Thursday, June 27, 2013

Upside is the Best Made Up Word Ever

It’s been some time since I contributed anything useful to this blog. Which makes me like most of the other members of G:TB. We all have our excuses, and they’re all crap. We’re busy and we’re lazy and by the time most of sit down at night we’d rather pour ourselves a drink than type up a blog post. I wish this wasn’t the case for me, but it is. Now that I don’t work in front of a computer screen, my ability to (semi) consistently churn out mediocre content is significantly hindered. But, its summer so there’s next to nothing on TV and not a single sport I want to invest 2+ hours of my time in. So, maybe I’ll write some more stuff that you guys won’t read. Or maybe I won’t. I’m not here to make promises, or talk about the past, or even fully read Summer Dave’s long winded posts. Yet, despite my obvious attitude problem, I wasn’t willing to let the NBA Draft pass without putting something together.

The NBA Draft is great. Easily my favorite non-sporting sports event of the year. It’s got the Jay Bilas drinking game, Stephen A. Smith eating Cheez Doodles , guys coming out of the stands to hug David Stern and, when we’re lucky, ridiculous outfits from guys like Samaki Walker. For all of these reasons, and plenty more, the NBA Draft also happens to consistently be one of the better nights of the G:TB year. Plenty of boozy participation, tons of comments, some of which are mildly humorous.


And, as always, in anticpation of this event, I’m going to give my opinions on some of this year’s potential draftees.

Quick aside before I get started: You’ve surely heard pundits refer to this year’s draft as the worst draft in 20 years. That’s pure crap. It will be a long, long time before we see a draft worse than the 2000 Draft. Just look at this. I forgot half those guys even existed.

Yes


Victor Oladipo: The Dwayne Wade comparisons are obviously a bit much. He’ll never be the type of impact offensive player that Wade was in his prime. He can, and will (IMO), become the same level of impact defender off the ball. On top of that, I believe Oladipo will be a much better on ball defender than Wade ever was. Some have compared him to Tony Allen defensively. Allen’s only the best defensive guard in the NBA. I think that’s a fair comparison defensively. However, I think Oladipo will be a much better offensive player in 3-4 years than Allen ever will be. Oladipo didn’t even average double figures during his senior year at DeMatha, and he became a 14+ ppg scorer (and 40% 3 PT shooter) for one of the better college teams in the country this past season. He has plenty of room to grow offensively, is said to be an insanely hard working, competitive guy and despite being a junior just turned 21 last month. Will Oladipo ever be the second best guy on a NBA title team? No. A top four player who’s an offensively efficient double digit scorer and First Team All-Defense while also being the type of high character individual organizations build around? I think that’s definitely possible. (Side note: This may be the Magic’s pick at #2 if GM Rob Hennigan is building the franchise using the San Antonio/Oklahoma City model as it appears he is. It’s either Oladipo or Ben McLemore in my opinion.)

Nerlens Noel: We’ve all heard everything that’s wrong with Noel. Skinny with a frame that doesn’t look like it will support significant weight gain. He’s coming off an ACL tear and he’s possibly surrounded by some shady characters. And all of this is at least partially true. Should that give GMs pause? Sure. Is he still one of the best prospects in the draft? Without a doubt. Noel is a force defensively. Jay Bilas has gone so far as to call him a “defensive savant”. He averaged over four blocks and two steals a game last year. Four blocks is obviously impressive but the two steals per game stand out just as much. That’s an absurdly high number for a Center and evidence of the tremendous motor Noel has. Energy and enthusiasm are a skill in basketball. A skill that many big men lack. Furthermore, Noel is a better shot blocker than last year’s #1 pick, Anthony Davis, and history has shown that shot blocking almost always translates from college to the NBA. Finally, I don’t see Noel’s frame as being as big a deal as others. The NBA is changing. The Heat just won a championship playing Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen at Center. Not exactly the Natural Disasters. Noel’s athleticism, motor and mobility actually should be an advantage in the new pick and roll heavy, drive and kick NBA. He may get beaten up by a few centers but not enough true centers exist to scare me off from taking him due to concerns over his weight. And his ability to move laterally will be a major advantage in defending high screen and rolls. He’s going to be very, very good defensively early on in his career and having one great skill is often what matters most early in a player’s NBA career.


