DraftExpress Mailbag (#3)

DraftExpress Mailbag (#3)
Jan 12, 2006, 10:31 pm
The third edition of our mailbag. Every week or so we will try to answer the best questions we are asked either by email or other methods. Questions about specific prospects, requests for features on the site, the policies, methods and principles we try to incorporate into the site, complaints, praise or anything else is fair game. If you would like to write an observation about a prospect, team or trend we are seeing lately anywhere in the world, feel free to as well. If you would like to participate, please get in touch using the “contact us” form or send me an email .



Thanks for answering my question a few weeks ago about the Euro buyouts. Very informative stuff. What about some other guys on your mock draft?

Thabo Sefolosha
Kosta Perovic
Yotam Halperin



Not a problem Max,

Thabo Sefolosha has a multiyear contract with his Italian team Biella. Luckily for him, his contract has clear NBA buyouts each year that are for "below the maximum amount NBA teams can pay," according to his agent, which means less than 500K. This is obviously good news for him.

Kosta Perovic is in the 4th year of a 6 year contract. Unfortunately there is no buyout clause in the deal. If Perovic stays, he will make between 400-500K Euro next year, which for his team Partizan is a LOT of money these days. There will be some pressure to let him go, since it’s not entirely clear that they can afford that. And even if they can, is he really worth paying that much when you get an American player to give you what he gives for half the price? From what I hear he is in no rush to make it to the NBA. And from what we’ve seen this year, he is clearly not ready for it anyway.

Yotam Halperin’s rights still belong to Maccabi Tel Aviv at the moment, despite the fact that he is on loan at another Euroleague team in Olimpia Ljubljana. He still has some time left on his contract, but apparently Maccabi Tel Aviv will not stand in his way if he’s drafted and is in a position to be the first ever Israeli player to make the NBA.

Hi there :-)

Great work you are doing on this question will be...since the Florida Gators are now ranked #2 in US how come no Gators is in your mock draft 2006..not good enough or what? I saw that ESPN was comparing Horford to Amare Stoudemire.




Thanks a lot.

I actually live in North/Central Florida and attend quite a few of their games, so obviously I know all about the Florida kids. We had Al Horford in our late lottery for most of the year, but from what I've been seeing out of him lately I think he might be better off staying another year. He really isn't showing the will to dominate games yet, even against poor competition. And even if he wanted to, I am not sure that he is skilled enough to do so. After a stretch in which he scored in double digits in 10 of his first 11 games, he has come back to earth a bit and is averaging about 8 points and 6 rebounds over his last 5. Regarding the Amare Stoudemire comparison, I really don’t know what to say except that there is absolutely no comparison whatsoever between the two. Stoudemire is a MUCH better athlete than Horford and plays a completely different style of basketball than him. While Horford is your rugged and fundamentally sound defensive oriented garbage man who can pass and handle the ball, Stoudemire gets by almost exclusively on his incredible explosiveness, which Horford just can’t compete with. That’s OK though because he contributes in other parts of the game which Amare is still a bit weak at right now.

Regarding the other Gators, Corey Brewer has been fantastic all season long and is already one of the best small forwards in the college game, but he still has a lot of work to do on his body and outside shot. His ball-handling has improved and he’s an incredible athlete and defender who plays the game with as much heart as any player in America these days. Joakim Noah is a terrific prospect that no one else is really talking about, but that’s mostly because the Gators just haven’t been on TV at all outside of the state of Florida. This is probably a reason why these bizarre comparisons like Horford-Stoudemire come up…Noah looks to be a legit 7 footer to me who blocks shots, is really improving on the offensive end and like Horford and Brewer can really pass the ball. He’s only now beginning to scrape the surface on his true potential, being possibly the most improved big man in the country (along with Roy Hibbert) up until this point in the season. I am not sure if anyone runs the floor harder than this guy. His passion for the game is incredible.

Any one of the three could declare for the draft this year depending on how far they go in the tournament (a final four run especially could really shake things up for the Gators), and there are great cases to be made for all of them being considered first round picks. They could just as well stay and probably be the favorites to win the national championship next year.

