Tag:2011 NBA Draft
Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:40 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
Only with the Timberwolves would a No.2 overall pick be considered a burden. But that's the case as just as soon as the Wolves found their spot in the lottery, rumors of them trying to trade it sprang to life. And as Thursday's draft inches ever closer, they've gotten out of control. They're multiplying like Gremlins. Seriously, if you see one, don't feed it after midnight. Here's what we've got. These are rumors and should be viewed with skepticism, but they pass the "okay, that's not so absurd it's laughable"/"that can't possibly work under the current CBA" test.
Pau Gasol for Kevin Love and the No.2. Yeah, that's what you call a blockbuster deal. It sounds insane, until you think about it. The Wolves do want an established star. Gasol is buds with Rubio out of Spain. The Lakers have been frustrated with Gasol and Love would rebound and hit threes while not challenging Bryant. Then you think about it some more and it's still completely insane. Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld floated some substantiation of the idea touched on by ESPN in a chat session about Gasol being on the Wolves' radar. Respected cap analyst Larry Coon tweeted over the weekend that there "may be some fire" there. Coon also said Love and the No.2 is too much, and that Love has not been put on the table. The big thing here is that moving Gasol means risking the championship window which is assuredly still open as long as Gasol is still within range of his prime, which he is, though the distance is increasing. Plus Love's poor defense could be a big issue under Mike Brown. But there's a decent around of smoke around this one, even if the flames seem plastic.
Here's a fun one. The ESPN radio affiliate out of Minneapolis reported over the weekend that conversations had taken place between the Wolves and Bucks, sending the No.2 pick for Andrew Bogut and the No.10 pick. Darren Wolfson of local television confirmed the report and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says it's possible, but Milwaukee isn't biting. If Milwaukee were chasing the deal, it would mean that something was seriously wrong with Bogut's wrist, which would probably kill the trade in a physical anyway. And with Darko Milicic on the books for four more years, the deal only gets more confusing.
Weirdly, the one established player who the Wolves could use who is on the block, and the one team that could use the No.2 as a building block in starting over is Monta Ellis and the Golden State Warriors. But while it makes a lot of sense, there's no one biting, so far.
Thankfully a rumor that had Washington offering up JaVale McGee was shot down by the Washington Post. Trying to imagine McGee in the Minnesota winter trying to clown around with Ricky Rubio while Kevin Love cries at his locker was a little much to take in as a mental image.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on: June 18, 2011 1:49 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The NBA's Green Room invitees list is sort of the group of players the league thinks will be taken in the lottery. An official, OFFICIAL mock draft of sorts, if you will.
And the group of players invited to partake has been released (via Chad Ford):
The most interesting player not on the list? Bismack Biyombo who some have going as No. 4 or 5 in the draft. Biyombo is a bit of a mystery, though most mock drafts have him going somewhere in the lottery.
It's a bit of a surprise that Chris Singleton received an invite, but the Florida State forward has shot up most mock drafts in the past few weeks with really strong workouts. He was considered a late first round pick a month ago, but has positioned himself as almost a sure fire lottery guy.
Also of note: Marcus, not Markieff Morris was invited to the Green Room. But you can be sure that Markieff will be with his brother. Both are certain first round picks, but most have Marcus going a little higher.
Posted on: June 18, 2011 2:22 am
Edited on: June 18, 2011 10:00 pm
A look at five potential sleepers in the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Ask any NBA GM and they will tell you that draftology is an "inexact science." Put more simply: "Hey, we mess up a lot." We've all seen enough draft failures over the years to have developed a spider sense for how guys slip through the cracks.
Some of the most common reasons: a player takes a nontraditional route to the league, a player stays in college too long and scouts nitpick him to death, a player appears not to have a clear position, a player excels at a small school but scouts doubt that his skills will translate, or a late-blooming international player doesn't appear on the radar until too soon before draft night.
As has been written about extensively virtually everywhere, this year's draft class is not a traditional class. The top end talent is very thin, the international contingent is fairly deep but filled with questions, there's not a quality American-born center projected to go in the first round and there are really only three point guards expected to turn into potential franchise-type players.
Even with the impact positions so weak and the star caliber talent so thin, there are some quality players that will likely be selected later -- perhaps much later -- than they should be.
Here's a look at five names, all of whom fit into one of the common categories of how guys that get overlooked that were mentioned above. The players listed below might not be falling like rocks past where they should be picked, but each deserves better than what he's seeing on mock drafts in the week leading up to Thursday's draft.
