Prospects Save Best For Last
For those who haven’t experienced it before, the NBA’s Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago is kind of a like a good stew. Sometimes you have to let it cook, otherwise you miss out on the flavor.
NBA personnel executives don’t get paid for their culinary instincts. But, for those who skipped town Thursday, they missed some hearty performances from the camp’s last day.
Simmons finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting. Thompson chipped in with 18 points as Team Three defeated Team Two, 102-97.
Simmons didn’t have the greatest week shooting the ball, though it’s clear from drills and viewing his technique, that he has a chance to make the league as a designated shooter.
Thompson had trouble getting into the offensive flow during his first two games, then exploded in game three. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Thompson is that even when he wasn’t getting the ball, he didn’t let if affect the other parts of his game. He still rebounded, passed and defended with intensity. Those are the kinds of things that can make a big difference come draft day. Thompson appears to be a lock for the second round.
West Virginia’s Kevin Pittsnogle rebounded from a difficult first two games to score 16 points. It wasn’t enough to convince him or NBA folks that he’s ready for the league. Pittsnogle announced he’s heading back to school for his senior campaign.
Team One 95, Team Six 72
Florida’s David Lee, one of the most talked about players at the start of the week, finished strong with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
Though you’d like him to be a little taller and demonstrate more offensive polish, Lee is athletic, he competes and knows how to play.
He, along with Illinois’ Luther Head, left the camp as the players with the greatest chance to be selected in the first round according to most reports. This will likely hinge on how many top international prospects decide to stay in the draft.
Lucas pretty much validated what people already knew heading into the week. He’s a competitor and he makes open shots. Still, at 5-10 and about 160 pounds soaking wet, he has a tough road ahead.
Smith was much more of a revelation, having operated in relative obscurity this past season. He’s a legit 6-8 and has a nice mix of inside/outside skills. If he decided to stay in the draft, somebody would most certainly draft him in the second round. Chances are he could play his way into the first round as a senior, though La Salle has endured some difficult times in recent years, and Smith might be better off striking while the iron is warm.
Wake Forest’s Eric Williams left Chicago in a similar boat, although the Deamon Deacons figure to be pretty solid in 2005-06. If Williams decided to keep his name in the draft, he’s a definite second-round pick. Whatever the case, Williams had a strong week, showing great energy around the basket and surprising agility for a 280-pounder. His best basketball appears to be ahead of him.
Team Four 73, Team Five 71
Michigan State’s Alan Anderson, who scored 16 points in his final outing, entered the week as a likely second-round pick. And while he may not have thrust himself into the first-round debate, he earned himself a few bucks with the way he performed.
As was reported earlier, Anderson doesn’t jump off the page in any one particular area. He just does a lot of things well. While many view the draft as a chance to catch lightning in a bottle, Anderson could very well be a ray of sunshine to a team picking in the early part of the second round.
Though he didn’t score much is his final game, Marquette’s Travis Diener finished with a game-high eight assists. There wasn’t a better pure point in camp this week. Diener has to like his chances in the second round based on his performance.
Vermont’s Taylor Coppenrath ended on a high note, scoring 16 points. It probably was too little too late. Though you have to appreciate the way he competes, everything about his game is a bit slow. He clearly struggled with the quickness and physicality of some of the other big men this week.
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