CJ McCollum: I don’t buy the Damian Lillard comparisons. They’re lazy and based largely on both guys being small school guards who shoot the ball well. McCollum isn’t a pure PG like Lillard. He’s a combo guard who can play some point. On a really good team he’d be the third guard who provided instant offense off the bench and could team with either the starting PG or SG depending on the matchups. He’s somewhere between a better creating Ben Gordon and a better shooting Rodney Stuckey in my mind. One thing we know about McCollum is his one defining NBA skill, he can shoot extremely well. That and his creativity off the dribble should make him a contributor in the league for a long time. (I heard a comp that I like for McCollum today. George Hill. Personally I think he can be better than Hill, but its not far off.)

Otto Porter: I love Otto. But enough about our favorite prophylactic eschewing Twitter personality. I love Otto Porter too. He’s your prototypical small forward in that he’s good at everything without being great at anything. This is in no way a criticism though. He possesses an extremely well rounded, cerebral game and should be able to contribute immediately to an NBA team as a result of this. Also, the basketball nerd in me loves that his family is largely responsible for turning the high school in his small Missouri hometown into a dynasty of historic proportions. I doubt Otto Porter will ever be an All-Star but I’d bet my house on him playing a decade in the NBA (barring injury) and being a major contributor to a title contender at some point in his career.

Gorgui Deng: He’s probably not a starting center on a good team but he’s a great rotation guy off their bench. He’s a fantastic shot blocker and a really underrated shooter from 15-17 feet. He’s dramatically improved as a passer in the past few years as well. If you can grab Deng in the early 20s, I think he’s a steal.

Dennis Schroeder: I’ve only seen him play once, during the Nike Hoop Summit, but he was very impressive in that game. Schroeder is 19 and a really good athlete who showed natural PG instincts and shot the ball well in the game and, reportedly, the practices for the Hoop Summit. On top of all that, he’s this year’s captain of the Troy O’Leary All-Stars. (Pic)


No

Steven Adams: Big men always rise around draft time. And there are always some very regrettable decisions made on these late rising big men. Adams is my pick for this year’s biggest bust. He has all the physical tools GMs look for in big men. Here’s the problem: He averaged 7.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg as a freshman at Pitt. I don’t care how bad his guards were or what his cultural adjustment was like…I have no interest in a 7-footer with great physical tools who can’t average double figures in college. His apologists will tell you he’s extremely raw and has a huge upside as he’s new to basketball having grown up in New Zealand and (presumably) spent most of his childhood watching Flight of the Conchords. I don’t’ care. I want nothing to do with him. Speaking of Flight of the Conchords, remember when TR’s name around here was Rhymenocerous? What a tool bag.

Kelly Olynyk: I said it during the NCAA Tournament and I’ll say it again here. He’s soft. I’m less concerned with his slight frame than I am with his unwillingness to mix it up inside.

Shabazz Muhammad: This hurts because I’m always in favor of guys named Shabazz. But there are just too many red flags with Shabazz. His Dad is a crazy sports Dad who lied about his son’s age and when that came out, among other things. When the news of Muhammad's real age came out, he didn’t really own it and essentially blamed his Dad. Weak, you know how old you are. If you’re caught lying about your age, just admit it. So despite being older than most of the top prospects, he’s not any more mature. Did I mention his Dad (Ron Holmes) gave him his name because he thought it was really marketable? Well, yeah, that too. It doesn't really matter but it's fucking weird. He's supposed to have a great work ethic but he spent much of last year out of shape and, from what I can tell, has no right hand (not literally). All that is bad. Do you know what’s worse? He had 27 assists last season. As in, the entire season of his freshman year. Oh yeah, he doesn’t seem like a super awesome teammate either.



Cody Zeller: After falling down draft boards, Zeller’s stock has recovered over the past couple months. Thanks in large part to his really impressive athletic testing results. He measured nearly 7 feet tall and has a 37” vertical, which is really impressive. My problem with this is I never felt like he was that kind of athlete at Indiana. It didn’t show up on the court. Remember him getting rejected at the rim multiple times during Indiana’s NCAA tournament loss to Syracuse? In every sport, there are guys who aren’t able to effectively translate their athleticism to game situations. Zeller feels like one of those guys to me. If he develops a reliable jumper he could become a nice high post power forward but I can’t see him scoring on the block in the NBA.

