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Posts Tagged ‘Draft

Is Nik Stauskas a better NBA prospect than Andrew Wiggins?

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Andrew Wiggins has had a fine freshman season at Kansas, however Michigan’s Nik Stauskas has been the more dominant Canadian wing.

Yet this does not differ many from calling Wiggins the best long term prospect. Of course, there has been a long list of dominant college players who couldn’t repeat it in the pros. While on the other end, more enigmatic college players who went on to be stars. The lessons learned of Thomas Robinson getting picked ahead of Andre Drummond won’t be forgotten soon. My position is talent is the great determiner of who translates to the NBA.

But I am not convinced Wiggins is more talented than Stauskas. In fact I more strongly feel the opposite is true.

I have discussed numerous times on this blog the overlap between ballhandling and athleticism on the offensive end. Athleticism helps a player gain freedom of movement on the court. Usually most importantly, driving past defenders into the paint to gain efficient shots, draw fouls and collapse the defense. Ballhandling also helps this freedom of movement and driving game. There are other values to athleticism like finishing in the paint or defending and other values to ballhandling like taking care of the ball, however the connection is strong enough for me to place athleticism and ballhandling in the same category in my talent grading system. When a player such as Harrison Barnes or Ben McLemore struggles to handle the ball, on the offensive end they take the features of less athletic players. That is, becoming jumpshot orientated instead of driving to the basket. The flipside is players like James Harden and Kyrie Irving having elite talent driving to the basket that exceeds their very good athleticism. Their ballhandling helps them play like they are elite athletes for their position.

Because of this, I am not convinced Wiggins is a better NBA slasher than Stauskas. Wiggins is an elite athlete, but appears to be a flawed ballhandler which can cause him to struggle to get by opponents in the halfcourt. Stauskas is a good if unspectacular athlete, showing the first step and speed to get to the basket. However he adds to this very strong ballhandling skills. Because of this he succeeds driving to the basket. This is why despite Andrew Wiggins greater athleticism, Wiggins’ average of 7.7 free throw attempts per 40 minutes is marginally ahead of Stauskas’ 7.2.

Wiggins’ physical gifts however do make him a higher upside defender. Wiggins has the lateral mobility, length and feel for the game to be one of the best wing defenders in the league. Stauskas is not known for his play on that end, but many young players struggle defensively for reasons beyond lacking the tools for it. He has years to learn to be respectable or even above average defensively.

Both Wiggins and Stauskas are among the more fluid and natural wing players in the NCAA. Both play under control and smoothly. I personally rate Stauskas feel for the game as slightly higher, having an advanced sense of craftiness and ability to change pace and adjust off the dribble.

Stauskas is the more reliable shooting prospect of the two. Hitting 46.2% from 3 on an excellent 6.7 3 point attempts per 40 minutes, he is one of the NCAA’s signature shooters. He shows ability to shoot off the dribble in addition to spotting up. Stauskas also has a free throw percentage of 80.0% after 84.3% last year, which I consider as strong an indicator as NCAA 3 point shooting for perimeter mechanics translating to the pros. Finally with 4.4 assists per 40 minutes Stauskas has strong passing skills for a 2/3.

Wiggins is not a slouch as a shooter. At 36.6% from 3 on 4.5 3pt attempts per 40 minutes and 77.9% from the FT line, it is enough to have a high upside as a shooter. However, there is a sense of unpredictability with a shooter with Wiggins’ numbers. He could turn into a great shooter or he could turn into a mediocre one. The odds of Wiggins turning into a great shooter could be the same as Stauskas turning into an elite shooter. In addition to the passing I see reason to rate Stauskas talent as higher in this category, but Wiggins has shown enough to be promising from the outside.

