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Chauncey
07-24-2006, 05:45 PM
As always, chauncey brings you the good stuff:

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&id=2528122

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By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider
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<!-- begin text11 div --><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-TOP: 10px" vAlign=top><!-- begin leftcol --><!-- template inline -->Grading picks on draft night is a shaky proposition. Just an hour or two after the draft is way too early to give a full assessment of how a team selected.
We learn a little more in the NBA summer leagues, but summer success isn't a very accurate predictor of stardom, not when players like Loren Woods (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3555), Shammond Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3277) and Nikoloz Tskitishvili (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3603) have made the honor roll in previous summers.
A more accurate gauge of a player's future performance is an inability to thrive in a summer league. If a player can't produce against the watered-down competition in the summer, he'll struggle mightily to get it done against real NBA players during the season.
This year the NBA held four summer leagues across the country -- the Reebok Vegas Summer League, the Orlando Summer League, the Southern California Summer Pro League in Los Angeles and the Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City.
To get the skinny, Insider queried a number of NBA scouts and executives who attended the four leagues: Who played well? Who bombed out? How does the performance of rookies and sophomores affect team draft grades for the past two years?
Here's what the NBA Boys of Summer were up to in July: <OFFER>
THE GOOD

Charlotte Bobcats (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=cha): We've been lukewarm toward Charlotte's last two drafts. But after the Bobcats' play in the Orlando league, we might have to adjust our draft grades a bit.
http://espn-att.starwave.com/photo/2006/0712/nba_g_morrison_195.jpg
Fernando Medina/Getty Images
The Bobcats may have gotten the scorer they need.



This year's first-round pick, Adam Morrison (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4131), earned rave reviews. He showed he could score in summer league, averaging 24 points in 31 minutes.
But he shot less than 40 percent from the field (less than 30 percent from 3-point country), averaged only 2.6 rebounds and struggled defensively, so it might be premature to put him in the All-Star Game just yet.
Last year's second lottery pick, Sean May (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3939), was better. He averaged 18 points, shot 50 percent from the field and played strong defense.
Raymond Felton (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3931) played just one game before pulling out with a small injury. But that doesn't matter. Felton's strong play toward the end of last season proved he belonged in the league.
Boston Celtics (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=bos): It's sometimes hard to decipher what Danny Ainge is doing with his roster, but when it comes to the draft, you have to like the results for the Celtics.
One of the Celtics' second-round picks last year, Ryan Gomes (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3976), was one of the three or four best players in Vegas, continuing his strong play from last season.
This year's first-round pick by the Celtics, Rajon Rondo (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4149), earned rave reviews from scouts (including some who mocked me when I kept Rondo in the top 10 on my prospects list on draft night). They are calling Rondo the steal of the draft.
Rondo was second in the league in assists, showed his open-court skills, played excellent defense, kept mistakes to a minimum and shot the ball well (albeit by avoiding long-range jumpers).
Last year's first-round pick, Gerald Green (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3944), was up and down. He's got NBA athleticism and size plus a beautiful 3-point shot (he shot 55 percent on 3s in Vegas). While he makes a lot of mistakes, he's still young and the talent is undeniable. Celtics fans are just going to have to be patient.
Another steal was the undrafted Allan Ray, whose performance was among the best in Vegas, earning him a contract with the Celtics. Given the number of young players already on the roster, that's pretty impressive.
Al Jefferson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3832) wasn't as bad as some have said, but compared to the kid who dominated the summer league two years ago, he does seem to have regressed. Still, Jefferson can rebound and he can score in the paint. His lack of aggression has some scratching their heads, but the scouts I talked to were all still generally positive about Jefferson's long-term future. It's just going to take him a little longer than the Celtics first thought.
Sebastian Telfair (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3830), whom Boston acquired with a lottery pick, was solid. He ran the team well and in flashes was the pure point guard the Celtics need.
But he didn't shoot the ball well and led the team in turnovers. Considering whom the Celtics could have drafted at No. 7 (either Brandon Roy (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4134) or Randy Foye (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4135)), it looks like Boston might have gotten the short end of the stick. Roy, Foye and Rondo all look like they have more NBA potential than Telfair.
On the other hand, the Celtics did save some money in the trade by swapping Raef LaFrentz (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3246) for Theo Ratliff (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3020).
Chicago Bulls (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=chi): Thabo Sefalosha showed he's going to be able to step in right away and contribute to the Bulls. Sefalosha played only two games, but he excelled at just about everything -- he shot the ball well, played great defense, handled the ball a little and rebounded.
Chicago's higher pick, Tyrus Thomas (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4132), was more of a mixed bag. When Thomas stuck to what he does well -- rebounding, shot-blocking and playing around the basket -- he looked very good. When he tried to be a wing player, the results weren't so hot.
Thomas, a natural power forward, took six 3-pointers in Orlando and made just one. While there is talk that he might be able to play small forward someday, it's going to take a while before he can contribute there -- especially since the Bulls upped the stakes by adding Ben Wallace (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3149) to the mix.
If Thomas sticks to what he does well, he has a shot at breaking into the rotation this year.
Utah Jazz (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=uth): Utah GM Kevin O'Connor has taken a beating for his draft performance the past decade. Before the 2005 draft, the Jazz had drafted DeShawn Stevenson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3422), Raul Lopez (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3538), Curtis Borchardt (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3616), Sasha Pavlovic (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3722), Kris Humphries (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3831) and Kirk Snyder (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3833) in the first round. They are no longer in Utah, and only Stevenson has shown signs of being a legit NBA player.
O'Connor's fortunes changed last year.
While he's been derided for selecting Deron Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3929) over Chris Paul (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3930), Williams continues to show that he's got a bright future in the NBA. His play the last month of his rookie season for Utah was strong, and in the two games he played at the Revue, he looked great.

Williams probably won't have as stellar a career as Paul, but he's a good fit in Utah and should be their lead guard for the next decade.
http://espn-att.starwave.com/photo/2006/0721/nba_g_brewer_195.jpg
Kent Horner/ NBAE via Getty Images
Ronnie Brewer has the Jazz singing his praises.



This year's first-round pick, Ronnie Brewer (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4142), has Jazz fans salivating. Brewer was dynamite in Utah, averaging 16 points on 56 percent shooting. He played excellent defense, filled multiple positions and showed he'll fit a serious need for the Jazz with his ability to drive and get to the rim and the foul line.
Brewer probably will begin the season coming off the bench, but it's not out of the question that he'll be in Jerry Sloan's starting lineup before the season ends.
A couple of second-round picks, C. J. Miles and Paul Millsap (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4175), also were solid. Miles showed the ability to score, and Millsap proved that he's going to be able to rebound at the next level.
Minnesota Timberwolves (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=min): The Wolves had only one rookie to speak of, Randy Foye, but he was awesome. Foye was a scoring machine in Vegas, averaging a summer league-high 24.8 points while shooting an impressive 53 percent from the floor.
Foye was impossible for defenders to stay in front of and he got to the basket at will. Given the recent rule changes, he should have the same sort of success at the next level. He looks like a real steal for the Wolves, though the arrival of Mike James (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3577) in the backcourt might mean that there won't be enough basketballs to go around in Minnesota.
Indiana Pacers (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=ind): The Pacers quietly have been exploring ways of rebuilding their team this summer without tearing things apart. In part that's because they are bullish on four young players on their roster.
Danny Granger (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3943) was the steal of the draft last year and he continued to show maturity and poise beyond his years at Orlando. Granger didn't go out to dominate, but still averaged 17.3 points and 5.0 boards for the Pacers. His shot wasn't really falling in Orlando, but his play still gave the Pacers reason to be hopeful that he'll be a major contributor to the team next year.
Big man David Harrison (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3846) continued to show improvement. He played only two games but was dominant when he was on the floor.
This year's rookies were more of a mixed bag. Shawne Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4145) played just one game and struggled shooting the ball. Second-round pick James White (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4159) had an excellent summer league and drew very positive reviews from several scouts. His defense and poise really stood out, according to scouts, and he shot the ball quite well.
Memphis Grizzlies (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=mem): After a string of disappointing drafts, it looks like Jerry West is back. Hakim Warrick (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3945) played very well in the Summer Pro League for the second straight season. This year's lottery pick, Rudy Gay (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4136), played in just two games, but was dominant in both.
The Grizzlies' other first round pick, Kyle Lowry (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4152), was up and down. Based on what scouts saw in Los Angeles, it looks like Lowry might be another year away before he gets much burn.
Everyone was much more excited about second-round pick Alexander Johnson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4173), who dominated in Los Angeles with his strength and athleticism. But Johnson is older and more physically mature than most of the players he was up against. Will he be able to use his raw power as effectively in the regular season?
Philadelphia 76ers (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=phi): The Sixers didn't get to see much of this year's picks, Rodney Carney (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4144) and Bobby Jones (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4165), as injuries limited both to three games. Carney was very solid in all three games. Jones didn't make a shot.
The good news is that two second-round picks from 2005 shined for the Sixers. Louis Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3971) showed he could fill the void of an undersized 2-guard who shoots too much if Allen Iverson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3094) gets traded. Williams took a whopping 97 field-goal attempts and another 42 free throws in six games for Philly. He averaged 22 points and shot 47 percent from the field.
Shavlik Randolph (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3992) had 25 points and 13 rebounds in his only appearance for the Sixers.
New Jersey Nets (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=njn): Some believe the Nets got the steal of the draft in Marcus Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4150), and he didn't disappoint in Orlando. He slimmed down to a svelte 204 pounds and ended up averaging 16.6 points and eight assists with 46 percent shooting, including 55 percent shooting from the 3-point line.
He did have some problems with turnovers and defense, but looked like he was well on his way toward solving the Nets' problem backing up Jason Kidd (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=2625).
Last year's first-round pick, Antoine Wright (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3941), had a miserable season, but picked things up in the summer league, averaging a team high 17.2 points on 47 percent shooting and 50 percent shooting from 3-point territory. While scouts still have some questions about his defense, athleticism and ability to create his own shot at the next level, they thought his performance was solid.
We gave the Nets a hard time for drafting Josh Boone (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4151), but he was good in Orlando before a shoulder injury hurt him in the last game. Boone has to have shoulder surgery and will miss much of the first half of the season.


