Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, Day Two

Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, Day Two
Jun 12, 2005, 04:11 pm
Day Two was the first one with official games, though all players participated in drills in the morning session. The one-on-one, two-on-two, and shooting drills all offered a different way to evaluate these players away from a traditional game setting. There was a sense of disappointment in the camp Wednesday, due to a low talent level and the fact that the referees refused to just let players play. By the end of the day, the gym was one third full at best, and the grumpy conversations coming from the direction of NBA personnel was impossible to ignore. There was still a significant amount of talent on the rosters, but it was diluted amongst a large number of players and a very long and exhausting day.

GAME 1 / TEAM 6 - TEAM 5 (88-71)


Will Bynum: 12 points, 4/5 shooting, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers – Bynum was a last minute addition to the camp, but clearly proved that he belonged in Chicago. Bynum helped himself about as much as he could today, considering he’s a 5-10 combo guard. He provided most of the highlights in the first game, displaying stunning athleticism, bullish strength, creative ballhandling, and a motor that doesn’t stop. Bynum was excellent in transition, either finishing at the rim or finding the open man. He brought down the house with an impressive dunk right at the final horn, and we are seeing more and more of Nate Robinson in his game.

Steven Smith: 13 points, 4/9 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal – Smith may have started off the game with a case of nerves. However, as the game wore on, Smith grew more comfortable and began showing off his smooth athletic ability and all-around talent. Smith is still a teenier, but showed sparks of a well-rounded, talented player.

Ronny Turiaf: 11 points, 4/9 shooting, 6 rebounds (5 offensive), 2 assists, 1 block – Turiaf is living up to his advanced billing and is looking like the clear-cut number one big man in the camp. He came out with typical Turiaf toughness, intensity and flare. He is the kind of player that draws attention to himself for all the right reasons. Turiaf was a terror on the offensive glass, and got position at will. There was no defender that could keep him from getting position on the block. One highlight was an emphatic rejection of a Deji Akindele layup attempt. He also threw down a monstrous dunk that left the shot clock shaking. Turiaf is looking up to the task of proving the scouts that he is a first-round selection. Where numerous borderline first-rounders turn down invitations, Turiaf should be commended for facing down this challenge with his usual ferocity – and coming away successful.

Rawle Marshall: 8 points, 2/7 shooting, 3 rebounds – Marshall didn’t have the best shooting night, but did impress with some NBA caliber moves, including a pull-up jumper near the three-point line. He also looked strong taking the ball to the basket. His ballhandling and outside shooting are quite hit-or-miss at this point, but his upside could certainly warrant a selection in the second round.


Travis Diener: 15 points, 5/5 field goal’s, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers - Diener started the camp off hot, hitting an NBA three-pointer and several more collegiate three-point shots within the first minutes of the first game. This came after an excellent performance in the shooting drills, where he sunk 6 of 10 shots from behind the three-point arc. He did a solid job running the team, not making mistakes, moving the ball up the floor quickly, and making everyone around him better. Diener looked very natural in game situations, as opposed to some of the more individually-oriented drills. The downside with Diener is that he shared time at point guard with Alex Acker, and the majority of his points were of the catch-and-shoot variety. Travis Diener will continue to face questions about whether he has NBA-caliber athleticism, but still clearly helped himself Wednesday.

Luther Head: 14 points, 5/9 field goals, 1 assist –


Head didn’t play a whole lot of point guard because there were a lot playmakers on his team, but he did impress slashing to the basket and using his athleticism to play some very tough defense. Of particular note, Head has had success defending some of the point guards at this camp. In the shooting drills, Head shot 9/10 from mid-range, 4/10 from the college three-point line, and 5/10 from the NBA line.

Mike Bell: 5 points, 2/7 field goals –


Bell had an up-and-down day. Despite a disappointing first game in which he forced the issue on the offensive end way too much, Bell did impress in the early morning scrimmages. He hit three NBA three-pointers, proving that he does have NBA range. Bell also helped himself in the combines, displaying an 8-foot-8 standing reach and a 40-inch vertical – according to Bell. The vertical measurement is especially impressive for a 6-foot-10 player, and the testers even had to reconfigure the vertical leap tester because he jumped so high.

Jawad Williams: 5 points, 2/9 shooting, 0 rebounds – Williams had another disappointing showing, alternating between passivity and forcing the issue way too much. He has done little to separate himself from the rest of the players at the camp once the North Carolina jersey has come off, and is looking more and more like a tweener forward without a real NBA position. In the shooting drills, Williams shot 5/10 from mid-range, 6/10 from the college line, and 4/10 from the NBA line.

Robert Whaley: 9 points, 4/10 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls – After impressing the first night in scrimmages and drills, Whaley had a bit of a disappointing second day. Whaley is a tall, bulky post player with some surprising post moves and smooth athleticism, but the way the game was played out Wednesday was clearly not in his favor. He made a few silly mistakes that led to turnovers, and missed a few looks that should have been easy conversations. In another sign that Whaley brings surprising talent to the table, he hit four of his last five NBA three-point attempts in the shooting drills.

