1999 NBA DRAFT PRE-DRAFT
Elton Brand -
Duke. He has his critics, but here's what I see. 6'8" 260
lbs., at 20-21 years of age. Exceptionally strong and good hands. Very agile.
Underrated shot blocking instincts and ability, (over two per game as a
Dukie). A proven scorer anywhere close to the basket, Brand is a player
that understands his limitations, and apparently has a refreshing disinterest
in the three point-shot. This guy is a keeper. My one nit-pick is that I
saw him miss a few shots that should have been finished, …and he still shot
61% from the field last season.
Steve Francis - Maryland. 6'3" 200.
Explosive off the dribble! Plays with a Van Exel-like offensive aggression.
He isn't a pure point but he is all-basketball player. In college, he got
to the basket with ease, penetrating at will. He averaged nearly five free
throw attempts per game at Maryland, and converted at a 78% clip. When a
defense lies off him, he can hit the deep shot (39% last season from 3pt-range).
He doesn't always finish plays because his shot selection is still a bit
suspect. He showboats. He has great quickness, and outstanding leaping ability.
He is willing to D up. He will excite the crowd with flashy passes and plays,
and he will dunk on many. His crossover dribble is a certified ankle-buster.
Shooting and shot selection will be the issues for Francis - but with his
ability and strong will, he'll more than make up for a couple questionable
plays per game.
Shawn Marion - UNLV. 6'7" 215. Whoever
lands this kid will be in for some fun. An exceptional athlete, Marion runs
the floor better than anyone in the college game does. As a small forward,
he can score around the basket with a variety of driving moves. Ala Pippen,
Marion will bust some eyes from 12-15' and do it in a running, floating
manner that befuddles defenders. He shot 56% from the field and 74% from
the line last season. Marion is very quick with his first step, making him
a very real threat in the passing lanes (and if he does get the steal, you
can count two because he can really finish). His long range shooting is
not pure by any means but I think there is hope for improvement due to his
overall athleticism. He doesn't show much emotion, which is probably why
he isn't ranked higher on many lists. He could be more aggressive offensively.
Wally Szczerbiak - Miami (Ohio). 6'8"
240. Big-time scorer and rebounder. Strong post game and reliable outside
shooting (35% 3pt fg.) make Wally a winner. His range is really unlimited.
He lets the game come to him - and I really believe he could have scored
much more in college if he were selfish. That's what makes Wally special
in my opinion is that he is a team player. He is athletic and strong and
he can create his own shot. He gets to the line and hits a refreshing 83%
of his foul shots. As a bonus, he plays hard; he loves the game, and has
respect for the game.
Lamar Odom - Rhode Island. 6'10" 220.
Versatility is Lamar's strength. He is unstoppable one-on-one. He can create
for himself as well as the best in the game. At 6'10" he can legitimately
handle! He strokes the three decently (33%). Yet, he still has a way to
go in my book. Too many games I saw him play, he just stood around. The
superior coaching in the League will help bring out the obscene amount of
talent he has. He is special with the ball. He'll just keep a live dribble
and then pull from 25 feet. He has quick hands and is an outstanding passer.
I believe he is the best prospect in the draft. However, I do not think
he is the best player in the draft.
Andre Miller - Utah. 6'2" 205. A terrific
all-around basketball player. Miller thinks and plays the game with old-school
pro composure. He is mature and alert. Excellent passer. He has serious
post skills, ala Payton, for a guard. He shot 52% last season from the field,
not bad for a guy with a questionable jumper. The reason his FG percentage
is so high is because Miller is such a smart player. He always squares his
body well when shooting, and he's a good rebounder. He does it all. He can
penetrate and score in traffic- and rebounds exceptionally well for a point
guard. His jumper needs work. So did Jason Kidd's. I love Andre Miller!
He is a starting NBA point guard.
Corey Maggette - Duke. 6'6" 215. The
best athlete in the draft. The kid is sure to be a hero sometime soon in
the NBA. The question is how long will it take? He has decent touch (72%
FT, 53%FG) that blends well with his superhuman leaping ability, and quick
first step. He has a perfect NBA body, and he handles the ball well. His
potential is sky-high.
I did not see the following players enough
to comment on their ability: Cal Bowdler, Keith Carter, Aleksander Radojevic,
Micheal Ruffin, and Tyrone Washington.
