Title: NBA Draft Week – Power Forwards
Date: June 25, 2008
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: For a full week I focused exclusively on the NBA Draft, one of my favorite nights of the sporting calendar. This piece looked at the power forward class, headlined by Michael Beasley.
This is Part 4 in a 7-part NBA Draft Preview Series here at The On Deck Circle. While I apologize to our readers who aren’t NBA fans, Thursday is the NBA Draft, one of my favorite nights of the year, and as such our coverage will focus primarily on the draft this week (supplemented, of course, by a bunch of non-basketball stuff, too). The series will take a look at the draft, position by position, attempting to amalgamate information from ESPN and Draft Express and condense it into digestible profiles for the top players of the Class of 2008. Monday, I started with Point Guards, yesterday feature Shooting Guards and Small Forwards, today will examine Power Forwards and Centers, and Thursday will look at potential Toronto Raptor draft picks. The week-long coverage will commence with a live-blog of Draft Night, starting in the afternoon with news updates. Up next, the Power Forwards.
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Measurements: 6’9”, 235lbs., Age 19
Draft Express Rank: 1
ESPN Rank: 1
Projection: Top 2 (possibly 3rd)
Synopsis: Beasley is the man. A consensus top-3 pick, Beasley is harmed only by a top-heavy draft class and some minor character concerns (meaning people like Pat Riley don’t like that he’s a normal 19 year old). He has enormous upside and should be an instant contributor, as his scoring and rebounding abilities are on par with the tools Kevin Durant entered this season with. Beasley is stronger and will likely be allowed to play his normal position, meaning he could have an even bigger impact in his first year. Again, his focus and mentality are in question, especially when it comes to the defensive end, but the fact that he’s already a go-to guy on offense makes him a safe pick anywhere but #1.
Interesting Fact: Took part in a “you’re better, no you’re better” with Derrick Rose via Draft Express interviews. Also, he’d probably be the most fun player to hang out with from this draft class.
Kevin Love , UCLA
Measurements: 6’9”, 255lbs., Age 19
Draft Express Rank: 2
ESPN Rank: 2
Synopsis: I really like Love’s game, but scouts have questioned all year whether or not it will translate to NBA success. It’s difficult to tell because there have been very few players like him in the past. It’s not often that an overweight big man with speed and defense concerns is talked about as a lottery pick, which should speak volumes about how good he could be offensively. He is the best passing big man the league has seen in some time, and he is an extremely intelligent basketball player. He is a good rebounder and dazzles everyone with his outlet passes, complimenting a good finishing touch and a great back-to-the-basket game. On a scouting report, Love looks like a pretty good prospect, but any team drafting him needs to be cautiously optimistic because of the athleticism concerns. Regardless, he’ll be a popular player, a true throwback with a unique way of playing.
Interesting Fact:His father, Stan Love, played in the NBA in the 1970s, and his uncle Mike was a member of the Beach Boys, while the rest of the Beach Boys are a part of his extended family.
Darrell Arthur, Kansas
Measurements: 6’9”, 215lbs., Age 20
Draft Express Rank: 4
ESPN Rank: 4
Synopsis: Most mocks have him going to the Wizards at #18, which is probably a good spot for him and a good fit. He’s a lot like Antawn Jamison, being a combo-forward with length and athleticism. He has a decent inside-outside game offensively and is already a strong defender at multiple positions. He’ll need to add size eventually to avoid the ‘tweener’ tag, and he could really use some work sharing the ball, but otherwise he’s a solid pick with high offensive and defensive upside.
Interesting Fact:He was the first Kansas Jayhawk to wear #00 since Greg Ostertag, and he’s cousins with Quinton Ross of the Clippers.
Anthony Randolph, LSU
Measurements: 6’11”, 220lbs., Age 18
Draft Express Rank: 3
ESPN Rank: 3
Synopsis: Everyone’s impressed with Randolph for the same reasons they’re always impressed with big, young power forwards. Unfortunately, the concerns are the same as always, too. Obviously, Randolph has a small frame and lacks strength, but he also lacks consistency and basketball IQ. He lives off of instincts and fundamentals, neither of which is a strong suit for him. Still, he has great size and wingspan, is explosive and athletic, and is a mismatch waiting to happen against opposing small forwards. He has the potential to be a great defender and has enormous upside, but the potential for a bust pick here is equally enormous. I’d stay away until he leaves the lottery, but someone may gamble earlier.
