Marcelo Huertas workout
We kicked off the day at Tim Grover's world famous Hoops gym for an informal workout with Marcelo Huertas.
I got there a bit early, in time to catch him do a little mess around/shoot around with some other Edge Sports clients. I was a bit distracted by a huge specimen by the name of Ales Chan. He was dressed as if he had just come back from a job interview, and he was obviously just having some fun with Huertas. Still, it was hard not to be intrigued. The guy is huge, around 7-2, I was told, with a pretty strong body sitting on a nice frame. From what I could see he moved quite well for a guy his size, and he had very decent coordination as well. He's not a bad shooter at all, he hit a couple of threes and all in all gave me a nice appetite to check him out at Moody Bible.
Marcelo opened up the workout by showing off his midrange game, which is about as solid as you'll find from almost any PG in this draft. He has a very nice jump shot, with good mechanics and an OK release. He shoots pretty well from both left and right, altering his shot nicely which is good to see out of a PG, because they almost never get open looks. His mid-range game was what started off the workout, and for good reason, that's probably the most polished part of his game.
He did some full-court sprints after that and displayed above average quickness, his ball-handling is fine, but could probably stand to improve. He has fantastic footwork, which along with his size leads you to believe that he could end up becoming a good defender down the road.
About 10 to 15 minutes into the workout it became quite obvious that the kid was exhausted. It's hard to speculate why; maybe the adrenaline from working out for so many NBA teams did it to him. He was fighting through it as best as he could, but it clearly affected his game, especially his perimeter and free throw shooting.
I'll get to watch him later on in the week in a more official setting, I kind of like his throwback style of play, hopefully he'll be able to show more of it.
I got to talk to him for a few minutes before they started and you can tell that he is a sharp kid with a good head on his shoulders.
Marcelo was not overly impressive in his workout today but tall, smart, athletic, pure PG's with good fundamentals like him are pretty rare, he probably could have been fantastic 10-15 years ago with his style of play, but I still don't think he will be around for too long in the 2nd round if he even gets that far.
Donta Smith Workout
From there it was back to downtown for a workout with a guy that most people (including myself) aren't very familiar with. He was supposed to go to Louisville to play for Rick Pitino this season but decided to declare for the draft (much to the dismay of Pitino) instead and surprisingly hired an agent as well.
The gym was pretty packed, scouts from probably half the league were present, including Scott Skiles (coach of the Bulls), Mitch Kupchack (GM of the Lakers) and Danny Ainge (Celtics' GM).
Smith has a chiseled NBA body already, good size for the SG position and a nice wingspan to go along with that. He is extremely athletic; quick with a nice first step and an impressive vertical leap. His ball-handling seemed pretty solid as well.
That much was apparent from the drills, but when the 2 on 2 and 1 on 1 drills started you could tell that he really knows how to D up as well. His footwork is great, and he probably moves laterally as well as almost any SG in this draft (not named Andre Iguodala). His quickness and strength helps, and his above average wingspan does the rest.
There is only one problem.
He's probably not going to be able to get his already streaky shot off in the NBA. His shooting mechanics are extremely awkward, he brings the ball way in front of his body before he releases it, and doesn't get much lift on his jump shot anyway. His shooting mechanics will most likely need to be refined completely in the NBA, and that could take some time.
He seems a bit raw anyway, playing for a year at Louisville would have definitely helped him out a lot. Still, he's an interesting player, probably a 2nd rounder with how early or late he goes depending on what kind of potential an NBA team sees in his shooting abilities. All in all, Smith was not very impressive today on such an important stage but the fact is he has a great body, he is extremely athletic, he has the potential to become a lockdown defender, and with a large amount of hard work, patient coaching and playing time, he could become a contributor down the line.
Most scouts started filing out before the workout was over, they probably wanted to start getting ready for Moody Bible which was just two hours away.
The Pre-Draft camp
Off to Moody Bible it was, for the two hour drill session that started at 5:30.
The first thing that entered my mind when I entered the gym was this is chaos. There are 65 players running around almost all at the same time on three separate courts, and it's pretty much impossible to take everything in without a small army of scouts (which most teams have).
I decided to focus on players that I don't have a great handle on, while checking in on players that I am familiar with in between. I'm sure I missed 90% of what was going on because of the sheer volume of players along with all the interesting people there to talk with and also because of my camera, but here is what I managed to observe on day one. This really doesn't mean that much, it's just to show that I'm paying attention.
Chris Duhon- Didn't see much of him shooting except for a brick or two, but he was moving the ball around swiftly and crisply, getting all his teammates involved and playing very good defense.
Jamie Lloreda- Gobbled up at least 10 rebounds in the limited amout of time I spent watching him. Looked extremely focused in the drills, very aggressive, and made one great coast to coast play handling the ball and dishing it off to a wide open teammate (who missed).
Andre Brown- He's as close to a human highlight reel as you'll find at this camp, he's always looking to dunk the ball emphatically, whether it's on an alley-oop pass, a putback or just out of sheer boredom. He was great in transition and had a nice block while I watched him.
Ricky Minard- Shot the ball better then anyone else today, played nice defense, finished well and just had one of the most impressive showings today.
Antonio Burks- He just flies up and down the court, moved the ball around well also, shot OK while I was watching and played pretty good defense as well.
Omar Quintero- I had never heard his name before today and I'm starting to wonder why. He's got great flair, shoots the ball well and is super quick. He looks a bit small, but he played very well.
Jackie Butler- Slimmed down big time, was playing nice and physical today and didn't really look too much a high schooler at all. I need to get a better look but my first impression was pretty positive.
Jackson Vroman- Hard not to like the way this guy plays. He's always getting in someone's face, very active on the glass and he's really a good defender. Made a good first impression on me for sure.
Ales Chan- Didn't see as much of him as I would have liked, but he really ran the floor well and provided a good defensive presence in the paint with his size. He's the biggest player at this camp, his chances of being drafted are getting better and better everyday it seems.
Looked not so good:
Delonte West- Shot wasn't falling when I saw him, and he didn't really look like an NBA PG while bringing the ball up the floor. Rumors have it that he indeed did measure out a bit shorter then what he was listed at.
Trevor Ariza- Shot the ball poorly, turned it over constantly, and didn't play good defense at all. It's really hard to tell why he decided to hire an agent so soon.
Ryan Gomes- Invisible would be the best way to describe the way he played today. I saw very little energy out of him, hopefully he'll pick it up tomorrow.
Luis Flores- He's just not a point guard, and when his shot isn't falling, he's not very fun to watch.
Ivan Koljevic- Looks small and skinny, and had trouble playing the point.
Rickey Paulding- Didn't seem to be too interested in what was going on.
Michel Morandais- Very careless with the ball, didn't shoot too well either.
Tim Bowers- Had a little trouble playing the point.
Lawrence Roberts- Didn't stand out as much as you would think he would.