Roy Is The Best The 2006 Draft Has To Offer
Marcus Williams
Marcus Williams
Scout National Basketball Columnist
Posted Jun 16, 2006


Players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Adam Morrison and Tyrus Thomas may all be selected before Brandon Roy is on NBA Draft night on June 28. But the feeling here is that no matter when he is selected in the first round, the 6-5 guard from the University of Washington is the best player in this draft pool.

Toronto, or whoever else might be selecting first on June 28, might not open the NBA Draft by calling the name of University of Washington guard Brandon Roy.

 

Depending on who holds the first choice (and the Raptors currently do, although many within the league believe they may deal it), LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas), Tyrus Thomas (LSU) and Adam Morrison (Gonzaga) seem the most likely candidates to get that initial post-selection hand shake with Commissioner David Stern.

 

But who is the best “player”, period, available in the 2006 Draft pool? Roy gets our vote.

 

Some veteran NBA talent evaluators have tossed about the “Dwyane Wade” comparison. That’s quite a bit of praise for Roy but it is off in several ways.

 

For one, Roy isn’t quite the explosive athlete that the Miami Heat standout is. Nor does he appear to be (at least, at the same stage) quite the overall “scorer” that Wade was as a Marquette junior (his final season on the college level).

 

But Roy is at least a couple of inches taller than Wade, a better defender than he was in college and a bit more refined as a passer and ball-handler than Wade was when he led Coach Tom Crean’s team to the Final Four in 2003.

 

Are we convinced Roy will become anything approaching the player Wade has become in his third season in the NBA? We’re not going to go that far. But we are convinced – and have been for a while – that Roy is the best prospect in this draft.

 

He’s the best of a pretty good crop of guards that also includes probable Top 10 selections Randy Foye of Villanova and Marcus Williams of Connecticut.

 

But we do think that the group of point guards in this draft class isn’t nearly as strong in the upper tier as it was a year ago when Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Raymond Felton went 3-4-5 in the first round.

 

 

A look at the guards with the best opportunities of being chosen in the first round:

(*Are heights (without shoes) and weights as measured during the Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando)

 

Brandon Roy (*6-5 ¼, 207; Washington)

Projected position: Combination guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: Yeah – what is there not to like? No one, with the possible exception of Connecticut’s Marcus Williams, did as much to make teammates more productive players last season. On the perimeter or in the post, he creates quality shot attempts – for him or his teammates. Huskies’ teammate Bobby Jones is being touted by some as the best prospect on the defensive end of the floor in the draft. But Roy was, at times, an even more affective defender – just ask UCLA’s Jordan Farmar.

What they wonder about: Is he more than just a “solid” athlete? How consistent a jump shooter is he from deep?

Frank Says:  By March, most of those in the “national” media had caught on to what those who follow the Pacific 10 Conference regularly knew by mid-January – Roy was the most “complete” player in college.

Draft night projection: Top Five

 

Randy Foye (*6-2 ¼, 212; Villanova)

Projected position: Combination guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He’s tough and determined at both ends of the court. Other than J.J. Redick, there was no guard tougher to keep from scoring, straight up, than Foye last season. He’s drawn comparisons to Chicago’s Ben Gordon but he seems a more willing distributor. Like Brandon Roy, he defies being pigeonholed as a “point” or a “two” guard. And, along with Roy, he’ll be able to adapt to, and flourish in, the NBA a lot sooner than any of the other June 28 first-round selections.

What they wonder about: He’s too good a shooter to finish his best season in college with a .411 field goal percentage – which tells you he’s apt to heave up some ill-advised attempts.

Frank Says: We’d have a more accurate read on his ability to be a primary ball-handler/set-up guy in the NBA if he hadn’t shared those duties with three other guards at Villanova.

Draft night projection: Top 10

 

Marcus Williams (*6-2, 215; Connecticut)

Projected position: Point (one) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He was easily the most effective passer, in full- and half-court settings, on the college level last season. Williams, despite heavily favoring his left (strong) hand on penetration moves, gets into the lane with absurd ease while usually being on-balance. He is willing to give up the ball in a hurry to an open teammate. He evolved into a more-than-reliable shooter, with decent range, over three seasons despite not getting a great deal of elevation.

What they wonder about: He is more “clever and slick” with the ball in his hands than he is “fast and quick”. He’ll have to mix in plenty of salads on the next level to keep his weight in check.

Frank Says: He’s clearly the best passer in the draft pool and should be the first “true” point guard selected.

