Roscoe Smith: NBA Draft Update

Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

Roscoe “Scoe” Smith made the decision back in April to forgo his senior season at UNLV and enter the 2014 NBA Draft. Smith comes off a season in which he led the Mountain West in rebounding, averaging 10.9 to go along with 11.1 points per game. Considered one of the best players not invited to the NBA draft combine by NBA insider Chad Ford, Smith enters the draft without a defined position which could hurt his stock. Undersized as a power forward and too streaky a shooter to play the wing (at least presently), Smith will need to impress in workouts. In an interview with the Utah Jazz, Smith alluded to himself as a “power 3” in the NBA, similar to Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs (full interview below). However, according to Alex Oriakhi’s Snap Chat, Phoenix had Smith working in the post as a stretch 4. 

Scoe

Measurements

Here is Smith as he compares to rival wings Deandre Daniels, Glenn Robinson III and Andrew Wiggins as well as Kawhi Leonard’s numbers from the 2011 NBA combine.   

Player Height (shoes) Wingspan Standing Reach Max Vertical
Smith 6-8 1/2 7-1 1/2 8-10 1/2 36
Daniels 6-8 1/2 7-2 8-10 1/2 32
Robinson III 6-6 3/4 6-10 8-4 1/2 41.5
Wiggins 6-8 3/4 7-0 8-11 44
Leonard 6-7 7-3 8-10 32

 Workouts

Here is a list of Smith’s workouts, as well as other notable players invited. 

Utah Jazz, June 2nd: Roscoe Smith, James Bell (Villanova), LaQuinton Ross (Ohio State)

Chicago Bulls, June 3rd: Roscoe Smith

Phoenix Suns, June 5th: Roscoe Smith, Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), TJ Warren (NC State) 

Draft Projections

After a hot start to the season, Smith does not appear on any of the major mock draft boards. NBA Insider Chad Ford lists Smith as the 73rd best overall player in the draft and 18th best small forward. While Smith possesses the size and athleticism for an NBA small forward, his defense, shooting and ball handling are inconsistent at best after a 2013-14 season spent in the post. On the other hand, while Smith has the energy and length to rebound the basketball, his size and strength are questionable for a NBA power forward. Look for Smith to start next year in the NBA D-League or overseas.  

 

Giffey works out for Knicks, Pistons

According to German agency Assistency, Niels Giffey had workouts with the New York Knicks (May 29) and Detroit Pistons (May 31). More to come as available.

Niels Giffey NBA Update

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Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Niels Giffey turned heads during his second championship performance of the season last month at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, covered here. Giffey continued to play his role in the winning formula, knocking down shots and playing solid defense, causing Tournament MVP Davante’ Gardner (Marquette) to tweet:

Following graduation, Giffey flew to Indianapolis where he worked out at the St. Vincent Sports Performance’s NBA Pre-Draft Training Program. Other participants included Eric Atkin (Notre Dame), Semaj Christon (Xavier), Luke Hancock (Louisville), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Jake Odum (Indiana State), Trevor Releford (Alabama) and Glenn Robinson III (Michigan). According to their website, St. Vincent Sports Performance provides not only skill development but also performance nutrition and performance psychology among others to prepare prospects for the NBA.       

Measurements

Here is Giffey as he compares to other wings in the draft including Deandre Daniels. Melvin Ejim, former Iowa State star familiar to UCONN fans, appears to be Giffey’s main competitor for a late second round selection. Take note that unlike previous charts I have replaced max vertical with standing vertical as Giffey’s max was not available. 

Player Height (shoes) Wingspan Standing Reach Standing Vertical*
Giffey 6-7 1/2 6-10 1/2 8-7 1/2 28.5
Ejim 6-7 6-11 1/4 8-7 1/2 29.5
Robinson III 6-6 3/4 6-10 8-4 1/2 36.5
Daniels 6-8 1/2 7-2 8-10 1/2 26.5

*standing not max vertical

Workout Update

Here is a list of Giffey’s workouts, as well as other notable players invited. 

