Tag:NBA draft
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:21 pm
 

Hunter's statements ring in Freshmen ears

NBA labor dispute could have impacts not only on NBA players but freshmen headed for one-and-done status.
Posted by Matt Moore

Kyrie Irving was busy tearing up teams on Duke's way to dominating the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Terrence Jones was making a name for himself in Maui. Josh Selby was continuing his ineligibility thanks to Team Melo. Harrison Barnes was struggling to find himself, and Enes Kanter, well, he wasn't doing anything much at all.

The country's best freshmen draft prospects were a little distracted last week when NBA Union head Billy Hunter said he was 99% sure there would be a lockout next season . But don't think the comments didn't trickle their way into the youngsters' ears at some point later, along with Ken Berger's report of hope emerging in the talks just as Hunter talks doom and gloom.

You're going to hear a lot from these kids as the year goes on about how they're not paying attention to the CBA talks. You're going to hear about how they are just focused on their team and trying to win now, for their teammates. And everything you hear is ignoring the reality which is that the current tensions between the owners group and the union has to have these standout freshmen concerned.

The freshmen have a bigger decision because "one-and-done" players are usually the most talented and have the best chance of getting drafted as high as possible. There are certainly exceptions (Evan Turner and Blake Griffin are two that spring immediately to mind). But "one-and-done" has come to mean high profile draft pick in recent years and next year's projected draft class is chock full of them. Five of the top six players projected in the 2011 class by Draft Express are freshmen (though it's hard to argue Enes Kanter is a freshman anywhere at this point).

A lockout means leaving college puts them in a precarious position financially should they elect to jump to the draft this summer. Staying in college increases the odds of injury, their stock dropping, or other forces beyond their control impacting the number of millions they're able to collect when they decide to become a professional.

So it's kind of a big decision.

The question is if the concerns surrounding a lockout for the freshmen will be enough to keep them at their schools next year. If they do talk kids off the professional highwire ledge, it could have huge impacts on next year's college basketball season. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com isn't convinced the lockout concerns will freeze the freshmen, because they'll have other options to make some dough before their contract dough gets sorted out. But if they do, it'll make for a stellar college basketball season in 2011-2012. As Parrish told F&R:

"I'm not certain a lockout would force everybody back to college the way some suspect because the elite guys, at the very least, will still have options. A freshman coming off a great season and deep run in the NCAA tournament -- Jared Sullinger? Kyrie Irving? Terrence Jones? -- might be high-profile enough at that point to secure endorsements that can't be turned away, or maybe a European club offers big money to bring a 'name' over. Beyond that, academics could always force the hand of a few who never intended to be in school more than a year. So we shall see. But if a lockout comes and guys subsequently decide it's to their benefit to just remain in college, wow, we could be in for a great 2011-12 season of college hoops.

Imagine Kentucky adding Mike Gilchrist, Anthony Jones and Marquise Teague to Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. Or Duke operating with Kyrie Irving, Quinn Cook and Austin Rivers. Or Baylor putting Quincy Miller beside Perry Jones. Or Texas with Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Myck Kabongo? Or Memphis returning every relevant player from a team currently ranked 14th, and then tossing Adonis Thomas into the mix.

Again, I'm not sure a lockout will create all or even any of this because returning to school wouldn't be the lone option for the current crop of freshmen, especially the ones who spend March turning into household names. But are the possibilities fun to consider? Yes, absolutely."

The union naturally isn't concerned with players who aren't in the league, beyond some preliminary talks about eliminating the age restriction. They've got bigger concerns for established veterans and trying to fend off the losses in revenue share being discussed. (Read more about how the union is softening on that stance in Ken Berger's column here.) But this situation goes to show how massive this lockout situation is. It will hold an impact on the NBA which is enjoyed success it hasn't seen since Jordan retired (the second time), players, owners, agents, and even those youngsters making a name for themselves in front of the student bodies.

