Your Lyin' Eyes You may think you can spot an NBA prospect a mile away, but a pro scout sees things you're not even looking for--as the author learned by tagging along with one on his predraft rounds

June 25, 2001
June 25, 2001

Table of Contents
June 25, 2001

Your Lyin' Eyes You may think you can spot an NBA prospect a mile away, but a pro scout sees things you're not even looking for--as the author learned by tagging along with one on his predraft rounds

In a popular children's song called The Lady with the Alligator
Purse, there's a stanza that goes like this.

This is an article from the June 25, 2001 issue Original Layout

"Mumps!" said the doctor.

"Measles!" said the nurse.

"He's sick!" said the lady with the alligator purse.

That ditty pretty much sums up my skill as a basketball
diagnostician. If I were an NBA scout evaluating college talent,
I'd be the one with the alligator clipboard, scribbling things
like "He's good!"

One day about 15 years ago, I made the mistake of telling Tom
Newell, a player-personnel man with the Indiana Pacers, that I
thought Louisville guard Milt Wagner had a nice, rangy, pull-up,
well...NBA kind of game. Newell shot me a look icier than a
Chris Dudley free throw and said, "Not when you factor in the
hand check." It should not surprise you that Wagner turned out to
be a rancid NBA player.

Of course, when I conclude that a guy can't play, he winds up
being pretty good. I had Antawn Jamison pegged as an NBA flop
when he came out of North Carolina three years ago. Those dinky
junkballs near the basket may have worked against Clemson, but in
the pros a 6'8" guy gets that stuff sent back in his face. Or so
I thought. I'd neglected to account for Jamison's release, which
scouts recognized as one of the quickest in captivity. That
mooted his size and led to his selection as the fourth draft pick
in 1998. The last time I looked--sheepishly--Jamison was averaging
nearly 25 points for the Golden State Warriors.

I watch plenty of college basketball. I've followed the game
professionally for more than 20 years. What is it the pro scouts
see that I don't? To find out, in January I got hold of a copy of
the NBA's list of authorized scouts and began calling around,
hoping to find a bird dog willing to be my little birdie. My
approaches weren't welcome. The Chicago Bulls' past success has
led many front offices to adopt the Jerry Krause paranoid
management style, and team after team and scout after scout
turned me down. Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson
thoughtfully added, "Oh, but could you let us know who's on your
list, so we know who not to draft?"

When I finally found a scout willing to take me into his
confidence, it was with the proviso that I keep his identity, and
his club's, secret. In a nod to David Stern, he insisted that I
not quote his thoughts on any nonsenior unless the player
declared for the draft. I gave him the code name Finch--Scout's
surname in To Kill a Mockingbird--and promised not to divulge any
detail about him other than that he had played in the league.

An NBA scout doesn't earn his salary for pointing out the Michael
Jordan or Allen Iverson in each draft. Such players have so much
evident explosiveness, instinct, drive and other game-changing
talents that even you and I could identify them. Rather, a club's
player-personnel staff spends most of its time sorting through
the compost heap of less obvious candidates for the draft, which
on June 27 is expected to feature more college nonseniors than
ever before and an unprecedented six high schoolers. Finch
invited me into that world of nuanced observations, finely drawn
distinctions and almost imperceptible clues to a player's
potential. It's a place in which a scout who fails to factor in
the hand check is like an economist who neglects to adjust for
inflation, and in which He's good! is a sorry basis for a

North Carolina is about to play at Virginia, and Finch is
trolling University Hall trying to get a fix on the actual size
of one of two seniors he'll be evaluating this afternoon. Tar
Heels center Brendan Haywood is billed as a 7-footer. "Most
schools add an inch or two," Finch says, citing one of many
reasons that NBA teams have their scouts see players in person
and try not to make more than 25% of their judgments based on
videotape. "In person you can see if a guy looks away when the
coach talks during a timeout, or pouts when he's taken out of the
game. You also get a better idea of a guy's concept of team
defense, and the mechanics of his shot."

The other senior Finch is observing, Virginia guard Donald Hand,
looks to me to have a magnificent shot. He sinks three of five
three-pointers and outplays his Carolina counterparts, Ronald
Curry and Adam Boone, as the Cavaliers run the slower visitors
back to the border. However, Finch, who has seen Hand before and
will see him again, files the following back to the office:
"Looks like he's thinking too much when he shoots from the
perimeter...takes him awhile to get his shot off...fades back
on his's almost a surprise to him when it does go
in." There's much the scout likes about Hand, but on his
evaluation sheet he checks the box marked UFA, meaning he
envisions Hand's going undrafted and becoming an unrestricted
free agent.

