Top 5 Center Prospects, Vol. 2
Need a center? Be prepared to roll the dice.
If you are a GM of a team looking to draft a center in the 2010 NBA Draft it would be helpful if you had a gambling problem. If you don’t currently have a taste for risk, you had better get a stomach for it real quick. Drafting big men is always a risky proposal — normally big men in the Draft aren’t polished prospects and are more potential than finished product. That is never more the case than this year, where the center prospect pool is fraught with peril — plenty of boom or bust prospects. And, to top it off, the top prospect is a notorious head case with a questionable work ethic. Time to roll the dice, GMs.
1) (Previous Ranking — 5 -power forward) DeMarcus Cousins | Kentucky | Freshman
Here’s the guy who must be keeping GMs up at night and reaching for the Rolaids. He is a beast of a player, huge (6-11, 292-pounds, 7-5 wingspan) yet highly skilled, with the ability to score downlow or facing the hoops, not to mention his rebounding and shot blocking abilities. Yet, to say there are some red flags concerning him is an understatement. He’s considered a head case and not a very hard worker. He came in to the Pre-Draft Camp with the 12th highest body fat percentage ever (higher than even Shaq’s and Michael Sweetney’s), refused to do the bench press test because he “doesn’t lift weights” and skipped a bunch of team interviews. He could be a star; he could be a total bust. Yet, it still seems someone in the top five will grab him. Let it ride, GMs, let it ride.
2) (1) Hassan Whiteside | Marshall | Freshman
There were no red flags raised concerning Hassan Whiteside at the Pre-Draft Camp. His 7-7 wingspan is one of the largest in the camp’s history, he measured in at a legitimate 6-11 (and a bit) with shoes on and his body fat was only 5.5 percent (as opposed to Cousins’ 16 percent). He’s still a work in progress, but at the very least he should be able to help a team out defensively next year. Whiteside should be gone by the time the middle of the Draft rolls around.
3) (2) Cole Aldrich| Kansas | Junior
While Cole Aldrich comes in at third on this list, he is far less of a bust candidate as Whiteside and Cousins are — that might help explain why he is probably going to be a lottery pick. He also has a massive wingspan (7-5) and will use it to be a defensive game changer in the NBA. While he might never be more than an average offensive player in the pros, he no doubt seems primed to be on his way to a long, lucrative NBA career.
4) (NR) Daniel Orton | Kentucky | Freshman
It’s not very often you see a guy who only averaged 3 points and 3 boards a game in his lone college season be projected as a mid-first round pick. Then again, you don’t see too many prospects with the body and skill level of Daniel Orton. He’s long (7-4 wingspan) and large (6-10, 269 pounds) but is also an excellent athlete, showing his potential to play any style his team needs. But, considering he only averaged 13 minutes a game in college, he’s going to need some time to develop.
5) (3) Solomon Alabi | Florida State | Sophomore
Not to keeping banging on about wingspans, but it does matter in basketball. And Solomon Alabi is another long-limbed player, measuring in witha 7-5 wingspan to compliment his 7-1, 237-pound frame. He needs to add weight and needs more work on his offensive game, but his athleticism and his length make him a potential defensive menace in the pros. He could be a nice pickup for a team selecting in the late first round.
Next in line: Miroslav Raduljica, Serbia; Artsiom Parakhouski, Radford; Jerome Jordan, Tulsa; Dexter Pittman, Texas, Paulao Prestes, Spain.