NBA Scouting Reports, Central Division (Part One)

NBA Scouting Reports, Central Division (Part One)
Apr 24, 2008, 01:07 am
We begin a series providing in-depth scouting reports breaking down every single player (non-rookie or sophomore) in the NBA over the next few weeks, starting with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons in the Central Division. Every team will be covered.

Stay tuned as we also launch a series of tools intended to provide a great deal of information on the behind the scenes world of the NBA.

Chicago Bulls

Shannon Brown

JamesOn Curry

Luol Deng

Overview: A long, smooth power wing who has a very unique offensive repertoire. Possesses good size, a great frame, a big wingspan, and above average athleticism. Had improved every season he has played in the League, and while he only spent a year at Duke, he has the type of work ethic and character that is common amongst Mike Krzyzewski’s players. Versatility is the name of the game for Deng. Interesting combination of inside and outside skills. Good fundamentals. Can be an ideal complimentary player to a great scorer. Will be a coveted free agent, despite his recent struggles, in the 2008 offseason.

Offense: His offensive game is one of the most versatile in the NBA, with between ten and fifteen percent of his offensive coming from each of post ups, spot ups, shots off of screens, cuts to the rim, offensive rebounds, and transition baskets. Few players match that statistical feat, but he is truly an atypical player. Has one of the League’s best midrange games. Moves extremely well without the ball, and has a silky smooth stroke. A poor shooter from three-point range, but tends to only shoot from deep when he’s wide open. Has good ball handling ability. Shows some good moves with his back to the basket. Length allows him to score in ways that most players can’t, and he consistently uses his reach to his advantage on the offensive end. Could stand to improve his free throw shooting.

Defense: A quality defensive player who uses his length to get his hands on bad passes. May not be the best athlete, but his footwork and length make him a formidable matchup. Usually draws the opposition’s toughest assignment, which makes the things that he does on the offensive end all the more impressive. Maintains a good stance and shows solid lateral quickness when defending the ball.

Chris Duhon

Overview: A prototypical Duke point guard, Duhon works hard and plays smart. Plays like a winner. Won an NCAA Championship at Duke in 2002. Brings great intangibles to the table. Doesn’t have great size, strength, or athleticism, but he maximizes what he does have every time he steps onto the floor. More content playing within a team concept than he is playing for personal recognition; that quality will make him a sought after player in free agency during the summer of 2008, despite some off the court rumblings.

Offense: Gets his offense from spot up and pick and roll situations. Has a decent stroke, but it always seems a bit rushed. Compared to most point guards, his catch and shoot ability is just average. Ability to shoot of the dribble is inconsistent, but he’s capable of getting hot from the midrange. More likely to drive and dish than he is to drive and finish. Loves to get his teammates involved, and he makes very few mistakes when the ball is in his hands. A good distributor who will always have a spot in the League due to his basketball IQ.

Defense: Maintains a deep defensive stance and does a great job of making ball handlers cross over multiple times before initiating the offense. Very good at using his body to cut off penetration, but isn’t overly aggressive in pursuing steals. Physical strength makes him very good at defending other point guards in the post. Always rotates when one of his teammates get beat off the dribble. Gives his all on the defensive end.

Drew Gooden

Overview: A solid power forward who can leave his mark on a game from the low-post and the midrange. Has good size, strength, and athleticism, but those assets don’t always translate into game-situation for him. Still has some room to grow as a player, but has shown that he can be a reliable starter. Bounced around the League early in his career, something that didn’t help his development as a player. Mental aspect of the game has been questioned. Still has the mid-to-short range game that made him a star at Kansas. Won the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Award as a junior before entering the draft.

Offense: Gets twenty percent of his offense from post ups and spot ups apiece with another forty percent equally distributed amongst pick and rolls, isolations, cuts, and offensive rebounds. Has a nice right handed hook shot, so he likes to turn over his left shoulder in the post. His stroke isn’t terribly pretty, but it gets the job done out to seventeen feet. Drives right much more frequently than he drives left. Tries to get to the rim when he drives right, but likes to pull up when he goes left. Handles the ball relatively well for a post player, but is a bit turnover prone. Is capable of dunking most of his possessions at the rim, but isn’t overly explosive. Does a good job of getting and maintaining position down low on post ups and for offensive rebounds. Hasn’t developed the aggressiveness, skill-level or feel for the game that would make him a better offensive player.

Defense: Does a better job of using his hands than anticipating shots. Has a tough time with taller players, but does a very good job against the average NBA power forward. Uses his strength well once his man has the ball. Doesn’t deny entry passes as hard as other players. Boxes out extremely well. Rebounds outside of his area when he keeps his intensity high. Doesn’t commit many fouls for a player who stays on the floor for as long as he does. Won’t block any shots on the weak-side unless he gets a huge jump.

Ben Gordon

Overview: An undersized shooting guard who has had little trouble transitioning to the NBA game. Lacks ideal height for an NBA wing, but has tremendous quickness and leaping ability. Built like a running back. Can really heat up from the perimeter. One of the most dangerous bench players the League has to offer. Pretty good defender when he wants to be. Had a great career at UCONN. Won an NCAA Championship as a junior in 2004. Won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award as a rookie, a testament to his college career and ability to score off the bench. His unique physical attributes make him one of the League’s most unique scorers, and he will see a substantial raise in free agency during the 2008 offseason. Work ethic is reportedly incredible, but doesn’t have great leadership skills.

Offense: The most pronounced feature of his offensive repertoire is the ridiculous amount of elevation and arc he gets on his jumper. Few, if any, players in the League have comparable jumpers. A great shooter from mid to long range, and gets most of his possession from spot ups, pick and rolls, and transition opportunities. Jumper and quickness make him a great spot up and pick and roll player, and he loves to pull up off the dribble when he can create separation. Has shown an ability to find open teammates when running the break. Doesn’t have great point guard skills, but is serviceable in spurts. Usually a great offensive player, but has seen his fair share of cold streaks, and will display questionable shot-selection at times.