Finch and the several other people who evaluate talent for his
team fill out a sheet like this on every player they see, each
time they see him. Finch's take on a prospect will be
cross-checked against those of other scouts, and together they'll
try to reach a consensus in a roundelay of meetings during the
weeks leading up to the draft. Each scout has his own
idiosyncratic preferences and sometimes peevish dislikes, and
through the spring the staff will break down tape to reconcile
conflicting assessments.

Finch's report on Hand includes an additional, more cryptic
notation: "Not a penetrator off the p/r...goes too east/west
off picks." Because of the 24-second clock and, until the rules
are relaxed next season, the ban on zones, pro basketball is a
pageant of tidily prescribed acts performed by matched sets of
players. One of these acts is the "p/r," or pick-and-roll, in
which a guard must be able to read a screen and instinctively
shoot, pass or dribble. Finch doesn't think Hand drives
"north/south" enough when he takes the ball around a high pick.
"Watch," he tells me. "He veers off from the elbow instead of
taking it down the middle."

In addition to his quest for eye-popping talent, Finch is
conducting a parallel search for practitioners of lost arts like
these, the subtle tactics he and his teammates used when they
played. "I'm a purist because that's how I thought of myself as a
player," he says. "I believe the difference between wins and
losses lies in the little things. A lot of kids are so talented
that they don't think the game anymore. It drives me crazy. Just
because a guy runs off a pick fast doesn't mean he runs off a
pick right."

Many of the skills whose scarcity Finch rues are those for which
his employer would be pleased to pay huge sums. The ability to
corner on the pick-and-roll is only one of these essentials.
Finch loves to see a player run the break on the wing and dive
for the basket at the foul line. He even gets his jollies from
such Hoops 101 fare as the crisp jump stop and the
cartilage-crunching high-post screen. His search is so rarely
successful that, when he finds throwbacks, he may develop quite a

"I love the way [USC senior forward] Brian Scalabrine pulls the
ball in when he gets into triple-threat position," Finch says,
meaning he can shoot, dish or drive to the basket. "He's a true
6'9", and he can face you up and drive to the basket. He'll
thrive in the pros. And [Los Angeles Lakers forward] Mark Madsen,
he drills you every time he sets a pick. He's awesome."

Several years ago Finch found a player who had mastered the
technique of playing off a screen--ducking or feinting to get the
weight of a defender leaning one way so he could go the other.
The player, a guard at Oklahoma State named Adrian Peterson, tore
his ACL at the predraft camp and never made it to the league, but
Finch had fallen hard for him. "Joe Dumars was the best at
setting his man up that way," he says. "Maurice Jeffers [a senior
swingman at Saint Louis] is pretty good at it too. You either
curl or you go backdoor, or you're poppin'. There are only one or
two guys in each class who really excel at it.

"I love the game for the game. I love thinking the game. When I
see a kid who loves the thinking part of it, like [Illinois's
6'4" senior forward] Sergio McClain, I can get lost watching him.
I just wish Sergio were five inches taller or had a shot."

Finch concludes that Carolina's Haywood is a bona fide 7 feet.
That's why I find it odd that Haywood is having such trouble with
the tag team of Virginia players he's matched against, Travis
Watson and J.C. Mathis, both of whom are four inches shorter.
Haywood gets beaten for a layup after a futile attempt to play
denial defense. At the other end he fumbles a pass for a
turnover, and he wastes a lob from a teammate because he's so
slow off the mark. Haywood may be a senior, but he seems

Finch is much more charitable: "It's tough to evaluate Haywood
because he's so friggin' long. He gets pushed off the block real
easily because his center of balance is so much higher than that
of the people guarding him. He'd have an easier time going
against seven-footers. At this level he doesn't face them, but in
the league he would."

The guy who had impressed me, Hand, left Finch indifferent.
Haywood had done nothing to impress me, yet Finch excused him. I
was still the gentleman with the alligator clipboard.

Laramie, Wyo., is a long way to go for a game featuring only one
senior who's a serious NBA candidate--a player who probably won't
be drafted, I say to myself, if he continues to play the way he's
playing tonight. Wayland White of New Mexico is 6'6" and has a
41-inch vertical leap, but he's so thin that he could slip
through a sidewalk grate. In the first half of the Lobos' game
with Wyoming he doesn't look merely tentative, he looks
frightened. "He's playing way out of position," Finch says. "He's
not showing any three [small forward] skills because he's playing
the four [power forward]--and that's because his team doesn't have
anybody bigger."

Fortunately, Finch saw White last year, when White played the
three, and knows he is worth following. "That's why you put in
the time," he says. "And did you see what his free throw
percentage is?" I look down at the stat sheet: 33.5%. "That tells
me his confidence is pretty low," Finch continues. "Just like
that." A pass has found White wide open in the circle. "He didn't
even think about looking at the basket."

Finch likes how hard White competes, and how he can finish a play
with his off hand. But in his notes Finch writes (his emphasis):
PLAYING OUT OF POSITION!!!! White too gets rated a UFA.

All scouts struggle with how to assess someone who's playing out
of position, or someone who's a "tweener." There are tweeners in
size--guys whose height and weight suggest they are either too
slight to play the three, or big enough but not mobile enough to
play the four--and there are position tweeners, whose skills don't
neatly suggest the three or the four. Some players are
double-tweeners, the ultimate misfits. Tweener may sound cute,
but "it's a dreaded label at this level," says Finch.

Assessing a tweener is an exercise in imagination and detective
work. When Finch watches Arizona's junior power forward Michael
Wright, he sees a tweener playing out of position. Still, he
loves how hard Wright works, and he can see the first signs of a
perimeter jumper, indications that Wright has the ability to make
the move to the three. "Some people say he's a
late-second-rounder, but that's a joke," Finch says. "He's way
too tough to pass up."

Those who believed that Jamison would flourish in the NBA knew
that, in high school, he had handled the ball and faced the
basket. Perhaps, as Finch often does, they had dropped by one of
the USA Basketball team trials, an ideal setting for evaluating a
player like Jamison in a different light, away from his usual
team. Scouts know that if a player is coming from a relatively
rigid program like North Carolina or Kansas, the system may not
have permitted him to showcase all his skills. In the end
tweeners require at least some guesswork. With Jamison, Finch
says, "the Warriors were rolling the dice."

We've found our way to the first round of the Big East
tournament, at Madison Square Garden, and at least one team in
every game seems to be playing a zone. West Virginia sits back in
a zone even when trailing Villanova by 16 points with six minutes
to play. A college coach deploys his players as he wants to, not
as an NBA scout likes to see them, and that is one of Finch's
biggest complaints.

"I hate zones," he says. "You just have to pick out what you can.
Like when the ball's swung, how quickly does a guy get to the
ball side? [North Carolina coach] Matt Doherty played a ton of
zone two years ago [when he was at Notre Dame], and it was tough
to get a feel for [Irish forward] Troy Murphy other than that he
moves his feet pretty well."

Finch cites another example, former Syracuse guard Jason Hart.
For four years Orangemen coach Jim Boeheim hid Hart at the top of
a 2-3 zone, and if Hart was up to the task of playing man-to-man,
it was almost impossible to tell. Only at one of the postseason
showcases, last year's Desert Classic in Phoenix, did Hart's
defensive skills become clear. "He locked up [former Hofstra and
current Philadelphia 76ers guard] Speedy Claxton and every other
point guard he played, and got drafted by Milwaukee," Finch says.
Yet until the late spring, when the Desert Classic and the NBA's
predraft camp in Chicago allow prospects to be evaluated under
more controlled conditions, scouts often must make judgments
based on meager evidence.

So today Finch is left to take note of mostly superficial
details. One critical item is whether a prospect has an NBA
body. "Calvin Bowman plays hard," Finch says of West Virginia's
6'9", 207-pound senior forward. "He's obviously athletic, even
if he's a little limited in his game. But lack of strength is
his big drawback. Bulk and weight mean so much in the NBA. If
your strength is a problem in college, it'll be a huge weakness
in the pros." Finch makes these notes: "Got pushed around too
much...narrow, rounded shoulders...can he get bigger?"

"Some adapt," Finch goes on. "Reggie Miller says he doesn't like
to lift weights, but he reads screens so well that he can create
situations for himself. Lee Scruggs [the 6'11" Georgetown center]
is tough and can shoot, but he'd have to play the three because
he's so thin."

