NBA Pre-Draft Camp: 10 Players with the Most To Lose/Gain
Most agree that the top four of the 2010 draft is all but set. Maybe we don’t know in what order the players will go, but we do know that John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins will be taken. For them, the pre-draft workouts are less important.
However, for players looking to move into the guaranteed money of the second round, or the significantly higher pay that goes to lottery picks, these workouts are essential. NBA execs and coaches love to get an up close look at the incoming talent, and workout results can cause wild swings in how the NBA evaluates each player.
In a guard weak draft, there are plenty of back court players looking to make a name for themselves and by doing so, get real pay.
Here's a countdown of 10 players that have a big opportunity this week during the pre-draft workouts.
10. Willie Warren
Which Willie Warren wants to warrant big bucks? A lottery pick if he had come out last year, his awful sophomore season has put many in the NBA off.
He will test out very well physically and has an almost a Rodney Stuckey type build. Again, there aren’t many stand out guards in this draft, and none of them have the physical size of Warren.
If he shows a consistent stroke from three point range, scouts might forgive his dysfunctional season. If he comes out and lobs bricks while also struggling with his handle and passing (something that creeped into his game as teams keyed in on him last year), he might fall a few spots and all the way out of the first round.
9. Lance Stephenson
Will New York’s all time leading scorer miss the first round? It’s hard to believe given the hype surrounding Stevenson coming out of high school (hype that he, for the most part, lived up to), but he has plenty to prove in the next week.
Stevenson has improved his fitness which has made him more explosive, and his relentless 1-on-1 game will impress plenty of scouts. Questions remain over his character, to which he has crossed his heart and sworn he understands the importance of being coachable.
Talent-wise, Stevenson would be a bargain in the late first round and a steal in the second, but teams are worried about what they’ll be paying for in headaches and blown expectations. He’ll need to continue showing his improved form to earn a guaranteed contract.
8. Devin Ebanks
Devin Ebanks had a down year during the regular season, and he’ll have to show some development to ensure he gets drafted in the first round.
He had trouble with ball handling and shooting off the dribble in college, and scouts will want to see improvement. In Vegas, Ebanks was surprisingly underwhelming from a physical standpoint. His wingspan isn’t any longer than his height (so who knows what Jay Bilas will say about him) and he isn’t explosive though he runs smoothly in the open court.
If he doesn’t bring a significant energy level to his remaining workouts, he may find NBA scouts’ interest waning further.
7. Jordan Crawford
Crawford doesn’t have a great body and has as many character questions as almost anyone in the draft not named Cousins. He can be an elite scorer, but he often gave the impression that getting buckets was all he cared about at Xavier.
After his heroic NCAA tournament, Crawford needs to have some excellent workouts to secure his first round status. Scouts will want to see if he can defend and score against bigger competition (Crawford is barely 6’4" and 185 pounds).
It will be key for him to display consistent range and form on his jumpshot.
6. Quincy Pondexter
Pondexter is currently slotted at the end of the first round in most mocks, but don’t be surprised to see him creeping up the board. He is a top-shelf athlete and has one of the best motors in the draft.
In workouts, his face up game, while a bit simplistic to be effective all the time at the pro level, will be very tough to stop in 3-on-3 and 1-on-1 scenarios typical of draft workouts.
The fact that he may be the best wing defender in the draft will also impress people up close. He may not have the potential of other picks, but he’ll show he can compete in the league right away.
5. Stanley Robinson
The early returns on Robinson’s workouts mirror the impression he gave at Connecticut. When he’s on, he reminds people of young Stephen Jackson, but stronger. When he’s off, he’s utterly forgettable.
He’ll measure out well physically, but scouts will be hoping to see more focus and consistency in his workouts. In Vegas, he went from tearing down rims (or almost) in an explosiveness drill to alternating airballs and swishes from behind the arc.
For Robinson to move up five to 10 spots, he needs to have it going for the whole workout. If he does, the lottery is certainly within his reach.
4. Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe is too tough and competitive to slip too far in the first round. But with few other guards competing for lottery spots, his athleticism and defensive capabilities might be enough to draw a lottery pick.
Bledsoe, like Avery Bradley, did not play point guard in college, something that has certainly hurt both players’ stock. Bledsoe needs to make good decisions with the ball and showcase his word class athleticism by going to the basket and hounding his workout partners.
If Bledsoe looks overmatched in point guard drills, he could slip as low as 25. If he shows his electric potential, he might make it into the end of the lottery.
3. Luke Babbitt
If Babbitt was from Lithuania, he would be a sure fire lottery pick. He doesn’t have typical athleticism, but he is a crafty player who can score in a variety of ways.
NBA scouts are going to be very curious to see how his cagey style, which was very effective against mid-major talent, translates to success against the best in the 2010 draft class.
He isn’t a great athlete (but neither were Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry) so he’ll need to show he can score with ease in the workouts.
2. Avery Bradley
Bradley may be even faster than John Wall (he posted the fastest 3/4-court sprint in Vegas workouts) and he was ranked ahead of Wall by some scouts when the two were coming out of high school. He is undersized at the two, but has long arms and excellent range on a jumper that was inconsistent in college.
Drafts are all about trends, and everyone is looking for the next Jrue Holiday or Russel Westbrook: big, fast, physical guards that didn’t have great college careers but have been explosive at the pro level.
More than any other player in this draft, Bradley fits the bill. If he can continue to have good workouts and show offensive skills, he will play himself into the lottery.
1. Gordon Hayward
Depending on who you listen to, Hayward could go anywhere from sixth to 20th overall. He’s got some big workouts coming up in which talent evaluators will be eager to see how he stacks up athletically.
He’s displayed excellent intangibles, toughness, shooting touch and an eagerness to rebound. If he can show off his handle a little more and put up some impressive athletic measurements, Hayward will be a surefire lottery pick and perhaps even drafted in the top 10.
If, on the other hand, he looks like he will need some time at the pro level to adjust physically, his stock will likely fall to the middle of the first round.