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Cross-Country Workout Swing, Part Two: Priority Sports LA
by: DraftExpress
May 18, 2008
DraftExpress was in Los Angeles to evaluate a few intriguing prospects for this year’s NBA draft—J.R. Giddens, Trent Plaisted, and Bryce Taylor, working out alongside current NBA players Nick Young and Ryan Hollins. Priority Sports had a small group working out at the 360 gym in Reseda, which was our third consecutive year scouting the venue. Former UCLA great and NBA player Don MacLean provides his trainees with no-nonsense on-court instruction and guidance, while “hops-doctor” Shawn Dassie runs an excellent strength and conditioning program that seems to turn out high-flyers on demand.

Below is a snap-shot of what we saw and heard:

J.R. Giddens:

Workout Results:

Giddens shows ideal physical attributes for the wing. He has the length and size to play both the or the 3 effectively…looks to have added strength to his frame…improved handle, still needs work…pronounced follow-through on jump shot speaks to work he’s put in…great results on catch-and-shoot opportunities from 12-17 feet….set 3-point shot is developing, gets good arc, but consistency is much better with time…explosive leaper, can attack with power both straight line and laterally…good change of speed and direction…deceptive, probing driver…made smart decisions with the ball…intense defensive energy…blocked numerous pull-ups by moving feet and keeping minimal space between opponent and himself.

Thoughts on Performance:

Giddens has “dark horse” potential…a solid skill-set and physical attributes give him the potential to be a work-out warrior during the draft process. It will be interesting to see how he performs if/when matched up with some of the drafts more highly regarded wing prospects, namely: Donte Greene, and Nicolas Batum, Chase Budinger, and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Giddens has a good combination of length and physical strength that should make him a difficult match-up for his competition.

He’s the type of player that may be denied the opportunity to go head-to-head by some players looking to rest on their reputations. It’s more likely that he’ll be cutting his teeth against the Shan Foster’s, Courtney Lee’s, and Bill Walker’s of the world, although he will surely be able to show off his sleeper status in the upcoming Orlando Pre-Draft Camp. He’ll need to be aggressive in one-on-one scenarios against the longer opposition, though. His size and explosive strength going to the basket are preferable to shooting challenged jump shots-despite the improvement he’s made in that area.

Trainer’s Take:

Don MacLean: “I think JR just hasn’t been seen enough. When I watch him work out, based on what I know, I find it hard to believe he’s not a first round pick….I think his strength is his athleticism and [physical] strength, in the month that he’s been here he’s really improved with the ball. We do a lot of screen/roll stuff, which makes him handle a lot. If he can keep on improving his basketball IQ and his ability to be efficient, then I think eventually he’s an NBA starting two. I do this every year, so if I’m BSing a kid, it comes back to haunt me and hurts my reputation. I wouldn’t say it just to get one of my kids drafted.

He’s focused in on what he’s doing. I think at the end of the day that’s 95% of what he needed--just get locked in on playing and forget all the BS, quit goofing around, concentrate, and focus on what you’re doing. We’ve been able to keep him focused. He sharpened up and started and I give [Steve] Alford a lot of credit. He understands, he’s been humbled some. He understands the magnitude of where he’s at and that this is kind of like his last hurrah. I think JR understands all of that. He’s been here every day working his tail off. He doesn’t give me any problems, and he’s great with the other guys.”

Trent Plaisted

Workout Results:

Active on both ends of the court…good straight line explosiveness…footwork impressive, uses counters well…solid frame, has ability to add the strength he needs…more comfortable with back-to-basket than face up…shoots a “dead ball” type shot-soft, but lacking consistent rotation…must continue to improve face up shot, though he shows no hesitance to take it…shot motion is compact, arm angle high…showed good intelligence with ball…strong decisive drives against longer, taller opponent, (Ryan Hollins.) Nice adjustments made while in air, using his off-arm and body to shield the ball and go for the finish.

Thoughts on Performance:

Plaisted showed some things in this setting, especially in the 3-on-3. Not a great shot-maker at this point, Plaisted nonetheless showed confidence in his shot and consistency in his mechanics, a sure sign of focus in terms of working on that aspect of his game. Had a good matchup against Ryan Hollins, which tested his ability to operate against a larger, more experienced NBA opponent. Battled for position well, got to some balls, and made plays. Looked like he belonged on the court with his competition. A good, solid Orlando camp will be huge for him, as will the rule changes allowing for more players on the court, because Plaisted’s offensive game is going to have to change substantially on the next level. If he can put up some quality hustle stats in these setting he can help himself.

Trainer’s Take:

Don MacLean: “Trent I think is an NBA player. We’ve helped him by simplifying the game, giving him more on the block. If you saw him in college it was all pound it, pound it, right shoulder. Everything was laying up, flippy, and scoopy. Now we’re trying to get him to turn it over. You saw it today where he went right at [Ryan] Hollins--you wouldn’t have seen that out of him in college. The more he develops, which he will because he’s a good listener and very coachable, the more he’ll do it.

The first week I spent a lot of time with him just talking about how he can be good at the next level, and it ain’t going to be by backing guys down and turning. He needs to improve his shooting to the point that when he does square a guy up at the next level, he can knock it down from fifteen feet every time. He’s gotten better in the last month at that…and athleticism-wise he jumps, he can really jump. He’s made a few plays where you’re like “holy @$#%.” With his size, athleticism and his willingness to get better, I think he’s going to be a good NBA player.
I wish I had another three months with him, because then I think he could be really good. I’m not knocking the coaches at BYU, because they have to play the way they have to play to win games, they’re not worried about Trent Plaisted’s draft status. But [because of that] this stuff is all new to Trent. I think the more he gets in the NBA environment, wherever he goes in the draft, I think they’ll start with this stuff and in time he’ll be a good NBA player.”

