West Coast Workout Swing: Day 2 (Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, etc)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 3 (AIB Player Evaluations/Josh McRoberts Workout)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 4 (Nick Young,Bobby Brown,Danny Granger)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 5 (Marcus Williams, Jared Dudley, more)
Jermareo Davidson, 6-11, Senior, Power Forward, Alabama
Davidson showed some extremely concerning shot selection throughout the 5 on 5 game. This is not really anything shockingly new considering that he shot 40.7% from the field in his senior year, but it is somewhat worrying to watch in person. He settled repeatedly for questionable shots from behind the arc, often off balance, early in the offense, and in wild fashion. Again and again he went to his turnaround fade-away jumper from behind the 3-point line (ala Kobe or Vince), while rarely attempting to establish any type of presence inside the paint with his back to the basket. When he did receive the ball in the paint with single coverage, he seemed to avoid taking contact at all costs, spinning away from his man rather than into him in order to draw a foul and finish strong.
Davidson will be attending the Orlando pre-draft camp and would be well served to compliment his perimeter game with some toughness inside the arc. Most NBA coaches (they cant ALL be Mike DAntoni after all) wont play a big man who wont play strong defense and rebound the ball with purpose, and this is a great way for Davidson to show off his excellent physical attributes and help show that his disappointing senior season was just an aberration. He will be one of the more intriguing big guys to watch at the pre-draft camp (particularly in the drills), but he will have to play within himself and try to show off the other facets of his game besides his perimeter shooting.
Brian Cusworth, 7-0, Senior, Center, Harvard
Here we find a legit 7-footer who is well proportioned with a great frame, a pretty nice wingspan, solid coordination, and some very legit athletic ability. Hes spent the last 5 months since finishing off his collegiate eligibility at Harvard here in Las Vegas, working tirelessly on his conditioning and skill-level, and the results arent hard to notice. Cusworth looked incredibly well schooled in all of the drills that were thrown at him, showing pretty nice touch out to 15 feet, a good looking turnaround jumper out of the post, and excellent stamina. He can jump, run, move, etc the way you would want a player his size to legitimately, and had himself quite a showing in the five on five game once he settled down.
Cusworth went up against Patrick OBryant and scored on him again and again, utilizing nifty footwork on his pivot moves around the basket, switching and finishing with either hand, throwing in reverse lay-ups, showing a nice little step-through, and being extremely active finishing through contact. He hit the glass pretty hard, and even got in the passing lanes to remove any real doubt regarding his agility.
It was a pretty impressive showing, but it wasnt without negatives. For one, Cusworth appears to be a complete black hole. Anytime the ball goes into the post, you can forget about it having any chance at all of coming out, regardless of the situation hes in. He takes very difficult shots in traffic and especially from the perimeter, showing plenty of inexperience and a definite lack of poise with the ball in his hands.
He appears to be hell bent on proving that he can play with athletes of the caliber that was around him, but ended up forcing the issue considerably time after time, especially early on. Once he settled down he ended up doing extremely well, but you can tell that he was trained to be his teams go-to guy at all costs in the Ivy League, and that mentality is hard to completely erase in such a short period. This appears to be what happened at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in early April, where he had quite a poor showing, looking extremely nervous and out of his element, making some very bad decisions and not helping himself out at all in the process. There will obviously be a learning curve for him to adjust himself from playing in the Ivy League to a higher level of competition, but there seem to be some really nice tools to work with. It will be very interesting to see how he develops.
Levon Kendall, 6-10, Senior, Small Forward, Pitt
Kendall has good height, length and a decent frame, and he might have been the most well conditioned athlete we saw here, mainly due to how seriously he appears to be taking his training from what we could tell.
Immediately it became evident that were dealing with an extremely intelligent basketball player. Hes constantly surveying the floor to figure out where there is a play to be made, and he has the ability to make some excellent decisions with the ball in his hands, mainly in the form of passes to cutters making their way into the lane. He likes to use fakes and all kinds of other crafty moves to give himself an advantage, and will show some advanced spin-moves into the paint on occasion even, maybe to use his body nicely and finish with a pretty finger roll.
Kendall is also quite a solid defender as well from what he showed in the work he did on Jermareo Davidson and Ryan Gomes. Hes capable of making his way to the basket with either hand, even if his ball-handling skills are definitely improvable, and hes got pretty nice shooting mechanics (including a high release point) even if his college numbers from beyond the arc (20/80 on his career) dont really back that up.
Considering his just-average athletic ability and paltry statistics, Kendall will probably have to start off his career somewhere overseas first before he attempts to make it back to the NBA as a free agent. From what we were told, he is in the process of obtaining a European passport to help facilitate that.
Aaron Brooks, 5-11, Senior, Point Guard, Oregon
Regardless of the setting, though, Brooks has superb quickness and outstanding ability to shift gears and keep his man off balance. He handles the ball on a string and can get into the paint with the greatest of ease, being able to finish plays in many different ways, particularly with a very nice tear drop in the lane. His shot wasnt falling consistently for him, but he obviously has solid shooting mechanics and more than enough touch to just throw the ball in the basket from NBA range and beyond, even if he abuses his shot at times.
Running his team in the pick-up game, Brooks did just a so-so job, especially in the half-court setting. He pushes the ball up the floor like a pro and is nearly impossible to keep out of transition once he receives a good outlet pass, but once slowed to a standstill he struggles with his decision making and has a tendency to force some very tough shots. He seemed to lack focus at times and complain an awful lot when things didnt go his way. Brooks will play in the pre-draft camp and has a chance to help his stock big time there with a good showing. He has all the talent in the world to do so, and then some. In the right situation, he could certainly find a niche for himself.
Patrick OBryant, 7-0, Center, Golden State Warriors (NBA)