It's never too early for Chad Ford to start speculating about future drafts and how the top college players in the country will fare in the eyes of the NBA overlords.
The Boilers for the first time since Hummel have a couple legitimate prospects on their roster in the twin powers: Senior A. J. Hammons and freshman Caleb Swanigan.
However, according to Ford's projections they would be taken in succession with the 64th pick and the 65th with the senior getting the nod above the youngster in the third round of the draft which doesn't exist.
Of course, there's a myriad of caveats that come with any projections this early on. I'm not even going to name them here. There's really no importance to the number they have on the board right now. It's a catch-all ranking of players, a lot who have never played even a minute of college ball, that will change dramatically over the season.
What we can take away from Chad Ford's analysis is what NBA teams see in these two in terms of pros and cons.
According to Chad Ford's Player Evaluations:
A. J. Hammons, 22, 7-0", 280lbs
- Big, physical center
- Soft touch around the basket
- Mobile for his size
- Has struggled with conditioning issues
- Still very raw
- Old for his class
I think we'll find the narrative on Hammons to be 'He is what he is'. He's not an upside pick. A rangy athlete with a ton of upside and unrealized potential. He's a solid, big body that will provide some rim protection that's shown some competency towards a mid range game. I'm not worried about his conditioning. He was in much better shape last year and from all indications has worked hard two straight off seasons to improve his body.
I find the raw label to be a bit lazy, a label stuck on him from his early years and one that he's unfairly still wearing. I was impressed with A. J.'s footwork last year in the post. I thought he had some really good post moves in a world where there just aren't many coordinated enough seven footers capable of dribbling twice without traveling. He's still a bit predictable with his moves, but at his size and with his touch, I felt confident with him having the ball in the post.
If there's anything he needs to work on, it's his offensive awareness and his ability to pass. I'll keep ringing this bell, but if our big men can learn to pass out of doubles, our offense will be unrecognizable and very very good.
According to Chad Ford's Player Evaluation:
Caleb Swanigan, 18, 6-8", 271lbs
- Strong, physical low-post player
- Soft hands around the basket
- Good rebounder
- Very long
- Needs to improve conditioning
- Lacks elite athleticism