THE BAD

Phoenix Suns (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=pho): The Suns do so many things right that it's tough to criticize them. They remain my favorite team in the league to watch, and with Amare Stoudemire (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3607) returning, they have a great shot at winning it all next season.
http://espn-att.starwave.com/photo/2006/0711/nba_summerleague2_195.jpg
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
The Suns may regret trading Rajon Rondo to the Celtics.



But after years of being one of the best teams at drafting, I think the Suns screwed up their last three drafts, badly.
In 2004, the Suns traded their pick to the Bulls for Chicago's 2005 first-round pick. It turns out they could've had their choice of Luol Deng (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3824) or Andre Iguodala (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3826). The rationale was that the team needed to save money to make a run at a free agent. They used the said saved money to sign Quentin Richardson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3417).
Richardson was solid, but the Suns almost immediately regretted overpaying him to the tune of $45 million and traded him to the Knicks the next summer.
The Suns used that Bulls 2005 pick (which was much lower than they had originally expected, thanks in part to the Bulls grabbing Deng) to draft Nate Robinson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3947). They then traded Robinson and Richardson to New York for Kurt Thomas (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3012). The rationale was that the Suns needed toughness and they needed to save money.
Thomas was solid, but ran out of gas in February and spent the rest of the season on the injured list.
This year, the Suns traded both of their first-round picks (Rajon Rondo and Sergio Rodriguez (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4155)) for a future first-round pick, and cash. Again the rationale was that the team wanted to save the cap room so that they could spend in free agency. Their primary target, John Salmons (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3624), spurned them, and they ended up throwing way too much money at Marcus Banks (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3716) when Salmons went another way.
So after three drafts, what do the Suns have to show for it all? A broken down Kurt Thomas (with $16 million left on his contract), an overpaid/undersized back-up guard in Banks and the Cavs' first-round pick next season.
Would you trade those assets for a combination of Deng (or Iguodala), Robinson and Rondo? On talent, there's no way. And when you factor in how cheap rookies are compared to free-agent vets, you wouldn't do it for the money, either.
The bottom line is: Part of the reason the Suns are having cap problems is that they aren't totally taking advantage of cheaper rookie contracts. When Leandro Barbosa (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3731) and Boris Diaw (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3724) sign their extensions (Barbosa is closer than Diaw right now to inking a deal), the team won't have any young players in the pipe earning cheaper contracts.
The Suns have three potential first-round picks next year. Let's hope they've learned their lesson. Add Deng or Iguodala to that already stacked Suns roster and I think they'd be the favorite to win the West next season.
Clippers: As most of you know, I'm not one who automatically believes that international players are dubious NBA prospects. I actually go overseas, evaluate them and don't discount them because their names sound funny.
But I think Mike Dunleavy (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3601) went overboard when he drafted Yaroslav Korolev (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3938) ahead of players like Danny Granger, Sean May, Rashad McCants (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3940) and Gerald Green.
Korolev averaged 10.8 points on 35 percent shooting. He shot 25 percent from 3-point territory, couldn't guard anyone and led the team in turnovers. At this point, it looks like we're going to have to wait another year before we can see if Korolev can play.
Combine that with the uneven play of a guy on whom I was high on in the 2004 draft, Shaun Livingston (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3821), and it's tough to put the Clippers in any other category.
Second-round picks Daniel Ewing (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3958) and Guillermo Diaz (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4180) played better, but not well enough to make up for Korolev.
Warriors: The Warriors also have drafted well in the past, but their young guys didn't show much in Vegas.
2004 first rounder Andris Biedrins (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3828) actually looked like he might have taken a step back. Patrick O'Bryant (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4137) put the P in project and Ike Diogu (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3935) missed the summer league with more injuries.