Draft night projection: Seven to 13

 

J.J. Redick (*6-4, 190; Duke)

Projected position: Shooting (two) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: Along with Adam Morrison, he was one of the two best scorers on the college level the past two seasons. And, like his compadre from Gonzaga, there is no apparent reason why Redick shouldn’t be a dangerous scoring threat almost immediately in the NBA. He’s a nails jump shooter, mid- and deep-range, spotting up or coming off screens, with as quick a release as there has been in college in recent memory. And he’s much better off the dribble, creating for himself or teammates, than he was advertised to be going into his senior season.

What they wonder about: How serious are the concerns over the reports of a “sore’ back? Can he evolve into at least an adequate defender on the NBA level?

Frank Says: He’s a much better “athlete” that some assume and he’ll be a solid scorer in the NBA for a long while.

Draft night projection: Seven to 14

 

Rajon Rondo (6-1 ½, 175; Kentucky)

Projected position: Point (one) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He is, arguably, the fastest player in this draft pool while dribbling. While Marcus Williams get by defenders with an overflowing tank of savvy, Rondo does it by going fast, faster and fastest. He’s capable of getting to the rim as abruptly as any sub- 6-5 player in the draft, in large part because of his quick-leaping ability, long arms and big hands. His shooting numbers (from 3-point range and the free-throw line) were mostly miserable in two years in Lexington although he’s supposedly shot a lot better in workouts than he did in five-on-five competition.

What they wonder about: The aforementioned concerns about his jump shot (and free-throw touch) are the first things mentioned. He’s got exceptional defensive potential but has to learn to rely on staying in front of his man instead of reaching, which resulted in his being beat off the dribble much too frequently for a player with his tools.

Frank Says: He’s the most explosive athlete among the guard prospects in this draft and he will eventually evolve into a dependable NBA player.

Draft night projection: 13 to 22

 

Shannon Brown (6-2, 185; Michigan State)

Projected position: Combination guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: Other than Rajon Rondo, they don’t come any better, athletically, among backcourt prospects in this draft. Along with Guillermo Diaz, he’s one of the two most explosive (vertically) guards who will be selected on June 28. He’s also been an exceptional “catch-and-shoot-it” threat, from mid to deep range. His ball-handling skills improve incrementally over three seasons in East Lansing. Defensively, he’ll be able to check guards of any size once he has been in the NBA awhile.

What they wonder about: He’s more undersized shooting guard than a guy who could spend a lot of time running a club’s offense.

Frank Says: No guard’s NBA stock has improved as much since the end of his college season.

Draft night projection: 14 to 20

 

Kyle Lowry (6-0, 185; Villanova)

Projected position: Point (one) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He may have the tightest handle in the draft and, along with Rajon Rondo, is one of the two players that defenders will have the most difficulty staying in front of. He could be the best “drive and kick” playmaker in this draft pool as well. Lowry is every bit the defender that Rondo is.

What they wonder about: His jump shot (and, to a lesser degree, his size) is the biggest issue. He’s got a low release point and needs room to launch.

Frank Says: With another year at Villanova, he might have become the best point guard in college.

Draft night projection: 17 to 25

 

Sergio Rodriguez (6-3, 170; Spain)

Projected position: Point (one) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He’s got the kind of speed and quickness possessed by the upper-tier playmakers in the NBA – with a liberal dose of flair mixed in as well. Rodriguez has some of the best on-court vision in the draft, rivaling that of Marcus Williams. The effectiveness (mostly, in consistency) of his jump shot is supposed to be a mixed bag.

What they wonder about: He tends to play “too fast’ and gets a bit careless in his decision making. Defensively, no one is confusing him with Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo or Kyle Lowry.

Frank Says: Some NBA talent evaluators think he has as much “upside” as any point guard prospect in this draft.

Draft night projection: 17 to 25

 

Quincy Douby (6-3, 170; Rutgers)

Projected position: Shooting (two) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: His NBA calling card is his jump shot – some talent evaluators say it’s as dependable as any in this draft, J.J. Redick’s, Adam Morrison’s and Steve Novak’s included. He also has solid potential, defensively.

What they wonder about: He’s a high volume shooter (he averaged almost nine 3-point attempts per game) and had only 11 more assists than turnovers last season.

Frank Says: How early he is drafted hinges on his convincing decision makers that he’s more than “just a shooter”.

Draft night projection: 16 to end of first round

 

Maurice Ager (*6-3 ¼, 203; Michigan State)

Projected position: Shooting (two) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He’s got plenty of balance in his scoring repertoire, with the ability to create his own shot (via jump shot or drive), spot up or come off screens. He’s also among the strongest guards in the draft pool. And he’s used to sharing shots while playing in a talented program that could have three first-round selections on June 28.

