Well, tonight is the night. At 7pm eastern, we will find out who the Cleveland Cavaliers decide to pick with their first overall pick, if they don’t trade it away that is. Because the draft will go tonight, this will be our final edition for this year’s NBA draft profile. We will go out in style with another quick hits version and get some more prospects out of the way to keep you guys best informed.
Jeff Withey, Kansas, Center
Strengths: Easily the best shot blocker in the 2013 NBA draft, Withey holds the single NCAA tournament record for blocks and the Kansas blocks record. He is also second only to a certain Tim Duncan for career NCAA blocks. He has great defensive timing and instincts that allow him to alter a bunch more shots that he doesn’t get to block. He is quick, athletic, coordinated and has great hands that allows him to be a threat offensively, especially on the fast break. He is an underrated prospect, especially since there is a premium on good big men in the NBA and Withey should be able to fit right in.
Weaknesses: Offensively, he is limited to dunks and layups, mostly off of putbacks and fast break opportunities. He has started to develop a bit of a shot away from the basket but it is not a very legitimate weapon yet. His rebounding for a big man is not as good as it should be, though a portion of that may come from the fact that he blocks so many shots that he is taking away rebounding opportunities away from himself. Withey is probably as good now at least statistically, as he will be in the future because he does not have much potential to evolve his game to the next level.
Myck Kabongo, Texas, Point Guard:
Strengths: Because of his ludicrous suspension from most of last season’s play, Kabongo’s stock has fallen off in the minds of most NBA teams. It’s unfortunate because he might be the best play maker in the draft. Kabongo is the type of guy who always looks to find his teammates before looking for his own shot and he is very creative and flashy in how he gets his assists. He is not a high possession type of player but he can score when needed. As a passer, he creates most of his opportunities off the drive and kick which he plays about as well as anyone. Plays much like a young Andre Miller with a better jump shot.
Weaknesses: Kabongo is not particularly athletic, in a league with extremely quick and athletic point guards, that might be tough on him. This could be especially true defensively where he could get burned by these quicker defenders if he does not commit himself to becoming a better defensive player. For a point guard, he is not good at shooting out of his dribble which he will need to improve to remain a consistent threat on the offensive side of the ball.
Tim Hardaway Jr, Michigan, Shooting Guard:
Strengths: Hardaway Jr is not a high usage player which means that he can find his offense in less shots than a lot of players might need. This will be especially useful early on in his career when he will not be high in his team’s hierarchy and thus shot opportunities will be less common for him. At 6″6 and almost 200 pounds at the combine, Hardaway possesses great size for his position which will allow him to compete right away at the next level and not feel physically undermined.
Weaknesses: He might be a low usage player but that does not mean Hardaway takes good shots. He tends to take more than a few really bad shots per game and that is something he will have to curb if he wants to get consistent playing time at the NBA level. Though Hardaway shows the size and skill set of an NBA player, he doesn’t do anything particularly well so nothing really stands out when you watch him play. Unlike his father, NBA legend Tim Hardaway, he does not possess dribbling skills that allow him to create elite separation from his defenders.
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State, Forward:
Strengths: Thomas’ best skill is that he can stretch the floor better than any forward in this draft. He is a great three point shooter and he is not afraid to take them either, taking almost six attempts from three per game last year. Though he prefers to shoot the ball, Thomas is also pretty good at drawing fouls and driving to the rim which means that if defenders are going to play him tight, he can get to the rim and finish there or draw a foul.
Weaknesses: His rebounding numbers are fairly terrible for a forward and he does not show much of a nose for the ball off the rim. He is also not a very good defender because he is not particularly athletic or quick enough to read the offensive play before it happens. Thomas is a high usage,low efficiency player who probably takes more attempts than he should. He will most likely end up being a tweener in the NBA, not quick enough to guard 3s but to small to guard 4s who will over power him easily.
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, Point Guard:
Strengths: Canaan has tremendous scoring ability and he has shown it over his four year career at Murray State. He is one of the few players to average over 20 points last year and he did most of his damage with his jump shot, which he is comfortable taking from anywhere past the half court. He possesses great leadership abilities and he is willing to take big moments in key situations, a skill that is highly valued in the NBA.
Weaknesses: Canaan is not a natural play maker and there are issues about whether or not he will be able to create shots for others at the NBA level. Standing at 6 feet in shoes, he will have to play point guard as a pro because he is simply too small to be able to play any other spot. If his passing ability doesn’t improve, he will have trouble getting off the bench. Defensively he is just average and his lack of size and quickness will make it hard for him to get any better than what he currently is, his head also appears to not always be in the game on that end of the floor.
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, Shooting Guard:
Strengths: Franklin has great size for a NBA prospect and he uses it extremely well. He averaged nearly double digits in rebounding last year in the back court which is impressive for any player. As a scorer, he thrives inside the three point line and at getting to the rim. He is quick, exciting and athletic. He has shown a great ability to create shots for others as well which is something he added as a Junior. His competitive level is through the roof and and he is always going as hard as he possibly can.
Weaknesses: He does not have a three point shot and he looks to be limited as an offensive player going to the next level. He does nothing particularly above average as an offensive player which will make him fairly easy to stop. He can be too aggressive defensively which leaves him easy to get by with the dribble, something he will need to work on to be able to stay on NBA courts.
That about covers it, there are a few expected first rounders I did not cover and I covered a few guys that could dip into the second round but this is a fairly comprehensive list of expected first rounders.
I hope you enjoy the NBA draft and come back tomorrow to get my impressions on surprises and highlights from tonight’s 2013 NBA draft.