Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Draft Preview, Part 1

Ah, rookies. The true late-round gems in most NBA drafts are generally rookies. I’m a huge fan of taking a rookie in the final round of the draft. Two years ago, I took Dewyane Wade. Last year, I snagged Andre Iguodala. Other guys who coulda been had for a song at the start of last year included Josh Childress, Jameer Nelson, and Ben Gordon. Granted, Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor likely went in the mid-rounds of your draft, but digging a little deeper down the draft board unveils a gem or two every year.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to preview a number of the top projected picks in this year’s draft. But before we start, there are two things that you always need to keep in mind:

· Regardless of what we think of a player’s eventual potential, really we are only concerned about THIS year. For example, while we really liked Al Jefferson last year as a draft pick for the Celtics, he wasn’t going to make enough of a splash in his first year in the league to be worth drafting.

· A player’s ability to put up strong numbers is very closely tied to the situation they enter into. For example, last year Andre Iguodala was a good bet because the Sixers planned on plugging him into the lineup right away – and sure enough he averaged 30 mpg in his first month in the league. Meanwhile, Devin Harris had the potential to put up great numbers, but he ended up in Dallas, struggling for minutes behind about 80 other point guards.

So today, let’s look at the "Top 3" – Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, and Chris Paul.

Andrew Bogut

Mark me down as a true Bogut believer. He’s got everything I look for in a fantasy prospect – he was a dominant team leader in school, he showed improvement from one year to the next, he’s played well against strong competition in the Olympics. He is apparently a strong passer, and he grabs enough offensive rebounds that he will score some points without having plays drawn up for him.

However, fantasy-wise, he does have a major downside. For a center, he doesn’t appear to be much of a shot-blocker. He swatted less than 2 shots per game last year, and that’s a number that will go down in his rookie year – just ask Emeka Okafor. That said, a center is a center, and if he gets 30-35 minutes a game, he’ll be worth a mid-round pick.

Best Case Scenario: Atlanta. He’ll instantly be a top scoring option, whereas in Milwaukee he’ll play second-fiddle to Michael Redd and Desmond Mason.

Worst Case Scenario: Portland. But nobody seems to think he’ll fall to them anyhow.

Marvin Williams

Red flags are popping up all over the place here. Williams is "raw", "developing", etc. Those are never good descriptions for a rookie, fantasy-wise. Now sure, a few years down the line he may be a total stud, but the fact is he wasn’t able to convince Roy Williams that he was a better option offensively than Sean May, Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams, or Rashad McCants. He saw less minutes and took less shots than all of those players. He had a 2.2/1 TO/Assist ratio, which is horrendous, and averaged 4.7 fouls per 40 minutes, meaning he was getting beat a lot on defense. Somebody is going to take him in the 8-10th rounds, just don’t let it be you.

Best Case Scenario: Milwaukee. It’s not like they’re tied to Joe Smith at PF, and they’re not winning anytime soon, so why not plug him into the starting lineup right away?

Worst Case Scenario: Atlanta. He’ll be fighting for time with the 80 other swingmen/forwards on the roster.

Chris Paul
My favorite line about Chris Paul is that he’s "the greatest point guard prospect since Jason Kidd." Oh, how quickly we forget – just 3 years ago, Jason Williams was more heralded than Kidd ever was! and we all know how that turned out – 1 season, 9.5 points, 4.7 assists, and that was that. Still, there’s a lot to like about Paul. He’s a proven scorer, played against top competition with a good-but-not-super team around him, distributes the ball well and will get his hands on a couple steals. Given enough minutes, you’d have to think he’d be able to put up Kirk Hinrich-esque numbers his first year in the league.

Best Case Scenario: Charlotte. They need a consistent scoring threat, and have no answers at the point. Here’s hoping they move up a spot to take him.

Worst Case Scenario: Portland. Really, though, Portland is a worst-case scenario for everyone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

your right about Marvin Williams. Too much hype for a bench player.

In addition to being a shot blocking liability, Bogut's FT% hovers around .670-700.

Chris Paul is so overrated. "The best pg since Jason Kidd" I don't believe it either. He was so great that he couldn't lead wake to the final four.

6:13 PM  
Blogger bv said...

67-70% ft shooting, really, isn't too bad for a middle-of-the-pack center. okafor shot around 60% this year.

10:17 AM  

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