A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2013 NBA Draft Big Board update – February 2013

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My prospect talent rankings midway through the college season. My talent grading system is based on 1/3 how much a player physically impacts the game, 1/3 his skill impacts the game and 1/3 his feel for the game, with each category being scored out of 11 and a maximum total of 33. I have slightly changed my grading method to where I only give grades of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 in each category, more specific grades than that are unnecessary and hard to grade with the uncertainty of college prospects. A more detailed (though slightly dated) description of my talent evaluation can be found here.

1. C Alex Len – 23 (Borderline perennial all-star talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 7, Skill impact talent grade: 9, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

A great bet on the offensive end due to his inside-outside skill and smooth feel. Has the length and athleticism to anchor a defense one day. Not a transcendent prospect, but a complete package at C.

2. PF Anthony Bennett – 23 (Borderline perennial all-star talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 7, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

Very impressive pound for pound talent for a PF. Explosiveness and strong enough to attack the basket, with the ability to step back and hit the perimeter shot to open his game. Great feel for the game, showing the craftiness and smoothness to adjust on the dribble. Has high potential in the post. Might be a 20/10 big man in the making.

3. PF Isaiah Austin – 23 (Borderline perennial all-star talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 5, Skill impact talent grade: 9, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

Elite combination of inside-outside perimeter skill and feel for a power forward prospect give him immense offensive talent. Doesn’t have the size or explosiveness to impact the game physically at an elite level, but has decent length. Can be one of the best offensive bigs in the league and is somewhat of a poor man’s Dirk.

4. SF Le’Bryan Nash – 23 (Borderline perennial all-star talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 9, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

A player who’s production in college makes it understandably uncertain whether he’ll reach his talent level and upside, but I believe that talent is enormous. Combination of elite speed/size for a SF, a high upside in skill level (as shown by his impressive post game and midrange shot for a 3) and an excellent, smooth feel for the game. At times looks like a lesser Carmelo Anthony. Trick with Nash is determining whether his lack of college production comes from him being enigmatic, or simply his game not fitting college.

5. C Rudy Gobert – 21 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 9, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

Very high shotblocking upside due to his all-time great 7’9 wingspan and is an excellent athlete for a C. Great hands leading to a supernaturally high FG% on his French team. Appears to be a high IQ, aware player. If he reaches his upside, could be Tyson Chandler-like on the offensive end while leading the league in blocks, which would make him a monster.

6. SG Ben McLemore – 21 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 5, Skill impact talent grade: 9, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

An incredible shooting talent, putting up elite numbers both from 3pt and FT% in college. Great athleticism, but lack of great ball-handling could prevent him from top notch slashing and physically impacting the game. Nice IQ, particularly moving off the ball. Needs to attack the basket to be an elite SG, but has a chance to be a true blue chip SG who fits in any lineup.

7. PG Marcus Smart – 21 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 7, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

Impressive mix of size and athleticism should help him penetrate and create plays in the NBA. Great vision and feel for the game for a PG. His upside depends on his shooting game. If he can hit the 3 consistently he’ll be the full package for a PG.

8. PF/C Cody Zeller – 21 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 5, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

High skill and feel should make him a go-to player offensively. Lack of strength and length is a problem on the defensive end, though Cody does have explosiveness. Most likely situation to me is that he ends up a team’s version of Greg Monroe, not a franchise player, but a rock solid offensive building block.

9. PF C.J. Leslie – 21 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 7, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

One of the best athletes in the draft, simply beautiful explosiveness for a 6’8+ power forward. Elite feel for the game, looks smooth and able to pick apart the space defenses give him offensively. Needs to improve his perimeter range and touch and will need to commit to playing PF inside SF, but has massive upside if it all comes together.

10.  PF Nerlens Noel – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 11, Skill impact talent grade: 3, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5)

An amazing athlete, with his explosiveness and length helping him put up freakish shotblocking numbers. Due to rarity of shotblocking at PF, could have historic physical impact on the game at the PF position. Lacks high end skill or feel. Raw outside of finishing shots around the basket in skill and while having decent defensive awareness, does not look smooth or natural offensively. Should have an impact career but don’t love him as a future star.