Evan Eschmeyer - Northwestern. 6'11"
222. This guy will help a team right now. A 6'11" post player that can pass
his behind off. I loved him every time I saw him this year. He works hard
the entire game. He is fiercely competitive and a good rebounder. He is
coordinated and mature. His post skills are fundamentally sound and he knows
exactly what to do with it when he catches. Accurate from five to ten feet.
Good free throw shooter (76% last season). Runs the floor okay. Needs work
on his high-post game (face-up shot). Still, a beauty for any team.
Jonathan Bender. High School. Mobile,
agile and quick. Young, and raw. A gifted athlete. He shot 85% from the
free throw line in high school. Goes to the offensive glass with natural
instinct. Nice outside shooting touch to go with slender 6'11" 200 lb. Frame.
He's a 6'11" small forward with deep range and the kind of leaping ability
that allows him to jump over people! Might take a while to develop but should
be well worth the wait.
Lee Nailon - TCU. 6'9" 235. This guy
has some skills on the block. The game looks easy for him. He is a stone-cold
scorer. A lefty, he is strong and nasty sometimes. That's good. He does
have a tendency to try to dribble a bit much. He can handle fairly well
for a large man. The test for Nailon will be seeing if he can fit in to
an offense as opposed to slowing an offense down. Tone-Loc lookalike.
Quincy Lewis - Minnesota. 6'7" 213.
Most scouts and lists that I've seen, have Lewis much later in the draft
order. I guess I see something more. I see a 40% three-point shooter, and
an 80% free throw shooter that led the Big Ten in scoring at 24.1 PPG. He
is a scorer with size (6'7"). He is a good on-the-ball defender. He handles
the ball reasonably well for a shooter, and can also finish well. One legit
knock on Lewis is his relatively thin body. He is a bit slight - or is it
just his resemblance to Chris Rock that makes him look skinny? He did not
attend the Chicago Camp and was not measured.
Derek Hood - Arkansas. 6'8" 222. Why
isn't anyone talking about this kid? Is it because he's a rebounder in Steve
Smith's body? Yeah, he's thin for 6'8" but he boards with ferocity, delivers
exceptionally quick outlet passes, and runs the floor very well. He plays
within himself, and within the team structure. He plays with heart. His
offensive game is not that brilliant - but he can score in close. He is
a quick jumper. Anyone, who has seen the contributions guys like Malik Rose
and Bo Outlaw have made to their teams, knows that there is a place for
these kinds of players. If you're swinging for a home run, Hood isn't your
guy - but if want a base hit and a hard-working 6"8" athlete on your roster
- look no further.
William Avery - Duke. 6'2" 185. If
you have time to let this guy develop - I believe he'll be worth it. Avery
will need to be judged further down the road than others in this draft are
simply because his body needs more time to mature. He's a point that can
really shoot it (50% FG, 82% FT). He is able to combine his shooting ability
with quickness and passing skills. However, he does think shot before pass.
He can really penetrate and finishes reasonably well for someone his size.
His long-range stroke is nice (39% last season).
Baron Davis - UCLA. 6'2" 190. Baron
has the strongest will that I've seen recently in college basketball. He
is very emotional, which can go either way. Sometimes he'll carry a team
on his back, simply refusing to lose, - and sometimes he'll get carried
away and lose his cool (Alonzo style). That having been said, he is still
a rare find because he is a point guard that can handle and push the tempo
like Jason Kidd. Baron also moves well without the ball. His jumper is suspect.
He is a 60% free throw shooter that shot 34% from beyond the college arc.
I question his ability to hit the NBA three. Had ACL surgery in March `98.
It is worth repeating that Baron has a super-super strong will. I wouldn't
rule out anything with Davis, either good or bad because he's so stubborn.
Jumaine Jones - Georgia. 6'7" 210.
There's a ton of potential here. Jones thinks score, score, and score. He
drives strong and jumps well. His jumper isn't exactly money - but he hits
his share of shots, making him a serious inside-outside threat. What you
like is his 73% free throw shooting, which suggests a pretty soft touch
for such an explosive player. He hits the offensive glass very hard, and
is a very good overall rebounder. He is best at getting into the lane and
shooting mid-range. However, like most young players he likes to shoot the
three (35% in `98-`99). He will hit some with range out to 25'. He will
need to learn more about playing within the team concept. May not be ready
for a big contribution as a rookie.
Richard Hamilton - UConn. 6'6" 185.
A smooth, talented guard that can create for himself and for his teammates.
