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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stepping To The Next Level, Part I

Kam Taylor probably needed to make a strong impression at the Portsmouth Invitational to have a shot at a pro career. Even though this particular pre-draft tournament has lost its appeal to top prospects, it still attracts a number of players in Kam's position--seniors who need to secure their status as a draftable commodity or maybe even work their way into a European contract.

Matthew Maurer of The Draft Review had this to say on regarding Kam's performance in Virginia:
"The Wisconsin Badger who had a solid NCAA tournament shot the ball extremely well off the dribble here and even showed impressive leaping ability on an alley oop dunk. Taylor failed to show that he can play the point guard position though."
Maurer is no household name, so take that info with a grain of salt. More than one source, however, listed Purdue's Carl Landry as impressing the scouts.

Alando Tucker was not present, so Badger fans will have to wait and see how much he can improve (solidify?) his current value in the minds of assorted NBA brass. On most sites, Tucker is being projected as a late first-round draft pick, though he is one of the top five prospects in this year's senior class. Darn those underclassmen declaring early--they are costing 'Do some dough!

For what it's worth, here are two Tucker draft profiles:
Draft Express |

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Kevin Durant, on the other hand, is now officially signed, sealed and all-but delivered as one of the first two draft picks in June. Analysts are comparing the wiry Texas frosh to Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion and Carmelo Anthony.

Expect Durant to post rookie numbers more gaudy than those of McGrady or Garnett, but slightly less impressive than Anthony's. My thinking is that Durant, at 6'10 and 220 lbs., has a body most like Garnett, who entered the league an inch (or two) taller at the same weight. Both Garnett and McGrady (6'8"/210) were similar to Durant in that they were freaky athletic but rail thin. But like 'Melo, Durant also has one year in college under his belt, which neither McGrady or KG did.

Athleticism aside, Durant's game really is a combination of:
(1) Anthony's mid-range game and ability to take over a game,
(2) Marion's outside shooting and rebounding ability,
(3) McGrady's ball-handling and creativity, and ...
(4) a dash of Garnett's enthusiasm.

I even did some research, which I will post tomorrow. Bear with me.

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