...plus some updates on Farmar, Redick, Douby, Gray, and Saer Sene.
NBA Draft Preview: Small Forwards
By Aran Smith
This draft buzz focuses on the top small forwards available for the draft.
Photo: Ted S. Warren
1. Adam Morrison 6-8 220 SG/SF Gonzaga Jr. -- Morrison brings a level of intensity that few can match. Those who want to compare him to Wally Szczerbiak should keep in mind that Morrison has a much greater killer instinct than the average high level college scorer. His fire and desire will carry him in the league and make him a go to player in close games. He may have defensive and foot speed shortcomings, but his scoring ability and desire to be great will make him an excellent pro. Morrison has a good shot to be the best player in this year's draft. Look for a team to make an offer that Toronto can't refuse to move up for him at 1.
2. Rudy Gay 6-8 220 SF UConn So. -- Gay has fallen out of favor after failing to live up to expectations and disappearing on a national stage in the tournament. Some have questioned his intensity and desire after such a lackluster season. At 19 years of age, he appeared overwhelmed with the task of carrying UConn to a national championship. But with such incredible athleticism, he has more potential than any player in this year's draft. Will Rudy's game come out of the closet?
3. Rodney Carney 6-7 205 SG/SF Memphis Sr. -- Carney is not much different than Gay athletically. He is smaller but brings the same type of freakish athletic ability. The knocks against him are intensity and skill level, but he stepped up with some big performances in big games this season. His mom was a world class track athlete, and Carney has the stuff to stand out on the NBA level. His improved outside shooting forces opponents to play him close which allows him to get by them to the basket. Houston would like to add an athletic wing player making Carney a possible choice for them.
4. Shawne Williams 6-9 225 SF Memphis Fr. -- Williams has a great package of size, athleticism and skills. He made the decision to stay in the draft and based on the level of interest from teams, should find a spot in the mid to late first round. Williams hit a wall in mid-season shooting the ball, and will need to add better consistency. For now, he's a player that teams can look to for ball handling, passing, and primarily defense from the SF position. He probably would have benefited by returning to Memphis for another year of seasoning, but adds depth to the first round as a potential pick.
5. PJ Tucker 6-5 220 SG/SF Texas Jr. -- Tucker was unable to play in the NBA predraft camp after his physical revealed a strained groin. The injury isn't thought to be serious, and the fact that he was willing to participate in Orlando is a positive. He is extremely physical, brings a high level of intensity, but he must improve upon his range shooting the ball. Tucker really went at JJ Redick despite Texas' blowout loss to Duke early in the year showing a real nastiness. Scouts feel Tucker has a good shot to sneak into the late first round.
6. Marcus Vinicius 6-9 220 SF Brazil 1984 -- Despite not having played the past season, international scouts are familiar with Marquinos game after he played in Italy before returning to Brazil last season. He has developed a soft reputation but brings great shooting ability and has a much stronger 230 pound body, up from under 200 pounds from a year ago. And while he has gained power, he has sacrificed some of his quickness off the dribble.
7. Louis Amundson 6-8 225 SF UNLV Sr. -- Amundson had one of the best Orlando predraft camps of anyone showing a great intensity level and an improved shooting touch. He still lacks great offensive skills, but he plays with a high level of energy and athleticism. Look for his to find a spot in the early second round with an outside shot to sneak into the end of the first.
8. Steve Novak 6-10 220 SF Marquette Sr. -- Novak brings an attribute to the table that few others can match with his tremendous shooting ability. The NBA as the say always needs shooters, and Novak is on an elite level. Unfortunately his ability to create shots for himself is very poor due to his lack of athleticism and foot speed. Regardless, Novak is a bubble first rounder who will spread the floor and do well in the right situation.
9. Renaldo Balkman 6-8 208 SF South Carolina Jr. -- Like Amundson, Balkman impressed at the predraft camp. His athleticism and energy stood out from the pack. Despite that, he lacks consistency and has a number of holes to his game. Balkman should find a spot in the mid second round with a shot at the early second round due to his predraft camp performance.