50/50

Anthony Bennett: He’s a bit of a tweener. He measures at 6’7” but is a good enough athlete and strong enough to get away with that as a power forward. The problem is that he fancies himself as a bit of a small forward, a position where he doesn’t have nearly the lateral quickness to keep up on defense. For a player who isn’t exactly an enthusiastic defender to begin with, this is problematic. If he can be convinced that he’s a power forward, learn to embrace defense just a little and continue to develop then he’s got a chance to be really good. I’m just not sure that’s happening.

Ben McLemore: McLemore is probably the player best equipped to become an All-Star in this draft. He has everything you want from a shooting guard from a physical standpoint with his size, strength and leaping ability. Unfortunately, there are major questions about McLemore otherwise. He’s reportedly not been in great shape for his workouts and has some less than stellar people advising him. Now, McLemore is young and in the right situation could easily mature and clear up these issues. By all accounts he’s a good kid, if somewhat naïve and immature. Personally, what worries me most about McLemore is his inability to create off the dribble. Surely you’ve heard talk about how passive McLemore was in many big games for Kansas this year. Some of that can be attributed to the mental side of things but just as much is a result of his inability to put the ball on the floor when defenses close out on him. If McLemore matures and develops a good handle, he’s an All-Star. If not, he’s probably at the end of someone’s bench for most of his career.

Trey Burke: This has as much to do with where he’s being projected as anything. I like Burke and think he can be a decent NBA PG. I don’t think he’s ever making an All-Star team or becoming one of the three best players on a title team. He’s small, just an average athlete and a streaky shooter. In an NBA filled with elite PGs, that’s an awful lot to overcome. In my opinion, Burke’s a lot closer to Jameer Nelson (though he’s much better defensively than Nelson) than Chris Paul.

Giannis Adetokunbo: He’s 6’9”. He’s a fantastic athlete. He’s 19 and he handles and passes the ball unbelievably well for his size. One problem: From what I can tell, he was playing the Greek equivalent of Division III basketball last year. If he’s going to be a good NBA player (and I think he might) it wont be for a few years.


Glen Rice, Jr.: You and Sarah Palin recognize the name. Like Palin, you may not have heard of him. He’s spent the past year in the D-League after being kicked off the team at Georgia Tech during his junior year. He averaged nearly 15 a game in the D-League and didn’t have any of the problems that caused his unceremonious exit from Atlanta. More importantly, he was fantastic late in the D-League season and led his team to the championship while averaging 29/11/4 in the Finals. He’s not short on ability but has to prove he can continue to mature if he’s going to be a contributor in the NBA.


Sleepers

Ricky Ledo: Lots of talent, possibly the best shooter in the draft. Never played at Providence due to academic issues and attended four high schools in four years. Obviously he's not a sure thing but it speaks to his talent that he's projected to go late in the 1st round.

Ray McCallum: Good size for a PG (6’3”). He’s a coach’s son who attended University of Detroit to play for his Dad despite being a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. McCallum has NBA skills but has played a lower level of competition.

Pierre Jackson: I made my annual “time to file for your passport” joke about Jackson on Twitter earlier this year. I was wrong. Jackson’s a freak athlete who really improved his jumper during two years at Baylor. He’s tough, runs a team reasonably well and can score enough to be a backup PG and sparkplug off the bench.

Nate Wolters: I know the Teej loves him. I can't decide if he has a meaningful NBA career or he's in Europe within a year or two and dominates Spain for a decade. He's got decent size and is talented creator for himself and teammates. Can he defend anyone in the NBA?

Tony Mitchell: He should probably go in the 50/50 section. Originally a Missouri commit, he ended up at North Texas due to academic issues. If he would’ve left school after his freshman year he would’ve gone in the top 15. Instead he went back to school and was worse in every statistical category this past season. He’s 6’9”, 240 with a 38” vert. If he goes to the right team and is convinced by his coaches to focus on rebounding and running the floor for dunks he could be a steal in the mold of Shawn Marion. Or he could end up sucking dick for crack.

91 comments:

zman said...

Samaki Walker bit that outfit from me, just for the record.

Mark said...

Draft triva: What starting NFL running back attended the same high school as Shabazz Muhammad?

rob said...

bill raftery leaving espn for fox sports 1. dagger.

rob said...

maurice jones drew?

rob said...

nope, not him.

