Saturday is a big workout day for the Raptors, as they bring in five point guards: Mississippi high schooler Monta Ellis, Dukeâ€™s Daniel Ewing, UNCâ€™s Raymond Felton, Jarrett Jack of Georgia Tech and Washingtonâ€™s Nate Robinson.
Hereâ€™s Raptorshq.comâ€™s breakdown of Saturdayâ€™s five prospects:
Who is he? 6-3 high school guard from Mississippi.
Last Year: Averaged 41 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists for Lanier High.
What Can He Do? Ellis is a scorer, pure and simple. He loves to take the ball to the hoop and is creative with his finishes. He shoots the ball well and is able to score in a number of different ways. He is athletic and a solid passer with good court vision.
Ellis lit up the high school competition in Mississippi. However, once he got to the post-season all-star circuit, his flaws began to emerge. His long-range shooting is streaky and he appears to be a selfish player. He was clearly outplayed by (less-heralded) Duke recruit Greg Paulus at the McDonaldâ€™s All-American Game and was not shy about blasting his coach for misusing him. His NBA position is unclear, as he is too small to play 2 and is not a point guard. He will also need to add bulk to succeed at the next level.
The Bottom Line: Ellis is a talent, no doubt about that. There are questions, however, about his position, body and attitude. He appeared to be a lock for the first round in February, but his stock has dropped.
Workouts will be very important for Ellis. If he dazzles, he will be a first-round pick. If not, he could experience a freefall into the second round. He outplayed Jack in a workout in Minnesota this week and has fans in the mid-to-late first round.
Who is he? 6-3 senior guard from Duke.
Last Year: Averaged 15.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 games for the Blue Devils.
What Can He Do? Ewing was asked to fill a number of different roles for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. He has shown that he can score in a number of different ways and is a solid, if sometimes inconsistent, long-range shooter. He is athletic and has good hands. Those hands help him on defense, where he is a tenacious perimeter defender and steals the ball with regularity. He has a high basketball IQ and minimizes mistakes.
Ewing is being asked to shift to the point after playing primarily 2-guard at Duke. His handle is currently not at the NBA level and he will need to master the intricacies of the PG position. His aggressiveness on defense does lead to occasional foul trouble and teams have shown that Ewing is sometimes phased by overly physical play.
The Bottom Line: Ewing reminds some of Chris Duhon, his teammate at Duke. Duhon was not highly regarded coming out of Duke, but emerged as a solid contributor for the Bulls. Ewing projects as a mid-to-late second round selection and the Raptors could use someone like him: an athletic guard from a winning program.
Who is he? 6-1 junior guard from North Carolina.
Last Year: Averaged 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 36 games for the Tar Heels.
What Can He Do? Felton is one of the fastest players in recent NCAA memory. He is very athletic and uses that athleticism to his advantage on defense. He is a good perimeter defender and gets many steals with his quick hands. He is a great passer with excellent court vision. He always seems to know where his teammates are.
He does, however, have a tendency to turn the ball over a bit too much. He is undersized as will need to add some strength. As off-the-dribble shooters go, the game has seen better than the likes of Felton.
The Bottom Line: His stock seems to be in the Raptors range, as Felton projects to be a mid-to-late lottery selection. If the Raptors are serious about adding a point guard, they could do worse than grabbing Felton.
Who is he? 6-3 junior point guard from Georgia Tech.
Last Year: 15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 32 games with the Yellow Jackets.
What Can He Do? Jack does most things very well. He is a pass-first point guard who consistently looks to get all of his teammates involved. He is a natural leader and is very unselfish. He displays good size, strength and athleticism for a point guard. He is a very physical defender who cops many steals, although his aggressiveness does land him in foul trouble from time to time.
His weaknesses are minimal. He does have a tendency to turn the ball over too much, needs work on his jumper and could use some improvement in movement and positioning when he doesnâ€™t have the ball.
The Bottom Line: Jackâ€™s stock is all over the place. Some claim that he is being looked at very closely by the Lakers at 10. Others claim he will fall to the late first round. At 16, Jack would be an excellent fit for the Raptors. He is a pass-first point guard who excels at running the half-court set. He is also close friends with college teammate Chris Bosh.
Who is he? 5-9 junior point guard from Washington.
Last Year: 16.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.7 steals in 35 games with the Huskies.
What Can He Do? Want to reach Robinson? Dial 1-900-HUSTLER. Nate Dogg has a motor that just doesnâ€™t quit. He is fast and explosive. An excellent athlete, Robinson started the final six games at cornerback for the Huskies football team in 2002. He uses those corner skills as a great on-ball defender and is a superb ball thief.
Robinsonâ€™s height is an issue. Itâ€™s been rumoured that he is closer to 5-7. This will scare off some teams. As a point guard, his handle his not at the NBA level. His shot, while improving, can still desert him at times and he need to add range.
The Bottom Line: Robinson will be a treat to watch in the NBA. He could provide an Earl Boykins-like spark off the bench and will energize his team and their fans with his energy and athleticism. The possibility exists that Robinson will still be available at 41. Nate Dogg regulating at the ACC? Raptors fans should cross their fingers.
Friday: Diener, Kleiza, Jawad Williams and Louis Williams
Thursday: Blatche, Graham, Villanueva and Warrick
Wednesday: Garcia, Hodge, McCants and Miles
Tuesday: Battle, Homan and Taft
Friday: Gomes, Mendez, Roberts and Simien
Thursday: Doornekamp, Rothbart and Schenscher
- Jeff Chapman