Wednesday, June 28, 2006


ESPN who has set draft coverage standard with their NFL show and now they have done the same with the NBA. Here is a sample of what you will hear from their gang tonight...

Dan Steir, ESPN coordinating producer – "Our primary objective is to make sure we are servicing the fan and providing the most updated information as it relates to trade news, trade rumors and assessments, and I think the combination of our talent and resources will do that."

NBA Draft overview:

Jay Bilas, ESPN basketball analyst – “It's got good depth of talent. There are a lot of bargains at the end of the first round into the second…you could see some surprises early on with some players that have been talked about going lower than expected because, frankly, I think some teams have been throwing up some smoke screens. Who knows, maybe (Andrea) Bargnani is one of those. I've seen a lot of tape on him. I think he's an intriguing prospect, but I'm not sold on him. I think he is an outstanding shooter, and his shot quickness sets up the drive for him, but he doesn’t post up and people compare him to (Dirk) Nowitzki…Nowitzki got to the free throw line and this guy does not do that…he's not a physical player. Is he a top 10 talent? No question about it, and there's no question he's got a chance to be a solid NBA player for a long time.”

Comparing international prospects to domestic prospects:

Fran Fraschilla, ESPN analyst and international expert – “They’re not as athletic as our kids. I had just gotten a chance to see the top 100 high school players in the country last week, right after I got back from Italy. The stark differences – we still have much more athletic, young players in that 18-22 range…and, for the most part, they are less jaded and a little bit more hungry. Some of our top players, even some of the kids that will go in this Draft, have been coddled since they were 14.

“(There are) two different systems – one system (international) is about skill development…remember, those kids, for the most part, don't go to school. Our college kids must go to class and college coaches don't have as much time to develop the skill level that international coaches have with those guys. It's two different ways of doing things and you see some (international players) that are very good NBA players, you see some guys who aren't, and that’s more of a function of the evaluation of each individual team and not necessarily whether those guys are better or worse than our college kids.”

On potential #1 pick Andrea Bargnani:

Fraschilla – "This year, (Andrea Bargnani has played) 75 games of a level of competition that I would say is higher than any college level in our country. In those 75 games, he has played in the Italian League, the Euro League (which is a compilation of all of the best teams in Europe), and then the Italian Cup (which is like a month-long ACC-type tournament with much pressure). In averaging about 12 points and six rebounds a game in 23 minutes, and also playing very, very well at the end of the year, he's got more of a track record then some of these young big men you've seen come over and not yet set the world on fire.

“He is 7’0”, he's not a post-up player, but there are teams in the league that value a guy his size that can stretch the defense. He’s also deceptively athletic and he can guard smaller players. You wouldn't want him guarding a two or a three most nights, but he can do it effectively for parts of a game because he moves his feet very well.”

Here is Jay's Ten Best Players:

1. Tyrus Thomas, LSU – “Of all of the prospects in this Draft, Tyrus Thomas has the most potential. He’s a spectacular athlete with a competitive fire inside of him. Thomas is active, bouncy, and has the wingspan of a seven-footer. He has good skills, but they are raw and unpolished. He’s a smaller Amare Stoudemire with the same crazy athleticism.”

2. Adam Morrison, Gonzaga – “Adam Morrison is the best scorer in the Draft, and he will find a way to be an effective scorer in the NBA. He has every shot in the book and knows how to free himself. Morrison can keep a defender on a string, and the only thing he lacks is athleticism. He is not a defender or rebounder, but his scoring makes up for any deficiencies in those areas.”

3. Brandon Roy, Washington – “Brandon Roy is the most complete player in the Draft. He has size, strength and skill, and has great passing instincts. Roy is a far better athlete than he gets credit for, a terrific defender, and could wind up being the Rookie of the Year because he knows how to play on both ends.”

4. Rudy Gay, UConn – “Rudy Gay may be better overall than Morrison because he can impact the game in more ways. He has great length and athletic ability, and he has all of the tools to be an outstanding pro. Gay is not a great shooter, but relies on his jump shot. He needs to put the ball on the deck and attack the rim better, but he is a great prospect.”

5. Shelden Williams, Duke – “Shelden Williams is efficient, productive and really strong. He blocks shots and rebounds out of his area at a high rate, and can hit a face up jumper to 18 feet. He is really long-armed and can bang with anyone. He may have trouble getting shots off in traffic, but he will be a more offensive-minded version of Dale Davis. Teams know what they are getting with Williams, and that is an NBA-ready big that will perform for a dozen years.”

6. Andrea Bargnani, Italy – “Andrea Bargnani will take some time to really develop into a big-time NBA player, but he is a legit seven-footer and can really shoot it. His quick trigger sets up his drives, but the Dirk Nowitzki comparisons may be a bit much. Remember, Nowitzki gets to the free throw line at a high rate, while Bargnani does not. Projected as a small forward, I think he would be better served as a face-up power forward.”

7. LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas – “Many believe that LaMarcus Aldridge should be the top overall selection, but he has some questions. Aldridge is a long, lanky athlete, but he lacks strength and the ability to hold the low block with a wide base. That aside, he is very skilled and has a marvelous touch to 19 feet. If he can satisfy a team that he will be able to gain strength and be a more physical power forward, Aldridge will be a really good player.”

8. Marcus Williams, UConn – “Marcus Williams is the best pure passer in this year's Draft, and has the best understanding of how to play the game. He is outstanding in the open court, and can really find people for easy scores. Williams still needs to get in better condition, and he has some issues staying in front of quick guards on the defensive end, but he is the best point guard prospect in the Draft.”

9. Randy Foye, Villanova – “Randy Foye is the strongest combo guard in the Draft, and he is a terrific athlete. He can get his own shot, and he just bounces off of people off the dribble. Foye can do something the NBA covets – he can make challenged shots at the end of a shot clock. He handles it well enough to run some offense for you, and will be a very good guard in the NBA for a long time.”

10. J.J. Redick, Duke – “J.J. Redick may not be a great athlete or defender, but he is a great shooter with a quick release and the will to find shots against superior athletes. Redick can shoot it and hit from anywhere, and he will be a very good pro with teammates that can draw double teams.”

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