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Mock Till You Drop

It's draft day. The day "wingspan" is thrown around like the entire world has morphed into keynote speakers at an Audubon Society convention. There's also makeup. Upside. Explosion. Draft analysts talk about "motor" like they're breaking down a Chevy, not a point guard. Am I missing any?   

Use them around the water cooler today, and you can sound like a basketball Mel Kiper Jr.

But until 4:30 p.m. rolls around, it's all conjecture. With that in mind, here are a whole slew of mock drafts to tide you over, with the Lakers' projected pick in ().

First from Mark Heisler (James White, Cincinnati).
Yahoo! (White)
Hoopsworld (Four guys pick four different players — Rajon Rondo, Kentucky; White; Mo Ager, Michigan State; Quincy Douby, Rutgers)
Chad Ford, ESPN.com (White)
Bill Simmons, ESPN Page 2 (lottery only, but hey, they could trade up, and at this point in your day, you probably could use a laugh)
Ian Thomsen, SI.com (Mardy Collins, Temple)
Chris Ekstrand, SI.com (Collins)
Hoopshype.com (White)

I'm sure there are plenty more out there. Just send along the links in the comments.

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (38)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Well, maybe White isn't such a bad choice. It's just that I hate to have to go through the process of having to convince a player to give it his all.

mike

Here's the knock on White from Yahoo.

"Weaknesses: Largely an enigma. Unless he is by himself on a fast break, you would usually never guess that James White is one of the premier athletes in college basketball. He just refuses to take the ball strong all the way to the basket, with the consensus being that he lacks a combination of craft, know-how and ball-handling skills in tight spaces, toughness (both physical and mental) and aggressiveness."

mike

draftexpress.com

Name:James "Flight" White
Height:6' 7"
Weight:190 pounds
Current Team:Cincinnati , Senior

NBA Position:SG/SF
Date of Birth:10/22/1982 (23 Years Old)
High School:Hargrave Military Academy
Hometown:Kensington, Maryland
Earliest Draft Class:2005
Current Position:SG/SF
Possible Positions:SG/SF
Best Case Scenario:Andre Iguodala
Worst Case Scenario:Qyntel Woods
Profile Written By:Jonathan Givony
Last Updated:6/17/2006

Strengths:
A world class athlete, White could have been a track and field star had he chosen not to play basketball. He is one of the best leapers in this draft, with an incredible vertical leap that will surely secure him a spot in next year’s dunk contest. He elevates off the floor as quickly as anyone in this draft, and has great hangtime to help him finish at the rim emphatically in crowd pleasing fashion. White also has excellent footspeed and overall quickness, which comes to play mostly in the work he does in transition as well as on the defensive end. White has prototypical size for the swingman position at approximately 6-7 and very good length. His conditioning level is fantastic and you’d rarely see him leave the floor playing for Cincinnati. On physical attributes alone, White is one of the most attractive players in this draft at his position.

Offensively, White has made consistent improvement over his four year college career. This is most noticeable in his ball-handling, which allowed him to bring the ball up the floor and even handle the point guard position at times for Cincinnati. White is an unselfish player by nature, certainly to a fault at times, and has shown to be capable of making intelligent and highly creative passes thanks to his very solid court vision, and even run an offense semi-effectively. The range on his shot has also improved dramatically, to the point that he shot 37.4% from the NCAA 3-point line, albeit mostly on spot-up threes. His mechanics smooth when he sticks to them and it would not be a shock to see him develop in a solid NBA 3-point shooter. In transition is where White is truly at his best, as he flies up and down the court in the open floor and is able to beat point guards down the court after he gets going on his 2nd or 3rd dribble.

Defensively is where White currently stands out the most as far as his NBA draft potential goes. He has good length and outstanding lateral quickness, being able to stay in front of almost anyone at the college level when focused and be a real threat in the passing lanes. He’s extremely versatile in the sense that he’s been asked to defend every position from the 1-4 in college, and has generally enjoyed great success doing so.

In terms of intangibles, his mentality and overall toughness have been questioned repeatedly over the past four years, but his coaching staff raves about his work ethic. Although he never quite developed into the superstar many envisioned him becoming out of high school, he has improved significantly and is a fairly complete all-around player.

