Who is he? 6-4 Senior guard from Michigan State.
Last Year: Averaged 19.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Spartans. Led the Big Ten in scoring and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and third-team accolades from the coaches. In addition, was a candidate for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy and named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team.
What Can He do? A great shooter with excellent range, Ager is an extremely active and athletic player. He had an excellent career at Michigan State in which he routinely came up big in important games. On the defensive end he uses his excellent quickness and length to create problems, particularly in the passing lanes. While he's closer on the short side to play the 2 guard spot in the league, his athleticism and length offsets this to a certain degree. He's not a great passer and sometimes looks to score to the detriment of his team.
Bottom Line: Ager is all over the board right now in terms of where he'll be drafted. He's reportedly had great workouts which have carried his stock as high as the late lottery. Other mocks aren't convinced and due to his size have him much later in the first round. Ager's skill set however looks to have him as a great role player in the league as his scoring and defence will be welcome additions to any club. Ironically he's drawn comparisons to Morris Peterson however I don't expect him to be on the board for the Raptors to consider early in the second round. However with the uncertainty of this draft, anything is possible and like Mo Pete, Ager would be an absolute steal if he were to fall to Toronto in the second round.
Who is he? 6-7 Senior guard/forward from Washington.
Last Year: Averaged 10.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals for the Huskies. Selected last summer for World University Games. Was player PAC-10 player of the week in January.
What Can He do? Make no mistake about it, Jones is a stopper. His size, work ethic and intangibles allowed him to guard any position on the court at Washington and he comes into this draft as perhaps the most revered defensive player. This part of his game alone should guarantee his drafting and if he can improve his shooting, Jones could very well become a Bruce Bowenesque type at the next level. However his offence is a concern and some scouts wonder if Jones' lack of offensive game will be a liability too large for teams to overcome at the next level.
Bottom Line: All of us here at the HQ would have been extremely disappointed had Jones not been called in for an audition with the Raps. Of all the possible second round options for the Raptors, Jones is the player we'd love to grab. His defence would obviously be a nice audition off the bench and his ability to play various positions would fit nicely with the current club Toronto seems to be building. Even if he were to become an Adrian Griffin type and not a Bruce Bowen, he would still be a great pick in the second round.
Who is he? 6-4 Senior Point Guard from Providence.
Last Year and Previously: Averaged 15.1 points, 2.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals for the Friars. Selected to the All-BIG EAST Second Team. Finished his career at Providence ranked 17th all-time in scoring with 1,282 points. Ranks first all-time at PC in three pointers (274), games started (117) and minutes played (4,128).
What Can He do? McGrath is a bit of an unknown to the casual NCAA fan. An excellent scorer coming out of high school, (averaged 30 points per game in his senior season) McGrath was a key member of the Friars during his time at Providence. While not your prototypical point guard (as evidenced by his low assist numbers) he runs a team with great efficiency and is a deadly outside shooter. His size and experience does make him an interesting second-round option and as a player who has greatly improved his defence, he may be able to catch on with a team even if he goes undrafted.
Bottom Line: While I don't foresee McGrath in a Raptors' uniform after this draft, he is a real sleeper. As mentioned, his size and shooting will cause many teams to take a look at him during summer leagues and five-on-five play will give clubs a better idea of what McAGrath can do. It's possible that McGrath was a last minute invite to also help gauge the possible point guard abilities of some of the other players in this workout.
Note - While Brandon Roy was scheduled to workout this morning, he apparently cancelled last minute and Jeff Mallory, Darrel Ownes and Craig Smith were added...updates on the remaining players and a workout summary to follow this afternoon...
As previously mentioned, this morning's workouts were changed last minute so as promised, here are the remaining player reports...
Who is he? 7-0 Senior Centre from Saint Vincent.
Last Year: Averaged 19.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks for the Bearcats. Named to the American Mideast Conference First Team.
What Can He do? Let the workout of the sleeper acts continue. Next up, Mallory. Mallory is a legit 7 footer with great shot blocking instincts. He's really flown under the radar playing for Saint-Vincent College but has soft touch around the basket and solid post moves. He's the definition of project, after playing against much weaker competition in the American Mideast Conference, however has some potential mostly based on his size, shot-blocking and defence.
