After having faced three major tests over the past two weeks-- Ohio States Greg Oden
, Arizonas Ivan Radenovic
and Floridas duo of Al Horford
and Joakim Noah
we can now say with some confidence that Carl Landry
can match up with players who are bigger than him and still do what he does best. Hes played extremely well in all three of those matchups, and has helped himself tremendously in the process. And although he might not even be the 6-7 hes listed at, Landry, that doesnt seem to bother him in particular from being productive and helping his team out.
Not a highly touted player out of high school, Landry had to go through the junior college ranks first before landing at Purdue. He clearly has a chip on his shoulder because of that, as its clear that he is just as good of a basketball player as all the players hes matched up with lately, even if he doesnt have the size, athleticism and upside to be considered a top draft prospect.
Landry showed off his outstanding post game against two of the best defenders hes ever faced at the collegiate level. At times he had his shot blocked, but he kept going back for more and was rewarded for his efforts by his teammates on the way to an 18 point performance. He scores his points with a great combination of smarts, strength and finesse, establishing position deep in the trenches and carving out space from which to get his shot off. He has great hands, outstanding footwork and great touch around the hoop, as well as a sweet turnaround jumper he can go to if he cant back his man down. Landry also showed off somewhat of a perimeter game, coming off a screen and knocking down a one-dribble pull-up from about 16 feet out. Landry might never have to face two shot-blockers simultaneously of the caliber he went up against today in his entire career, but he still got his, mainly thanks to how patient he was with his moves and counters.
Defensively, things didnt go as well. He didnt respect Al Horford
s mid-range jumper enough, and was punished for it on a couple of occasions. Horford also showed no mercy using his strength to just bulldoze his way through him on his way to the hoop, and Landry didnt show too much resistance, probably to avoid getting in foul trouble. Considering the fact that he was going up two projected top-5 picks, though, this is pretty understandable. He did do a good job as a rebounder against those two, pulling down an impressive 5 on the offensive end.
So where does that leave him as a draft prospect? Thats a good question. The European leagues are littered with players in his mold (and he would be fantastic there), but the NBA has lately shown a fondness for the virtues of the undersized power forward as well. If weve learned anything
over the past few years, its that guys like this cannot be counted out. His numbers in college (19 points, 7 rebounds, 60% FG%) are similar or even better on a per-minute basis to those of Craig Smith
s, a player he somewhat resembles, so at the end of the day it wouldnt shock us to see him doing well at the pre-draft camps and showing that he was being underrated coming out of college yet again, just like he was after junior college and high school.