Draft Day Approaches

Hello again, everyone! It is almost time again for the National Unintentional Comedy Night (also including some intentional comedy). It’s the NBA draft. Whether you’re rooting for ridiculous outfits (a certainty), crazy families and posses (a near certainty), incompetent team management (moment of silence for the departed David Kahn…and now a round of laughter), hilarious interviews with Euros or you’re interested in the next generation of NBA hoopsters, the NBA draft is sure to please.

In anticipation of the draft, and as a self-proclaimed college hoops expert, I am going to breakdown a few players that are in play for the Wolves as well as some others I either like or dislike. First, a few premises:

  1. I hate the Big East with particular vitriol for Georgetown and Syracuse. Thank you “Weak” Wes Johnson and Jonny Flynn. I don’t know why I hate Georgetown, I just do. Not much as these guys though.
  2. I am partial to players I have seen. Living in Tempe, AZ, I catch a lot of Pac 12 games in person, hence I probably have an admittedly inflated opinion of some of these guys.
  3. Basketball talent is more important than positional fit. Positional fit makes you wind up with Wes Johnson when DeMarcus Cousins is staring you in the face. Conversely, sometimes you’re KAHNNN-vinced that you can play players of a certain position together…and you get Jonny Flynn. One last tip of the hat to Kahn.
  4. Certain skills translate well (shooting, rebounding) to the NBA, while others do not. As such I value specific traits highly.
  5. This draft sucks. The players suck. I suck. You suck. Kahn sucks. There is just not much to work with aside from 2-3 players like McLemore and Noel.

Let’s get started…first a few guys I like (just in general, but I don’t think the Wolves will have a shot at). Also all stats are obtained through statsheet.com.

Ben McLemore – G – Kansas, RS-Fr.

Played on an upperclassmen dominated team, so sometimes he struggled to assert himself, but he was the best player on his team when the mojo was working. Had 11 games of 20+ points with 3 games of 30+, with all but one of these games coming against BCS conference competition. If we was hanging big scoring numbers it was because he was casting threes, where he shot 42% on the year from deep. NBAdraft.net compares him to Ray Allen (high praise). Also 87% from the FT line. Solid, not elite size.

I have some concerns about his ability to create his own shot (mostly catch and shoot from 3), so he will need to be a 2nd or 3rd wheel at least to start. More worrying is his sometimes startling tendency to drift out of games. Specifically there was a game KU won in OT and scored 108 points. McLemore played 36 minutes and scored only 7 points. This can be forgiven, but he didn’t contribute much else in terms of rebounds/assists.

Verdict: I think he could have a career along the lines of Joe Johnson as a best case scenario. At minimum he can be a quality shooter off the bench for 10 plus years. Well worth a top 3 pick in this watered down draft. No way he lasts for the Wolves barring a trade (highly unlikely in my esteemed opinion). He would look dandy in wolves duds.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – G – Georgia, So.

A favorite of a certain M. Reynolds, KCP certainly seems to fit the NBA 2-guard bill to me. He languished in obscurity at football powerhouse Georgia, but put up reasonable numbers on a team with few other options. Never scored less than double digits in any game his sophomore year. I think he could score and contribute, but I also think he could be Nick Young. However, he made substantial strides between his freshman and sophomore year which I think indicates physical maturation and work ethic. He improved in every statistical category, sometimes substantially.

 

Season

GP

MPG

PPG

FG%

3FG%

FT%

APG

RPG

BPG

SPG

2012-13

32

33.9

18.5

43.3

37.3

79.9

1.8

7.1

0.5

2.0

2011-12

32

32.1

13.2

39.6

30.4

65.4

1.2

5.2

0.3

1.8

 

 

I really like rebounding from the guard spot. 7 boards a game is nothing to sneeze at. Similar to McLemore if he finds a team with a good facilitator he will mature quickly and contribute to the cause. Lacking the creator, he might be able to be a scorer from the bench on the second unit. Seems to be the case with many players.

Verdict: NBAdraft.net says his comparison is Kerry Kittles. There is no possible way I can do better than that comparison. Sometimes, you need to know when you’re beaten. Overall, KCP will contribute and possibly be a quality starter for a playoff team. If the wolves were to pounce at 9, I don’t think there can be much for qualms. I think he can play, which is more than can be said for a lot of players in this draft.

Player I dislike

Otto Porter, Jr. – F – Georgetown – So.

GOOD GOD, THAT’S WES JOHNSONS THEME MUSIC!!!!

Ahhhhhh, yes friends. Big East? Check. Player of the Year in conference? Absolutely. Massive failure in NCAAs? Without a doubt! He’s probably receiving more hype than our beloved Wesley did, but he certainly should not be. They’re the same player. They nearly have the same body too (Porter 6-8, 205lbs, Wes 6-7, 205lbs). However, you can spell Otto the same forward and backwards, which you clearly cannot with Wes.

Wes Johnson 2009-10:

 

Season

GP

MPG

PPG

FG%

3FG%

FT%

APG

RPG

BPG

SPG

2009-10

35

35.0

16.5

50.2

41.5

77.2

2.2

8.5

1.8

1.7

 

 

Otto Porter 2012-13

 

Season

GP

MPG

PPG

FG%

3FG%

FT%

APG

RPG

BPG

SPG

2012-13

31

35.4

16.2

48.0

42.2

77.7

2.7

7.5

0.9

1.8

 

 

Porter lacks elite athleticism and simply cannot create his own shot against a quality defense. He looked completely out of sorts against the legendary Florida Gulf Coast powerhouse as the Hoyas were completely run out of the gym. I am pretty sure not a single one of the FGCU players will be selected at the draft, so it is alarming to me that he was so thoroughly outclassed. NBAdraft.net states he gets a lot of points from long distance 2’s and some threes. If he does not consistently hit NBA threes he will be worthless offensively. He has no post-up game and is only a OK rebounder, minimizing garbage buckets. I think he will be able to guard his position in the NBA, but only at a league average level. He might be able to gather additional value if he can play the small-4 position, where most teams in the league couldn’t truly expose him defensively, but he will never score the ball effectively on a consistent basis.

Verdict: 15% better than Wuss Johnson. He just can’t possibly be worse than Wuss. He is substantially younger and could well put some lbs on his frame, but I just can’t see him doing anything noteworthy. He doesn’t have a discernable elite still. He’s good at most things, but what can he hang his hat on? I am firm believer you need at least one elite skill to be a decent NBA player. I just don’t see it with this guy.

All for now….Will try to crank out a part 2 of this bad boy in the coming days to discuss some more guys I like and a guy or two worth a second round flyer.

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