FreeDrafto, Pt. 894582: Leaping Time

Let me just get straight to the point: I'm a big NBA Draft fan. If it were the Pistons taking on the Spurs, rather than the Cavs, I would even say that I'm more into the Draft than the Finals, but like everyone, I'm quite curious about how King James will fare, so, uh, I can't actually that. But, whatever, fuck it, the point is that love the NBA Draft! One of my favorite parts of Draft season is the pre-Draft Camp measurements and the combine. With the premium the NBA puts on length and athleticism, we get to wax poetic on wingspan and lucubrate on lane agility. Having a good combine is not nearly as important as it is in the NFL, but it can really boost one's stock. Before anyone gets all Oberlin on me, let me say that I realize that certain aspects of the NBA Draft are creepily similar to a slave auction, but if you think about it, it's not really the same thing at all. With that said, I've put together some notes for your enjoyment and edification. Feel free to leave yours in the comments, as always.

Corey Brewer - Brewer is the personification of "wiry." He only goes 6'6.75" (in shoes) and 185, but he benched 185 eleven times. If I were drafting in the Top 5, I'd think about taking him.

Aaron Brooks - I've often said that it's impossible (for me, anyway) to predict if scoring 6-ft combo guards or 6'7" power forwards can translate collegiate success to the NBA. Brooks is a prime example of the former. He was measured at only 5'11.75" in shoes, but the rest of it looks pretty impressive: 6'4" wingspan, 39.5 inch max vertical, and 10.57 lane agility. I would guess he's going to get drafted off of that.

Mike Conley, Jr. - This cat really impressed me during the tourney. As much as his solid pure point guard play, I was struck by--and I of course say this as a lifelong heterosexual--his physique. Dude has broad shoulders and long arms and looks like he'll be able to pack some serious muscle onto that frame. Not that he's not already kinda diesel for a 19 year old point guard. He benched 185 thirteen times; that's one more than strongman Mario Boggan. He also measured out at almost 6'1" in shoes and had a 40.5 inch max vert. He was already going lotto, but now I wouldn't be surprised if he went Top 5.

Zabian Dowdell - This guy is one of my sleepers. He hung 33 on my Tar Heels this past season, and his name sounds like that of an antebellum southern gentleman. He's another scoring combo guard, but he's got decent size, going 6'3" in shoes and with a ridiculous 6'10" wingspan.

Kevin Durant - He's a legit 6'10 in shoes. I heard Mike Greenberg say he would take Oden over Durant because he's a legit 7-footer, and Durant is only 6'6". Right about the first part, dead wrong on the second.

Al Horford - For some reason, I've never really been sure how big Horford is. He's so broad, he appears shorter than he really is. He measured at almost 6'10" in shoes, benched 185 twenty times, and had a 35.5 inch max vert. Very solid numbers. He's a starting NBA power forward, no question. Whether he's an All-Star caliber player, I can't say.

Jared Jordan - Further proof that white point guards are the only basketball players whose wingspans are not greater than their heights.

Josh McRoberts - I heard a rumor that he can't lift weights because he has a bad back. Still, if you're a 6'10" professional basketball player, you should NOT have 13.7% body fat. That's more than beefy Mario Boggan (9.2%) and Joseph Jones (11.9%) and more than FIVE times more than Aaron Brooks (a freakish 2.7%).

Nick Young - He measured out at 6'6.75" in shoes with a 7-ft wingspan and a 40.5 max vert (only an inch more than his no step vert). With his smooth game and those sick ups, he should be a lottery pick.

Thaddeus Young - He's only 6'5.75 without shoes, but he had an impressive 37 inch max vert and put 185 up 13 times, making him the 7th best athlete in the camp. Still, his perimeter skills aren't yet where they should be. If I were him, I'd go back to Georgia Tech for another year.


At 6/05/2007 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monta Ellis was the worst rated athlete in 2005.

The stats mean nothing, but are VERY interesting. Perfect for FreeDarko.

At 6/05/2007 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TJ Ford also measured slower than Chris Kaman, to drive home the pointlessness.

At 6/05/2007 9:01 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i see someone else also read this article:


At 6/05/2007 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that cat looks like he's enjoying him/herself. But i'm gonna guess him due to where that hand is going

At 6/05/2007 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I did read the very same, but before it showed up on TrueHoop. :)

What is the real downside to Nick Young? I have yet to read damning remark. Seems like a top 10 talent most years.

Julian Wright is an intriguing specimen in the vein of FDness, but is dropping down draft boards. What gives?

At 6/05/2007 9:37 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Greenburg said Durant was 6'6"? What?

Free Yi.

At 6/05/2007 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck Yi, and falsity.

At 6/05/2007 9:46 PM, Blogger T. said...

I'm excited about Jeff Green, Rudy Fernandez, Belinelli. But the sleeper is the kid out of Rice - Morris Almond.

Whoever picks Hawes or McRoberts is making a big mistake. (I see Todd Fuller.)

Yi is intriguiing.

At 6/05/2007 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Conley Jr. IS the REAL Lil' Penny.

At 6/05/2007 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are Hawes or McRoberts mistakes after 20? What about 30?

Word to Morris Almond - I hope he cracks the first.

At 6/05/2007 10:12 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

T: Have you seen Yi play in person, living in China and all? I'm hella dubious about him, given the fishiness about his real age and the way he declined even the measurement/physical portion of the Orlando camp. Also I could not agree more about Hawes; he seems way more Cherokee Parks than McHale.

I also like Dowdell quite a bit. My other non-lottery favorites are 1)Jared Dudley, a classic case of a dude who'll be overlooked for his lack of top-notch athleticism despite the fact that he's tough as hell and found a way to lead the ACC in both rebounds and pts/game as it's Player of the Year and 2)Petteri Koponen. For some reason I find the concept of a big Finnish PG to both very intriguing and quite FD.

At 6/05/2007 10:45 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

It would be wrong to disregard Hawes just because he's white and likes George Bush. He's not a very good athlete and he will get torched on defense for his first few years, but he's insanely skilled in the post. I watched him a lot this year, and he pulled out at least one new move in every game. Not McHale, but he'll be a capable post scorer. (It's also worth noting that he was sick for a lot of the year and lost a decent amount of weight.)

