2013 Draft Preview: POWER FORWARDS
We’re down to the final hours before the 2013 NBA Draft and Cavs.com wraps up its position-by-position look at what the scouts are saying about this year’s prospects.
This year’s Draft is great for big men and shooting guards, but not particularly strong for power forwards. Still, there are some gems waiting to be unearthed on Thursday night – from undersized stud Anthony Bennett to the untapped potential of Tony Mitchell to the youngest of the Zeller triumvirate, Cody.
Here’s how the experts are breaking down this year’s crop of 4’s …
Anthony Bennett – 6-7, 240 – Born: March 14, 1993 – (Brampton, ON) – College: UNLV – Somewhat of a tweener, but seen as maybe the most NBA-ready player in the Draft; imposing physical specimen with huge hands, wide shoulders and a 7-1 wingspan; innate ability to create space for himself; specializes in power game in the paint but can also step outside and hit from beyond the arc; excellent footwork; nice form and mechanics on his jumper; adept at drawing fouls and gets to the line frequently; has a polished mid-range game; can overpower smaller defenders and out-quick bigger ones; powerful and explosive leaper; great body control for a player his size; incredibly versatile scorer for a freshman; tenacious finishing ability; doesn’t seek out contact around the rim for a player with his dimensions; excellent ball-handler for his position; overall skill-set could make him an All-Star at the next level
Livio Jean-Charles – 6-9, 217 – Born: November 8, 1993 – (Cayenne, France) – Team: ASVEL Villeubanne – intriguing international prospect from France; stole the show at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit; fluid athlete with a tremendous wingspan (7-2); scorer more than a shooter but has the ability to knock down the mid-range jumper; plays with great intensity on both ends; coachable, hard worker with a great attitude, shows willingness to improve; shows the ability to defend both forward positions; at just 217 pounds, will need to add some strength to compete at the next level; a tweener who plays better in space than banging in the paint; will have to add upper body strength but doesn’t appear to have the frame to do so; needs to be more consistent with his jumper; athleticism and high motor make him very dangerous in the open court and on the offensive glass
Tony Mitchell – 6-9, 236 – Born: April 7, 1992 – (Dallas, TX) – College: North Texas – explosive athlete with size and quickness to be effective at either forward spots; might’ve taken a step back between freshman and sophomore season at North Texas; physical attributes might be his biggest selling point; shows the quickness and versatility to guard multiple positions at the pro level; very tough to score against at the college level; posted very good offensive numbers as a freshman; can play both forward spots, but hasn’t defined himself as one or the other; relentless rebounder on both offensive and defensive end; hasn’t established any go-to moves offensively; very active without the ball; didn’t face top-notch competition in Sun Belt Conference; can be turnover prone; plays with a great deal of passion on both ends of the court
Mason Plumlee – 6-11, 238 – Born: March 5, 1990 – (Arden, NC) – College: Duke – experienced, solid four-year player at Duke; scoring improved each year; extremely quick in transition and very agile for a player his size; hard-nosed player who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work; plays to his strengths; gets a good amount of his offense off the ball; very effective in the pick-and-roll; lacks an entire offensive repertoire; nice fluidity, explosive leaping skills, soft hands; good ball-handler; very good defensive rebounder; developed a nice jump-hook with both hands and an effective face-up jumper; has the size and willingness to be a good defender; not a very good perimeter shooter; sometimes predictable offensively in the post; doesn’t have a great deal of upside; not a vocal leader; viewed as a solid but not spectacular big man at the next level
Cody Zeller – 7-0, 230 – Born: October 5, 1992 – (Washington, IN) – College: Indiana – at one time, was in the discussion for the top overall pick in this Draft; comes from strong basketball bloodlines – both brothers are in the NBA, including Cavaliers center, Tyler; athletically, tested as well any big man at the Combine; plays with great focus and energy; a true seven-footer; put on some much-needed muscle during two years at Indiana; tremendous scoring instincts; quick feet; excellent hands; may not have the lower body strength to bang in the post at the next level; still uncomfortable shooting the jumper; hasn’t matched up well against more physical opponents; great court vision and efficient passer, but might be unselfish to a fault; didn’t progress as much from freshman to sophomore seasons as expected; great skill-set for a big man, but might slip in the first round