Sunday, June 25, 2000

Top small forwards in the NBA Draft

By Mike DeCourcy
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        1. Mike Miller, 6-8, 220, Florida. Miller is extraordinarily skilled and superior athletically and might have, in an earlier era, created one of the great college careers. With the rush to get to the NBA, however, he leaves questions about his decision-making and ability to take over games. He did not respond well at the Final Four, to the defensive pressure applied by North Carolina or to the pressure to carry the Gators in the title game. Miller handles the ball exceedingly well and is a solid jump shooter, whether it is from 23 feet or 12. With strength, he should be a first-rate NBA small forward.

        2. Darius Miles, 6-8, 190, East St. Louis (Ill.) High. The buzz regarding Miles is way out of proportion with his abilties as a player. He is an unbelievable athlete — as agile, elastic and explosive as anyone in the league — but struggles with how to turn his athletic gifts into productivity on the basketball floor. He does not play consistently hard. For a small forward, he is a painfully sporadic shooter. The comparisons to Minnesota star Kevin Garnett are ridiculous, because Garnett has all those problems covered and is at least 4 inches taller. Miles is much closer physically to Tracy McGrady, but McGrady entered the league with far more polished skills.

        3. Desmond Mason, 6-6, 215, Oklahoma State. Mason is quick and an extraordinary leaper and has the shooting ability all teams look for in perimeter players. He understands shot selection and has been taught man-to-man defense by Eddie Sutton, one of the game's best. He appears to lack creative skills, but that may be partly the result of the Cowboys' system, which offers few such opportunities. Eddie Jones was not viewed as that sort of player when he left Temple and has proven otherwise. That is the best-case scenario for Mason.

        4. Hanno Mottola, 6-10, 245, Utah. NBA teams love Utah players, because Rick Majerus' system employs so many pro principles that players arrive well-prepared to contribute. They're not so wild about Mottola, though, because of his refusal to rebound. He shoots, handles the ball and passes well. If he were a power forward with small forward skills, he'd be flirting with the lottery. As a small forward with power forward speed, he'll be fortunate to squeeze into the first round.

        5. Chris Carrawell, 6-6, 215, Duke. Those who want to love Carrawell would be wise to answer this question: What does he do? He doesn't have shooting range, isn't quick and doesn't jump well. If you want to draft him for defense, he's no match for UC's Pete Mickeal in that department. Carrawell is a high-character player, but a three-year guaranteed contract is a lot to spend for a nice guy.

        6. JaRon Rush, 6-7, 205, UCLA.

        7. Hidayet Turkoglu, 6-8, 200, Efes Pilsen (Turkey).

        8. Dan Langhi, 6-10, 220, Vanderbilt.

        9. Chris Porter, 6-6, 218, Auburn.

        10. Terrance Robertson, 6-7, 210, Fresno State.

NBA teams gamble on youth, 'upside' in draft
Enquirer's mock NBA draft
Top power forwards in the NBA Draft
Top shooting guards in the NBA Draft
- Top small forwards in the NBA Draft
Top point guards in the NBA Draft
Top centers in the NBA Draft

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