1. Jeremy Tyler
How often can we legitimately call one of the nation's top five prospects coming out of high school a sleeper? Not very often, but Tyler (pictured) is obviously not your typical top prospect. He redefined what "nontraditional route to the NBA" means when he left high school early to pursue a professional career in Israel and Japan. There's no question that his decision -- and the negative headlines that emerged during his professional career -- killed his draft stock in a major way.
Watching Tyler play in a pre-draft workout, as I did this week, one can only leave with the conclusion that he is a top-15 caliber player, if not better. He's very big, very strong, and blessed with good coordination and a solid feel around the basket. His reputation has him going late in the first round in most mock drafts and it's certainly possible that he could slip to the second round on draft night.
More than one evaluator called Tyler a "tempting" risk this week. Someone needs to go ahead and take the plunge.
2. Andrew Goudelock
Goudelock is almost the prototypical small-school diamond in the rough. College of Charleston isn't exactly Kentucky or North Carolina, but scoring is scoring and Goudelock has shown the ability to fill it up. He averaged more than 23 points a game this season and drew nice reviews for his ability to shoot the rock at the Portsmouth Invitational. He's projected as a second round pick and gets knocked for his tweener size because he's listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds while doing more scoring (18.9 shots per game) than passing (4.2 assists) at the collegiate level.
Remember: scoring off the bench is one of those must-have roles for contenders, and perfect positional size and fit simply aren't all that important in this niche. Ask J.J. Barea. Ask the Chicago Bulls, who would have sacrificed Carlos Boozer for anyone at any height and weight who could have scored consistently off their bench against the Miami Heat.
There are other players in this draft that fit this bill -- Josh Selby comes to mind -- but Goudelock is likely to dive fairly deep because of his lack of name recognition. Whoever plucks him out of the second round stands to be rewarded nicely.
3. Kyle Singler
You don't need a crystal ball to see Kyle Singler's future. He will be a solid rotation player on a perennial playoff contender, stepping in off the bench to play either forward position. He will make smart plays, go hard on both ends of the court, constantly have television announcers say he's playing over his head, and will knock down the open shot.
One of the best competitors in this draft, Singler gets overlooked this year for two obvious reasons: he stayed at Duke for longer than he probably should have and isn't an elite athlete. Earlier in his career, Singler had lottery buzz; he now expects to go in the mid-to-late first round and, if things don't break right, he could even find himself landing in the early second. There are certain to be multiple flameouts selected before him.
In a draft with a shallow star pool, why not take a solid, low-risk player who is wholly devoted to playing the game the right way?
4. Jordan Hamilton
Hamilton's path to the NBA wasn't as rocky as Tyler's, but it wasn't pretty either.
He was forced to sit out his senior year of high school because of eligibility issues after working to get ranked in the top 10 nationally. He then spent two years at Texas, averaging 18.6 points in his sophomore year after not making the impact that was expected in his first season. A classic wing scorer with good size, Hamilton showed he could carry the load on offense at the college level and should be able to be a nice complementary scorer in the pro game.
Aside from his red-flag route to the NBA, Hamilton also has a ways to go on defense. Nevertheless, this was a highly-touted scorer who was able to find his groove despite a layoff from basketball and and adjustment period on a deep college team. Projecting five years down the road, it's difficult to imagine Hamilton inot filling it up for someone and creating highlights along the way. His stock has bounced around the second half of the draft a bit. On talent, he should be go in the mid-first, if not earlier. If he slips much past that, he's a full blown sleeper by this year's definition.
5. Bismack Biyombo
Sure, we don't often consider projected lottery picks to be sleepers. Biyombo is exceptional in so many other ways, though, that we should make another exception here.
If Biyombo had a longer resume or had handled his pre-draft run-up better, he is a player who should be talked about as a top five selection. Biyombo is arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft. His combination of absurd length, ability to contest shots intelligently, his ability to play one-on-one in the post and roam as an active help side defender, and his ferocious desire for cleaning the glass make him elite on that end of the floor. With that package, who cares about his out of nowhere backstory (raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, limited professional career in Spain).
Unfortunately, he's now working to prevent a draft day slide after tanking a workout in Europe and laying low for almost the entire pre-draft process. Biyombo is now projected outside of the top 10 and potentially outside of the lottery, which would be borderline criminal given his upside and physical tools.
