North Carolina senior Tyler Hansbrough shouldn't worry too much about what pro scouts think of him.
There's been speculation lately that he could slip out of the first round. That's not what I'm hearing. I spoke with a couple of player-personnel guys this week, and the consensus I got is Hansbrough is a safe bet for the bottom half of the first round.
A lottery pick? Probably not. But a solid rotation guy who will figure out how to contribute.
I kept hearing two factors: He's tough and he'll continue to create trips to the line and make free throws. So even if he'll be an undersized NBA power forward at 6-foot-9, there's a place for him.
Toughness wears well in the NBA, where the game is called differently than college ball. The more aggressive, assertive players generally get the benefit of the doubt.
Hansbrough probably won't get as many calls as he did in college, but his ability to draw contact under the basket with the ball in his hands will get him to the foul line. He made 84 percent of his free throws as a college senior.
If anything, one scout said, Hansbrough is a victim of overexposure: He stayed in school four years at a high-profile program, so his flaws become amplified.
"I think he's actually enhanced his NBA value," said that scout. "He showed up for four years as the same player. He'll be a good value (in the 20s) because you're confident he can contribute to a team."
As far as Hansbrough's college teammates, scouts say point guard Ty Lawson figures to go late teens to mid-20s, but shooting guard Wayne Ellington is unlikely to go in the first round.
One of those same scouts said it's hard to gauge where Wake Forestguard Jeff Teague would be drafted, since he played so well early last season and tailed off so dramatically in March and April.
The problem is projecting whether Teague can be an NBA point guard, or must be more of a scorer who dominates the ball. The latter of those is less valuable to an NBA team unless you're marvelous at that, in the mode of a Monta Ellis, Golden State's point guard.
Economics talk: There was apparently a lot of chatter at the Portsmouth Invitational (a predraft tournament) about how teams might contain costs in a weakened economy. Sounds like there will be fewer jobs for players, with teams no longer making 15-man rosters the norm.
Fifteen is the maximum for teams in the regular season, and it sounds like 13 might be closer to standard going forward.
Also, there's talk the bottom half of the first round and much of the second could have an abundance of international players (already under contract elsewhere) or domestic players willing to go overseas for a season or two.
That would allow teams to exercise draft picks without immediately adding to their rosters and payrolls. Teams have occasionally done that in the past, but the practice figures to be more widespread in this economy.