I’m going to breakdown the players I thought stood out, should return to school or disappointed me on the last day of scrimmages. There are players who participated in the scrimmage’s that I’m not going to mention in either category: Kennedy Meeks, Rawle Alkins, Jamel Artis, Peter Jok, Melo Trimble, Moritz Wagner, Omer Yurtseven, VJ Beachem, Isaiah Briscoe, just to name a few. These players were pretty forgettable and did nothing to stand out, or, I didn’t have any expectations for them to begin with.
Derrick White, SR, PG/SG, Colorado ~ He seemed to be more of a scoring guard than a traditional point guard but made some nice passes in transition and off the pick-and-roll. He’s 6’4, athletic and has a decent shot. Needs to improve communication on defense and to be more aggressive fighting through screens. About to turn 23. Could be back up guard ready for a team picking in the second round.
Monte Morris, SR, PG, Iowa St ~ I wasn’t overly impressed with Morris. He forgot to box out his man on defense fairly often leading to offensive rebounds and putbacks. He has to improve his off-ball defensive and offensive awareness. However, I did like the fact he takes care of the ball, doesn’t commit fouls, is patient on offense and has pick-and-roll skills. During a pick-and-roll the timing, rhythm, angles and spacing all have to be coordinated amid two defenders; it’s kind of a dance. So even though Morris still has a lot of skills to work on, having pick-and-roll skills is a huge plus that not many players showed at the combine. He should be a second round pick with backup PG capabilities.
Dillon Brooks, JR, SF/PF, Oregon ~ Brooks really made an impression me during the combine scrimmage. He was able to drive with either hand, change his direction, shift, pivot, attack the rim and score. His improved 3pt shot has to continue onward to the pro level. If he can be more consistent from three then that will give him better odds at making a team. His biggest impediment could be his lack of foot speed and length. He measures in at 6’7 with a 6’6 wingspan. Thats terrible. He did show top level fundamentals and skills which is always a treat to watch. If he can get past his physical drawbacks then he has a chance to be a solid NBA scoring threat off the bench.
Damyean Dotson, SR, PG/SG, Houston ~ I had no clue who Dotson was before the combine. He’s 6’5 with a 6’9 wingspan and a great athlete. He really showed off his versatility by initiating the offense and making plays while also playing off-ball as a floor spacer and cutter. He needs to improve his handle if he wants to be a combo guard. It wasn’t tight and he couldn’t keep his head up while driving. His bad handle lead to too many turnovers and mistakes. Dotson should be picked in the second round or not at all. I think he could become a backup combo guard.
Jaron Blossomgame, SR, SF/PF, Clemson ~ Blossomgame was really one of the better stand outs during the scrimmage. He’s 6’7 with a 6’10 wingspan, athletic and strong. He played great perimeter defense, not biting on fakes all week, staying attached to his mans hip and keeping his hands active while not becoming over-aggressive. He was one of the only players during the scrimmage to set strong screens with a well timed roll. His shooting is very inconsistent and one of his biggest hurdles. But during combine week he was making his jump shots. He’s about to turn 24 years old. Many of the players I really liked this week were older players. I personally don’t think it’s a bad thing to be an older since older players have more developed skill. I think Blossomgame should be a first round draft pick but probably won’t be picked until the second round. If he can consistently make his jump shots, huge if, then he will be a steal.
Davon Reed, SR. SG/SF, Miami ~ Reed and Blossomgame were my two favorite players all week. Reed is an older player too; 22 years old. Reed was great at defense, one of the better communicators and weak side rotators at the combine. He’s 6’6 with a 7’ wingspan, not great but a good athlete and strong. He was defending 1 thru 5, making hustle plays and looked like a modern day multi-positional wing player. He needs to improve his handle. At the moment he is strong hand dominant and a straight line driver. He can shoot though which is a big help to create cracks in the gaps. Not many mock drafts have him being drafted. I think that’s crazy.
Jordan Bell, JR, PF/C, Oregon ~ Bell didn’t blow me away with his skills but I did like his energy. He really looked like a guy who can come off the bench as a back up big and make hustle plays. He was the best screener all week bar none. His base was shoulder width apart, strong, well timed, and rolled with his head up, vision on the ball and angled to the rim. He rarely slipped the screen. Defensively he needs to be more sound and not bite on fakes but overall he was one of the most versatile defenders at the combine. Setting screens and rolling hard to the rim are his best attributes on offense; frankly they’re his only skills on offense. Needs improvement there. He should be a second round pick and has nice backup big potential.