Defense: Does not have the size to be a great defender. Taller swingmen have no trouble shooting over him. Gets an occasional steal, but isn’t a dynamic ball hawk. Shows a willingness to try and grab defensive rebounds, but needs to improve his aggressiveness on the defensive end in general. Has the tools to be a good defensive point guard, but doesn’t have the offensive game to make that transition work.

Aaron Gray

Kirk Hinrich

Overview: A young point guard who has fallen on hard times recently, when many thought he would be hitting his stride. A heady player with solid size and athleticism, but wins his individual matchup by out-thinking and outworking his opponent. Good player across the board offensively, but his shot has been hit or miss recently. Had a great career at Kansas. Got better in each of his seasons in college. He hasn’t been vocal in Chicago despite his recent struggles, and has struggled badly with inconsistency.

Offense: Has had an uncharacteristically bad time shooting the ball this season. Shoots a good looking jumper, but he simply hasn’t been connecting with his outside shots. Gets about half of his offense off of pick and rolls and another fifth from spot up opportunities. Tends to drive left in half court sets substantially more often than right, and pulls up for jumpers more frequently than he takes the ball to the basket. Not as much of a shot-creator at the end of shot-clocks as his team might need. Doesn’t get to the free throw line enough, where he shoots a very high percentage. 2007-2008 has been a down year for him, but he is a hard worker and should bounce back over time.

Defense: Really a throwback in terms of defensive intensity. Gets in a good stance and does his best to hawk the ball all game long. Will get a steal every now and again by reaching at the right time, but isn’t overly aggressive. Doesn’t always get the best of his individual matchup, but it is never because it isn’t trying. Has good enough quickness and speed to keep up with most starting point guards. Lack of muscle can hurt him from time to time.

Larry Hughes

Overview: A veteran swingman who has had a difficult time replicating the success he experienced early in his career, before he got paid. Has all the things you look in an NBA shooting guard physically, but has serious durability problems, while his priorities and commitment to winning have been questioned. Missed 58 games during his first two years with the Cavaliers, but hasn’t lived up his contract even when he has been healthy. Doesn’t slash as effectively as he once did, and has seen his consistency from the perimeter disappear. Was a dominant collegiate player during his one season at St. Louis University. Brings some nice things to the table defensively despite his recent struggles on the offensive end. Didn’t fit the Cavaliers offense. May never regain the form that made him a household name with the Wizards during the 2004-2005 season, especially if he continues to refuse to be a team player.

Offense: Gets seventy percent of his touches from spot ups, pick and rolls, and isolations. Has a smooth stroke, but doesn’t always keep his elbow in resulting in inconsistency. Can play a little bit of point guard due to his ability to handle the ball. Good at handling pressure and initiating the offense. Doesn’t do a lot of driving and dishing, but finds the open man when defenders get out of position. Needs to be a feature player to put up good numbers. Not an efficient finisher at the rim despite his athleticism. Nowhere near as efficient as he was early in his career. Tends to try and get to the rim when he drives. Is becoming a very poor shooter percentage wise. Needs the ball in his hands constantly in order to make any kind of impact. Suffers from long cold spells from the perimeter. Is capable of putting up big numbers when he gets hot.

Defense: Takes risks to make plays. Can be taken advantage of by taller matchups. Moves his feet well and stays in front of his man. Doesn’t reach on crossovers, but will take chances in passing lanes more often than not. Will reach if he gets beat off the dribble. Doesn’t rebound the ball nearly as aggressively as he used to. Doesn’t show the intensity that he did early in his career. Does an admirable job of getting back in transition. Usually draws an opponent’s best offensive player. Needs to step up on the defensive end to compensate for his offensive shortcomings.

Demetris Nichols

Joakim Noah

Andres Nocioni

Overview: An incredibly skilled Argentinean forward who is a solid athlete, and a great competitor. Nocioni has pretty decent physical attributes across the board, but it is his hustle that sets him apart from the average forward. Has been accused of bending the rules on occasion, but this is simply the result of his extremely aggressive nature. Capable of shooting the ball from the perimeter or scoring around the basket. Would probably be more productive if he was playing next to a dominant offensive center, or a true point guard.

Offense: Gets about fifty percent of his offensive opportunities in spot up situations with another thirty percent coming from fast breaks, post ups, and isolations. Ability to knock down shots out to the three-point line makes him a great high-low player. Has good form on his jumper, and is a very consistent catch and shoot guy. Very predictable in the post, but his touch makes him a highly efficient scorer from in close. He moves well without the ball, crashes the glass well, and is great at getting open looks underneath. Pretty good ball handler and passer for his size.

Defense: Does a great job of frustrating his man on defense end by getting in his jersey and forcing him to work for every inch down low. Doesn’t block many shots, nor does he get many steals, but is an incredibly effective inside-outside defender none the less. Does a decent job of going straight up in the post, but loses his composure periodically leading to silly fouls. Knows and uses all the tricks of the trade to get in his opponents head. Not athletic enough to be a lock down defender, but knows how to use his help defense.

Thabo Sefolosha

Cedric Simmons

Tyrus Thomas

Cleveland Cavaliers

Lance Allred

Devin Brown

Overview: A solid role-player who doesn’t excel in any one aspect of the game. Doesn’t have great athleticism, size, or skill, but is average in each. Works extremely hard on the floor, which allows his to stand out on occasion. Good work ethic made him a very good player at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Made an impact in the NBADL in 2003 winning both Rookie of the Year and MVP. Has had a hard time finding a long-term home in the NBA. May well be looking for another home when he becomes a free agent this offseason.