What they wonder about: He didn’t do much playmaking for the Spartans and he’s considered a “pretty good” but not “exceptional” athlete.

Frank Says: Other than the “Big Three” (Brandon Roy, Randy Foye and J.J. Redick), he is the most polished “two guard” prospect in the draft.

Draft night projection: 16 to end of first round

 

Guillermo Diaz (6-2, 180; Miami)

Projected position: Shooting (two) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He’s an explosive scorer, in transition or in half-court settings. He’s a big-time finisher on the break, and can bang over defenders via an explosive first step. And he’s a dangerous jump shooter from deep, although his shot selection can waiver.

What they wonder about: He’s strictly a “scorer” and a long way from being a contributor as a floor leader/playmaker.

Frank Says: He’s another guy being compared to Ben Gordon “an undersized two guard who can score a bunch of points in a hurry”.

Draft night projection: 17 to early second round

 

Jordan Farmar (*6-0 ¾, 171; UCLA)

Projected position: Point (one) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He runs pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop (staples of the NBA offensive diet these days) as well as any guard in this draft. Farmar has solid floor vision and the ability to find an open teammate even as a play seems to be breaking down. He’s already got an advanced “middle game”.

What they wonder about: He has something approaching average quickness, although his ability to change speeds and set up defenders frees him consistently. He needs more commitment on the defensive end and much more consistency on his jumper, especially from deep.

Frank Says: Farmar, who is only 19, could be a preseason first-team All-America if he returns to UCLA.

Draft night projection: 22 to early second round

 

Rudy Fernandez (6-5, 180; Spain)

Projected position: Shooting (two) guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: Fernandez, a member of Spain’s 2004 Olympic team, has deep range on his jump shot and gets wonderful elevation anytime he releases a shot. He’s also quite a finisher in transition and is deceptively explosive.

What they wonder about: He’s just an OK ball-handler and passer and still has a ways to go before he’s a solid defender.

Frank Says: He could pull his name out of the draft pool if he’s not happy with where he thinks he may be chosen.

Draft night projection: Final 10 picks in first round, to early second round

 

Mardy Collins (*6-4 ¼, 224; Temple)

Projected position: Combination guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He’s one of the strongest guards in the draft pool and has drawn comparisons to another former Owl, Aaron McKie of the Lakers. He’s crafty with the ball and is able to create shots for himself (mostly off penetration) or teammates. Although the Owls played almost strictly zone, he has marvelous potential as a man-to-man defender.

What they wonder about: He has average athleticism, at best, and is a below average shooter.

Frank Says: If he can convince someone he’s a better shooter than a lot of scouts think, he should land safely in the first round somewhere.

Draft night projection: Final five picks in first round, to mid second round

 

Dee Brown (5-11, 175; Illinois)

Projected position: Point guard

What NBA talent evaluators like: He’s just about as fast anyone (Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry included) who’ll be a rookie in the league next season. Brown is extremely hard-nosed at both ends of the floor and is as sound, defensively, as any point guard in the draft. He’s the ultimate in “high energy guys”.

What they wonder about: His jump shot. His percentages, overall and from behind the 3-point arc, dropped 100-plus points from his junior season. The scouting theory: Many of those teams were coming off the dribble instead of off of passes from Deron Williams and Luther Head, NBA rookies last season who were his teammates his first three years at Illinois.

Frank Says: One would feel a lot more comfortable about his chances for NBA success if one were convinced that the shooting numbers of his senior season were an aberration.

Draft night projection: First 10 picks, second round

 

MORE DISTINCT SECOND-ROUND POSSIBLITIES:

Point guards: Juan Jose Barea (5-11, 175; Northeastern); Will Blalock (*5-11 ¼, 194; Iowa State); Darius Washington (*5-11 ½, 195; Memphis); Daniel Gibson (6-2, 175; Texas); Curtis Stinson (*6-1 ¾, 208; Iowa State); Mustafa Shakur (*6-2 ½, 183; Arizona); C.J. Watson (*6-0 ½, 171; Tennessee); Keydren Clark (*5-9, 184; St. Peter’s); Daniel Horton (*6-0 ½, 198; Michigan).

 

Shooting guards: Mike Gansey (6-4, 185; West Virginia); Hassan Adams (6-4, 205; Arizona); Richard Roby (6-5, 180; Colorado); Brad Newley (*6-5, 198; Australia); Dwayne Mitchell (*6-2, 208; Louisiana-Lafayette); Allan Ray (*6-1, 204; Villanova).



 

Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame in April, 2005, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at www.frankhoops.com



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