NBPA Scouting Reports

After spending the better part of the week at the NBPA's annual Top 100 Camp, the players who participated are probably getting a much needed rest before the always crazy month of July. Before we get some rest it is time to take one last look at the camp and the performances of a few of the players who are on the Arizona radar screen.

Darrell Arthur - Easily one of the most intriguing guys in the class of 2006 because nobody out there seems to know a bunch about him. A quiet and humble kid who usually goes about his business in silent fashion, Arthur showed an emotional side of his game at NBPA that not many had seen before. An elite level athlete, Arthur has often been content to pick his spots and has thus relied too much on his athleticism.

While he still used his athleticism to his advantage, the most impressive thing Arthur did was demand the ball and impose his will at times. For whatever reason, he wasn't the recipient of many passes so he took it upon himself to get the ball and make things happen. You won't find many guys with his size and strength who are as natural shooting the ball from outside as Arthur. His baseline fadeaway is money, and he flicks home 22 footers with relative ease on his pretty looking jumper. The key for Arthur will be to find a good balance between his inside and outside game and to remember that he can be a dominant rebounder.

Tyreke Evans - Despite the fact that he's only a rising sophomore and won't graduate until the spring of 2008, this 6-4 combo guard has already received his fair share of hype. For the most part Evans lived up to his advance billing by putting up numbers, handling the ball and looking very comfortable against older players. His biggest asset at this point in his development is his advanced ball handling ability. The release on his jumper is actually a little slow, but Evans creates so much space with his crossovers, step backs and hesitation dribbles that it isn't an issue for now. Not surprisingly he's got a tendency to overdribble and it took him a little while to realize that there were four other players on the court with him. He's lost on the defensive end right now but that is understandable given his young age. For now he's the top dog in the class of 2008 but he's going to have to keep working in order to keep that spot. It could certainly be argued that he was outperformed at NBPA by another 2008 product, 5-10 PG Brandon Jennings.

Gary Johnson - How can you not like watching Johnson play given his no-nonsense approach to the game? The 6-7 forward from Houston loves going to work on the low block and gets the job done. Because of his length and quickness on the blocks, Johnson plays bigger than his size and fears no man in the painted area.

There were plenty of outstanding performances to choose from at camp, but Johnson's complete dismantling of Ray Hall one evening may have been the most impressive of the week. To his credit, Johnson lets his play do his talking for him and now that he's added a reliable mid-range jumper he's a much more dangerous player. If he continues to develop, Johnson has a chance to be a Joey Graham type player on the college level.

Taylor King - Now that he has backed off of his very early commitment to UCLA, college coaches, scouts and recruitniks are all busy familiarizing themselves with the 6-7 forward's game. It isn't that he hasn't been out there to be seen, it is just that the attention level given to somebody who is committed is a bit different than it is for somebody who is still open. For the most part, King was impressive at NBPA.

His ability to shoot with comfort and ease out to 25 feet is something that few others have but people need to be careful because King is much more than a shooter. Not particularly athletic, King kills defenders with his smarts and creativity. He's a super passer, above average low post scorer and has improved his ball-handling. In terms of skill level, there won't be many in 2007 who can match him but that doesn't mean there isn't some work to be done. He needs to work on becoming a little quicker and more confident off of the dribble and getting stronger but has proven to be a hard worker so there is no reason to think those areas won't be addressed.

Jerryd Bayless - If you are Bayless, a week in Richmond probably just taught you a bunch about who you are as a player. Attempting to play point guard much of the time, Bayless focused on running his team, getting teammates the ball and making smart decisions. In the long run that is a good thing because in the short term playing as a "pure" point man isn't something that caters to his strengths.

While he did a fine job running the show, Bayless was clearly more comfortable playing on the wing. From the wing he is able to blow by defenders and pull up for his outstanding mid-range jumper or get to the rim where he can flaunt his athleticism. He's a guy who is used to getting all of the shots he wants and deserves some credit for looking at his game and realizing that it needs to be tweaked for the next level. It probably wasn't the week he was looking for numbers wise, but by Saturday and Sunday it looked like he had found the type of balance between scoring and running the show that will help his game in the long run.

Kevin Love - It is pretty obvious that Love is one of those kids that writers and fans may grow a little tired of describing. It isn't that there is anything wrong with him or the way he plays, but how many ways are there to really describe how good he is? One thing is for sure, nobody is going to get tired of watching him lay down the law each and every time out there.

A fun loving guy, Love is all business once he steps on the court. In the paint, it is almost as if defenders have given up on trying to defend what Love does. He's going to get his offense no matter what because of his ridiculous footwork and skill level. He finishes with either hand, follows his own misses and is now a comfortable shooter from well beyond the three-point line who is also a pinpoint passer. He's as close to complete as a rising junior big man could possibly be as an offensive player. Defensively, he is prone to gambling and needs to be quicker. Quickness is likely to come once Love sheds some of his remaining baby fat and starts sculpting his frame.

Alex Stepheson - Talk about passing the look test, Stepheson is an impressive looking prospect. At 6-9 he runs the court with the ease of a wing, has tremendous bounce around the hoop and is the owner of a terrific looking long and muscular frame. More than ever, Stepheson is also passing the player test once he gets into action.

Eric Bossi appears courtesy of Inside Carolina. The information contained in this story is part of a two part story that ran on that site.

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