Greg said...

I looked it up and I don't think anybody's gonna guess it. Not even Jerry.

mayhugh said...

Great picture of the Natural Disasters. They and Demolition were two of the more entertaining tag teams

All the folks standing outside the courthouse at the Hernandez hearing chanting innocent might need to find something better to do.

zman said...

CJ Spiller?

Mr KQ said...

Serious knowledge in this post. Just skimmed, but looking forward to enjoying over a few Dale's this eve.

The Law Firm?

Mark said...

No and No. The school has one of the better public school athletic programs in the country.

Squeaky said...

DeMarco Murray?

Clarence said...

Tommy Armour?

rob said...

there's no fucking way squeaky got that without googling. i call bullshit on you, sir!

Squeaky said...

Oh I'm a big fan of Nevada High Schools. Not really. I, 100%, googled it.

Squeaky said...

I thought the age difference wasn't close. Murray seems to be much older at least he's been in the NFL for a bunch of years.

Mark said...

I didn't say they attended high school together. Just that they attended the same high school. Way to google, Squeaky.

Shlara said...

OTTO!!!!

Also, this is a big night for my two NBA GM BFs: Danny Ferry and Sam Presti.

Shlara said...

wow--I didn't see THAT coming

Shlara said...

OTTO!!!

rob said...

i like otto's dad. gives me confidence in his kid.

zman said...

Why am I still at work?

rob said...

alex len has a 6'7" girlfriend who plays d-1 hoops. can i place a bet on their offspring being the first pick in 2033?

rob said...

n'awlins noel, amirite?

sorry.

Shlara said...

Regardding Raftery (who I LOVE)--he basically conveyed with the Big East name when the basketball schools created their own conference. He would be lost without being able to call the Nova, St. Johns & Gtown games.

Mark said...

I got play pickup ball and Anthony Bennett goes first overall and Nerlens Noel drops to the Philly. Didn't see that coming.

Mark said...

Correction: Noel didn't drop to Philly. He's being traded to Philly for Jrue Holiday. Again, wow.

Mark said...

Did nobody inform the Magic they could've had Jrue Holiday and a 2014 1st round pick for Nerlens Noel?

rob said...

simmons is right - holiday and a #1 for noel is ballsy.

Shlara said...

Patriot League!!!

rob said...

marcus thornton's gonna be the next patriot league top-10 pick.

Shlara said...

I love the NBA Draft
Its FANNNN-tastic

Mark said...

Apparently it's Noel and a number one for Jrue Holiday. Less shocking, still ballsy. Especially giving up a 2014 first rounder.

Mark said...

Not a big fan of Shlara's boy Sam Presti's pick. Might be time to call the James Harden a disaster.

TR said...

Simmons is starting to get annoying. I don't think Bilas or Davis like him.

Mr KQ said...

Totally agree on Simmons. Davis can't stand him.

TR said...

Is Broussard up in the rafters?

TR said...

Power outage. Dagger. Stupid storm.

rob said...

there goes mark's boy.

rob said...

olynyk to boston. of course.

TR said...

Back on! Got so excited that I showed my wife the Loophole video. She was a bit less enthused than I was.

zman said...

Apparently my generator is working. I am stuck in a cab in NYC. No dinner yet. Very grumpy.

TR said...

Simmons is doing 69% of the talking.

Mark said...

Ill take Simmons over Stephen A. Smith. Everyday.

Shlara said...

I like this Greek kid. Great story

zman said...

Did W&M join the patriot league?

rob said...

i'll always be a simmons fan. stayed true to himself even as he made it big.

Mark said...

I like the pick for Milwaukee. The only was they'll get a star is to draft him. Swinging for the fences with Gianni's.

Shlara said...

I agree with Rob about Simmons.
We'd all love to have his career...

rob said...

yep

TR said...

So all Brazilians with two testicles have to have Varejao's hair?

(Sorry Nene)

TR said...

I love Simmons, but he needs to stop talking over everybody else.

zman said...

I managed to hail NY's most timid cabbie.

Mark said...

I really like Denis Schroeder. And Nogueira's hair is far superior to Varejao's.

rob said...

and mark knows hair

TR said...

Andy Katz is the Jewish me.

rob said...

barry larkin is wearing a hubcap for a watch

TR said...

