Five best 'power' players available in the NBA draft
BOSTON – There is no getting around the reality that the NBA is shifting to being a league that’s more about finesse than force on the court.
However, that doesn’t mean the biggest, strongest, most physically imposing NBA hopefuls will have their dreams killed and instead maybe turn to WWF wrestling.
Indeed, NBA teams can still find value in players whose strength represents one of their greatest assets as a basketball player.
And for the Celtics, with eight picks Thursday night in the draft, all players – those with finesse as well as those who play with great force – have to be considered.
Here’s a look at five players whose physical strength ranks high among the reasons why they are in the draft:
5. Guerschon Yabusele, PF, International
From the neck-down, Yabusele is a pretty scary dude. Although he stands just 6-foot-8 (and weighs 260 pounds), he has this bullish frame that allows him to create space around the rim for rebounds. And he has shown of late a much-improved perimeter game that has intrigued the teams he has worked out for, a group that includes the Celtics. Considered by most a mid-second round selection, he has the potential to be a player the Celtics select and stash away overseas for another year or two.
4. Ivica Zubac, C, International
One of the more intriguing international prospects in this draft, Zubac has tremendous size (7-1, 265) that he isn’t the least bit bashful about tossing around. Not surprisingly, most of his best work comes within a few feet of the rim. Offensively, he has a nice touch around the basket with a decent set of moves and counter-moves along with running the floor well for his size. But defense may be a problem for the 19-year-old center. His size limits greatly his explosiveness which is a problem defensively and leads to him being a below-average shot-blocker, rim-protector and rebounder. Because of his age and lack of experience, there will be a team in the first round willing to select him because of his tremendous upside in a league where true centers are going the way of dinosaurs in the Ice Age.
3. Ante Zizic, PF/C, International
One of the biggest surprises in the Adriatic League this season, Zizic is a 7-footer with the physical size (he weighs 249 pounds) is good rebounder and has a nice touch around the rim as well which is evident by him shooting north of 60 percent from the field. However, much of his offensive success comes from cuts to the basket and just outworking his matchup. He needs to develop countermoves in addition to working on his footwork in the post. In evaluating his strength, one must remember that he’s 19 years old and will likely get much stronger in the next couple of years, which is why drafting him in the middle-to-late stages of the first round makes a lot of sense for teams that are already playoff-caliber, such as the Celtics.
2. Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State
There’s a lot to like about Davis, who in many ways fits the mold of the NBA center of the future: mobile when it comes to defending pick and rolls, strong enough to rebound as well as protect the rim. We didn’t see a lot of Davis at Michigan State, but he made the most of his opportunities to get on the floor. When you look at his numbers pro-rated over 40 minutes – 4.6 offensive rebounds and 4.1 blocked shots – it’s understandable why teams see him as a borderline lottery (top 14) pick. And then there’s his 240-pound frame which is good enough now to get him on the floor. But you figure he’ll add weight and strength in the next couple of years. Couple that with great instincts defensively and Davis has the potential to be a player many teams will regret passing on in this draft.
Deyonta Davis 2016 NBA Draft scouting report
1. Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
There are some quality big men in this year’s draft, but Poeltl is arguably the best true center in this draft. Standing 7-1 with a 7-3 wingspan, Poeltl has the kind of size you want in a center and the athleticism you need defensively when it comes to switching out on pick-and-rolls or simply keeping his opponent in front of him while still being able to contest shots if needed. While he was an effective scorer last season with 17.3 points on 64 percent shooting, Poeltl’s range doesn’t extend much beyond the paint. However, he does have a nice dribble-drive to the paint that’s surprising to see for a player with his size. And while his size will certainly help him defensively, he has good footwork defensively that allows him to compete with quicker, smaller players that look to attack him off the dribble. He’s not a shot-blocker, but does a good job of not biting on head-fakes and more often than not, being in position to contest shot attempts and at times, provide some help-side defense. A sure-fire lottery (top 14) pick, Poeltl looks the part of a solid, top 10 selection.