Bryce Taylor

Workout Results:

Shows patience and intelligence on the court…clearly focused on being aggressive when shot opportunities presented themselves…good separation ability to free himself for the jumper…nice elevation on shots, even on step-back…looked very comfortable shooting off the dribble…functional ball-handling ability, good enough to set himself up for his shots…works to spots on the court…average short-line burst, but gets up there once he’s going to the basket…effortless jumper, text-book form and good mechanics throughout…doesn’t have tremendous length or height, but has a solid frame…

Thoughts on Performance:

Taylor was a pleasant surprise in many ways…he has a tremendous understanding of his future role on the professional level, and what he needs to focus on in order to accomplish his goals…maturity level and perspective beyond his years…showed me good effort defensively and should be solid in team defensive situations, but probably lacks the size, length and lateral quickness to be a superman defender…was really impressive with his overall shooting, hitting all the shots he’ll need to make on the next level…3-pointer, spot-shots, one and two dribble pull-ups, catch-and shoot of down screen-all very fundamentally consistent…Doesn’t look like a great athlete at first sight, but has the ability to elevate well above the rim when he gets going to the basket….conditioning looks very good, hardly broke a sweat during well-paced workout

Trainer’s Take:

Don MacLean: “This is my 5th year doing this. Bryce might be the kid that has showed the most improvement over a one month span. I cover the Pac-10 for television, so I’ve probably watched him play around 20 times the last four years. He is literally a completely different player right now. He’s attacking, making more shots, he’s more aggressive. With his ability to shoot, he’s an NBA player all day. I didn’t think that initially, based on what I had seen, I wasn’t sure-now I’m convinced. I think he struggled with confidence a bit at Oregon. The way things were set up, I think he got pigeon-holed into just being a catch-and-shoot guy and never really had the ball. Now his confidence is sky-high, he’s trying to dunk on guys now, and he’s been really sharp with the ball.

His mentality when he plays now is different. At Oregon I think he lost some confidence, [thinking to himself] ‘I’ll take my looks when I get ‘em, I’m a pretty good defender, etc.’ Now he’s like ‘give me the damn ball and I’m going to make a play.’ The way he’s thinking about playing now is completely different….and let’s not discount the conditioning factor. They’re in shape that they’ve never been in before. Everyone thinks they’re in shape when they come to this camp, but they’re not. I think that Bryce was a hair out of shape. Now, because of his condition, he doesn’t get tired. At the end of the day it takes more energy to get to the rim than it does to just catch-and-shoot. So I think that’s part of it for Bryce. He’s gotten himself into supreme condition.”
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

J.R. Giddens
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 208 lbs.
Birthday: 02/14/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: John Marshall
Previous Team: New Mexico , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #30 in 2008 Draft
by the Celtics
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
17.6 Pts, 9.2 Rebs, 2.2 Asts


Trent Plaisted
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 240 lbs.
Birthday: 10/01/1986
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Clark
Previous Team: BYU , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #16 in 2008 Draft
by the Supersonics
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
7.8 Pts, 5.6 Rebs, 1.2 Asts


Bryce Taylor
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 210 lbs.
Birthday: 09/09/1986
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Harvard-Westlake
Previous Team: Oregon , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible:
Quick Stats:
11.5 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 1.3 Asts


Nick Young
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 206 lbs.
Birthday: 06/03/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Cleveland
Previous Team: USC , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #16 in 2007 Draft
by the Wizards
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
17.9 Pts, 2.6 Rebs, 1.5 Asts


Ryan Hollins
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Birthday: 10/10/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Muir
Previous Team: UCLA , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #20 in 2006 Draft
by the Bobcats
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
2.3 Pts, 1.5 Rebs, 0.1 Asts


Don Maclean
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 235 lbs.
Birthday: 01/16/1970
44 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Simi Valley
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #19 in 1992 Draft
by the Pistons
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: F,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
3.9 Pts, 2.3 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Donte Greene
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 221 lbs.
Birthday: 02/21/1988
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Towson Catholic
Previous Team: Syracuse , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #28 in 2008 Draft
by the Grizzlies
Positions:
Current: SF/PF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
9.4 Pts, 3.6 Rebs, 2.8 Asts


Nicolas Batum
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 214 lbs.
Birthday: 12/14/1988
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Le Mans , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #25 in 2008 Draft
by the Rockets
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
13.0 Pts, 7.5 Rebs, 5.1 Asts


Chase Budinger
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 206 lbs.
Birthday: 12/31/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: La Costa Canyon
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #14 in 2009 Draft
by the Pistons
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SG/SF
Quick Stats:
6.7 Pts, 2.5 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


Chris Douglas-Roberts
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 01/08/1987
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Cass Tech
Previous Team: Memphis , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #10 in 2008 Draft
by the Nets
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
6.9 Pts, 2.4 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Shan Foster
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birthday: 08/20/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Bonnabel
Previous Team: Vanderbilt , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #21 in 2008 Draft
by the Mavericks
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG/SF
Quick Stats:
5.9 Pts, 1.7 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Courtney Lee
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 10/03/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Pike
Previous Team: Western Kentucky , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #22 in 2008 Draft
by the Magic
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
11.0 Pts, 2.8 Rebs, 1.7 Asts


Bill Walker
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Birthday: 10/09/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: North College Hill
Previous Team: Kansas State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #17 in 2008 Draft
by the Wizards
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
14.7 Pts, 5.6 Rebs, 1.8 Asts


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