With only eight days left until the 2010 NBA Draft, we’ve looked at who is projected where and weighed in on who we’d rather have.
Basically, we’re asking Who Ya Got? Is it the proven performer, or the younger player with bigger upside? Do you want a stretch four or a banger in your front court?
Here, two of our writers each took a player and made their case for that particular player.
The conversation doesn’t end with our opinions though, so in the comments let us know: Who Ya Got?
The Case for Larry Sanders — Power Forward | 6′11″ | 225 lbs
In a draft deep at the power forward position, Larry Sanders has been wrongly overlooked. Many consider him to be only a defensive four or five, but he brings a lot more to the table. Yes, he is an elite defender, but he has the type of frame that has NBA scouts drooling.
Standing 6’ 11” with a 7’ 6” wingspan that was the second longest in the draft, he has the length to change games and teams' futures. When you add to that his substantial upside, it’s a wonder why he isn’t being mentioned with Ekpe Udoh, Hassan Whiteside, and Daniel Orton.
His offense still is a work in progress, but he has the tools to improve. His jump from his sophomore year to his junior year was a huge one. His scoring, assists, rebounding, and impact on the game improved all while being the new go-to guy after the departure of Eric Maynor.
Defenses were focused on Sanders, which is why he had some head-scratching, bad games, but given the opportunity to play as a complementary again should help his numbers.
While Sanders is raw with his back to the basket, he looks like Hakeem Olajuwon compared to Orton. Of all the players projected to go in the first round, Orton probably has the most risk. He couldn’t crack the rotation for a Kentucky team that was often leading by a ton of points.
The last player I can remember to be drafted high who wasn’t a starter in college was Daequan Cook from Ohio State, who went 21st to Miami, and we all know how successful he has been. When Orton was on the floor he was nothing to write home about, showing good size and hands, but never making anyone’s jaw drop.
Sanders, on the other hand, had games that showed top-10 potential. Against Drexel, 29 points (on 13 of 15 shooting) with 13 rebounds. Put that against Orton’s best game of 14 points and six rebounds against Rider. Give me Sanders every time.
Sanders is currently slated in the middle of the first round. A team like Portland with the 22nd pick in the draft may be a good fit for him. The Trailblazers still have no idea what they have in Greg Oden, and considering he’s only played in 82 games over two seasons might mean it’s time to start looking for a replacement.
The Miami Heat at No. 18 can also use a big man in the middle, and Sanders may be the new Alonzo Mourning the Heat have been looking for since his retirement from the game.
Don’t forget, Sanders picked up the game of basketball in his junior year of high school. So, don’t be too alarmed by his limited offensive skill set, because that will certainly come with time.
The Case for Daniel Orton—Power Forward | 6′10″ | 270 lbs
One of five Kentucky Wildcats that will be taken in the first round this year, Daniel Orton might be the least known. The freshman had limited playing time in his only college season playing behind both DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson, but NBA GMs still see a lot of upside in this young big man.
Orton already has an NBA body with a long wingspan. Despite his size, he is surprisingly athletic. He knows how to use his body on both ends of the court, getting as deep as possible offensively and cleaning up rebounds defensively.
Orton is already showing an ability to finish with both hands and also to finish with strength. His athleticism helps him on the defensive end as well, allowing him to be a capable shot blocker. Daniel is essentially being evaluated and drafted based on his upside, but there is at least enough size and talent already there to justify that upside.
Daniel Orton will give you a stronger, more reliable presence in the post than Larry Sanders can give you. Sanders is very athletic for his size and can be good as a slasher or in transition, but he will struggle greatly going against NBA-size forwards and centers down low.
And since he doesn’t have much of a face up game or a reliable jump shot, he won’t be able to make those bigger players pay for sagging off him, which effectively neutralizes his athleticism.
This lack of size and strength down low will also hurt Sanders defensively as players like Orton will be able to force their way down to the lower block.
After averaging only 13 minutes a game in only one year of college, Orton will still likely go somewhere in the middle of the first round. With the aging front courts in both Boston and San Antonio, Orton shouldn’t fall below those two at 19 or 20. If he does however, Oklahoma City would definitely love to have a young talented big man to add to their young and incredibly talented guard and wing players.