The Grand National Championships

June 24, 2010

The Milwaukee Bucks select (Tiny Gallon PF-Oklahoma)

There are two scenarios about how this pick is going to go down. He’s either going to have a chip on his shoulder about falling to pick 47 and he’s gonna come into the league ready to kill some suckers. He’s big and powerful with a deft touch in the paint. They say he can grow up to be a rich man’s Big Baby.

Or? He’s gonna go into camp at about 330. He’s gonna get beaten defensively by Larry Sanders. And he’s going to be released by 2012.

Like I said earlier. This is what the Bucks could afford to do this year. Take a flier on a high-upside guy. No problem with it.

The Milwaukee Bucks select (Jerome Jordan C-Tulsa)

I’ll tell you what? If he plays as well defensively as he did as a sophomore? He’ll become overpaid on his second contract. His offensive game is serviceable. He developed a decent range from 12-15 feet. That being said?

He’s a 24 year old and he’s kind of soft. Also, they passed on Paulo Prestes. You could have grabbed Alabi at 47 if you were so insistent on getting a center for right now.

As a pro? I think he’ll be serviceable. I’m not sure that he’ll be anything more than that. .

The Milwaukee Bucks select (Darrington Hobson-SF New Mexico)

Not thrilled, but not terribly upset. Hobson’s not an athlete. But he’s a versatile sort. He’ll give you a little bit in a lot of areas. His energy will generate a decent amount of rebound, as well as a combined 2 or 3 steals and blocks. His stride allows him to beat defenders off the dribble. And if he works on his shot? He’ll be deadly. Because he’s a fine point forward.

He’s a good off-the-bench addition. I feel like he would have been there at 44 or 47 though.

Like I said. I could be very wrong or very right about him..

So what do I want from the Bucks?

In a nutshell? Best player available. Expanding on that, the Bucks are not without needs and desires. But here’s the tree things I want the Bucks to do.

1) Get a good power forward.

The dream scenario is that Patrick Patterson falls to 15. Will it happen? Maybe. But it’s not likely. The possibilities that will likely be there preclude Patterson or Cole Aldrich. But the Bucks would be better served with a great four than an potentially good five. There are serviceable 2nd round fives this year.

If Larry Sanders is available? I would be thrilled. Dude gets stronger and he’s going to be a disruptive force. I can;t talk myself into Orton or Whiteside. Upside guys who fall to this spot rarely pan out.

But with guys like Craig Brackins and Jarvis Vanardo in round two? I can get behind an other option. Just so long as it’s not a small forward who has the perceived value of 10-20. They all suck if they’re not named Daimon James.

So suffice it to say? Patterson is the dream scenario. A more realistic scenario would be Larry Sanders or Xavier Henry. No one would say James Anderson, but I could get behind that as a pick.

2) Get a foreign dude.

I was misinformed. The #2 that’s going to Jersey for CDR doesn’t come due until 2012. So basically, the Bucks may have a roster space issue. Assume that Salmons, Ivey, Stackhouse, Darrell Jackson and Brezec’s gone? The Bucks are at 10.

Most teams like to remain at a roster size of 13. And anyway? This draft has two tremendously interesting foreigners in the Russian Alexy Shved and the Brazillian Big Man Paulo Prestes. Though a German Big Man like Tibor Pleiss? Send him to Milwaukee and he’d feel right at home.

3) The Luc Richard.

If ever there was an opportunity to take a flier on a diamond in the rough or a straight up specialist? It’s this year. If John Hammond likes Tyren Johnson as much as I do? This is the year to go after it. Now the VP of common sense may disagree with this premise. But? I would not get so upset if a flier gets taken.

Draft starts in 32 minutes: Join me on twitter to follow my live tweet.

Power Forward and a Center Dumpster Diving.

