Commentary

Draft Stock Watch: Forbes takes wing, rises on draft charts

Originally Published: May 30, 2008
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The second full day of the pre-draft camp saw many GMs ignoring what was actually happening on the court and instead spending time in the halls discussing deals.

I spent Thursday watching games and talking to NBA scouts and executives. Here is what they're saying about Thursday's performances:

UMass forward Gary Forbes continues to be the talk of the camp. Forbes had a stellar 30 points in just 25 minutes of play. He was 7-for-16 from the field and 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.

Forbes is a bit of an oddity in this year's draft. He got virtually no buzz from NBA scouts despite averaging nearly 20 points and eight rebounds a game in the Atlantic 10. Forbes was seen as a tweener, a power forward who's just too short to play the position in the pros. However, he had already started to make the transition to the wing his senior season and continues to give scouts hope he can be a wing in the pros.

He was excellent in Portsmouth, averaging 15.6 points. But he's been even better in Orlando, using his strength and athleticism to attack the basket.

[+] EnlargeGary Forbes
AP Photo/Reinhold MatayGary Forbes has gone from Minuteman to man of the hour in Orlando.

Forbes has solidified his place as a legit second-round pick with the camp.

• Xavier's Josh Duncan is coming off an excellent NCAA tournament where he averaged 18.5 points in four games in the tournament. Duncan showed excellent athleticism and shooting for a big man. He even nailed seven 3-pointers in the tournament.

Duncan had 20 points on 5-for-8 shooting on Wednesday. He also grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes. "I think everybody looks for a big guy who can shoot the basketball," one NBA scout said. "He's interesting. I'm not sure why he wasn't more productive in college, but he's putting it together now."

• UNC's Wayne Ellington responded to a terrible first game with a solid 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting. One GM said Ellington looks more like a NBA player than anyone in the camp.

"Whether you are or aren't making your shots here, we are looking for basketball IQ, athleticism and making the right plays," he said. "If you take the right shots here, we know. Making them is great, but it isn't mandatory. Ellington knows how to play. He tried too hard on the first day. He showed he has a chance today."

• Oregon's Malik Hairston has quietly established himself as one of the more solid players here. His 12-point, eight-rebound performance (with six offensive rebounds) was one of the best of the day.

"Hairston doesn't do anything that jumps out," one scout said, "but he knows how to play. I'm not sure he'll be a superstar, but he's got a chance to be a valuable role player in the league."

[+] EnlargeKeith Brumbaugh
AP Photo/Reinhold MatayKeith Brumbaugh from Hillsborough CC tries to squeeze in between Joe Crawford (16) from Kentucky and Shan Foster of Vanderbilt.
• Cal's DeVon Hardin is tough to evaluate. He looks great in drills and warm-ups. He's the most athletic big here and has an excellent NBA body. He looks like a player. He moves like a player. He should be a player.

On the court it's something else. He's played hard in both games, but doesn't seem to have any real feel how to play. With his size and athleticism, he should be dominating. Instead he's just been OK. I wouldn't be shocked if Hardin went in the first round. He doesn't deserve it, but you want to love him.

• One day after Ty Lawson's strong performance he sat out Game 2 because of a hip pointer. NBA GMs were a little skeptical after watching him warm up. More than one player, over the past few years, has decided to sit out the rest of the camp after having a good game.

Jamal Crawford did it a few years ago. Ditto for Jason Maxiell. Was Lawson up to the same shenanigans? No one was talking for sure, but a couple of NBA sources said that his performance on Wednesday was enough to push him into the draft for good.

• Hillsborough CC forward Keith Brumbaugh has talent. Lots of it. He's athletic, can shoot the ball and put on some nifty moves to get his shot on both days. But his terrible 0-for-7 performance on Thursday combined with some very negative body language isn't helping.

At times Brumbaugh overreacts to a strong play. Other times he sulks on the court. He even threw a few menacing glares at the refs.

That's not what NBA scouts want to see. They were hoping to find a talented player who had learned from his mistakes. Instead they found a talented player who often acts, on the court, like the most immature player in the gym.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider