The Portland Trail Blazers worked out six more prospects at the Tualatin practice facility on Thursday in advance of the 2013 NBA Draft. Pittsburgh center Steven Adams and French center Rudy Gobert, both seen as potential lottery picks, were among the workout participants.
Blazers owner Paul Allen was in attendance at the workout. Allen previously attended workouts for Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum and Indiana center Cody Zeller.
Named to the Big East All-Rookie Team as a freshman. Named Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Started in all 32 of his career games played. Ranks first all-time in school history field goal percentage, second in blocked shots, and sixth in rebounds for freshman seasons
Freshman (2012-13): Played in all 32 games, ranking first on team in rebounds (6.3 rpg) and blocks (2.0 bpg). Ranked fifth in scoring with 7.2 points per game. Scored in double figures in six of 32 games.
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Adams has very crude footwork in the post and little in the ways of countermoves if the defender is able to cut off his initial action. He often decides what he wants to do with the ball seemingly before he even catches it, not reacting to how his defender is playing him and struggling to improvise on the fly if his initial plan goes awry. He's very mechanical with his movements and not overly instinctive with his approach to the game, which leaves some concerns about how much he can improve on this end of the floor in time.
Even more concerning though is how poor of a finisher he appeared to be around the basket this year. Adams had a difficult time catching the ball cleanly all season long resulting in quite a few turnovers. He bobbles the ball on the catch regularly, as he seems to need to have it thrown to him perfectly so he can get two hands around it, at times using his chest to assist him. Because of his lack of control upon catching it, he tends to either hesitate going up strong for the finish, or just throws the ball up on the rim, seemingly just hoping for the best. The fact that he doesn't get great extension on his moves around the rim makes him fairly predictable and resulted in him getting his shot blocked a fair amount relative to his small number of touches.
Additionally, Adams has a bit of a subdued, non-chalant demeanor on the floor, rarely looking angry or in much of a hurry, which results in some relatively soft finishes. While he's very explosive, rarely did you see him getting angry and just powering up through a defender and jamming it home, which further hampered his effectiveness on this end of the floor.
Career Highlights: Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 Second-Team as an Iowa State senior.
Senior (2012-13): Made his debut with Iowa State after sitting out the 2011-12 season as a redshirt transfer from Utah. Led the Cyclones and ranked seventh in the Big 12 in scoring (14.9 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (6.8 rpg). One of two Big 12 players in the top seven in both scoring and rebounding. Selected Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, All-Big 12 Second- Team, Big 12 All-Rookie Team, USBWA and NABC All-District, and Reese’s College All-Star Game MVP.
Career Highlights: Has played his entire career in his native France with club team Cholet. Made his Pro A debut in 2010-11 and currently is in his second full season in the league. Has represented France in international play at the youth level. Helped it finish second at the 2012 U-20 European Championship. Averaged 7.6 points, 7.0 boards and 3.9 blocks (tops in the tournament) in 24.0 minutes per game. Led France to a third-place finish at the 2011 U-20 Euros, averaging 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks (fourth in tournament) in 18.8 minutes. At the 2010 U-20 Euros, averaged 9.2 points, 9.0 rebounds (fifth) and 1.7 blocks (fourth).
2012-13: Playing with Cholet, currently is averaging 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 22.2 minutes through his first 26 appearances in France Pro A. Shooting 72.3 percent from the field, tops in league. Also leads the league in blocks (1.77 bpg), edging out Alexis Ajinca (1.61) and Shelden Williams (1.21). Second in the league in dunks per game (1.65). Ranks 15th in the league in offensive rebounds per game (1.96).
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While not incredibly fast, Gobert also does a surprisingly good job as a pick and roll defender, being capable of hedging out hard on the perimeter with solid timing, and then rotating back into the paint. His length is absolutely smothering on traps, and he shows quick hands getting in the passing lanes, coming up with a decent amount of steals poking the ball away from opponents.
Gobert's lack of strength does affect him here too, though, as he gets moved around rather easily inside the paint, not always being able to hold his ground. He lacks some intensity and toughness on this end of the floor, sometimes allowing himself to get pushed around inside and not offering enough resistance. His high center of gravity and average balance makes it difficult for him to bend his knees and stay in front of opposing slashers attacking him off the dribble.
Just an average rebounder on the defensive end, Gobert shows solid timing boxing out his man, but tends to get pushed around and lets smaller opponents wrestle rebounds away from him. His 5.7 defensive rebounds per-40 is a fairly pedestrian rate and something he'll have to improve on to see minutes in the NBA.
Career Highlights: Ranks first in school history in rebounds with 1,078, blocks with 292, games played with 124, and consecutive games started with 108. Ranks third in school history with 36 double-doubles and 19th with 1,184 points scored. Named CAA Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Earned Second Team All-CAA honors as a senior and junior. Named to the CAA All-Defensive Team as a sopho- more.
Senior (2012-13): Ranked first on team in rebounds (10.7 rpg) and blocks (2.4 bpg) along with third in scoring (11.6 ppg). Scored in double figures in 23 of 33 games played. Scored a career-high 29 points along with 12 rebounds against Temple. Grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds along with 18 points against Lafayette.
Career Highlights: His 963 career rebounds in just three seasons ranks third all-time at Rice. Also ranks second in free throws (421), third in blocks (84) and fourth in steals (154). Was Rice’s leading rebounder in 80 of his 95 appearances.
Senior (2012-13): Led the Ducks and ranked third in the conference with 9.6 rebounds per game in his lone season at Oregon. Honorable Mention All-Pac-12. Second in the conference in steals (2.2 spg) and paced Oregon with eight double-doubles. Became the first Duck ever to be named to the Pac-12 All- Defensive team.
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After a successful three year career at Rice University, Arsalan Kazemi transferred to Oregon for his senior season and was approved to play immediately by the NCAA amid allegations of racial discrimination on the part of Rice's athletic department.
While the Iranian dominated low and mid-major caliber talent at Rice, NBA scouts have now had the opportunity to evaluate his play nightly against high major competition. The results so far have been somewhat mixed. Kazemi remains one of the best rebounders in the NCAA, but he has struggled through a pair of minor injuries and has not been much of a factor in Oregon's offense. Though scouts have been reassured that he can hold his own consistently as a rebounder against any type of competition, it still remains to be seen whether he can contribute enough in other areas to make him a legitimate NBA player.
The most pressing issue in this regard, as has been the case throughout his entire career, focuses around his physical profile and projected position. Now a senior, Kazemi has developed very little in terms of perimeter skills, as he's still primarily an interior oriented big men at the collegiate level. Whether he'll be able to play power forward in the NBA is uncertain, as he stands somewhere between 6'7 and 6'8. His solid length and improved 226-pound frame help his case somewhat, as does his above average athleticism, lateral quickness, and an excellent motor.
Career Highlights: A Jordan Brand All-American in 2012 as a senior at South Kent. Considered the No. 6 recruiting prospect in the country by Rivals.com.
Freshman (2012-13): Ineligible to play in games as a Providence freshman but was allowed to practice with the team as a result of an NCAA ruling.
High School: Attended the South Kent School in South Kent, Conn. Averaged 23.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in 2012 at South Kent. Named a Jordan All-American and 2012 SLAM High School Third- Team All-American.
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One of the most naturally talented, highly skilled players at this event, Ricky Ledo (#22 ESPN, #25 Scout, #8 Rivals) showed the good and bad of his game this weekend, but clearly seems to have matured somewhat since the last time we saw him, being focused and playing smart basketball most of the time.
On the offensive end, Ledo is nothing short of a superb talent, as he's an extremely potent scorer both attacking the basket and hitting perimeter jumpers. He seems to have taken his jump shot to the next level since we last saw him, as he hit an outstanding 9-for-17 threes in the two games here this weekend. More impressive is that most of them came pulling up off the dribble, where Ledo shows excellent balance, clear cut NBA range, and the ability and confidence to hit a shot with a hand in his face.
As a shot creator, Ledo has no problems getting separation and creating both going to the rim and pulling up from mid or long range. He possess a very low, controlled dribble with all the advanced dribbling he needs, while showing good instincts as well. He won't blow you away with his first step or vertical leap, being a more fluid and agile than highly explosive athlete, but still has more than enough quickness to get by at any level and also changes speeds and directions well.
All vitals/information/video courtesy of DraftExpress.com and ESPN.com, with notes courtesy of Casey Holdahl at Blazers.com, who has more right here.
Some quotes from Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com...
This was the third time Adams, 19, and Gobert, 20, have faced one another in a workout. Usually when opponents go at it too often, tempers begin to flare. That hasn't been the case being that they have become friends during this process."
"We're good," Gobert said. "We're just trying to play hard. Outside the court, we are friends. We're just competing and making each other better to show teams who's the best."
"It's cool," Adams said. "He's a giant. He's freaking huge. He's a large human being."
Some quotes from Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, including thoughts from Blazers forward Nicolas Batum...
But Gobert's staggering size is enough to entice and his post-protecting possibilities on defense only add to his appeal. For 15 days last summer, Gobert trained with the French National Team in preparation for the London Olympics. During the first two workouts, Batum said, Gobert struggled to match the intensity and physicality of his French teammates, including NBA players Joakim Noah and Ronny Turiaf. But after taking his lumps for a couple days, Gobert adjusted and held his own.
"This guy never give up," Batum said. "The first two days, he got killed. They were NBA big men (and) he just started playing pro. He was 19. So he didn't know. But he didn't give up. The next couple days, he responded. That's his mindset.
"We don't have a lot of guys like (him) in basketball - that tall, that smart, who can protect the rim."
Blazersedge's one-stop shop for all pre-draft workout information is right here.
The Blazers opened the pre-draft process by working out six players three Thursdays back, another four three Fridays back, six more two Mondays back, another six two Fridays back, six more last Tuesday, six more last Friday, six more on Monday and six more on Wednesday.
They also put Indiana's Cody Zeller through an individual workout and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum got the same treatment. Blazers GM Neil Olshey took questions about the pre-draft process and Blazers coach Terry Stotts explained his role in the workouts.
The Blazers are expected to run a total of nine or 10 workouts in advance of the 2013 NBA Draft, set for June 27. The Blazers hold the No. 10 pick in the first round and three second-round picks (No. 39, 40 and 45).
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