I think you are being too conservative regarding underclassmen and a couple of 19 year old Europeans in thinking they will wait till 07 to declare. Just looking at the 1st round projections for 07, I feel that several of these will appear in the 06 draft before all is said and done.




At this point in the year, we aren’t only doing the mock draft by who we think WILL declare, but also by who we think SHOULD declare.

When you say 19 year old Europeans, I assume that you are talking about Uros Tripkovic, Marco Belinelli and Sergio Rodríguez. Granted, there is a distinct possibility that all three of them declare this year. What we need to keep in mind is that the new rules in the CBA regarding putting your name in and pulling out, specifically for international draft prospects, makes this a much riskier proposition than it was in the past. If those three decide to “test the waters” and declare for the draft, but don’t like what they are hearing in June (none are locks for the lottery), they will have to pull out of the draft and the next time they enter will be their last. International players used to be able to put their name in and pull out as many times as they wanted (see: Splitter, Tiago), but the new CBA has leveled the playing field and made their situation identical to that of the NCAA players (essentially giving them one “draft card” they can burn). This means that as 1986 prospects (not being automatically eligible until 2008) they’ll need to be a lot more careful this year and only put their name in if they truly intend on staying in. Their contract and buyout situations need to be 100% clear and favorable enough for an NBA team to not think they have another Fran Vazquez situation on their hand. Considering that all 3 of these guys are European guards, and its getting harder and harder to point out European guards who can really make the transition to the NBA, I don’t think it would be a stretch to advise these kids to come over to the NBA when they are really ready to play, unless they are mentally tough enough to toil on the bench for their first few seasons. Just look at the way the last few crops of European draft picks have struggled and not really panned out. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they came over way before it was their time. All three of these guys have been extremely inconsistent this season and all of them could definitely use another year to really become impact players at the European level. They are all in great situations in terms of playing time and the level of competition, so what's the rush?

With that said, all three of them (but especially Belinelli) have also played incredibly well at times this year considering their age and the type of players they are going up against. It’s not a black and white type thing, there are pros and cons to staying and leaving, and these guys will have to make that decision on their own with the people they trust.

Now regarding the college underclassmen, you would really have to give me specific names you think we are being too conservative with, because it’s pretty much a case by case type deal. We look at ourselves as being more than just a site that throws out a mock draft without any type of explanation as to the logic behind our thinking, so question away and we'll explain every trail of thought since we take this very seriously. We like to be accountable for our actions. You aren’t going to see a Patrick O’Bryant type player skyrocket from outside our top 50 NCAA sophomores to the top 10 of our 2006 mock draft overnight, only to drop him the very next week after he has one bad game. That’s just not how we operate.

I love your scouting and have been a fan since May of 2004 when you were that other site. (BTW, great call on Orien Greene; i love him and you guys were the only ones down with him before the draft) The interesting thing about mock drafts is how they evolve over the 10-12 weeks before the draft. (Mocks any time before April are pretty useless, it seems). I was discussing the 2004 with a friend and said that the Celtics' picking Al Jefferson at #15 was pretty much a no-brainer considering what was known about him. I'm interested in any historical mock drafts that you have for 2004 from May until the draft, particularly with regards to the Al Jefferson pick. ( it is my contention that Al Jefferson pretty much fell in to the laps of the Celts, not unlike Gerald green in 2005.) Thanks for any info you can pass on.




You are absolutely right. Mock drafts evolve very quickly in the last few weeks/months before the draft. There are many reasons for that. I wouldn’t say that mocks before April are “useless,” we just don’t have as much information available to us before that to help us shape the mock the way we do right before the draft. I mean, we are in January right now and I can tell you with full confidence that I will learn something new about the draft every single day in the 6 next months. Just a few of the things that we learn in May/June that we don’t know in December/January:

1) Who is actually in the draft. It’s impossible to predict 100% who is going to be drafted if you don’t know who is actually eligible. Guys who look like top picks in 2006 easily could have made themselves eligible in 2005 and probably would have been 1st rounders or right there on the cusp of the 1st round. For example; Andrea Bargnani, Rudy Gay, Adam Morrison, Tiago Splitter, Shelden Williams, Guillermo Diaz, Mardy Collins, Taj Gray and others. If those 8 guys declare, you could very well say that 8 other players would have been bumped into the 2nd round or gone lower than they actually did. Right now there is a lot of guesswork as to who wants to declare, who actually should, who can get out of their contract in Europe, etc etc.

