Welcome to part two of the 2010 Draft Prospectus, or as I like to call it, the “I really don’t think the Thunder will keep any of these picks if these are the individuals left on the board so they’d probably trade out of these prospects and the draft altogether at this point, which means we both might be wasting our time going over the rest of the prospectus but anyways” continuation of the series.
To put it bluntly, from here on out, none of these guys would be able to contribute to the Thunder in the next two years in any meaningful way regarding all three of their areas of need: a true low-post offensive scoring threat, a defensive rebounding behemoth and, less so, a shot-blocking rim protector.
What you’ll find is that almost all of these individuals could probably shore up one, maybe even two of these off of the bench but when you’re expecting to pick out of the Top 10 in the draft, that’s the reality of the situation. The issue moves then from what you know they can do to what they might also be able to develop further down the line and how they fit with your team.
But that’s the thing, the Thunder don’t need any more projects to stash away for two years in the hopes they they’ll develop, nor do they have the roster space to sacrifice for that to be a reality either.
And with all that being said, let’s just jump right into who the #2 prospect would be for the Thunder given a realistic expectation of where they could probably pick in this draft.
Disclaimer: You might have missed this from yesterday’s installment because it was mentioned in the comments section, but I never feel right about basing my prospectus picks off of a player I’ve never seen, thereby going only off of what other people and stats have to say about a prospect. This is why the #2 slot could not go to Hassan Whiteside, who if I had ever been able to see play and thus could have seen if his numbers, skills and potential are as high as some gurus believe, he would probably have been an easy #2 prospect ahead of…
#2 – Solomon Alabi – 7’1, 245 – C – Florida State
Hasholomon Thalabi, er, Solomon Alabi, is certainly an intriguing prospect as a true, seven-foot big man. He’s a long and athletic center who can run very well for his size, a high character kid who is loved by his teammates, always plays hard, reportedly works even more tirelessly off of the court than he does on it and who is a tremendous shot-blocker because he’s also a great leaper with impressive timing (remember the timing part later).
Toss on a developing post game on the offensive end with even better offensive mechanics (guy shoots free throws better than most guards at 83%) than Hasheem Thabeet had at the same age and experience (Alabi has only played basketball for just over six years reportedly) and needless to say there is certainly a lot to like about Alabi, especially since he is a tremendous paint defender and shot blocker but only averages around 2.2 fouls a game in college. Body control, people.
Did I mention that before he even played at Florida State most scouts and NBA executives would not have been able to say all of the positives I just listed about Alabi? Yes, he’s progressed that quickly while in Tallahassee.
But here’s the problem: His low post offense does not include great vision, dribbling ability to cut to the rim, adequate strength for the position, passing skill…or REBOUNDING, either offensively or defensively.
Strength can be added, sure. And at 245 lbs Alabi has added weight and strength while in school so that’s not as much of a concern as his still very raw offensive game in the paint and his sub-par rebounding, which is almost shocking given his great leaping ability combined with his elite timing and body control capability. There’s no physical reason Alabi should not be pulling down double digit rebounds every game (only grabbing 7 a game) except for the fact that his technique and positioning leave much to be desired.
Oh yeah, and not to scare everyone, but Alabi also had a serious foot injury his first year at Florida State and as anyone around here can tell you, big men and potential lingering foot injuries just don’t mix well with the Thunder brass or the fans after we had a BAD–EXPERIENCE (you cut me deep Tyson Chandler, cut me deep).
So given the fact that it would take Alabi 2-3 years to be anything more than a shot-blocking, paint protector off of the bench for the Thunder and the concerns about his raw offensive game never developing and his underwhelming rebounding status, I think a team that was not in the Thunder’s situation would gladly take Alabi in the late lottery and just give him the time he needs to potentially develop into a very imposing post presence on the defensive end. And if he can ever progress his offensive game and his rebounding to the level that his athleticism and hard work suggest he can, then look out.
But sadly for Solomon we ARE talking about the Thunder and not some other team who could gladly take him and wait.
That’s why Alabi is #2 on the Draft Prospectus. He’d be an amazing get for where the Thunder are picking–if they only had the extra room to stash another big man project away, because there certainly is a lot to like about Solomon Alabi.
Tune in tomorrow for #3…
J.G. Marking is the author of the inspirational book, “A Voice Is Calling.” He’s currently working on his first fiction novel, “The Gift of the Greenstone”