McRoberts, on the other hand, blows.

Nick Young is the truth.

I really like Dominic McGuire out of Fresno St (a true FD player), but I don't know if he shoots well enough to stick early in his career.

At 6/05/2007 10:55 PM, Anonymous Mortimer said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jeff Green's numbers from the combine. He looked more impressive than Brewer and most of the other small forwards. 6'9", 7 foot wingspan, good ups and quick... I was impressed and might pick him over Brewer.

My Blazers will probably take Oden (though I LOVE Durant and kinda wish we'd take him), and I would be very surprised if we didn't trade into the lottery for a second pick. If we take Oden and trade for the Bulls' #9 or whereever, one of those attractive SF's will be OURS OURS OURS.

It's okay for me to say "we" in relation to the Blazers because we are one and the same.

With a small forward and center from this draft, our starting lineup would be no older than 23 years old and could play together for 12 years. That would be insane.

I love the draft.

At 6/05/2007 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FREE STANKO! No, seriously.

Stanko Barac 7-1 220 C Bosnia 1986

At 6/05/2007 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peteri Koponen plays for the Honka Playboys. How's that gonna transition to the NBA?

At 6/05/2007 11:10 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

I guess Stanko Barac has his training-camp nickname already. Ouch.

At 6/05/2007 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeVon Hardin is intriguing. A little Shawn Kemp, a little Chris Wilcox, not a lot in between.

At 6/05/2007 11:36 PM, Blogger T. said...

rusty - I've seen Yi play a number of times - just not recently. Everytime I'd seen him play live has been prior to him winning back to back MVPs in the CBL, so obviously I was seeing him pre-peak form.

He's intriguing, although I'm worried (because I really want him to succeed) that he's the NBA version of a workout warrior. He's amazingly skilled in the fundamentals, good shot, okay ballhandler (for a 7' footer), too skinny to be a true post, too slow to be a true wing (although he's very athletic for a 7 footer - not quite Dalembert or Ty Thomas, but very mobile and quick for his size).

He's impressed the other guys he works out with and he's gotten stronger and better at NBA level skills during his time in LA.

His ceiling, however, isn't going to be that much higher (his real age isn't much of a secret) but I think he could be anywhere from an 8 & 5 player, to a guy who can give you 17 and 9. My NBA comparison would be Jeff Foster with a jump shot and a few more basketball skills.

He could blossom in the right NBA system (Nets. Suns. the New Memphis) Or he could die a slow death on say Utah or 2007 Houston.

Anon 11:21pm - I hope DeVon doesn't get drafted. Cal is thin enough. Also . . .I don't see him having much of an NBA game right now. I don't see Kemp or Wilcox at all. I see, um, Francisco Elson. (Not just because they're both Cal grads)

At 6/05/2007 11:46 PM, Anonymous aug said...

I'm a huge draft junkie. Can't get enough of it.

I haven't seen julian wright in person yet, but i'd like confirmation that his knuckles do get a good couple inches of dragging on the ground. 6'6 with with a 7'2 wingspan?

It's not that big a deal because basketball is more than combine numbers but durants really mediocre showing i think cements Oden going #1(since oden is basically a 7footer with guard athleticism). Also, i think it helps people figure out what durant is gonna be like in the nba. The Tmac comparisons have to be thrown out of the window now since he isn't even on a similar level as tmac in any respect. Melo didn't have great combine numbers either(they both have 33"max vertical) but melo has a incredibly quick first step. I still think durant is going to be a future all star, but i think we need to put him in rashard lewis category. I got scolded a week ago for comparing them, but i also thought rashard was younger than he really is, but durant is probably going to be a slightly better rashard lewis(which is saying a lot since he's already an all star and hasn't reached his full potential yet). Durant isn't very strong or athletic and he's not going to board the way he did in college at all. Probably about 7(like rashard). He has more of a mid-range and inside game while rashard has a bit more outside game. I think if durant doesn't become a elite top 5 player like everyone thinks, he'll probably end up like rashard lewis which isn't a bad thing for a guy to have as his B plan.

Sucks about brewer not being long at all compared to his reputation. I'm curious to see how all the donovan guys turn out.

Speaking of billy donovan, my friends and i are trying to organize a house egging in angry retaliation for leaving the magic(we're all a bunch of orlando natives). I know where he lives. Alos, i ref his 10 year old kid's youth league games. I'm gonna call it really tight on him and whistle him for everything. Billy goes some of the games but he just sits on his phone or stares into space and never reacts to anything as if he doesn't have a son. Didn't seem like much of a father.

At 6/05/2007 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Speaking of billy donovan, my friends and i are trying to organize a house egging in angry retaliation for leaving the magic(we're all a bunch of orlando natives). I know where he lives. Alos, i ref his 10 year old kid's youth league games. I'm gonna call it really tight on him and whistle him for everything. Billy goes some of the games but he just sits on his phone or stares into space and never reacts to anything as if he doesn't have a son. Didn't seem like much of a father."

Either way too much information, or a bunch of lies. I can't decide.

At 6/05/2007 11:57 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I already wrote about this, but since no one seems to have picked up on it yet: Kevin Durant finished dead last (78th out of the 78 athletes participating) in the overall rankings.

We know he's weak (0 reps on the 185, which is embarassing for a 6'10 athlete), but he also had a low vertical leap and was slow.

Obviously these things don't really matter, but... just in case anyone was thinking otherwise, you would be a fool to pick Durant over Oden.

I would still pick him second, but maybe I would be a little alarmed that Adam Morrison is quicker than KD, and has more ups, too. Oh, and is way stronger, too. And has a wispier mustache. These things matter!

At 6/05/2007 11:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and i'm guessing he doesn't help much around the house or attend enough pta meetings....

At 6/06/2007 12:03 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Holy sh*t, Aug, I didn't see your comments. I wholeheartedly agree - in fact, my immediate thought was "Durant may be as good as Lewis in 3 years".

Seriously, he probably ain't going to rebound (too slow and outside) better than Rashard, and it's going to be hard to come off the screens on offense or get open otherwise. He's long, so he'll be able to shoot over his man, but that's still a difficult shot. More importantly, he's weak and slow, and will have a hard time playing defense.

