Blog Entry

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Posted on: June 19, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 6:46 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

Let's face it. The NBA Draft is a crapshoot. There are obvious mistakes, which should be avoided. There are obvious reaches, which if they don't work out look terrible and if they do work out, earn management awards. You can have the top pick one year and net a Hall of Famer, and the next year you can have the top pick and net nothing more than a pick you're trying to unload a year later. "Always draft the big man" works, unless that big man is Hasheem Thabeet. "Best talent available" is a great ethos, unless you create a logjam on your team which frustrates all the players involved. And sometimes, there are just guys you need to be leery of before you say that name into the phone in Newark. 

Here's a brief list of guys who could wind up great but also could have higher odds at busting. Fear factor is on a scale of one to five, with one being "sure-fire lock" and five being "you may wind up burning jerseys or your favorite GM in effigy."

Jimmer Fredette

Fear Factor: 3

When the tournament ended and it came time to analyze The Jimmer's NBA prospects, the talk was mostly about Fredette's diminutive frame. Players of his prototype do not tend to translate well. The college game is great, it's just dramatically different than the NBA and players who succeed with the kind of gunning Fredette did in college don't necessarily make the leap. Then, the scrutiny was so high you had a backlash like a rubber band snapping back. "Jimmer's just a great basketball player." "Anyone who can play ball like that in college can play in the NBA." It went on and on. Fredette and his people helped out by taking a bold and aggressive approach, gunning for Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight in workouts and impressing based on expectations. The key being "based on expectations." By exceeding the poor showing people expected, Fredette has gained traction to rise up the ranks. It's not about getting higher than Knight or Walker, it's just about getting as high as he can.

But the same elements are there that have always been there. The limited size, length, athleticism, the unfamiliarity with running an offense, the inability to launch without a conscience, they're all still there as concerns for how he'll adapt. But Fredette has college star power and that can blind. Maybe Fredette will smoothly transition to a new role and never environment. But the concerns should still be there. Sometimes removing context is a good thing.

Bismack Biyombo

Fear Factor: 4

Super-athletic foreign big comes out of nowhere, ramps up a ton of hype, then goes to workouts and .... wah-wah. Biyombo has talked about leading the league in blocks and rebounds. Bravado is excellent. But it can also belie an effort to gain a foothold on something other than ability. Biyombo brings great length and athleticism but no polish or offensive repertoire. So he's kind of the anti-Jimmer. But players in Biyombo's mold can either be a revelation or a colossal bust. Just for comparison's sake, the last player similar to Biyombo in terms of physical nature was Thabeet.

Good luck with that.

Kemba Walker

Fear Factor: 3

Similar concerns as Fredette, only magically shorter.

When Walker measured in at 6-1 vs. the 5-11 many scouts had him pegged at, the phrase "See, he's not short at all!" was used. This despite the fact that he's still short, he just plays and seems shorter than he actually is. Walker has a tremendous scoring ability, but defensively there are going to be questions. There have been plenty of players of diminutive stature to make it in the NBA and even become borderline stars. But few of them have been drafted at Walker's projected position or with his expectations. Walker was the college player of the year for a reason. He was also kept out of the top ten for most of the year until the talent stampeded out at the end.

Josh Selby

Fear Factor: 5

Highly touted high school project clashes with established, respected coach which results in him not playing at all down the stretch, then somehow vaults up the rankings. We've seen this one before. Selby's performances at workouts early in the draft process at Impact in Las Vegas have helped land him back in the first round. But Selby showed little more than perimeter shooting during Kansas' season, and the fact he couldn't get along with Bill Self raises a number of flags. Selby could be the type of player who just landed in a bad situation for him, but he could also be a headcase without an all-around game. 

Donatas Motiejunas

Fear Factor: 5

Might not come over from Europe, questionable defensive ability, questionable rebounding effort, questionable basketball ability beyond size. Motiejunas has the whole bag of concerns in one Euro Center package. Stick away from this one. 


Since: Nov 4, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:53 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Excuse me folks. Did I here someone say the Dallas Mavs are a poor defensive team? You must be thinking about the Mavs a few years ago. Nobody would think that now as they are one of the very best in the league and proved in both the regualr season and playoffs. Look it up. Both Miami and the lakers said they were one of the very best defensive teams they had faced all season.
I think only three tewams were in the top 10 in defensive socring and FG %--Dallas, Miami, Boston (I assume Chicago ha to be close by).

As for Fredette: I agree with the guy who says don't burn a lotto pick pon him but he's worthy of a lte 1st rounder.
And please do not compare him to Morrison. Fredette is much more versatile and strong.

