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Wednesday June 28, 2006 4:17 pm

NBA Draft Preview: Top Five Small Forwards

Posted by Dennis Velasco Categories: Athletes, Drafts, NBA,

Adam Morrison, the number one pick?These are the wing players that are usually the marksmen from the outside.  However, don’t fall asleep on them on the perimeter because they will go baseline on you and show you they aren’t all that “small.”  Here are the top five small forward prospects in this year’s draft.

1. Adam Morrison, Gonzaga University, 6’8”, 205 lbs.
Morrison AKA The Stache led the nation in scoring and can flat out score.  He’s as unathletic as you get, but he can score off the dribble against very good defenders, and of course shoot the lights out from anywhere on the perimeter.  He’s relentless and flat out can put the ball in the basket.  However, he doesn’t really put that offensive effort on the defensive end and he’ll almost definitely have problems guarding players on the NBA level.  His ability to score, his seemingly endless energy, and will to win will hopefully help cover that deficiency.

2. Rudy Gay, University of Connecticut, 6’9”, 220 lbs.
Before the college season started last year, Gay was being spoken of very highly.  We’re talking being player of the year, the number one overall pick in the draft, etc.  While he star has gotten a bit dirty, it’s still shining bright enough for Gay to be an early to mid-lottery pick, based on his upside.  He has taller than average wing height, an excellent wingspan, and explosiveness.  And he can jump out of the gym, as they say.  He also has a pretty good stroke from the outside.  A big drawback is that Gay sometimes gets lax and just coasts, not actively looking for the ball in half-court sets.

3. Rodney Carney, University of Memphis, 6’7”, 205 lbs.
Carney is another physical and athletic freak.  Quickness, explosiveness, length, strength, great first step, and a sweet shot are all attributes given to Carney.  But, Carney doesn’t have much of a handle and his defense is predicated on how he’s going offensively.

4. Thabo Sefolosha, Switzerland, 6’7”, 205 lbs.
Sefolosha is a slasher and benefits in making good decisions with the ball because of his point guard days in the junior levels of the Italian league.  He’s a smooth player and seems to play with a chip on his shoulder, which should translate well as far as demeanor goes in integrating into the NBA.  He’s not the typical European softy.  He’s a bit thin and will have to adapt to playing on a higher plane due to NBA-level competition.

5. P.J. Tucker, University of Texas, 6’5”, 220 lbs.
Tucker is an intense competitor and likes to get down and dirty, especially on the offensive end, which brings Tucker to the line.  He has a solid handle and can score in the box.  He isn’t a great shooter, but his competitiveness and tenacity are pluses.

Others to consider: 

Renaldo Balkman, University of South Carolina;  Marcus Vinicius, Brazil

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