2008-09 NBA Draft Kit: Rookie Report, Part III
The 2008-09 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit steamrolls on, as today we present the third and final part of our Rookie Report.
George Hill, PG, San Antonio Spurs: Hill, a 6”2” combo guard, turned down the opportunity to play at more renowned basketball programs, opting to attend IUPIU so he could stay near his sick great grandfather. He really stepped up offensively last year, averaging 21.5 PPG to take home Summit League Player of the Year honours. Speed and athleticism are Hill’s calling cards, but he’ll need to work on his defensive play and add strength. Hill will get a long look in exhibition play, but with Roger Mason, Jr. added to the mix in San Antonio, it will take an injury for him to see significant PT.
Darrell Arthur, PF, Memphis Grizzlies: The athletic Arthur has a chance to be an Antonio McDyess type. He’s gifted with a superb midrange shot, but there are plenty of scouts who question his intensity and toughness. Arthur will need to add strength before he’s ready to make a real impact in the NBA. He slipped in the draft because of (apparently false) reports that he was dealing with kidney problems, so he could turn out to be a steal down the road. This season, however, with Hakim Warrick and Antoine Walker ahead of him in the pecking order, I doubt he’ll see much action until later in the season when the Grizz are ready to think about 2009-10 (which probably won’t take too long).
Donte Greene, SF, Sacramento Kings: Acquired in the Ron Artest deal, former Orangeman Green has great size (6’10”, 220), but the problem is he sort of falls between the three and four. A possible Marvin Williams type, Green’s great jump shot belies his potential, but given how much work he needs on D, he’s still a project. He scored a team-high 18 in the team’s opening pre-season tilt, but with John Salmons and Francisco Garcia providing depth at the three, and the Kings crowded at the four spot, I don’t see Green getting much of a chance to put up those kind of numbers when the stats count.
D.J. White, PF, Oklahoma City Thunder: A second-team All-American last season for the Hoosiers, athleticism is White’s calling card. The problem is, he just isn’t overly quick and his size (6’9”, 230) doesn’t stick out as outstanding for his position. A possible Leon Powe-type, White is known for his toughness and all-out effort, which should fit it very well on a Thunder team that could use a jolt of energy. Unfortunately, injuries have limited him early in preseason, but down the road, there’s a chance White could make a push for a starting gig.
J.R. Giddens, SG, Boston Celtics: The key for Giddens will be to avoid contact with sharp objects. But seriously, he’s coming off a solid senior season with the Lobos, and the 23-year-old impressed Coach Doc Rivers during his early workouts following the draft. He’s a good scorer who has added to his game as his college career has progressed. And fortunately for him, he’s getting tutelage from Ray Allen, one of the greatest two guards of all time. It’s a rather remote prospect that Giddens will have any impact this season, but he is someone to watch.
Bill Walker, SF, Boston Celtics: Strong and powerful, Walker will put on a show with his dunking ability, as no doubt you’ve already witnessed in recent highlight packages.
Walter Sharpe, SF, Detroit Pistons: He endured his share of issues in college, including getting shot (but at least in Detroit, he’ll feel at home that way), but Sharpe has shown smooth offensive skills.
Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies: The 23-year-old younger brother of Pau Gasol was ironically dealt to Memphis last year as part of the trade that sent his brother to the Lakers. He’s got sleeper potential and could surprise with his double-double skills.
Mario Chalmers, PG, Miami Heat: Chalmers has a chance to get plenty of action off the Heat bench this year. The 22-year-old is a great defender, but he needs to add strength.
Goran Dragic, PG, Phoenix Suns: This Slovenian combo guard is big (6’4”, 200) for a PG, but he needs major work on his outside shooting touch. He’ll see plenty of action behind Steve Nash as Phoenix’s point guard of the future.
Greg Oden, C, Portland Trailblazers: Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Last year’s first overall pick is finally healthy enough to make his assault on the NBA, and we’re expecting plenty of points, board and blocks from the team’s starting centre. Incredible size (7’0”, 250), great athleticism, wonderful defense, and chairman of the boards type play – this is what you will see from the 40-year-old NBA virgin.
Rudy Fernandez, SG, Portland Trailblazers: And the beat of tremendous young talent keeps coming for Portland. This 23-year-old Spaniard could become another Kevin Martin with his great athleticism. He needs to get stronger, and a sprained ankle has slowed him early in the preseason, but don’t sleep on this guy – he will be a factor this season.
Roko Ukic, PG, Toronto Raptors: With T.J. Ford gone, the Raptors have brought over their 2005 second round pick from Croatia to take over as Jose Calderon’s backup, and early reports suggest that he plays a very similar game to The Spanish Fly. He has great size for a PG (6’5”), something that will help him defend two guards. His biggest weakness, much like Calderon’s when he entered the NBA, is his long range game.