Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wingspan & Upside & Length. Oh my.

Once again, its time for my favorite night of the year. NBA Draft night. A night filled with potential stars, possible busts and Jay Bilas' wingspan drinking game. This years draft is, at the top, one of the strongest in years. I believe that all three presumed top picks, Karl Anthony-Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D'Angelo Russell have All-NBA potential so I'll only briefly discuss them.


He comes in peace. He's aware of your drinking games.


Karl Anthony-Towns- All NBA potential both offensively and defensively. Could be the leagues second beau big man, behind Anthony Davis, within 4-5 years.

Jahlil Okafor- If you're one of those people selling on Okafor, ill buy all your stock shares. Is he a defensively dominant big man? No. What he is though is the most skilled post player to enter the NBA since Tim Duncan. And he's only 19. I also think he's much tougher than he's being given credit for. He played on a badly sprained ankle for the last 6 weeks of the season and only managed to lead Duke to a National Championship. 

D'Angelo Russell- His offensive skill and versatility is unmatched in this years draft. He's going to be a 20+ ppg scorer in the NBA but what truly sets him apart is his vision and passing. He's going to be a dominant pick and roll guard in very short order.

Now, onto some other guys.

Like:

Justise Winslow: The first time I saw him play I told my Dad that he was the most athletic wing at Duke since Grant Hill. I stand by that. He's a ferocious competitor, tenacious defender and aggressive rebounder. I think his offensive skill is underrated and will continue to develop. He'd be mentioned among the rest of the drafts elite prospects if he had measured out at 6'6"-6'7" as expected. Instead he measured at a little over 6'4". While that does give me pause it doesn't shake my belief in him. He plays much bigger than he measures (he often played the 4 at Duke) and he works his tail off on both ends of the floor. In an NBA which values positional versatility more than ever, give me Justise Winslow.


Trey Lyles: You could make the case that going to Kentucky last year was the worst thing that could've happened to Lyles' draft stock. He didn't play badly. He just often played out of position at small forward. He was stuck behind this draft's best player in Towns and behind its best defensive player in Willie Cauley-Stein. Lyles is still a highly skilled 4 with the potential to become a stretch 4 along the lines of Ryan Anderson (a higher ceiling though) or Draymond Green. If he hadn't picked Kentucky, Lyles would've averaged nearly 20 ppg and he'd be a top 10 pick.

Devin Booker- Critics will say all he does is shoot the ball (they said thst about Klay Thompson when he entered the draft too). That's true to a degree but he shoots it really, really well. He's got great size for the 2, he's a high character guy, plays with great poise and he's he youngest player in the draft. In a league that's very average at the 2, Booker has a chance to be top 5 at his position in 4-5 years.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Extremely limited offensively (read: can shoot) but a terrific athlete and the best perimeter defender in the draft. I believe he ends up somewhere between Tony Allen and Ron Artest though significantly less crazy.


The hope is that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be much less crazy version of this guy.

No Thanks

Sam Dekker:  He has great size and athleticism for the 3. However, I don't think he's creative enough off the dribble or a consistent enough 3 point shooter to be a major contributor on the perimeter.

Myles Turner: His rep is that of a skilled, athletic big man. Except he doesn't shoot it that well (or at least didn't during his one season at Texas) and isn't an elite athlete. You even see reports that his gait when running is possibly problematic in terms of his health going forward. Hard pass.

Kevon Looney: whoever drafts Looney is drafting based solely on potential. He's a great athlete who could possibly develop into a dynamic rebounder with perimeter skills. However, that's all way down the road. He was often a non-factor for long stretches at UCLA. Even as raw developmentally as he is, I'd like to see more in terms of energy and fire at this stage of his career.

Kelly Oubre: another player with all the measurables. He's got great size for a wing, is a tremendous athlete and possesses a shooting stroke that shows great long term potential. He's limited off the dribble though and often played soft on defense which landed him in Bill Self's doghouse and on the Kansas bench with regularity.

Fuck if I know

Kristaps Porzingis: One of he or Mario Hezonja will hit and one will bust. That's my gut feeling. If I had to bet I'd bet on The Zinger. He comes from a basketball family. He played and played well in the Spanish ACB league which is widely regarded as the second best league in the world but I've only watched highlights of him so.. 

