Highlights of the top NBA draft prospects, featuring Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and more.
Former University of Texas star and likely No. 2 draft pick Kevin Durant reportedly was the only player unable to bench-press 185 pounds at a predraft camp last week. So what, asks Longhorns coach Rick Barnes.
"If people question his strength, they're stupid," Barnes told The Dallas Morning News. "If they are looking for weight lifters to come out of Texas, that's not what we're producing. There are a lot of guys who can bench press 300 pounds in the NBA who couldn't play dead in a cowboy movie. Kevin's the best player in the draft – period, at any position."
The Seattle Times also reported that Durant ranked 78th out of 80 among players at the camp, which was held in Orlando, Fla.
At the camp, Oden cemented his standing as the top player in the upcoming draft. Several media outlets obtained results from the predraft camp — and the center from Ohio State didn't disappoint.
Oden outperformed every prospect, including Kevin Durant, in drills. Even in speed and agility skills, he held his own with smaller, quicker guards.
Oden was faster than Durant in the 3/4-court sprint, quicker in an agility drill and had better results in vertical leap tests, according to The Oregonian. Oden also had only 7.8 percent body fat, by far the best among big men tested.
Among some of the numbers obtained by The Oregonian: Oden is 6-foot-11 without shoes, 7-feet with shoes; he weighs 257 pounds; his wingspan is 7 feet, 4.25 inches ; his running vertical is 34 inches.
Oden, however, didn't perform the bench press test — players are rated on how many times they can bench press 185 ounds — because of his recently injured right wrist. Durant was the only player able to bench press the weight.
Durant, meanwhile, was slower than Oden in every drill. Oden ran the 3/4 court sprint in 3.27 seconds. The forward from Texas ran it in 3.45. Oden ran the agility drill in 11.67 seconds. Durant finished it in 12.33.
Jordan, West check out workouts
If the talent on display on the court at last week’s predraft workouts was remotely proportional to the star power on display in the stands, the NBA would have come a lot closer to what it was looking for when it decided to prohibit any individual private workouts before the camp.
Instead, basketball royalty like Michael Jordan and Jerry West overshadowed players like Demetris Nichols and Jared Dudley, while first-round prospects with a lot to prove like Josh McRoberts and Glen Davis decided to just skip the thing altogether.
While solid performances may have pushed players like Syracuse’s Nichols and Boston College’s Dudley toward the top of the second round, lesser-known entities like Nevada’s Ramon Sessions and San Diego State’s Brandon Heath likely moved closer to securing spots on the draft board.
“That’s the whole story here, there are guys here that’ll be taken in the second round,” said NBA director of scouting Marty Blake. “The trick is, how will he look once they get the tryouts, how will he look once they get to rookie camp, summer programs? It’s a long process.”
Carlos Boozer, the 36th overall pick in 2002, led Utah to the Western Conference finals and teammate Paul Millsap, selected 47th overall last year, was one of only two rookies to get significant playing time among the four conference finalists. The other: No. 42 pick Daniel Gibson, whose 31 points in Game 6 against Detroit lifted Cleveland into the NBA finals.
Both Gibson and Millsap were part of last year’s camp, two of 11 players to attend who ended up being drafted. It’s possible that number could double this year, and Millsap, who came from unheralded Louisiana Tech, may have provided a blueprint on how to succeed coming out of a mid-major.
“This just shows the competitive level of basketball in this era, it’s growing,” said DaShaun Wood, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Wright State who bolstered his stock this week. “You can find talent all over the world, in any conference, and there’s a lot of guys here from mid-majors. We’re just trying to show we can play too, with the upper echelon of competition.”
As Santa Clara alum Steve Nash has shown, there’s little question about that. Maybe his Suns, owning the 24th and 29th overall picks as well as the 59th found a little help for him in Orlando?
Phoenix, or any other team for that matter, wouldn’t divulge much about potential picks despite all the talking that gets done during these four days in the sun. During a week which coach Mike D’Antoni often spent joking with fellow top executives and coaches, it seems appropriate he would only offer a quick quip when asked about his team’s draft needs.
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