Orlando Day 2: Forbes Looks to Cash In
Posted May 29 2008 9:37AM
The minimum salary for an NBA player is approximately $440,000 -- a nice chunk of change by all accounts, but certainly not enough to secure a spot on the Forbes 500 list.
Gary Forbes will gladly settle for a spot on the NBA 60 list, as in the 60 players who'll hear their names called this year at the Draft, slated for June 26 in New York.
He made a pretty good case for inclusion Wednesday night, scoring 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting in his Pre-Draft Camp debut in Orlando, as Team Two defeated Team One 90-85.
Forbes began the game in attack mode and never let up, constantly putting pressure on the defense and either making plays near the basket for himself or his teammates. It was somewhat reminiscent of his solid showing in Portsmouth, though a lot more efficient.
Over the past two seasons at UMass, Forbes has been what you'd call a volume scorer, someone who needs a lot of shots to get his points. That held true to some extent in Portsmouth, though Forbes showed some other dimensions to his game, such as the ability to pass and be an additional ball-handler at the small forward position.
It all clicked Wednesday night, giving many of the folks in attendance something to think about in the second round in June. Truth be told, if the second round featured only the most deserving players, Forbes would be a pretty safe bet to be drafted. The reality is that many of the teams drafting in the second round don't have roster spots available, and will take an international player and stash him overseas for a few years. Or, they'll take a flier on a younger player with a little more mystique about him.
Georgetown's Patrick Ewing added 14 points for Team Two, while UAB's Robert Vaden chipped in with 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
The majority of Vaden's buckets came from the perimeter, which is no surprise, given his reputation as a gunner deluxe. In fairness, Vaden has a terrific release and can really fill it when he gets going. The concern is that he's become very one-dimensional after flashing a much better floor game during his first two seasons at Indiana before transferring to UAB.
Vaden has another year of eligibility left if he wants it, but he turned 23 in March and is not really viewed as an "upside" type of player by NBA people. He pretty much is what he is, and he might opt to strike while the iron is hot.
Another player who'll have an interesting decision to make is Richard Hendrix, who showed well for Team Two in his first game, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He's clearly not a lock for the first round, though he's certain to be drafted in the upper portion of the second round were he to keep his name in the draft. And he just may want to get the clock started on his earning potential.
Kentucky's Joe Crawford led Team One with a game-high 19 points, while Maryland's James Gist added 16 points and five rebounds.
It was a rough debut for North Carolina's Wayne Ellington, one of the more talked about players heading into the week. Ellington struggled to find an offensive rhythm, and at times looked a little overmatched physically. He doesn't figure to measure out much taller than 6-3, and could stand to improve his overall floor game, making it a pretty safe bet he'll return to Carolina for his junior season.
Team Four 94, Team Three 81
Ty Lawson surprised many by showing up in Orlando this week, despite being viewed by many as a certain first-round pick. It was a smart decision on his part, and a good one for the camp in general.
The absence of true point guards in this year's field has been glaring from the start. Lawson came along like a breath of fresh air Wednesday night, finishing with 10 points, four assists (it seemed like a lot more) and three steals. It was vintage Lawson, pushing the tempo and making athletic plays.
He still struggles a bit from the perimeter, though his form is okay and he should become a decent shooter in time. Whether that process continues at North Carolina next season or in the NBA is an interesting question. After Derrick Rose, Jerryd Bayless, D.J. Augustin and Russell Westbrook, the pickings at point guard become a little slim. Lawson could probably find himself somewhere in the 15-25 range, though next year he could easily move into the lottery and beyond. Stay tuned.
Dayton's Brian Roberts, VMI's Reggie Williams and Mississippi State's Charles Rhodes each had 11 points for Team Four, while Pat Calathes of St. Joseph's added 10 points and five assists, once again showing uncanny passing skills for a player his size (6-10).
Calathes continues to be one of the more intriguing prospects to consider, once you get past the 30-35 players who are certain to come off the board on just about everyone's mock draft. Strength is clearly an issue, but there's no denying his ability to play the game. As the NBA continues to trend toward having more skill players, Calathes could benefit.
Clemson's James Mays and Duke's DeMarcus Nelson each scored 13 points for Team Three. Mays added five rebounds, three steals and a block for good measure, continuing his solid pre-draft play, having participated in the camp in 2007.
Though not the sexiest player in the field, Mays always seems to be doing positive things for his team. A solid athlete with a good basketball IQ, it's not hard to see Mays in the NBA next year as a role player, or at the very least, a practice player, ala Mario West of the Atlanta Hawks, who didn't get any burn in Portsmouth or Orlando last year, but made the league.
Two potential first-rounders, New Mexico's J.R. Giddens and BYU's Trent Plaisted had quiet outings for Team Three. Giddens looked terrific in Wednesday morning's drill session, but was unable to carry it over into game action, never quite finding his flow offensively.
Plaisted ran the floor and threw his body around. He just didn't have any plays called for him. He's clearly a lot more blue collar than some of the scouting reports this year suggested. He also has a decent touch. The word is he's in the draft for good and will probably be drafted somewhere in the early part of the second round.
Team Six 75, Team Five 70
Mike Taylor and George Hill didn't come to camp with the biggest reputations, though that appears to be changing pretty quickly. Taylor led all scorers in the day's opening game with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while Hill added 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
Taylor actually played this season for the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League, after spending his first two seasons at Chipola (Fla.) JC, and his junior season at Iowa State. He was dismissed from Iowa State in July of 2007 and subsequently signed a pro contract with the D-League, making him automatically eligible for the next draft.
Taylor is a combo guard with a very nice stroke and excellent quickness. He also makes good shot/pass decisions. With combo guards becoming en vogue in the NBA these days, Taylor could be a real sleeper.
Hill is likely headed back to IUPUI for his senior season, but he's definitely turned some heads over the first two days with his solid, if not spectacular play. Though not a true point, Hill has handled the position okay, committing only one turnover in his first game. His experience this year should give him a leg up going into next year, unless he decides to keep his name in the Draft this year.
Colorado's Richard Roby paced Team Five with 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting, while Ohio State's Othello Hunter added 13 points.
Roby comes as advertised. He can put the ball in the basket. Whether he does enough other things to merit a spot in the NBA is up for debate. After a disappointing senior season at Ohio State, Hunter showed well in Portsmouth, earning his way into Orlando. He has they physical ability to play at the next level. He struggles in terms of concentration and approach.
It was a strong first outing for California's DeVon Hardin, who many felt would skip the camp. Hardin put his name in the Draft last year and supposedly got a promise from Detroit late in the first round before returning to school in the hopes of improving his draft position. It didn't quite happen, as Hardin still probably sits on the first-round bubble. That said, he has the best body of any big man in the camp (outside of Joey Dorsey) and can really get up and down the floor. A few more performances like Day One, and Hardin could hear good news come June 26.