Weaknesses:
After five years in college, the light bulb still hasn’t fully come on for White, and there are serious question marks over whether it ever will. He gets into extended funks at times that can last for an entire game at best or a few weeks at worst, and has a tendency to become very passive when things get tough. During these stretches he would fail to assert himself in his team’s offense even when they need him to most, passing up wide open shots or settling for terrible ones, committing dumb fouls and generally displaying poor body language. Both his mental and physical toughness have been questioned repeatedly over the past few years.

Offensively, there is little doubt that White is an incredible athlete, but for someone with his set of tools, he really doesn’t use them nearly as much as he should. His slashing game is the part of his game that is most improvable, due to what you’d think he’d possess in terms of an incredible first step. White is not the most fluid player around, being a little bit too upright when handling the ball, and he lacks the body control needed to be able to slash to the basket efficiently through traffic. For all of his ridiculous athleticism, it’s hard to think of too many instances where he made a highlight reel play in a halfcourt set. He certainly lacks polish in terms of creating separation from his defender, whether it’s with advanced ball-handling moves or pulling up sharply off the dribble from mid-range. His decision making in general could use some work, as well as his shot selection. White is a pretty good outside shooter right now but is still prone to bouts of streakiness. Adding range to his shot is a priority, and becoming more versatile in terms of being able to consistently knockdown shots off the dribble would help.

Defensively he has great potential as mentioned, but seems to lack a bit of focus at times and will not apply himself to stopping his man as much as you’d hope on a consistent basis.

Competition:
White was one of the most highly touted players in the country before committing to Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators, a McDonald’s All-American who some thought may even declare for the NBA before setting foot on a college floor. After coming off the bench his freshman season for the Gators, White decided to transfer to Cincinnati and sat out a year due to transfer rules. He played quite a bit of point his first year with the Bearcats and averaged 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, with a sparkling 1.68 assist to turnover ratio in 25 minutes per game. As a junior White began to round out his game a bit more but was still fairly inconsistent, averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 28 minutes per game. Cincinnati lost to Kentucky in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. As a senior white established himself as one of the top swingmen in the Big East and played heavy minutes all season long due to numerous transfer and injuries following the firing of coach Bob Huggins. He started off the season in great form, scoring in double figures in his first 19 games and shooting the ball extremely well from the perimeter during that stretch. White ended up averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and nearly 1 block per game in 33 minutes, shooting 49% from the field and 37.4% from the 3-point line. He scored in double figures in 29 of his 33 games. His team missed the NCAA Tournament on a controversial decision by the selection committee and instead competed in the NIT. He finished off his college career on somewhat of a sour note, being declared academically ineligible just prior to the semifinals in Madison Square Garden.

Outlook:
One of the biggest enigmas in college basketball over the past five years, White never quite lived to the lofty expectations coming out of high school, but still developed into an excellent all-around NCAA player that any coach in America would have loved to have. White is a rare 5th year college senior who still has a considerable upside to continue to improve. At worst he will be an excellent perimeter defender who does a little bit of everything in the NBA, and there is still hope that he can develop into much more than that. White is a likely 2nd round pick who could sneak into the late 1st round if a team likes him enough. He initially accepted his invite to Portsmouth and then backed out, and later decided not to attend the NBA pre-draft camp.

White sounds like another d-george. Do we really need another athletic small forward who never plays up to his abilities? I think we should go with Douby. We need a sharp shooting PG whose got good D and is fearless going to the hoop...

We don't need another player who lacks focus, mental toughness, and aggressiveness.

I dunno, who does this remind you of: "has a tendency to become very passive when things get tough." Lemme start you out, starts with an S ends in a H. Pass (lol). Like I said yesterday/day before love the perimeter D, but can do without the attitude and fear of contact (nbadraft.net contact reference---I'm pretty sure it's James White I'm talking about)

All we need is a piont guard that knows when it is time to turn up the heat. The only person available that can bust the other piont guards ass is MIKE JAMES. MIKE JAMES is the Lakers best chance.

WE NEED A POINT GUARD.

