Washington Bullets general manager John Nash got to scout Stanley Roberts in only one game with Real Madrid in the Korac Cup tournament during a trip to Spain last week, but it convinced Nash that the 6-foot-10, 260-pound center could well be a lottery selection in the National Basketball Association's draft in June.
"Off what I saw," said Nash before Friday night's Bullets game with the Atlanta Hawks at the Baltimore Arena, "I'd have to project Roberts as one of the top three centers, along with [Georgetown's] Dikembe Mutombo and [New Mexico's] Luc Longley."
Roberts quit Louisiana State after his sophomore season and still is listed as an underclassman. He first must declare himself eligible for the NBA before the lottery drawing takes place May 19.
"Depending where we pick, I think Roberts is someone we'd have to consider," said Nash, whose Bullets are almost certain to participate in the lottery. "He definitely has some offensive skills. He hits the turn-around jumper and gets offensive rebounds. He'll have to work on his defense. Real Madrid primarily uses him as a stopper."
Nash watched Roberts score 16 points and get 10 rebounds in a game against Clearcanter of Italy. "I had hoped to observe him a few days in practice, but his coach [Ignacio Pinedo] had a heart attack the day of the game and that made things difficult.
"I'm sure NBA coaches would like to get a longer look at Roberts, and he'll be encouraged to attend the league's June tryout camp Chicago prior to the draft."
The Bullets are not looking simply at centers. They also need a penetrating point guard and consistent outside shooter.
"I'm a firm believer in taking the best player available, regardless of position," Nash said. "If you find yourself with a surplus at one spot, it enables you to trade for another position you need."
Nash said Roberts' position in the lottery will depend heavily on whether some fellow underclassmen also choose to leave college.