|ESPN.com: Dave Telep||[Print without images]|
|Myles Turner is a post player with immense potential who continues to raise his stock nationally.|
1. Myles Turner is on the warpath
We all now know this following his performance over the weekend: Center Myles Turner is not the No. 10 player in the class. What he did in Charlottesville in terms of offering up a dominating defensive camp and proving that he can play good offense is worthy of a major bump. Playing at the same event as Kentucky commit and No. 6 rising-senior Karl Towns Jr., Turner showcased more production now and more potential for the future. He’s picked off guys like Towns and Chris McCullough in my mind, although Towns could jump him again if he committed to playing with urgency. The difference with Turner and almost all of the other bigs is that he’s the late-bloomer, the guy running downhill, one by one, speeding by guys who might have tossed it in cruise control.
In my mind, Turner’s got to recalibrate his expectations and go after the big name in the Class of 2014. Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Trey Lyles are more accomplished players, more confident players and that’s why they’re at the upper stratosphere of the list. Having said that, we’ve seen blowups from Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid in recent years, and there’s no reason Turner can’t continue to move past his competitors. He’s that talented and he has no idea that stratosphere is attainable. Myles, it’s your time. Let’s see what you do with it.
2. Diallo going nowhere but up
2015 center Cheick Diallo was the energizer bunny of the camp. It’d be difficult to say another big played consistently harder than him. He’s so tough to score over that it starts to mess with the psyche of guys near the rim. He plays D like a shark in the water searching for his next meal. There are signs on offense that he’s got more feel and more potential on that end then many of the African-born bigs that have come and hit a wall before him.
3. He is who we thought he was
When you have size, skill and will like Justin Jackson does, it’s really about polishing up the pieces. This kid is a can’t-miss prospect. His bag of tricks is deeper than his counterparts and the smoothness of his game shouldn’t be seen as “soft.” He’s played at a consistently high level the entire spring and summer. NBA Camp turned into a lab of sorts for him as he continued tinkering with his patented floater.
4. Stage needed to be utilized
One of the components lacking from a handful of the bigger names at camp was a sense of urgency. We’re at that point in the calendar where if you’re a good player and you’ve received the requisite praise, you’re feeling yourself a little. That’s only natural. But, these are chances to make your mark and that shouldn’t be ignored. I’ll use Josh Perkins as an example. I don’t mean to pick on him because he was in the upper crust of the points here and by all accounts he’s had a great spring. NBPA was his chance to cap it all off. There were certainly moments where Perkins’ passing ability was on full display. His size for his position is uncommon, yet I walked away wanting more from him. My gut tells me it’s in there but in these type of settings you want to be able to have people look at your game and see all the facets as they play out against the best at your position. Perkins was good, very good, but it’s going to take another strong showing at a big event for him to go from good to great.
5. Devin Robinson has a chance
In a couple weeks NBA teams are going to convince themselves -- especially in the second round -- that measurables are reason enough to make a selection. I’m bringing this up in relation to Devin Robinson, because he’s a 6-foot-7 wing with a helluva jump shot. Whether it’s off the dribble, in the midrange or from deep, he makes shots. What’s holding him back is consistency. The talent is there and he’s a high-major player already. That shouldn’t satisfy him because given his size and ceiling, he should strive to be consistent with his effort to max out his tremendous ability.
|Derrick Jones is one prospect who took advantage of the stage at the NBPA Top 100 Camp.|
6. Derrick Jones rebounds from USA tryouts
At times during the USA Basketball U16 trials, it was obvious that Jones had upper-echelon talent. For whatever reason, maybe because it was his first time in Colorado Springs, Colo., in that setting, Jones didn’t seize the moment. At NBPA 100 Camp, we saw a better capsule of who he is. A ridiculously athletic lefty small forward, Jones is laced with fast-twitch muscles and can go off the bounce. It was impressive to see him follow up a disappointing USA tryout with this type of effort.
7. Victor, Blackmon impressive
There are guys who simply want it more than others. Power forward Craig Victor is one of those guys. He’s got his body in shape to the point where he’s explosive inside and his effort level every time I’ve seen him since April has been solid. Diallo deterred him from the lane inside for an entire half, but Victor would later regroup and find his attack mode again. The kid’s one of the more determined players I saw. James Blackmon is a kid who in my mind has ridden the prospect roller coaster through his grassroots career. However, he took the NBPA court with confidence and made his shots. Plus he displayed the desire to not settle for deep jumpers and went to the rim. It was a good look.
8. Whitehead had it cooking
There are times when Isaiah Whitehead’s shot selection, to me, is questionable. Here in Charlottesville, you’d have to tip your cap to him for being far more judicious. The young man was a bucket maker and he’s one of the top-end offensive talents in the class. He’s got tremendous belief in himself, his shot and his game. He’s got a short memory which serves him well. His approach will not be for every college coach, but those that don’t mind living through his questionable shots and trading them for big offensive outbursts will eyeball him as their guy.
9. Tyler Ulis is a throwback
I’m usually hard on small point guards. You have to be as an evaluator because when you’re 5-8 in the game of basketball you’re starting off at a huge disadvantage. For Ulis, it’s not like he’s a great shooter either so what’s the buzz about? The kid has an innate feel for his position and the wherewithal to find and use his weapons. If you watch him enough you build a certain trust level in him. It takes more than one viewing. Until he get nicked up in Virginia, he had won over a lot of people.
10. Newton re-establishing himself
When Tyler Ulis, the primary point guard on his camp team, went down with an injury, it was next man up time. For the Celtics, that meant Ja’Quan Newton. Now, Newton’s not a natural point guard but he is a combo man. He was the only player capable of running the show and he did enough for his team to help it win the camp championship. Newton had a junior season that looked subpar by his standards but he’s going to get a bump following this camp because he showed again he can get to the rim and employ a floater if he has to. Most importantly, though, he played the role of point guard admirably when the No. 1 guy went down.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned at NBA Camp didn’t happen in the gym. It was 9:45 Thursday night and I was starving. I stopped at a Mexican chain restaurant. Unfortunately, I arrived just in time to get the last scoop of chicken for the night. It would be that last scoop that committed me to my room until Saturday morning with a nasty case of food poisoning. You learn something every time out. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way about late-night food selections.