He shot 84% from the line and 35% from 3-pt. range in college. Solid jumper,
decent quickness, exceptional passing ability, and moves well without the
ball. He will need to bulk up a bit to handle NBA twos. He runs the floor
well, and I like him most because not only can he pass, he will pass the
ball. As a footnote, I really believe the quality of NBA twos is very top-heavy
in the League right now. Ten or eleven teams seem to be set. That makes
Hamilton more valuable. There is a big drop after Kobe, Iverson (Hughes),
Allen, Finley, Miller, Penny, S. Smith, Christie? Mitch (horrible last season)?,
Rider, (Sprewell,/ Houston?) That leaves 18 teams.
Tim James - Miami. A strong 6'7" 221
lbs. James is a former high jumper who is a very intriguing prospect. He
can high-jump seven feet. At 6'7", he blocks shots (ala Terry Tyler). His
shooting touch seemed to improve to a point where I believe he might really
be a tough guy to guard. I like him because he will drive. He doesn't always
settle for the three, only attempting 38 all of last season. His leaping
ability makes him a good rebounder (8.3 pg. in college).
Ron Artest - St. John's. 6'6" 235.
A versatile performer, who at 6'6" 235 can run a team with his leadership
skills, and unselfish play. He'll stuff a stat sheet like Danny Manning.
Passing, scoring, and hitting the boards. He plays with perfect basketball
posture, and with passion. He is not a great shooter. He hits threes at
a 38% clip. What he does best is get his teammates involved. He averaged
4.3 assists last season (St. John's point guard Erick Barkley averaged 4.5
assists). I see him as a team-guy that in the near future will be a valuable
asset to any squad.
Jason Terry - Arizona. 6'2" 170 lbs.
Unbelieveable mid-range game makes Terry dangerous. He has an uncanny ability
to get off runners in the lane (ala Rod Stickland). Led Pac-10 in scoring
(22.2 PPG) and assists (5.6). He thinks the game very quickly. His shot
isn't pure; he doesn't jump exceptionally well, he just scores. He will
be an instant offense type guy. He is super aggressive offensively. He is
thinking shot more than pass- but it's not as bad as it sounds because for
Terry, his shot often comes off penetration and a variety of fakes, not
just him coming down and pulling J's. He was a rock solid 84% from the line
last season. A good defender on-the-ball, he works hard and understands
the game flow. He showed an ability to lead and hit clutch baskets in college.
A strong, strong will makes him even more attractive.
Todd McCulloch. Washington. 7'0" 280.
It will take guts to select this guy - especially if you are having a team
draft party and have to tell your hardcore fans that you've just selected
a player slower than Bryant Reeves. However, don't be surprised if he's
a good pro. To me, forecasting McCulloch in five years is harder than forecasting
most players. This guy is HUGE (7'0" 280 lbs.). He is deadly accurate at
close range - and because of his size, he gets some close range shots. However,
I have seen him struggle to establish position because of his flat feet.
He rebounds by seven -foot default, (which nevertheless is still a possession
for your team) and is slow to get his hands up for no-look passes. But dig
this, he shot 66% from the field to lead the nation in FG%.
Kenny Thomas - New Mexico. 6'8" 250.
I don't question his talent at all - I just believe he needs to be more
aggressive. On the block, he is a strong scorer. He can also block shots.
An underrated passer, he can really find the open man. However, he is currently
injured, and he plays passive at times. This is the time of the draft where
Thomas may start to be too talented to ignore any longer.
FREE THROW SHOOTING IS SUPPOSED TO
BE BAD! 1998-99 college percentages.
Arthur Lee .886 Ryan Robertson .871 Shawnta Rogers
.866 Louis Bullock . 864 Trajan Langdon .848 Richard Hamilton .842 Jason
Terry .839 Wally Szczerbiak .831 Tim Young .825 William Avery .821 James
Posey .812 Quincy Lewis .800 Steve Francis .786 Evan Eschmeyer .762 Jamel
Thomas .754 Bobby Lazor .751
Shawnta Rogers - George Washington.
He's 5'4", 170 lbs., and he can play. The '98-99 Atlantic -10 Player of
the Year. He is an outstanding shooter but because of his size it's difficult
for him to get all his shots off. He shot 87% from the line (125-144). He
shot 36% from beyond the college arc. He thinks score while running a team
and he does do that well. A natural leader and pesky defender. He also rebounds
the ball. Believe it or not, the guy at 5'4" tall snared four boards a game
last year. That's heart! Would I really pick him before Bullock or Herren?
I don't know. But I think he's that good.