Finally, a stretch of man-to-man appears like sunlight through a
break in the clouds. This allows Finch a few moments' insight
into Villanova's Michael Bradley, the 6'10" junior who will make
himself available for the draft: "Bradley will set a screen and
pop out from it, but he won't shoot the ball. He can shoot it,
and he needs to shoot it. Bill Laimbeer and Brad Lohaus made a
living shooting that shot."

Evaluating nonseniors is fraught with uncertainty, and through
the 1990s, scouts had to adjust to the volume of early eligibles,
including high school players, entering the draft. "You have to
assess most high school kids on how advanced their skills
are--passing and catching and defensive concepts," says Finch, who
prefers scouting regular-season high school games because
all-star games feature little more than running and jumping. "And
you can look at their bone structure. If they have narrow
shoulders, the potential's not there to gain a lot of weight."
The NBA's decision to allow zones next season introduces another
variable: Can a prospect slide at the back of a 2-3 or pull up
for the midrange jumper against some combination defense that
hasn't been invented yet? The brain trust of Finch's club has
only begun to factor the rule change into its judgments.

The matchup between St. John's and Seton Hall later in the day
features Pirates freshman forward Eddie Griffin, whose eventual
decision to declare for the draft is foretold in the way he
plays. Here's someone I can easily see in the play-for-pays. To
my eye he's light afoot. He'll lie back on defense, then use
perfectly calibrated timing to challenge a shot. When he rises to
shoot, he always seems to get an unobstructed look, which scouts
love and for which they have an expression: He gets good
separation. (A guy who gets good separation even after you factor
in the hand check is someone to take very seriously.) Moreover, I
tell Finch, even though Griffin has had some well-documented
off-the-court dustups with teammates, he plays on an even keel,
which strikes me as creditable.

Wrong again--at least on the last of those points. "That's not a
good thing," says Finch. "You can't tell if he wants to be out
there. If he hits a three-pointer, would he react even a little
bit? Take [former Texas and current Cleveland Cavaliers center]
Chris Mihm. Every fourth game he'd show emotion. You wondered,
What really stokes him? Mihm likes tennis. Does he love

Finch doesn't regard Griffin as a future Jordan or an Iverson,
but he counts him among the few prospects with enough raw talent
to trump many other doubts, including those about his intensity
and motivation. "We can teach a lot of these little things I'm
talking about," Finch says. "That's what the word potential is
for. Maybe a guy hasn't gotten the fundamentals in high school or
after one year of college. That's why footwork gets me so
excited. If a guy has good footwork, he can learn so many things.
But you don't learn without working at it. And is a kid willing
to work? Defensive desire is a huge indicator. If a guy has an
appetite for defense, that's a sign that he'll be willing to
work. Everyone can get better at any skill. If Eddie Griffin
stayed in college, he'd learn many of these things in due

Finch believes at least one freshman is draft-ready: Zach
Randolph, the 6'9" forward from Michigan State. He loves
Randolph's feel for the game, the softness of his hands and, most
of all, those telltale feet. "Zach Randolph already has great
footwork," Finch says, "but he's the exception: It appears that
he's had the coaching that Eddie Griffin hasn't."

Finch mentions a former star at Southern Cal whom the Miami Heat
made a first-round choice in 1992. "Harold Miner was a talented
kid, but I don't think his heart was in basketball," says the
scout. "He was out of the league within three or four years. I
guarantee you, that's the biggest question about Eddie Griffin."

I've finally found someone who doesn't think Shane Battier is too
good to be true. Finch likes a lot about the 2000-01 college
player of the year, who led Duke to the NCAA title last spring.
"If you draft him, obviously you're getting a cerebral player,"
Finch says. "If he never helped you on the floor, he'd help you
in the locker room and in the community. You know he works hard.
He's got good anticipation, and he's around the basket a lot.
He's the guy who huddles everybody up before a free throw--and he
actually has something to say.

"But there are things about him that don't add up. He'd have a
hard time guarding some fours in our league, like Karl Malone or
Rasheed Wallace. He's a good standstill shooter, but I'm still
watching to see how well he can shoot on the move because that's
one of the defined skills for a three."