However, he will adjust eventually in the NBA, and get stronger and faster, too. In 3-5 years he'll reach what people are probably expecting him to do immediately (25 ppg, let's say).

As for Zabian - dude is a favorite of mine. Like I wrote, he's the Tay Prince of point guards. He's got a sick wingspan for a 6'1 guy, and he'll shut down his man.

At 6/06/2007 12:18 AM, Blogger T. said...

SML - really? he couldn't do 185? I can put up 180 (once) and i'm not very strong at all. I know it's harder with long arms . .. but I'm not a Division I athlete either. Or any sort of non-weekend warrior athlete.

The mind boggles.

At 6/06/2007 12:22 AM, Blogger T. said...

anon 9:49 - I think McRoberts is a mistake in the first round (guarenteed contract). Hawes - possibly - checking who you have on the roster.

I just don't think either of those guys are going to be NBA regular players. And you can pick up a guy to sit on the end of your bench from the CBA or NBDL or free agency for cheaper.

It's not about skin color either - I saw Cal's Ryan Anderson eat Hawes alive, and no one thinks Anderson is a first round pick this year. And I think Nick Fazekas could work out as a player picked after 18 or so.

At 6/06/2007 12:26 AM, Anonymous Mortimer said...

All the Durantian doubters...

The combines only mean something if you get BETTER results than expected. Worse results, when you've sees a guy play and dominate all year, have to be taken as an off day. We all knew Durant wasn't as strong as he's GONNA be; Texas players are famous for that (Aldridge last year could only do 7 reps or so of 185; a year of weights has made him more of a beast than anyone imagined), and Durant has worked on basketball strength as opposed to weight room strength.

I don't need to quote that Draft Express article everyone is talking about, but I will anyways. Is TJ Ford slower than Chris Kaman? According to the combine he is. Is Monta Ellis the worst athlete from his draft class? Combine says so! Is Dwyane Wade a mediocre athlete? If it's in the combine IT IS FACT.

Durant KILLED people with his amazing scoring ability; he scored with a perfect shot from everywhere on the court, and by being more athletic than his opponents. No matter who defended him, he killed 'em, including many of these other athletic small forwards in the draft. He just had a bad day for whatever reason, and there is no way he is slower than Adam Morrison or less athletic than Spencer Hawes. Just watch ONE game and you'll forget the combine ever happened.

But in Oden's case, such good results show how amazing his athletic ability really is. If you score off the charts like him, it shows what is POSSIBLE, not necessarily what he'll bring day in day out. BUT, it is in there somewhere inside of him, and if he keeps working hard he can be that quick and strong all of the time.

In short, combine tests are only useable if the results are good. No matter what, ya gotta go with how they play in games. Durant has no equal, even if Oden is the #1.


At 6/06/2007 12:51 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

People put way too much stock into the combines, both in the draft processes of the NBA and the NFL. Workouts and combines definitely serve a purpose, but what a player did on a regular basis in college is much more important, IMO, than what he does before the Draft.

As Jonathan Givony at Draft Express pointed out, Troy Bell was considered to be the most athletic prospect in 2003. And where is he now? And does anybody really think he was or is more athletic than LBJ or D-Wade?

As for Kevin Durant: it was pretty obvious even in college that he needed to add some muscle. But to say that he isn't athletic enough is nonsensical. When you watched a game in which KD played this year, did you really think to yourself "Wow! Durant is really not that athletic at all!"? Or did you think the exact opposite?

At 6/06/2007 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a shoe company was in Durant's ear.
But I also think he is incapable of the 185lb bench.

At 6/06/2007 12:55 AM, Anonymous rusty said...

anon 11:07: yeah, Koponen will probably pull his name out and spend a yr or two in better leagues in Europe to improve. I've just liked the dude since I heard about this random 6'5" Finnish cat being able to hold his own against all the 2008 uber-PGs (Rose, Mayo, Gordon etc.).

sml: Isn't Rajon Rondo already the Tayshaun of PGs with his like 6'9" wingspan at the same height as Dowdell and ridiculous 2.8 steals/40 (at which rate he would've led the league in steals if he'd played 30 min/game)? I liked Dowdell at VT and I still do but I think he'll have to settle for being the Tay-lite of PGs; he's also probably stronger than Rondo, dude's built like a free safety.

T: Yeah, I just read about Yi getting pushed around by Wang Zhizhi in the CBA Finals. That's not the kiss of death or anything but it's not exactly encouraging. I hope Yi does well, he's just a very high risk/high reward type of pick.

Also you're dead right about DeVon. He's an athletic freak but his game is very, very limited; I've seen a bunch of him at Cal the last couple of years. He's also coming off that injury and he'd really be better served to go back, improve and be a likely lottery pick next year. On the other hand I'm a huge Ryan Anderson fan; did you see him just go the eff off in the Pac 10 tournament when they upset UCLA? He could be a lottery pick as well in a couple of yrs if he improves his athleticism, strength etc.

As far as Durant: Aren't the NBA Combine #s basically meaningless? I guess it's a bit troubling that he was bad to the degree he was, but whatever. Like the DE article says, it's crazy to me that dudes' college/int. careers are thrown out the window b/c they do poorly on a bunch of tests at a single workout (hello Jared Dudley!). Plus a better Rashard Lewis, e.g. a surefire All Star, is still a very respectable #2 pick in nearly any draft.

At 6/06/2007 12:58 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Here's another interesting observation from that Draft Express article:

"Eventual rookie of the year Chris Paul was declared only the 15th best athlete amongst the players tested, and was somehow deemed slower than Deron Williams, Sean May and Wayne Simien."

You know that the combine means absolutely nothing after reading that quote. If anyone ever said that Sean May or Wayne Simien were faster than Chris Paul to people who follow basketball on a regular basis, said people would probably die laughing.

At 6/06/2007 2:35 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

People who've said Hardin is limited are very right; he needs to go back to school. Funny recruiting story about him: Pac-10 assistant coach goes out to see him, comes back to campus, and the rest of the assistants ask him about Hardin's game. He responds "Well, he missed eight dunks."

