What the analysts are saying: A
majority of the recognized draft analysts predict Ridnour will be taken among
the first 15 players in the first round. Several
see the point guard from
Rumors abound that
My take: This year's draft is remarkably
deep in point guards, with as many as five or six points or combo guards likely
to be taken among the first 20 or so picks.
Ridnour's draft position may well depend on the styles of play and the
particular needs of the teams drafting between the 10 and 20 spots in the first
round, and those teams are subject to change because of the probability of a
large number of trades. The plot
thickens when you consider that the experts see Ridnour ranking anywhere from
third among all eligible point guards (behind T.J. Ford and Kirk Hinrich) to
fifth (behind Reece Gaines and Marcus Banks as well).
I would look for
What the analysts are saying: Although I've seen only one draft projection (by Mike Kahn of CBSSportsline.com) that has Walton being picked in the first round, the 6-8 combo forward is moving up most of the pundits' lists. The consensus now is that he's a mid-second round pick. Scouts love his instincts, basketball IQ and passing ability, but his lack of perimeter skills, quickness and athleticism are obvious liabilities.
My take: Somebody will select Walton
no later than the middle of the second round, but I think that team will wind up
being disappointed. Walton was able
to get the most out of his abilities at
What the analysts are saying: Kapono's stock is rising with many scouts, to the point where he's a consensus mid-second round pick. Analysts love his outside shot and court sense. Some see him being picked earlier than Walton. The knock against Kapono is his defense and lack of athleticism.
My take: In a draft loaded with
European players, Kapono is an anomaly. He's
a four year college player from the
What the analysts are saying: Smith has gotten very little publicity, but he's seen as a probable second round pick. The scouts and analysts love his versatility, length and athleticism. On the other hand, Smith is not seen as doing any one thing exceptionally well, and his career at ASU wasn't necessarily all it could have been.
My take: Smith may be worthy of a late second round selection. I question whether he's worthy of being taken early in the second round, as NBADraft.net (which is not among the most respected sources) predicts, but a team enamored of his length and athleticism may jump on him. Smith has a shot at making an NBA roster, but I would be surprised if he sticks around for more than a few years. Guys who have length and versatility -- but don't do any one thing particularly well -- are a dime a dozen in the NBA.
Read the April issue of The Bootleg Magazine and recent stories on the website (click here) for in-depth looks at Barnes' draft prospects. In short, Barnes may sneak into the second round on the strength of individual workouts with NBA teams. On the other hand, teams that are legitimately interested in him may opt not to draft him, thinking that he'll be available later as an undrafted free agent.
Players making late moves:
Up: Marcus Banks, point guard, UNLV. Scouts love his size, athleticism and defensive ability, and he may be chosen ahead of Ridnour, an outcome that was unthinkable just a month or two ago. Banks may be chosen as high as the 15th pick of the first round, awfully early for a player whose true point guard skills are generally considered unproven.
Down: T.J. Ford, point guard,
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