MVP: Kenny Adeleke
Kenny Adeleke, 6-8, Senior, Power Forward, Hartford
Adeleke certainly doesnt stick out from the crowd at first glance. With a round body and awkward open-floor gait, he almost appears out of shape. However, conditioning wasnt a factor when he started banging bodies in the paint. Adeleke has an impressive natural understanding of how to operate in the post, almost always appearing to be a step ahead of the competition mentally. He knows what he wants to do in the paint offensively before the ball arrives, and has already completed his move by the time any sort of help can get to him. He can rely on an assortment of hooks and scoop shots to convert around the rim. Adeleke has a relentless, physical nature to his game, relishing contact and never giving up on the glass. Despite seeming to be limited athletically, Adeleke gets off the ground remarkably well around the basket. He was a terror on the offensive glass here, and does an outstanding job of anticipating where a missed shot is headed. Simply put, there was no prospect at the camp capable of containing Adeleke around the basket.
So where does this leave Adeleke in terms of draft stock? After two impressive pre-draft camp performances in a row, it is hard to see him not getting drafted somewhere in the second round. However, there is some question as to how Adelekes game will translate into the NBA. He was able to dominate this camp with his physicality, but it must be emphasized that there probably werent very many NBA big men in attendance. It remains to be seen how effective the 68 Adeleke will be at operating amongst the trees he will find at the next level. Adeleke has significant work to do on his body, but he also looks like a player that will put the work in to improve that area. A toned up Adeleke can certainly carve out a niche for himself in the NBA, in a Reggie Evans-style role.
Louis Amundson, 6-8, Senior, Power Forward, UNLV
Renaldo Balkman, 6-6 ½, Junior, Small Forward, South Carolina
Balkman, at 66 ½ with a long 71 wingspan and a wiry build, projects to be a small forward in the NBA. Here at the camp, he made most of his contributions by simply out-hustling the competition with his athleticism and quickness. His greatest contribution was on the glass, both offensive and defensive, where hed frequently come from nowhere to grab a rebound or score a putback. Thats where Balkman got most of his scores, as hes a pretty raw player on the perimeter, where he isnt very accurate with his jump-shot. He did show some nice flashes of a slashing game and some ball-handling in the fullcourt, though. He also threw out a few nice passes in both the half and fullcourt. Defensively, Balkman did a solid job at the camp, but with his physical tools, he has the potential to develop into a very good defender at the swingman positions.
Balkmans game is not much unlike current NBA player Trevor Arizas. They have the same knack for rebounding, the same long and athletic physical attributes, the same energy on the floor, and the same raw perimeter game. Ariza is a better ball-handler than Balkman, and has recently developed a larger semblance of a mid-range jumper, but otherwise, Balkman could play a very similar role for an NBA team that Ariza does, providing energy in the passing lanes and on the break while contributing some slashing and rebounding offensively.
Taj Gray, 6-8 ½, Senior, Power Forward, Oklahoma
As far as weaknesses were concerned, Gray still did not show tremendous footwork in the post and his fundamentals on his rebounds were hit and miss. As a face up power forward, Gray will need to hone his ability to consistently hit the mid range jump shots and use the threat of that shot to drive when the ball is in his hands.
Grays game is most similar to that of David West. West took 3 seasons to fine-tune his game and develop his go-to moves that enabled him to star last season for the Hornets. Gray has the beginnings of the skill set and the energy to develop into this type of player if he works at it. He is a superior athlete and that should get him drafted somewhere in the early-mid 2nd round.
Justin Williams, 6-9, Senior, Power Forward, Wyoming
Williams showed off more offensive ability than wed seen in his college career and at Portsmouth, stepping away from the basket and knocking down shots from 14-16 feet away from the hoop in the first game, and also wreaking some havoc around the hoop by coming up with offensive rebounds and going straight back up with his extremely quick second bounce. When receiving the ball in the high post, he was unselfish enough to make a pretty bounce pass into the post to his fellow big man. Continuing with the aggressive theme, Williams went out of his area on a number of occasions for long rebounds. Someone is going to want a defensive specialist with good size and a decent amount of upside that will be untapped as he continues to add strength to his frame, so Williams stands a very good chance of being drafted.