Interesting Fact:He is, without question, the ugliest player in this draft class.
J.J. Hickson , North Carolina State
Measurements: 6’9”, 242lbs., Age 19
Draft Express Rank: 6
ESPN Rank: 5
Synopsis: Hickson has all the physical tools to be a premier power forward in the league, but his skills and mental make-up may get him into trouble. He has great strength and explosiveness and a good drive for scoring, but he lacks shooting range and ball handling skills. His decision making is also pretty poor, with reports indicating that he loses focus and is generally not that aware on the floor. He should be a solid dunker in the league regardless, and he rebounds and gets to the free throw line well, so he has the building blocks for success if he finds the passion to work for it.
Interesting Fact:He’d be a lottery pick if he waited until 2009, but instead he’ll be the D-League’s Rookie of the Year this season. Fact.
Ryan Anderson , California
Measurements: 6’10”, 240lbs., Age 20
Draft Express Rank: 7
ESPN Rank: 10
Synopsis: He’s going to get lucky by hopping in with an immediate winner late in the first round, but it may stunt his development to some degree. The fact that the Spurs have reportedly committed to him at #26 should tell you a bit about him as a player – he isn’t the most athletic player but he can shoot from everywhere, play inside and out, and has a great head for the game. Sounds like a Spur to me. He’ll need to add strength and pick up some tricks for the defensive end but he is without question an NBA-level offensive talent.
Interesting Fact:He is supported by The Boom Tho Movement.
Serge Ibaka , Congo
Measurements: 6’10”, 220lbs., Age 18
Draft Express Rank: 5
ESPN Rank: 6
Synopsis: Ibaka came on strong late in the pre-draft season, as African big men tend to do as they measure out well. While he is raw, he has great athleticism and sound shot blocking and rebounding abilities already. Unlike most imported big men, he also has an 18-footer he can utilize. Obviously, Ibaka will be a project, and with so many failures in recent years he could slip, and a year or two developing in the Spanish League seems likely.
Interesting Fact:He is absolutely ripped. That’s all I’ve got.
D.J. White , Indiana
Measurements: 6’9”, 230lbs., Age 21
Draft Express Rank: 9
ESPN Rank: 8
Synopsis: White is a physical player with great wingspan and toughness, meaning he should have an easy adjustment to the NBA. He has a good jump shot from inside 15 feet, is a great rebounder and shot blocker, and already has a fairly polished back-to-the-basket game. At the same time, he won’t overpower anyone or jump over anyone, and he really lacks speed and quickness. His upside may not be that high but he could be a solid hustle player off the bench for someone.
Interesting Fact: He has minors in criminal justice and African-American studies, with a general studies major. Yup, there is nothing interesting about this guy out there.
Joey Dorsey, Memphis
Measurements: 6’9”, 260lbs., Age 24
Draft Express Rank: 10
ESPN Rank: 13
Synopsis: Rightfully, Dorsey shouldn’t make it into my rankings here, and should be in the paragraph after, but he’s Joey Dorsey! He had his own Gary Roberts Wednesday! Dorsey is a physical specimen, but one that probably won’t improve a great deal once in the league. His toughness, defense, and rebounding should win him a roster spot and some playing time, but the Ben Wallace comparisons may be a little rushed. He was a key cog on a National Championship runner-up and as such shouldn’t go further than the Spurs’ pick at #45, even with slight character concerns.
Interesting Fact:This generation’s Charles Oakley.
The power forwards go quite a bit deeper in the draft this year than the first three positions I covered. Several players deep already, the second round is littered with big men that either have high upside and no guarantee or a guaranteed downside with little upside. Alabama’s Richard Hendrix, Xavier’s Josh Duncan, and Maryland’s James Gist are names you may hear called out late in the draft, while there are a slew of PF/C headed to Europe or the D-League.
Check out Monday’s piece on Point Guards, yesterday’s features on Shooting Guards and Small Forwards and check back later for Centers, and Thursday for Potential Raptor Picks and a Live-Blog of the Draft.