Make That a Big Deposit Slip

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Cole Aldrich enters the NBA Draft on Thursday in New York at Madison Square Garden destined to play many years in the League and make a whole lot of money.

"I think he's going to have a solid — as long as he stays healthy — long NBA career as a backup post player," one NBA scout said. "He's got defensive skills, he rebounds, he blocks shots. He stays within his own game, understands what his strengths and weaknesses are.

"I think he's a pretty safe pick. He doesn't have stardom written all over him by any means, but he's a tough kid and he's going to protect the paint, which most coaches are going to appreciate."

Cole Aldrich is almost a guaranteed lock to be selected in the lottery, which are the first 14 picks in the draft. "Scout" said "he's in the nine to 15 range. If  I had to pick a spot, I'd say he goes to Houston at 14."

If Aldrich indeed becomes a Rocket, he could learn from Houston's veteran star center Yao Ming, who missed all of last season with a foot injury and will likely have his minutes closely monitored next season.

As of Monday, Aldrich had worked out twice for Toronto (No. 13 overall pick), and once with Golden State (No. 6), Sacramento (No. 5), Utah (No. 9), Houston, New Orleans (No. 11), and Detroit (No. 7).

Scout sees Aldrich's impressive shot-blocking abilities translating to success at the NBA level. However, he doesn't think the 6-11 center will get enough minutes to ever be a "premier shot blocker."

"I just don't think he's ever going to be a high minute guy where he's going to get three or four blocks a game," Scout said. "He's got good size. I wouldn't say he's got elite size for the center position. It's not like he's a great athlete, but he's smart. He's good good length, which he uses defensively."

Scout said he wasn't concerned that Aldrich only measured 6-9 without shoes at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago in May.

"His wingspan and his standing reach measured out pretty good, and that's really just as important as your height," Scout said. "I think he's got enough size to play the center position. He doesn't have great size, but he has enough."

Scout said Aldrich "reminds me a little bit of Joel Przybilla," the 7-1, 255-pound center for the  Portland Trail Blazers.

"He's not as big as Joel," Scout said. "Joel's actually a little more athletic. Cole's probably got a little more offensive skills than Joel, but a comparable player, I think."

Aldrich's calling card in the NBA will certainly be defense and shot blocking. Scout doesn't see Aldrich making a significant impact on the offensive end.

"He's not going to be a guy that NBA teams are going to be running a lot of plays for," Scout said. "He's got to play off other players, rebound and get some garbage baskets because it's not going to be a guy you're going to throw to on the post and just let him go to work."

And then Scout used that "safe" word again to describe Aldrich.

"I think he's just a safe player that a coach knows he can put on the floor and he's not going to mess up a play," Scout said. "He's going to defend his position, he's going to rebound. He's got some toughness. He can definitely be a piece to a playoff time because he defends."

Aldrich, too, will be a great ambassador to the team that selects him. Scout said NBA teams love a guy with high character like Aldrich who was selected the 2010 Academic All-American of the Year.

"Definitely," Scout said. "You know he's going to come in and he's going to be good for your locker room. He's going to be coachable, be good with the media, good with the fans.

"He's just a solid player."

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