West Coast Swing: Day 6 (Jermareo Davidson, Aaron Brooks, etc)

West Coast Swing: Day 6 (Jermareo Davidson, Aaron Brooks, etc)
May 26, 2007, 02:08 am
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 1 (Dominic McGuire Private Workout)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 2 (Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, etc)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 3 (AIB Player Evaluations/Josh McRoberts Workout)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 4 (Nick Young,Bobby Brown,Danny Granger)
West Coast Workout Swing: Day 5 (Marcus Williams, Jared Dudley, more)

Jermareo Davidson, 6-11, Senior, Power Forward, Alabama

Jermareo Davidson is obviously one of the more skilled and talented big men we’ve evaluated on this trip so far. He’s extremely agile for a 6-11 player, with a nice wingspan and very skinny frame that looks like it has the potential to add plenty more weight. His jump-shot is silky smooth, and he has range that extends all the way out to the NBA 3-point line. Inside the arc, he can hit shots even in motion, showing great touch and the ability to put the ball on the floor and pull-up off the dribble. When he decides to take the ball all the way to the rack (as he did in the five on five), he shows great body control in the lane, even being able to find the open man accurately on a drive and dish for example. On one play in the pick-up game he skied high for a rebound and took the ball coast to coast all by himself, finishing the play with an athletic layup off the glass. Considering the way he can create his own shot, it’s not shocking that some people here are wondering whether he might have the potential to play some small forward down the road in the NBA, at least on the offensive end. Here in Vegas, he’s everyone’s favorite sleeper, although they all mention the caveats we will get to in a second.

Davidson showed some extremely concerning shot selection throughout the 5 on 5 game. This is not really anything shockingly new considering that he shot 40.7% from the field in his senior year, but it is somewhat worrying to watch in person. He settled repeatedly for questionable shots from behind the arc, often off balance, early in the offense, and in wild fashion. Again and again he went to his turnaround fade-away jumper from behind the 3-point line (ala Kobe or Vince), while rarely attempting to establish any type of presence inside the paint with his back to the basket. When he did receive the ball in the paint with single coverage, he seemed to avoid taking contact at all costs, spinning away from his man rather than into him in order to draw a foul and finish strong.

Davidson will be attending the Orlando pre-draft camp and would be well served to compliment his perimeter game with some toughness inside the arc. Most NBA coaches (they can’t ALL be Mike D’Antoni after all) won’t play a big man who won’t play strong defense and rebound the ball with purpose, and this is a great way for Davidson to show off his excellent physical attributes and help show that his disappointing senior season was just an aberration. He will be one of the more intriguing big guys to watch at the pre-draft camp (particularly in the drills), but he will have to play within himself and try to show off the other facets of his game besides his perimeter shooting.

Brian Cusworth, 7-0, Senior, Center, Harvard

One of the nicest surprises we’ve come across in any of the gyms we’ve been at, we never would have imagined coming away so impressed with Brian Cusworth following the showing he had in Portsmouth in early April.

Here we find a legit 7-footer who is well proportioned with a great frame, a pretty nice wingspan, solid coordination, and some very legit athletic ability. He’s spent the last 5 months since finishing off his collegiate eligibility at Harvard here in Las Vegas, working tirelessly on his conditioning and skill-level, and the results aren’t hard to notice. Cusworth looked incredibly well schooled in all of the drills that were thrown at him, showing pretty nice touch out to 15 feet, a good looking turnaround jumper out of the post, and excellent stamina. He can jump, run, move, etc the way you would want a player his size to legitimately, and had himself quite a showing in the five on five game once he settled down.

Cusworth went up against Patrick O’Bryant and scored on him again and again, utilizing nifty footwork on his pivot moves around the basket, switching and finishing with either hand, throwing in reverse lay-ups, showing a nice little step-through, and being extremely active finishing through contact. He hit the glass pretty hard, and even got in the passing lanes to remove any real doubt regarding his agility.

It was a pretty impressive showing, but it wasn’t without negatives. For one, Cusworth appears to be a complete black hole. Anytime the ball goes into the post, you can forget about it having any chance at all of coming out, regardless of the situation he’s in. He takes very difficult shots in traffic and especially from the perimeter, showing plenty of inexperience and a definite lack of poise with the ball in his hands.

He appears to be hell bent on proving that he can play with athletes of the caliber that was around him, but ended up forcing the issue considerably time after time, especially early on. Once he settled down he ended up doing extremely well, but you can tell that he was trained to be his team’s go-to guy at all costs in the Ivy League, and that mentality is hard to completely erase in such a short period. This appears to be what happened at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in early April, where he had quite a poor showing, looking extremely nervous and out of his element, making some very bad decisions and not helping himself out at all in the process. There will obviously be a learning curve for him to adjust himself from playing in the Ivy League to a higher level of competition, but there seem to be some really nice tools to work with. It will be very interesting to see how he develops.