One thing in particular nags at Finch every time he watches
Battier play: He doesn't run the floor very hard. Finch tries to
come up with an alibi for Battier, to imagine some extenuating
circumstance; perhaps Battier paces himself because he knows
he'll be playing virtually every minute of every game. "Still, it
baffles me," Finch says. "I keep wondering how many more points
he'd be scoring if he ran the floor better. He's had one of the
best guards in basketball [Jason Williams] to get him the ball
wherever he wants it. In our league a guy like Battier isn't
going to be a starter right away. If he's only playing five
minutes at a time and he's not running the floor, what will he
bring to the game?"

Battier's name comes up often in the parlors where scouts
congregate, and he's regarded as a double tweener: neither power
forward nor small forward in size or skills. "It's up and down
the board with this guy," Finch says. "He could go high first
round or low first round or anywhere in between. But I think
people who say he's a high pick are blowing smoke. It'll be very
interesting. If he fails, it won't be because he didn't work hard

All the skills veiled by those zones at the Big East tournament
are on display amid the man-to-mans at the ACC tournament in
Atlanta's Georgia Dome, where I've caught up with Finch. In our
previous meetings he used a phrase, show and recover, that I
asked him to explain. It turns out that this is another of the
lost arts, such as reading a screen or cornering hard off a pick,
and Finch rejoices when he finds it. A big man has to perform
this maneuver, for it's essential to defending the pick-and-roll:
He must hedge out to keep an opposing dribbler from using the
pick (the show part), but not so far as to allow his own man, the
pick-setter, to roll unchecked to the basket (the recover part).
"I want to know if a big guy is willing to come out and guard,"
Finch says. "How well can he move his feet when he's out on the
floor? Can he keep guys in front of him?"

Finch thinks that Battier shows and recovers like a champ. "Most
guys these days are really bad at it," says the scout. "Duke runs
a lot of pro sets, so [the Blue Devils] know how to run the
pick-and-roll and how to defend it."

I take my press seat courtside, and Finch takes his in the stands
as Duke tips off against North Carolina State. Both teams are
playing man-to-man defense, but most of the first half unspools
without Battier's being obliged to show and recover. Then, a
couple of minutes before the break, Battier shows, stopping a
Wolfpack guard cold. He deftly recovers, in part by keeping tabs
on his man with one hand on the man's back--"an old Cliff
Levingston trick," Finch will say later, referring admiringly to
the former NBA veteran.

Moments later Battier shows and recovers again. In fact he
recovers so well that, a few beats later in the same possession,
under the basket, he draws a charge.

Like an apple-polisher angling for the teacher's gold star, I
search out Finch after the game to let him know I took in the
Shane Battier Show-and-Recover Show. Finch has been impressed
anew by Battier's defensive smarts. Under next season's new
rules, that knack for helping out on defense could be a huge
asset. At the same time, zones should play to Battier's strength
on offense: He'll likely get the same standstill shot
opportunities he exploited during four years of college. Finch
will note two more credits in his accounting of Battier's pros
and cons--and I give myself a pat on the back.

It's the eve of the Final Four, in Minneapolis, and a collection
of college seniors is taking on the suddenly serious Harlem
Globetrotters in a game sponsored by the National Association of
Basketball Coaches. I'm sitting courtside at the Target Center
when Cal forward Sean Lampley makes another strong move to the
basket. From his seat across the floor, Finch meets my eye and
flashes a thumbs-up.

"Lampley's changed in my mind," he tells me later. "I hate guys
who do crap beyond the game--taunting the crowd or other players.
Two years ago [Lampley] was pretty immature in that respect. He
didn't seem to be into what he could do for the team. I got a
different feel about him this year. He's a power player in a
three's body, but he's tougher and more athletic than most, and
he shows signs that he could develop a perimeter game."

A favorite bellyache of NBA never-weres and almost-wases is that
the system is stacked against them. However, if Finch is at all
representative of his trade, scouts want players to succeed as
much as the players themselves do. Finch is loath to check the
box on his evaluation sheet marked CNP (for cannot play).

"Some guys see a kid one time and are quick to make a judgment,"
he says. "I never do that, because I didn't like it when people
did it to me when I played. I'll see a kid two or three times,
then watch some tape. Each time I see a guy, I'll update my
report. If I make a negative judgment, I'll revisit it because I
know that scouting isn't a perfect science.

"I want every one of these guys to prove me wrong. That's why in
my write-up on Donald Hand, I put, 'Has been fighting against
naysayers his whole life.' He might be the one guy who takes the
long road around. In his case I don't think it will happen, but I
want it to happen."