Offense: Gets forty percent of his offense from spot ups and another twenty percent in transition. Has a solid stroke. Is somewhat effective as a catch and shoot player. Can hit shots off the dribble when he doesn’t have to elevate. Likes to get to the basket when driving right, but likes to pull up when driving left. Takes some ill-advised shots on occasion. Doesn’t shoot a good percentage from the stripe or the field. Isn’t explosive at the rim, but does a nice job of shielding the ball with his body. Needs to not force as many drives as he does. Often winds up driving to the side of the glass instead of right at the rim when he can’t get a step. Has the size to make an impact in the post, and does a decent job crashing the offensive glass. Could definitely stand to improve from the free throw line. Is a decent ball handler, and takes good care of the ball. Can push the break himself even though it doesn’t always look good doing it. Gets really aggressive when he sees an opening. Good at moving the ball on the perimeter.

Defense: Athleticism, or lack thereof, makes him a liability against better players. Gets in a good stance, but is susceptible to dribble drives and pull ups. Doesn’t have the quickness to keep up with most wing player’s first step. Is capable of defending similarly sized players. Struggles when matched up against smaller guards or bigger forwards. Could definitely stand to use his hands better and be more aggressive.

Daniel Gibson

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Overview: One of the best centers in the NBA, despite his lack of athleticism. A native of Lithuania. Has a huge frame at 7-3, above average bulk, but no quickness at all. A plodder who couldn’t stay healthy early in his career. Foot injuries robbed him of most of what little mobility and explosiveness he once possessed. Still highly effective due to his touch and size. A two time All-Star who is in position to play for the Cavaliers his entire career. The native Lithuanian has great character, and is a great mentor for younger players.

Offense: Gets thirty percent of his touches in the post, and another twenty percent from offensive rebounds. Has some decent post moves, including a sweeping right handed hook, a nice turnaround, and some effective up and under moves. Is one of the best offensive rebounders in the League and is consistently the League leader in tips. Is a bit turnover prone due to his height and speed. Has an amazing midrange jump shot with a high release and tremendous touch. Rarely misses when left open from inside of twenty feet. Gets to the line well, where he seldom misses. Doesn’t run the floor well and lacks the quickness do much off the pick and roll other than pop to the open spot. Is incredibly efficient on the offensive end overall. Arguably the second most consistently effective center offensively over the past decade to Shaquille O’Neal.

Defense: Can’t guard the power forward spot, so often gets a pretty soft matchup. Gets in foul trouble periodically, which kills Cleveland on the offensive end. Blocks shots at a decent rate due to his size. Isn’t athletic enough to stop players who can face up effectively. Rebounds the ball extremely well. Is able to hedge the pick and roll just enough.

LeBron James

Overview: One of the game’s best already. Has the build and strength of a power forward and the speed and quickness of a point guard. Arguably the League’s most all-around athletic player. Came into the League as one of the most hyped players ever out of St. Vincent-St. Mary HS. Won the Gatorade Player of the Year Award as a junior and senior. Has exceeded the lofty expectations he faced coming into the league, but still has quite a bit of room to improve, which is scary. Has an impressive feel for the game. Makes his teammates significantly better. Has established himself as a leader despite his age. Extremely personable. Will always flirt with triple-double averages, but his value to the city of Cleveland can’t be measured. Three time All-Star and viewed by many as the odds on favorite to win MVP this season. Could be more successful as Cleveland’s roster begins to turnover.

Offense: Essentially unstoppable one-on-one, he gets about fifty percent of his touches in situations where he has essentially half of the court to operate in. There’s nothing a defender can do when he decides to go to the rim. He’s starting to figure out how to get his points more efficiently than he used to. Everything the Cavaliers do runs through him. Possesses incredible court vision and great passing ability. Doesn’t have the tightest handle, but is fast and strong enough for it not to matter. Great between the legs and behind the back crossovers. Can use his strength to effectively post up and absorb contact when he drives into traffic. Has improved his jumper in each of his years in the League. Developed three-point range in one summer. Dunks on occasions that most players would not even think to attempt to. Still needs to improve his free throw shooting. Some have questioned his killer instinct, and while he does pass up the occasional big shot, most of these accusations are unfounded.

Defense: Has been criticized for not working very hard on the defensive end. Is turning things around in the 2008 season. May be more of an opportunistic defender than a stopper. Gets his fare share of steals because of his quickness and ability to dart into the open floor. Blocks shots in transition as well as almost any player in the League. Is capable of climbing the ladder and sending the ball into the seats. Rebounds extremely well. Is able to elevate over taller players to clean the glass. Changes his stance when he is getting serious on the defensive end.

Damon Jones

Overview: A veteran shooting specialist who is as well known for his vocal personality as he is for his jump shot. Has decent size, but lacks athleticism and explosiveness. Relegated to the role of shooting specialist at this point. Was actually a pretty versatile player as during his collegiate career at Houston. Spent some time in the minor leagues before reaching the NBA. Has flourished in clutch situations and is never afraid to take the big shot. Always quotable, Jones has transitioned from a locker room leader to a full blown disruption. May not be able to reconcile his differences with coach Mike Brown.

Offense: A shooting specialist on a team that found a more suitable replacement in Daniel Gibson. Three quarters of his touches come from situations where he has an open three-pointer. Spends most of his time floating around the perimeter spotting up and even floats to the outside in transition. Brings the ball up the floor safely, but isn’t a floor general. The leg kick gets a little bit too predictable at times. Is capable of shooting off the dribble, but is nowhere near as consistent as he is when shooting from a standstill. Seldom takes the ball to the rim, and rarely gets to the line. Tends to dribble from one wing to the other before reinitiating his offense. Good a moving the ball on the perimeter. Does a good job of coming off the bench for big shots.

Defense: Much better at guarding the point guard spot than the wing despite his lack of foot speed. Always keeps his hands up. Wont’ create many turnovers, but will make a smart foul every now and again. Will box his man out on occasion. Does a good job of using his upper body to deny dribble penetration. Doesn’t close out hard so that he doesn’t get blown by.