Bottom Line: Mallory may not end up being drafted, but there's a good bet we'll be hearing his name again in basketball circles. Mallory is probably not NBA-ready but his skill-set right now could probably translate overseas. For his size he has great shooting abilities (shot 81 per cent from the free-throw line and an amazing 53 per cent from beyond the arc!) and therefore he may be best suited to play overseas while honing NBA-ready post moves. On top of this, Mallory is a good athlete and may one day be well-suited for the NBA's shift in up-tempo styles.
Who is he? 6-7 Senior guard/forward from Georgetown.
Last Year: Averaged 8.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals for the Hoyas. Shot 40.4 per cent from beyond the arc.
What Can He do? When someone mentions college's top long-range shooters, the names Redick, Novak, Anderson and Pittsnoggle probably come to mind. But how about Owens? Georgetown's sixth man was one of college's premier shooters last season and possesses one of Divison I's purest strokes. This will obviously be his most transferrable skill at the next level however he also is a solid defender and has the ability at 6-7 to post-up smaller defenders.
Bottom Line: Owens could quite easily be put in the same class as Sean Dockery and Rudy Gay, players who were limited by the systems they played in. Owens was never asked to be much of a scorer due to teammates such as Brandon Bowman and Jeff Green but may show in these individual sessions, just what he can do besides hit the long range shot. He's got good athletic ability and due to his size and quickness could become a good individual defender at the next level. I still don't see Owens being drafted but he's the type of player who will probably find his way onto some team's summer-league squad.
Who is he? 6-7 Senior Point Forward from Boston College.
Last Year and Previously: Averaged 17.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the Eagles. Named first-team All-Big East, Big East All-Tournament and Division I All-District 1 by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the United States Basketball Writers Association.
What Can He do? Smith is your classic overpowering yet undersized college power forward. A double-double threat every time he stepped on the court, Smith excels in creating space, has great footwork down low and a sweet baby-hook in the paint which he drops in with consistency. A great rebounder, Smith uses his bulk to effectively box out his man and get position under the glass. On the defensive end Smith struggles guarding quicker players his size one-on-one and will have a tough time adapting his game to the next level.
Bottom Line: Based on his tremendous college career Craig Smith definitely has a shot at being drafted. His scoring ability and rebounding skills as well should give GM's reason to take a shot at him late in the second round. The problem with Smith is that he's going to be too short to play the 4 in the NBA and he doesn't have the quickness or length to compensate or play another position. As is the case with most undersized college 4's, the options are usually to attempt to slim down and quicken up (the Udonis Haslem route) or to take their trade overseas. Smith is a great shooter from 15 feet and in and therefore would probably be quite effective playing for the right European club.
This morning's workout is indeed an interesting one. Without Roy in attendance it's really a battle of second round projects with the exception of Ager. It has to be disappointing for the Raptors' staff that Roy did not show as gauging his skills against good defenders like Jones and Ager would have been very interesting. Of these players obviously Bobby Jones is our favourite and probably the most realistic draft option for Toronto. At 56 a flyer could be taken on the seven-footer Mallory but really is he a better option than a Solomon Jones, Ryan Hollins or Justin Williams? It's doubtful but it looks like Toronto really is leaving no stone unturned. To hear Jim Kelly give some thoughts on this morning's workout from Raptors.com, click here.
It sure sounds from Kelly that they don't have their top spot locked down yet and with Tyrus Thomas and others still on the way to workout that makes sense. In fact what doesn't make sense this year are most mock drafts. Take Chad Ford's latest at ESPN.com for you "ESPN Insiders." You might as well read a mock from three months ago as it's obvious that even a week prior to the draft, everything is still up in the air. Mock drafts are usually supposed to pick ONE player for each team however Mr. Ford has one plus three backups for just about every team choice. So if you're used to relying on mocks to get an idea of who's going where, this is definitely one year to use them as kindling.
Up tomorrow, a douzy of a workout with Rudy Gay, Randy Foye, Adam Morrison and the return of the prodigal son, Denham Brown all expected to be on tap.