Look, I was all for the Hornets drafting USC shooting guard Nick Young. But, when University of Kansas small forward Julian Wright was still on the board at #13 in the first round, i’m glad they grabbed him.
Wright reminds me of Richard Jefferson. Jefferson thrived in Byron Scott’s uptempo offense in New Jersey, Wright will thrive here.
Chad Ford: I love Julian Wright. I think he’s been underrated all year — he does so many things well. He’s not a great shooter, but he’s a guy who makes teams better. He’ll be very good running the floor with Chris Paul. I’m a little surprised they passed on Nick Young, who fit a need, but Wright was the best player left on the board.
Draft Projection: Top 10Similarities: A more aggressive and athletic Boris DiawNotes: Wright told reporters on March 25 that he was returning to Kansas for his junior season. He said the chances of him playing at Kansas next year were “100%.” However, he changed his mind and declared for the 2007 NBA Draft on April 9. Wright will hire an agent soon, ending his college eligibility.
After two years in Lawrence, Wright might be ready for the NBA in 2007. Great athlete with very long arms that allow him to play much bigger. He plays with great energy, is a terrific defender and is an excellent passer for a player his size. Has the ability to be a point forward in the pros. He runs the floor very well, rebounds and just has a nose for the ball.
His jump shot is still a question mark. He has some consistency from 12 to 15 feet but really lacks any range beyond that. Almost unselfish to a fault. Doesn’t always dominate the way he could. Scouts wonder exactly what position he’ll play in the pros.
Wright may be the most versatile player in the draft. He can guard and play four positions on the floor … but he needs to develop a more consistent offensive game. Look for him to be a Top 10 pick who could go as high as No. 3 depending on who’s picking in the draft.
Even the team’s second round selection (#43) was solid. University of Iowa combo guard Adam Haluska.
NBA Comparison: Craig Ehlo
Underrated athlete who doesn’t get the credit as he should … Active player who usually does a solid job of moving without the ball … Tough player who plays the game with a great attitude and most importantly continues fighting throughout games … Possesses great upper body strength, enabling him to convert difficult shots … Possesses legit NBA three point range on his jumper … Is a player who can get on a roll quickly … Shows a feel for the game that few players possess … Patient player who has learned how to allow the game come to him … Has improved greatly in utilizing screens to get his shot off … Great work ethic and a high character guy who has blossomed into a solid leader … Upper body strength enables him to finish after contact has occurred … Defensively Haluska does a solid job of playing the passing lanes for steals … Highly efficient player who plays within his strengths and rarely tries to exceed them … Quick release allows him the ability to get his shot off despite tough defenders … Crafty scorer who understands how to draw fouls from opponennts with ease … Unselfish player with decent court vision … Ball handling ability is refined … A top level free throw shooter … His ability to shoot the rock gives him a chance as a role player – shooter off the bench …
May struggle to find a good position in the NBA as upon appearance he looks to be closer to 6-3 1/2 – 6-4 … than the 6-5 he is listed … Defensively he struggles to defend opposing players with great quickness … While not terrible, his lateral quickness is below average … Needs to become more assertive and fight through screens and picks better … Not exceptionally creative generating offense for himself off the dribble. Keeps it simple … Doesn’t have a great first step which hampers him from gaining full separation from his defender, and thus less of a threat offensively … Lacks the body control to finish in traffic on his drives to the basket … Not a great shooter off the dribble as Haluska is better when his feet are set … Can go through periods where his jump shot is inconsistent … Does a good job of grabbing long rebounds but will not be a big rebounder on the NBA level … At times makes his shot harder than it has to be as he tries to sell contact to the refs by flailing his arms and legs … Potential isn’t great as he is close to maximizing it …