Utah Jazz, May 20th: Niels Giffey, Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Scottie Wilbiken (Florida)

Philadelphia 76ers, May 27th: Niels Giffey, James Bell (Villanova), James Michael McAdoo (North Carolina), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State)

New York Knicks, TBD: TBD

Draft Projections

Analysts have Giffey anywhere from late second round to undrafted. As an underexposed role player, workouts will only help Giffey get his name out there. Scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational came away impressed and there is no reason to believe that trend will not continue. Here are some second round opportunities for Giffey:

  • 32nd, 39th, 47th, 52nd or 54th, Philadelphia 76ers: With five second round picks to go along with two lottery picks, the 76ers can address immediate needs and plan for the future.
  • 58th or 60th, San Antonio Spurs: Giffey is the epitome of a role player on a team of role players.  
  • New York Knicks: With no draft picks and change on the horizon, the Knicks could look to make moves. 
  • Germany: Big contract, free apartment, free car, home country and all the schnitzel you can eat = not a bad deal. 

Deandre Daniels 2014 NBA Draft Combine Recap

nba.com

nba.com

Deandre Daniels entered the 2014 NBA Draft Combine as a question mark to NBA teams. Plagued by inconsistent play throughout his career at UCONN, Daniels comes off a breakout NCAA tournament that saw him average 16 points/7 rebounds as the second scoring option. Highly praised for his length and athleticism, let’s see how Daniels matched up against top small forwards (not named McDermott/Parker/Wiggins) in the draft.

Top Small Forwards: Cleanthony Early (Wichita State), Deandre Daniels (UCONN), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), Rodney Hood (Duke), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)

Drills

Daniels used the drill section of the combine to show scouts his NCAA tournament shooting performance was not a fluke. The three-point shooting drills were separated into two parts, 25 shots from NBA range (break left, break right, corner left, corner right, top of the key) and 25 shots from NCAA range (same spots). Below I have combined the three-point shooting results of the small forwards prospects into one table:

SF Rank Spot Up 3 Point Shooting Percentage
1 Robinson 62%
2 Hood 60%
3 Daniels 54%
4 McDaniels 50%
5 Early 44%
6 Grant 40%

Daniels 3P% increased dramatically during each of his three seasons at Connecticut, from 24%-31%-42%. Although his form is unique, if Daniels can continue to improve his shot he has the size and length to shoot over NBA small forwards.

The next shooting drill put players on the move with shots off the dribble left, right and at the top of the key to simulate in-game action. Daniels remained in the middle of the pack, demonstrating he is not just a spot up shooter but can create his own shot off the dribble.

SF Rank Non-Stationary Shooting Percentage
1 Hood 78%
2 Robinson 72%
3 Daniels 67%
4 McDaniels 60%
5 Grant 53%
6 Early 51%

Measurements

Arguably the most athletic position in the NBA, scouts are especially concerned with a players height, wingspan, standing reach and max vertical. Essentially, length and athleticism. Here is how Daniels compared to other elite small forwards at the combine. Note: Andrew Wiggins is widely considered the most athletic player in the draft and his numbers are included for comparisons sake, although he was not in attendance.

Player Height (shoes) Wingspan Standing Reach Max Vertical
Daniels 6-8 1/2 7-2 8-10 1/2 32
Early 6-7 1/4 6-10 3/4 8-5 1/2 40
Grant 6-7 3/4 7-2 3/4 8-11 N/A
Hood 6-8 1/2 6-8 1/2 8-7 36
McDaniels 6-6 6-11 3/4 8-6 37
Robinson 6-6 3/4 6-10 8-4 1/2 41.5
Wiggins 6-8 3/4 7-0 8-11 44*

*unofficial

Stock: Up or Down?

Up. A player with as many inconsistencies as Deandre Daniels needed solid measurements to complement his tremendous potential. Aside from Jerami Grant – who will most likely switch to power forward in the NBA- Daniels led small forwards in almost all categories. He tied for the tallest of the group at 6-8 1/2 and at 7-2, his massive wingspan is 2 inches longer than that of Andrew Wiggins. Also, Daniels standing reach was by far the longest of small forwards present at the combine, a whopping 6 inches greater than Glenn Robinson III. One last notable measurement: 9 1/4 inches. This is the length of Daniels’ hand, largest among small forwards and tied for second largest in the entire combine. As you can see from the table above, Deandre is right on par with his peers physically. Strong, aggressive workouts will separate him from the pack and solidify a first round selection.

