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Basketball philosophy

33 pt corrections: Re-evaluating a few 2012 draft prospects

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English: French basketball player Evan Fournie...

English: French basketball player Evan Fournier Français : Le joueur de basket-ball français Evan Fournier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year’s draft was the first I used my signature talent grading system for. My rankings in June with them are largely irrelevant, both because I had just come up with the system and because I didn’t post numerical grades for players in it. So I made another just before preseason in October, with grades and a better grasp of my methodology.

I still have a few rankings I regret. I have little doubt about my theory itself or the framework, but just individual grading mistakes within my categories. Here are the players who’s grades look wrong in retrospect:

Andre Drummond

Then:

Physical impact talent: 10

Skill impact talent: 1

Feel for the Game: talent 3

Total grade: 14 (Bench player to Marginal starter talent grade)

Now:

Physical impact talent: 11

Skill impact talent: 5

Feel for the Game talent: 7

Total grade: 23 (Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent grade)

Analysis: My most glaring mistake. I graded Drummond as a Deandre Jordan or Samuel Dalembert, a superior athletic talent who lacked touch and natural instincts. This is simply wrong. One of the keys to Drummond’s great rookie season is fantastic touch around the basket and hands. He’s not a go-to creator in the post and lacks any range, but touch is a valuable skill at the 5. He’s also a smooth player offensively and plays with strong control defensively, understanding positioning well and not just using his athleticism.  Drummond’s talent scores are nearly identical to Dwight Howard’s.

In retrospect, Drummond’s touch and fluidity is evident in a video like this:

I blame my wrong grade of Drummond on not seeing the trees from the forest in regards to Drummond’s lack of college production. It’s why watching videos like the above can be as useful a tool as real games.

Harrison Barnes

Then:

Physical impact talent: 2

Skill impact talent: 8

Feel for the Game talent: 6

Total talent grade: 16 (Marginal Starter talent grade)

Now:

Physical impact talent: 6

Skill impact talent: 7

Feel for the Game talent: 9

Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent grade)

Analysis: This was simply a poor job done by me grading. Like Drummond, Barnes’ underwhelming college production colored my grades at the time. With his athleticism and size Barnes never deserved a physical impact grade that low, ballhandling limits his upside as a slasher but he’s still explosive enough to make plays attacking the rim and impact the game defensively physically. I also underplayed his feel for the game, Barnes’ smooth and natural game is what stands out most about him. However Barnes has not been as strong a shooter as I expected, albeit it’s common for rookies to take their time adjusting to the NBA 3pt line. With his athleticism, size, shooting and feel, Barnes’ is a terrific wing prospect with a lot of Luol Deng and Paul George in him.

Damian Lillard

Then:

Physical impact talent: 8

Skill impact talent: 8

Feel for the Game talent: 4

Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Now:

Physical impact talent: 7

Skill impact talent: 9

Feel for the Game talent: 8

Total talent grade: 24 (Perennial all-star talent grade)

Analysis: Lillard is a stud. He’s athletic enough to explode to the basket and strong enough to finish, is an elite perimeter shooting and creating talent and has a controlled, natural feel for the game. I blame my poor grading on a lack of good Weber St. footage and clips. Part of the reason I game Lillard a poor feel for the game score, is at the time he had been labelled a player with a shooting guard’s vision that may struggle to run an offense. Clearly this was incorrect.

Evan Fournier

Then:

Physical impact talent: 6

Skill impact talent: 4

Feel for the Game talent: 9

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Now:

Physical impact talent: 6

Skill impact talent: 8

Feel for the Game talent: 11

Total talent grade: 25 (Perennial all-star talent grade)

Analysis: This one I don’t blame myself a ton for. Fournier was not known as a perimeter shooter before the draft, that the one question mark in his game. With the Nuggets he’s been a monster perimeter bomber. Although the sample size is small so far to rely on the numbers alone, his form is obvious. I also underestimated just how incredible Fournier’s feel for the game is. He’s a magician out there, looking a lot like Manu. WIth his ability to attack the basket and shooting stroke, he’s star material and could be signature star the Nuggets lack.

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Written by jr.

April 11, 2013 at 1:27 am

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