The Grand National Championships

May 25, 2009

NBA Draft Dumpster Diving: Small Forwards

Now we have seen certain things about this draft class. Ricky Rubio may be sliding down the list. There is no center worth drafting. None. Charlie Villanueva may be the guy who the Bucks keep over Sessions. Blake Griffin’s first season needs to be written by Bret Easton Ellis.

But there are bargains and people that will go undrafted on this list that play the three that are going to make a good impact in the pros. It’s not as superstar rich as the one, but then again? You’ll be in good hands if you take one of these players.

Honorable Mention: Josh Carter (Texas A&M), Micah Downs (Gonzaga), Wes Matthews (Marquette)

6. Lee Cummard BYU
6’7″ 185

His only question is how long can his hustle overcome his lack of athleticism? Because even though he wore down toward the end of his senior season? He has a salad bar of skills. A great shot, great court vision, good handles, and a great passer. He also generates a good number of rebounds and blocks for a swingman.

5. Tasmin Mitchell LSU
6’7″ 235

I would not be surprised if he decides to go back to school, but he just might be ready now. He’s got a scrappiness that can change the culture of a defense. He has the rebounding skills and power that can have him play the four. And he is fast enough to play out on the wing. He goes right well and has a good mid-range game. He finds seams in zones. He will be a solid starter.

4. Milenko Tepic KK Partizan
6’8″ 198

His strength comes from his point forward ability. He distributes very well. He’s fundamentally sound and has good court vision. He has good shot selection and his jumper is improving. He doesn’t have great man-to-man defense skills, but a tall guy that runs the floor brings glory.

3. Tyler Smith Tennessee
6’7″ 210

His shot is shaky. He does lack some awareness. And he’s a little bit of a tweener. But athletic versatility is an eminently draftable quality, and that’s not all Smith brings to the table. His transition game is strong. He’s an active defender. And he’s great at starting the break with an outlet pass. If he brings his handles? He’ll be a strong starter.

2. Jonas Jerebeko Angelico Biella
6’9″ 210

Forget the offense. Forget the fact that he vibes tweener. He’s a lockdown stopper. He brings blocks, boards, steals, and an ability to stay with the majority of athletes. You draft him? You’re getting two things. Defense, and a ready made nickname. Jonas Jerebeko IS the Swedish Chef.

1. Omri Casspi Maccabi Tel Aviv
6’9″ 215

Here’s a theory. Considering how the Magic have seemed to shock the world, a player like Casspi may find himself getting into round one. He has decent handles and a range that does extend out beyond the arc. But his strength? It’s his athleticism. He uses both his height and athleticism to lock down on defense. There are some questions here, but he’s a man with experience on one of the great Euro teams and he still has upside. He will not fall beyond the 38th pick. And if he gets there? San Antonio wins the draft.

So, you know what? I’ll look at the power forwards. And after that? You’ll just have to read my blog or follow my twitter.


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