James Posey - Xavier. 6'7", 210 lbs.
Solid shooter, Posey connected on 49% FG, and 81% FT shooting last year
at Xavier. A scorer, and rebounder that will need to get a bit more physical
at the next level.
Venson Hamilton - Nebraska. 6'10",
235. Solid rebounder with excellent size. Hamilton posted 16 ppg, with 10
boards last season. Blocks shots (2.3 per game last year). Needs to hang
on to the ball better.
Harold Jamison. Clemson. The biggest-body
pound for pound in college hoops. Listed at 6'8", 260, Jamison is a chizzzzzzzzled,
big man with surprising quickness. Unstoppable one on one, ala Anthony Mason,
Jamison deserves high praise just for the presence he would bring a team.
Bobby Lazor - Arizona State. 6'9",
230. Hard to deny the size and skills of Lazor. He can put the ball on the
floor and score at 6'9". He can post (likes to spin), and is a good passer.
75% free throw shooter draws fouls. He went to the line 205 times in thirty
games last season on a team that had other primary scorers (House & Batiste).
Tyrone Grant - St. John's. 6'7", 245.
Hard worker. The kind of guy every team wishes they had. A 6'7" athlete
that bangs, runs, and rebounds. MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational. Shot
60% from the field last season.
Albert White - Missouri. 6'6", 220.
Game is suited for the front-court. White averaged 16.3 PPG last season
by slashing to the hoop, and cleaning up the defensive glass. He'll need
to work on his shooting but I believe he has some upside.
Laron Profit - Maryland. 6'5", 205.
Has all the tools to be a top-notch defender in the League. He plays the
passing lanes exceptionally well and finishes plays with acrobatic dunks.
He is super athletic, taking up space in a hurry. He plays hard defensively
but sometimes disappears offensively, especially in a half-court game. His
jumper is unreliable at this juncture - but overall athleticism wins out
in this case. Profit is not a guy for a half-court type team, although he
did seem to be sharing the ball more late this season.
Trajan Langdon - Duke. 6'3", 200.
The best shooter in the college game. He can knock down jumpers all day
and will rarely miss a free throw. Shot 42% from beyond the college arc
last season, while netting 85% of his free throws. Doesn't look to penetrate
much but he is such a deadly shooter he might be a good weapon to have.
His ability to make plays at an NBA pace is the biggest question in my mind.
He is composed. He's a gym rat and he will most likely get better because
he has the love.
Louis Bullock - Michigan. 6'2", 180.
Exceptional shooting ability. Bullock penetrates pretty well and gets to
the line, where he is money (86%). Had to do too much last year as #1 scorer
at Michigan, which I feel brought down his field goal percentage (41%).
He'll have to get teammates involved at the next level to be as effective
as he can be.
A.J. Bramlett - Arizona. 6'10", 230.
Good quickness for a 6'10" guy. Has some skills in the post but more importantly,
he has quickness in the post. He will overcome his lack of height with his
agility. Rebounds well but is sometimes not aggressive enough offensively.
Pretty good defender because of quick upper-body. His hands seem quicker
than his feet. He would be a higher pick in my estimation if he had a better
shooting touch. He is not a good free throw shooter (58% last yr. at Arizona.)
Jamel Thomas - Providence. 6'6", 215.
A scorer that can stick a straightaway 20 footer with the best of them.
Basketball I.Q. is suspect. He is a good shooter - but his insistence on
the three point shot is only bringing his game down at this stage.
Rodney Buford - Creighton. 6'5", 195.
Shot 44% from 3-point range in college last year. Also connected on 82%
of his foul shots. A hidden treasure?
Tim Young - Stanford. 7'1", 245. Too
good of a passer with too soft of a touch to ignore this long. He slips
in my book because I'm not convinced he has "the love". Young will probably
always be questioned in his career because his body was made for basketball
but he wears the "soft" label. He will be a good back up. He can shoot well
(51% FG, 83% FT), and he does have the unteachable size. He will never be
nasty, but I think he can be effective.
Scott Padgett - Kentucky. 6'9", 240.
I'd be leery of Padgett. He is very streaky. One thing he can do is hit
the long range shot. He hit 59 of 154 for 38% last season.
Calvin Booth - Penn State. 7'0", 250.
You are drafting defense if you select Booth. He has trouble offensively
Alex Sanders - Louisville. Long range
bomber with muscular build. Live athletic body. Good rebounder for a small-forward
(6.3 RPG last season).
