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Loud Links: 05|30|10 - Draft Speculation

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NBA draft 2010 - Top international prospects - ESPN Insider
Tibor Pleiss, 7-1, Germany - If Pleiss stays in the draft after the June 14 deadline for international players, it will be an obvious indication that the 20-year-old will be selected in the first round. Because of his enormous size, wingspan and improving athleticism, there are a growing number of NBA teams that are interested in him. However, like Motiejunas, Pleiss is not ready to play meaningful minutes for a quality NBA team.

Pleiss' strengths are that he runs very well for his size, has an improved shooting touch from the perimeter and, with improved strength, will be able to utilize both hands in the low post.

I would not be surprised if Pleiss gets drafted in the 20-to-30 range but is left in Europe to play a lot of minutes and continue to develop. Germany has a number of good young prospects, including Gonzaga's Elias Harris, so the opportunity to improve as part of its national team in the 2010 World Championships will help too.

Tibor seems like another stash option for the Thunder to consider. Pleiss has mentioned that he would like to join the NBA in a couple years, so he's not in a big rush to sign a NBA contract.

2010 BallinEurope mock draft, v2.0
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Greivis Vasquez (6’5", PG, Maryland, Senior). Oklahoma picked Alabi earlier in this mock draft, so now they can pick Vasquez as their SG/PG backup in a rotation with Harden, Sefolosha and Maynor. If Vasquez is gone here, OKC could pick up a back up small power forward such as Jarvis Varnado.

I just want to add a slight correction. Vasquez measured at 6' 6.5" at the NBA Draft Combine. With that height and a 8' 5" reach, Vasquez could also spot minutes at the 3.

Beware! 2010 NBA Draft’s 10 Riskiest Prospects |
1. Daniel Orton – Kentucky, Current Mock Draft Position: 13th Overall – Toronto Raptors - The big man out of Kentucky certainly does come off as calm and confident in interviews, but we wonder what has made him so confident? He’s coming off a freshman campaign at Kentucky where he averaged only three points, and three rebounds. There is no question that he has the physical make up to play in the post, and his body is on its way to being ideal for an NBA big, but he doesn’t have any production yet.

Couple the low stats with very little game tape, and the team selecting Daniel in the first round will be rolling the dice for sure. We still think he’s a lottery pick based on the little we have seen, and his physical makeup, but is he worth a pick ahead of more known commodities like Ekpe Udoh, Patrick Patterson, or Greg Monroe? Right now he’s on the fringe of our lottery, but we’ve seen mocks with him in the top ten. Will he be able to live up to such a high pick? Only time will tell.

2010 BallinEurope mock draft, v2.0: Round two
32. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ryan Richards (6’11", PF, England) - Richards has taken the NBA Draft combine by shock, with people saying that he looks better than almost all the big men coming out of college and that he has better fundamentals. Oklahoma have so many draft picks, they may look to trade some; however, if they still have a pick here, they may as well just pick another long, athletic, jumping, young player. Ryan is the youngest player available in the draft.

I still don’t think Richards should enter the NBA, but based on all the hype around him, I’m sure someone will take him based on what they’ve seen so far. He has surprised most people by stating that he doesn’t want to return to Europe and would rather play in the NBA Development league. If not, the Thunder are apparently pretty stuck on Daniel Orton.

The following link collects everything floating around the web concerning Ryan Richards. Did you know that Richards would rather play in the D-League than to be stashed in Europe?

Ryan Richards NBA Pre-Draft Timeline: What the Web is Saying
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you will know there is a British kid, Ryan Richards who’s originally from Kent reppin’ to the fullest out in the NBA draft workouts. He has created a lot of buzz for himself, and as a result is being written about a fair amount on the internet. I know a lot of people have been wanting to find out how he’s doing so I’ve chucked together everything I’ve found/know into a timeline that brings us up to today. This will be constantly updated, so please keep checking back.

Joey's Sports Blog: 2010 NBA Mock Draft II - May 29, 2010
21. Oklahoma City - Paul George - George is a productive Devin Ebanks. George has comparable athleticism and size, but also has a consistent outside shot which shows he is more than just an athletic specimen. Nationally, George's visibility has been quite low because he wasn't in many marquee matchups throughout the season since he was up against less competent opponents. This makes one wonder is George success and abilities were amplified because of inferior opponents.

NBA draft 2010: Combine reveals this year's Tyler Hansbrough - ESPN Insider
D-Leaguer Latavious Williams may have made the biggest impression. Williams skipped college and went straight to the NBDL last year. His numbers weren't awesome, but the scouts who saw him play there thought he had a chance at making the NBA. Williams wasn't invited to Chicago for the draft combine, so this was his first chance to really show he belonged. The results, while not overwhelming, helped him. "He's a good athlete and I thought he really went out there and competed," one GM said. "I think he's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He's got to be in the mix. Another year or two of development and he could be a player."

Here is a DX article from a few weeks back that focuses on Tibor Pleiss. At this point, Tibor sounds more skilled than Byron Mullens.

DraftExpress: Finding a Niche for Tibor Pleiss
Pleiss’s success as a rebounder and his intrigue as a NBA prospect stem from his excellent size and soft hands. A legit 7-footer, Pleiss has a big wingspan, nice mobility for a player his size in the European game, and shows a consistent effort level. Though he isn’t a poor athlete, Pleiss isn’t terribly explosive around the basket, and doesn’t compensate for that with much in the way of physical strength. He’ll need to bulk up considerably if he’s to make a smooth transition to the NBA, but has some skills that could entice a team to wait for his body to catch up with his skills.

Pleiss has improved his offensive arsenal immensely from the last time we checked in on him back in 2009. The biggest improvement in his game revolved around his finishing ability. Though his strength still limits him to a degree, Pleiss does a better job keeping the ball up than he did earlier in his career, and simply appears more comfortable using his body to get off clean looks on the block. He shows great timing ducking into the paint, actively looks to gain position on the block, provides a big target, and is capable of finishing with either hand once he receives a pass.