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NBA Draft: Do this year's 7-footers measure up?

Draft class is full of tall guys, but most of them are prospects, not sure things, says ESPN's Fran Fraschilla.
By John Rohde Published: June 25, 2013

/articleid/3856204/1/pictures/2142703">Photo - FILE - In this March 16, 2013 file photo, Maryland's Alex Len, left, drives past North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Len is a possible first round pick in the NBA Draft on June 27. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File) ORG XMIT: NY177
FILE - In this March 16, 2013 file photo, Maryland's Alex Len, left, drives past North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Len is a possible first round pick in the NBA Draft on June 27. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File) ORG XMIT: NY177

Offensive concerns linger for Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams, France’s Rudy Gobert and Brazil’s Lucas Nogueria.

Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk excels offensively and Kansas’ Jeff Withey is superb defensively, but each must improve at the other end of the court.

Two other players — Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng and Bucknell’s Mike Muscala — are 6-foot-11 and also highly regarded.

Fraschilla said Dieng is somewhat difficult to place.

“He’s not as big as those guys,” Fraschilla said of the 23-year-old from Senegal, who won the NCAA title this season. “Physically, he’s not going to guard Marc Gasol or Dwight Howard. He’s not that kind of player. He’s more like (OKC power forward) Serge Ibaka. He’s the same age as Serge, but he’s not nearly as developed as Serge right now.”

The Thunder owns the No. 12, No. 29 and No. 32 selections and reportedly has been “proactive” in trying to obtain the No. 1 overall pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

ESPN.com’s Chad Ford said OKC probably would have to offer Ibaka to get the No. 1 pick from Cleveland.

“There is nobody (in this draft) I would trade Serge for,” Fraschilla said. “People get spoiled at how good he got so quickly. He might not have a whole lot more upside, but you know he’s going to be a solid player for 8-9 more years. I wouldn’t take a chance on the unknown.”

There were 35 players listed as 7-footers in the NBA last season, with Thunder reserve center Hasheem Thabeet leading the pack at 7-foot-3. How many “footers” will be added next season remains to be seen.

“Teams desperately need big bodies to get through an 82-game season, and they’ve got a lot to choose from,” Fraschilla said. “It’s going to depend on who works the hardest and who wants to get better, just like anything else.”


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