Since: Sep 29, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:00 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Yes Ben and Peja don't play defense but you don't know much if you don't think Ray Allen doesn't  play defense. Who was guarding Kobe in these two finals they played???????

Paul Pierce was.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:05 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Fredette is an excellent backup 1 or 2, which isnt a bad thing.  He's a slightly shorter JJ Reddick. Why scouts are worrying about defense in the NBA is beyond me since very few play any at all.  I think a team is nuts to waste an early first rounder on him, but if he fell down to the late 20's, I think he would be a good pick.  He's kinda like a poor man's Vinnie Johnson from the old Pistons (not as chubby and his shot isn't as ugly) or Barea from the Mavs. 

Whatever team takes Selby better have an older established coach and a team that won't take any crap from him.  I could see him in the D league until he proves himself.  He seems like he has the talent buried in their somewhere, but he also has the typical college stud ego and a lack of a work ethic as well.  

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:23 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

He's Peja Stojkavich, Ben Gordon, perhaps even Ray Allen; none of them could defend my mother or would care to most of the time, but they made the difference in the clutch.
 Yes Ben and Peja don't play defense but you don't know much if you don't think Ray Allen doesn't  play defense. Who was guarding Kobe in these two finals they played???????

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:02 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Looking back at how Deshawn Stevenson was billed - fantastic athlete, chip on his shoulder, solid defensive fundamentals - maybe he'd be a better comparison to Josh Selby than Daquan Cook.  Stevenson basically had to turn pro when he did after having someone else take his SAT for him and being unable to get a qualifying score after being forced to take it himself.  His development was hurt by a lack of college experience, similar to what I expect Selby to go through.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:51 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

I don't see any basis whatsoever for comparisons between Adam Morrison and Jimmer Fredette.  Entirely different types of players who played two different positions.  So they were both high-output scorers in college.  Not exactly a solid basis for comparison.

I think Fredette is the safest pick on list.  Most people point to his size and scoring and say he won't be effective against bigger, faster athletes.  I disagree.  He uses his body very well and creates his own shot with a variety of moves, even against more athletic one-on-one defenders.  But, more importantly, and what rarely gets talked about, is he can distribute the ball.  He's an excellent passer, but can also create off the dribble for the pass, not just his own shot.  In college, he was asked to shoot and shoot often. 

I don't see him as a 20 PPG scorer.  I see him as a JJ Redick with more game.  Better handle, more creativity, better passer.   And Redick has acquitted himself quite well, despit the limitations of his game.

Of the other guys,

- Biyombo scares the hell out of me.  He earns a first round grade on athleticism alone, with no production to back that up.  Doesn't mean he'll fail, but in my eyes it puts him in the "BIG project" category.
- Josh Selby reminds me of Daquan Cook with a bad attitude.  Came out at least a year too early and will have to work into a role - if he's willing to actually work.
- Kemba Walker is a small scorer and mediocre (at best) shooter.  The relatively poor shooting separates him from a solid scoring contributor like Aaron Brooks.  To me, he's more like Brandon Jennings-lite.  Sort of a point, sort of a 2, fast as hell and athletic, capable of the occasional big game, but not a consistent player.
- I can't say anything about Motiejunas because I never saw him play, or don't remember if I did. 

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:26 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Fredette is actually very physically strong (doess moore do homework, ever?). The ONLY concerns with Jimmer have to do with lateral quickness as a defender. Those are legit concerns. He is in a different planetary range from Adam Morrison. Fredette is a good athlete in fact. I say fear factor 1. Kemba is small. He will struggle with that but otherwise is going to be ok. I just dont think elite. Selby has bust written all over him. Biyambo....jesus, did you see that euro camp workout tape>?  He has no handle. No hands. Fear factor five. 

Since: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:45 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

U do realize u just included Dallas as a team that plays no D and doesn't win? I forgot, who won the NBA championship this year?

Since: Aug 8, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:04 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

The name I would have associated with Fredette was Adam Morrison the last guy I can think of who could score from any where in college and had defensive questions, and Morrison was quite a bit taller than Fredette. If I was an NBA GM my Fredette fear factor would definitely be 5.

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:46 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

He is also 7 feet tall with an inside and outside game jimmer is how tall and is he quick enough to create his own shot Dirk can do this because of his length and his experience, everybody saying jimmer can shot the lights out so could Morrison and Reddick anybody seen Morrison and //reddick is a nice roll player but do you spend a first round pick for roll players who might make it. As for comparing Dominique and Vinces game to Jimmer your kidding right they changed games cause they could create (asked that of Jimmer before) these guys had you on the edge of your seat when they played just saying Jimmer doesnt do that sorry he just doesnt

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