The two-day run of early pre-draft workouts got underway Tuesday at the
practice facility in Tualatin, with two point guards, two wings and two
posts being put through the motions by various members of the Trail
Blazers scouting and coaching staffs.
of the names in Tuesday's group were a bit more recognizable, thanks in
large part to the inclusion of Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo, and the talent
level, according to Chad Buchanan, Director of College Scouting, was
just a tad bit higher than that of the first group.
yesterday’s group was decent," said Buchanan. "I thought this group was
just a notch better. The point guards today, I think, raised the level
of play today."
Those point guards were Pargo and Josh Akagnon
out of Cal State Fullerton, who was a late addition to the workout
after USC's Daniel Hackett had to pull out due to injury.
personality is kind of infectious, raised the workout," said Buchanan.
"And Josh Akognon is very good with the ball offensively, so he can
make stuff happen when stuff breaks down."
It was the inclusion
of Pargo and Akognon that, despite the relative similarity in talent
level, gave the second day of workouts more cohesion than the first.
those guys, that was all their first workouts," said Buchanan. "It’s
like the first day of practice when guys are going as hard as they
possibly can and it makes the game kind of sloppy. Where as these guys,
the point guards were a little more poised, little more refined with
the ball, made better decisions. The three-on-three stuff flowed a
little better because those guys are making better decisions. These
guys are two pure point guards, so that definitely helps."
also noted a better balance, at least as far as the three-on-three play
was concerned, in today's workout thanks to Chris Johnson of LSU and
Jeff Adrien of UConn, both of whom are more tradition post players.
got two definite lowpost guys today, where as Demarre (Carroll) and Joe
Krabbenhoft were kind of face the basket kind of fours," said Buchanan.
"Now you’ve got more balance with your floor spacing when you’ve got
two guys who want to play in the paint like Chris and Jeff do. So that
just made our spacing a little better today too. Not that these guys
were better players than yesterday, but the workout was better today."
Here's what Buchanan had to say about the six players who worked out on Tuesday.
Jeremy Pargo, Guard, Gonzaga
got to respect a guy who communicates and talks and you can just feel
how much he loves being out there competing. We saw him a lot during
college, obviously being in the northwest, and have always respected
his toughness, his grit, his leadership. I think you saw that out there
today. He needs to improve in a few areas to step onto an NBA floor and
I think he will do that knowing the type of kid he is. He’s definitely
got a chance down the road to play in our league."
Josh Akognon, Guard, Cal State Fullerton
declared last year for the draft. We liked him in the workout that we
saw him in last year. We were originally supposed to have Daniel
Hackett but he got injured, so we brought Josh in. Very good with the
ball. Didn’t shoot it as great today as he’s capable of, but very
crafty. Quick with the ball. Can go get his own shot, which, for a
guard in our league, is a must. Little small. Got to get a little
better defensively, but I thought he held his own against Jeremy today."
Josh Carter, Guard, Texas A&M
a great catch and shoot guy, was really effective early in his career
playing with Acie Law. He needs guys around him to get him shots
because he’s not great with the ball, not super athletic. But you put
him in the corner or put him in a stationary situation, he can really
shoot the ball."
Alonzo Gee, Guard, Alabama
will be one of the best wing athletes in this draft. Very explosive.
He’s got good length, he’s strong. Needs to improve his overall skill
level, I think; ball handling, shooting, decision-making. But he’s got
some serious physical tools to work with. Much further along
defensively than he is offensively right now. He was good today
Chris Johnson, Forward, LSU
defensive presence with his length. Obviously as you look at him you
see he needs to fill out, get a little stronger. He knows that. But if
he can do that he can disrupt the game because he’s quick off the floor
and he’s got good length. Very limited offensively right now. But one
thing I’ll say about him is he knows what he is as a player, which for
us is a sign of a high basketball IQ. He doesn’t try to do anything
more than is expected of him. Had a great season for LSU this year. I
thought he was very good today actually. He has a chance of being
drafted in the second round."
Jeff Adrien, Forward, UConn
saw a lot of him during the year playing at a high profile school. Very
physical. I thought he was good today once we started going live. You
do the kind of skill work stuff and maybe he doesn’t shine as much
because he’s kind of raw, but you get him out there competing and
there’s something on the line. I thought he was very good today. We
wanted to see those two guys matched up. Jeff is a guy I know people
around the league do like. It wouldn’t surprise me if somebody took him
in the second round."
The Trail Blazers will take a break from
hosting pre-draft workouts at the practice facility until after the
pre-draft combine in Chicago. However, the scouting staff will be in
attendance for many of the upcoming group workouts held in places like
Houston and Minneapolis between now and the draft lottery.