Therefore here are my talent grades for Andrew Wiggins and Nik Stauskas with these grades

11: Transcendent, 10: Incredible 9: Elite, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Decent, 5: Average, 4: Lacking, 3: Weak, 2: Very poor, 1: Awful

What the overall grades mean:

25+: Perennial all-star talent, 23-24: Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent, 19-22: Blue Chip starter talent, 17-18: Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent, 14-16: Rotation player talent, 12-13: Deep bench to rotation player talent, 11 or lower: Deep bench player talent

Andrew Wiggins

Physical impact (Athleticism, ballhandling, size) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game (Fluidity, change of pace, adjustment) talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Nik Stauskas

Physical impact (Athleticism, ballhandling, size) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 8 / Great

Feel for the Game (Fluidity, change of pace, adjustment) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Total talent grade: 24 (Blue Chip starter to perennial all-star talent grade)

Andrew Wiggins is a very good wing prospect. I expect him to be a great defender in the pros, but I am not positive about his offensive game. The way players like Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala has helped teams win is what I would predict for Wiggins unless he becomes a dominant outside shooter.

Stauskas rates higher in my system. His ability to drive when added to perimeter shooting and feel, could make him a deadly all around force on the wing. I believe Stauskas can be the next James Harden or Manu Ginobili and I am leaning towards rating him 1st overall on my draft board.

Written by jr.

January 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm

The curious case of Kenny Kadji

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I didn’t find it a huge surprise when Kenny Kadji wasn’t drafted last night. Unlike Scott Machado last year, Kadji was not mocked often in the top 60.

So Julien, how can you justify putting an undrafted player 2nd on your big board?

Why Kadji didn’t get drafted is relatively straight forward. He’s 25 and last year he put up 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game, for a 21.8 PER, comparatively meek for college prospects. I assume most teams figured a 25 year old college player must be dominant at that age to warrant consideration.

The Kadji scenario is interesting because it gets to the heart of talent vs production in the NCAA. Kadji is nearly a man without weaknesses as a talent, even by more traditional methods than mine of evaluating it. Size and length is typically obsessed over by teams and the fans/media and Kadji checks out fine there, as a 6’10 PF with a long 7’3 wingspan, with a strong frame weighing at 242. Kadji is also a good athlete, showing burst attacking the rim off the dribble finishing strong above the rim with multiple highlight reel dunks. For physical tools, Kadji clearly looks the NBA part. His skill game is even better for a big. Taking 3.7 3pters a game at 35.1%, his range gives him a clear rare skill talent for a 6’10+ PF/C. His skill also didn’t end there, also showing ability creating in the post once establishing position with his body vs younger opponents. Along with that, he had ballhandling helping him get to the basket in the halfcourt and even running a few coast to coast fastbreaks as well. Finally, Kadji also has a good IQ, with smooth instincts and defensive rotations and seemingly a high character.

With physical tools up to the part, skill and IQ, the talent is quite clear for me. Other stretch bigs like Grant Jerrett, Ryan Kelly, Erik Murphy and Deshaun Thomas were drafted last night with subpar physical tools, just because of their shooting skill. So a PF who also had physical tools, should’ve looked pretty good. If removing the age and statistics, there’s little in terms of physical talents, skills or instincts to pick at with Kadji.

Compare Kadji to 4th overall pick Cody Zeller in tool by tool. Cody is two inches taller as a true 7 footer in shoes, but his 6’10 wingspan is a full 5 inches shorter than Kadji’s. Kadji’s body is also more physically developed. Kadji to me showed more athletic burst attacking the basket and playing above it. Zeller had an outstanding combine athletically, but most understand that is inferior to measuring in-game athleticism, where Zeller is just decent. Kadji has a more developed skill game than Zeller, with 3 point range to Zeller’s mostly just finishing around the rim. Kadji has no worse of instincts than Zeller. As a whole I can’t see much of an argument for more pure talent in Zeller than Kadji. I’d give the edge to Kadji as the wider, longer, more athletic and more skilled big.

What it really comes down to is production. Zeller came into the NCAA as a 19 year old freshman already breaking 30 PER, superstar production. Kadji is a worse player as a 25 year old than Zeller was at a 19 year old, so the logic is Kadji must be worse.

To me, college is a different game. Aside from rule changes like the longer shotclock and no 3 in the key, the systems and strategies are vastly different. Skillsets are used differently in college than the NBA. The distribution of who has a high usage is unrecognizable. It’s clear that translating production from the NCAA to the NBA is a haphazard game at best. The biggest reason why is the game is just too different and requires too different areas of aptitude.

I don’t know why Kadji didn’t dominate college as a 25 year old. But I’m not going to hold it against him, or judge him as a lesser talent for it. Consider this theory: Because he barely played his first two seasons and then sat out a year to transfer, before his last two breakout ones at Miami, Kadji has only played 2395 minutes in college total. How does that compare to other 1st round bigs? Zeller has 2087 in his 2 years at Indiana, Jeff Withey played 2319 over 4 years at Kansas, Kelly Olynyk played 1735 at Gonzaga, Gorgui Dieng played 2789 over 3 years at Louisville, Alex Len played 1470. Some older prospects like Brandon Davies and Richard Howell have played over 3000 minutes in college. I’d also assume that with the potential exception of Dieng, Kadji played less valuable developmental minutes before his college career than any of these players, considering he didn’t come to the US from Cameroon until 20. Kadji has also shown that his age doesn’t limit his development. He’s made great strides a shooter in his later years, both at the 3pt line and from FT. Is it possible that age is a red herring and what really matters for development is minutes and reps?

Perhaps the NBA will get this right. Maybe he won’t be the capable shooter I expect, or he won’t have the ability to attack the basket off the dribble, or make other physical-orientated plays, instead settling as a pure stretch big. Perhaps his instincts are more flawed than I believe. Maybe there’s something wrong Kadji’s motor or confidence that leads to his lack of production.

But for the most part, I believe in talent – and that a big, strong PF who can shoot from the rim, handle and play in the post, has the athleticism to drive and play above the rim – and who has good instincts and feel, has to the tools to not only stick in the NBA, but start and stand out. I believe success in the NBA is relatively simple, you need physical tools, skills and instincts in some combination. Usually it’s difficult for most to evaluate which strengths in those areas cover up weaknesses, but for a player where everything looks like a strength and nothing looks like a clear weakness, it’s not hard to see success. The Cavaliers picked up Kadji early this morning and combined with Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev, I believe they may have found 3 more important prospects than either Dion Waiters or Tristan Thompson going forward, presuming they don’t pull a Danny Green on Kadji by cutting him too early.

Written by jr.

June 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Why PF Anthony Bennett is my #1 ranked 2013 NBA draft prospect

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Choosing the top prospect for this year’s draft hasn’t been any easier for me than everyone else. However I am feeling stronger and stronger about who my top graded prospect is: UNLV PF Anthony Bennett.

Bennett is a unique combination of physical tools, skills and instincts. An area he has dynamic potential in, is as a slasher. With both a strong first step and an impressive ballhandling base, he has the tools to blow by defenders to the rim off the dribble. Once there, he has great strength, vertical explosiveness and a long wingspan to finish. Although Bennett is 6’8, short for a PF – I believe his athleticism, strength and wingspan shouldn’t prevent his ability to finish above the rim and through contact. On the defensive end he isn’t expected to be a shotblocker, but most PFs aren’t. Because of his speed and power, I see Bennett’s talent in the area of physically impacting the game, as clearly above average.

He also has a strong feel for the game. Bennett is a smooth, natural and fluid offensive player who shows the ability to adjust and craftiness off the dribble. He plays at an easy pace. Bennett needs to improve on the defensive end, but his offensive instincts, I expect Bennett’s defensive problems come from youth and inexperience. With his feel for the game along with his athleticism and wingspan, I see little reason to doubt Bennett can be respectable defensively. On the glass he has the body, instincts and college production to average over 9 or 10 rebounds a game in the NBA.

What really excites me about Bennett however, is his skill impact game. For a freshman big, Bennett has impressive shooting range out to the NCAA 3pt line and can create jumpshots off the dribble like a guard. This indicates he has the potential to be an NBA 3pt shooter. In addition to this, Bennett’s freakishly strong frame, low center of gravity and touch around the basket, make him a perfect fit to add a post game in the NBA with the body to hold position and skill to finish. If he had either an NBA 3 or a post game, he’d be a high end skill player for a PF. With both it would potentially make him the most skilled PF in the league. Because of his shooting ability for a young player and post upside, Bennett’s skill game has the upside to be one of the best for his position in the league.

Although my prospect grading system is based on pure talent and not college production, it also doesn’t hurt that Bennett produced at an elite level as a freshman (Per 40 minutes: 22.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, .60 TS%, 27.6 PER). These numbers are especially impressive once considering it came in spite of UNLV’s system and teammates, dominated by shot jacking perimeter guards, instead of a system clearly designed to run plays for Bennett. There have been many talented big men whose production slipped through the cracks in college because of a game suiting perimeter players more, the recipe for Bennett to be the latest of these misused college bigs were there, but in the face of this he still produced at a rare level for a freshman PF.

Here are my talent grades for Bennett using my 3 categories Physical Impact, Skill Impact (Shoot, post, pass) and Feel for the Game under this rubric:

11: Transcendent, 10: Incredible 9: Elite, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Decent, 5: Average, 4: Lacking, 3: Weak, 2: Very poor, 1: Awful

What the overall grades mean:

25+: Perennial all-star talent, 23-24: Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent, 19-22: Blue Chip starter talent, 17-18: Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent, 14-16: Rotation player talent, 12-13: Deep bench to rotation player talent, 11 or lower: Deep bench player talent

Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great

Bennett grades well here, due to his upside as an explosive, face-up slasher, with the length and strength to finish at the basket.

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 9 / Elite

His best category, due to both shooting range and the tools to be a post player. If everything goes right, regrading this to a 10 or 11 would be conceivable. On the other hand, he could also be only a solid midrange shooter, instead of a 3pt or post player, in which case 7 or 8 would be a more accurate grade.

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

An 8 or 9 feels right here. Bennett’s fluidity and natural feel to his game, is a clear strength.

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

If all goes right, Bennett would have the ability to do all of attack the basket off the dribble, shoot the ball  on the perimeter or score in the post, with the feel for the game to mix it all together. With all these tools, he’d likely be one of the game’s best offensive frontcourt players and a star. There are some questions about whether he’ll prefer to play SF, but I believe Bennett neither has the lateral quickness or ballhandling to play the position, which should rule out that possibility quickly, perhaps to the benefit of his career. Bennett’s grade does not have a huge lead over other prospects near the top of my board like Kelly Olynyk, Gorgui Dieng, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, or Alex Len, but I expect to hold as the top grade until the June draft. I believe Bennett would likely be picked 1st overall if he had been 6’10 instead of 6’8. Due to not only his strength, wingspan and athleticism, but his skill and feel, I see his lack of height as only preventing an even higher upside, not a weakness that will prevent him from dynamic upside. From the last 5 drafts (2009-2013) Bennett is one of 8 players who’s talent I presently grade a 25 or higher (my highest category, “Perennial all-star talent grade”), along with James Harden (2009), Blake Griffin (2009), Paul George (2010), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Davis (2012), Jeremy Lamb (2012), Evan Fournier (2012). I see Bennett as the most likely candidate to the be star this draft is looking for.

Written by jr.

April 27, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Basketball, NBA Draft

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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

Written by jr.

January 31, 2013 at 10:18 pm

33pt Thursday – Final predictions for 2012-2013 rookies

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This year was the first time I used the 33pt method to evaluate draft prospects. The real test of this metric and what would gain it respect is if it will predict well. Although I posted a Big Board in June, I have a few issues letting that list stand. One is that was made very shortly after I had come up with the 33pt idea and before I had hashed out my specific criteria for the scores – as a result of the changes to my criteria, a few players’ scores and rankings have changed. Secondly, in that iteration of my big board, I didn’t lay out the specific scores for players, merely the rankings. Thus before the preseason started I wanted to make a revised post of my official predictions for 2012-2013 rookies using this metric, to test it when the players eventually hit the floor. I listed all of the 1st round picks, in addition to any significantly relevant picks outside of the 1st round. I also included the 2011 draft picks that will be rookies this year.

