Damion James draft profile


Damion James (Texas)
6'8, SF, 225 lbs.

James is one of the few Seniors in the draft that will get drafted in the first round.  He went into Texas as a heralded freshman due to his versatility to play both forward positions and lived up to the expectations.  He has played with a couple of first rounders in Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustine as a complimentary player and flourished as the go-to-guy this year.

On offense, James plays well in all facets of the game, but isn't dominant in any one particular category.  He shot well from outside (38%) and inside (54%).  He scores using a combination of spot up shooting, face up shooting, driving the lane, and scoring off of offensive rebound opportunities.   He even used a post game, flashing a turn around jumper occasionally.

However, James played against opposing power forwards at the college level and will transition to SF at the next level.  While not bad, he lacks the ball handling to take NBA caliber SFs off the dribble.  Even though his shot improved, he still looked uncomfortable overall as a shooter evidenced by his mid 60% free throw shooting.  Adjusting to a longer three point range in the NBA, he me struggle to extend his range.  James will likely never be an offensive star and will have to adjust again to being a complimentary piece at the next level.  

James would benefit by developing a consistent NBA caliber three point shot.  If he could tighten his handles and develop a pull up mid-range jumper, he could be a real effective player at the next level.

Defensively, James provides versatility at the next level.  He is well suited to guard opposing small forwards with solid lateral quickness, solid wingspan, good defensive techniques, and a strong body.  Small forwards should not be able to post up James, and he has enough quickness to prevent easy dribble penetration.  He lack the height to guard post up power forwards, but he can guard the trending stretch or face-up power forward.

James rebounding strength should translate to the next level.  In college, he grabbed an astounding number of rebounds, almost 11 per game.  He can get after it on both ends and sets up fast breaks with good outlet passes.  He has great athletic ability to block shots at the small forward spot, and has great recovery speed on pick-and-rolls when guarding swing fours.

How does his game translate to the NBA?

Right now, James should be a solid role player at the next level at the small-forward spot.  He could be a great bench player or glue guy for a team needing some toughness.  If he develops a consistent three point shot, the sky is the limit.  Right now, he is projected to go anywhere from mid-first to early second round.  I could see him sliding however, due to his lack of specialization and tweener status.

Without an outside shot, he reminds me of a Joey Graham/Sam Young type player with better defense and slightly more versatility due to his height.  He could flourish on a team that is fast-pace and using as a swing four. 

How does he fit in with the Bulls?

With Luol Deng and James Johnson on the squad, Damion James would be a bit redundant.  Even though he would provide some toughness, he does not provide enough of a specialized skill for me to draft him over guys like Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Luke Babbitt, or Kevin Seraphin.   Despite that, due to his overall talent, if the Bulls were to select James, I would not be disappointed


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  • SG's and BIGS.

    That's all I want to talk about, because those are the NEEDS of this team.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You are wrong. Although what you say are the needs of the team, that doesn't mean anything. We might be trading our SF--Deng for all we know for a Big or a SG. I am sure it is required to analyze everyone now and see how it shakes out with trades/FA/Draft. So, it would be wise for Kevin to analyze all position players likely to be picked from "10 to 25"...

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    BiggestBullsfan and Schaumburgfan +2

    You have to look at all these guys because you never know whats going to happen. Couple months ago, i said we had no chance at LeBron. So you never know what might happen.

    Damion James- Solid player but like another poster said, he is the ultimate Tweener. IMO, i dont see him being anything other then a bench player at the next level, and im not even sure he would be good at that. Im not sure if he will translate to the nba all that well either. His size could hurt him. I like other SF's better. But good report Kevin.

    Kevin,You should do a article on who you think should be our top 5 choices! At #17...who you would want in order 1-5.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    For once I have to agree with you, although I would reverse the order.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    They're the biggest priorities, but that doesn't mean either has to come from the draft.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    A lot of picks may end up in sign and trades for Max free agents. If the Bulls can acquire one or two hopefully they can keep one guy for themselves as this draft is deep not in stars, but in talent. And Taj and/or J.J may be gone via that sign and trade.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bulls probably wont try to buy another 1st rounder because it would probably hurt our cap space. I can see us grabbing a 2nd rounder though because those are non-gauranteed contracts and much much cheaper. IMO players from about 20-40 are all about the same. So i wouldnt mind a 2nd rounder. And also if we were to trade Deng for a draft pick, we would have to take something bad back as well. Probably a couple players or 1 big deal. So i dont see that happening unless its a expiring contract. (pretty sure thats how it works)

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Not if you trade Deng to a team under the cap, they absorb Deng's contract into thier cap space. Teams that no free agent will play for, Minny comes to mind have to look at these kind of deals.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    But ya +2 To many rookies on your bench is not a good thing.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hey guys, I appreciate the feedback from everyone!