Mario Hezonja: Hezonja's highlight tape is the most impressive of any prospect this year. He's got great size for a wing (6'8"). He's among the best 2-3 shooters in the draft and he's a great athlete. Possibly the best athlete in the draft. He also hails from Dubrovnik, Croatia which you may or may not know is where all the scenes in King's Landing on GOT are filmed. So what's not to like? Well, he might be nuts. He's said to be borderline arrogant, he's prone to taking awful shots (but makes enough of him that he continues to take them) and Chad Ford listed his closest player comp as JR Smith. So...there's that. He'll be great or he'll be the most entertaining Euro disaster of all time. There's no in between.


Cameron Payne: Payne has gone from a little known prospect signed to Murray St. to a possible late lottery pick in the span of three years. He's got good size (6'3") and shoots it exceptionally well. However, it's his passing ability that scouts really love. I *think* Payne will end up as a top 10 NBA point guard but he played at Murray State so I've only seen him play twice.

Frank Kaminsky: I like Kaminsky but its starting to feel like he's going to be drafted to high with regard to his ceiling as a player. What is that ceiling? Channing Frye? Andrea Bargnani? I think both of those are reasonable but I think he could end up being a much lesser player depending on how much more he does or doesn't develop as well as how he perceives his own ability Recently, there have been reports that Kaminsky's been slimming down (he was already pretty damn slim) because he think he's going to be like Dirk. Frank...I've watched Dirk Nowitzki. I've marveled at Dirk Nowitzki. You sir are no Dirk Nowitzki.

Tyus Jones: As far as heady less athletic point guards go, I'll take Jones over TJ's buddy Tyler Ennis. With that said, I'm unsure of how successful Jones will be in the NBA. He lacks great size or athleticism and is a streaky shooter. He has, however, shown himself to be unafraid of stepping up in late situations and he's been successful when doing so. If any guard with his physical limitations can make it, I believe it's Tyus Jones.

Late 1st/Early 2nd Sleepers

Joseph Young: He can score in bunches and in a variety of ways. I don't like him as a starting PG but I love him as your PG and scorer off the bench. Think Aaron Brooks and Isaiah Thomas.

Rakeem Christmas: He's old (24) in terms of NBA prospects but has improved his skill level a ton in the past two years. Should be a valuable rotation big man off the bench for many years.

Pandering

As we all know, Rob's favorite athlete this side of Dustin Pedroia, Marcus Thornton, is eligible for tonight's draft. Most think he'll go undrafted but many of these same pundits also believe that Thornton may eventually play in the NBA. One major reason for this is that Thornton was born at the right time. If Marcus had been ten years younger, a combo guard of his type would've been roundly dismissed by NBA GMs and scouts. The league has changed though and combo guard is no longer a taboo phrase. There is value in being able to play both guard spots without mastering either. Marcus Thornton is just this type of player. I don't have the soft spot for Marcus most of you have but I'll be rooting for him nonetheless.

See you in the comments...




61 comments:

Clarence said...

NBA Action - it's Fontastic!

rob said...

pandering will get you everywhere, young man. well done.

i don't think marcus gets drafted tonight, but tony shaver does, and he knows a little bit more than i do.

even if he doesn't get drafted, i bet he makes a team as a third point guard.

T.J. said...

Is this written in comic sans?

rob said...

i think it's huge progress that hezonja's comp is j.r. smith. many analysts are too lazy to avoid the white guy = white guy comps.

Mark said...

I wrote all of this in the notes section of my iPhone so that's the font that i got when I copied this into blogger. I've changed the font now that I'm home (thought it's still kind of fucked) and added a few videos and pictures. One just for you, Teej.

rob said...

that's some dedication to the post, right there. go ahead and have yourself a whiskey drink, kid. you've earned it.

zman said...

I'm filled with dread when I think about how the Knicks could screw this up.

Mark said...

The Knicks picking before the Magic gives me mild confidence that Orlando will fuck it up less.

rob said...

d'angelo russell's kicks are feeee-nomenal. our family has mad shoe game.

zman said...

Red suit + yellow hat = McDonalds.

zman said...

Russell botched his six step dap.

T.J. said...

Knicks gonna fuck this up, royally

zman said...

Kaminsky?

T.J. said...

Knicks taking that foreign dude with a name I can't spell? You be you, Knicks

zman said...

Frederic Weis?

zman said...

Faaaaaaaaak!

Mark said...

I can't believe Justise Winslow lasted until the Heat at 10. Fucking Pat Riley. God. Damn. It.

Mark said...

Kristaps Porzingis has a favorite website. It's Worldstar Hip Hop. It's gonna be ok, Knicks fans. It's going to be okay.

Mark said...

Myles Turner has awful hair. I left that out of his scouting report.

Mark said...