Such small-college stars as Tim Hardaway, Dan Majerle, Scottie
Pippen and John Stockton trace their discovery to the Portsmouth
Invitational, the four-day showcase to which scouts flock right
after the Final Four. I have bootstrapping dreams of my own--hopes
that I'll be seized with clairvoyance in this Virginia port city
and finally prove my scouting bona fides.

Finch and I agree on one thing: No one comparable to Pippen or
Stockton is at Portsmouth this year. Finch is content to look for
what he calls "energy guys, guys who pour their hearts into it
and crank up the intensity of the game." They can be signed as
UFAs and brought to camp, during which one might play well enough
to hook on as a 12th man. Sergio McClain, the Finch favorite, is
one such candidate. Gyasi Cline-Heard of Penn State is another.
"Even if they never get in a game," Finch says, "they'll be
diving on the floor in practice, taking charges."

Scouts sit four deep on risers behind one baseline, then repair
to the same hospitality room between games. There, over soda and
barbecue, the herd mentality sets in. "It's very gossipy," Finch
says. "There's a lot of smoke-blowing, especially as we get
closer to the draft. That's why I always try to sit apart from
the other scouts when I watch the games."

Rashad Phillips, the 5'9 1/2" guard from Detroit who'll win the
tournament's MVP award, provides an example of how prevailing
opinion can stampede. "A lot of people say Phillips is a possible
mid-first-rounder. I find that hard to believe. The kid's tiny.
He's not a consistent enough shooter. Our staff doesn't think
he's that great a defender. Everybody compares him with Iverson,
but he doesn't have that killer instinct. Plus he's smaller than

Finch emerges from the hospitality room to watch as Isiah Victor
of Tennessee, while leading a two-on-one break, fails to give the
ball up to an open teammate. Instead Victor sends McClain
sprawling with a charge. "That's why your coach got fired!" one
spectator yells, referring to former Volunteers coach Jerry
Green, who has just resigned under pressure. This is the very
state of affairs that's off-putting to Finch the purist: The fans
watching know more basketball than the guys playing.

Yet I've come to understand what keeps Finch on the road. It's
that larger search for the basketball artisan, or at least for
someone with the aptitude to become one. Finch can no more
suspend that quest than an Arthurian knight could call off his
pursuit of the Holy Grail.

"Sometimes I question myself: Am I ruling guys out because the
things I'm looking for are too specific?" Finch says. "But I have
confidence in my first impression. When I go back to see a guy
again, 95 percent of the time I've nailed him in that first
report. I trust my instincts. I learned the game from very
knowledgeable people."

I've learned much from Finch, and I regard Portsmouth as a kind
of comprehensive exam. Just as I can now see that Donald Hand,
who has been invited to the tournament, dribbles too "east/west"
when he comes off a high screen, I can also tell that Phillips is
reliably north/south; that Mississippi forward Rahim Lockhart is
slow to the ball; that all the zone played by Temple guard Quincy
Wadley leaves him lost in a man-to-man; and that Hand's 192
pounds and not-even-six-feet can't get much done against a 6'1",
225-pound bumper car like Kantrail Horton of Iowa State.

Still, I operate under an insuperable handicap: I know the
college game. Finch, on the other hand, is an NBA veteran who
works the league as an advance scout for several months each fall
and therefore knows intimately the Peg-Board into which each of
these collegians would have to fit. From Thanksgiving through
March I see only what lies before me: zones, spot-up three-point
shooters, dandified coaches preening on the sideline. In addition
to being a gimlet-eyed connoisseur of fundamentals, Finch has the
advantage of imagination--the ability to take a player and picture
him on a larger, much more demanding stage.

"As far as I'm concerned, this isn't opinion," Finch tells me at
our final meeting, slapping a pile of his scouting reports. "This
is fact. I'm pretty confident judging talent."

I, by contrast, am still as confident as Wayland White staring
down a wide-open 15-footer. From the scouting racket, I'll be
getting good separation.