11.  C Jeff Withey – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 5, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

Underrated athleticism, can be legitimately explosive at times. I don’t expect his shotblocking to translate to the NBA without elite length. Has a growing offensive game including a midrange jump shot. His strength however is his tremendous IQ and awareness on the defensive end. While it’s high praise, his situation looks like a version of Joakim Noah coming out of Florida to me.

12.  SF Sergey Karasev – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 3, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

Not an elite athlete, but can occasionally get to the rim due to his excellent ballhandling. Having a great 3pt shooting season and is a perimeter shot creator. Very impressive IQ and feel for the game, has a great recognition of his teammates. Due to relative rarity of 3pt shooting SFs in a league increasingly embracing spacing from the position, I see Karasev being a long term starter and blue chip player at the position.

13.  SG/SF Jamaal Franklin – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 7, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

Excellent physical talent for a SG, with great size and explosiveness and the ballhandling to get to the basket. Inconsistent shooting, but has shown NCAA 3pt range and can get hot from outside. Good IQ and feel for the game, looking comfortable and smooth on both ends much of the time. If he can shoot well enough, good chance of starting in the NBA for a while.

14.  PG Trey Burke – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 3, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9)

Undersized and lacks explosiveness, but great ballhandling helps him get to the basket respectably, avoiding a rock bottom 1 in physical impact talent. Good outside shooter with the potential to be great, plus an excellent passer. His strength is his elite feel for the game and awareness, looking comfortable running an offense and keeping the pulse of his teammates. Depending on his shooting, has a nice shot at being a starting PG long term.

15.  SG Nick Johnson – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 5, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

An undersized SG, but one who makes up for it by playing way above the rim with his explosiveness and his tenacity. Improving outside shooter and shot creator. Nice feel for the game and craftiness off the dribble. In my opinion, has the talent to be a standout shooter/scorer in the NBA.

16.  SG C.J. McCollum – 19 (Blue Chip starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 3, Skill impact talent grade: 9, Feel for the Game talent: 7)

McCollum is an undersized SG, but is one of the best shooters in the draft and has a chance to be one of the best shooters in the NBA. Excellent shot creator for a guard. Because of a lack of size and elite athleticism will likely stick to the perimeter, unable to make an elite physical impact on the game by slashing to the basket. Feel for the Game appears to be very good and natural.

17.  C Willie Cauley-Stein – 17 (Borderline starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 9, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 3)

Excellent physical tools for a C, with both elite athleticism and length. Needs to develop physically but has a respectable frame. Can finish around the basket and shows flashes of offensive skill in the post. Has an underwhelming feel for the game, often looking raw and unnatural on both ends.

18.  SF Alex Poythress – 17 (Borderline starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 9, Skill impact talent grade: 3, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5)

Poythress has superb physical tools for a small forward, with a great mix of size and explosiveness allowing him to get to the rim and finish. His skill game is fairly raw, being able to hit spot up shots at times but not create his own shot. Has an average feel for the game and awareness of the game/teammates. May end up stuck between the SF and PF positions.

19.  PF James Michael McAdoo – 17 (Borderline starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 5, Skill impact talent grade: 5, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

James Michael McAdoo has impressive athleticism and strength for a power forward, but is short for the position which could hurt his ability to attack the rim and finish. He has very good touch around the basket but lacks consistent shooting range. His biggest strength is his feel for the game as a smooth, natural offensive player. He has the tools to be a solid but probably underwhelming power forward.

20.  PF Mike Moser – 17 (Borderline starter talent) (Physical impact talent grade: 3, Skill impact talent grade: 7, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7)

Impressive skill level for a power forward, with the ability to hit a perimeter shot and handle the ball well. Good feel for the game offensively, can make offense look natural. Biggest issue is being a very undersized PF will likely push him to the perimeter instead of letting him attack the rim and physically impact the game. May be pushed to the SF position.

Just missed: SG Archie Goodwin, SF Shabazz Muhammad, SF Otto Porter, PG Michael Carter-Williams, PF Kelly Olynyk

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Written by jr.

January 31, 2013 at 10:18 pm

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