10a. Hassan Adams 6-4 210 SF Arizona Sr. -- Adams refusal to play in the predraft camp could hurt him some. He didn't have a tremendous season so playing well in Orlando would have been a good opportunity to boost his stock. Adams athleticism gives him some intrigue, but based on the interest level from teams, it appears he will be selected in the early to mid second round of the draft.
10b. Brandon Bowman 6-8 219 SF Georgetown Sr. -- His athleticism stood out in Orlando, however he appears to be one of those players that's more comfortable in a complimentary role. Bowman has a nice set of skills and a great body and athletic ability. He should find a spot in the mid second round area.
Nemanja Aleksandrov 6-10 210 SF Serbia 1987 | Nik Caner-Medley 6-8 240 SF Maryland Sr. | Ivan Chiriaev 7-0 220 SF Russia 1984 | Chuck Davis 6-7 230 SF Alabama Sr. | Lior Eliahu 6-9 225 SF/PF Israel 1985 | Tedric Hill 6-9 220 SF (Gulf Coast CC) So. | Damir Markota 6-10 225 SF Cro. 1985 | Antywane Robinson 6-8 210 SF Temple Sr. | Matias Sandes 6-8 190 SF Arg. 1984 | Marcus Slaughter 6-8 225 SF SD St. Jr. | Steven Smith 6-8 225 SF LaSalle Sr. | Curtis Withers 6-8 230 SF/PF Charlotte Sr.
UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar who impressed at the NBA predraft camp is still undecided about entering the draft. He would like a promise in the first round, which hasn't come. Farmar has not held any workouts for teams since the camp.
Ben Howland and the powers that be at UCLA are lobbying hard to get Farmar to return to Westwood for another season, as the team would have a good chance at once again making a run at a National Championship.
However, this is not a surefire win/win situation for Farmar. Even with a strong season, if Farmar fails to improve, or aspects of his game get exposed, he runs the risk of seeing his stock fall out of the first round next season.
The time could be right for Farmar, as teams consider him a lock for the first round, and he's said to have a safety net as New Jersey would take him at 22 or 23 if he fell to them.
On the flip side, a huge season in which Farmar showed improvement in all aspects could vault him into the lottery.
But with the draft, nothing is a sure thing, so making the right decision is often a gamble.
Redick DUI/ Back Injury Fallout
Scouts don't think the DUI that Redick was charged with this week will have a huge affect on his draft stock. After four years of playing at Duke and never having any issues, his character is not under question. However, the timing of the incident couldn't have been worse.
Even bigger than the arrest has been his back injury causing him to miss a few key workouts for teams (Orlando, Boston and Minnesota).
Redick is still likely to find a spot in the late lottery. Orlando at 11, Philadelphia at 13 and Utah at 14 remain the likely destinations for him, but missing workouts due to the injury (depending on the severity of it) could push him out of the lottery and into the mid first area.
Aaron Gray Pulling Out?
Scouts are saying that Pittsburgh junior center Aaron Gray is squarely on the bubble for the first round and hasn't gotten the promise he's seeking, which could cause him to pull out of the draft.
He has not hired an agent and remains undecided about the draft with 2 days remaining before the June 18th withdrawal deadline.
Gray has been linked to Chicago at 16 and New Jersey at 22/23 by contacts, but no concrete promises have been made. Gray has an intriguing combination of size and strength, but remains a project that will take a few years to contribute to a team.
A number of scouts feel he would benefit from another year in college where he would have a chance to lead the nation in rebounding. But even returning to school and having a strong season is no guaruntee as next year's draft could be stronger.
Saer Sene Moving Up
Senegal bigman Saer Sene's stock is on the rise. According to contacts, Phoenix is so high on him that they may consider packaging their two picks to move up for him.
Similar to fellow Senegalese bigman DeSagana Diop, who has done an excellent job of defending Shaq in the Finals, Sene could turn into a defensive stopper inside. Sene is a project, but his upside makes him very intriguing.
Quincy Douby Struggling in Workouts
Rutgers standout combo guard Quincy Douby has slipped in workouts over the past few weeks and no longer looks like a surefire first rounder. Douby has dynamic scoring ability, but lacks a great NBA body and isn't a true point guard.