NBA Draft: Best players I've ACTUALLY seen

NBA Draft: Best players I've ACTUALLY seen

I've always loved the draft, but with the recent influx of players from overseas, I have been left somewhat in the dark. I used to love it, because I knew all the players. I wanted to do a mock draft, but I don't know enough about the foreign players to properly slot them. Instead, I decided to do a list of the best players in the draft that I have actually seen play.

Best Players That I Have Seen

POINT GUARDS

Too me this group is unbelievably deep, but lacking talent at the top. Teams will find quality players in the second round, but I don't think there is an All-Star in the bunch.

1. Kirk Hinrich, 6-4, Kansas – Hinrich isn't a pure point guard, but to me he is the safest player at the position. Like many of the seniors, you know what you will get, but what you get is a solid player. Hinrich may not be an All-Star, but my guess is that he will have a nice, long career. A bonus is that he can play either guard spot.[Apparently the Bulls agreed with me, they made Hinrich the first PG taken]

2. T.J. Ford, 5-11, Texas – Most think Ford is the best PG in the draft, but he scares the heck out of me. He's less than 6-0 and can't shoot real well. Sure he is quick and has great floor vision, but the lack of offense is scary. Can he develop an offensive game or is he another undersized point guard who gets lost in the shuffle?

3. Marcus Banks, 6-2, UNLV – Saw Banks a lot towards the end of the season and love his game. He has a lot of question marks, but it looks like he can score in the NBA. He had good enough size, but can he make others around him better?

4. Reece Gaines, 6-6, Louisville – In a way the book is still out on Gaines as a point guard. He had a great year last year at Louisville, but has been a wing more. His size and versatility make him a very intriguing prospect.

5. Luke Ridnour, 6-2, Oregon – I'm not sold on the Oregon floor general. He is a great scorer, but is VERY thin. Although he is quick, I have doubts about his speed at the pro level. He could be another John Stockton, but then again he could be another Bobby Hurley.

Biggest Sleeper: Troy Bell, 6-2, Boston College – The most athletic player in Chicago, he will be a steal in the second round.[Bell actually went in the first round.]

Most overrated: Ford, a ton of question marks to go in the top-7.[Ford slipped a wee bit and did not go top-7.]

Guy I need to see to evaluate: Leandrinho Barbosa, 6-3, Brazil: Supposed to be very good, but I have not seen him.

SHOOTING GUARDS

Not a deep group, but I love the top-3. Other than Hayes and Wade, there are no locks to go in the first round. Foreign players could be three the first players drafted.

1. Jarvis Hayes, 6-7, Georgia – To me Hayes is the most exciting player in the draft. Say what you will about LeBron or Carmello, Hayes is a heck of an athlete. He's rumored to be going around 15th, and if he does he's a steal.[He was still a great pick at 10]

2. Dwayne Wade, 6-5, Marquette – Another great college pedigree. Wade was fantastic against Kentucky in the Great Eight and had a great career.

3. Josh Howard, 6-6, Wake Forest – Great body, great game, Howard may still be around at the end of the first round and a good team will get a good player.

4. Carl English, 6-5, Hawaii – He's been rumored to go anywhere from the late first to not at all. English will make someone happy.[It was not at all.]

5. Keith Bogans, 6-4, Kentucky – Bogans has a chip on his shoulder and could ride it to a decent NBA career. I have no allusions of Bogans being a star, but I think he will be a long-time role player.

Biggest Sleeper: Hayes. Hard to call him a sleeper, but if he slips past 15 then something is drastically wrong with NBA GM's.

Most overrated: Travis Hansen, 6-5, BYU – Hansen is a nice player and could be a nice addition to a team, but if he goes before Howard, as many mock drafts suggest, I think the team that takes him will be sorry.

Guy I need to see to evaluate: Mickael Pietrus, 6-6, France – The few video clips I have seen have been impressive, but what can he really do? He looks to be a Lottery pick, so we'll soon find out.

SMALL FORWARDS

This position will be dominated by foreign players and big men who will make the conversion from college post players to pro wings. There are a lot of players who will have to learn to play on the outside.

1. Carmello Anthony, 6-7, Syracuse – LeBron may be the best down the line, but Anthony will make an immediate impact on the NBA. It would be tough to pass on James, but I like a sure thing.

2. LeBron James, 6-8, Akron, OH – James has more upside than any player in the draft, but also has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Can he make good decisions? Can he handle the pressure? If he can, then he joins T-Mac and Kobe. If he can't, he should still be a solid NBA small forward.