NBA Draft night isn't what it used to be at G:TB

Mark said...

Knicks are getting Jerian Grant according to Woj. Grant to Porzingis. That's the beginning of the title run, Knicks fans

Shlara said...

I miss you guys

Mark said...

Pretty amazing that Phil got a first round pick for Hardaway Jr. though.

Mark said...

I'm not a big Bobby Portis fan and the Bulls already have a really good 4 man big rotation in Noah, Gasol, Mirotic and Gibson. So what I'm saying is...why?

zman said...

I stopped watching the draft afyer the Knicks picked and started finishing off my bottle of Bulleit. What happened?

zman said...

Who is this guy announcing picks and why is his hair so terrible?

rob said...

spent the first part of the draft at a rooftop bar with some colleagues. a gay softball league was having a fundraiser at the same bar. it was unlike any other nba draft night for me.

and the celtics taking all these guards is a bad sign for marcus.

zman said...

His name is Mark Tatum and apparently his barber hates him.

Mark said...

Larry a nance Jr. has learned a valuable lesson tonight. Be careful what you tweet. The internet is forever.

zman said...

I wish my name was Rakeem Christmas, parenthetically.

Mark said...

For what's it's worth, I'm totally in on the Hezonja experience. It will be great or a total disaster. Either way it will be very interesting.

Also, Scott Skiles might murder him with his bare hands.

rob said...

what'd nance tweet?

zman said...

Thornton! To the C's!! rob is wallowing in happiness. I assume he ordered a jersey already.

rob said...

HOLY SHIT! I LOVE YOU, DANNY AINGE AND BRAD STEVENS!

Shlara said...

MARCUS!!!!!!

Shlara said...

i'M SO EXCITED--I CAN"T STOP CHEERING!!

zman said...

Ainge is a friend of a friend. Honestly. But I had no influence on that pick.

rob said...

i know lebron james. also had no influence on the pick.

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Mark said...

Rob- Nance didn't tweet anything last night but some folks dug up a (now deleted) tweet where you called Kobe a rapist.

I was in bed but that's awesome that Thornton got drafted. Too bad it's the Celtics though since they have approximately 47 guards on their roster.

rob said...

brad stevens' mantra: pace and space. marcus fits that well. fingers crossed.

Whitney said...

Who'd have thought W&M would have one of its players drafted in the NBA in the modern era (at all, but especially) before the school ever made the NCAA tournament?

Mark said...

Look at you, Supreme Court! Well done.

zman said...

Scalia's dissent is predictably preposterous. He gets on his high horse and thunders around on it for nine pages.

zman said...

"If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: 'The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,' I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

rob said...

full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, at the end.

marcus gets drafted and scotus upholds the aca and rules in favor of love over hate (just go with it). that's a pretty good week.

Mark said...

Scalia even dropped a 'ask the nearest hippie' in his dissent. What a douche.

zman said...

Thomas spent about 7 pages discussing the Magna Carta and British concepts of liberty despite the fact that Scalia recently said that foreign laws can “never, never be relevant to the meaning of the U.S. Constitution."

http://www.law360.com/articles/661690/scalia-sears-supreme-court-for-foreign-law-references

rob said...

i eagerly await zman's post breaking down the ruling and the dissents.

rob said...

today marks the 4th consecutive day on which i've enjoyed at least one surly furious. blessed.

rob said...

late to this, but phil jackson has a very tenuous grasp on how pro hoops works in 2015.

rob said...

really incredible moment for the president at clementa pinckney's memorial service.

Squeaky said...

My bottle of Bittermilk arrived just in time for the weekend. Might have to try some during the WWC game tonight.

Mark said...

Phil called Porzingis "Kristoff" last night. That's, um, incorrect. To be fair, I'm sure Phil was stoned out of his mind.

TR said...

Goats!

http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/tanzanias-goat-races-are-decadent-and-depraved-1712075326

zman said...

I remember some IM goat races. The hurdles were great.

zman said...

Exasperated with his repeated bad behavior, zwoman just told zson that he's like Sisyphus. He did not understand the reference.

rob said...

so, um, max scherzer

rob said...

isn't going to throw another no-no tonight

TR said...

Anybody else upset that Rakeem Christmas isn't playing with Eric Bledsoe?

Mark said...

I see what you did there.

I'm leaving for a long family weekend (my side) vacation in Ormond Beach in the morning. Ormond Beach is pretty chill. Not too trashy and the beaches are huge. Close enough to Daytona that you still have people driving on the beach though, which is never not weird.