There's no question that it will take guts to draft him given the red flags about his age (he could be much older than he says he is) and his meteoric rise to the first round following the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. But this is a player about whom people will almost certainly look back in five years and say, "how in the heck did they pass on that guy in that draft?"
Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 6:56 pm
BYU guard Jimmer Fredette has reportedly been invited to the green room for the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Jimmer Fredette apparently isn't all hype.
The much ballyhooed guard was a national sensation as a senior at BYU, but many questioned how his game and physical tools would translate to the NBA level.
The early indications are that Fredette will translate at the lottery-pick level.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Fredette has been extended an invite to the green room for next week's 2011 NBA Draft.
Former Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette has been invited to the famed green room for the 2011 NBA Draft, which is scheduled next Thursday in Newark, N.J.A green room invite isn't a total guarantee that you'll be picked in the first half of the first round, but those invites aren't handed out lightly.
This news will certainly fuel speculation as to where Fredette will land. Teams that have reported interest in him include the Sacramento Kings at No. 7, the Utah Jazz at No. 12, the Phoenix Suns at No. 13 and the Indiana Pacers at No. 15.
At this point, given all the buzz surrounding his draft workouts, it would be very difficult to see him falling past the Pacers, and the public pressure for the Jazz to take him at No. 12 is immense.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 3:36 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Sort of the great mystery in this year's draft class is the 6-9 forward from the Congo, Bismack Biyombo. His workouts have been so-so, but the talent is clearly there, which makes him one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft.
The natural current comparison is to that of the Thunder's Serge Ibaka, but many see Biyombo as an enforcer around the rim that will impact games like Ben Wallace did during the Pistons' title run.
Currently, our mock draft experts see Biyombo going somewhere between as high as No. 4 overall to the Cavs, to the last lottery pick at 14 to the Rockets.
Wherever he goes, most see Biyombo as a raw NBA talent that should be able to impact games defensively immeditately. It's just a matter of whether or not he's got any offensive upside.
Biyombo though, has set the bar high for himself. Very high. Via NBA.com:
Biyombo said he really loves the way Kevin Love rebounds and has studied his style closely. They have a similar frame as they aren't giants, but Biyombo has an edge in athleticism.
But will he lead the NBA in blocks? In rebounding? I hadn't heard, but is Dwight Howard retiring or something? Hard not to like the confidence of the young man though. Why not believe that you'll have that sort of impact in the league? What's the point of even competing if you don't think you can come in and be great?
Biyombo might need a little time, but he's got his mind set to leading the league in blocks and rebounds. Are you listening, lottery teams?
Posted on: June 17, 2011 1:23 am
Edited on: June 17, 2011 3:46 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
So the Cavs manage to hit the jackpot, win the lottery, and have a legitimate chance to start over. They've got a No.1 overall pick, the kind of asset that can become the next franchise player to lead a Cavalier rebirth, getting people excited about the team, taking them to the playoffs and eventually abandoning them leaving them crushed on national television.
Okay, that sounded mean. The point I'm trying to make, dear Ohioans, is that there's no way you get LeBron'd again. It was a once-in-a-lifetime screw-job and if Irving works out ability-wise, you don't have to worry about the utter demolition again thanks to ego and hubris. Now all you have to worry about is whether Kyrie Irving really is a franchise player.
At some point the overall diminished value of the draft started to have a weird effect on Irving's value. Despite the fact that Irving has been considered the top overall prospect since last summer when he blew doors off hinges in summer exhibitions, the fact that so many top players dropped out before next week's draft has somehow left Irving being considered less than other top picks.
The doubt isn't completely without merit. After all, Irving did miss most of his freshman year with an injury before returning for the NCAA tournament. If you don't think that can be a bad omen, please find the nearest Portland Trail Blazer Fan Support Group and sit in for a session. ESPN recently noted that Irving's assists decreased and turnovers increased in his latter games versus his earlier outings.
But given the context of Irving's games in terms of increased intensity on little to no practice and integration back into the team from injury, you have to look beyond just the metrics and more into the play style and approach. And both of those elements support the idea that Irving's going to be incredibly successful and well worth that Cavs pick.
Comparing a player to Chris Paul is pretty daring and will cause a great amount of "Whoa, ho, settle down there!" comments because, well, everyone freaks out if you qualitatively compare an unproven player to a player with high quantitative value. In other words, if you say that a patch of grass is like a $100 bill because they're both green, people freak out because the grass isn't worth the buck, despite that not being your point at all. You'll find the same phenomenon when you talk about LeBron James' post game, comparative religious philosophies and reality television shows.
