Joe Alexander and Donte' Greene are considered the second and third best small forwards of the 2008 NBA Draft after Italian prospect Danilo Gallinari. NBA-Draft.com takes a deeper look at this draft position battle…
West Virginia F Joe Alexander and F Donte' Greene were Big East foes this past season, and will continue to be adversaries on draft night. Both of their names will likely be called by the mid-first round on June 26th, but which one will be called first?
Joe Alexander was almost certain to come back to West Virginia University as of February 2008, but once March hit, Alexander's stock began to soar. He upped his season average scoring from 14.5 to 16.9 points per game in just one month by averaging 23.8 points per contest in March, including 3 30+ point games. He carried his team to four-straight victories including wins over Arizona and Duke in the NCAA Tournament.
After Alexander's blasted through the last month of the college season, he tore through the NBA Pre-Draft Camp workouts. He measured in at 6'8 ˝" with a 6'11 ˝" wingspan, to go along with a chiseled 220-pound body. He surprised many executives and fellow players by ranking 8th with a measurement of a 38 ˝" vertical leap. He led all 78 players at the Orlando workouts with 24 repetitions of the 185-pound bench press and came in 2nd in the 3/4 court sprint with a time of 2.99 seconds. Alexander's work ethic and versatile skill set have launched him for a borderline first-round pick, to a top 15 lock.
Alexander played even better this past season, displaying his versatility lining up both at small forward and power forward. He shot 90 less 3-point attempts his junior season than his sophomore season and took the ball to the rim more often. He found his shooting form from the foul-line as he shot 128 more attempts this season (194 in total), making 81.4% of them. His outside game is still developing, but his team play is excellent. He sets solid screens, and takes advantage of open teammates as shown by his 2.4 assists per game.
His length and athleticism helped Alexander excel on defense to become one of the Big East's best. He blocked 1.5 shots per game and stole almost a ball a game. He consistently fights for position, and has an excellent defensive awareness in general.
Despite Donte' Greene's higher profile as a dynamic scorer, he can do so much more. He is extremely long and athletic which helps him blow by defenders and finish at the rim. He relies on his excellent form and range on his perimeter jump shot to do most of his damage on the offensive side. He ranked fourth in the Big East in scoring on a variety of fade aways, pull-ups and 3-point baskets.
Greene is not as fundamentally sound defensively as Alexander, but uses his size and length to keep his opponent from scoring. He often takes unprecedented risks, but can recover more easily than others because of his quickness. Greene filled up the stat sheet with 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game.
Greene can seemingly score at will offensively and knows this. During certain games, he would get the ball and immediately turn to score. Not necessarily a bad trait, but he overlooked team play to shoot the ball for himself. He often settled for bad shots, instead of working for better, higher percentage shots.
Both Big East forwards have strong offensive games, and less-renown defensive prowess, but effective none-the-less. However, due to the fact that Alexander is more fundamentally sound, and lacks any sort of "behavioral" questions like Greene, he is the favorite in this small forward battle, but only by a hair. Potential and skills are high among both candidates and only time will tell which prospect ends up among the league's best.