Dwayne Jones

Overview: A young big-man who needs to grow as a player. Jones has good size and athleticism, but doesn’t feature the skills of an NBA player. Isn’t much more than a six-foul guy off the bench. Does the little things that coaches love, but not enough to be considered a legitimate rotation player. Was never relied on for a lot of scoring as a collegiate at St. Joe’s. Nor was he asked to develop those skills in the NBADL. Will see some interest in free agency this offseason, but has to prove that he is capable of improving his offensive game.

Offense: Will never be featured in the offense, so he has to find a way to get the ball. Gets his points almost exclusively off of offensive rebounds and hard cuts to the rim. Has essentially no plays run for him due to his relatively lack of raw skills on the offensive end. Can’t put the ball on the floor. Posts up hard, but doesn’t do much when he gets there. Is a decent finisher at the cup. Dunks anything he can. Runs the floor well and sets good screens. Doesn’t show much of a jump shot. Shoots a horrendous percentage from the line. Has poor hands. Really needs to develop a back to the basket game if he ever wants to be anything more than a low-level role player.

Defense: Works extremely hard on the defensive end. Denies entry passes to the best of his ability. Won’t block a ton of shots, nor will he get many steals. Is more of a position defender than an aggressive one. Plays with good fundamentals and contests shots from the post pretty well. Has the foot-speed to cover post players who try and face up. Is capable of guarding the center position. Uses his strength extremely well. Commits some silly fouls, but doesn’t play enough for it to be a factor. Hasn’t seen much playing time with the return of Varejao.

Sasha Pavlovic

Overview: A sweet shooting young Serbian swingman who was beginning to hit his stride as a player before a holdout delayed his 2007-2008 season debut. Possesses deceptive athleticism, but could stand to add more muscle to his frame. Lack of consistency is indicative of his lack of maturity. Still has some things in his game to iron out. Shows good defensive effort, but needs to be more focused on the offensive end. Improvements as a Cavalier garnered him a three year deal in 2007.

Offense: Gets thirty percent of his touches from spot up situations and another thirty from transition and isolation opportunities. Had a great year in 2007, but has yet to find consistent success. Is deceptively quick and athletic. Can play above the rim. Does a good job of driving to the rim, but doesn’t have the creativity to finish at a high clip. Isn’t going to shoot a great percentage off the dribble. Can put up big numbers when he gets going. Will have a hard time scoring against physical defenders. Decent ball handler, but can be pushed off the ball. Has a nice spin move. Gets a bit overzealous off the dribble at times. Makes some bad passes that get deflected too easily when he dribbles into trouble.

Defense: Is one of the better perimeter defenders on the Cavaliers roster. Consistently gives a good effort. Gets in a low stance and moves his feet well. Doesn’t box out very well or rebound the ball at a reasonable clip for his position. Plays passing lanes pretty well. Commits a few too many fouls for a wing. Needs to cut down on his reaching. Does not guard the post very well.

Joe Smith

Overview: A veteran post player who was brought in to provide offense around the rim. Smith has decent athleticism, but injuries have robbed him of his physical prowess. At this point, Smith can rely on his size and strength to make some plays, but is more of skill player than anything else. Used to be an absolute monster. Averaged a double-double in his only two seasons at Maryland, and even dominated games on the defensive end. Too athletic and well built to be stopped on that level. Won the ACC Player of the Year Award as a sophomore in 1995. Various setbacks never let him become the player many thought he could be, although he is very well thought of around the league at this point. His career has been shaped by injuries, but he is still a very good role player.

Offense: Gets half of his offense as the roll man in pick and rolls and posts ups with the rest of his touches coming off of cuts, offensive rebounds, and spot ups. Was brought in to provide additional inside scoring, but his best asset is his midrange jumper. Possesses textbook form, and is extremely consistent out to seventeen feet. Even capable of shooting off the dribble on occasion. Solid at finishing around the rim, but has a tough time absorbing contact when he lays the ball up with his left hand. Something of the ultimate offensive role player, finishing open opportunities, shooting a great percentage from the line, and being generally efficient overall.

Defense: Still athletic enough to be a good defender despite all the injuries. Does a good job of using his body down low, but has trouble when he’s matched up with taller post players. Doesn’t block shots like he used to, but he’s a significantly smarter player than he once was. Increased awareness hasn’t made him a dynamic help side defender. Good at boxing out and rebounding in his area. No longer prone to committing fouls when he’s beat.

Eric Snow

Overview: A veteran point guard who is more of a leader than an on-court producer at this point in his career. Doesn’t possess the same speed and quickness that he did early in his career, which limits him offensively. Has great size and strength for a point guard, which makes him a good defender. Was a similar player in his days at Michigan State. Gets by on his experience and basketball IQ. May be more suited to be a coach at this point considering his age, personality, and style of play. Is a leader on and off the floor.

Offense: Is simply a steady floor general who seldom looks for his own offense. Gets most of his shoots from spot up opportunities because defenders slack off of him. Has a consistent stroke, but doesn’t shoot a consistent percentage. Can’t shoot from the outside. Needs time and space to shoot effectively. Does not drive as much as he used to. Almost never turns the ball over. Finds the open man when he puts the ball on the floor, but can’t drive and dish like he used to. Can finish at the rim, doesn’t elevate well. Protects the ball with his body. Decent ball handler, and can almost always get to the spot he wants to get to on the outside. Can get in the lane, but isn’t quick enough to get a clear shot at the rim. Is like a coach on the floor.

Defense: Acts as something of a defensive specialist at this point in his career. Works extremely hard on the defensive end, and is capable of shutting down bigger, faster, and more athletic players in spurts. Gets extremely low, and uses leverage to defend the post and deny dribble penetration. Digs the post well from the outside. Doesn’t reach, but uses his hands better than most. Closes out extremely well. Is a prototypical veteran on the defensive end in his effort level, lack of mistakes, and intensity.