Ryan Anderson looks like an NBA player when you see him; I think he plays a lot like Dirk before he started to go inside more. That's both a compliment and a criticism. I just wish he were playing for a coach that knew anything about offense.

I still think that Durant will average 20 ppg as a rookie, but the strength issue is pretty glaring, and he's not going to get easy shots at will. I've never been convinced he's a savior-type just because he was the only player of his type in college, whereas there are a few guys with that kind of size and versatility in the league. But, like many people have said, you could do a hell of a lot worse than a superior Rashard Lewis.

I think DraftExpress argued against something that people weren't really arguing in that article. Troy Bell got drafted in the 1st round because he averaged 20something ppg at BC. I'm not sure the combine changes anything more than a few spots in either direction. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the NBA has never had a Mike Mamula.

Is there any reason for the combine people not to run the sprint drill with dribbling?

At 6/06/2007 3:09 AM, Blogger T. said...

Rusty - Yeah, but Wang has also been in the NBA for 4 or 5 years and used to practice against Shaq and other NBA caliber centers. The big knock against Big Zhi was not his ability, but his dedication to getting better. I wish he had the opportunity to be in the US from an earlier age. I could see him being a Kristic type player if he had been able to stay in the US (or Europe) from an early age. and if he had been motivated.

So being pushed around by Wang isn't that big a deal - even if Wang only average 2.1 ppg in the lig - because back in the CBA Wang has the confidence of being both the man and a 5 time champ. So he plays bigger. If that makes any sense.

Rusty & Ty - Ryan Anderson makes me wee in my pants when I watch him play. He's not very FreeDarko (he does almost everything in the right way, he's not about unfulfilled potential - he's about overcoming limitations of physcial ability through practice and skill.) but I love watching him play (no homo).

Plus, remember he played CENTER all year. I can't wait until next year when he gets to destroy the PacX's 4s.

Ty - I both really like Braun . . .and want him to leave Cal. I don't think he's done anything that's deserving of being fired (consistent winning seasons, cleanish program, good kids) but no one is inspired by his teams either. I was kind of hoping he'd take the Michigan job.

At 6/06/2007 3:21 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

T, absolutely agree with you about Anderson next year, he's going to abuse some 4s by drawing them outside.

Braun and Ernie Kent are very similar to me in that they'll have three less-than-great years, and then all of a sudden they'll challenge for the conference title and keep their jobs. But Braun has never been inspiring, and his teams always come out of timeouts without coherent plays to run.

I forgot to cover Fazekas in my last post. I have never been impressed with him, and he's going to get obliterated defensively. Did you see him against Memphis in the tourney? He looked completely out of place with all those athletic guys. I guess he could carve out a career as a shooter, but he's always seemed like a good shooter for his size instead of just a good shooter.

At 6/06/2007 3:26 AM, Blogger T. said...

alas, one very big drawback to living in China: No NCAA.

Even with NCAA On Demand, it was difficult to keep track because I didn't have CBS on all 4 days and it wasn't the conversation on everyone's lips.

At 6/06/2007 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to discredit the meaning of these cobines a little more, I present to you Al Jefferson's combine results, in which Jefferson, like Durant, managed to put up the 185 bar a resounding zero times. And Jefferson is a post player! Currently, Jefferson is sole bright spot on the awful Celtics offer (praying that Yi is our savior...)

My interpretation of this: Kids this age are rarely fully developped. Yes you have your Lebron's, but does anyone remember what T-mac looked like coming out of high school? The fact that Durant was able to dominate the college game with relative ease despite his complete lack of strength speaks volumes to how skilled this kid is. When he inevitably fills out (Like Jefferson, T-mac, Kobe, etc.), he's an All-NBA caliber player.

On another note, I'm glad people are mentioning Morris Almond. He's projected 1st round by a lot of people, but I still feel like he's the biggest sleeper of the draft like t. said. Kid is nice.

Al Thorton's an NBA all-star. Josh McRoberts will deservedly rot on someone's bench.

Save us Yi, Saaaaaaavvve ussssss.

At 6/06/2007 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celtics roster***

At 6/06/2007 10:20 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

a few things:

(1) i didn't mention jeff green because i'm still salty about g'town taking out my heels in such a soul-crushing manner back in march. his numbers looked good, though. he'd be a good late lottery pick. simmons's shane battier comparison seems on point.

(2) you guys are out of your fucking mind if you think durant's ceiling is "slightly better rashard lewis." i feel like i say this any time someone mentions durant, but what separates him from lewis and any other athletic, 3-point shooting 6'10" guy is the HANDLES. durant may not have done well in the lane agility tests (although, think about it, do you think he really went full speed? why would he?), but he will drive on anyone with his handle, hesitation moves, and changes of speed. durant is incredibly skilled with the ball. also, with length and smarts, you can rebound even if you're not hugely strong.

(3) simmons gets a lot of shit (some from us), but he still knows basketball. he was spot on when he said hawes was like a better version of chris mihm. remember that when mihm was healthy, he was actually not bad. hawes is another average athlete who is very skilled, at least offensively. i could see hawes becoming an all-star center (like okur, the kind you vote in because you have to have a center), or i could see him being the next robert swift. i would be scared to draft him, but he's got potential.

At 6/06/2007 10:27 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Yo, just to clarify a few things - I never said Durant wouldn't be an All-Star NBA player. I said in 3 years he'll probably put up Lewis-like numbers (25 ppg), and obviously his ceiling is much higher when he gets to his peak. But my point was that it would be reasonable to temper the expectations about his impact in the NBA right away. Presuming he tried at the combine (and maybe he didn't bother trying, but why even show up then?), his results are very poor.

This isn't Chris Paul ranking 15th out of 100 or so rookies (I don't think Paul finishing 15th is a bad showing; if anything is a great showing for a guard); this is Durant finish DEAD LAST. So, yeah, I would probably pick him #2 (the only other option being trade the pick if I thought I could get a great deal). But here is 'Shard's #s: 22.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, +21.33 eff. I don't see Durant topping those numbers until his second, probably third season. He needs to add weight, strength, and some foot speed to his game. That's all.

And don't tell me about how well he looked against college competition - so did Morrison and JJ Redick just a year ago. We still agree that the jump from the NCAA to NBA is still a big jump in talent, right?

