm going to accelerate things a bit. I promised a flurry of activity the week of the draft - so here it comes.
Draft prospects in this preview:
Previews after the jump.
- 19 years old;
- 6'1"; 190 lbs.
- Kentucky, Freshman
- Draft Projection: Late lottery to mid first round
Eric Bledsoe played at Kentucky with John Wall. He is a super quick guard with a high basketball IQ. Playing off the ball next to Wall last season, Bledsoe didn't get the chance to show off his point guard skills; but be assured, he is a very good pass-first PG. He needs to work on his ball handling and cut down on his turnovers, and he also needs a lot of work on his jump shot.
- Very athletic
- Super quick
- Explosive leaper
- end-to-end speed
- 6-foot-7 1/2 wingspan
- Pass first mentality
- High basketball IQ
- Defensive effort
- Potential to be elite defender
- High upside
- Inconsistent jump shot
- Turnover prone
- Sometimes plays out of control
The team that drafts Bledsoe should be willing to wait for his development. He won't be able to step right in and run the point, but given time, he could develop into a very good one. Not the Wizards, of course, but just about any other team could use a young point guard to groom.
- 22 years old;
- 7'1"; 251 lbs.
- Florida State, Sophomore
- Draft Projection: Lottery-Late1st Round
Solomon Alabi is a tremendous physical specimen. Standing 7'1" in shoes with a 7'5" wingspan, he reminds one of a young Dikembe Motombo. Offensively, he can do little more than catch-and-dunk or shoot a baby hook shot. Alabi is a decent free-throw shooter (79%) so there may be hope for a pick-and-pop game.
Defensively is where Alabi will make his living. He is effective in protecting the post, where he can block shots while defending one-on-one, rotating to help on the weak side or just contesting jumpers around the lane. Rebounding is a concern, though. You'd like to see more than 9.2 rebounds (per 40 pace adjusted) from your defensive-minded center.
- Ideal size for an NBA center
- Runs the floor well
- Good shot blocker
- Good free throw shooter (79%)
- High energy level, hustle
- Needs to add strength
- Still very raw offensively
- Not a good rebounder
- Poor passer, court vision
Alabi is the type of player that Ernie Grunfeld loves to draft. Extremely long, athletic players that run the floor well and have explosive jumping ability. Alabi blocks shots and can defend the rim. But since the Wizards already have JaVale McGee, I think the Wizards should pass if they get a pick in the high teens/early twenties as has been rumored.
- 19 years old;
- 6'10"; 260 lbs.
- Kentucky, Freshman
- Draft Projection: Mid-Late 1st Round
Orton has great size and strength for an NBA Center. Standing at 6'10", 269 pounds with a 7'4" wingspan, Daniel Orton certainly looks the part of NBA Center. Orton has nice touch around basket, but needs to develop some moves in the post. Remember, he only played 13 minutes per game as a freshman at Kentucky. And for that, NBA scouts are droling over him.
Personally, I don't see the attraction in drafting a guy that played a total of 501 minutes (about 14 games worth of minutes) simply because he is big and has some upside. He also has a number of red flags, like his balky knee, his 13.8% body fat, the fact he has practically no offensive game, the fact that he's an abysmal free throw shooter (52.4%) and the reality that he struggles guarding the pick-and-roll (an NBA staple).
- NBA body with extremely long wingspan
- Good athlete
- Finishes strong around the basket
- Projects to be a good shot blocker
- Very raw offensively
- Makes careless turnovers
- Lacks experience
- Balky left knee?
- Questionable conditioning
- Terrible Free Throw shooter
Daniel Orton really needed another year at Kentucky as the starter, out from underneath Demarcus Cousins' shadow. Personally, I don't see the appeal of drafting Orton so high, but to see him ranked in the middle of the first round on most mock drafts says that there are a lot of people that see his potential. The team that drafts Orton may have to wait three or four years for him to develop. If he fell to the Wizards at pick number 30, I'd be happy taking him, but he's not worth a pick in the teens.
More mini-profiles to come....