I hadn't thought about this idea until a few minutes ago. I was on ESPN and was looking at the mock draft ticker. It revealed something to me which I had overlooked. New Orleans has 2 picks almost right together. In a draft like this, that isn't really that great of a deal. They may be willing to trade one of those if they get something in return. I think that the Lakers should look to offer a trade to New Orleans. Byron Scott is a former Laker and may have a little sentimental feeling towards endorsing a trade with his old team.

Here's my idea.

The Lakers trade Chris Mihm and 26th pick to the Hornets for Rasual Butler and their 14th pick.

With the 14th pick, the Lakers could get the point guard that they want or go with another big man. Rasual Butler does have solid ball handling skills and is a solid shooter. He could be the other starter in the triangle if needed.

Faith, I dont get who youre referring to. I keep thinking of Smush Harker, Sasha Hujacic, and Slava Hedvedenko. Is it a laker?

Well, I thought today would have had a trade by now. But I think there havent been cuz this draft is so unpredictable. GMs probably have to wait till the last minute to see if the guys they want are there or slipping before they pull trades. But I expect to see some during the draft.

Im hoping that all the good bigs go fast. Teams like NO and Nets really need a big, so if they are gone, then Mihm all of a sudden seems like a great pickup and his value will increase. NO should get a big still. But maybe chicago takes Roy with #2 and then the big they want is gone at 16. Then a Duhon+16 for Mihm would make sense for them.

Cant wait for the draft to start!

Faith:

The same light bulb went off in my brain when I read the "Weaknesses" section of DraftExpress's profile on White. You are one smart woman. Are we sure this wasn't a profile of Smush:

"He gets into extended funks at times that can last for an entire game at best or a few weeks at worst, and has a tendency to become very passive when things get tough. During these stretches he would fail to assert himself in his team’s offense even when they need him to most, passing up wide open shots or settling for terrible ones, committing dumb fouls and generally displaying poor body language. Both his mental and physical toughness have been questioned repeatedly over the past few years."

On the positive side, maybe we have just been too hard on Smush. If he reads the blog, I am sure neither of us is his favorite poster. Seriously, I do hope he gets his act together and becomes a valuable player off the bench.

Bottom line, I do love what they say about White's defense. Our top priority on defense is definitely a guard that can keep him man out of the paint:

"He has good length and outstanding lateral quickness, being able to stay in front of almost anyone at the college level when focused and be a real threat in the passing lanes. He’s extremely versatile in the sense that he’s been asked to defend every position from the 1-4 in college, and has generally enjoyed great success doing so."

In my earlier posts, I naively compared James White to James Worthy. After hearing more about him, I think the Lakers are hoping that White will turn out to be a modern version of Michael Cooper for them, a great athletic defender with quickness afoot and world-class hops that can finish the break with a flourish and hit those stand-stil wide-open 3's. White just needs to be able to develop Coop's fiery competitiveness and maybe playing with Kobe will inspire him. Otherwise, he skillsets are eeirly similar to Michael Cooper's.

Based on that vision, I think he looks like a better selection at #26 than Sasha, Cook, or Rush. We really need another Michael Cooper.

Does it seem as if the clock is really moving slowly today? Thanks for your consistently intelligent posts, Faith. Go, Lakers.

Tom

Zakee:

I don't agree. With the triangle offense, we don't actually need a true point guard. What we really need is a tall combo guard who can handle the ball well and make good passes, hit the open shot when left alone, and play shut-down 1-on-1 defense to keep his man from penetrating and defend well against 3's and 4's on switches off pick and rolls.

LakerTom,

AMEN. If you look at the non-SG's that have played in PJ's systems: Paxson, Harper, Kerr, Fisher (even though he's a true point guard), what LakerTom described is exactly what we need: someone who can guard Nash or Parker, and then turn around and guard Vince or Wade.

Wizo, I was actually going for Smush's first name, First letter S, last letter H lol. That was a hilarious post, Sasha Hujacic lol.

Lakertom, first thanks for the compliments. You said the magic words, Coop....I absolutely looveee Coop, I love his enthusiam, his dedication and most importantly his D! So if by any chance White could be the next Coop, I'm there. Let's hope for the best if we do draft him, if not, no biggie (course of the attitude). And lemme just add...maybe you're right, as it has been repeatedly said to me (with the K Bros being more insistent lol) that Smush did what he could, and when it came down to it, he'll all that we have. So from henceforth, I'll try more (than I've alredy done lol) to go easier on Smush lol. I like to think that if he does read this blog, he's motivated by my constructive comments lol....LOL.

