Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:47 pm
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.
Posted on: June 11, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 10:20 pm
2011 NBA Draft prospect Bismack Biyombo reportedly did not fare well in a Eurocamp workout open to the media. Posted by Ben Golliver.
There remains no bigger mystery in the 2011 NBA Draft than Bismack Biyombo.
The athletic, defensive-minded big man from the Democratic Republic of Congo blew up this spring thanks to a triple-double at the Nike Hoop Summit, but he's been off the radar ever since after skipping the Chicago pre-draft combine and refusing to work out for NBA teams in the United States.
Instead, he's been off the map in Europe, where media access is limited. On Saturday, Biyombo conducted a workout in conjuction with adidas Eurocamp that was open to media members.
NBADraft.Net was in attendance and reports Biyombo had a rough day.
The workout was a little painful to watch as he missed shot after shot from within 10 feet of the basket. At one point it seemed a little foolish to have him shoot so many shots when it's not the strength of his game. We counted his shots after the first couple minutes and he went something close to 12-of-35 from within 10 feet playing 1-on-none. He was able to redeem himself somewhat by knocking down 9 free throws in a row at one point to finish 14-of-20 towards the end.ESPN.com explains that Biyombo has kept a very strict workout procedure over the last few months.
A number of teams, including the Jazz, Raptors, Pistons and Warriors, made their way to Vitoria, Spain, to see the Congo's Bismack Biyombo work out. Biyombo has been in Spain since the Nike Hoop Summit preparing for the draft with Spanish coach Pepe Laso. Biyombo goes through two basketball sessions a day and one weightlifting session. His agent, Igor Crespo, has had an open invitation out for teams to come in and see Biyombo work out.What kind of impact can this type of workout have on Biyombo's stock? Probably not that much, for at least two reasons.
First, Biyombo is known for his shot-blocking, his rebounding, his energy and his high character. None of those traits come across particularly well in a standard workout setting, unless it happens to involve 3-on-3 play, which this workout obviously didn't. If he hits jumpers, that's a nice bonus. If not, that's in line with expectations.
Second, so many lottery teams wouldn't waste their time and resources visiting him in Spain unless his play in the Nike Hoop Summit and the Spanish ACB league made him a legit lottery prospect. Teams with a big book on a prospect are less likely to allow a single workout influence their perception of his talents and their interest in him as a player.
With that said, while a bad individual workout isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, it's not good news either. Given how restricted access is to him and how quickly he rose up mock drafts, any GM that drafts him is taking a significant risk. This type of workout is designed to answer questions, not raise new ones. Biyombo needs to be making teams salivate, not equivocate.
Here's video of Biyombo's workout courtesy of YouTube user nbadraftnet.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:41 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 10:46 pm
A look at which NBA teams should move up or down the draft board in the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Even in a weak draft crop like this year’s, the potential for movement – even if minor – is always there. Here’s a look at three teams that might consider moving up the board and three teams that might look to move down.
Three Teams That Should Move Up
The New York Knicks need to fill their center position and will likely do whatever they possibly can to accomplish that goal in free agency. Samuel Dalembert makes all sorts of sense. But there’s another option. Sitting at No. 17, it’s possible the Knicks would only need to trade up 5-8 positions to have a crack at Bismack Biyombo, the fast-rising big man prospect out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Biyombo is hyper-athletic, has an endless motor and is a very skilled shot-blocker, both in one-on-one defense and from the help side.
Putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would arguably give the Knicks the most dynamic 3-4-5 combination in the entire league. Biyombo doesn’t need touches, can finish putbacks in traffic and will work hard at all times. Does he need some polish and refinement? Of course. Are there questions about his age? Absolutely. But if he falls to the 9-12 range it’s worth whatever price it takes – it shouldn’t be exorbitant – for the Knicks to move up and nab him.
The Cavaliers own the top pick and will wisely use that on Duke University point guard Kyrie Irving. The intrigue comes with their No. 4 selection, which doesn’t do them much good. The best available names will either be point guards – and therefore redundant with Irving – or European big men. With Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson in place, the Cavaliers are not the ideal breeding ground for a project big.
The rumored trade with Minnesota to get the No. 2 pick makes all sorts of sense. The Cavaliers need starpower and they need talent on their wing badly. Derrick Williams would be an ideal fit. Cleveland, with a deep-pocketed owner and nowhere to go but up, is in a position where it can overpay for the luxury of drafting Williams. Whether that’s by absorbing salary into its massive trade exception, sending over cash or future pick considerations, or making anyone on their roster outside of Varejao available. The reward of building around an Irving/Williams/Varejao core is worth virtually any risk for a Cleveland team coming off a very, very bad season.
The Charlotte Bobcats have a gigantic hole in the middle. Addressing the center position through the draft can be a difficult process even if you’re at the very top of the board, but picking at No. 9 in a weak crop with no American-born, star big men makes it an even trickier proposition.