As for the value of the combine: It does have some effect. See Marcus Williams's slide last draft. Or McRobert's (and maybe Hawes) probable slides this draft. Or the fact that DJ Strawberry is probable going to get draft now (which two months ago seemed unlikely).

If I had to wager, I would put Durant at around 17-19 ppg his rookie season, and 5 rpg. Expecting instant dominance may be too much. Eventually, sure, but right away... I'm not so sure.

At 6/06/2007 11:12 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

ultimately, i think we're not too far off on our predictions for durant. i'm not saying he's going to come in and dominate his rookie year, but within three years, barring serious injury, he will be one of the best players in the league. i have a problem with where you're putting his ceiling, not what you think he'll do as a rookie.

but, come on, you're comparing what he did in college to morrison and redick? first of all, those guys were obviously overrated. both had the offense built around them and designed to mask their weaknesses. also, they're jumpshooters, and everyone knows it's a lot harder to get your shot off in the nba, especially if you're short (redick) or relatively unathletic (morrison) and not a real threat to drive (both). finally, durant did all his damage as a freshman, not an upperclassman. durant's college dominance is much closer to melo's, although melo had a better coach and supporting cast.

re: his combine performance, chad ford has a thing on his blog about how durant didn't train at all for it. he's not lasting past seattle, so there was no reason for him to work on those particular drills, which he'll never do again, most likely. most of those guys have been with professional trainers working hard to perform on those specific tests, since they need to do whatever they can to move up in the draft order. there's really no way for durant to move any higher, so fuck it, right?

to clarify, this is not an issue of durant's work ethic, since preparing for the combine is not the same as preparing for one's rookie year. different skills. this is like a genius student who's already been accepted to harvard deciding not to cram for the SAT.

At 6/06/2007 11:31 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Brown: i have a problem with where you're putting his ceiling

Where did I put his ceiling? Quote me!

I agree that Durant is closer to Melo than Morrison or Redick, I was using them as examples of players dominating in college who haven't translated to the next level. In fact, using Melo as the example, he averaged around 21 ppg his first two seasons in the NBA before making a leap his third season. Melo was also a little more NBA-ready in terms of body strength and speed than KD. So I expect KD to hover slightly below 20 ppg for the first year or two before making a leap.

On Durant not training: That makes sense. But why even show up then? It's not like you have to show up, or participate. He was #2 anyway, right? It would probably be in his best interests to stay home, since no good can come for it. Nah, I would wager that Chad Ford was Durant's press agent trying to play off a poor showing - Oden was dropping below Seattle, either, yet he still did well at the combine....

Finally, Jared Jordan is Vitrinian Man.

At 6/06/2007 11:34 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Ahem. That last paragraph should read "Nah, I would wager that Chad Ford column was based on Durant's press agent trying to play off the poor showing; Greg Oden wasn't dropping below Seattle, either, yet he still did well at the combine...."

At 6/06/2007 11:37 AM, Anonymous youshoottoomuch said...

as a native hoosier and former resident of indy during the oden/conley jr/mcroberts high school years i will say this: josh mcroberts is one of the worst players in this draft. possibly i hate him so much because he is both from carmel (rich suburb that exploded in population after forced busing in the seventies) and went to duke, but mostly i hate him because he never had the balls to match-up on oden in high school. he was the tallest, best player on his team, yet they had some other 6-8 kid guarding oden. there were several times, though, that oden would rotate and obliterate a mcroberts shot. mcroberts also sat out the indiana all-stars v. kentucky all-stars games (a pretty big deal still, although not quite as much as before) so he could "prepare" for duke although it was relatively clear that he sat out because dominic james (marquette guard) was named mr. basketball that year. he's got a primadonna attitude and d-league game.

@T: yi as jeff foster with a jumpshot is intriguing. but a big part of foster's game is that "if i don't do the dirty work i won't stay in this league" hustle. will yi really have that?

At 6/06/2007 11:45 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Stopmikelupica: I agree with you that Oden should taken No. 1.

As for the Chris Paul thing: both Sean May and Wayne Simien were judged to be faster than Paul. Does that make any sense whatsoever? Obviously, it didn't have much effect on his draft status, but I'm sure there were people saying two years ago that Paul didn't perform well enough in the combine.

As for Durant: I do not by any means think he'll be dominant right away. But after watching him in several games this past season, I can say with certainty that this guy is only going to get better.

At 6/06/2007 12:06 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Anon 9:33:

Nick Young is the truth, I watched him, Bobby Brown (also really sick), Jason Smith (a hell of an athlete for a seven footer) Derek Ravio (likely going to play in Europe) all work out a few weeks ago. I actually interviewed both Bobby and Nick. The Bobby interview is up now here:


I'll have the Nick interview up later in the week. The one thing I think when I see Nick Young play is smooth. He's just too smooth at everything he does. Even when he dunks on people. From the interviews I conducted, I found out that he's dunked on Jason Smith and Yi Jianlian a couple of times in their pick up games during their work outs. I think he should be a lottery pick. But with teams infatuation with big stiffs (sorry but Hawes is at his best will be nothing more than a better version of Chris Mihm), Nick would certainly be a lottery pick...Plus he rocked the fro hawk before any other athlete attempted it. You have to give him some credit for that, right?

At 6/06/2007 12:12 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

thank you, nate. you co-sign the "hawes = mihms+" (although you put a different spin on that) and the "nick young = smooooth". nick young also seems hella charismatic in interviews i've seen. the kid's a star!

i think sml hates me.

At 6/06/2007 12:31 PM, Anonymous Josh said...

Speaking of DJ Strawberry being likely to get drafted now... his numbers are just ridiculous, aren't they? Since he played at Maryland, I did watch him play a few times this past year, but never realized how absurdly ripped he must be. He benched 185 twenty-one times (tied for second OVERALL) at 6'4" and 199 pounds?!

I mean, he was obviously strong for a guard, but I would never have guessed he'd end up the top-rated athlete at the combine. Yow.