Levon Kendall, 6-10, Senior, Small Forward, Pitt

Another very intriguing find lurking the desert of Las Vegas, we’re still scratching our heads trying to figure out exactly how he only averaged 6 points per game for Pittsburgh considering how good he looked in the two days we watched him play. It was also hard to figure out how he managed to score 41 points against a team of NCAA all-stars (J.J. Redick, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, etc) representing the Canadian Under-21 National team at the World Championships two seasons ago, so the answer is obviously somewhere in between the two in terms of his real potential at the professional level.

Kendall has good height, length and a decent frame, and he might have been the most well conditioned athlete we saw here, mainly due to how seriously he appears to be taking his training from what we could tell.

Immediately it became evident that we’re dealing with an extremely intelligent basketball player. He’s constantly surveying the floor to figure out where there is a play to be made, and he has the ability to make some excellent decisions with the ball in his hands, mainly in the form of passes to cutters making their way into the lane. He likes to use fakes and all kinds of other crafty moves to give himself an advantage, and will show some advanced spin-moves into the paint on occasion even, maybe to use his body nicely and finish with a pretty finger roll.

Kendall is also quite a solid defender as well from what he showed in the work he did on Jermareo Davidson and Ryan Gomes. He’s capable of making his way to the basket with either hand, even if his ball-handling skills are definitely improvable, and he’s got pretty nice shooting mechanics (including a high release point) even if his college numbers from beyond the arc (20/80 on his career) don’t really back that up.

Considering his just-average athletic ability and paltry statistics, Kendall will probably have to start off his career somewhere overseas first before he attempts to make it back to the NBA as a free agent. From what we were told, he is in the process of obtaining a European passport to help facilitate that.

Aaron Brooks, 5-11, Senior, Point Guard, Oregon

While Taurean Green looked just average in the drills and then was very impressive in the five on five pickup game, the opposite could be said for the two day showing that Aaron Brooks put in while we were in attendance.

Regardless of the setting, though, Brooks has superb quickness and outstanding ability to shift gears and keep his man off balance. He handles the ball on a string and can get into the paint with the greatest of ease, being able to finish plays in many different ways, particularly with a very nice tear drop in the lane. His shot wasn’t falling consistently for him, but he obviously has solid shooting mechanics and more than enough touch to just throw the ball in the basket from NBA range and beyond, even if he abuses his shot at times.

Running his team in the pick-up game, Brooks did just a so-so job, especially in the half-court setting. He pushes the ball up the floor like a pro and is nearly impossible to keep out of transition once he receives a good outlet pass, but once slowed to a standstill he struggles with his decision making and has a tendency to force some very tough shots. He seemed to lack focus at times and complain an awful lot when things didn’t go his way. Brooks will play in the pre-draft camp and has a chance to help his stock big time there with a good showing. He has all the talent in the world to do so, and then some. In the right situation, he could certainly find a niche for himself.

Patrick O’Bryant, 7-0, Center, Golden State Warriors (NBA)

O’Bryant made an appearance in the five on five pickup games in Vegas, and looked fairly rusty as you might imagine after not having played many minutes at all this season outside the D-League. His body looks similar to how it did last time we saw him in person about a year ago (also in a private workout), but he seemed to be showing more of a face-up jumper than we recall him having, even shooting a 3-pointer at one point, which he missed. O’Bryant also looked to utilize a Kareem-esqe skyhook that didn’t quite fall for him, and wasn’t quite the presence defensively that you might hope considering his height and wingspan. More than anything, it seems like the year he spent riding the pine (outside his time in the D-League) has affected his confidence, something that isn’t that much of a surprise all things considered. It’s pretty clear that Don Nelson’s style of play doesn’t suit him (or any other 7-footer not named Dirk for that matter) very well, so it’s quite possible that some NBA team looking for an athletic big man with freakishly long arms and great upside could be able to make something happen if they really wanted to. It’s obviously way too early to give up on him.

Recent articles

7.5 Points
5.5 Rebounds
4.8 Assists
10.5 PER
2.0 Points
2.3 Rebounds
1.0 Assists
10.8 PER
1.0 Points
1.6 Rebounds
0.4 Assists
8.9 PER
0.0 Points
0.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
-13.0 PER
2.3 Points
0.3 Rebounds
0.5 Assists
2.4 PER
12.6 Points
1.4 Rebounds
2.2 Assists
12.0 PER
0.0 Points
0.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
0.0 PER
27.1 Points
8.9 Rebounds
4.4 Assists
21.7 PER
1.4 Points
1.1 Rebounds
0.6 Assists
7.2 PER
0.0 Points
0.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
0.0 PER
9.1 Points
6.6 Rebounds
1.5 Assists
12.7 PER
15.3 Points
2.5 Rebounds
2.0 Assists
15.5 PER
10.8 Points
5.4 Rebounds
1.7 Assists
15.4 PER
7.5 Points
3.1 Rebounds
5.2 Assists
13.2 PER
11.3 Points
6.3 Rebounds
0.9 Assists
16.2 PER
18.7 Points
8.2 Rebounds
2.9 Assists
20.8 PER
8.3 Points
1.0 Rebounds
4.0 Assists
2.8 PER
17.9 Points
2.9 Rebounds
4.0 Assists
16.7 PER
6.4 Points
2.4 Rebounds
1.0 Assists
14.6 PER

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop