Arthur Perhaps a Quick Start

He was the starting power forward who drove KU to a national championship with 20 points and 10 rebounds against Memphis in the title game. Can Darrell Arthur make that next step and start at the four spot in just his rookie year in the NBA?

One NBA scout believes that’s a possibility.

“If he’s in the right situation, he could start pretty quickly,” the scout said. “If  he goes to a team that’s really lacking depth in the post I could see him starting right away. It’s got to be the right team. If he went to Philly (No. 16 overall pick) and they're slim at the four right now, there’s no reason he couldn’t come in and start.”

The scout has a hunch Darrell Arthur will land in Philadelphia.

“He’s a solid mid first-round pick,” the scout said. “I think he’s 12 (Sacramento) to 21 (New Jersey). More than likely, i would say 16 is where he would go.”

The Sixers are indeed looking for a big man. Their power forward rotation last year was a mix of Reggie Evans (5.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Thaddeus Young (8.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg), and Jason Smith (4.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg).

The 76ers Web site reported that “there is little doubt that the Sixers need an upgrade at power forward if the team is to take the next step. Although Evans, Young, and Smith did an admirable job last season, the Sixers will be looking for a back-to-the-net player who can give them the low-post threat they sorely lacked this year.”

According to this NBA scout, Arthur was hampered by a back strain and missed a week of workouts. He is back in action and worked out for the Sixers on Monday.

“I think I can bring energy to them, bring them a big spark, play some defense on the perimeter and inside,” Arthur told sixers.com.

Sixers’  Sr. Vice President and Assistant GM Tony DiLeo is quite impressed with Arthur.

“He fits the way we play,” DiLeo said. “He’s an athletic player, he gets up and down the floor, he can hit an outside shot, he can post up. He’s been a winner, in high school he won and in college he won, so he shows a lot of intangibles.”

At 6-9, 225 pounds, Arthur is a bit undersized at power forward. But that’s just fine with DiLeo.

“The way the league is going now a lot of teams are downsizing their fours, like the Rashard Lewis’, the Lamar Odom’s," DiLeo said. "So a lot of fours aren’t huge anymore, they are more athletic, teams are playing more up-tempo, so I don’t think size is going to matter for him.”

Arthur concurs.

“I can use [my size] to my advantage mismatch wise, take them out to the perimeter and drive or shoot an outside jumper,” Arthur said.

The former Jayhawk star has previously cancelled workouts with Toronto, which picks No. 17.

“He’s been pretty selective I think on where he’s going,” the scout said. “That’s not necessarily Darrell, that’s his agent. You can’t blame the kid because this is the only time he’s gone through this and he’s just following the advice of his agent. You never blame the kid.”

Arthur hasn’t seem to moved up on any draft boards since the end of the season, though there is speculation Sacramento could pick him at No. 12.

“It hasn’t risen,” the scout said of Arthur’s stock. “I wouldn’t say it’s dropped  much, but it’s maybe fell down a step just because teams haven’t got to see him (much) this month. In Orlando (pre-draft camp), he was OK but he didn’t grade off the charts in any particular category.”

The scout thinks Arthur is a promising NBA prospect.

“He’s definitely an upside guy,” the scout said. “I don’t think you’re seeing the finished product with him as much as you are with maybe a Brandon Rush.  Brandon is pretty polished. What you see is what you’re going to get at the next level. But with Darrell, if he will be committed to expanding his range on his shot and becoming a consistent rebounder, there’s a chance he can be pretty darn good. But I also think there’s a chance he can be very average, too.

“I don’t seem him ever being an All-Star, but I think he can definitely be a starter in our league. If he’s a great worker, which we’ll see what he ends up being, he can potentially be a 12 to 16 point per night scorer. ...  (I believe) he’s going to be a 12 point, five or six rebounds a game per night (guy).

The scout added that Arthur’s success will be determined by “how bad does he want to be a good player. I think he’s got to prove to people there’s more to his game than just being a good athlete and getting by on that.”

The scout, for one, is impressed with Arthur’s work ethic. He’s seen him play since the summer before his junior year of high school and observed him closely at KU practices the last two years.

“I really like him in practice,” the scout said. “He’s very, very impressive in practice because he’s very quick around the hole. He gets a lot of touches. He’s been much more impressive in practice that in a lot of games I’ve seen.”

The scout and others aren’t exactly gushing about Arthur’s rebounding prowess. Arthur averaged 6.3 boards in 24.7 minutes per game this past season.

“That’s not a bad ratio, but I never felt like he was a guy that was just trying to get every rebound,” the scout said. “He gets what comes through his area, but I never felt like he had the mentality to go after every ball, which he has the physical skill to do.”

“I would question his hands a little bit,” the scout added. “It looks like he has small hands. He fumbled some passes, fumbled some rebounds (in Orlando).”.

The scout certainly doesn’t question Arthur’s athletic ability.

“I think it’s definitely above average for his position, without a doubt,” he said. “There’s some pretty athletic fours in our league (so) don’t think he’s really a freak athlete at our level. ... He’s a quick, powerful jumper. It’s not like he’s going way above the rim like some of the other guys do, but he’s very, very quick off the floor. He can run, he’s a powerful athlete, strong legs.”

Arthur is not only an impressive athlete, but this scout believes he has strong character as well. He said he’s heard “great reports on him, (a) really nice kid, liked by his teammates.”

The scout said Arthur “could be like a Brandon Bass, who had a pretty good year for Dallas.” Bass (6-8, 240) is a three year NBA veteran and promising reserve power forward with the Mavericks who averaged 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season.

Whether Arthur starts his pro career as the starting power forward with the Sixers or comes off the bench for the first few years like Bass, the scout knows Shady’s future is secure.

“I think he’ll have a long career in the league,” he said.

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