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CBS Draft Special: A Q&A with Eddie Jordan

Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:47 pm
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Posted by Matt Moore

CBS Sports Network provides coverage of the NBA Draft with a series of three one-hour shows previewing the Draft from the professional and college perspectives. The shows, INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DRAFT SPECIAL, feature Steve Lappas, Wally Szczerbiak and Alaa Abdelnaby, insider Jon Rothstein, along with guest analysts Walter Szczerbiak, an international scout and the father of Wally, and former NBA coach Eddie Jordan. Monday's episode on the top prospects will re-air Tuesday night at 7 p.m. EST, followed by a brand new episode on the sleepers of this draft at 8 p.m. EST. Wednesday night all three episodes will air with a look at how the draft will affect college basketball next season. 

Tuesday morning I spoke with former Wizards and Sixers coach Eddie Jordan and got his thoughts on the draft prospects and the process that goes on in the war rooms before the draft. 

Matt Moore: Bismack Biyombo was a name that had been high on everyone's list, but a poor workout has dropped him several spots. With guys that don't have a collegiate track record to fall back on, how important are these workouts?

Eddie Jordan:  Sometimes, maybe most times, the workout are overexaggerated. If you have a body of work over three years, and you've played at a high level, that can help. But even if you don't, if the workout doesn't blow you off your feet, you still see how a kid approaches his workout, they see enthusiasm. These guys have the experience and can see what a player brings to the table. There's a saying that's used,  "The NBA doesn't lie." If enough people can see you've got what it takes, it will show. 

MM:  If we're looking at a guy with a body of work, I think Josh Selby is an interesting case. He obviously comes from a high-pedigree environment with Bill Self, but didn't get playing time and there were character issues. On the other hand, his workouts at Impact in Las Vegas were from all accounts very impressive. Where does Selby fit in this draft? 

EJ: You know, he's very young. He's a kid that with all the issues, people may take a chance. You are who you are. If you've had issues for a year or two as a teenager, they're going to resurface in the NBA. Some guys will say "we have a support system for him here, he needs this, he needs that." I'm not syaing this is truth. He's a young kid, he played on a terrific team with other good players. I have him lower first round. if he goes up higher, it's becaust that team feels they can give him a support system.

MM: What's an example of where a workout didn't show the true value of a player? 

EJ:  First that comet to mind is Kenyon Martin. He had an awful workout, I think he only went 15 minutes (laughs). And he was the first pick in the draft. I've seen guys with poor workouts and great workouts. Again, you can get more from the workout that just the pure result. 

MM: So often teams are looking for guys with upside. But I feel like Kawhi Leonard is a guy who can make an immediate impact. He's polished. He's ready to go. What are your thoughts on what Leonard brings to the table off the bat? 

EJ:  He's a player who will make an immediate impact. He's a guy who's going top 15. When a lottery team drafts a player, they want to see an immediate impact. They don't want to draft a project. Unless you look at Detroit drafting Darko. They could say "He's 6-11, we can wait on him." Not many of those teams in the lottery this year. But Leonard can come in right away and do things for your team, and that's really valuable in those lottery picks. 

MM: A lot of times teams will look over a player's defensive shortcomings because that's something they can develop. Kenneth Faried is kind of the opposite example where he's someone you have to overlook his offensive abilities. What do you think Faried can do for teams and can it outweigh that offensive deficiency? 

EJ:  Those teams in the lottery? They all need help defensively. Pretty much every team in the does. Lottery teams more than anyone. The kid is a hard worker. He will defend. He will rebound. We've compared him to a young Ben Wallace. So a team that's a little soft that needs a kick in the butt, he's the antidote in that situation. 

MM:  Enes Kanter was talked about so highly in this draft but some of his workouts have been unimpressive and there's talk he could slip some. What are your thoughts on Kanter and what he can do?

EJ: It's not hard to tell if someone can work. If you have a terrific body like he does, if you see him even in workouts where he doesn't knock you off your feet, you can see good hands, good footwork, touch around the basket, mechanics in his shot. If he doesn't have great workouts, it's because he hasn't played. People can still see what he's going to provide. 

MM: It's been said that players either have the will to rebound or they don't. How do you factor that into the draft process if you're a coach? 

EJ: It's pretty much set in stone, if you're a rebounder two or three years in college, you're going to be a rebounder in the NBA. If you haven't been, you won't be. Scouts have a saying they use a lot. "If he doesn't bite as a puppy, he won't bite as a dog."

MM: Tonight's special is on the sleepers of this draft. Who's someone who didn't make the cut on-air?

EJ: I like Nolan Smith a lot. Most people don't have him going first round. He's got a tremendous bloodline. He's been part of a winning team. He's got the competitiveness. I think he's going to be a terrific player.

MM: How do coaches and front offices balance trying to find a player who can help immediately versus a player that has better upside? Often times a player is considered "old" if he's 22 years or older, but sometimes those are players who can go immediately. 

EJ: Teams have different philosophies in drafting. I would rather have a mature player who knows how to handle himself, who knows how to learn because he's been in college three or four years, who knows how to be a good teammate. I just like mature players. Most coaches do. I think front offices like younger players, because they have more longevity and you can look at their development coaches to coaches. Coaches want more immediate impact because they're the first to go.

People just want talent. If the 19 year old talent looks like it's going to be five times better than the 22-year-old, they're going to want the young talent. Because they feel they can develop him and he can be a special player. There are three or four guys who could have come up this year and been top five picks who didn't, and they're only going to be better in next year's draft.
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