Chad Ford and Jay Bilas break down the top SFs in the draft


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http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9386387/2013-nba-draft-chad-ford-jay-bilas-debate-draft-top-small-forwards

In our new ESPN Insider series, Chad Ford and Jay Bilas are evaluating the top prospects at every position ahead of the June 27 NBA draft. They'll answer a few key questions and provide their top 10 prospect rankings for each position. Today, they take a look at small forwards.

1. Should Cleveland select Otto Porter with the No. 1 pick?

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Ford: Yes -- if their goal is to make the playoffs this season and they can't trade the pick. Drafting Nerlens Noel is the long-term answer for the Cavs if GM Chris Grant and owner Dan Gilbert are willing to be patient the next two seasons. But if this team needs to make a push for the playoffs now, Porter is a perfect fit for the Cavs.

I don't think he has as much upside as Noel (or Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett or Victor Oladipo, for that matter), but I think he's the type of player who is unlikely to fail. He does just about everything well, is humble but also a leader and, most importantly, doesn't need the ball in his hands to make an impact on the court.

To me, he's the best small forward and one of the three best prospects in the draft.

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Bilas: No. Porter does not grade out as the top prospect, but he would be worthy of the No. 1 pick if the Cavs really like him and don't see any other player as being a more valuable asset.

I see the NBA draft as being about assets. The player you believe is a great fit right now may not fit your plans later or could be an asset that helps you procure a player or future pick that makes you better.

Porter will be a good NBA player, but the only reason you take him No. 1 overall is if you don't see anybody better. I see a few players who are.

2. Is Shabazz Muhammad underrated?

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Ford: No. I think he was overrated coming out of high school. I believe scouts, fooled by his age (he was listed as one year younger) and mature game, struggled to see Muhammad's flaws because he was able to overpower his opponents.

Within the first few weeks at UCLA, it was clear that he was ranked too high. While he's a good scorer, his inability to go right or shoot off the bounce caught up with him once he was playing against bigger, more athletic opponents. Muhammad has struggled and will continue to struggle with the transition from alpha dog to important cog in a bigger wheel. He still thinks he's "the man," though his game no longer suggests that he is.

I do believe Muhammad is a hard worker and will fix many of his weaknesses. If he does those things, I think he's a late lottery pick -- which is exactly where we have him projected.

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Bilas: Yes. Muhammad has some question marks. He is a bit undersized, unskilled as a perimeter player and not a polished defender. But he is a tough-minded transition player who can attack the basket and will work his tail off to be good.

Muhammad was injured most of last season and got a late start at UCLA. But when he got healthy, he was in better shape and did well. I think he will bounce back from a disappointing season and work hard to be a good pro.

I don't see Muhammad as a superstar, but I think he is a lottery pick and will do well in the NBA.

3. Is Dario Saric a future All-Star?

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Ford: Yes. I think someone out of this group will make an All-Star team, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was Saric. He has one of the highest basketball IQs in the draft, is a hard worker on the court and possesses a unique skill set for a player who is 6-foot-10.

He's a point power forward who sees the floor as well as anyone his size, can dribble up the floor and is fantastic in the open court.

His jump shot is still a work in progress and his lack of lateral quickness hurts him defensively, but Saric's game is so advanced that he has a great chance of wowing someday.

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Bilas: Yes. Saric is a talented prospect, but it might be a while before he is in the NBA. I keep hearing that he hasn't decided whether he will remain in this year's draft, but he probably should stay. He's already a pro and could benefit from playing over here if his ultimate goal is the NBA.

Saric was really good in last year's Nike Hoop Summit and played great in the European Championships following Portland. He has good skills with the ball, but I haven't really seen him shoot well. Still, with his overall skill level, Saric could be an All-Star. He is just 19, and he already has high-level experience. He has a chance to be really good.

4. Is Giannis Antetokounmpo worthy of a lottery selection?

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Ford: No. Antetokounmpo has the raw skills and physical tools of a lottery pick -- but then again, so do a dozen or so American prospects each year. The question: Can he use those tools and skills to play basketball at a high level? The answer: No one knows.

He's done it against second-division Greek competition that many Division II or Division III schools could take down. He did it, albeit briefly, for the Greek under-20 team last weekend in Italy, but even the scouts who are highest on him admit he's a minimum of three years away.

That might be worthy of a late first-round pick. But a lottery pick? I don't think so. This draft class is bad, but it's not that bad.

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Bilas: No. I have not seen Antetokounmpo in person, only on tape. He clearly has ability, but he seems like he needs more time to develop. And I need more time to learn how to pronounce his name.

Top 10 small forwards

Ford

1. Otto Porter, Georgetown

2. Dario Saric, Croatia

3. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

5. Glen Rice Jr., D-League

6. Tony Snell, New Mexico

7. C.J. Leslie, NC State

8. Andre Roberson, Colorado

9. James Ennis, Long Beach State

10. Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State

Bilas

1. Otto Porter, Georgetown

2. Dario Saric, Croatia

3. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

4. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

6. C.J. Leslie, NC State

7. Tony Snell, New Mexico

8. Glen Rice Jr., D-League

9. Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State

10. Solomon Hill, Arizona

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This pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about Giannis

4. Is Giannis Antetokounmpo worthy of a lottery selection?

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Ford: No. Antetokounmpo has the raw skills and physical tools of a lottery pick -- but then again, so do a dozen or so American prospects each year. The question: Can he use those tools and skills to play basketball at a high level? The answer: No one knows.

He's done it against second-division Greek competition that many Division II or Division III schools could take down. He did it, albeit briefly, for the Greek under-20 team last weekend in Italy, but even the scouts who are highest on him admit he's a minimum of three years away.

That might be worthy of a late first-round pick. But a lottery pick? I don't think so. This draft class is bad, but it's not that bad.

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Bilas: No. I have not seen Antetokounmpo in person, only on tape. He clearly has ability, but he seems like he needs more time to develop. And I need more time to learn how to pronounce his name.

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Saric is way overrated!

I've seen the kid play on many occasions and, even though I'll admit that he's got some talent and size, he's nowhere near what he's been advertised for...

P.S. This year's draft as far as SF's are concerned looks kind of thin...

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Saric is way overrated! I've seen the kid play on many occasions and, even though I'll admit that he's got some talent and size, he's nowhere near what he's been advertised for... P.S. This year's draft as far as SF's are concerned looks kind of thin...

I agree Saric looks awful. Reminds me if how ESPN pumped up Darko so much back in the day. Do you live in Europe? I've seen you mention seeing a few if these guys now so I'm guessing you live over there?
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I agree Saric looks awful. Reminds me if how ESPN pumped up Darko so much back in the day.Do you live in Europe? I've seen you mention seeing a few if these guys now so I'm guessing you live over there?

Seriously, I've seen him in action in at least 10 games... He's got size and some skills, but nothing controlled (as most young players) and it would take 2-3 years to properly develop him (without any guarantee that he'll turn out to be an NBA player)... Anyway, even though we'll need wing players (Draft or FA), I think we should look elsewhere.

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Guest Walter

This pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about Giannis

Last I checked we didn't have a lottery pick, giannis is considered the first out-of-lottery sf pick by these "scouts", and they both see Saric as a lottery pick (putting their evaluation in question).W
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  • 8 years later...

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