Deji Akindele: 2 points, 1/9 shooting, 8 rebounds, 6 fouls, 0 blocks – Not much went well for Akindele Wednesday, as his somewhat raw offensive game didn’t mesh well with the brutally contested interior play of the camp. Despite showing some very athletic moves in the post, he was unable to convert on any and was clearly bothered by the physical aggression of the other post players. He did fight hard on the defensive end and on the glass, however. Furthering the bad news was the fact that Akindele measured in at just 6-foot-11 in shoes – some two inches shorter than previously listed. While Akindele clearly has a lot of raw potential, he hasn’t stood out thus far in Chicago.


In between the morning and evening sessions at Moody Bible was a five-hour break supposed to be highlighted by a workout run by sports agency SFX. The workout featured the previously missing Randolph Morris, as well Daniel Ewing, Olu Famutimi, and Amir Johnson. Surprisingly enough, many recognizable NBA executives showed their faces for the first time. However, the controlled way in which the workout was conducted left little for the eager crowd to observe.

There was little more than simulated pick-and-roll and fastbreak drills, with a few minutes of shooting at the end. Absolutely no competitive action took place, and thus there was very little glean from what went on. Essentially, there was no way for those in attendance to discover any strengths or the weaknesses that SFX potentially feared. The scouts around us were all expecting at least a bit of one-on-one or two-on-two, and expressed their displeasure. One highly respected NBA coach left the gym midway through the session, shaking his head in disgust, and muttering something along the lines of how he couldn’t believe he was suckered into wasting so much of his precious time.

Randolph Morris: He came in looking in better shape than he did at Kentucky, and has toned up his body significantly. He displayed decent but not overwhelming athletic ability, lumbering a bit up and down the court, but still showing adequate footspeed for the center position in the NBA. Morris knows his own game, and is very comfortable in his own skin. He is showing good mechanics on his shot, but still only managed to hit 10 of -25 from the mid-range. What was missing from this workout was a test of what should be his bread-and-butter skill – his back-to-the-basket post game. We would have liked to see him display his abilities when it comes to footwork, his hook shot, defense, and competitiveness in a demanding environment. This workout did not help or hurt Randolph Morris.

Amir Johnson: There wasn’t much new to see here from Johnson, as DraftExpress has scouted him many times in the past. He continued to show impressive athleticism and length. He has very unappealing form on his shot, but it somehow manages to go in at a decent clip.

Daniel Ewing:


Ewing already had a reputation as a solid shooter, and really solidified that Wednesday. He was virtually automatic from mid-range all the way out to the NBA three-point line, and hit approximately 20 in a row from 18 to 20 feet. Ewing also showed impressive athleticism, dunking the ball effortlessly. Unfortunately, we saw nothing from Ewing regarding his point guard skills. It is crucial for Ewing to shed the “tweener” tag if he wants to move up in this draft, and he didn’t even get a chance to do that Wednesday. With the lack of PGs at Moody Bible, it isn’t a stretch to say that he really could have helped himself by showing off his skills and effectively running a team had he chose to attend.

Olu Famutimi: Famutimi showed athleticism, strength, and a slightly improved shot. His physique is impressive as well. However, he wasn’t invited to Chicago and will need to return to Arkansas ASAP if he wants to ever even have a chance of getting drafted.

GAME 2 / TEAM 1 - TEAM 2 (98-88)


Omar Thomas: 17 points, 7/13 shooting, 6 fouls – Thomas had an impressive night stat-wise, but didn’t display the type of potential that will keep the scouts’ interest. Most of his scoring came from the mid-range area on a much-improved jumper, but Thomas didn’t display the ferocity around the basket that he was known for at UTEP. This may become a theme, as Thomas’ 6-foot-5 height limits him as a professional.

David Lee: 12 points, 4/7 shooting, 5 rebounds – Lee had a quiet but effective showing in his first game at Chicago – especially in the second half. He displayed some unique finesse-type skills for a power forward. He shows dynamite quickness, smooth passing, and soft touch around the basket. While Lee probably didn’t dominate the way a player of his billing might be expected to at this camp, this probably had more to do with his lack of touches and the style of play than anything that would reflect poorly on Lee. We feel that more impressive statistical performances could be in store for David Lee. One play of note took place in the 2-on-2 drills, where he put down a spectacular reverse dunk from the baseline over Ellis Myles.

John Gilchrist: 16 points, 6/11 shooting, 2 assists, 2 turnovers – Perhaps the feature individual matchup of the day took place between John Gilchrist and Carl Krauser in the second game. Neither point guard was willing to back down one bit, as the defense was physical and the smack talk was flowing. While Krauser looked good in the drills, Gilchrist came away the clear winner when it came time for the games. He displayed physical superiority, an ability to get to the basket in numerous ways, and a nice perimeter jumper. While Gilchrist is clearly out for himself in this camp and isn’t exactly disproving the character questions that have been brought up over the past year, he may have put in the most impressive individual performance thus far in the camp.

