Since I've been going through the work of updating the pre-draft workout schedule, I decided I'd make it a daily feature. Therefore, here is the first edition - today's edition of the NBA Pre-Draft Workout Primer. If you have knowledge of any workouts that I'm unaware of, feel free to e-mail me at the address listed here.
San Antonio Spurs - Xavier Henry and Paul George
George believes he may be more of a 2-guard than a 3. Some NBA teams agree. In fact his first workout is in San Antonio on Thursday. His workout partner: Kansas shooting guard Xavier Henry.
-- ESPN's Chad Ford (Insider).
To my knowledge this is the first workout for possible lottery-projected players in this June's NBA Draft. I'm not exactly sure how the two match up, but apparently the Spurs are looking for a three-point shooter with their first-round pick - 20th overall.
Xavier Henry, in a nutshell, is a great three-point shooter (42% on the season) though he gets a little one-dimensional after that. The Kansas freshman has great size for an off-guard at 6-foot-7, but isn't what the pundits are wont to call athletic, explosive or any of the other buzz words that are thrown around at this time each year. I really like him - and am willing to look past the huge slump he was in for the latter half of this season - though that's been a sore spot for many prognosticators. Still, most everyone projects Henry to be picked before the Spurs get a chance to nab him.
Paul George, on the other hand, was called the "upside sleeper of the first round" after Chad Ford observed him earlier this week in pre-draft workouts in Los Angeles. Like Henry, George is a three-pointer gunner as well as he attempted nearly five treys per game at Fresno State, but at least he connected on 40% of them. Though he's a sophomore, the prevailing thought seems to be he has much more upside than Henry due to his athleticism and jumpability - plus he can rebounded fairly well (7.2 per game) while in college. He can currently be found in mock draft's ranging from 21-30.
It seems to me that George is the more Spurs-like prospect. By the time the draft rolls around, and judging from the early feedback (especially if he can play the 2), George could be a steal at the 20 spot.
More workouts after the jump.
Detroit Pistons - Tyren Johnson, Osiris Eldridge and Jeremy Wise
I'm not sure if these are the only players that will be in Detroit today, but they're the only three players that I've learned will be there. That said, it's an eclectic group of players who all seem to be on the second round/undrafted bubble after being under the radar all season. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, as it seems all three have their agents working the phones and getting them in front of as many NBA teams as possible.
Jeremy Wise is the player I'm most familiar with as he played this past season with the Bakersfield Jam. A former undersized shooting guard out of Southern Miss, Wise transformed his game into that of a legitimate starting point guard in the NBA Development League. I'm not sure the comparison is fair, but I kept finding myself trying to compare him to Mike Taylor throughout the season - the only player to be drafted out of the D-League thus far. He's a great scorer, though a somewhat streaky shooter. As far as I'm concerned, I'd consider him an "improving" defender, though that wasn't his strong suit this season. After a season playing with and against NBA caliber athletes, I expect he'll be able to help himself in NBA workouts (and have heard he already has with a couple of teams).
Osiris Eldridge is an interesting prospect in that he's basically coming out of nowhere - at least as far as players I had been following for the upcoming draft. Eldridge, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Illinois State, was named to the Missouri Valley Conference's All-Defensive team and First-Team All-MVC as well as turning heads on his way to earning All-Tournament honors at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. He's currently training in Chicago with world-renowned trainer Tim Grover as well as working his jumper with Tim "The Target" Sullivan, though Draft Express noted that "he actually has decent shooting mechanics and can get his shot off whenever he pleases." Problem is, he seemed to look for his shot a bit too often as he attempted over six three-pointers per game this season (he made 35%, so it's not all bad). USBasket.com, not typically noted for breaking news, has reported that Eldridge already has a "promise" as a second round draft pick (with Detroit being one of the possible suitors).
Tyren Johnson is another player that impressed at the Portsmouth Invitational as he was named to Draft Express' First Team. In that article, Jonathan Givony mentioned that "he's essentially the prototype for what teams look for in a Josh Smith style face the basket power forward. Still raw around the edges and clearly not a finished product, Johnson will probably get some looks from teams in private workouts and will be someone to keep tabs on in Europe or the D-League over the next few years to see how he progresses." As the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a player that's shown the ability to fill up the box score (17.9 points, 8.0 boards, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.5 blocks, 50% FG, 36% 3-point), he probably has a chance of impressing somebody in workouts. Still, Johnson measured out at just 6'6.5" with a 6-foot-8 wingspan which isn't going to help.
Sacramento Kings - Denis Clemente, Aubrey Coleman, Devan Downey, Tasmin Mitchell, Raymar Morgan, Jerome Randle
Denis Clemente is a 6-foot-1 combo guard (though he'll have to be a point guard in the NBA) who might be most notably remembered for his performance in Kansas State's NCAA Tournament victory over Xavier in March. While he actually finished ranked 20th in the nation in assists (154) this past season, he also shot the seventh most three-pointers (258 total). That is certainly peculiar, though almost certainly won't fly in the NBA. He also has the "toughness", "intensity" and "really freakin' fast" buzzwords going for him, though it seems at this point he'd be a long shot to be using those traits in the NBA as Chad Ford ranks him as the 20th best point guard in the draft and DraftExpress has him as the 65th best senior.
Aubrey Coleman finished his career at Houston as the nation's leading scorer by dropping 25.6 points per game for the Cougars as a senior. Still, the 6-foot-3 scorer isn't currently projected to be drafted because, as Draft Express pointed out at the Portsmouth Invitational, he was "struggling heavily fitting into a team-oriented offense, finishing with poor efficiency numbers in all three games (22-for-63 on field goals). His shot selection leaves much to be desired, even if he is capable of hitting some very impressive shots off the dribble frequently." With limited basketball experience - he didn't play organized basketball until he was a senior in high school - the upside is fairly high if he's able to figure out how to play a team game.