Filed under: Basketball is played by tall guys,Draft Nerd,NBA Draft — by Andrew @ 2:50 am

The fact of the matter is that this draft is something interesting. You have a lot of interesting talent that would likely fall in the undrafted tier. The Jamario Moon All-Stars? Very interesting this year. And the microcosm of a drafts depth?

When a center in the second round is somebody with the upside of a good starter.

Paulo Prestes (6’10 270 Brazil)
He’s a beast in terms of power. He’s not the most athletic guy in terms of speed and the up and down? But he is an agile dude. And unlike your Anderson Varejao? He will go down and take the pain. Also? Not offensively useless beyond flopping. Solid prospect when he’ll come to America..

Power Forwards? In a twitter-sixed Fashion? Sure.
8. Magnum Rolle (6’11” 200 Louisiana Tech) If he gained 20 pounds of muscle? He would have a future as a Dollar Tree Marcus Camby.
7. Luke Harangody (6’8″ 250 Notre Dame) I do expect his scoring total to drop considerably. But his rebounding totals will coalesce to allow him to make an NBA rotation.
6. Charles Garcia (6’10” 230 Seattle) The archetypal superb athlete with a poor basketball IQ. So yeah. Call it a master of one scenario.
5. Latavious Williams (6’8″ 190 Tulsa 66ers) For a skinny guy whose main strength is athleticism? He’s got a tremendous defensive upside.
4. Trevor Booker (6’7″ 230 Clemson) This years most likely to be Chuck Hayes with mad rebounding skills.
3. Craig Brackins (6’10” 230 Iowa State) Enigmatic. He’s got the skills to be a great shooter and rebounder. But hes got his inside shooting percentage is weak. But the fact is? The team sucked. And he was good. Imagine if he lands on a good team?
2. Jarvis Vanardo (6’9″ 210 Mississippi State) Blocks and blocks and blocks and blocks. And also rebounds.
1. Gani Lawal (6’8″ 233 Georgia Tech) An energetic defender with good athleticism. His floor is that he’s going to be a great 7th man in a rotation.

June 23, 2010

Small Forward Dumpster Diving.

Going for twitter sized bits and bites. There’s a lot that interests me here and I cannot fight to post more than that. So, let’s roll.

10. Tyren Johnson (6’8″ 205 UL-Lafayette) A small school Josh Smith with surprising range. Won’t be drafted. But watch him.
9. Tyler Smith (6’7″ 210 Tennessee) A defender who would be ranked much higher if he could’ve kept his head right.
8. Vladimir Dasic (6’9″ 225 Serbia) If he gets religion about playing inside? The sky’s the limit. Big and physically gifted. Great defense.
7. Nemanja Bjelica (6’10” 210 Serbia) A 6’10” lead guard who needs to control the ball to be good.
6. Marquis Blakely (6’5″ 220 Vermont) Yeah, he’s undersized. But he’s disruptive and smart. He’s this years Diamon Simpson.
5. Darrington Hobson (6’7″ 220 New Mexico) A lefty point forward who needs work on his J and lacks some athleticism. Will likely kill in Italy.
4. Lazar Heyward (6’6″ 225 Marquette) Will be a great 7th man. Strong enough to defend a good four with good intangibles and an underrated shot and athleticism.)
3. Devin Ebanks (6’8″ 205 West Virginia) Is it a question of pace or assertiveness? His offensive game is tremendous inside the arc and he vacuums up a goodly sum of boards. But 9 shots a game? Too few.
2. Quincy Pondexter (6’6″ 220 Washington) Great athlete. Good slasher. An improving defender with an underrated shot from 3. I think I’ve talked myself into him.
1. Stanley Robinson (6’8 213 UConn) A physical freak who knows his offensive limitations. Good defender. Is he polished? Nope.

The Second Round 2 Guard

Filed under: Basketball is played by tall guys,Draft Nerd — by Andrew @ 7:23 pm

There are quite a few interesting talents here. They all fall into certain archetypes. I’ll do a brief explanation as to each, and why they’re going to be most likely a second round player. A fringe first rounder at best.