But when you start to analyze Irving's game, you begin to figure out how those comparisons come about. Irving shows the smoothness of Paul's game, as well as the oh-so-rare established jumper entering the league. Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, all of the elite point guards of the last few years taken first at their position have lacked that jumper, with really only Stephen Curry a notable top point guard taken with the J already established. Irving on the other hand has a silk stroke but isn't just a shooter. He's got the playmaking ability. While he doesn't have Paul's vision (who does?), again, we're talking about qualitative ability, and Irving can play in CP3's role, even if he's not as incredible.
One of the minus points on Irving in comparison to Rose and the other Calipari star guards is Irving's limited athleticism. But really, it's only limited in comparison to those other super-freak athletes, and Irving has a shorter distance to go in terms of polish. While Irving doesn't have the straight-line speed of the other elite point guards, he does have great quickness which is just as valuable in the half-court set.
Beyond all this though, is an attitude that is key in establishing a franchise-player quality prospect. In the NCAA tournament, Irving had every reason to be passive, returning for the first time in months to an established team with more senior stars. Instead, Irving immediately gave the Blue Devils the necessary spark to make it as far as they did, even with Derrick Williams crashing the party (and making his own claim to that No.1 spot). Irving made plays at both ends, converting steals into scores and knocking down transition 3-pointers. (Imagine that, a point guard with range, in this day and age.)
The Cavaliers could use a player who doesn't have the kind of ego their last mega-star did. They could use a player who can make his teammates better without operating a frequency that makes him difficult to play with. They could use a player who can immediately act as a scoring threat and run the offense efficiently. Are Irving's turnovers a concern? They were a concern for all the great point guards in their first season (and continue to be for the MVP). They're a product of usage. And while Irving isn't the most pure of all point guards, he's still capable of running an offense. That's a different type of building block. Coaches constantly talk about consistency. Irving's curve for consistency is much shorter than other prototypes.
Maybe his highlight reel isn't as flashy, or his athleticism as knock-your-socks-off. But if we're examining talent and capability, Irving shows every sign of being the franchise player the Cavaliers need him to be. Now all they need is to take him. If they don't, with Minnesota committed to Ricky Rubio... chaos breaks out in the draft really quickly.
Irving began the year as the top overall pick in the mock drafts. When Thursday night rolls around, it should be his name said first, and the Cavs should feel good about trusting him with the wheel of the fortune-ravaged franchise.
Posted on: June 16, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 8:56 pm
Draft prospect Jeremy Tyler works out for the Portland Trail Blazers but has no idea who Nate McMillan is. Posted by Ben Golliver.
This is the most unintentionally hilarious exchange from an NBA pre-draft workout that you will ever see. Period.
Jeremy Tyler has had a whirlwind journey over the last few years, as he left high school early so that he could play professionally in Israel and Japan. Over the last few weeks, he's travelled cross country multiple times working out for teams, looking to boost his stock back up into the first round after he nearly fell off the map.
Apparently, all the world travelling and pre-draft workouts have left his head spinning.
Tyler was in Portland for a pre-draft workout with the Trail Blazers on Thursday and was asked an innocuous question about whether he had crossed paths with Blazers coach Nate McMillan over the years.
Tyler responded with a quizzical look, wracking his brain as he tried to untangle the query. "Nate McMillan," he said finally. "No ... What college is that?"
The answer drew dropped jaws and laughter from the assembled media, and Tyler was quickly reminded that McMillan was the coach of the Blazers. "Oh," Tyler then responded. "I'm tripping."
Here's video of the unbelievable exchange courtesy of YouTube user CSNNW.
McMillan attended the workout and met briefly with the players afterwards. As Tyler met with the media, McMillan was standing no more than 30 feet away.
Draft prospects generally go through extensive interview preparation and training prior to the pre-draft combine. This error is so basic, though, I'm not sure it even gets covered in those training sessions.
"Make sure you know the coach's name when you workout for his team. He might draft you. Also: No NBA head coach is a college." Do agents really need to remind players of that?
It's worth noting the interview was conducted after a lengthy workout that left him gasping for air and clutching his shorts near the end. Is fatigue a legitimate excuse here? Who knows. Let's just watch the video over and over and laugh without over-analyzing it.