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This year's NBA draft has several great guards and a few strong forwards/centers. Here are the rankings/ratings on my top 5 prospects of this NBA season.
1. Greg Oden - This "rookie" has been recovering from knee issues for the last year or so. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the coming year. Size/strength/talent wise I'm pretty sure he'll make one of the top 7-8 centers in the league immediately. However, he will have to continue conditioning and strengthening his body to become one the top big men in this bone-crushing league. Offensively, I don't expect him to do much as he was mainly drafted for a threatening defensive presence. He average 4 blocked shots (4 blocked shots), 15 points, and 10 rebounds. Some solid stats for a potential solid player. His impeccable blocking capability and superior rebounding skills give him a boost over most of the other rookies this year vying for the best first year big man. I will give this handsome hunk an B+. (I am a tough grader)
Pros: Defensive abilities have flowered. Makes him one of the best.
Cons: Offensively, he is average. Another primary concern that remains is his health.
2. Michael Beasley - First off, his off court follies will hurt my grading of him. To me, people who can't focus on their jobs don't deserve to do too well. The reason he is on my top 5 is because he is an extremely talented player. After watching highlights of Beasley and Love, Beasley seemed to be the better player. His court awareness and his ability to creates shots is phenomenal. Moreover, his high school stats are drop-down crazy (Take a look: about 50 PPG, 20 RBG, 8 BPG) - Yes crazy is an understatement. But he still performed like a star during his time at KSU with more humanly stats. Unlike the other top large prospects in this draft, Beasley will prove to be the #1 offensive threat (with Kevin Love in a close second) this year. I give him a B+/B.
Pros: Talent, pure raw talent. This kid is amazing on the court and if focuses on the game (i.e. conditioning, watching tapes, playing hard at scrimmages, learning from mentors) he has the potential to become a very dominant PF.
Cons: Off court follies = Lack of focus. Especially in Miami, these youngsters might have the tendency to go a bit Tipsy. I don't want him to become another Ron Artest, Dennis Rodman, and the ilk.
Beasley/Rose Summer League Highlights
3. Derrick Rose - Out of my top 5 picks, he is my favorite. He has loads of talent - passing, court vision, and shooting. He just needs to work on a few things...taking better shots..ball handling (maneuvering with the ball), and learning how to handle screens. I read something about this on ESPN, and was in accord with David Thorpe. If you watched the NCAA finals last year, you noticed he lacked the ability to utilize screens to his advantage. He took some really nice shots, but also made some irrational choices. The problem is, he had average stats in college, 15 PPG, 5 APG, and 5 RPG. The only way he can become a solid player is if he practices against the big dogs. Eh...about a B-/C+
Pros: He has an excellent work ethic. He has lot of potential - passing and shooting wise.
Cons: Although he played extremely well during HS, he played averagely in college. Hopefully he can recreate his HS performance or else he'll soon find himself floating among the free agents.
4. Kevin Love - A really bright rookie with good knowledge of the game, and great physical abilities. Unlike Oden, Love is capable of moving extremely fast without the ball giving him a major advantage over other big men. Offensively, he is capable of shooting, postsing up, and taking it hard to the rim. He is the antithesis to Oden in game play as he needs to work on defense. Better timing for blocks, boxing out some more, and other drills can really help Love become a dominant PF/C. I would have to give him around a C/C- (because his defense needs some serious help)
Pros: Excellent agility for big man, solid offensive player(probably what made him a relatively high pick in the draft)
Cons: Defense...and I mean defense - blocking, lockdown defense, rebounding, etc.
I was too tired to write a 5th...so I ended up with 4. I'll list the next few top players who I know less about
5. OJ Mayo
6. Marc Gasol
7. Brook Lopez