The Steve Kerr (Undersized, Unathletic Bomber.)
Here you have a guy whose strength comes from being the guy you want to be there on the kickout. These guys may have intangibles to bring to the table as well. But have them on the floor longer than 10-15 minutes in the pro game, and they’re overextended. They’re different than the average combo guard because they lack the necessary athleticism.

This years prospects?
Pietro Aradori-Italy
Andy Rautins-Syracuse
Jon Scheyer-Duke

The Poor Man’s __________
They have a destiny that they absolutely could grow up to meet. Everything breaks right, and these guys are a steal. But the reason they’re here? Somebody doesn’t think they can. Odds are? Those certain somebodies are right. But we can dream, can’t we?

This year’s prospects?
Aubrey Coleman-Houston (A small Corey Maggette)
Elijah Millsap-UAB (A Corey Maggette-sized Maggette)
Manny Harris-Michigan (Jamal Crawford)
Sylven Landesberg-Virginia (Evan Turner)

The Master of One.
These are kids with several drawbacks. But the fact is, they have one strength that they bring to the table that makes them worth an opportunity, Most often? It involves the ability to create good scoring opportunities for themselves. Though sometimes? People are such good athletes that you can’t not take a shot at them. And this may cause them to even climb into round one.

This year’s prospects?
Jordan Crawford-Xavier
Lance Stephenson-Cincinnati
Terrico White-Ole Miss
Willie Warren Oklahoma

An interesting day of movement for the Bucks.

The first part of the day is something along the lines of a free roll. Charlie Bell can be a useful role player. He’s high effort and a decent ballhandler. But that’s it. He’s a good 4th guard. And you have him coming with an albatross of suck in Dan Gadzuric. That’s all the Bucks have given up.

Two end of the bench guys? What they got in return. The worst case scenario is that they’re interesting. Corey Maggette is a ball stopper with inconsistent defensive effort. He’s also a slasher who can attack the basket and generate many opportunities of the free throw variety. The upside? He’s the sort of guy who can help a defensive minded team that’s sorely missing offense.

The Bucks fit that bill.

And Maggette will be an upgrade over Salmons. He may not be worth the contract. But he will come close. And sometimes for a player? It’s all about fit.

And the Bucks flipped the second round pick they got from Golden State. They turned that into Chris Douglas-Roberts. His zany twitter stream aside? I get the sense Skiles would like him. The Comedy Death-Ray’s big strength is defense. You know how they say flaky people don’t have defensive discipline? Nuts to that. CDR can defend.

Offensively? His game is somewhat similar to Maggette. Attack the basket and draw fouls. You can’t hit the three and it kills your offensive efficency as a wing man. But CDR can make a smooth pass. He may only be a rotational guy? But he will bring upside and energy off the bench.

And he’ll get more playing time than you think as well. Skiles loves a good defender. And Douglas-Roberts? He’s gonna make a fearsome deer. .

June 15, 2010

Point Guard Dumpster Diving.

Filed under: Basketball is played by tall guys,Draft Nerd — by Andrew @ 5:06 pm

Now we can be honest. This year’s draft is as deep as point guards as last years draft is to most other positions. Two will be drafted in round one, and none from a state that lacks the presence of Raylen Givens. That’s not to say that you can’t get interesting value in round two. Because you can.

Let’s break down guys from May Be Drafted to Likely Drafted.

8) Stefan Markovic 6’5″ 210 Yugoslavia

The sort of a guard whose strength is in the little things he does. His shot is inconsistent. Especially from beyond the arc. But he’s a dynamic playmaker and he has moments of spectacular defense. Though there are European Guards that have taken him down before. But he’s a veteran of the Euro wars and a coach could easily fall in love with him.

But that shot has to improve.