It's just another example of a world that could be dramatically altered not by play on the hardwood, but by talks held in boardrooms over the next ten months.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:15 am
 

Shootaround 10.28.10: Manic Panic

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The NBA Draft is headed to... New Jersey? The League announced Wednesday that Newark's Prudential Center, home of the Nets this season, will also host the 2011 NBA Draft while Madison Square Garden is being renovated. Considering that many of the top players are unlikely to come out due to the NBA's potential lockout next season, Newark seems like an appropriate choice. Kidding, Newark! We love you!
  • Pacers coach Jim O'Brien is not really happy with the league's suspension process for drug violations. The team was without Brandon Rush last night when the Spurs wiped them off the map likea  coke line at Courtney Love's house in the mid-90's. O'Brien doesn't like the fact that the team isn't notified when a player has his first or second positive test, only being notified when the player is benched. On the one hand, his desire to help his players deal with their problems is admirable. On the other, you have to have some level of privacy for players with these issues (while monotoring the problems). It's a complicated issue, really.
  • So... Celtics fans aren't all brushing off that loss to the Cavs last night. Yikes. Some aren't as worried . I tend to side with the latter group. It's a road game on a back to back against an emotional team with an emotional crowd and you have a team of hyper-confident veterans that would look past a game like this. Just needs salt for a perfect disaster recipe.


Posted on: July 13, 2010 12:36 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Xavier Henry is not playing Summer League

Posted by Matt Moore

Summer League is more important for rookies than is usually let on. It's the first look a coach gets at a player running in their system, playing for their team, playing among other NBA athletes. But Xavier Henry will not be getting that experience, as his agent Arn Tellem, has yet to hammer out an agreement with the Grizzlies on the 12th overall pick, despite the existence of a rookie pay scale specifically designed to keep these types of things quick and easy. Tellem has instructed Henry to miss Summer League until the issues are resolved.

It's not the end-all, be-all, after-all, only four players in heavy rotation on the Grizzlies are playing in Summer League, even though that's higher than most teams. Working with O.J. Mayo at point would have been a nice adjustment for Henry and the club as well, who needs Mayo to run the point well. Or really anyone to run the point well. Basically, any scenario in which Mike Conley spends less time on the floor dribbling a basketball is a good thing. But with 8 turnovers in last night's game , that's not looking promising either.

Pretty typical for the Grizzlies. One step forward, one step back.

(H/T: Straight Outta Vancouver )



Posted on: July 12, 2010 6:14 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 6:57 pm
 

John Wall's debut: More than a stat sheet

Posted by Matt Moore

We marvel at the attention brought upon LeBron James in the past two weeks and especially following last Thursday night, but the seeds of NBA star hyper-attention are sowed in more than just the top rung. Nowhere is this more evident this week than in Las Vegas, where at NBA Summer League Sunday night, John Wall made his professional preseason debut with the Washington Wizards. Media attention was in a frenzy, the gaggle three times as big as it was for any other player. Wall wanted the attention and spotlight that comes with a #1 overall pick, he's got it.

And his game? Lots to discuss , both ways. 28 points, 8 assists... and 8 turnovers. Wall was overly excited, nervous, and it showed. He pushed the ball too much and occasionally whipped passes to no one in particular. He also had his jumper going, which had been a major concern for him in pre-draft talks. The release was sharp and on-target, his follow-through right. He had strong passes to teammates and ran the offense, including several alley-oops to JaVale McGee. It was a good debut, with some things to work on.

But the most important part of the night? The most impressive thing Wall did had nothing to do with ball-handling, shot-release, vision, athelticism, or speed (but Lord Almighty, is he fast). It was something outlined by Wizards blog Truth About It's Kyle Weidie today :

He wasn’t just vocal on both ends of the floor in his Summer League debut, an 84-79 Wizards win over the Warriors, he was loud. If his teammates don’t hear his instruction, it’s not his fault. They aren’t paying attention. And he doesn’t just use his vocal chords, pointing to talk is just as much a part of Wall’s game as that extra gear of speed he has over all others on the court.

Want more talking and leadership? When out of the game, Wall placed himself toward the front of the bench, talking with assistant coach Ryan Saunders, talking to his teammates, yelling out instruction toward the floor. Over the course of the game, you’re looking at 30 minutes if you total the amount of time Wall spent talking with Sam Cassell, who is heading the Summer League coaching staff for the Wizards. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point, Sam I Am is always in Wall’s ear and Wall is always listening.

 

That's exactly what you want out of your #1 overall pick. Focused intensity, determined leadership, and coachability. Wall is already showing a lot of what the Wizards need, what they've needed for years. The predictable next question?

How's Gilbert Arenas going to react to this rookie taking charge?

But there's time for that. For now, everyone can watch what is looking like a phenomenal prospect already hitting the ground running. His passes aren't always on target, but his focus is. The ability is there. The drive is there. All that's needed now is time.

Show time.

 
 
 
 
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