Spurs: The Spurs are famous for either trading their first-round pick or selecting some obscure international player. Two of the said mystery men showed up in Utah at the Rocky Mountain Revue and there wasn't much to like. Ian Mahinimi looks like he has the raw tools but looks to be years away. By the way Sergei Karaulov played, according to scouts, he might never play in the league.
http://espn-att.starwave.com/photo/2006/0714/nba_g_ebarron_195.jpg
Fernando Medina/Getty Images
Heat center Earl Barron moves well, and can hit his free throws.



Heat: The Heat didn't have a pick this year so they went with their first rounder from two years ago, Dorell Wright (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3836), and a slew of undrafted players from this year's draft -- Mike Gansey, Kevin Pittsnogle, Eric Hicks, and Daniel Horton.
Wright was a disappointment, according to scouts. He had a couple of solid games for the Heat, but was plagued with inconsistency. He's still young and has a lot of talent, but for a third-year player in the summer league, scouts expected more.
Gansey, Pittsnogle, Hicks and, to a lesser extent, Horton all justified the 30 teams that passed on them on draft night. None of them stood out.
The good news is that an undrafted center out of Memphis, Earl Barron (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3908), was one of the dominant players in the camp. He probably won't get much blow behind Shaq and Alonzo Mourning (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=845), but if one of them goes down, he could see some minutes. If he plays the way he did in Orlando, he could be a sleeper.
Magic: The Magic's first-round pick, J. J. Redick, sat on the sidelines and cheered. His back injury forced him to miss the summer league and the USA basketball tryouts -- not the start you want from your lottery pick. Combine that with last year's lottery pick, Fran Vazquez, hanging out in Spain and the Magic's draft gurus are not looking so hot right now.
Their second-round picks were a mixed bag. Second-year point guard Travis Diener (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3964) was great by all accounts, though scouts weren't sure whether anything he did in the summer league would translate in the NBA. Diener didn't have much talent on his team and ended up dominating the ball.
2006 second-round pick James Augustine (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4169) was his usual low-key self. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
MUDDY WATERS
Hawks: On the bright side, last year's No. 2 pick, Marvin Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3928), tried to shut all of us up for criticizing the Hawks for passing on Chris Paul to draft him last year.
Williams was awesome at the Rocky Mountain Revue, averaging 23.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting a red hot 55 percent from the field. Williams did a little of everything, but most importantly, he was aggressive putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. No one could defend him here. If he shows up playing like that next season, the Chris Paul criticism will hush.
I am still holding true to two seemingly inconsistent propositions. I still believe that in five years Williams will be remembered as the best player in the 2005 draft. And I still think the Hawks made a mistake by passing on Paul. Had they drafted Paul, they could keep Al Harrington (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3268) this summer and have a team that could approach 35 to 40 wins next year.
As it stands now, Speedy Claxton (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3419) is now Chris Paul and makes a lot more money. Williams is a better prospect than Harrington, but it looks like the Hawks are in for another long season.
Second-round pick Salim Stoudamire (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3957) also played well, shooting an impressive 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point territory.
This year's picks didn't fare so well. The general consensus was that Shelden Williams (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4133) was the most disappointing lottery pick in the summer league. For a guy that was drafted this high because he was supposed to be NBA ready, Williams averaged just 8.0 points and shot a miserable 33 percent from the field.
"I was high on Shelden before the draft," one NBA executive at the Rocky Mountain Revue told Insider.
"But after watching him here I have to say that I think I was wrong. I never want to read too much into the summer league, but every one of Shelden's weaknesses looked glaring here. I'm not sure he'll overcome them. That's not fair, but he's not going to grow or get more athletic and that was what was holding him back. I don't think he has the craftiness in his game to overcome those shortcomings."
With the two guys drafted right behind Williams -- Brandon Roy and Randy Foye -- looking awesome, this could be the last nail in the coffin for Billy Knight.
Blazers: On the positive side, Brandon Roy looks like the potential Rookie of the Year candidate we touted him to be (http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryDate=20060629&name=ford_chad) the night of the draft. The Blazers played him out of position at point guard and he handled himself surprisingly well. When they switched him to shooting guard the last day, he went off for 35 ppg on 13-for-22 shooting. He ended up averaging 19 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists while shooting 65 percent from the field and 67 percent from 3-point territory.
The Blazers had less luck with their other two first-round draft picks. Last year's first-rounder, Martell Webster (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3932), started off the summer league with a bang by scoring 29 points against the Rockets. But after that he struggle with his shooting, finishing with a 1-for-11 performance against the Suns. Shooting is Webster's best asset right now and while you can't quibble with a 40 percent shooting performance from 3-point territory for the summer league, he didn't play as well as his talent suggests he should.
LaMarcus Aldridge (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4130) didn't play like the No. 2 pick in this year's draft until his last game against Phoenix, when he scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Otherwise, he appeared to lack the strength to play down low and spent too much time hanging around the perimeter.
One other former first-rounder, Travis Outlaw (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3726), was solid, but didn't have the dominating performance he put up in Vegas last year.
A few of the Blazers' second-round picks -- Ha Seung Jin, Nedzad Sinanovic and Joel Freeland (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4158) -- didn't show much of anything.
Knicks: Last year's Knicks rookies all played well in Vegas. David Lee (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3956) was the best of the group, hustling up and down the floor, grabbing rebounds and scoring in a multitude of ways.