Wally Szczerbiak

Overview: A veteran scorer who has tremendous perimeter scoring abilities despite his only decent athleticism. Good size and bulk for a shooting guard. Does a decent job getting up and down the floor. Plays above the rim when he has space, but isn’t an explosive leaper. Suffers a lot of injuries. A tremendous shooter from the outside. Has all kind of offensive moves to get open shots on the perimeter. Great scorer. Smart offensive player. Doesn’t bring a lot to the defensive end. Has a great career at Miami of Ohio. Won the MAC Player of the Year Award as a senior in 1999. A very good offensive specialist. Currently playing under a big contract. Son of former ABA player and Spanish basketball legend Walter Szczerbiak.

Offense: A very dynamic offensive specialist. Gets almost half of his offense as a catch and shoot player. Possesses an incredibly reliable jump shot. Loves the three ball. One of the most efficient catch and shoot players in the League. Lights out when he’s open. Displays tremendous effectiveness off the dribble as well. Shows great touch from absolutely everywhere. Uses all kinds of spins and fakes to get his shot off. Very polished perimeter game. Will take the ball to the rim on occasion, and has the athleticism to finish at a decent clip. Isn’t a dynamic scorer at the basket, but is more than passable. Goes to the line at a decent rate and shoots a great percentage. Solid ball handler and passer, doesn’t turn the ball over nearly as often as he used to. One of the top specialists the game has to offer. Puts points on the board in a hurry.

Defense: A mediocre defender who doesn’t have the athleticism necessary to make an impact. Will give a decent effort on the defensive end, but tends to be focused on scoring. Doesn’t create many turnovers. Not much of a presence on the glass either. Average half court defender due to his lack of lateral quickness. Definitely not playing because of his defense skills.

Anderson Varejao

Overview: A Brazilian power forward who makes a living by outworking the opposition. Has decent size and good bulk. Isn’t a great athlete, but gets more out of what he has than almost any other player in the League. Doesn’t have the best offensive skills, but does the little things on both ends. His holdout kept him off the floor for the first fifth of his third season as a pro. Asked for starter’s money but wound up settling for the MLE. A truly unique energy player who is arguably the League’s best at drawing offensive fouls.

Offense: Gets most of his offensive touches in typical hustle player fashion: from offensive rebounds and cuts to the rim. Doesn’t have any midrange game. Has a mediocre midrange jumper that is more of a push than a shot. Does a ton of dirty-work underneath as soon as he gets on the floor. Has good touch at the rim. Uses fakes well to get open looks when he is posted up. Fights hard for position. Runs the floor relentlessly. Sets great screens and rolls to the basket extremely well. Won’t dunk unless he has a clear path the rim, but doesn’t get blocked as often as other players with similar habits. Is capable of putting the ball on the floor, but isn’t going to do a whole lot once he does. Not turnover prone.

Defense: Takes charges better than any player in the League. Moves unbelievably well from the weak-side, and almost always sets up outside of the restricted area. Won’t block many shots when rotating. Will get on the floor for loose balls. Knows how to work officials and draw offensive fouls using his body language. Works hard in the post to deny entry passes.

Ben Wallace

Overview: Once considered the best defensive post player in the League, despite his stature. Regularly won matchups with taller opponents due to his ridiculous combination of strength and athleticism. Would outwork everyone, but hasn’t translated much of his physical talent onto the offensive end. He seems to have aged quickly over the past few seasons, and his rebounding and shot-blocking numbers have dropped dramatically. An unheralded collegiate at Virginia Union after spending two years at Cuyahoga CC. Undrafted, and needed some time to become the player he is now. Became a force with the Pistons in 2000. Four time NBA All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year. Won an NBA Championship in 2004. Has had issues with his coaches, he brings a great mentality game in and game out.

Offense: Will never be known for his offense. Calls for plenty of touches on the low block, and while he doesn’t have the moves or touch to be a consistent finisher, he still gets enough elevation to knock in a hook every now and again. The vast majority of his quality possessions come off of cuts and offensive rebounds, where he simply dunks everything he can. Unfortunately, his struggles at the free throw line (where he is one of the worst in the league) make him a target for fouls down low, which hurts his production on the whole. Jumper is extremely inconsistent, and simply isn’t an asset. Ability to get his team second shot opportunities used to negate his lack of skills for the most part. Doesn’t always seem to know his limitations.

Defense: Lack of offensive skills has always been overshadowed by unparalleled defensive ability. Has the upper body strength to deny almost anyone vying for position on the block. Contests every shot he can. Very good at positioning himself to guard drop steps and up and under moves in the paint. Great timing and anticipation when blocking shots from the weak side. Good enough foot speed to hedge pick and rolls effectively and guard small players when forced to switch. Always boxes out. Has the length and leaping ability to rebound almost every miss. Grabs rebounds outside of his area with regularity. Never takes possessions off, which makes him a nightmare to have to score on. His age seems to have caught up with him lately, though, making him less and less of a factor these days. It’s unclear just how much left he has in the tank.

Delonte West

Overview: A combo guard who is capable of putting up big numbers due to Seattle’s lack of depth. Possesses good height, but a slight build for a point guard. Has pretty good quickness and speed. Rather explosive leaper. A bit injury prone due to his size. Can shoot the ball pretty well from the perimeter. Improving as a point guard. A nice complimentary player. Played off the ball quite a bit at St. Joseph’s next to Jameer Nelson. Has taken some time to adapt to the NBA game. Needs to improve his consistency. Has the toughness, smarts and skills to be a solid player, but is more suited to come off the bench at this point. Provides nice energy, but could be an even better player if he cuts down on his mistakes. Should find some interest in restricted free agency this offseason.