Brandon Rush: 12 points, 5/8 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks – As the only high schooler at the camp, Rush clearly started out a bit tentatively. He forced several shots, and looked out of place when more experienced players began playing more physically. But as the game wore on, he gained more confidence and his superior athletic ability couldn’t be held in check. He gained a spark with an athletic block under the basket, and his offensive game then came around. He looked much more aggressive in the second half, and looked very good in swishing two NBA three-pointers. In a camp so devoid of players with upside, Rush began to make a name for himself Tuesday.


Sean Banks: 19 points, 8/12 shooting, 3/6 3-pointers, 2 rebounds, 2 assists – Looking at the stat line and knowing Banks’ impressive natural tools, one might think that today’s performance would have been quite noteworthy. However, it may have just been more of the same. His performance in the one-on-one drills was especially unimpressive. Banks was unwilling to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket in the game, but his outside shot was brilliant. He hit three NBA range three-pointers, and it looks like Banks’ shot has improved dramatically since he hit just 34 percent from the floor this past season at Memphis. Leaving school a few months ago and spending three months working out every day with a personal trainer clearly hasn’t hurt his shot. Nonetheless, the question marks about demeanor and all-around game remain. When he wasn’t shooting the ball well, he simply didn’t look up to par. He has been a notoriously streaky shooter his entire career, so he will have to keep up the hot shooting throughout the rest of the camp before we are fully convinced. However, if he does just that, the upside of this 6-foot-8 true wing is very impressive, and he could easily earn himself a spot in the second round.

GAME 3 / TEAM 4 - TEAM 3 (80-73)


Dee Brown: 10 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists – Brown only played 10 minutes due to an injury. His PG skills definitely still need some work, but his outside shooting is improved and his on-the-ball defense is very impressive. Anthony Roberson really struggled to put the ball on the floor when Brown was guarding him. While Brown is clearly a game-changer in this camp, it was readily apparent in the one-on-one drills that he isn’t the best at putting the ball on the floor and getting by his man. This is a serious deficiency in a 5-foot-10 combo guard, but Brown remains an intriguing prospect for this year or next.

Mindaugas Katelynas: 2 points, 1/7 shooting, 1 rebound, 3 turnovers – While Katelynas put in a great showing at the Portsmouth Invitational, this just didn’t carry over in the first days of the Chicago camp. He looks very uncomfortable on the wing, and was forcing his offense left and right. He wasn’t able to use his length and athleticism towards any sort of success, and this led to frustration and mistakes. Katelynas will have a chance to bounce back, but it’s impossible to describe this performance as anything other than a nightmare.

Alan Anderson: 24 points, 5/8 shooting, 14/16 free throws, 2 rebounds – Anderson’s big performance can be characterized as quiet, but Anderson remained successful doing the same things that he did at Michigan State. He scored several times in the mid-range on dribble drive pull-ups, and iced the game from the line down the stretch. He showed off a lot of the versatility he has developed from playing four positions at Michigan State, even playing some point guard in the second half. His time playing the four at Michigan State was also represented, as it is clear that he loves contact and will fight right through it on his way to the basket. He showed confidence and assertiveness, and had to have given his stock a boost tonight.


Anthony Roberson: 15 points, 6/12 shooting, 2/3 three pointers, 2 assists, 3 turnovers – In short, Roberson looks like the exact same player he was in college. He’s a phenomenal shooter with a lightning quick release, but struggles making plays for his teammates that are off the ball.

Carlos Powell: 10 points, 4/6 shooting, 4 rebounds – The more we see of Carlos Powell, the more we like. Powell brings a lot of intriguing attributes to the table. He has excellent athleticism, an NBA body, a nice handle, and an improving mid-range shot. While he still has to work on the transition from combo forward to full-time wing, Powell is clearly a player that teams need to keep tabs on.

Jason Maxiell: 8 points, 3/8 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks – Maxiell continues to impress, succeeding in spite of all the “undersized PF” clichés. He is an athletic marvel, strong as an ox, and shockingly athletic for a player as thick as he is. He creates more than enough space to get his shot off by getting very low on his post ups, and continues to show off regular highlight plays thanks to a freakish 7-foot-2 wingspan. Players his size simply shouldn’t be able to explode the way that Maxiell does. While he didn’t put up the type of stat line that he is capable of in the game, Maxiell was dominant in the individual post drills.

Salim Stoudamire: While Stoudamire didn’t play in the game (officially because of an injury, but it’s speculated that he has pulled out), he did make quite an impression in the one-on-one and two-on-two drills. Where the average guard was attempting to take the ball to the basket in these drills, Stoudamire barely even tried. Regardless of who was guarding him or how closely they played him, he didn’t miss anything. For Stoudamire, an NBA three-pointer might as well be a layup. There really isn’t much else to say.

Dijon Thompson: 8 points 4/6 shooting, 6 rebounds, 4 assists – Thompson was somewhat of an enigma in college, and he didn’t exactly disprove that today. What he did continue to show is an impressive smooth style of offensive game. He has great body control, and looks nearly automatic from the college 3 point line. However, the soft tag remains. He still struggles when people get physical with him, though his teammates didn’t exactly make an effort to get him involved, the fact of the matter is that a player with Thompson’s type of talent should dominate a game like this a lot more than he did Wednesday.

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