Nate Robinson showed he could run the point a little, at least part time, but continued to have problems shooting the ball. Channing Frye (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3934) played two games. In the first he looked great, the second he struggled.
http://espn-att.starwave.com/photo/2006/0713/nba_g_balkman_195.jpg
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Knick pick Balkman gave the effort in Vegas, but sometimes lost the board battles.



This year's first-round pick Renaldo Balkman (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4148) was disappointing & for Knicks haters. Everyone was ready to blast Isiah Thomas for making the biggest draft blunder of the century but Balkman actually played well. Not well enough to justify being drafted ahead of Rajon Rondo or Marcus Williams, but he hustled, grabbed rebounds and showed a lot of energy.
I'm not sure how he makes it into the rotation in New York, but given all the pressure on this guy to perform, he did well. Meanwhile, Mardy Collins (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4157) looked like he won't see the light of day in New York for the next decade.
Raptors: Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo can breathe a sigh of relief. He stuck his neck out drafting Andrea Bargnani (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4129) with the No. 1 pick and, by all accounts, scouts were impressed with Bargnani's scoring mentality, outside shooting and his ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. Scouts said he still needs a lot of work in the weight room, at the defensive end and on the boards, but felt that he was more advanced than they had thought.
Last year's first-rounder, Joey Graham (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3942), was up and down. Ditto for this year's second-rounder, P.J. Tucker (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4163).
Hornets: Last year's first-round pick, Chris Paul, won the Rookie of the Year and is playing for Team USA so he was exempt. This year's top two picks were OK.
Hilton Armstrong (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4140) played well in two of the three games he played. He hustled up and down the floor, shot a high percentage from the field and played solid defense.
Cedric Simmons (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4143) really struggled on the offensive end, shooting just 37 percent from the field. But he was solid on the boards and played good defense. If you could combine him with Armstrong, you might have a complete big man.
Last year's second-round pick, Brandon Bass (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3959), was disappointing.
Lakers: The Lakers got exactly what they expected from big man Andrew Bynum (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3936). One night he looked great. The next, ugh.
He's a young big man who is still at least another year away from doing anything for the Lakers. He's got lots of talent, let's just hope he doesn't suffer sitting at the end of the bench.
Jordan Farmar (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4154) played pretty well, according to scouts, but no one sees him getting major minutes in L.A. this season.
Sonics: Everyone in Utah was pleasantly surprised to see how well Mouhamed Saer Sene (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4138) played. Sene was billed as a player that was three-to-four years away from playing in the league. But his shot-blocking, defense and a few surprising offensive moves have everyone reassessing that. The leap from summer league to the NBA is huge, but Sene does things that should be able to translate. He ended up averaging 3.75 blocks in just 22 minutes.
On the downside, the Sonics' other two young players, Robert Swift (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3829) and Yotam Halperin (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4181), really struggled. Swift shot a miserable 30 percent from the field and Halperin seemed to struggle with the speed of the league.
Wizards: The Wizards appear to have an interesting prospect in Andray Blatche (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3975). He's a 6-foot-11 athlete who likes to spend most of his time facing the basket. He's very active and can do a little of everything. Some scouts compared him to a poor man's Rasheed Wallace (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3006).
This year's first-round pick, Oleksiy Pecherov (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4146), was up and down but had a few stellar games against the Raptors and Knicks. However, based on the Wizards' signing of Darius Songalia, Pecherov probably is heading back to France or the Ukraine.
Kings: Kevin Martin (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3843) continued to show that he knows how to put the ball in the basket, though he shot just 37 percent from the field in the Vegas Summer League.