Here, the need is so great that they have to bring a big man home, pretty much no matter what. There’s a distinct possibility that Valanciunas, Kanter and Biyombo are all gone by pick No. 9, although there's variability in the stock of all three players. The good news: The Bobcats also possess the No. 19 pick, good bait to move up the board a few spots, so they can manage this risk nicely. Package the picks, move up a bit and snag whichever of those three big men are the most appealing to Michael Jordan and his staff.
Three Teams That Should Move Down
The rumors surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves' draft position started within minutes after David Kahn lost the Lottery ping pong ball drawing to Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The reasoning is simple: The second most coveted player on the board, Derrick Williams, is not of particular use to the Timberwolves, as his combo forward skillset is similar to that of incumbent Michael Beasley and the Timberwolves have greater needs at both the guard and center positions. With the recent reports that Ricky Rubio will agree to come stateside, those needs have narrowed to a two guard and a center.
An ideal situation for Minnesota would be to auction the No. 2 selection – perhaps along with its No. 20 selection -- into a pick in the 5-10 range and two ready-now rotation players. That would allow the team to draft a big of their choice – Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas or Biyombo – or one of the class’s elite wings – Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks or Klay Thompson – while simultaneously speeding up the rebuilding curve. Coming off of 32 combined wins in the last two seasons, this team badly needs to win some games.
The Utah Jazz are in a similar position as the Minnesota Timberwolves, although it’s a bit trickier. The obvious fit for Utah is Brandon Knight, the best point guard on the board not named Irving. He’s an intelligent leader, excellent citizen and has loads of upside. For a team looking to move past Deron Williams, he’s as good as the Jazz can hope for.
Knight might not necessarily be the third most valued prospect on the board, though, especially because teams at the top of the draft order often favor big men. Players like Kanter, Valanciunas and even Biyombo might wind up with more buzz when all is said and done.
The Jazz also hold the No. 12 selection, which could turn out to be a bit of no man’s land in this draft. If there's a run on wings – say, if Leonard, Burks and Thompson all go off the board – the pickings get pretty slim for a team that already has a fairly stocked frontcourt. Jimmer Fredette looms as an excellent back-up option, but he’s more novelty than impact player.
A best case scenario: the Jazz land a veteran guard by swapping picks to move down a few slots and are able to still snag Knight wherever they land.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 5:11 pm
Donatas Motiejunas will reportedly not work out for NBA teams due to scheduling issues. Posted by Ben Golliver.
One of the top European prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft can't find the time to squeeze in workouts for NBA teams.
Donatas Motiejunas, an offensive-minded, versatile forward from Lithuania, will reportedly be so occupied over the next three weeks in the run up to the Draft, which will be held June 23, that he won't be able to visit and meet with individual NBA teams in their home cities.
The Racine Journal-Times reports that Motiejunas has a good excuse: he will be busy playing for his club team in Europe and then participating in a European scouting combine.
Motiejunas, a 6-foot-11 power forward, is playing for Benetton Treviso in the Italian League. Benetton has advanced to the semifinals of the Series A League. After the playoffs, Motiejunas plans to attend the adidas EuroCamp June 11-13.Motiejunas is clearly in the top tier of international talent that includes Enes Kanter, Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely and Jonas Valanciunas that has established itself as likely lottery picks.
The million dollar question is whether not holding workouts will affect his draft stock. While there's always the possibility that wowing scouts at a private workout gets them to fall in love with you, Motiejunas won't be doing himself too much harm by remaining abroad through the process.
First, Motiejunas, 20, is a top five international prospect in this year's field and has been on the NBA radar for multiple years. He's a prospect that stands out immediately -- especially at a young age -- because of his height, length, overall offensive skill level and the fact that he's left-handed. He was the headliner of the 2009 international team at the Nike Hoop Summit, competed in the major European youth tournaments and has played for two seasons in the Italian league. Scouts know him and know him well.
Second, it's not like he's hiding. Not only is he playing in competitive play right now, he will be attending a major scouting showcase along with other top prospects this month. Adidas touts its Eurocamp as "the premier international basketball pre-draft camp" and notes that Biyombo will also be in attendance, as will Davis Bertans and Lucas Nogueira, two other possible first round picks. A clear picture of his basketball talents, if not clear, will emerge over the next few weeks.
Third, the relatively weak nature of the top half of the first round plays to Motiejunas' advantage here. If this class was stocked with elite athletes jumping out of the gym in private workouts or even if it was simply loaded with serviceable seven footers, there would be more pressure on him to prove himself. As it stands, there isn't a single American-born seven-footer projected to go in the first round. With such limited supply, Motiejunas, despite the finesse nature of his game, figures to be in high demand.