Superstar scores

Anthony Davis

Physical: 11, Skill: 7, Feel for the Game: 10

Total: 28

Davis looks even better than I thought in June, because I realized how rare elite shotblocking is at the 4 position – with his offensive explosiveness as well, Davis may in fact be one of the highest scoring physical talents at PF the NBA has seen. He has a tremendous feel and a skill level that should be somewhere between good and great for a PF.

Jeremy Lamb

Physical: 6

Skill: 9

Feel for the Game: 11

Total: 26

Lamb looks a lot like a SG version of Kevin Durant to me. He has an otherworldly feel for the game, has a tremendous array of shots and skills off the dribble, and has an elite first step and great size to finish at the rim.

All-star scores Read the rest of this entry »

Final 2012 NBA Draft Big Board (June 26th, 2012)

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This is my final big board for prospects in the 2012 NBA Draft.

The reason my lists may look surprisingly different from the ESPN, etc. lists is the following reason: I believe there is an inefficiency in the draft process related to physical tools being vastly over-weighted compared to skill and what is commonly called “feel for the game”, which is what players have when they have a natural feel for the position and the spatial awareness to be in control of where they are in relation to the other 9 players on the court. In other sports like hockey, the word “vision” also refers to this. It seems to me like the draft process orders players’ talent and upside by roughly 65-70% physical tools, 20-25% skill, and 5-10% feel for the game. My hypothesis based on observing draft results of prospects is that that giving a one third or 33% weighting to each category is a more accurate weighting. I looked closely at each player’s talent in the categories (even numerically writing them down at one point) to best as I can rank the best combinations. Thus the order I came up with may seem extremely divergent to the other big boards you will see, but I am going to trust my method here.

Another thing to remember about my order, is that this is a list with tremendous depth and not a lot of top-heavy talent in terms of star talents from 2 and down. It may seem shocking to see Thomas Robinson ranked as low as 21st, but if I had to predict a PER for him, it’d be about 15 – which is still enough for a long time contributing career. In last year’s draft he may very well have ranked top 7-10. There is value in drafting what I expect him to be, an ideal 3rd big man who rebounds and provides some athletic energy to a game. It’s just I see many relevant NBA players out of this draft.

With each player I have included stylistic similarity (simply measuring who the prospect will resemble aesthetically), statistical similarity (strictly showing what numbers I expect him to put up),and projection of whether the player will be a superstar, all-star, borderline all-star, starter, borderline starter, or bench player.

My rankings:

1. PF Anthony Davis – The value of getting a potential defensive player of the year candidate is immense. He not only has elite shotblocking length and mobility, but a supreme sense of the court and closing off angles against the opposition defensively. He may even have top 3 offensive upside in the draft – He has great hands, timing, an elite first steps and an early base of a shooting and post game. I see him landing somewhere between perennial all-star and superstar.

Stylistic similarity: Chris Bosh meets Tim Duncan

Statistical similarity: Dwight Howard

Projection: Superstar

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Written by jr.

June 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Posted in NBA Draft

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Video Blog #1 – A few ideas to prevent tanking in the NBA

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My first video blog. I enjoyed the process so I will try to post a bit every week or two if I can. Look for draft videos and playoff analysis in the upcoming weeks, but this week’s topic is related to 3 ideas to fix the lottery enough to prevent tanking. All are related to the idea of “diluting the reward” and finding a middle ground between the current system which most agree benefits losing teams too much and the popular idea of making all 14 teams have equal lottery odds, which is too much in the other direction and doesn’t benefit enough the teams who need it the most. The key is to change but not wipe out the present system.

– Julien

Written by jr.

May 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm