Shooting guards and power forwards turned small forwards were on display today for yet another pre-draft workout in Tualatin. Shooting guards Osiris Eldridge (Illinois State), Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), Danny Green (North Carolina), and Josh Shipp (UCLA) took turns on the wing while Damion James (Texas) and Dior Lowhorn (San Francisco) added a little post presence to what was a most perimeter oriented workout. And the marks were generally positive.
"It was good having a bunch of guys kind of all in at the same position," said Chad Buchanan, Trail Blazers director of college scouting. "You don’t get to see as much pick and roll stuff from a big and a little like you do in the past couple workouts we’ve had, but you get to compare guys who are all kind of the same."
And there was much similarity. All four of the shooting guards brought something unique to the table, be it athleticism from Eldridge, shooting from Ellington, defense from Green and versatility from Shipp, but for the most part, all were fairly similar. Same goes from James and Lowhorn, who were both described by Buchanan as "rugged" and "blue-collar."
The lack of a true floor general might have hindered the workout just a bit, but according to Buchanan, the coaches and scouts, along with team owner Paul Allen, saw what they needed to see.
"I thought it was a pretty high caliber workout today," said Buchanan. "It’s always nice to have a point guard in the workout though to really get a gauge for guys. Today that wasn’t the case, but I thought the caliber of play was pretty good."
As for each induvidual player, here's what Buchanan had to say ...
Osiris Eldridge, 6-3, Guard, Illinois State
"I thought he was obviously very gifted athletically. He can run, he can jump, he’s got great speed. He’s kind of a powerful little two guard. He’s a little undersized, a little streaky shooting the ball today, which is kind of reflective of what he did during the season as well. But he’s got NBA athletic tools.
"I’d expect him to go back to school. He put himself on the radar this year a little bit and I think he’ll be seen quite a bit next year."
Wayne Ellington, 6-4, Guard, North Carolina
"Very polished. If he gets a good look he feel like every shot he takes is probably going to go in. He’s got great footwork scoring the ball. Very poised, under control. Good basketball IQ. He can pass a little bit. Decent athlete, but I wouldn’t call him a great NBA athlete, but he just knows how to play. Comes from a great pedigree: McDonalds All American, National Championship."
Danny Green, 6-6, Guard, North Carolina
"Kind of the same thing as (Wayne). He comes from a great background, McDonald’s All American. He and Wayne are kind of similar in that they’re catch and shoot wings. Danny is probably a little better defender than Wayne, a little bigger obviously. He’s not quite as consistent a shooter, although he shot it better this year than he has in the past. I think both Wayne and Danny are late first, early second round type candidates. Smart defender."
Josh Shipp, 6-5, Guard, UCLA
"Josh seems like he’s been around for years. A very smart, intelligent player. He’s got great shooting mechanics. More athletic than you would think from a guy who’s battled a lot of hip and leg injuries. He had a bad back there for a little bit but he’s bounced back physically and looks really good.
"Trying to figure out where he fits in to our league. Is he a two? Is he a three? He’s probably a second round type candidate. He could go undrafted possibly, but he’s got size for his position and he can shoot a little bit. If he doesn’t get drafted he’ll end up on a summer league team somewhere."
Damion James, 6-7, Forward, Texas
"I would guess he’s probably on the bubble whether he stays in or goes back. He’s always been kind of a blue-collar rebounder, hustle energy guy for Texas. They moved him from four to three this year, which I think is going to have to be his position at our level. It’s still kind of a work in progress for him with his handle, creating his own shot.
"He’s improved defensively, especially this year. I thought he made great strides in guarding the ball. Plays for an unbelievable coach. Coach Barnes is great at developing players. Whether he stays in or goes back, I think he’d like to be a first round pick. It’s going to be down to the wire."
Dior Lowhord, Forward, 6-7, San Fransisco
"Brought him in, kind of a west coast kid that we saw a little bit during the season. Like his ruggedness, his toughness, his ability to defend. Played the four in college. He and Damien are similar in that they were fours in college and kind of rugged. They’re not slow of foot, but they need to improve their lateral quicks if they’re going to play outside the paint at our level.
"Blue-collar guy. I thought he played well today. He’s pretty athletic. I think he’ll go back to school. He plays in a pretty good league and we’ll get to see him a little bit next year. He’s probably maybe a second round type guy next year."