At 6/06/2007 1:29 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Seriously, everyone needs to chill out everytime someone says a FD friendly star isn't perfect. Me or SML never said that Durant was gonna be a bust, not worthy of #2, would never be as good as Rashard or anything. I said that he is going to be a rashard type player but with more upside. I said, that if Durant somehow didn't become the top 5 player in the league like we expect, he'll probably be as good as rashard(which is saying a lot lot). He's simply not big, strong or athletic enough to be a 10 boards a game guy. College is a different game. In his 3rd year in the nba he'll probably average 23-7-3 and a blcok. Is that bad? Am i anti-durant if i don't think he'll be the 2nd best wingman after lebron in his 2nd year?

Nobody put a ton of stock into the combines, especially me and SML. I'm just saying it helps us get a look into what style durant will be in the nba since everyone was thinking Tmac, but that is simply impossible given his lack of athleticism and size. He's not a athletic monster like tmac/kobe/lebron/wade. He's more of a slightly bigger, inside Melo. He doesn't have the first step that melo does to blow by people(melo's first step is sick), but he's a bit bigger and will hopefully work hard to pack on some pounds. You can't tell me now that you think about it, his game/body sort of isn't like a rashard lewis(but with more upside).

Oden is the real deal though. His upside is much higher than we originally thought. He seems more like a rookie shaq than a patrick ewing. He really does. Shaq was the same way with the athleticism and sick ballhandling(for a center) and oden's workouts and tournament were great. People started hating and underestimating on Oden during the season when he was playing with one hand with a team he didn't have time to gel with. Oden dominated the best defensive frontcourt in college basketball for the past 8 years in the title game offensively and defensively. It's not his fault his team stop fucking humphrey and his back breaking 3s.

To the anon poster under me earlier. I live in gainesville and coach/ref youth league basketball. Billy lives in gainesville in haile plantation(football coach urban meyer lives there too). It's probably gated so we might just drive by and throw eggs at the gate symbolically. I do ref his kid's games though. He's pretty bad though. He's in the 9-10 age group so if you can put the ball in the basket sometimes you're decent. All he does though, is dribble to his right with his head down, stop about 16 ft from the basket at an angle, do some sort of step back thing and launch a bad 2handed shot that sometimes goes in. Billy went to about 3 games last year but i swear he acts as if his kid isn't playing. I've never even seen him clap when his kid makes a bucket. Liar is a strong accusation.

At 6/06/2007 1:47 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Aug: Yeah, I think a lot of people (myself included) were fooled by Oden's play for most of this last season. Dude's an athletic freak, and we only really got to see that athleticism fully shine in the championship game. He will almost certainly not be a one-dimensional player like Ben Wallace; instead, he may very well be able to dominate on the offensive end as well some day.

At 6/06/2007 1:48 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i'm going to leave this alone, but if you think this statement--"He's more of a slightly bigger, inside Melo."--is an accurate description of kevin durant's game, you just haven't seen him play.

At 6/06/2007 2:03 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I think Aug did a good job of summing it up. Here's what I'll add in: You can't take the combine numbers and project feature ability out of them, because the body (or physical abilities) me or you or anyone has at 19 years old is not the same body they have at 24, which is not the same as 28.

The combine does, however, give you an idea of where that athlete's physical abilities is at that point in time.

Kevin Durant will be a different player physically in 3 or so years - he'll probably be stronger and quicker, just from working out at a NBA fitness level. But right now he's not as strong or fit as he needs to be to get the most out of his immense abilities. That's all I'm saying.

Yo, Brown: I bet you one FD T-Shirt Durant fails to average 20 ppg this season. I'm not going to say he won't ever average 25 or even 30 points, but not this year. Not even 20. Shake on it?

At 6/06/2007 2:16 PM, Anonymous Geraldo said...

Guys, Kevin Durant is going to be an absolute stud and the only way he devolves into a Rashard Lewis comparison is if he gets a labotomy. The one thing nobody has mentioned here is KD's intense killer instinct. This guy wants to be the best in the league, wants the ball in his hands at crunchtime, and, from what I understand, has very little interest in the "Global Icon" bullshit. He has far more tools than Rashard Lewis, plus the will to dominate and thats only at 19 years old. He has a developed midrange game, takes it to the tin HARD, and will be a great rebounder once his body fills out. Don't give me the "Thats against college players" argument because he dominated as a freshman with a coach who seemingly did everything possible to keep the ball out of his hands. If Barnes wasn't a moron, he'd have run plays for Durant every time down down the court. I understand that Lewis is an allstar, but Durant will be among the elite players in the league.

At 6/06/2007 3:01 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Geraldo, you just hit on what no one else has talked about. Durant has been working since he was a young kid to become the best basketball player in the world. When he gets on the court in game situations he immediatley evolves into a killer. He's all about being the best basketball player he can be. If you doubt that he's going to be anything beyond a Rashard Lewis, you really haven't been watching much basketball. I mean, Rashard Lewis for the most part has become a spot up jump shooter, while Durant has the three, the mid-range, the post game and the tenacity to take the ball to the cup and get in their and rebound. And by the way, I'd love to see KG's combine numbers from 1995, because I doubt that he was able to bench press 185 back then. I mean, did he even weigh 185 back then?

At 6/06/2007 3:12 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Nate: I don't know if Garnett could bench 185 lbs in 1995, but I do know that he couldn't average 10 ppg in 1996. Or 20 ppg until his fourth season.

Again, no one (or at least I'm not)is arguing that KD will eventually fill out, gain speed, and become better than Rashard Lewis. But if you think he will come in next season and do better than 'Shard, or even in his second season... I humbly disagree. And am willing to bet a FD T-Shirt on it!

At 6/06/2007 3:56 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

aug: Ewing was incredibly athletic in his youth (GU, early Knicks). Just saying.

At 6/06/2007 4:12 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

aug: C'mon, Oden as a rookie Shaq? I've been defending him all year from people who were quick to judge him with one hand/poor condition, but that's just craziness. Are you really expecting Oden to, as Shaq did his rookie season, put up 27.4, 14 and 3 blocks next year? The only number he even has a chance of approaching is blocks and that's only if he gets sufficient playing time (interesting historical note: Shaq had a 17 block performance at LSU. in a 40 minute game! shit like that boggles my mind). I know Oden dominated a great Florida frontcourt, that he's a great athlete etc. but his offensive game is miles and miles behind where Shaq's was and he's nowhere near as strong. I still think he's the first pick and in a few yrs that could be a valid comparison but there's just no way Oden is going to come into the NBA and dominate from the outset the way Shaq did.