Return to School/Draft-and-Stash
Justin Jackson, FR, SF/PF, Maryland ~ I’ve gone into detail about Jackson many times before but I’ll say it again: he needs to return to school. He’s 6’7 with a 7’3 wingspan, good athlete and strong body. He has no discernible skills. He looks like an NBA player but doesn’t have the requisite skills to back him up. He’s O.K. at most everything but has not one stand out skill. If he returns to school and comes out next draft then I think he has lottery potential.
PJ Dozier, SO, SG, South Carolina ~ PJ has great size at 6’6 with a 6’11 wingspan. His size and athleticism give him an NBA body. His skills are further along than Justin Jackson but Dozier can benefit from one more year at school to improve his offense. Dozier was probably one of the better defenders at the combine. He was wrecking havoc in the passing lanes, taking chances and causing turnovers. That activity on the perimeter means his hands can be too busy at times and he should be more conservative depending on the matchup. His offensive game was pretty raw. His shot is was bad but not broken; his release point was on the way down and overall very inconsistent. If he returns to school for another year, just like Jackson, Dozier has lottery potential.
Jonnathan Jeanne, 20 yr old, C, France ~ He was probably one of the better players all combine long to correctly adjust his dive with the ball handlers dribble. He was diving hard and accurate to the rim during the scrimmages. But his screen setting technique was weak. He tends to slip every screen he sets or faintly nudge the defender on the roll to the rim. He should be drafted, maybe first round this year. But whoever drafts him should stash him for a couple of years overseas. He’s 7’2 with a 7’6 wingspan and we weighs 207 pounds. Ergo, he needs to bulk up. Overall he has solid skill but he got pushed around all combine long and committed too many fouls.
Devin Robinson, JR, SF/PF, Florida ~ He can’t dribble and doesn’t have any moves off closeouts. His strong hand drive is weak and he mostly pulls up before getting to the rim. He’s 6’8 with a 7’ foot wingspan but weighs 200 pounds. He needs to get stronger. He has great length and athleticism but since his fundamentals are poor, for a 22 year old, he still has a long way to go. He should be a second round pick and with a great player development department helping him every step of the way he may have a chance to stick with an NBA team.
Nigel Hayes, SR, PF, Wisconsin ~ Unlike Robinson, Hayes does have great fundamentals and is a heady player. During the scrimmage Hayes pulled the chair out from under Omer Yurtseven while he was backing Hayes down. Yurtseven fell on his butt and the scouts smriked. I’m rooting for Hayes but his lack of explosion and foot speed were a problem. He couldn’t beat anyone off the dribble and he couldn’t stay in front of who he defended with regularity. In an actual NBA game the athleticism sky rockets. Hayes might go undrafted but I think a team should take a chance on him in the second round.
Sindarius Thornwell, SR, SG/SF, South Carolina ~ I compare Thornwell to Hayes. Both are older players who have great fundamentals and a great understanding of how to play the game. His slow foot speed is a problem. Unless his feet were fully set to explode, he got beat off the dribble and couldn’t do much with the ball in his hands. He’s about to turn 23 years old. I think Thornwell and Hayes’ career is system dependent.
Semi Ojeleye, JR, SF/PF/C, SMU ~ Ojeleye was one of the players I was really looking forward to watching in the scrimmage. He’s 6’7 with a 6’10 wingspan and super strong body. He improved his 3pt shot to 42% and his FT% to 78% this past year. His shooting and overall offensive game were very versatile. And his ability to switch on defense made me think he could be a modern day small-ball 4. Unfortunately, he had problems all combine long with length. He couldn’t get his shot up when the defense collapsed on him and he didn’t do that great of a job contesting shots on defense. His overall defense was a negative for me; not being in the right spots and losing his man. I still like the thought of him being a point forward but he looked over matched during the combine.
Wesley Iwundu, SR, SG/SF, Kansas St ~ He’s 6’7 with a 7’1 wingspan, good not great athlete. I really liked Iwundu before the combine since he was a great pick-and-roll player. He averaged 3.5 assists per game last year and improved his 3pt shot to 38%. I don’t know if it was he felt out of place but Iwundu looked lost. He forced the issue when he did have the ball in his hands making mistakes galore. There were a few times his pocket passing off screens were on display and boy did it look nice. Iwundu played in a system that was tailored for him at Kansas St so maybe now he’s a fish out of water. The question is can he adapt? I still like the thought of him being a multi-positional wing. Before the combine I was thinking first rounder but now he should be drafted in the second round.