The Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith casts doubt on the potential of the collegiate game’s two most publicized players.
As NBA general managers and scouts fan out across the country to watch basketball this month, even the top talent evaluators cannot agree on who might be the top pick. There was so much indecision, in fact, that not one executive was confident to declare any player worthy of being the No. 1 pick.
“There’s not one guy in this draft you can comfortably say he’s going to be a great player,” one general manager said.
There also is the media-vs.-reality test for the top collegiate players, Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick. Most general managers doubt their ability to become high-level NBA players because neither is particularly athletic. But those same executives believe public and media pressure will have some teams eyeing them as top-10 picks and perhaps even in the top three.
So here’s the list as it stands now, but remember that draft slots can change dramatically once individual workouts begin.
1. LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas, 6-10, 240
The best of the big men, though not necessarily to build your team around. Probably closer to 6-9 and 225, long and spindly, he’ll be a project at the beginning with a chance to be worthy of top pick.
2. Tyrus Thomas, LSU, 6-8, 230
Freakish athlete who can run and dunk. He’ll give some team the next version of Shawn Marion.
3. Adam Morrison, Gonzaga, 6-8, 205
The favorite of the marketing departments, but this is no Larry Bird, sir. He may not even be Tom Gugliotta. Pros fear he’ll get taken out of games too easily by athletic defenders, but someone will be intrigued by the hard work, fearless attitude and accurate shooting.
4. Josh McRoberts, Duke, 6-10, 240
Blue Devils didn’t run a lot through the freshman as they probably were trying to hide him from the pros, but he’s the best prospect there. Pros like his fearless attitude and versatility at his size with an ability to score in the post.
5. Joakim Noah, Florida, 6-10, 225
Likened to the Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao for his wild hair and hustle, but a much higher-level talent. The son of former French tennis star Yannick Noah fills up the box score in virtually every column.
Smith projects Redick no higher than 13th, writing,
Somebody will be intrigued”and could be disappointed. A truly great shooter who benefited from the Duke system with plays and screens for him all over the court. Not athletic enough for the NBA, but as they say, they add up the baskets at the end.