    First off, this is a deep draft, so I think you could draft two guys and use them as role playing contributors. I don't think you want to stack too many rookies up.

    I want to give a heads up as I was suggested to do all 1st round so the next 8 or 9 prospects might not be realistic for the Bulls. However, players with less athletic ability such as Monroe and Alrich could slip; probably not to Bulls but possible.

    As for James, I am not sold on him for the Bulls, nor Orton, Alabi, Robinson, or Whiteside (for those who commented).

    Also, I would not be surprised to see Bulls trade up to get George if possible, or trade the selected player during free agency for sign-and-trade (as long as it is not Joe Johnson; that is fine w/ me).

    After these next few lottery picks, I plan on writing an article or two on 2nd round sleepers (there are a few possible good ones) and then doing a draft mock of which teams I think should pick whom. The day or two before draft, I will be doing what I think the Bulls should do based on draft possibilities and ranking my orders.

    I really appreciate all the feedback and Doug for the opportunity. As most of you can tell, I am really high on George and Kevin Seraphin.

    Bear w/ me for the next week, but please provide feedback; keep an open mind as for some of the upcoming players to watch for and what roles they could be.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    The only problem I have with George is that he appears to be a small forward only, not a 2 guard, so he simply has nowhere to play on the Bulls. He is either behind Deng, or hopefully buried behind Lebron.

    I would be very interested to see Seraphin line up next to Noah, love his body, don't know enough about his game, so I'll have to take your take on it.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    How is James Johnson nowadays? Is he working out to improve his physique and game?

  • In reply to boogernights:

    Honestly, I have no idea sir.

  • In reply to boogernights:

    George and Seraphin...i like both of them too! Wouldnt mind either one of them.

    Pippen could help James Johnson....hopefully Reinsdorf ask him if he wants to be on the staff! lol

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I have absolutely no interest in this guy.

    Never-the-less, Kevin you have gotten me going on the draft to the point that I might like to see the Bulls acquire a second or even third first round pick. Trade for one, and buy one.

    Maybe Minny would give up the 16th and or the 23rd for Deng. Good value(on the court) at a need position for them(allows them to take Cousins at #4), they just have to take his contract into their cap space. We lose a S&T chip(Deng) but gain $10 million in cap space.

    Then we could buy a late first rounder for $3 million.

    With these 3 picks I take, Alabi, Seraphin and Dominque Jones, a true 5, a power 4, and a muscular scorer at 2 who gets to the line 10 times a game and plays D like a pit bull and can handle the ball like point.

    And then we are only a Kirk Hinrich trade away from signing 2 max free agents, we might even be able to make it work without dumping Hinrich. I would love to keep Hinrich as a third guard and a future trade chip(trade deadline 2012)

    Add Lebron and any of the FA power forwards to our existing core with that crew plus Asik as a bench mob and we should be eastern conference finalists at a minimum, and have the size and athleticism to match up with the Lakers in the Finals.

  • James has talent. but he is the ultimate tweener. Jupmer not good enough for a 3, and post play and size not good enough for a 4. He is a bad tweener, not a good one like JJ could be.

    I would actually prefert the Bulls take one of the lower SG before they take him. Dont waste this pick.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    IF we go SF, which makes no sense(either Deng or Lebron starts next year), I go for Quincy Pondexter.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    Hey Kevin. I watched James play against Baylor, and he reminded me of some future Pat Riley bad guy enforcer with some offensive skills but limited: low free throw percentages, early years scoring low numbers, and relatively low number of three attempts. His max vert I would have hoped was higher, but his speed and agility confirm his advanced athleticism. Plus his wingspan and reach are ridiculous.

    I probably would not want to see him in a Bulls uni, but it's likely he will have some success/contribute in the NBA. And we know for all the talk about so many of these picks that far fewer then are advertised will end up doing so. If his defense is off the charts and he can can open threes then maybe another Bruce Bowen with less smarts/craftiness.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    If the majority of your bench are rookies/young players, there is no way the Bulls are going to be winning championships soon. Most NBA elite teams have a good mix of veteran role players and talented youngsters. Look at Celtics(Tony Allen, Glen Davis), Lakers(Odom, Walton) are all veterans. At the most, we can have one or two role players who are young..(JJ, Taj and maybe one more)

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    IF we succeed in free agency we will be capped out going forward. We will start to acquire these bench veterans the following year when we can again use our mid level and veterans exceptions. That is the way the game is played now, depending on what happens with the new CBA.

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