Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech) – Amare Stoudemire
Strength: Athleticism. Favors has a unheard of combination of size and athletic ability. His Combine measurements were eerily similar to those of Dwight Howard from a few years back, and his leaping ability was on display as well, jumping 31.5" flat-footed, which was good for second best at the camp.
Weakness: Polish. Favors got few opportunities to showcase his offensive skills at Georgia Tech because Paul Hewitt refused to run sets through his best player. (Author's note: Hewitt is currently unemployed.) Pure God-given gifts can get you a long way, but at the NBA level, refinement is a necessity. Favors must sand down his rough edges in order to become an elite player.
Verdict: I love Derrick Favors. I think when it's all said and done, he'll be the best player from this class. His brand of size and physical skills is very rare, and his ceiling at this point is beyond the horizon. However, once all the superlatives have landed and the dust clears, it will be Favors' motor and work ethic that determine his true legacy.
Best Fit: It was a huge disappointment for the Nets to slip to #3 in the lottery, but Favors would be an amazing fit next to Brook Lopez.
Greg Monroe (Georgetown) - Pau Gasol
Strength: Basketball IQ. Monroe has a lot of things going for him. He has good size and a very promising frame, but his best asset is his understanding of the game and his passing ability.
Weakness: Killer instinct. Coaches and GMs want winners, and at this point, Monroe has never proven himself capable of being a winner. Kobe Bryant has a mantle full of accolades and four (soon to be five???) championship rings because of his work ethic and his kill-or-be-killed attitude. Monroe needs to develop such an edge if he wants to develop into a NBA starter.
Verdict: It's tough to project kids out of certain collegiate systems. Jeff Green had a solid career at Georgetown, but his numbers in the NBA have been far superior to those logged in college. Perhaps Monroe will see the same type of increase, but at this point, I see him as pretty hit-or-miss, depending on the coach and the role he inherits at the next level.
Best Fit: I would love to see the Spurs try to move up to get Monroe. I think he's the type of player who could turn into an All Star talent under the tutelage of Greg Popovich and Tim Duncan.
Patrick Patterson (Kentucky) - Udonis Haslem
Strength: Motor. Patterson was able to seamlessly handle a coaching change that alienated most of his teammates, while managing to develop a very adequate outside jumper. He strikes me as the type who is never satisfied, but more on that later.
Weakness: Upside. Patterson doesn't have nearly as much room to grow as most of the players in the lottery discussion. He has spent three years honing his craft at Kentucky, and while he has left himself some wiggle room, for the most part, he's a "what you see is what you get" prospect.
Verdict: Instead of providing an in-depth analysis here, I'm just going to through out some terms which I expect to be used to describe Patterson during his time in the NBA: Glue guy. Locker room leader. Long-time NBA veteran. Steady. Positive influence. Professional. Everybody get the idea?
Best Fit: I think Patterson is a perfect fit in Utah because he will be able to contribute immediately, and he won't be affected by playing the 6th man role.
Ed Davis (North Carolina) - Zach Randolph
Strength: Name recognition. Davis was considered by many to be a lottery pick last year after playing sparingly off the Tar Heels' bench. He made a smart decision by returning to school only to have a wrist injury end his season, but not before he had several impressive performances, many of which were nationally televised.
Weakness: Motor. After winning the 2009 National Championship, the 2010 Tar Heels were granted the opportunity to play on national TV seemingly about three times a week. That level of exposure can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you do with it. Personally, I watch a handful of UNC games this season with nothing in mind besides getting a read on Davis. Time after time, he floated around the perimeter offensively, looking to set a screen or perform a dribble-handoff, rather than getting his hands dirty in the paint. He would regularly disappear for stretches of time, which is fine for a role player (his 2009 role), but not for a team leader (the role he assumed in 2010).
Verdict: It has become completely impossible for me to stay impartial about Davis. I just plain don't like the way he plays. If you're lazy as a college player, you'll certainly be lazy once the paychecks start rolling in. I'd also like to use this space to point out a quote I heard once: "What do you call the best player on a bad team? A loser."
Best Fit: I would love to see Davis fall to New Orleans. Simply put, Chris Paul wouldn't stand for Davis's loping around aimlessly.
Donatas Motiejunas (Lithuania) - Andrea Bargnani
Strength: Shooting. Motiejunas is a huge body with legitimate NBA 3-point range. Some have compared him to Dirk Nowitzki, but that seems optimistic at this point. Motiejunas has a lot of time to grow, but Andrea Bargnani seems like a more fitting comparison.
Weakness: Toughness. An American basketball writer criticizing a European player for being soft? That never happens, right? Well, in this case, I'll risk being cliché. Motiejunas' ability from the outside has preempted him from ever developing a true low-post game, at least at this stage in his development.
Verdict: Because he is just 19-years old and has never been immersed in the North American style of play, it's hard to say just how Motiejunas will develop. He is certainly an above average shooter, especially for a man of his size, but against the greatest players on the planet, that simply may not be enough.
Best Fit: Obviously, Motiejunas needs to find a team that will be patient with his development. There are rumors circulating that he may drop out of the draft unless he gets a promise in the lottery, which may be prudent, considering the depth of the power forward position in this draft.