Offense: A solid point guard who gets about half of his offense as a ball handler in pick and roll situations. Displays a pretty consistent lefty jumper with good touch out to the three point line. Capable spot up shooter. Takes most of his jumpers off the dribble. Very good midrange game. Shows nice touch on short range floaters and jumpers as well. Good ball handler. Gets to the rim at a decent rate. Has a hard time finishing due to his lack of leaping ability. Gets sent to the line, but doesn’t shoot a great percentage. Will turn the corner on pick and rolls, but not as frequently as other point guards. Good passer, but isn’t a spectacular distributor. Could stand to take less shots at the rim and do more driving and dishing. Provides a solid but pretty unspectacular option at point guard.

Defense: A decent defender who plays a solid and unaggressive style of defense. Can effectively defend the point guard position, but has a very difficult time covering shooting guards. Displays good lateral quickness and a nice dedication to the defensive end. Won’t let his man get into the lane without a fight. Shows quick hands and a low stance. Comes up with a decent amount of blocks surprisingly. Isn’t a play maker, but is more than passable due to his commitment to the fundamentals.

Detroit Pistons

Chauncey Billups

Overview: One of the League’s best point guards. Relatively tall and very strong for his position. Possesses good quickness and speed, but size is his most useful physical asset. Is able to slide over to shooting guard on occasion without much difficulty. Has a great feel for the game, incredible skills, and is as clutch as they come. Never afraid to take the big shot. Bounced around the League early in his career until he found his way as a point guard. Was named the MVP when the Pistons won the Finals in 2004. Two time All-Star. Detroit’s franchise player.

Offense: One of the most reliable and efficient offensive point guards in the League. Gets almost half of his offensive opportunities in pick and roll situations. Very difficult to guard on the high pick and roll due to his shooting ability. Will stop and pop from just about anywhere. Incredibly consistent stroke with range. Lights out with his feet set. Just as good off the dribble. Won’t go to the rim unless he has a seem. Great at initiating contact and finishing. Goes to the line at a high rate. Money from there too. Shoots a lot of threes. Connects at a pretty good clip. Better in the clutch. Great killer instinct. Doesn’t turn the ball over at all for how much he dribbles. Not a fancy ball handler, but a good one. Not a fancy passer either. Well above average in that aspect of the game. Doesn’t create a ton of shots for his teammates, but that’s because they get open so well. Spaces the floor well, a consummate floor general. Smart and talented, the total package.

Defense: Arguably Detroit’s best on ball defender. Uses his strength advantage to deny dribble penetration. Quick and active hands. Rarely commits a foul despite getting most of his steals on strips and reach ins. Amazing at timing his swipes at the ball and anticipating his man’s moves. Goes straight up when his man pulls up. Almost puts his hand on the shooters face from time to time. Hard for other point guards to post up. Won’t get pushed around making him a handful to get around without contact. Not as apt at guarding the ball the length of the floor like some guards. Very good half court defender. Knows where his help is. Can guard some shooting guards depending on the match up. Can help out on the glass.

Primoz Brezec

Overview: An offensive-minded big-man who fits the classic European mold. Possesses a huge frame at 7-2, but isn’t terribly strong, fast, or explosive. Missed games in past seasons due to a bulging disc and other small injuries. Still relatively durable throughout the course of the season. A solid contributor, but obviously better suited to come off the bench and take advantage of favorable matchups than start regularly. Has lost some of his shine, and may return to Europe in the near future.

Offense: Gets most of his possessions as a spot up jump shooter and off of cuts to the basket. Has nice touch on his shot. Capable of working off the ball and shooting off of screens. Isn’t a great athlete, but plays smart enough to get easy points off of cuts. Lacks the elevation to finish at the rim consistently. Doesn’t deal with contact very well. Doesn’t bring much to the table as a passer. Isn’t very good at putting the ball on the floor. Far from turnover prone. Helps spread the floor for his team’s post players. Doesn’t have three-point range, but his jumper adds a nice offensive dimension off the bench. Plays well in a complimentary role.

Defense: Not athletic enough to win his individual matchups on the defensive end. Has a hard time defending the NBA’s quicker, stronger, and more athletic post players, and thus has to foul a lot. Doesn’t provide a lot of resistance considering his lack of effective physical assets. Gets beaten off the dribble when forced to step out on the pick and roll. Has decent offensive skills, but these are more than negated by his defensive weaknesses. Also a poor rebounder.

Richard Hamilton

Overview: A skinny shooting guard who moves without the ball and shoots the midrange jumper as well as anyone in the game. Has a very skinny frame, but is long and tough. Displays adequate athleticism and above average quickness. Changes directions well. Appears more deceptively fast than explosive. One of the most well conditioned players in the League. Can run off screens for days. Shows a great work ethic and a lot of heart. Plays with great efficiency. Won an NCAA Championship in 1999 at Connecticut and an NBA Championship with the Pistons in 2004. Two time All-Star. Forms one of the League’s best guard tandems with Chauncey Billups.

Offense: One of the best midrange players in the game. Probably the best. Great shooting stroke. Elevates well enough to shoot over defenders. Very reliable out to NBA three-point range. Tremendous footwork. Works as well off the ball as Reggie Miller used to. Gets open and quick triggers jumpers all game. Tires his man out by virtue of his conditioning and cutting. Get most of his shots off of screens, spotting up, and in transition. Not a great finisher due to his lack of elite explosiveness and strength. Pretty good from the post, or with his back to the basket in the midrange. Capable of turning over both shoulders for jumpers. Capable ball handler. Better at driving to the rim with his left. Likes to pull up when going right. Extremely smart passer. Pretty good offensive rebounder when he wants to be. Great basketball IQ.

Defense: Solid defender who used his conditioning advantage to play pesky defense for the long haul. Enough lateral quickness to deny some dribble penetration. Closes out really hard, and minimizes the space he gives his man. Can get beaten by more physical offensive players. Goes straight up in the post, but doesn’t have the size to push some shooting guards off the block. Does his best to use leverage to his advantage. Won’t get steals on the ball. Better at reading passers and getting deflections. Not usually capable of guarding point guards of small forwards. Gets back up the floor as instructed when rebounds aren’t in his area.