Draft Projections

Deandre Daniels has the talent to be a late first round draft pick. On the other hand, scouts see him as a second round selection due to his pencil-thin frame and lack of strength. In a draft full of talented small forwards, Daniels’ performance in workouts will ultimately seal his fate. In my opinion, Deandre is one of the most underrated players in the draft and could make an impact for a contender after a season in the D-League. Here are some possible destinations:

  • 25th pick, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have the flexibility to allow Daniels a season in the D-League to bulk up on a NBA strength training regimen.
  • 35th pick, Utah Jazz: Young at every position the Jazz can go after the best player available which at this point in the draft, could be Daniels.
  • 43rd pick, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks need a perimeter scorer, if they don’t fill this need in the first round look for them to fill it here.

Workout Updates

Miami Heat: May 26th along with PJ Hairston (UNC)/Cleanthony Early (Wichita State)

Boston Celtics: June 3rd along with Kyle Anderson (UCLA)

Atlanta Hawks: TBD along with Johnny O’Bryant (LSU)

Shabazz Napier 2014 NBA Draft Combine Recap

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CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The NBA Draft Combine, a two day event held last week in Chicago, gives top NBA prospects a platform to showcase their skill set for NBA GM’s and scouts through a variety of drills and measurements. Let’s take a look at how Shabazz Napier’s numbers fared against other top point guards prospects.

Top Point Guards: Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Dante Exum (Australia), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), Shabazz Napier (UCONN), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)

Drills

On the advice of his agent, Napier opted to skip the basketball drills portion of the combine. In fact, none of the top point guard prospects participated in the drills. While some questioned the decision of Payton who received little national exposure at Louisiana-Lafayette, Napier’s season was well chronicled and his decision received no negative backlash. Other top players who did not participate included Kentucky’s Julius Randle, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Michigan State’s Gary Harris.

Measurements

Below I have compiled a comparison of Napier’s top competitors at the combine, as well as Kemba Walker’s measurements from the 2011 NBA Draft Combine. While Napier lacks the height and wingspan coveted by scouts, his 37.5 inch max vertical answered questions of explosiveness and was arguably the most surprising/impressive measurement of the day. If you look closely, Napier’s measurements are nearly identical to those of Walker, the 9th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Player Height (shoes) Weight Wingspan Max Vertical
Napier 6-1 175 6-3 1/4 37.5
Ennis 6-2 1/2 182 6-7 1/4 36
Exum 6-6 196 6-9 1/2 34.5
Payton 6-3 3/4 185 6-8 35.5
Smart 6-3 1/4 227 6-9 1/4 36
Walker (2011) 6-1 184 6-3 1/2 39.5

In the 3/4 court sprint Napier finished second among point guards (3.2 seconds), barely edged out by Exum (3.19).

Stock: Up or Down?

Up. Napier’s small stature has been noted by scouts in the past so his measurements came with little shock. As I mentioned above, the real shocker was Napier’s vertical, an astounding 37.5 inches- the same as former Husky flyer Ben Gordon*. In years past, Napier was knocked for his immaturity and scouts worried about his ability to lead an NBA team. This past season put those doubts at ease after Napier not only elevated his play, but also the play of his supporting cast en route to his second National Championship. Napier is the most NBA-ready point guard prospect in the draft, the type of player who could immediately contribute minutes as a back up. Yes, Napier will be competing against NBA sized guards every night, but, if you take a look at his track record -most recently the Harrison twins/James Young of Kentucky- Napier is a competitor and competitors are not discouraged by a couple of inches. As Napier said of himself, “Certain guys know how to win, certain guys understand what to do at certain times of the game and that’s kind of rare.” In a league where success is defined by championships, Shabazz Napier is a proven winner.

*This number is even more astounding considering Napier did not complete a dunk in his four years at UCONN.

Draft Projections

According to scouts present at the combine, Napier’s performance solidified a first round selection. Here are some possible destinations that stand out:

  • 17th pick, Boston Celtics: Hometown kid on the hometown team is always an inspiring story line.
  • 26th pick, Miami Heat: LeBron tweeted: “No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.” Starting point guard Mario Chalmers is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, if Napier were still available you know who LeBron wants…
  • 28th pick, Los Angeles Clippers: Current backup Darren Collison has a player option for next season. Like Collison, Napier is a pesky defender who would benefit under the tutelage of Chris Paul while he develops.