Willie Farley - Fresno State. Quick.
Excellent on the ball defender. Has the ability to create his own shot and
hit some from deep (37% 3 pt. FG last season). Gambling on athleticism here.
Mike Batiste - Arizona State. 6'8"
236. Batiste can score in the post. May need to be in better shape. Poor
free throw shooter (60% last season).
Chris Herren - Fresno State. 6'2" 201.
Exceptional passing ability. Reckless or "aggressive" player. Combines deep
shooting range (25' and beyond), with fearless drives to the goal. He strokes
the three well (38% last season). His jumper is good, not great. He shot
68% from the line last season.
Sean Mason - Wisconsin. Quick. A hard-nosed,
good defender. Moves will without the ball but sometimes seems offensively
disinterested. I like him better than Calderwood. Mason has skills (38%
3pt. FG, & 81% FT). May be overlooked because his college team really had
no other talent to compliment his game.
Terrell McIntyre - Clemson. 5'9" 175.
Thinks shot more than pass. Can really shoot it. 39% from beyond the arc
in college. 78% FT.
Jason Singleton - Ohio State. 6'5"
190. Athleticism dictates that someone gives this kid a shot. He can jump
over people! He plays D. He works the baseline well and can finish with
the best finishers in this draft. His quickness overwhelms offensive opponents.
He had 63 steals in 855 minutes. He plays hard. I'd love to pick him here.
May not make the League right now - but with work should be a League guy
Ademola Okulaja - North Carolina. 6'9",
235. Nice glue-type player for any team. Unselfish at times, and sometimes
comes out gunning. Still, very complimentary. Good hands, has a nose for
the ball, strong rebounder, hard worker. Shot 43% from three point range
last season. He's a good passer and he understands the game.
Adrian Peterson - Oklahoma State. 6'4"
200. I liked the overall package of Peterson. Snared 6 rebounds per game
at the 2/3 positions last season. He is athletic with touch (hit 41% from
3-pt. range). Currently injured.
Antonio Reynolds-Dean - Rhode Island.
6'7", 220. Reynolds-Dean is a man. A sculpted, imposing small-forward scrapper.
He works hard defensively. May have a shot at the League because of his
ability to hit the 15-foot J (think Antione Carr). I believe he plays hard.
He also boards well (6.7 RPG last season).
Vonteego Cummings - Pittsburgh. 6'4",
190. Too bad this guy isn't a better shooter because he seems to be a natural
Heshimu Evans - Kentucky. 6'6", 210.
Fearless penetrator. Gets to the line. Jumper is suspect. Good finisher.
B.J. McKie - S. Carolina. 6'3" 180.
He can score. McKie, if played as a scorer might be able to provide some
offense off the bench. But does he do anything else?
Kevin Clark - Minnesota. 6'2" 180.
Needs more bulk, but is a shooter with range. He hit 39% of his threes while
averaging 15 points at Minnesota last season.
Ryan Robertson - Kansas. 6' 5" 190.
A good pick if he's still around this late. Robertson can shoot exceptionally
well. 87% FT, 37% 3 pt. last season.
Arthur Lee - Stanford. 6'0", 170. Can
hit a spot up three with the best but seems to have trouble knocking down
contested shots. His handle needs work. He is streaky - and to me, that
means he disappears too often. He shot 40% from 3-point range last season,
and 89% from the line. He's not a true point guard but he can shoot the
lights out and that's really all that matters.
Obinna Ekeze - Maryland. 6'9", 265.
Strong post-up game. Good footwork, good hands. Decent free-throw shooter.
Has trouble taking the ball to the goal off the offensive glass. Pretty
soft touch. Not a good leaper. Was injured late in the college season. Avg.
13 pts. & 6 rebs while active.
Donald Watts - Washington. 6'4", 200.
He might remind you of Pooh Richardson. His body is a prototype for a guard.
Good posture, always squares up for shot. Can shoot deep and plays smart.
He hit an amazing 32-64 (50%) from three-point land last season. Probably
a worthy pick if he's still here this late.
Cameron Murray - Louisville. He's a
Murray. He can shoot. 40% from 3 point range last season. A point guard
with suspect quickness for the NBA.
Terrell Baker - Florida State. Worth
a shot. Baker is an unselfish player with a decent touch. He averaged 14
points, 4 boards, and 3 assists last season.
Lari Ketner - UMass. 6'10", 260 Ketner
has size but no shooting ability whatsoever. He will hit the boards strong.