Devan Downey is a 5-foot-9 point guard with, as Draft Express pointed out in a tweet from the Portsmouth Invitational, "no point guard skills". Still, according to an interview with his hometown newspaper, he expects to workout with "between 12 and 18 NBA teams". He's what one would call a "water-bug" guard in that he can pretty much get to any point on the court as fast as anyone, though it seems he kind of forgets he's a point guard once he gets there. He does have some positive resume assets, though, as he was a three-time All-SEC First Team selection as well as an Honorable Mention AP All-American at South Carolina.
Tasmin Mitchell is the type of player that coaches love to have in the minor leagues - an undersized power forward who is willing to work. Unfortunately for Mitchell, this isn't exactly en vogue in the NBA because even though he averaged 16.8 points and 9.4 rebounds as a senior at LSU, the 6-foot-7 banger is currently projected to go undrafted. In the end, though, I have to assume a team will take a flyer on him in hopes that he continues to transition into the small forward he'll eventually need to be to have success in the NBA. And if it seems like he played at LSU forever, he did - an ankle injury forced him to take a medical redshirt for his junior season. He'll turn 24 two days after the draft.
Raymar Morgan is another player that has the tweener status as a 6-foot-7 power-turned-NBA-small forward. His numbers at Michigan State were never really impressive - 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds as a senior - but he has shown that he can be a role player on a championship-caliber team as he was part of two Final Four teams as a Spartan. He's a lot better defensive player than on the offensive end, though it seems that's always the more difficult part to learn anyway. If he's able to stay healthy throughout the workout process (he was frequently nicked up throughout his college career), someone's going to like his "grit."
Jerome Randle is a 5-foot-10 scoring point guard who struggles to defend (mostly due to his size) - not exactly a recipe for success. As a senior at Cal, he averaged an impressive 18.6 points while shooting 93% from the charity-stripe and over 40% from beyond the arc. To be honest, I'm not all that high on his NBA prospects, but he left the guys over at Draft Express drooling after his performance at the Portsmouth Invitational. If he's able to show that he can keep it up (and I assume he'll be able to against this crop of competition), he could be working his way toward a second round selection.
Washington Wizards - Damian Hollis, Dominique Jones, Landon Milbourne, Hamady N'Diaye, Omar Samhan, Donald Sloan
Damian Hollis is a player that I've honestly never heard of as far as draft prospects are concerned, though he did average 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds during his senior season at George Washington University - which is conveniently located in Washington. He was also the Colonians go-to player, though he didn't do anything particularly breathtaking. I'll attempt to find more out about him. Until then, this is what you get.
Dominique Jones will be drafted either in the late-first or early-second round of next month's NBA Draft, a spot where the Wizards own two picks (Cleveland's first, the last pick of the first round, and their own second). As it stands, everyone from ESPN's David Thorpe and Chad Ford to Draft Express' Jonathan Givony has been raving about his stock rising or how big of a steal he'll be whenever a team drafts him. I haven't watched him play enough to give an accurate scouting report, but Jonathan Givony had a pretty good one-sentence breakdown that seems to echo everyone's feelings when he said "Jones is a physically imposing 6-4 combo guard with an NBA-ready frame, an excellent wingspan and the aggressive mentality to take advantage of it."
Landon Milbourne is beginning to transition from the power forward to the small forward, or even shooting guard, though that didn't seem to get off to a hot start as his numbers were less than stellar at the Portsmouth Invitational. By less than stellar, I mean he averaged a rather
disappointing pedestrian 9.6 points on 32.5 percent shooting, six rebounds and two blocks. Certainly not terrible numbers, but the 6-foot-6 forward out of Maryland would certainly have been able to help his stock had he been able to stand out there. As a bonus, he was dunked on (rather hard) by Al-Farouq Aminu.
Hamady N'Diaye impressed at the Portsmouth Invitational after having a ho-hum career at Rutgers as the de-facto defensive specialist. At 6-foot-11, it'd seem that his rebounding numbers should have been higher than the 7.1 he averaged his senior year, but the 4.5 blocks probably is able to make up for that. Everything I've read indicates he's a good athlete without much semblance of an offensive game. N'Diaye was measured to have a 9-foot-3 standing reach and 7-foot-6 wingspan at Portsmouth according to Draft Express.
Omar Samhan is another player that more than likely would have impressed at the Portsmouth Invitational, but he reportedly pulled out at the last minute due to a groin injury. That said, the last anyone has seen of him is the dismantling Baylor did to his draft prospects (and St. Mary's in general) after Ekpe Udoh and Quincy Acy dominated him on both ends of the court. At this juncture, it seems Samhan has more than likely reached his due to his size and limited athleticism (the things he needs to fix just aren't really possible to fix). Interesting only to me: John Bryant, who has similar measurements and played the entire season in the D-League without a call-up, had a higher PER in the same conference (37 to 35).
Donald Sloan was Texas A&M's best player as he averaged 17.8 points while shooting 36% from beyond the arc for what ended up as rather depleted Aggies team. For the most part, he was played mostly as the two-guard in college, though he did end up handling the ball a fair amount of time (though he wasn't necessarily the point guard). At 6-foot-3, however, he'll have to start transitioning into more of a point guard - or at least make better decisions out of the half court. Sloan was named First Team All-Big 12 as well.