Sunday, June 25, 2000

Top shooting guards in the NBA Draft

By Mike DeCourcy
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        1. DerMarr Johnson, 6-9, 200, Cincinnati. Whether Johnson would have been helped by another season with the Bearcats is not the issue. (He would have). In a draft such as this, where potential is in greater abundance than any other quality, few offer the same possibilities as “DJ.” Johnson's shooting range is a match for any player in the league, let alone the draft, although he must become more consistent. He certainly needs more strength. But those who saw Johnson regularly at UC saw him finish a half-dozen or so drives that only the league's greatest scorers could complete. He's the best wing prospect in this draft by a significant margin.

        2. Courtney Alexander, 6-6, 210, Fresno State. There is no player in the draft who is more dangerously intriguing to NBA teams. There is little doubt he has the skills to be a pro scorer. Alexander has a blazing first step, dynamic athletic ability and both the pull-up game and shooting range necessary. But is he another Isaiah Rider, giving his team as many headaches as points? It's not just a matter of past legal troubles; it's how he functions with a team. He was given no structure at Fresno, which twisted his shot selection and decision-making. On a veteran team, he could be redirected toward success. On a lottery-level team, he could be a high-scoring nightmare.

        3. Morris Peterson, 6-6, 215, Michigan State. Peterson is a deceptive athlete who moves so fluidly that his ability to cover ground quickly and soar through the air easily can be forgotten. He has a great touch to 20 feet, but the question as he turns 23 is whether he'll gain the strength to expand his range and defend his position. Peterson is great at shooting off screens, can score on one- or two-dribble moves and plays well under pressure, but he is not proficient at driving the ball to the goal.

        4. Mark Karcher, 6-5, 218, Temple. Most of the draft analysts you'll read have no love for Karcher, but this is someone whose game and body are in a constant state of development, who can get his own shot because of his ballhandling and strength and who has made big baskets under pressure. He is not as athletically explosive as the premier shooting guards, but he is quick enough to get by with the new body he carried in the pre-draft camp.

        5. Quentin Richardson, 6-6, 222, DePaul. Richardson left the Blue Demons with many questions unanswered, primarily about his response to physical defense and to pressure situations. But he's so tough, pro teams are falling in love with his workouts. Richardson shoots from the perimeter far better than many believe, and he can clear room to shoot with a quick dribble. He has far to go as a ballhandler.

        6. Lavor Postell, 6-5, 205, St. John's.

        7. DeShawn Stevenson, 6-5, 215, Washington Union High, Fresno, Calif.

        8. Pete Mickeal, 6-6, 222, Cincinnati.

        9. Cory Hightower, 6-7, 183, Indian Hills (Iowa) C.C.

        10. Michael Redd, 6-6, 215, Ohio State.

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