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 Wednesday, June 14
Scouting the top five small forwards
 By Jay Bilas
Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will be breaking down the top five prospects at each position leading up to the NBA draft.

Darius Miles, East St. Louis (Ill.) H.S.
Darius Miles is one of the best long-term prospects in the draft. Like it or not, most of the high-profile high school players who have declared themselves eligible for the draft over the past five years have proven out to be drafted too low rather than too high (see Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Rashard Lewis).

Miles' statistics
  PPG RPG FG % 3PT %
1999-00 22.1 12.1 66.6 N/A
Career N/A N/A N/A N/A

While some could point to Korleone Young as an exception to that rule, most observers rated Young as a low draft pick who should not have made himself available. His fall, while regrettable, was foreseeable and predicted.

Miles is a tremendous prospect that has size, long arms and startling athleticism. He is quick off his feet, runs the court very well and has good overall skills. Miles is not a knock-down outside shooter, but has the tools to be a capable shooter. Miles is best attacking off the dribble, where he has a good first step and finishing capability.

The thing that convinces most about Miles is his understanding of the game at a young age. He's a very good passer, and understands that he is not the center of the universe on every play out on the floor. His court vision is good, which helps him instinctively make good basketball decisions.

Miles is thin, but will fill out with time. While he may not be of immediate impact in the league, three years down the road, this could be a truly great pick.

Mike Miller, Florida
Mike Miller is a big, strong, Midwestern boy who loves to play basketball. He is very skilled, but it's that last trait -- the love of the game -- that will make him an excellent NBA player. A very capable ballhandler and passer for his size, Miller can bring the ball up the floor. He sees open teammates and can take the ball to the basket and finish.

Miller's statistics
  PPG RPG FG % 3PT %
1999-00 14.1 6.6 47.6 33.8
Career 13.3 6.0 48.3 34.5

Florida coach Billy Donovan wanted Miller more involved in the game, asking Miller never to let a play go by in which he was not involved. Miller is a good shooter who can get better in that area, and he has the range to knock down an NBA 3-point shot.

While not overly quick, Miller is certainly not slow of foot. He moves well, and is decisive in his movements. That decisiveness sometimes led Miller to commit unnecessary turnovers, but most were a result of trying to do too much.

Miller needs to get stronger, and must improve his intermediate-range game and his decision-making. As a defender, Miller will be able to compete favorably, and has been compared to Miami's Dan Majerle (although Miller is taller than Thunder Dan).

Desmond Mason, Oklahoma State
Desmond Mason is a great athlete who runs the court well and finishes with authority. A high-flyer who can jump over people on the way to the basket, Mason is a very capable full-court player. He has shown improvement into his senior season at Oklahoma State, and still has room for growth as a player.

Mason's statistics
  PPG RPG FG % 3PT %
1999-00 18.0 6.6 49.9 43.0
Career 13.2 6.2 48.6 37.2

Mason's biggest assets are his competitiveness, his athleticism and his tools to be an outstanding defender. Mason has good quickness laterally, and can get out and guard on the perimeter, as well as hold his own if posted up.

Mason is a good shooter when left open, and can improve that part of his game. He has decent range, but is not a deep shooter. Like many prospects in this draft, he needs to work on his ballhandling and his pull-up game.

When he plays on instinct in the open court, Mason looks awesome. However, when keyed upon in more of a halfcourt game, Mason has looked very stoppable. He is a very good offensive rebounding forward, and will be best utilized in a system that allows him to take advantage of his full-court abilities.

Chris Carrawell, Duke
Chris Carrawell was not considered a first-round prospect last season, when he was surrounded by four first-round picks. Entering this past season, the big question was, can Carrawell score when he is the main guy?

Carrawell's statistics
  PPG RPG FG % 3PT %
1999-00 16.9 6.1 48.6 37.7
Career 10.7 4.8 48.6 36.0

The answer to that question is an emphatic yes. Carrawell is very unorthodox, with a loping style that is downright herky-jerky at times. He is a strong player with long arms, and he has a good mid-range game with the ability to pull-up and hit shots off the dribble.

Carrawell is good facing up with the ball, and has a unique ability to get past defenders into the lane and rise up to shoot over the top. He does not seem to possess the quickness to blow by a defender and get all the way to the basket, but he is very good at drawing fouls, and steps the line and hits free throws. He is capable of hitting the college 3-point shot with no real problem, but has not had to show range beyond 20 feet.

No matter who drafts him, Carrawell is a good fit on the offensive end because he's used to blending in and finding a niche. When the situation calls for it, he can step forward and put up numbers. However, Carrawell's real value to a team will be on the defensive end, where he is a versatile stopper. A hard-working defensive player who can guard multiple positions, Carrawell thinks of himself as a utility player who can guard anyone. In college, Carrawell was able to guard on the perimeter, even taking point guards on occasion, and could guard bigger post players.

Hanno Möttölä, Utah
Hanno Möttölähas good skills and good size, making him a serviceable NBA player early in his career who could develop into an outstanding pro. Möttölä is long, and has very good hands and a soft touch. He is capable of hitting the perimeter shot, and can play facing up or with his back to the basket.

Möttölä's statistics
  PPG RPG FG % 3PT %
1999-00 17.0 4.8 49.8 35.0
Career 12.4 4.6 50.0 33.3

With his long arms, Möttölä can be a good shotblocker and defender, although his lack of quickness side to side makes him vulnerable on the perimeter against some of the quicker small forwards in the league. However, Möttölä is very well schooled on the defensive end.

Möttölä is probably best suited to be a skilled power forward, but can play on the perimeter as well. He has very good hands, and is capable of taking the ball to the basket and finishing with his left hand as easily as his right. Möttölä is a very good free throw shooter, and once he develops his body to get stronger and carry more weight, he will be a tough matchup.

A good passer who understands the team concept, Möttölä needs to improve his ballhandling in order to be a good small forward on the NBA level.

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