Shane Battier
Duke Senior 4/3 3 6'8" 220


LOTTERY (1-6) (7-13)
FIRST ROUND [X](14-20) (21-29)
SECOND ROUND (30-37) (38-48) (49-58)


PHYSICAL AND MENTAL Very cerebral...coachable... provides
leadership...aggressive but looks like he coasts at times ...
great poise and composure...plays hard but under control ...
good mobility, not superquick...runs floor just O.K., not
great...good hands

BALL SKILLS Handle only O.K....shaky vs. pressure...tough
time putting it down going to the hole...good passer, with good
vision and awareness

OFFENSE Can hit NBA three-pointer...relies too much on
outside game...puts himself in spots to get good
real in-between game...weak [shot on] the move

REBOUNDING Looks to box out on defensive to get
hands on a lot of balls

DEFENSE Quick hands...talks constantly...gets in passing
lanes...good help-recover...surprising quickness
laterally...struggles on head-to-head D...VERY GOOD TEAM DEFENDER

KNOWLEDGE Great feel for game, and looks like he has great time
playing it...also looks as if he paces himself sometimes...makes
good decisions

STRENGTHS Hands are in on a ton of things...does everything
well, not great...backs down from nothing...good D
mechanics...gets ton of garbage baskets...steady player

WEAKNESSES Can't create off dribble...not superaggressive
rebounder...will have tough time vs. NBA threes at first and
even tougher vs. NBA fours...doesn't run floor that well

[*]UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent (Undrafted)
[**] CNP: Cannot Play

Seton Hall Freshman 4 3 6'9" 219


LOTTERY (1-6) [X](7-13)
FIRST ROUND (14-20) (21-29)
SECOND ROUND (30-37) (38-48) (49-58)

CNP [**]

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL Decent definition...long reach...plays
loose but sometimes looks like he doesn't care...good
leaper...runs floor only when he wants to...aggressiveness comes
and goes...needs to stay in college

BALL SKILLS Not bad interior passer...puts it down one to two
dribbles into pull-up jumper

OFFENSE Flat shooter...has tough time when pressured or when
you get physical with him...nice midrange turnaround jump
shot...soft touch...confident shooter...quick release...needs to
work harder on holding post...doesn't follow his shots

REBOUNDING Active on glass on both ends of the floor...on D
goes after rebounds in his area mostly...gets ton of rebounds
because of his length

DEFENSE Goes after shot blocks aggressively, but a lot of time
at expense of team defense...not bad on show/recover...not a
good help defender

KNOWLEDGE Pretty good feel for game...not as selfish as I
remember him being last of leaders of team even
though I don't see him say much

STRENGTHS Active shot blocker...confident shooter, though needs
improvement on follow-through and arc...long and athletic...good

WEAKNESSES Doesn't show much emotion...needs strength
badly...what motivates him?...shot selection bad at
times...needs to improve defensively...poor arc on shot

[*]UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent (Undrafted)
[**] CNP: Cannot Play

North Carolina Senior 5 5 7' 268


LOTTERY (1-6) (7-13)
FIRST ROUND (14-20) [X](21-29)
SECOND ROUND (30-37) (38-48) (49-58)


CNP [**]

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL Emotional kid...seems to be
coachable...goofy...good mobility...soft hands...doesn't have
great lift even though he dunks a ton

BALL SKILLS Doesn't want to put ball on floor...passing
consists of throwing out of double team, and he's not great at
it...gets nervous when he feels he has to put it down

OFFENSE Tar Heels throw over D to him, and he does great job
sealing [the man fronting him], then releasing at right time to
get ball...nice running right jump hook with good
extension...not great at going strong to goal...with his leg
length, could dominate in post

REBOUNDING Can't control the boards, even with size and
length...does work to get to offensive board...gets boxed out on
defensive board too easily

DEFENSE: Good vision of weakside and goes there to help, but a
little slow getting there...slow off feet to block shots...shows
good footwork to try to front and recover...talks well on D

KNOWLEDGE More of leader this year, which comes with senior
status...moves around the hole look to be much more fluid than
in past

STRENGTHS: Has improved in ton of ways!...catch and
hard at posting up...ability to finish with guys hanging on
him...good footwork overall

WEAKNESSES Has to be more assertive on boards...needs to
develop 15-foot jump shot...must be more consistent on showing
up for game...not a presence inside, other than in size

[*]UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent (Undrafted)
[**] CNP: Cannot Play

Arizona Junior 4 4 6'7" 238


LOTTERY (1-6) (7-13)
FIRST ROUND (14-20) [X](21-29)
SECOND ROUND (30-37) (38-48) (49-58)

CNP [**]

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL Carries himself like pro already...plays
hard all the time...leads team by hustle and hard work ...
limited jumping ability...runs floor just O.K.