Jarvis Hayes

Overview: A prolific collegiate scorer who can put points on the board as a role player on the NBA level. Has good size and strength for a wing, but isn’t an elite athlete. Led the Southern Conference in scoring as a sophomore at Western Carolina and the Southeastern Conference in the same category as a senior at Georgia. Has very polished perimeter skills, but isn’t a dynamic offensive player with the ball in his hands. Provides a good scoring punch off the bench in Detroit. Had some trouble with injuries early in his NBA career, but hasn’t missed much action recently. Can make an impact as a replacement for Richard Hamilton when healthy. Twin brother Jonas currently serves as an assistant coach at Division II Belmont Abbey College.

Offense: Gets most of his touches off of spot ups and in transition. Takes most of his shots from the perimeter. Fundamentally sound shooter. Good range and follow through. Pretty reliable from three point range. Won’t bring a whole lot to the table as a finisher or distributor. Runs the floor hard which makes him a good trailer when he’s behind the play. Not quick or explosive enough to be very effective at either. Would rather catch and shoot than pull up off the dribble. Can put the ball on the floor to score from the midrange. Likes to use turnaround jumpers and fade-aways over crossovers and other more aggressive moves. Very careful with the ball. Doesn’t take any risks. Won’t get to the free throw line much since he doesn’t seek out contact on his drives. Decent from the stripe. Not much of a rebounder either. Nice offensive role player off the bench.

Defense: Solid defender who has average lateral quickness and strength. Better at guarding strong small forwards than quicker shooting guards. Will get beat of the dribble from time to time. Hard worker. Goes after loose balls. Most comfortable defending in the midrange than the perimeter. Strong enough to keep his man off the block. Not going to take a lot of risks, will commit some careless fouls when beat off the dribble.

Amir Johnson

Overview: An extremely young big man who is finally ready to play some minutes on the NBA level after declaring for the draft straight out of high school and taking a few years to pan out. Has great length, mobility, and athleticism, but still needs to fill out his frame. Has gained some weight since entering the League, but will need to continue to dedicate himself. Put up great numbers in the NBADL. Uses his athleticism to his advantage around the rim and on the glass. Still needs more game reps, but is only seeing sporadic time on the NBA level. Can showcase his skills in limited minutes. Has the potential to develop into a very good complimentary post player down the line, if he continues to work hard and expands his knowledge of the game.

Offense: Raw young post player, but loaded with offensive potential. Lack of experience makes him susceptible to bad decision making and questionable shot selection. Gets most of his shots off of offensive rebounds, post ups, and cuts to the rim. Finishes extremely well at the rim. Isn’t nearly as good when he can’t get at the backboard. Shows decent touch on his hook shot, but rushes it too often to be effective. Can make some shots from in close when he doesn’t get pushed off the block. Doesn’t have the bulk or show the effort level to maintain position against bigger players. Displays a rough looking jumper than he hoists from his shoulder. Needs to work on his fundamentals. Has shown decent touch, making his development seem more probable. Tremendous rebounder. Has surprising potential as a ball handler. Good enough speed to put the ball on the floor to create space. Gets a little too aggressive at times. Very fluid when dribbling up the court. Could add some change of pace and change of direction moves to see what those unique positional skills take him.

Defense: Still adapting to the NBA game defensively, especially in the post. Has the athleticism to defend most forwards straight up. Great lateral quickness for his size. Able to defend all the way out to the perimeter. Starting to fill out his frame as well. Has a tough time with post players that know how to get him off his feet. Loves to block shots, but he gets caught in the air when he gets aggressive. Doesn’t get a lot of his blocks from the weak side. Will only get better with playing time. Has the potential to be a very good defender when he learns to recognize and anticipate his man’s intentions with the ball. Needs to continue to improve his strength to be a better rebounder.

Jason Maxiell

Overview: An undersized power forward that plays throwback Detroit Pistons basketball, and is starting to fulfill his potential. Very short by NBA standards, but possesses a huge wingspan, wide shoulders, and a strong frame. Has surprising quickness and leaping ability. Runs the floor very well. Asserts himself on the floor, and plays aggressive on both ends. Shows impressive toughness and durability. Was a monster during his senior year at Cincinnati. Has developed his game significantly since entering the League. Should be a long-term replacement for Antonio McDyess.

Offense: One of the few players in the League who will really try to dunk everything when he sees a hole. Won’t hesitate to go through defenders to get at the rim. Runs the floor extremely well. Able to achieve and maintain post position. Gets most of his offense off of post ups, cuts, and offensive rebounds. Very efficient scorer. Vastly improved midrange player. Pretty fluid jump shot. Likes to post on the left block and turn into right handed jumpers. Will face up and use jabs to create enough space to shoot his jumper. Shows good elevation. Uses his wingspan to shoot over defenders when he has them on their heels. Good post game. Not super advanced, but aggressive and efficient. Average hands. Goes to the line at a very high rate, but doesn’t shoot a good percentage. Tremendous offensive rebounder. Won’t put the ball on the floor to score.

Defense: A solid post defender, although his size is a bit of a hindrance. Uses his strength to push his man off the block, box out, and not get pushed around. Surprising length helps him deny post entry passes, block shots, and rebound. Tends to surprise offensive players with his elevation and explosiveness. Blocks quite a few shots. Has a tough time defending taller big men who have good strength and soft touch near the basket. Does a great job defending the power forward spot. Quick enough to step out and guard midrange shooters. Rotates from the weak side pretty well. Will commit a few fouls a game on shooters near the basket. Feel for game is average. Very aggressive, but won’t get fooled by fakes easily. Goes after every rebound. Very good post defender for his size and experience level.

