Thursday, June 12, 2008

Draft workout report: Beaubois, Lawson, Nelson and Westbrook

I finally had the opportunity to make it down to the practice facility for a pre-draft workout. General Manager Kevin Pritchard thought today's run featuring French point guard Rodrigue Beaubois, North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson, Duke guard DeMarcus Nelson and UCLA point guard Russell Westbrook was the most talented group that had come through Portland so far. Team owner Paul Allen was also in attendance today, which always adds a little extra excitement.

Here's are some of the notes that I took from today's workout. Keep in mind that we're only allowed to watch about the last 20 minutes.

This was Rodrigue Beaubois' second workout in Portland this offseason and his third in the last two years, and it's not hard to tell why. He's got incredibly long arms and large hands for a guy listed at 6-0. His length is especially evident when he shoots, as he flicks his wrist in a way that makes his hands look freakishly elongated. He's listed at 170 lbs. which sounds about right. He just recently turned 20, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine him filling out a bit before he's done growing.

Beaubois seemed to be adept at ball handling and willing to get into his man on defense. He shot decently during the three point shooting drills.

Ty Lawson is one thick kid, which makes his speed and quickness all the more amazing. Standing next to him, it's easy to see why getting to the rim is one of his strengths. Super solid. He's definitely 5-11 (we were about eye-to-eye), but he's got the kind of build that taller guards would have a hard time posting up. Pritchard noted that Lawson "showed some big-time quickness... Ty is just a power guard. He’s got amazing speed and he can get to the rim, I think, in our league against just about anybody."

Lawson really snaps his wrist when shooting from long range. The release on his jumper is a bit lower than what you usually see, though he shot relatively well during the drills. He releases the ball seemingly right in front of his face. He jumps forward a little bit when shooting, which one of the media member in attendance noted reminded him of Martell Webster.

DeMarcus Nelson really got after it on defense, stripping the ball away a couple of times during the one-on-one drills. Very aggressive but in control. Very skilled at denying the ball. No surprise considering Nelson won ACC Defensive Player of the Year in '07-'08. He used his body well during the offensive and defensive drills. In one instance, he hit a three from the corner over a defender who was draped all over him (I don't recall who it was now).

I think he shot around 50% during the three point shooting drills, which is fairly impressive. His shot was a little flat from distance. His shooting motion reminded me a little of Kevin Martin's, though not nearly as kinetic and unorthodox.

Russell Westbrook looked great. He seems a lot taller and thicker in person than he does on tape. I assume he's put on some muscle since the end of the collegiate season and it really shows, especially in his arms. He's got some seriously long, wire-like arms. His body looks like it was made for playing perimeter defense in the NBA.

Westbrook did everything that you would expect from a Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. He's fast, active, instinctive and crazy athletic. Pritchard commented after the workout that "Russell does a great job of getting into that midrange and shooting it, jumping over people. He’s so athletic that way."

Really quick at getting off his feet. Vocal on defense. What I found the most interesting was that while on defense, he would call out "ball" and "shot" despite it being a one-on-one drill. That's a sign of a well-drilled, instictive defender. He also really seemed to enjoy working out.

Here's a bit more of what KP had to say about Westbrook's performance:
"Russell did great. He’s a talented young kid. He’s a great kid. He works hard and he did some good things. He shot the ball really well in the shooting drills and, you know, that’s kind of been his knock that he won’t be able to knock down shots. Obviously with us having Brandon, LaMarcus and Oden, shooting is of paramount importance for us."
Maybe the most surprising part of Westbrook's workout was his outside shooting. He knocked down a lot of long-range shots. By my count (I think I missed one of his stations), he went 30-for-40 during the three point drills. As Pritchard said, long-range shooting has been a facet of Westbrook's game that some have called into question, but he looked like a dead-eye shooter today.

All four player had solid workouts from what I could tell. Pritchard stated afterwards that "... it was a great workout. All four of these guys had there moments today, there’s no doubt about it." Pritchard even went so far as to say that he thought three of the players were first-rounders


Sophia said...

I like westbrook, I always thought he was kinda skinny, so your point that he has bulked up makes me happy.

Thank you for the update.


Lee D said...

Nice comment. This quote will cause some to believe the pick 13 question has been answered. Perhaps KP is playing to the perceptions and blowing some smoke?

Nick said...

The fact that PA was on hand to watch the workout is very interesting to me ... it tells me at least that HE'S interested in either Westbrook or Lawson.

I'd be thrilled if KP is able to work his draft day voodoo and somehow move up to around 7 or 8 and "steal" him; I just have a gut feeling that kid is going to be special.