BALL SKILLS Not looking to pass it much...even when
double-teamed, still tries to get it to hoop...not even going
to try [to dribble] vs. pressure

OFFENSE An inside guy...strong on low block, but posts with
arms, not body...finishes well with guys hanging on him...loves
to go over left shoulder...unwilling to use right hand

REBOUNDING Good at tipping the ball to open area to get
board...not exceptional leaper, so is intelligent
rebounder...showing better aggressiveness at both ends

DEFENSE Will step in, take charge...weak attempt at
show/recover...not a shot blocker...indifferent on
defense...adequate in defensive transition but could be quicker,
being only 6'7"

KNOWLEDGE Has a good feel for the game...makes solid
decisions most of time...doesn't do anything to rock boat and
is pretty quiet

STRENGTHS Strong to finish in traffic and
convert free throws if fouled...gets big numbers on glass even
with lack of height and jumping everything he
has all the time...not deterrent to team scheme

WEAKNESSES Defensive drive...doesn't block shots...needs to
run better and develop perimeter/in-between game...has to play
power forward at 6'7"

[*]UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent (Undrafted)
[**] CNP: Cannot Play

Michigan State Freshman 4 4 6'8" 250


LOTTERY (1-6) (7-13)
FIRST ROUND [X](14-20) (21-29)
SECOND ROUND (30-37) (38-48) (49-58)

CNP [**]

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL Has ton of fun playing...receptive to
coaching...great composure for freshman...lost a lot of
weight and looks good...not superquick but effective...great
hands...doesn't have great lift...his emotion is infectious

BALL SKILLS Not bad passer, but right now not looking to pass
much...handle shaky in open floor but in past looked like he
could handle adequately

OFFENSE All inside...sits down in post very well with arms
out...good at feeling where defense is, going other
without ball...gets in great spots for easy baskets

REBOUNDING Aggressive on both ends of floor...not
superathletic but gets rebounds on positioning...will work to
box out...goes to offensive glass hard

DEFENSE Physical vs. post up...not really shot blocker...good
footwork and sees weakside well...slow on help defensively, but
that will come...will work to front and bump cutters

KNOWLEDGE Great feel for the game...good composure...very hard
worker with great attitude...makes good decisions...big-game

STRENGTHS Crafty, knows how to get ball in hoop...tough
kid...finishes around hole...because he's not superathletic,
smart at getting shots...doesn't try to do anything he can't do

WEAKNESSES Needs to run floor better...needs to develop
outside/in-between game...must work on handle...can he keep
weight down?

[*]UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent (Undrafted)
[**]CNP: Cannot Play

Virginia Senior 2 1 5'11" 192


LOTTERY (1-6) (7-13)
FIRST ROUND (14-20) (21-29)
SECOND ROUND (30-37) (38-48) (49-58)
UFA[*] [X]

CNP [**]

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL Has a little attitude to him...shows good
poise and composure...runs well when the ball is not in his
hands, which is a lot of the time...will get vocal when he has
to...weird body--looks squatty and a little heavy

BALL SKILLS Doesn't command ball from big men to start
break...adequate handle...needs to work on changing
mostly looking to pass...good draw/kick

OFFENSE Shooting poor % from floor but is great
free-thrower...not true point guard--doesn't handle ball in
half-court sets...doesn't understand how to come off screens

REBOUNDING Aggressiveness on glass comes and goes...gets a
lot of balls that come long off the rim...will go get offensive
boards since he plays two a ton

DEFENSE Good overall quickness...not a great concept of team
defense...turns head too easily and could get back-cut to
death...can be taken off dribble easily

KNOWLEDGE Decent feel for game but is playing out of position
most of the time...decisions could be better...has to take
care of ball better

STRENGTHS Good energy...plays hard...decent passer...good
quickness...great from the line...not afraid to go inside
despite size...gets teammates involved

WEAKNESSES Small in stature...two-guard mentality but not good
shooter...weird body type...plays out of position...not good
individual or team defender

[*]UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent (Undrafted)
[**]CNP: Cannot Play

"I think people who say Battier is a high pick are just blowing
smoke," Finch says. "It'll be very interesting."
Tweener is a dreaded label, and assessing one takes imagination
and detective work.
"Defensive desire," says Finch, "is a huge indicator of whether
a guy is willing to work."