They all played point for every team that they played for. So agian we need a piont guard. If you looked at 90% of the games that are played, it always comes down to whos piont guard played the best. Who ever is guarding the other teams piont guard is the point. Another person is the pittpella guy, if that is how you spell his name. The guy from West Virginia. He would be a great addition to the triangle offense for the # 26 pick.

I can't believe you guys don't agree then you went ahead and named three piont guards. LOL. LOL.LOL. They never played any other position besides point. Once again we need a pg.

Rich Owens:

Thanks for backing my up. Faith and I are hoping that James White will become our next Michael Cooper and help Smush find his way to the bench.

HOw anti-climatic is this whole thing? After all the talk and rumors we're going to end up with the #26 pick and get someone who will get little PT.

My hope is that we can get James White. I don't care if he's soft in the head or can't shoot, I just want someone who is going to be amazing in garbage time and win the dunk contest. With us having to play the Suns a few times, the Mavs and the Spurs in our division, we will have plenty of opportunities to get waxed and have James White pull off some Sportscenter sh*t.

I have a sinking feeling that my worst nightmare is coming true and we're going to open the season with basically the same team we had last year.

P.S. I heard on 570 AM yesterday that they are doing live reports during the draft from Lakers and Clippers headquarters and someone interviewed Kobe and he named a veteran guard that he wants management to go after this offseason. I think it's Sam Cassell. Anyway, i could care less who it is, but I'm more intrigued with the fact that Kobe is feeling comfortable enough to come out and say such a thing. I think there has been enough time since the Shaq falling out thing and he feels okay speaking in public about what he wants. I'm really excited about this, he should voice his opinion.

Zakee:

What Rich Owens was trying to point out by naming Paxson, Harper, Kerr -- all of whom are really better classified as "combo" or shooting guards -- was that the Lakers don't really need a "true" point guard because the triangle offense doesn't require a single player to be the dominant ball handler and passer to initiate the offense. That was what I had stressed in my earlier post.

The Lakers need a "combo" guard who can handle the ball, hit the open man when needed, hit the open shot when left alone, and -- most importantly -- stay in front of his man on defense and be big and tough enough to handle forwards when posted up or forced to switch on pick and rolls. Those are the skills and attributes that we need to look for in the free agents and draft prospects we consider.

Comeon guys Parker wasn't that bad.

Zakee:

Following up my last post, I do agree that Mike James is in some ways the type of guard that the Lakers need. He is not a prototype point guard that looks to pass first. He would be classified as a "combo" guard, meaning a guard that can score as well as handle the ball and make the pass. He is not a bad defender but is not really quick enough to stay in front of the speedburners on the Suns, Mavs, and Spurs in the Western Conference.

My concerns about James are more about his rep for not always being a team-first type of player and worries that he really wants have the ball in his hands too much, not necessarily to make a play for others but to shoot it himself. He is also at a point in his career where he wants a big payday, especially after having a "contract" year in Toronto. Bottom line is that, while he is not a bad "fit" for the triangle, I don't think he is a good "fit" to play point for us along side Kobe.

Andrew Z;

Glad to have our salary cap guru back posting.

As you can see from my posts, I am trying to put a good spin on the James White pick. I actually think he could be very valuable and could see lots of action as a rookie since he played 5 full years of college ball. He could well turn into a Michael Cooper type of defender, out-of-the-world dunker, and clutch spot up 3-point shooter for the Lakers. My greatest hope is that he is going to be good enough to start so we can put Smush on the bench where he belongs.

Now about the salary cap...

Faith:
oooh... "starts with an S ends in a H." ...doy! i feel dumb haha. (cuz literally i was thinking for like 2 mins "dang it, WHO has the initials S.H.???".

argh, i cant take the wait anymore. dying here. the AC in my building is broken so its 90 degrees.

breaking news, the blazers just traded telfair for the 7th pick! wow.

also, rumor on espn insider is that bulls and timberwolves are talking about trading the 2, 16, and Deng or Gordon for KG......

.....interesting...........

