2011 Draft Preview: POWER FORWARDS
As Draft Day approaches on June 23, the Cavaliers will look to bulk up their roster across the board, including possible upgrades at power forward.
Tristan Thompson – 6-9, 235 – Born: March 13, 1991 (Brampton, ONT) – College: Texas – Not ideal power forward size at 6-9, but an extremely long (7-2) wingspan with a solid 235-pound frame; struggled against top competition; lefty; played with Samardo Samuels in high school; moves well without the ball; good but not elite athlete by NBA standards, but extremely active around the rim; high-motor, blue-collar player who doesn’t take plays off; footwork and instincts are raw; good in the post over either shoulder and has a nice baby-hook with both hands; good first step but needs to improve his handle; doesn’t need plays called for him to be effective; game is almost confined to the low-block with jumper that needs major work; very poor free throw shooter; is a full year older than his class; potential to be a strong rebounder, especially at the offensive end.
Kenneth Faried – 6-7, 225 – Born: November 19, 1989 (Newark, NJ) – College: Morehead State – Relentless rebounder on both ends; grabbed a modern-era record 1,673 rebounds in his four years of school and led the nation this year at 13.3 rpg; flew under the radar most of his career until Morehead State upset Louisville in this year’s NCAA Tournament (Faried finished that game with 17 boards); excels at doing the dirty work; relentless, albeit undersized defender; above-average athlete; willing to sacrifice his body; needs to further develop his post skills; might be too small (6-8, 225) to play the 4 at the next level; led the conference in steals; scores mostly on dunks and put-backs; shoots only 60 percent from the line; recent success of undersized bigs in the NBA helps his case greatly.
JaJuan Johnson – 6-10, 220 – Born: February 8, 1989 (Indianapolis, IN) – College: Purdue – Led the Big-10 in scoring at 20.5 as a senior; was the Big-10’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year; came into the spotlight after All-American Robbie Hummel re-injured his ACL; great leader, earned his degree, mature on and off the court; runs the floor very well; although he added 10-15 pounds heading into his senior season, is long enough but not yet strong enough to thrive at the 4 at the next level; arsenal of shots near the basket; legitimate three-point threat at 6-10 and shoots almost 80 percent from the stripe; uses 7-foot wingspan to average nearly two blocks per game last year; not great with his left hand; needs to work on his ball-handling; struggles to create offense for himself; more a finesse player than a power player at this point.
Markieff Morris – 6-9, 241 – Born: September 2, 1989 (Philadelphia, PA) – College: Kansas – Improved his stock each year at Kansas; an inch shorter, 11 pounds lighter with arms 2 ½ inches shorter than his twin brother; strong, powerful, physically-ready NBA body; has improved greatly on the perimeter, shot 42 percent from long-distance in last season at Kansas; terrific finisher around the basket; strong rebounder; aggressive, “bullying” personality around the basket; won’t be a superstar, but has all the tools to be a solid NBA player for the next decade; plays with focus and passion on the defensive end, forces tough shots in the post; must refine his post game to score inside at the next level; not a very high ceiling; doesn’t have a consistent mid-range game; bigger and stronger than his brother, but lack’s Marcus’ offensive skill-set.
Derrick Williams – 6-8, 248 – Born: May 25, 1991 (La Mirada, CA) – College: Arizona – Not highly recruited out of high school, Williams became one of the most proficient players in college ball; made big leap between freshman and sophomore seasons at Arizona, makes pro scouts wonder if he’ll make another improvement; is somewhat of a “tweener” – small for a power forward, big for a small forward; good at absorbing contact and gets to the line frequently; known for his highlight reel dunks; performed exceptionally well in the past NCAA tournament on both ends of the floor; in limited attempts, shot 57 percent from three-point range; quicker than most power forwards; above average handle for a big man with an excellent left hand; can play with back to the basket, but prefers facing up; will have to learn to guard small forwards at the next level; not a great rebounder; a complete scorer who’s drawn comparisons to Michael Beasley; quick thinker; confident; excellent intangibles.
Should the Wine and Gold look into this year's crop of power forwards, here are some of the athletes who might be available when Cleveland's on the clock ....