7) Jerome Randle 5’10” 160 California

There’s a lot to like about Randle. He’s a fast fearless penetrator who managed to hit the unwritten rule for sharpshooting in two consecutive seasons. (90-50-40). He’s also a consistent distributor and a killer of zone defenses. The problem? You can see it for yourself. Good short point guards won’t get picked. If he was 6’2″ he would be a first rounder.

As it is? He’s likely to get ignored.

6) Ben Uzoh 6’3″ 200 Tulsa

If you’re looking for a comprable player, it’s Bo McCalebb. A super-sized McCalebb, but bear with me. Both have great speed. Both know how to get to the rack. Both are more twos than point guards when they were draft eligible. But McCalebb became a very intriguing prospect in three Euro Seasons.

Uzoh will likely be ignored here. But in 2013? He’ll be an NBA player.

5) Mikhail Torrance 6’5″ 210 Alabama

He’s big. He can distribute at a very professional level. And he’s very strong defensively. However? He’s not a great shooter. That can be improved. His incessant habit of needing to switch up to his left hand to finish at the basket? That’s weird. And scouts don’t like weird.

But he does have ridiculous upside potential. Expect him to be in many D-League blogs.

4) Alexey Shved 6’6″ 175 Russia

If this was 2006? He’d be a 1st round pick. compares him to Penny Hardaway. And I can see it. He’s a tall distributor with great athleticism and an ability to create for others. He’s also with good defensive instincts and a decent shot. But he’s raw.

He’ll get picked in the second round. And be interesting to dream about. Looking at you David Kahn.

3) Sherron Collins 5’11” 205 Kansas

If you’re this bad of a shot, you shouldn’t be a lead guard. I mean, there’s things to like. He has good speed, and some real handles. He can beat his man off the dribble. But like Travon Hughes, he doesn’t do so much with the kick out. And he may not make the transition to the pros because of it.

But that being said? He learns to share and he’ll be more than a rotational player.

2) Greivis Vazquez 6’5″ 195 Maryland

He’s a self-made sort of player. He improved his passing, his perimeter shot, his ability to disrupt passing lanes and those things known as “intangibles” during his run at Maryland. And there were several instances where he singlehandedly took down a big scalp. Which is good and bad. See, his build is thin, and the guy taking over 20 shots a game and making 8 of them? That’s Zap Branigan leadership.

But then again? He could have a career as a Vinnie Johnson off the bench. He seems to have learned “the secret.” 

1) Armon Johnson 6’3″ 195 Nevada

He’s got an interesting lefty skill set. He’s got good athleticism and a second gear to find an open shot. His lefty pull-up from the mid-range is deadly. His shot creating skill is improving, it’s not all the way there yet. But even with over three turnovers a game, he still managed 1.65 Asstists for evey turnover.

He’s not Ramon Sessions, but he’s got a skill set that has him going in early round 2. He unlearns being the lead guard? He’s very interesting.

May 9, 2010

I believe in Sports Karma…

I do. I believe that certain franchises are cursed because they have players do something bad. Or by the general egomania of certain owners. Sometimes, like when you’re the Oakland Raiders? It’s a little from column A and a little from Column B.

For whatever reason? The Suns have turned their karma back toward the positive. It could have something to do with Robert Sarver and his Los Suns protest. It could be because they have some of the best healers in professional sports. Or my gods.

Steve Nash had an iconic performance tonight. He went for 20 and 9. And half of that was with one eye. Literally one eye. You’re going to try and explain it tomorrow, and peoples minds will be blown.

And as for the likely series versus the Lakers. The Lakers will rightfully be the favorites. But there are reasons for the Suns fans to think they’ll find their way into the finals.

One, Kobe has a broken finger and between Jared Dudley and Grant Hill? He has himself a real tough draw. Two? The point guard match-up swings far, far into the favor of the Suns. And with the Suns ability to hit 40% or better from beyond the arc? The draw and kick would be masterful. Three? Lamar Odom waxes and wanes in terms of his entry point.

As such? I say the Suns are your Western Conference Champions.

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