Will Blalock, 6-0, Junior, Point Guard, Iowa State
Blalock was a big reason for his teams somewhat surprising success, and won his individual matchups all week. Even though the stats didnt completely show it, he looked like one of the top all-around floor generals at the camp. With his ability to run a team and defend, Blalock looks like a prime candidate to get drafted in the second round and fill a third point guard role for a couple of developmental seasons. If Blalock can make strides with his jumper, he could develop into a very successful point guard down the road.
Morris Almond, 6-6, Junior, Shooting Guard, Rice
Almonds ball-handling was respectable here, but he would do himself well to improve it to the point where he could use it to create his shot more. Most of his attacks on the basket here were predicated by him using a shot fake, not taking his man off-the-dribble with his quickness. If he could get a little bit more explosive and improve his ball-handling so he could out-quick players more often, that would make him an even better scorer. That extra quickness and ball-handling would also make Almond more suitable to playing the SG position in the NBA, to go along with SF, which is where he is best suited now.
Almond would be entering his senior season at Rice University should he choose to return to college. He may be able to make an NBA roster now, or possibly even get drafted, but would probably be best off returning to school for another year to improve on some things before heading into the NBA.
Denham Brown, 6-5, Senior, Shooting Guard, UConn
He has a good in-between game, but at only 65, its hard to say how well that ability will translate to the NBA, where he will be going up against bigger, more athletic players. He doesnt have exceptional quickness, so its not going to be easy for him to create some of the mid-range shots he took here and effectively get them off over bigger defenders. Hes not an exceptional three-point shooter either, though thats something hell probably need to work on to find some place to stick in the NBA. He is a good defender at the swingman spots, and also a pretty solid passer, ball-handler, and rebounder for the position.
As noted above, Brown is a very versatile player, but in terms of NBA translatable skills, he doesnt have one standout quality, which is what most teams look for with role players. Brown has a decent change to get picked in the second round, and probably make a roster, but its tough to see him cracking a teams rotation until he develops something teams could rely on consistently offensively.
J.R. Pinnock, 6-4, Junior, Shooting Guard, George Washington
Pinnock started off a bit slow and seemed to blend in with the crowd, but by the 2nd and 3rd games he began to establish himself as one of the top players here. Coming into Orlando, we already knew that Pinnock was a phenomenal athlete who is blessed with an NBA-ready body. Much of the poor decision making skills and wild inconsistency seemed to have been left at the DC area before he decided to show up here, though. Pinnock used his first step and excellent strength to get into the lane time after time and finish strong in traffic at the hoop, and even showed an in-between game by pulling up off the dribble and knocking down shots. When given the opportunity, he did not look terrible shooting the ball from college 3-point range either, although this will probably be the #1 thing hell have to show to make and stick in the NBA. Measuring out an inch short at 6-4 did not help matters much, but Pinnock has shown that there is more to his game than we initially thought, with even better things to come from him in the future. He helped his cause tremendously.
Darius Washington, 6-1, Sophomore, Point Guard, Memphis
Defensive consistency and focus were Washingtons biggest weaknesses. Washington allowed far too many players to get into the lane against him for no reason other than a lack of aggressive ball pressure. Washington has the athleticism to play solid defense, so if he concentrates on improvement in this area hell be on his way to being a more complete player. Overall, Washington was a very solid performer during the week and may have moved himself into a position to get a much longer look from teams looking for depth in the backcourt. Summer League shouldnt be a question for Washington as far as getting invited is concerned, what happens from there is up to him.
Washington has a workout scheduled for June 22nd with Sacramento, four days after the pullout deadline, which tells us all we need to know about his plans regarding staying in the draft or not.
Rashad Anderson, 6-4 ½ Senior, Shooting Guard, UConn
There are plenty of different criteria one could use in coming with an All-Orlando Team, but the main goal of the camp for every player is to get picked. Putting up flashy stats or dominating certain matchups is one thing, but for the camp to be a success for a player, he must show that he can play some sort of role in the NBA. Andersons all-around game might not be there, but he absolutely proved that he can score on any level. Thus, dont be surprised at all if Andersons name is called on draft night, or if he develops into a solid NBA scoring specialist down the road.
