With the regular season over, 16 NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So with March Madness over, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro continues profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. Last week was Butler’s Gordon Hayward, so now we’re on to Kansas’ Cole Aldrich.
Player Comparisons: Joel Przybilla, Marcus Camby and Eric Montross
Similar to Cole Aldrich’s teammate Xavier Henry, Aldrich does not possess elite explosiveness. But what separates Aldrich from Henry is his size. Standing at 6-11 and weighing in at 245 pounds, Aldrich is a good athlete for his size. He runs the floor effectively and possesses great footwork due to his great coordination. Now, you may be wondering, “But what makes Aldrich truly special?” For a center, Aldrich has great control over his own body. This is huge for a seven footer to be able to make an instant impact in the NBA. He may appear to be awkward on the court owing to his strange running and shooting style, but Aldrich knows what he is doing. Other big men in this year’s crop such as Hassan Whiteside or Derrick Favors do not possess the same kind of polish as Aldrich. This is what separates him from the rest of this year’s NBA Draft class, and will be something that comes up in many Draft war rooms.
In terms of knowing what to do when he is on the court, there is not a lot to complain about for Aldrich. He has the low- and mid-post moves to beat anyone in the college game, he can pass out of the post like Brad Miller and he has great hands to grab rebounds at a high rate. His timing on the defensive end is impeccable, which is why he blocks 3.5 shots per game. The one area that Aldrich needs to improve upon is extending his shooting range. If Aldrich could knock down a shot from the top of the key, he could become more of a dominant scorer. Many centers in today’s game are either a defender or a shooter, but with Aldrich’s skill set, he could be both.
While going down the checklist for attributes that NBA rookies need to contribute right away in the NBA, there was not much Aldrich was lacking.
– Body: Good size but could use a little more weight and strength. Check.
– Offensive skills: Advanced post moves for his age and good hands. Check.
– Defensive skills: Great timing and wingspan (7-4). Check.
– Intangibles: Not a terrific leader but loves to step up when his number is called.
The only point of concern is Aldrich’s mental makeup. He was never the go-to-guy at Kansas, and we are not positive that he can ever be this type of player in the NBA. He’s good at scoring, but never seems to take over as he is capable of. If Aldrich can land on a team where he does not have a role as a primary scorer, he will strive.
In ten years from now, could you see Cole Aldrich in an NBA All-Star Game? Maybe not. He may seem like a very good center right now, but that is because his game is made for college. Not many players in college possess his size and skills. In the NBA, there are plenty of centers who are more athletic, bigger and more skilled than Aldrich. His lack of explosiveness will hurt him in the long run, but is there anything wrong with this? Absolutely not. Aldrich has the potential to be a high-quality starter on any NBA team. Role players are nearly as important as stars these days, and Aldrich could be valuable to many teams in the NBA.
Best Fit: Toronto Raptors
Face it Raptors fans, there is a very good chance Chris Bosh will leave Toronto. In the event that this happens, Aldrich could fill in quite well. With Andrea Bargnani constantly showing great potential, Aldrich could do the dirty work that Bargnani is unwilling to do. Who knows, with a defensive-minded big man playing next to him, could Bargani breakout into an All-Star?
Runner-Up: Detroit Pistons
The big man situation in Detroit is the worst in the league. They have virtually nobody who can handle guarding anyone like Dwight Howard, Al Horford or Joakim Noah in the Eastern Conference. Adding a piece like Aldrich would be a great start for the revival of their frontcourt. It would also enable Charlie Villanueva to become more of a threat from the perimeter. Although he may not be the answer to all of their big man issues, Aldrich would provide a solid foundation for another dynasty in Detroit.
What do you think?
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