Sebastian "Bassy" Telfair to Celtics. Celtics to use #7 pick for Portland. Celtics still looking for a 3rd team (possibly Utah for Boozer) in order to acquire AI.

IMO, Telfair is going to blow up.

wiZo,

The KG to Chicago rumor and the AI to Boston rumor are pretty interesting. I wish one of them happens. I live on the east coast and need some better teams out here to watch when the Lakers aren't on.

hmm, that'll be very interesting if james white is a laker. i kinda followed him a little bit thru high school and college...pretty much cuz of his dunk contests. if you havent seen him before...this guy is the most unreal dunker ever. anyways, his game never really developed in college...but i cant say i hate the pick. he'll provide some much needed defense and just overall athleticism. might be a good mix up with luke walton, who has all the smarts but not the athleticism.

but i'd still prefer some help at the 1 first. hopefully rondo, diaz, douby or shannon brown will be there. (or dee brown for faith =) )

less than 2 hours to go!

magic=goat,
yea, sabastian telfair is ridiculous, i really hope he goes to the celtics, i think he'll never fully blossom in portland.

LakerTom,

I have to say, I like what I have read about James White and wuold be very pleased with the pick. He seems like the perfect guy to pair with Kobe and I have never, EVER seen someone do the stuff he does dunk-wise. It's unbelievable. He seems like the perfect guy to guard the Wade's, Lebron's, T-Mac's, etc so Kobe doesn't have to carry the load offensively and still expend that much energy on defense. I know Phil doesn't like to play rookies, but if it comes down to Smush or Sasha versus this guy, I'm guessing White might get the nod.

I'm more interested to see who Kobe says he wants management to sign and what they do about it. I've already started to think how to make something work under the cap, could get interesting. I hope it's Sam Cassell and I hope we get him (age and all shortcomings considered). the dude brings huge swagger and is a proven winner. Plus, it would completely cripple the Clippers and what they accomplished last year.

It would be like having a little brother who gets his first girlfriend and then she dumps him for you. Good times.

Just out curiousity, how would James White send Smush to the bench? One's a SF, the other's a PG. Are you saying LO would move into the backcourt?

AK

Good point AK

Aight, That's enough. You guys are dogging MY MAN SMUSH. No, he wasn't the perfect choice for our starting PG, but he did a good job for us this season. He played pretty good defense, had some highlight dunks, and he averaged 11.5 pts a game for us. Smush is meant to be a back up (until he develops his game, and confidence more) PG, so I hope they do find a better/more consistent starting PG for us.

I was kind of nervous about James White when I read his profile, but if he could develop into a cooper type player he would be a fantastic pick up. I just hope (if we pick him that is) he develops into the player he was expected to be going into college.

AK,

I don't know if he'll move Smush to the bench, but at 6'6" he could easily play the point for us. I doubt if he'll start, since I'm expecting the team to pick up a more experience PG, but it's not a stretch to think he could start at the point, especially in the triangle.

I want to see us pick up Dee Brown, or Gerry McNamara in the 2nd round (unless there's a much better pick that you guys see being left).

Weaveman,

I actually think that's a pretty big stretch. The triangle may not require a "pure" PG, but there are limits. The idea of a rookie SF who occasionally brought the ball up in college taking Smush's spot in a Phil Jackson offense strikes me as highly improbable.

I do agree Smush will likely and ideally come off the bench next season (unless he improves to the degree necessary), but I think that will happen because of a FA/trade acquisition, not because of theoretically drafting James White.

Just my opinion.

AK

If they draft White and he's like Cooper, will he be doing a White-A-Loop?
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it...

Don't let him plug Lowe's on you, AK!!! Right in the middle of the interview!

AK:

Posting at 3:39p and going on the air at 3:40p, you are amazing, like Superman you can be in two places at once?

James White primarily played shooting guard at Cincinatti although he did play some at small forward and defended some even at power forward.

With his strong perimeter defense, quickness and athleticism, 6'7" size, and good ball handling and passing skills, wouldn't it make sense that he was being drafted to play the point in the triangle? That is really where we need a great defender.

Don't you also that think his athleticism, strong defensive skills, aweshome dunking, and spot-up shooting style remind you of Michael Cooper?


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