2) The NCAA tournament plays a huge role in players’ stock. No one had Sean May in the 1st round before he established himself as the best college basketball player in America during North Carolina’s run to the national championship. That obviously played a huge role in where he went. You can say the same thing to a lesser extent about Deron Williams, Channing Frye, Raymond Felton, Francisco Garcia, Luther Head, Julius Hodge, Salim Stoudamire and others. A lot of juniors and seniors are going to separate themselves from the pack in the next few months. We are not going to be stubborn and ignore that. And while some players improve their stock remarkably down the stretch, others really hurt themselves. Same deal with just having to accept that, even if it’s not something that I would have expected in terms of players I might like more than others.

3) Private workouts and all the hype around them make things an absolute mess. This is the best time of the year to be a draft fan, but it’s also incredibly overwhelming with all the information that is out there. Look no further than guys like Chris Taft, Randolph Morris, Kennedy Winston (although the red flags on his knee played a huge part here too), Monta Ellis and others tanked their stock by working out poorly, while other guys like Julius Hodge, Martell Webster, Ike Diogu and others really helped themselves. You brought up Orien Greene in your initial email…I didn’t know anything about him before I went to watch him workout right in front of my eyes (twice). Now imagine if I got to see ALL these players workout for me going up against some of the top prospects at their position. How smart would we be then?

4) Physicals and the red flags that come out of them are considered top-secret information that we only really hear about a day or two before the draft at best. Ask Wayne Simien, Danny Granger, Ronny Turiaf, Kennedy Winston and Alan Anderson about that…

5) The Chicago pre-draft camp usually boosts up at least two or three guys into the first round and sends a couple other guys spiraling to the end of the 2nd round or undrafted. Luther Head, David Lee and Jason Maxiell all helped themselves out tremendously here in 2005.

6) Since the NBA is a copycat league, the various trends that evolve can only really be evaluated in hindsight and not beforehand. European players like Martynas Andriuskevicius, Ersan Ilyasova, Johan Petro, Roko-Leni Ukic, Mickaël Gelabale and others all went significantly lower than they probably would have in years past. NCAA seniors were all the rage in 2005, in sharp contrast to what we had seen in previous drafts. Players who were undersized for their position like Jason Maxiell, Nate Robinson and Rashad McCants weren’t hurt by their height the way they may have been a few years ago as well.

Now finally to Al Jefferson. His stock was a bit up in the air from what I remember leading up to the draft in 2003 (although this seems like 10 years ago in terms of how far we've come since then). I remember hearing about him having a couple of great workouts (like with the Wizards) and also having a couple of stinkers (like with the Hawks). I distinctly remember us calling him one of the most underrated players in the draft in an article just a few days before the draft, while a very prominent website called him “a bust waiting to happen”. There were a lot of rumors about the Portland Trailblazers being very interested in taking him at #13, and the Miami Heat at #19 supposedly were very high on him as well. We had him pegged to go 12th to Seattle in our final mock, and in hindsight I bet they would have taken him over Robert Swift. In fact Swift was the guy everyone thought Danny Ainge was very high on. So all in all from what I remember (and this is very subjective) 15th was right around the area that Jefferson was supposed to go, but with that said you still have to give Danny Ainge a lot of credit for actually pulling the trigger on taking him. Now I just wish they would play him!

Thanks for starting the DraftExpress Mailbag. I think it is a great feature. I like the speculation part of the draft process, and was curious what you all think the 2008 Draft might look like. Obviously, that is extreme speculation, but so is doing a 2007 Mock. Could you possibly do a 2008 Top Ten? Thanks in advance.



Hey Josh,
This is super speculative, but what the hell, I may as well give this a shot so I have something to laugh about in 2 ½ years.

