The June 28 2005 NBA draft likely will feature seven Rivals150 prospects from this year's class being taken by pro teams. Rivals.com recruiting editor JC Shurburtt recently sat down with Rivals.com national basketball analyst Jerry Meyer to get his take on this year's crop of high school seniors may be drafted.
Question: Which high school players do you expect to be drafted?
Question: What order do you believe these players will be taken?
Meyer: Green, Webster, Blatche, Bynum and Ellis in the first round and Louis Williams in the second.
Question: What is the order that you expect the first rounders to be taken and why?
Meyer: Green will be taken first and will likely be the fifth pick (to the Charlotte Bobcats), but New Orleans at No. 4 reportedly likes him and the Lakers may trade up with Portland to take him with the No. 3 pick.
The Trailblazers love Webster and might trade down to No. 10 with the Lakers to get him. Regardless, Webster likely will be a low lottery pick and will no lower than the high teens.
Next would be Blatche and Bynum with Ellis after them. Ellis could even slip into the second round and his stock has stagnated or dropped if anything.
Question: What makes these guys first-round picks in your opinion?
Meyer: Green and Webster have the quality size and athleticism to play the two or the three positions. Both also have very nice shooting strokes with more than NBA range. At worst, these two players can be spot-up shooters in the league.
Blatche is a first rounder because of his length (6-foot-10.5 barefoot height with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan) and ability to be a point forward with his ball handling skills. He will, however, take time to develop. He needs strength and his shot needs refinement, but the base is there.
Bynum has legit NBA center size (7-feet, 250 pounds), which is hard to find. He's only 17-years-old and has huge upside. The worst-case scenario here is that he's a career back-up center.
Ellis has speed with and without the ball and is an electric scorer (averaged 41.8 points per game his senior season). He's also got good size as he is at least 6-foot-3 barefoot. Ellis is mentally competitive, will defend and rebound and is tough and likes contact.
Question: Who makes an impact faster in your opinion, Green or Webster?
Green has more upside with his better athleticism and ability to hit difficult shots when closely guarded. Webster, however, is more solid right now. Green will take a while to develop and it would not surprise me to see him spend some time in the NBA Developmental League.
Question: Who is on the radar for the second round?
Meyer: Amir Johnson could possibly be late second round pick at best.
Meyer: He plans to stay in the draft and see where he is picked if he is picked. He can still go to college as long as he doesn't hire an agent. I think he likely is at Texas next year.
Question: How did Louis Williams drop to the second round?
Meyer: Williams lacks strength and is perceived as a prima donna and soft. He simply doesn't have a hard enough edge to his game and isn't a pure shooter. He stands only 6-foot-0.5 barefoot and there are questions about his ability to run the point. If he were to play shooting guard, his lack of strength and a pure stroke are issues. Williams did not fare well working out against older, stronger guards.
Question: Are there any prospects you feel are making a huge mistake by entering the draft?
Meyer: No mistakes as long as they don't hire an agent. Second rounders have no guarantee and could be cut so they better be ready to play in Europe. So if a prospect would rather play overseas that go to school, then there is no mistake, though they might regret it later.
Question: Is this a particularly strong year for high school talent with regards to the draft?
Meyer: It's not that bad, but not as good as last year.