Orlando Day 4: No Telling What the Future Holds
Posted May 31 2008 10:02AM
Brent Barry was asked about the NBA acknowledging a two-shot foul should have been called when Derek Fisher landed on him with just over two seconds remaining in Game 4, when the Lakers led 93-91.
“That's awesome,” Barry said, “because Doc Brown is waiting for me outside, and we're going to get in the DeLorean and fire up the flux capacitor and we're going to go back and shoot a couple of free throws.”
There’s not an NBA GM who wouldn’t love to take a trip back in time with respect to the NBA Draft. Toronto’s Bryan Colangelo, when sitting for an interview with ESPN during their broadcast from Orlando this week, spoke about 2002, when he selected Casey Jacobsen one spot ahead of Tayshaun Prince.
Colangelo, who was with the Phoenix Suns at the time, rationalized the move by pointing out his team’s depth at small forward, while expressing admiration for the player Prince has become.
The final playing day in Orlando always brings about an interesting juxtaposition, with supposed fringe players finishing out games on one court, while the top prospects go through drills and physical testing on adjacent courts. And every year there are players from the fringe court who eventually outshine those tabbed as being too good to compete in actual games.
Last year, Brandan Wright went through light drills and testing, while Carl Landry slugged it out in game action. Wright was chosen with the eighth overall pick. Landry went 31st. Wright appeared in 38 games this past season for the Golden State Warriors, averaging 4.0 points. Landry was a key cog for the Houston Rockets during their 22-game winning streak and march to the playoffs, averaging 8.0 point and 4.9 rebounds.
In 2006, J.J. Redick made the physical only list, while Jordan Farmar plowed through three games on his way to being drafted by the Lakers and becoming a vital member of this year’s Western Conference Champions. Redick has yet to crack the rotation in Orlando.
It remains to be seen what this year will bring, but there are certainly some interesting players to keep on an eye on. Heading up that list is UMass’ Gary Forbes, who finished up a strong week 17 points, as Team Two defeated Team Three, 77-73.
Forbes could not have scripted a better week, leading the camp in scoring, and doing so with the right mixture of aggression and poise. Though not a freak athletically, Forbes has a good first step and uses his strength to overpower defenders. He made a living at the free throw line with week, and shot a very solid percentage. You have to figure he’s done enough, having also played well in Portsmouth, to be drafted in June.
Robert Vaden added 11 points for Team Two, while Richard Hendrix added eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Vaden clearly helped himself this week, auditioning for the role of sniper in the NBA. He can really shoot it. He doesn’t do much else, but there’s always a need for shooters in the NBA. Hendrix will play in the NBA. Whether he decides to do it this year or wait and see if he can play his way up draft boards for next year is up to him.
Duke’s DeMarcus Nelson led Team Three with 13 points, while Clemson’s James Mays added 10 points and six rebounds. Both players stood out this week in terms of the energy they brought to the floor each day. Nelson is a small forward trapped in a point guard’s body and struggles mightily with his perimeter shooting. There’s no denying how hard he plays and how athletic he is, but you have to wonder if there’s a place for him in the NBA.
Mays has an excellent chance to make the NBA. You’re not sure what he is at the next level and you worry about his lack of a jumpshot, but he’s got decent size and just knows how to play.
Team Six 87, Team One 78
It took a few days, but USC’s Davon Jefferson finally showed some signs of life Friday, finishing with 16 point and 6-for-9 shooting.
He’s likely to measure out shorter than he was listed and doesn’t play with a high motor, but Jefferson does have some ability. Only a freshman, Jefferson is already 21 and has hired an agent, thus surrendering his eligibility. He could certainly use more seasoning at the college level. That seasoning is likely to come in the D-League.
IUPUI’s George Hill finished up on a strong note with 15 points and a game-high six assists. Not a pure point, Hill handled the position admirably and showed definite promise. If he played at a larger school, Hill would certainly have more notoriety, but at the end of the day, he’s a pretty talented player with a chance. A few years back, Ronnie Price played in the camp and made the NBA without large school pedigree.
Kentucky’s Joe Crawford capped a strong camp with 11 points for Team One, while North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington added 10 points.
Ellington is not a lock for the first round and should go back to school, along with Danny Green, who sat out the final day with an injury, as did Ty Lawson.
Team Four 105, Team Five 92
Everyone got into the act for Team Four, led by Oregon’s Malik Hairston with 20 points. Hairston seems to be on a mission since the end of the season, shedding 15 pounds and looking quicker and more explosive. He has the skill level to play in the NBA. Improved athleticism bodes well for his professional future.
Arkansas’ Sonny Weems had another solid game with 16 points, while Dayton’s Brian Roberts added 13 points and 13 assists.
After a fairly non-descript performance in Portsmouth, Roberts played the one exclusively in Orlando and did well. His future in the NBA, if he has one, is as a spot-up shooter, as he lacks the quickness to play point guard full-time.
Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo (20 points) has the speed and strength to compete at the NBA level. He struggles with shot selection and decision-making, things he should work on with another season in college.
Ohio State’s Othello Hunter (11 points, 14 rebounds) continued to rebound at an impressive clip after leading Portsmouth in rebounding prior to Orlando. Hunter runs like a deer and has an NBA ready body. A team could draft him and allow him to develop in the D-League for a few seasons.