Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday workout report

The action got started an hour earlier than usual on Saturday which is a heck of a thing to do to a guy on the weekend. Then again, it's quite the privilege to have the opportunity to watch guys like Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Pat Ewing Jr., Luc Mbah a Moute and Mark Tyndale take to the court at the Trail Blazers practice facility.

We're getting down to the last days before the draft and the players know it. The schedule these guys are keeping, travel followed by workouts followed by more travel and more workouts, is almost certainly taking its toll, but the prospect of having your name called on draft day makes it worth the while.

So here are the notes I took from the workout featuring Rush, Chalmers, Ewing Jr., Mbah a Moute and Tyndale. I didn't get a chance to stick around to watch Anthony Randolph's solo workout, but Mike Barrett has a nice writeup covering that audition.

I noticed something strange during Brandon Rush's workout: perspiration, or in this case, lack thereof. Rush was going just as hard as his contemporaries on the court, but unlike his workout partners, he wasn't drenched in sweat. Every other player soaked their shirt, but Rush, for one reason or another, remained relatively dry. I don't know what to make of that, but I thought I'd pass along the observation.

As far as his performance goes, Rush looked much as advertised. He charged super-hard during the drills, particularly when curling off of screens. High intensity from start to finish. Nice elevation and hangtime on jumper. Has a slight bit of lateral motion when shooting. Finished at the rim numerous times despite being fouled. Like to pull up and fade away. Quick getting off the ground. Does a nice job of following his own shot. At one point collected numerous offensive rebounds after his own misses.

Rush really shined on defense. Takes a textbook low stance while defending. Quick from side to side. Contests every shot. Fast hands and feet. Has the potential to be a very good defender at the next level. Capable of guarding guards and small forwards.

Mario Chalmers seems to be making he transition from combo guard to point guard. Possesses a nice handle, though by his own admission still working on being a "pure point guard." A decent shooter from range and capable of hitting the mid-range jumper in traffic. Quick and athletic. Nice strength, with really showed on the defensive end. Body-type similar to Jarrett Jack's, who also happens to be a close friend of Chalmers.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was working out for the second time in as many days, and I thought he looked great. I missed his first workout, but I was impressed by his second. He displayed a nice midrange game on offense and played incredibly well on defense. Looked very comfortable on both sides of the ball. Seemed confident shooting everywhere within the three point line. Had at least one great block and contested every single shot intelligently. He bit hard on a move at one point but had the speed and smarts to quickly recover, preventing an easy bucket. Made an athletic play to save the ball from going out of bounds, resulting in an open shot for a teammate. Dogged working under the basket for rebounds. Long arms. A solid all-around workout.

Patrick Ewing Jr. shoots in a fashion similar to his father, releasing the ball above his head and sometimes off of one leg. Shot pretty well. Uses the pump fake well. Hit numerous tough shots despite being adequately defended. Shows a lot of emotion, even in a workout setting. A nice ball handler, especially for a guy his size.

Mark Tyndale out of Temple might not have the profile of the others he workout out with, but he more than held his own. Used his body really well to create space on offense and disruption on defense. Likes the pull up jumper. Adept at getting to the rim.


Andrew said...

Thanks for the update Casey.

Whats your gut feeling at the moment, think the Blazers will use the pick or trade?

Casey Holdahl said...

I think there are a lot of contingencies that come into play, but my gut feeling is that they trade the pick to move up into the 5-8 range. If that doesn't work, I think they trade down or out of the draft all together. I think the most unlikely scenario is taking and keeping the 13th pick.

Illuminate said...

I don't really comment much Casey but dude....this blog is money. You are the BEST. You really keep us up to date and you usually have pretty solid insight into what's going on---for that, I wish you'd speak up a little more in your podcast! For so much good info you're just a little on the quiet side.

But anyway, I digress. Thanks so much for the blog. We diggin' it.

BRoyFTW said...

I think we all know we needed to improve defense and rebounding to win games. Rebounding and lack of defense has cost us some valuable games when the offense wasn't flowing. The Celtics proved yet again that defense wins championships. This is why I really like the idea of drafting a player scouted for defensive potential.

You mention Brandon Rush and his quick hands and feet. We have Oden in the paint but when guys like Lebron and Kobe go on their runs, we don't have the guards to stay in front of them. I wonder if any of these picks could give us a future defensive stopper to put on the perimeter.

blzrfn1 said...

So Casey, how would you compare Chalmers to Westbrook?