If you're having a hard time deciding who among this year's lottery prospects will ever amount to anything, you're not alone. Especially with drafts now dominated by 18- to 20-year olds brimming with potential but often short on substantive accomplishments, projecting who will pan out is fraught with subjectivity and guesswork. So maybe it shouldn't be surprising that ESPN's Chad Ford and DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony--the two most well-known and hard-working draft guys around--came away from Friday's Orlando workouts with rather divergent perspectives on some of the draft's biggest names. As we see on draft night every year, educated people can see the same thing and draw very different conclusions, and the draft experts are no exception--even when it comes to basic things like whether a guy shot well or not.
Let's start with Derrick Rose. Both Ford and Givony have Rose going first overall, and there's no disagreement about how special the Memphis point guard is. But while Givony gushed that "Clearly the most impressive workout of any of the 15 players belonged to Derrick Rose," Ford saw the brief workout in Orlando as a poor stage for his talents, noting "Rose won't look especially great in these drills."
Michael Beasley's reviews were perhaps more interesting, because Ford and Givony disagreed on something that would seem a bit more objective--how well Beasley shot the ball. Let's start with Ford:
While other workouts were going on, we all watched in awe as Beasley drained NBA 3-pointer after NBA 3-pointer. That continued in the workouts, in which Beasley shot as well as any prospect here. Deep or midrange, Beasley can shoot the lights out.
Givony however didn't seem to be among those left in awe, reporting that Beasley "shot the ball just decently." Here's where it'd be nice to see some shooting percentages for all the players in Orlando.
LSU 18-year old Anthony Randolph's raw talent makes him one of the riskier picks in the draft, so it's probably less surprising that Ford and Givony sound like they're talking about two different players in recapping his performance. Don't count Givony among those who were impressed:
Speaking of lukewarm impressions, Brook Lopez didn’t do a whole lot to ease the concerns NBA people have about him, not moving all that well up and down the floor and showing a very average skill-level in most of the drills. The same can be said about Anthony Randolph, who showed up with a long undershirt intended to hide just how incredibly skinny he still is at the moment. He looked great dunking the ball in the transition drills and handling the ball fluidly in the open floor, but was completely unable to hit a mid-range or long-range jumper in any of the drills, not even coming up close on many of his attempts.
In contrast Ford has stated a number of times that he sees Randolph as a top five talent, and he clearly had a greater appreciation for Randolph's workout.
I thought Randolph really helped himself in this workout. He moves incredibly well for a big man, showed great quickness and leaping ability, and shot the ball much better than expected. Randolph also looked as if he has gained some weight, which should really help his cause.
In Donte Greene's case, Ford played the role of skeptic, noting, "He is a good athlete, but his shot wasn't falling as well as some other prospects." Meanwhile, Givony noted Greene for "shooting the ball well from the perimeter."
Some might look at this sort of thing as the exact reason why they don't pay attention to the draft hype, but it's also worth noting that the top prospects' Orlando drill work was short and as a result probably left more to the imagination. Indeed, both Ford and Givony admit that the abbreviated workouts are unlikely to have a real impact on the draft process. Still, for fans it's yet another reminder of how the draft is as much an art as a science, and that the draft lottery in late May is merely the prelude to the real lottery that happens on June 26.