Antonio McDyess

Overview: A skilled power forward who was a tremendous athlete and a franchise player before suffering a serious knee injury early in the 2001 season. Was once able to dominate the low block with explosiveness and strength. Won an Olympic gold medal with the US national team in 2000. Made his only All-Star appearance in 2001. Still has the strength and size to play down low, but isn’t as explosive as he once was. Still moves pretty well despite the injuries. Has polished his offensive game significantly. Transitioned into a bench player when he first joined the Pistons. Made his return to the starting lineup for Detroit in 2006 and is now seeing extended minutes. A very valuable piece.

Offense: One of the League’s best midrange jump shooters. Gets the vast majority of his shots off of spot ups, and pick and pops. Very consistent and reliable shooting stroke. Knocks down fade aways and bank shots with regularity. Decent finisher at the rim as well. Good post player. Likes to turn over his right shoulder for turnarounds on both blocks. Doesn’t drive or put the ball on the floor to attack the rim. Gets to the line periodically anyways. Shoots a mediocre percentage from the stripe. Good offensive rebounder. Smart passer. Improved his offensive skills significantly throughout his career. Used to be able to dominate with athleticism. Developed the skills to be solid even without his elite physical assets.

Defense: Decent defender at the power forward position. Strong and athletic, but not the dominant defender he used to be. Usually gets a tough draw now that he’s a starter. Gives a good effort. Gets his hands up and tries to contest shots at the rim. Strong enough to keep comparably sized players off the block. Has a tough time defending players with height advantages. Not a great midrange defender. Focuses more on prevent drives than shots when his man faces up. Always closes out with a hand up though. Shows sure hands when grabbing rebounds and loose balls. Gives smart fouls.

Tayshaun Prince

Overview: A ridiculously long wing, who has surprising athleticism and a fairly polished perimeter game. Owner of a 7-2 wingspan. Very much on the skinny side. Hasn’t gained much weight since entering the League, but it hasn’t hurt his play. Shows surprising quickness and speed in the open floor. Quickness, length and skill combination allow his to be an impact player on both ends. Shows great intensity on the defensive end. Named to the NBA All-Defensive Second team in 2005 and 2006. Has an unorthodox left-handed stroke, but has developed into a nice offensive weapon. Very durable and tough despite his frame. One of the most versatile talents in the game today. Has a winning attitude, which he fostered at Kentucky under Tubby Smith after winning two state titles at Dominguez HS in Compton, California. Helped the Pistons win the NBA Championship in 2004. Cousin JP Prince plays at Tennessee.

Offense: Extremely versatile offensive player due to his height and relative length for his position. Scores in numerous ways. Capable of spotting up on the outside, running the floor in transition, taking his man one-on-one, and working over smaller defenders in the post. Interesting shooting mechanics. Keeps his elbows extremely wide and lets the ball fly from his shoulder. Tough to argue with the results. Mechanics make his shot almost impossible to block. Great shot selection. Accurate from three point range. Capable shooter off the dribble. Likes to pull up going left. Tough to guard off the dribble due to his length and deceptive first step. Good ball handler. Nice post game. Turns right to the point that he’s very predictable. Will get some easy looks from in close by working off the ball. Very high basketball IQ on the offensive end. Has improved significantly over the last few years. Great complimentary offensive player.

Defense: Detroit’s best and most versatile perimeter defender. Perhaps the second most important player on the team defensively behind Rasheed Wallace. Draws the toughest perimeter assignment in most cases. Length allows him to contest absolutely every shot. Wingspan allows him play off his man and still get a hand up on everything. Deceptive quickness helps him deny penetration. Looks impossible to drive around when he gets in his defensive stance. Deflects a lot of passes. Can guard three positions. Not an ideal post defender due to his size, but he fights for position. Standing reach makes him tough to shoot over when he goes straight up. Decent rebounder. Great shot blocker who prefers to try and negate fast breaks and easy layups. Not a risk taker in the half court. Makes an impact on his physical assets alone.

Rasheed Wallace

Overview: A tall, long, and talented player who is one of the best overall power forwards in the game. Has good enough size and strength to slide up to the center spot periodically. Isn’t as athletic as he once was, but has retained his mobility and most of his explosiveness. Proven to be equally effective from the inside as the outside. Can present matchup problems. Put up incredible numbers at UNC under Dean Smith who developed him into a star by his sophomore year in 1995. Plays with a lot of heart, but lets his fierce competitiveness get the better of him at times. Well known for his propensity to receive technical fouls. Very outspoken. A three-time All-Star, whose addition allowed the Pistons to win the NBA Championship in 2004.

Offense: Immensely talented inside-outside threat. Gets most of his offense by posting up, but spots up on the perimeter pretty frequently as well. Very high consistent release. Capable from hitting shots all the way out past the three point line. Tremendously consistent from that range for his size and skill set. Great post game. Likes to turn over his right shoulder to his reliable hook shot. Tough to spot due to his mixture of length and physicality. Won’t dribble to score. No reason to guard his drive on the perimeter. Needs to be recognized when trailing plays. Lights out when unguarded. Very good midrange game as well. Capable of hitting turnarounds and fade aways with impressive range. Sets very solid screens. Can roll to the rim or pop out to the outside. Great hands. Good offensive rebounder. May not score as much as he used to, but he’s still as dangerous and efficient as he was in his prime.

Defense: Detroit’s best post defender. Makes everyone else look better when he’s on the floor. Quickness and experience make him one of the best help side defenders in the game. Always rotates to meet penetration. Goes straight up on jump shooters. Capable of defending the post one-on-one without help. Doesn’t fall for fakes. Gives his man a ton of contact when he tries to back down. Plays with a lot of heart. Sure handed. Great timing when blocking and going for strips. Gets steals by reaching in on midrange shooter and swiping the ball. Good area rebounder. Will hack some shooters, but gives smart fouls for the most part. Physical traits, basketball IQ, and defensive mentality make him a great asset to have on this end.

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