Francisco Garcia (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3949) continues to appear to be a mistake. He shot 33 percent from the field and 14 percent from 3-point territory. The Kings drafted him for his shooting. Ouch.
This year's rookies were better. Quincy Douby (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4147) was solid. He scored, played some point guard and shot 40 percent from 3-point territory.
Undrafted rookie Louis Amundson was a crowd favorite in Vegas with his athleticism and hustle. His 10.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 69 percent shooting from the field might earn him a roster spot with the Kings.
Cavs: The Cavs were pleased with the play of Shannon Brown (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4153), who showed he's going to be a handful to defend at the next level.
Daniel Gibson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4170) was a mild disappointment. He was a highly regarded second-round pick who played like an average second-round pick.
Martynas Andriuskevicius (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3970) still looks like he's a few years away, but you can't teach height: He's 7-foot-3. Let's just hope the Cavs figure out how to teach him to play.
Pistons: The Pistons got a pleasant surprise from last year's second-rounder Amir Johnson (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3982). His length and athleticism had several scouts saying he's another year away from being a big-time prospect.
Last year's first-rounder, Jason Maxiell (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3952), was solid though his shooting and free-throw percentages were eerily reminiscent of Ben Wallace.
Last year's second-round pick, Alex Acker (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3986), had a few good games scoring. But he didn't shoot the ball particularly well.
This year's second-round picks, Will Blalock (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4188) and Cheik Samb, were a mixed bag. Samb was surprisingly solid rebounding the ball and blocking shots. He has to get stronger, but he could be a sleeper. Blalock led the team in assists but didn't shoot the ball well.
Mavs: The Mavs appeared to have picked up a keeper in Maurice Ager (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=4156). He shot the ball really well in Vegas, averaging 20 points and shooting 47 percent from 3-point territory. His averages dipped by the time he hit the Rocky Mountain Revue, but considering how many games he played, you expect the legs to go a little.
The same could be said for Pavel Podkolzine. He looked solid in Vegas averaging 11.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in 21 minutes. He shot 60 percent from the field and even had a 20-point, 10-rebound game against the Kings. His legs were completely gone by the time he hit Utah, however, and he struggled mightily in the Rocky Mountain Revue.
Still, for a 21-year-old, 7-5 kid, he showed enough promise to keep the experiment going.
Chad Ford (http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/writeback?name=Chad+Ford) covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

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The Hustler
07-24-2006, 05:57 PM
Anyone else thinking possibly the wrong williams ... i know its hard to judge and i know athleticism of shawne is good ... but maybe we could ahve pushed the boat out and started a rookie at PG and backed him up with sarus etc.

Just a thought ... based on shooting like he had in the summer league (on one game granted) and the fact everyone seems to count him at no.11/12 on our roster ... possibly not the best possible 17th pick ... maybe we could even have got a shooter!!!

Anthem
07-24-2006, 09:06 PM
Rajon Rondo earned rave reviews from scouts (including some who mocked me when I kept Rondo in the top 10 on my prospects list on draft night). They are calling Rondo the steal of the draft.

Rondo was second in the league in assists, showed his open-court skills, played excellent defense, kept mistakes to a minimum and shot the ball well (albeit by avoiding long-range jumpers).
:cry:

rexnom
07-24-2006, 09:16 PM
I'm never basing anything substantial off of summer league. You can't "regret" a pick until a few years down the road.

Naptown_Seth
07-25-2006, 12:22 AM
:cry:
I agree. Though let's be fair here, they did get White and they needed something else besides a guard with the other pick. Shawne is a 1 year NCAA guy, he needs a couple of years.


True that summer league is not the regular season or anything, but its still a step above rating the draft off of college play. Summer is just like getting a better look at the draft than you had before. It does start to let you see issues or good things with players.