Reviewing mock drafts around the internet raises many questions, especially when discerning the Top 15-20 picks. What appeal do certain players have that make them the most coveted players in a given year? Now, for some such as John Wall and Evan Turner, it’s all upfront for people to see. But what makes players such as Hassan Whiteside, a player that a lot of big college basketball fans had never heard of before February or March of this year, appealing enough to be considered a lottery pick after 1 season at Marshall? Or what is the appeal of Ed Davis, a 6th man a year ago and a disappointing sophomore season? I am going to take a look at a group of projected first rounder and hopefully explain well what the NBA scouts and executives see that many fans might not.
DeMarcus Cousins – Stamina issues, personality issues, and a reputation as a malcontent. Sounds good, huh? If you put those aside, you see a physical player with a wide body who also happens to have some of the quickest moves for someone his size and a menacing presence that will make players he is matched up with think twice about what they do.
Ed Davis – He was a vital role player on the 2009 National Champions, though in limited minutes. But once Lawson and crew went pro, he didn’t make the leap expected. At times, he seemed to hide on the court instead of being a go-to guy, and often looked nothing like the player that could have been a lottery pick a year ago. Leave those impressions and you find a very raw basketball player who is just learning the next-level skills necessary for him to be a star. Give someone with his footwork a set of post moves to go along with his rebounding and shot blocking ability and you have the makings of a top-notch power forward.
Hassan Whiteside – People may be thinking Hasheem Thabeet 2.0. An offensive limited shot blocker. Seems to be one of those every few years and they always seem to get drafted much higher than they should. What the NBA people are seeing is young Marcus Camby – the ability to change games on defense with the raw goods to become a good offensive player.
Daniel Orton – I will take a pass on Orton as there seems to be plenty of people already dissecting him and I won’t be able to offer any further insight then they have. Suffice to say, he is the biggest stretch of this whole group.
Devin Ebanks – Fans may remember him being the 3rd, sometimes 4th, option on this year’s Final Four team, but GM’s see a very athletic wing that is active around the rim, finds holes in the defense and is long and agile enough to guard multiple positions. It is a lot tougher to turn non-athletes into athletes then it is to turn athletes into good basketball players.
As we get closer to the draft, I will spend more time examining what constitutes appeal to the NBA front office types and how there is much more to the players than what you see.