Sean Dockery, 62, Senior, Point Guard, Duke
Dockerys biggest weakness is his ability to consistently hit shots off the dribble or with his feet set. His shooting mechanics are solid from the waist up, but he has a tendency to drift on his jump. There are flashes of his ability to create shots for himself, but he has practiced it so little over the last 4 years it will take quite some time to master.
Overall, Dockerys intelligence and overall ability are worthy of a 2nd round pick for any team looking for help at the point guard position. Even if he goes undrafted, Dockery has shown enough to warrant a Summer League invite where he can continue to develop the latent skills that he has as a primary ball handler.
Jordan Farmar, 6-2, Sophomore, Point Guard, UCLA
Farmar was at his best in his second game when going up against a hobbled Gerry McNamara. He got into the lane at will, scored in bunches with sweet floaters off the glass, and did a pretty good job of running his team. Farmars ball-handling looked terrific throughout the camp, and he used it along with his craftiness to keep his defenders on their heels and constantly guessing as to where he would go next.
The problems Farmar encountered mostly had to do with his decision making. He would follow up a terrific play with a boneheaded one, trying to be way too flashy and over-thinking things quite a bit. And while this is nothing new to those who have watched him play consistently through his college career, it was quite frustrating at times to see him force the issue time after time in some stretches. Farmar ran his teams offense about as well as any other point guard when taking all three games into account, which might not be saying all that much, but wasnt exactly the exhilarating and incredibly unselfish playmaker weve so often seen at UCLA. He appeared to be looking to show off his scoring ability more than his passing, and did a pretty good job as mentioned of scoring inside the paint.
Farmars perimeter shooting was extremely inconsistent both in the games as well as the drills, and it appears that there will be a longer transition period than usual adjusting himself to the NBA 3-point line. Defensively, he was up and down as well, lacking strength (only 171 pounds) as well as some length (6-3 wingspan) and lateral quickness, but hes clearly benefited from the tutelage he received on this end of the floor from UCLA coach Ben Howland in terms of knowing how to use his head to stay in front of people when he wants to.
All in all, Farmar had himself a fairly average outing at the camp considering the high expectations he set for us with his play over the past two seasons. If he ends up staying in the draft and landing in the first round (this years draft is too crazy to definitely make that assessment right now) it will be for other reasons beyond how he performed here.
Bobby Jones, 6-7, Senior, SG/SF, Washington
Being the type of player who serves as the glue for his team rather than the catalyst, it took him some time to adjust to his teammates on both ends of the floor. He was fairly passive offensively to start things off, making some nice passes in transition and not really looking out too much for his own stats, but got better each day until his best performance in the last day of the camp. It was here that Jones showed off the fact that he shouldnt be considered a strict offensive liability at the NBA level, as he looked for his shot more often, slashed his way to the hoop, scored on a pretty floater and a pull-up jumper, and generally made the right play almost every time he touched the ball, including making some more unselfish passes. Jones perimeter shot wasnt falling for him at this camp as a whole just like it didnt for the most part during his college career; hell have to work on his unorthodox shooting mechanics that never allow him to find a consistent release point. For the role he projects playing in the NBA, though, Jones showed his value here as well as at Portsmouth and likely solidified himself somewhere in the 2nd round. The strengths he brings to the table along with his high character and excellent intangibles will almost certainly land him an NBA job this coming season.
Paul Millsap, 6-7, Junior, Power Forward, Louisiana Tech
On the defensive end, Millsap played fairly well, but was burned a few times when players took him away from the basket. He does understand how to use his body and position himself in the best way to prevent the offensive player from scoring. This does not compensate for a lack of lateral quickness, however, and he will need to improve his defense to become a regular rotation power forward in the NBA.
The best part of Millsaps game was clearly his rebounding, which was what he was best known for in college. On both ends of the floor, Millsap used his body to push players around, and was always able to keep his position long enough to get his hands on the ball. In addition to solid rebound fundamentals, he possesses the will to grab every single rebound. He was so active on the glass and was able to get many rebounds that he had no business being near. This is clearly Millsaps strength at this point, and the skill he has the translates best to the next level. If he can improve his body and continue to improve offensively, Millsap has the potential to be a rotation big man on the next level.