For everyone up in arms over Durant do we really need to decide at this incredibly premature juncture whether he's going to be merely a perennial All Star or the 2nd best player of his generation after LeBron? I love all this talk about him "being a killer" from people who've never (I'm assuming) met nor interacted with him.

At 6/06/2007 4:17 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Durant isn't fucking Tmac people. Quit drinking the kool aid. He has a chance to be a top 5 player in the league. I never said he wasn't going to be as good as Rashard or just be another Rashard, i said his game is very similar but durant obviously has more upside. He's not as quick as melo, Brown. I watched almost every Texas game that was on espn. Durant isn't a take you off the dribble speed guy, yet. He still can add speed and strength to his game and get there, but right now he can't. Melo was a monster in the tournament against top competition and did really well his rookie year. Durant probably won't do much better than Melo's rookie year, but he has a chance to be better than melo in 3-4 years if he progresses as he should(durant has a bunch more upside than melo).

Rashard is more than a spot up jump shooter if you watch him play(especially when ray allen is out). He takes people off the dribble and also posts them up a good amount. When ray allen is in the game, he lets ray allen be the #1 star on the team and plays a secondary role because Ray has earned that. When ray has been injured though, rashard plays a much more active role. Rashard is probably one of the most underrated players in the league if you guys are representative of how most people think of him. He's more than a high school guy who shoots 3s. He's a very versatile player. I'm not bashing durant, i'm just standing up for rashard.

I THINK DURANT HAS A CHANCE TO BE A TOP 5 PLAYER, HE JUST WON'T DO IT HIS FIRST 2 YEARS IN THE LEAGUE. Lebron was able to dominate his first and second year because he was a physical freak who had the body of a 28 year old in his prime. Durant is mucher younger, and dominating in college is not the same. Hell, adam morrison dominated in college, and while durant is much better and more athletic than morrison, it just shows that killing cats in college doesn't always translate, RIGHT AWAY. I still think Durant will be special. SML is right. He probably won't average 20 his first year. He's not as physically gifted as lebron, and he's not as good a shooter as melo his first year. Durant's skills are slightly in between and he'll probably average like 18 his first year, then jump to 21 or so his 2nd and by his 4th year probably 25+.

Oden is going to be an offensive force. Just watch. You saw what he did offensively against by far the best team and best frontcourt in all of college basketball and he still wasn't 100%. He has gotten more athletic and stronger and more skilled since then too according to people who have seen him work out lately.

What the hell is wrong with saying Durant's athletic ability and game lend him closer to rashard than tmac? Hell, Rashard was MORE athletic than durant coming out, but i'm assuming that durant will put on a bit more strength and get a bit quicker this offseason. I think durant will be better but similar style to rashard. I fucking like durant a lot and can't wait to see him play. I can't wait for everyone here to be really pissed and stop caring about durant when his game turns into more of a mid range outside in game and not a high flying athletic monster. It's going to happen and he's going to be a better player with that style. He's not the same player as melo, but i think he'll score in a similar manner. Don't hurt yourself jumping off the bandwagon when you don't get high flying dunks every night.

I never said he's going to put up the numbers did i? Just like i didn't say durant at his peak was going to put up rashard numbers. I said oden reminds me of him body and skill wise. No rookie big man will ever come close to what shaq did ever again. But Oden has that similar balance between size, skill and quickness that only shaq and david robinson have had. Oden probably won't have killer stats his first year, i'm just saying it's a similar style, just like durant will be better than rashard/melo i think, but it's a similar style.

At 6/06/2007 4:23 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

ironically, so many people clicked over to that video everyone hated that it got good youtube numbers, and the swag bois posted a motherfuckin' remix with graphics, music, etc. vote for your favorite!!!!!!

At 6/06/2007 4:29 PM, Blogger Nate said...

I hear you aug and sml...you guys both think he'll be great but will take a while to develop into that. There's nothing wrong with that stance...

I'm of the opinion that you really can't go wrong with either Oden or Durant. But no way Oden comes in dominating like Shaq. It's just not his personality. Shaq was the best, new he was the best, and was looking to take over the world (wasn't his company named twism or something?). If Oden averages 23.4 ppg and 13.8 rpg in his first season in the league (which shaq did his first year) I'll be very surprised. Just like Durant he'll eventually up great numbers, but just not right away. 18 and 11 is what I'm looking for out of him his first year, which is very, very good. Man I can't wait for next season to see these guys play.

At 6/06/2007 4:47 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Seriously. This is going to be the most fun rookie class since 03. I mean, oden, durant, the gator guys, jeff green, conley are all ready to play now and will probably get solid minutes wherever they go. Plus you have big unknowns like brandan wright and yi jianlian. It really is going to be a joy to watch and it'll make nba2k8 all the more fun.

At 6/06/2007 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got Durant at 16ppg, 8rbs, 1.5ast year one (in 30mins a game).
We should start a pool...

At 6/06/2007 4:57 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

aug: I hear you. I agree that Oden has that size/quickness mix and potential to be dominant down the line but I do think you're overestimating the width and polish of his offensive skillset. He's nowhere where Shaq and Robinson were. That's not surprising or a knock on Oden b/c he obviously only had a half a season of college ball, most of which he had to spend working himself into game shape, but he's still pretty raw. Even against Florida he got nearly all his points by overpowering his defender with brute force or exploiting his significant height advantage over Horford and Richards. His actual moves in the pivot were still pretty slow and mechanical, even if he does seem to have great hands and pretty nice touch.

Look, Dwight Howard (and to a lesser extent Amare) is a fine example of how a rare physical speciman can dominate in today's NBA where Al Harrington can play "center" and Oden's already ahead of him in the skills department. I'm just saying that, as you're saying about Durant, it's going to be 2-3 years before that offensive ability really manifests itself. I have no doubt that he'll be able to put 15 and 12 or whatever with a couple blocks based on what he's got right now, but the 25/15 seasons are a little ways off.

