Cole Aldrich: NBA Draft Profile and Scouting Report
Cole Aldrich, Kansas -- 2010 NBA Draft Profile
Position: Center | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 250
Class: Junior | Age: 21 | Hometown: Bloomington, MN
2009 Stats: 11.3 points | 9.8 rebounds | 3.5 blocks | 56.2 percent field goals | Game Log
NBA Mock Draft Ranking: 10
Cole Aldrich on Twitter: @colea45 | Cole Aldrich Video Highlights: YouTube
Cole Aldrich Scouting Report
Strengths: All year long Aldrich was the best pure center in the land. What first jumps out at you is his tenacity and passion at the defensive end. His ability to read shots as they're released and time his jumps for blocks was unparalleled at the collegiate level. Aldrich understands driving lanes and knows precisely how to close them with his sheer size. His length above the rim causes extra misses and failed lay-up attempts in addition to his nearly four blocks per game. While he is a bit unconventional (particularly his shooting form), Aldrich flat out gets it done. He's super long and intelligent enough to understand his limitations. Offensively, he showed much more poise and patience down low this season, shooting over 56 percent while showing good movement for his size and high energy.
Many big guys have trouble adapting to their bodies as they fill out, but Aldridge is both strong and extremely agile. His dexterity in the half-court at both ends of the floor will pay immediate dividends to whomever drafts him. This versatility was in full against conference foe Missouri, when he dominated the whole game with his 16 rebounds, 12 points, and seven blocks. Often, he'll only take five or six shots in one game and still be remarkably effective. Many players -- especially young ones -- overvalue their scoring to the point where other facets of their game suffer if they either aren't getting touches or making shots. Such is not the case with Aldrich.
Weaknesses: He's not a great athlete and he tends to go quiet for long stretches of games. The biggest hurdle that Aldrich has to overcome is improving his lateral quickness and overall post skills. Other than a right-handed baby hook, he doesn't have any really consistent offensive move and appears a bit stiff at times. Defensively, although a top-notch shot blocker, he will struggle guarding quick forwards and centers in the NBA who can face up from 12 feet and attack the basket -- but then again, what seven-footer doesn't? Moreover, he doesn't have the ceiling as the other lottery picks, and it's very possible he could wind up being a reserve five years down the road.
Forecast: Despite his offensive limitations, he has shown patience and an overall willingness to evaluate the floor, hence his low 1.6 turnovers. The NBA game -- although much faster -- will provide him with more opportunities to operate down low against single coverage because of the talent around him. Then again, he won't be called upon to score as much. When he does establish himself as a post threat garnering double-teams, though, his court vision and unselfishness will prove vital to his team's success. Aldrich runs the floor extremely well, consistently beating burlier centers down the court for easy buckets. His game-changing defensive impact and tenacious style of rebounding should earn him instant playing time as a pro. Aldrich doesn't have the ceiling you'd like for a lottery pick, but his defensive effectiveness and pure size on the boards should allow for a very productive career.
When you break him down and consider his toughness, physicality, soft hands, wide skill set and overall agility for his size, I think Aldrich has all the assets to become a really good NBA player. He's not unlike the Lopez twins from Stanford when they came out two years ago in that they all have the mean streak and grit necessary to be a starting center in the NBA. I view Aldridge as a cross between the two – Robin Lopez with his rather raw offensive game and Brook Lopez with his resolve and ability to alter games defensively. He doesn't have the ceiling as Brooke, but he can be better than Robin, who is already proving to be a quality center in Phoenix.
Cole Aldrich Articles:
3/21: Rock Shock Jayhawks, Kansas Bows Out
3/18: NCAA Eye for the NBA Guy
More Scouting Reports: DraftExpress | NBADraft.net