3. Luke Walton, 6-9, Arizona – As a pure small forward Walton scares you, but with his versatility and ability to pass he will stick in the NBA. Walton should go late in the first round and will make a good team better with his ability to find the open man. With his body and strength he can also play some power forward.

4. Ndudi Ebi, 6-9, Houston, TX – Ebi is NOT ready to play in the NBA, but will be a good one down the line. He should have gone to Arizona, but he's worth taking a flier on.

5. Travis Outlaw, 6-9, Starkville, MS – Outlaw is in the same boat as Ebi, but he may have too much upside to ignore. He could fill out and become an amazing NBA player. Like Ebi and James, you have to hope he can cope with the pressure and being thrust into a man's world. Biggest Sleeper: Ronald Dupree, 6-7, LSU – If Dupree can stick the jumper he is a second-round steal. He's a great rebounder for a player his size and has great athleticism.[He went undrafted.]

Most Overrated: Matt Carroll, 6-6, Notre Dame – Great shooter, but what else? To me he is the same player as Rick Anderson, but he's three inches shorter and doesn't board as well. Someone will draft him [No one did], but I see a lot of similar players who will get passed over.

Guy I need to see to evaluate: Zarko Cabarkapa, 6-11, Serbia & Montenegro – Guy is 6-11 and has improved every season in Europe. If he can actually play on the perimeter, he'll be a tough match-up.

POWER FORWARD

I think this is a very deep group. Even without any foreign players there are four excellent prospects and a few other guys who intrigue me. Guys I'm not too high on still have tremendous upside.

1. Chris Bosh, 6-11, Georgia Tech – Teams are in love with the athletic big man and I can see why. He's not a finished product, but you can see why teams like him. He has great footwork, but still needs to ad 10 pounds of muscle.

2. Nick Collison, 6-10, Kansas – Collison has been all over the draft boards. He has less upside than a lot of players, but he also has little downside. You get a player who has great moves with his back to the basket and thrives on the boards.

3. David West, 6-9, Xavier – Another "safe" pick. You know what you are getting with West. My guess is he will still be in the league in a decade.

4. Mike Sweetney, 6-10, Georgetown – A guy who intrigues me. He really hasn't had a good surrounding cast, but has played well. Could develope into a very good player.

5. Mario Austin, 6-9, Mississippi State – If he ever developes some intensity he can be a great one. Has a lot of talent and athleticism, but needs to stay in shape.

Biggest Sleeper: Colison. He seems destined to drop, but I think he is a very safe bet. Will be in the league a long time.

Most Overrated: Brian Cook, 6-11, Illinois and Tommy Smith, 6-10, ASU – Both of these players have a load of talent, but had not really put things together until their senior year. Cook finally came around, while Smith is gaining attention thanks to post-season workouts. Both have a chance to be very good, but they worry me as well. Cook lacks intensity, while Smith seems to have two fouls before the tip.

Guy I need to see to evaluate: Sofoklis Schortsanitis, 6-9, Greece – Known as "Baby Shaq", this guy is apparently turning heads with his size and strength. Marcej Lampje is rated higher, but Schortsanitis is the guy I want to see.

CENTERS

Not many domestic players in this group. Guys like Colison or West could wind up playing some center. The NBA will need foreign players to enhance this spot.

1. Chris Kaman, 7-0, Central Michigan – This kid looked great in person. His long arms will make him a terrific shot blocker. A fringe top-10 player in my book.

2. Chris Marcus, 7-1, Western Kentucky – If it weren't for an injury riddled college career he'd be a top-5 guy. If he is healthy he is a second-round steal. If he can't overcome the injuries, he's another big man who's career is cut short.[No one picked him. I think he's a great free agent pick-up for someone.]

3. Kendrick Perkins, 6-10, Ozen, TX – A guy who should not come out, but he's better than what is out there. Will likely go in the second, but should get a chance to stick.[Went late first and will have time to develop.]

4. Jason Keep, 7-0, San Diego – Keep will be a role player at best, but he has the attitude to be a nice player off the bench.

5. Marvin Stone, 6-11, Louisville – Not terribly overpowering, Stone can be a nice player off the bench. Has some attitude concerns, but worth a second round pick.

Biggest Sleeper: Marcus, worth a flier, especially by a good team. Most Overrated: James Lang, 6-9, Central Park, AL – Too short, too fat, I'd wait and sign him as a free agent in three years if he gets into shape. Let someone else develop him.

Guy I need to see to evaluate: Darko Milicic, 7-1, Serbia – I've heard about him for several months now, but have just seen seconds of film. Looks interesting, but he's never averaged double figures in an adult league. We'll see how he plays for the Pistons.

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