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Finch is really, really busy these days. He works late, gets up early, and sleeps very little in between. This is the most stressful week of Finch's year, but it's also the most exciting. All that traveling, all that work, all that analyzing will finally come to fruition on Thursday night. When it's over, Finch will exhale. Then he'll get up early Friday morning and get right back to work.
Finch is an NBA scout -- sort of. He's actually an amalgam of six NBA scouts, coaches and executives that I spoke with over the last two weeks to get their thoughts on the current crop of draftable collegians. I have culled together all their quotes into one smooth paragraph uttered by a character named "Finch," a nom de plume coined by my colleague Alex Wolff many years ago to describe an anonymous scout who was the subject of an SI story. (Alex chose the name "Finch" because it was Scout's surname in To Kill A Mockingbird. And NBA scouts like to remain anonymous so they can say what they really think.)
It wasn't always to derive a consensus on the prospects, because not all six of my guys felt the same about each one. But the paragraphs below are the closest you will find outlining the general feeling about 52 college players hoping to hear their names called at the NBA draft Thursday night. That will be a big moment for these players, but when David Stern hands each of them their hats, I suggest the players tip them in Finch's direction. He's the one who put in all those hours, flew all those miles, and stayed in all those crummy hotels to help make their dreams come true.
Draft night would be Finch's dream come true if he ever went to sleep. This week, all he can do is daydream. Here's what Finch had to say about ...
Quincy Acy, 6-7 forward, Baylor: "He's an undersized Kenneth Faried type. High character kid, not a great offensive player, but he's an energy guy off the bench."
Harrison Barnes, 6-8 forward, North Carolina: "I can't figure him out. I want him to be better than he is, yet what he is is pretty good. His biggest problem is he doesn't have enough toughness. This is a man's league and I don't know for sure if he's the type of guy who will step on you when you're down."
Will Barton, 6-6 forward, Memphis: "I'm a fan. Tough kid, high energy, he can dribble and pass, and he can rebound well for a little guy. I think he likes to win. He cares. His skinny body worries me a little bit, but he just figures out a way to compete out there."
Bradley Beal, 6-5 guard, Florida: "Phenomenal body, good shooter, not an over-the-top athlete but he's good enough. He's also a great kid, almost presidential. He's got a great stroke. Reminds you of Ray Allen, and he can really rebound. Strong kid."
J'Covan Brown, 6-2 guard, Texas: "He hurt himself as much as anybody [at the predraft combine] in Chicago. He came in heavy and slow. He makes baskets, but I don't know what he is. He's a non-athlete. He did a good job for Rick Barnes this year with all those freshmen, so I give him credit for that."
William Buford, 6-5 guard, Ohio State: "He looked a little heavy at the combine, didn't shoot it real well, so he probably hurt himself. I wouldn't draft him. I don't think he likes to play. I don't think he has enough toughness."
Jae Crowder, 6-6 guard, Marquette: "Size is an issue because he measured small in Chicago, but he just does enough things well. High motor, high energy, rebounds. For a mid-second-round guy, he's not bad. I don't know quite what his NBA skill is other than he plays hard."
Anthony Davis, 6-10 forward, Kentucky: "I have zero red flags. People say strength, but he's no weaker than Kevin Durant was. Whatever 'it' is, this kid's got it. He has a little bit of Duncan and a little bit of a Durant. The sky's the limit."
Andre Drummond, 7-foot center, UConn: "Physically, he's off the charts. I personally don't like him, but it scares me to death to not like him. He's so big, agile and athletic, and by all accounts he's a great, great guy. I don't think he's immature, he's just underdeveloped. The question is whether he loves to play and how hard will he work. People forget he made his decision to go to UConn late and he had some NCAA issues, so he didn't get a normal preseason."
Kim English, 6-6 guard, Missouri: "He's a one-dimensional player, but it's the right dimension. The guy can really shoot it. I could see someone pulling the trigger on him."
