NBA: Bobcats weigh their options for draft
CHARLOTTE ó Twin 7-footers Roy Hibbert and DeAndre Jordan stood in the lane together during the Charlotte Bobcats’ pre-draft workout Friday, representing the polar opposites of modern draft prospects.
While Hibbert is experienced and polished, his lack of athleticism has been exposed after four years in the spotlight at Georgetown.
Jordan showed flashes of brilliance with his extreme athleticism in his only season at Texas A&M, yet was wildly inconsistent and turnover-prone. There are lingering questions about his work ethic.
Experience vs. potential. It’s what Bobcats coach Larry Brown was weighing after working out Hibbert, Jordan and fellow 7-footers JaVale McGee of Nevada and Alexis Ajinca of France.
“I wish they would all go to school, like Roy, for four years, have great coaching, and then when they got to this level it would be a lot easier,” Brown said. “Realizing that, if you draft one of these young kids, it might take time. I’m OK with that.”
Brown has a history of showing little patience with rookies. The most obvious example was in Detroit in 2003-04, when Brown almost never played No. 2 pick Darko Milicic.
Still, while Hibbert’s lack of quickness will likely make him a late first-round pick, the 19-year-old Jordan is a possibility for the Bobcats, who hold the ninth overall pick in the June 26 draft.
“I had no idea he was this explosive,” Brown said. “He’s very coachable. He wants to get better. We can’t lose sight that a lot of these kids are barely 20. When you consider young, big kids take a little longer to develop, when they’re barely 20 and that athletic and explosive and conscientious, you’ve got a pretty good situation.”
Jordan’s college coach was Mark Turgeon, who played and coached under Brown at Kansas.
“Their philosophies are the same,” Jordan said. “I’m pretty sure it’ll be a little change, but I’d probably fit in.”
But he’d be a gamble for a team that needs instant help in the frontcourt after consistently getting outrebounded this season. Jordan averaged only 7.9 points and 6.0 rebounds a game as a freshman with the Aggies. He needs to add weight and strength, and was criticized for not always playing hard.
“I had up and down (performances), because we won some and we lost some,” Jordan said. “But I go hard and you’ve got to prove people wrong.”
Hibbert is trying to prove he can be effective in the NBA despite his plodding ways. Many believe his stock fell after he decided to return for his senior season, only to average 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds a game, barely better than a year earlier.
“I heard a lot of people say I didn’t have such a great year as I should have had, but I feel like I learned a lot,” Hibbert said.
Hibbert’s maturity was apparent when he thoughtfully discussed the Bobcats’ front line and how he would complement Emeka Okafor.
“You can tell when a kid’s been to school for four years,” Brown said. “He’s gone through a good program. He’s fundamentally sound.”
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