 

NBA Draft Update: Niels Giffey at the Portsmouth Invitational

From portsmouthinvitational.com

From portsmouthinvitational.com

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) invites 64 of the best college basketball seniors each year to play in a four day showcase in front of NBA scouts and GM’s. Former NBA greats from John Stockton to Scottie Pippen have graced the tournament’s floors on their way to NBA stardom. Niels Giffey participated in the 2014 PIT last weekend and continuing with the recurring theme of UCONN basketball, won the championship. More importantly, Giffey put forth a strong showing that should guarantee him at least a few workouts for NBA teams. Measuring in at 6-7 1/2 in shoes with a 6-10 wingspan, Giffey has the size of a NBA small forward. He also has the game to back it up. In 3 games, Giffey shot 5-8 from deep and came up with numerous big defensive plays for the eventual champions. Coming off a season in which he hit 48% of his 3-point attempts, Giffey was able to showcase other facets of his game including sneaky athleticism and high basketball IQ.

Here are his complete stats for the tournament:

Game Points FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA Rebounds Steals Blocks Minutes
First Round 9 4-12 1-4 5 4 4 31
Semis 11 4-5 3-3 4 1 1 21
Championship 5 2-2 1-1 3 2 0 31

To watch Giffey’s performance for yourself, here are the links to the games (in order):

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4527774/events/2926233

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4527774/events/2931102

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4527774/events/2931208

Best of luck to Niels and stay tuned for more updates…

 

Deandre Daniels and Ryan Boatright NBA Draft Update

The deadline for NCAA underclassmen to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft is April 27th. For Deandre Daniels and Ryan Boatright, this means a decision will be announced in the next few days. As a Husky fan, I would love to see these two back in blue and white next season but with millions of dollars at stake there are many more contributing factors. Here is how I think it will all play out:

Ryan Boatright

Ryan Boatright would benefit from another year in school. Helter-skelter at times, another year under the tutelage of a former NBA point guard would seem to be the rational decision. However, this was not a rational year. Boat is coming off a courageous NCAA tournament performance that drove his stock to an all-time high. Critics allude to his size and decreased statistical performance as indicators he should return for his senior season. I do not understand the size argument, Boat will be the same height next year if he stays and enters the 2015 draft. He will be as undersized then as he is now. The difference is, now his stock is at its peak (barring a repeat). His size will remain the same but his stock can only drop. To address the statistics argument, Boat averaged 12.1 points/3.5 rebounds/3.4 assists this season down from 15.4 points/4.4 assists a year ago. Ok, yes, that’s a drop off of 3 points and 1 assist, but, if you take a deeper look, you will see he took 2 less shots, grabbed .5 more rebounds and committed 1 less turnover per game. Also, we won the National Championship. Boat’s production didn’t drop off, he found his place in the winning formula. Protecting the ball, crashing the glass and accepting a diminished role offensively was what we needed from Boat and that’s exactly what he gave us. He put the team over individual performance, demonstrating his maturation from freshman year. A non-basketball factor to take into account is the death of Boatright’s cousin, Arin Williams, who was shot to death in January outside Chicago. I am sure the desire to move his family to a safer location will play a role in his decision.

To Stay or Go?

Prediction: Enters NBA Draft, mid to late second round pick

 

 Deandre Daniels

Deandre Daniels is another player who could benefit from one more year under Coach Ollie. Standing at 6’9 195 lbs, another year in the weight room seems appropriate as well. On the other hand, Daniels is coming off a NCAA Tournament that saw him play his best basketball in a UCONN uniform including 27 points/10 rebounds vs Iowa State and a 20/10 game vs Florida. Daniels’ length, athleticism and skill set are all highly coveted by NBA GM’s. Does he stay or does he go? As in the case of Boatright I believe Deandre will cash in on his high stock. The opportunity is too hot to pass up. In a draft loaded with talent at the small forward position- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Cleanthony Early-  Deandre has something none of them have, a ring, the mark of a winner. Another case to consider is that of former UCONN big man Alex Oriakhi, who played a similar role to Daniels on the 2011 National Championship team. After much deliberation Oriakhi chose to remain in Storrs, a move you cannot blame him for but ultimately led to his demise. Oriakhi picked school over stock and is now fighting his way through the D-League to get back to the promised land. Rest assured his decision will be weighing in the back of Deandre’s mind throughout the process.

To Stay or Go?

Prediction: Enters NBA Draft, late 1st round to early 2nd round pick