Festus Ezeli, 6-11 center, Vanderbilt: "I've watched that guy a lot. I don't know what he's doing sometimes, but he's got a great body. He's a big, big man. Thick and strong, and he uses his size. If you're picking at number 26, and you're looking for a big backup center, he's a good pick."
Drew Gordon, 6-9 forward, New Mexico: "Someone will take him in the second round. He can rebound and that's a skill that translates. Maybe a little undersized, but he could be a backup four somewhere."
Draymond Green, 6-7 forward, Michigan State: "I'm not feeling [him]. I think he's an average athlete. He has a high I.Q. and he's coachable, so he'll survive for a while. He has versatility, can really handle the ball, and his shot's not broken."
Moe Harkless, 6-9 forward, St. John's: "We interviewed him. Talk about a sharp kid. He was raised well. He still has to develop his skill set, but I think he goes in the middle of the first round. He doesn't dribble, but he has a soft touch and shoots it decently. Two years from now, we might be saying, 'Wow, that guy was picked 20th?'"
John Henson, 6-10 forward, North Carolina: "His body has gotten better, although he still needs to work on it. He's a solid rotation player. His shot is greatly improved from his freshman year. He's not Ray Allen or anything, but he's not Reggie Evans anymore, either. I worry about kids who have high centers of gravity, because that usually means they have poor balance."
Tu Holloway, 6-foot guard, Xavier: "He probably goes undrafted, maybe the end of the second round. I just don't know what he does."
Robbie Hummel, 6-8 forward, Purdue: "I like Robbie. I think he's finally getting healthy. He's the kind of guy you want to have. He's a better athlete than you think. His knees don't seem to be an issue."
John Jenkins, 6-4 guard, Vanderbilt: "Probably a late first-rounder because he has that elite skill as a shooter. But he's a little undersized. Strictly a catch-and-shoot guy. Kind of like the Jodie Meeks of the draft. He measured well in Chicago. What he did at Vanderbilt speaks for itself. He has really improved his body and his strength since the season ended."
Orlando Johnson, 6-5 guard UC Santa Barbara: "He's a fifth-year senior, so he's more mature than these other guys. Strong body, can shoot it pretty well, surprisingly vertical athlete. He can really shoot at the college line, but he's still adjusting to the NBA line."
Kris Joseph, 6-7 forward, Syracuse: "He tested pretty well in Chicago and shot it decent. He had a good body of work at Syracuse, but the sum of his parts is more than the whole. He has ability, but you're just waiting for him to do more."
Darius Johnson-Odom, 6-3 guard, Marquette: "He's a killer. I like him. He's going to will himself into our league. He can score, he can guard, and he'll make your practices better."
Perry Jones, 6-11 forward, Baylor: "He's such a neat kid and you root for him, but how do you have that skill set and be that inconsistent? Over 82 games, there will be 30 where you're going to wonder if he's even on your team. He is who he is. He makes plays that take your breath away, and then he disappears for a while. You see him get his ass kicked by Kevin Jones or Thomas Robinson or Jeff Withey and you wonder when things are going to click."
Terrence Jones, 6-9 forward, Kentucky: "I'm not as high on him as a lot of people are. I don't view him as a strong athlete, and yet I don't view him as a strong bull, either. He's kind of in between. He wants to be a three, but he's a four who can dribble. He'll make just enough shots that you have to go get him. Whoever drafts him is going to have to keep a thumb on him, because he's not a self-starter. That's a problem at this level."
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 6-7 forward, Kentucky: "Your first reaction is how hard he plays. He's not crazy long, but he's long enough. He's not a great shooter, but when guys work that hard, they tend to get better. He's as athletic as Gerald Wallace, but he's a better shooter. He needs to work on his shooting and his ballhandling is just average."
Doron Lamb, 6-5 guard, Kentucky: "Very solid basketball player. Can shoot it, defend. He'd be a good combo guard coming off the bench."
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