1) OJ Mayo
2) Julian Wright
3) Brandan Wright
4) Yi Jianlian
5) Bill Walker
6) Nemanja Aleksandrov
7) Tyler Hansbrough
8) Danilo Gallinari
9) Derrick Rose
10) Jason Smith

Hi, Jonathan, I was wondering if Rudy Gay can be a stopper on defence and be a go-to guy during the 4th quarter in the NBA? He seems to have all the tools to do so, but I question his mentality to do so. I think he has Vince Carter written all over him. What do you think?


I agree with you that Gay has all the tools to be a fantastic player on both ends of the court. The problem is that we haven’t seen enough of that this year. He’s been a real tease since that one great game against Arkansas at the Maui Invitational early in the season.

From what I understand from people close to him, Gay is having a hard time dealing with all the hype he has received over the past 3 years. It’s not easy when there are hundreds, if not thousands of articles written about how you have the potential to be one of the best basketball players in the world and then you struggle to live up to those huge expectations. People at UConn think that Gay is trying to show too much NBA game at the moment, and has really gone away from what his bread and butter should be. Instead of trying to make fancy ball-handling moves on the perimeter and then elevate for a fade-away jumper off the dribble, he needs to go back to the basics, which is crashing the offensive glass, taking the ball strong to the hoop and getting to the line, and shutting down his man on the other end of the court. He's not doing that right now.

He is either being too tentative and hiding in the corner, or he’s trying to do too much and is forcing the issue, especially with his outside shot. He shows incredible strokes of brilliance on occasion, the kind of things that only the top athletes in the NBA are capable of doing, but has clearly not reached the point in his career that he is capable of single-handedly taking over a game. On the other hand, UConn really needs him to stay aggressive and is practically spoon-feeding him on offense with plays just to get him going. We’re not seeing that ability to just create points, rebounds, blocks and steals strictly off his raw talent and athleticism, and I am afraid that that has a lot to do with where he is at mentally at the moment.

Hi, I love your site and believe it is the best at predicting mock drafts on the web period. Your guys’ bios are much more complete then anybody else’s. I've been following Roy Hibbert and I was wondering why you don't have this guy in any of your mock drafts? Which year do you guys think he'll come out, the 2006 draft or the 2007 draft? Also when he comes out where do you think he'll be drafted?




Thanks for the feedback. We try our best to make our site unlike that of any other NBA Draft website on the internet in terms of the way we follow the prospects and not hype them to death.

In regards to Roy Hibbert, I feel that he will definitely be a four year player. He is still very young (just turned 19) and is just beginning to show flashes of the potential he has. Hibbert is known to have a great work ethic, so he should continue to improve upon his game. As it stands now, he is 7'2 with a very good body, but is still very awkward and mechanical. His footwork and coordination really need a lot of work, but he still has tons of time.

As to where he will be drafted, that is totally dependent upon his work ethic and development over the next few years. I personally don't see why he couldn't go in the mid first round if he continues to improve. In two years, I can definitely see him as a better prospect then Brendan Haywood was coming out of UNC if his development continues at this rate.

Take care,

Rodger Bohn
Director Of High School Scouting

Do u know where I could find video on high school basketball players such as OJ Mayo and Tyreke Evans?




Our friends at have some great free clips of Mayo and Evans available on their site. HSSMTV also offers DVD’s of these players at a very affordable price. Here are the links:

Take care,

Rodger Bohn
Director of High School Scouting

Observation of the week:

Just an update on a Wake Forest prospect,

Trent Strickland is, not only the most consistent senior on the Deacon team, he has shown the most improvement over the past year. This alone should signal the extent of his upside. He went from being a marginal role player last year to being one of Wake's undisputed leaders and most dominant offensive and defensive forces. It's not a surprise that Prosser puts Strickland on the opposition’s best 1-3 player and the fact that he can draw charges and block shots puts him at an advantage that few shooting guards have. His athleticism puts many to shame. Granted Hassan Adams and Rodney Carney can jump, but Trent Strickland uses his athleticism for more than just dunking and rebounding. There is so much more to say about him, but he, at this point, is the only bright spot on a Wake team that seems a bit lost in the mix right now. With more exposure as the season wears on, he should move to the middle to upper reaches of the second round: certainly much higher than Eric Williams.


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