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How to become a draft expert in 3 weeks

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive||

June 17, 2011

Three weeks, eight workouts and 48 prospect interviews later, I can humbly admit to having become an unqualified expert.

Not on the NBA Draft so much, but on holding a video camera steady while asking questions of players.

Hey, it's not as easy as it looks.

This has been one of the more interesting and entertaining workout seasons in recent memory for a number of reasons.

Wrote a blog about it. Want to read it? Here it goes.

LOCAL INTEREST: The Pacers came right out of the gate with Purdue's JaJuan Johnson in the very first workout on May 26 and if you haven't had a chance to see his appearance on that week's edition of Pacers Crate, you definitely should check it out. He's an impressive person with a great personality.

His teammate, E'Twaun Moore, had the misfortune of being in the same workout as Butler's Matt Howard on June 7. Though Moore is by far the better NBA prospect, Howard's accomplishments at Butler have earned him local legend distinction. Howard probably won't be drafted and might need a year overseas before being NBA ready but if there's a place for Brian Cardinal in The Association, there's a place for Howard.

Indiana State's Jake Kelly worked out on June 6, hoping to show scouts that his injury problems with the Sycamores are in the past and his game is on the rise. And then there was Andrew Warren, the Indianapolis Brebeuf product who starred at Bradley. Take a minute to check out his interview video from the June 7 workout, just go watch his impersonation of President Barack Obama announcing his selection on draft night.

BROTHER ACTS: Kansas twins Marcus and Markieff Morris look very similar but there are some important differences in their games. As Markieff likes to point out, he's the true power player of the two, while Marcus is more comfortable facing the basket. It'll be interesting to see if they beat the draft record of the Lopez twins -- Brook was No. 10 and Robin No. 15 in 2008.

And then were the Thompson non-Twins, Klay and Mychel. Though Klay, a big-time shooter from Washington State, is a much better prospect and a legit option for the Pacers at No. 15, Mychel has a much more engaging personality -- which I suppose one must develop when one fails to shoot as high as 39 percent at any point in one's college career.

WORKOUT WONDERS: I always hesitate to draw too many conclusions about what I see in the workouts, because the media is only allowed for the tail end of the sessions that generally last at least 90 minutes, but it's impossible not to be impressed by some of the prospects.

It didn't take long watching Jimmer Fredette go to work to develop serious concern he won't be available at No. 15 on Thursday. He's a better athlete than you think and has a lot of subtle yet effective moves that he uses to either create shots or space. Everybody knows he has area-code range, but in the workout he looked much more like a future point guard than a college gunner trying to prove he's not a 'tweener. And based on his Crate performance, he has a future as an analyst, say, 15 years down the road.

Kansas guard Josh Selby had no problem getting to the basket against anyone in his workout, dunking easily in traffic and showing scouts he's much more than just a jump shooter. He probably came out at least one year too early but I suspect he'll have a long and productive career.

Much was made (thank you, Michael Grady) of Marshon Brooks' explosive performance in the closing stages of his matchup with Klay Thompson in the June 7 workout. But observers who watched the entire workout said Thompson got the better of Brooks for the balance of the duel, a fact later confirmed by both players.

I didn't notice much from Tyler Honeycutt, the athletic wing player from UCLA, during the workout. But afterward he missed some of the most impressive dunk attempts of the month.

Jeremy Tyler, the guy that caused the huge uproar a few years ago when he skipped his senior season of high school ball to begin his pro career overseas, was not what I expected. I was prepared for a knucklehead but Tyler was very impressive both in terms of his physique and skill set but his intellect and charisma. He's been living with Bob Hill (and family) while playing for the former Pacers coach in Tokyo and appears to have grown from that experience.

YOU SAY 'TWEENER, I SAY VERSATILE: Not sure if this will stick in terms of how this particular draft goes down in history but it sure seems like The Year of the Combo Guard. The Pacers brought in at least a dozen backcourt players that fit that mold -- either they were smallish shooting guard in college that will have to be able to run the point at least part-time to succeed in the NBA, or they were big point guards that will have to show they can shoot it well enough to spend time on the wing.

Of course, if any of them turn out to be along the lines of, say, Jamal Crawford, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.