Even Merrill Hoge thinks Barry Larkin's Windsor knot is huge.

Mark said...

I'm not a huge Shane Larkin fan. He measured as an elite athlete but I never saw it at Miami. Feels like a backup PG on a top tier team.

Mark said...

I was impressed with Sergey Karasev at the Nike Hoop Summit. Great shooter, good size and already playing at a very high level in Europe at 19. Nice get for the Cavs.

Mark said...

Tony Snell to the Bulls. Easily the ugliest first round pick in some time.

TR said...

I still don't understand why Barry Larkin is in the HoF and the Crime Dog isn't. Larkin hit 30 HRs once, never got 90 RBIs, has 2340 hits and a .295 career batting average. Less than 400 career steals, only two years with 100+ runs. Reading his stats again makes me even angrier. He was a great defender, but not as good as Ozzie or Vizquel. He made a fuckton of All-Star teams, but that doesn't mean much.

TR said...

Also, Larkin played 140 games only seven times in his career. How is this not a bigger debate?

Mark said...

I remember being pissed he won an MVP. He got way too much credit for being a good leader and 'winner'.

TR said...

http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/quirks-of-the-game-the-case-for-fred-mcgriff/?_r=0

Mark said...

Random thing I noticed earlier: Trey Burke has a tattoo sleeve on his left arm now. Spent some of the agent advance money.

rob said...

ordered a seattle sounders t while drunk last week after watching a recap of the usmnt match in seattle. arrived today. pretty pleased with it.

TR said...

The Larkin MVP and the Terry Pendleton MVP made me viscerally angry when I was young and cared about baseball. I know you're a Cards fan, but look at that feeble stat line Terry had in '91.

Who knew that two couch scotches would unleash such hatred?

rob said...

plumlee's going to the celtics as part of the kg trade, no?

TR said...

Shane Battier should not quit his day job anytime soon. Dullard.

TR said...

Jason Kidd is a big fan of Hubie Brown-speak.

Mark said...

Pendleton won with the Braves, right. I remember not caring enough to be pissed. But also thinking that it was kind of a bullshit leadership MVP award. Largely because the Braves were such a great storyline that season. I enjoyed Pendelton's overweight work for the Cardinals but he's no Willie McGee.

Mark said...

Solomon Hill? Indian probably could've gotten him in the second round.

Mark said...

Rob- Word is Plumlee's not included.

TR said...

Spike Lee is a shell of his old self.

Mr KQ said...

Spike's jacked.

TR said...

I did not know this about Bilas: A member of the Screen Actors’ Guild since 1987, Bilas has appeared in national television commercials and the feature-length movie I Come in Peace (also known as Dark Angel) starring Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben. Bilas also appeared in an episode of the TV series The White Shadow.

zman said...

That Jaguar ad is true - the first time I saw an F type I sai "I must have one!" But then I remembered that jaguars are shittily made.

zman said...

Didn't teedge blog about I come in peace featuring bilas?

Mark said...

I talk about the Nike Hoop Summit a lot. 3 international guys from this year's game played in it. And about 8 US kids next year. It's one of the best under the radar sporting events of the sports calendar.

Mark said...

TJ is going to be so pissed at TR. He did blog about "I Come in Peace". I thnk Bilas tweeted him about it.

Shlara said...

y'all, I'm going to miss D. Stern

TR said...

Sorry about that. I was mesmerized by the Brian Benben reference. I was a big fan of Dream On back in the day, when TV boobies were few and far between. Dream On, The Hitcher,Bizarre and First and Ten were all great.

zman said...

Pale hipsters in Ewing jerseys. Tuuurrible.

Mark said...

Agreed, Shlara. Easily my favorite sports Commissioner.

Shlara said...

this tribute is awesome

Mark said...

Hakeem in the red bow tie with Stern is a great moment.

Shlara said...

wow--Woj reporting the KG/Pierce trade to Nets is done...so sad to Pierce leave BOS

Mark said...

The Wizards select Nate Wolters. Than trade him to the Sixers. Dagger for the Teej.

Mark said...

Then, than. I blame my iPad.

zman said...

The C's traded Pierce?!? Insanely sad. Boston sports sucks this week.

Mark said...

Doc Rivers on Bill Simmons last night, "I'd like to call him am idiot but I'm too classy for that." How classy are you really when you call yourself classy?