Just like everyone else I'm ridiculously excited about next season. Honestly, and this is just me, I think I'm more excited for Oden/Durant than I was for LeBron and Co. in 03'.

At 6/06/2007 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NBA 2K8 - Next gen systems only. :( Time to spend $400 to be able to gamble hundreds versus my friends.

Does anybody else do this too? I've been playing to 2K series for several years. I have always preferred it to NBA Live.

When my friends and I play versus each other, we have an interesting system from conducting fantasy draft. 5 numbers for the ratings of the starters, and 5 for the bench. During the season I take the time to gather statistics, and tweak player ratings accordingly. A series of number for the starters, say something like 98, 95, 92, 89, 86 could net you Timmy D, T-Mac, Manu, Dwight Howard, and Tony Parker. Or a completely different set of players...

Once teams are picked, agree on a wager ($5? $20 if you have a score to settle). 6 minute quarters, Hall of Fame difficulty, clutch factor off. If the game gets to a 25 point margin, it's a mercy, and costs the loser extra money.

Please tell me my friends and I aren't the ONLY ones gambling on video games...

At 6/06/2007 5:23 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I think Greg Oden will put up Dwight Howard/Okafar rookie numbers, but not quite as many rebounds, and a little more offense. Hmm... 17.5 ppg, 10 rpg, 2.4 bpg?

Oden has a 9'4 reach, with a 34 inch vertical leap. That makes him able to sky 12'2, or about 4 inches less than Dwight Howard at the slam dunk contest. Just FYI

Nate: Twism = The World Is Still Mine (a take on Scarface's line). Also the name of his record label I believe. You Can't Stop The Reign, Nate.

At 6/06/2007 6:14 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Lucky for us cheap asses, nba 2k8 has been announced for ps2 last i heard. I think around october 8th. It probably won't be much more than updated rosters as they'll spend most their time tweaking with 360 and ps3 versions. NBA2k8 is far superior to Live. It's not even an argument. If my friends were better at 2k8 they'd gamble with me, but my friend hasn't come within 15 in about 10 games. I want to get a next gen system purely for nba2k8 online franchises. I wish i could do it with a ps2.

I never thought oden would put up shaq numbers. And i never said he had as good as offensive post moves. I was referring a good amount to his ballhandling performance when him and conley had their joint workout a few weeks ago and oden was able to do most everything conley could but obviously not as quick.

I say 15-8-1.5blks is about what oden will do rookie year. Oden won't get as many minutes because the blazers are loaded in the frontcourt with solid players like pryzbilla, aldridge, magloire and randolph(unless they trade him).
NBA players don't dominate(as much there are exceptions) their rookie year like they used to back in the day. People coming out early is part of it, the other part is that more nba ready college guys were playing back in the early 90s, 80s and 70s while now it's more guys who need to develop a bit. Back then most players(non-superstars) had their best seasons statistically in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th season and now you have more guys who come on later in their career. Durant will probably win rookie of the year as he's going to get a ton of shots and minutes with rashard gone and maybe even ray allen traded. Kind of how okafor put up better numbers than dwight his rookie year when dwight probably played better. Okafor was a lot more involved in the offense. It's all about the system in which the player is used, not pure talent.

The sonics are a terrible terrible basketball team. If they trade ray allen for picks or young guys and cap space it's going to be ridnour, gelebale, wilkins, durant and wilcox. Ugh. Their last few drafts have been wastes too. Poor durant. I hope the sonics trade the pick to someone not as pathetic.

At 6/06/2007 6:43 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

How about Paul Pierce and the #5 pick to the Sonics for the #2 pick, Wilcox, Watson, Wilkins, and Gelabale? I can dream, can't I?

At 6/06/2007 7:24 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Every time I think about Durant going to the Sonics I get depressed. Why couldn't they have picked an Atlanta ball there?

Oden's offensive game is pretty limited, his best move in college was just backing people in and throwing up a hook. He's going to have to learn a more effective jumper and a steady drop-step before he dominates people. I think he'll get there.

At 6/06/2007 7:28 PM, Blogger T. said...

youshoottoomuch - motivation is one of the key things about Yi that no one (aside from Yi) is going to be able to project about him. I've heard from guys in his camp that he's been working much harder than he ever did in the CBA, but those are his guys, so grain of salt taken.

The Jeff Foster comparison was more along the lines of he's going to get a lot of points off of tip dunks and breaks where he beats the other 4 or 5 down the floor. Or really tall guy with hops.

At 6/06/2007 8:00 PM, Anonymous db said...

The thing about aug and sml's comments is that the tone is so intense and yet it's all about what stats durant will end up with or the numbers in the combine, rather than looking at his actual game. If nothing else FD is to me about an appreciation for the materiality of the game, so the comments and Melo comparisons etc. just seem bizarre to me. It's not that I disagree with the projections, but I always trust people who talk tape more than stats.

At 6/06/2007 9:14 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

this is a whole lot of misunderstanding. SML and aug never said durant would only be as good as rashard lewis, and *i* never said durant was going to dominate his rookie year or be all "high flying dunks every night." i don't really understand where the rookie year stat projections come in. i only ever said durant was going to be a top 5 player EVENTUALLY and that he has way better perimeter skills than rashard lewis.

also, adam morrison was never really that dominant in college.

At 6/06/2007 9:53 PM, Blogger Gladhands said...

I've said this before but, if Durant Learns to play defense, hell be a slightly better Tayshaun Prince.

At 6/07/2007 12:03 AM, Blogger Sergio said...

The incredible thing about Durant is that, in spite of his recently revealed physical limitations, he just keeps coming at you. He's absolutely relentless, unlike Rashard Lewis.

While the comparison works in terms of their skillsets and body types, I simply can't imagine Durant ever transforming himself into a spot-up shooter to accommodate Ray Allen.

Oden - I don't think anyone has any idea what to expect. The kid can clearly play defense, but we haven't the slightest idea how he will fare against an NBA-caliber defender.

Personally, I am very excited to DJ Strawberry in the league. Consider him my 2nd round sleeper pick for next season.

At 6/07/2007 12:29 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Uh, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Durant will be better than Tayshaun. He was primarily a three-point shooter at Kentucky and showed nothing close to Durant's skill set.

The defenders that were most effective against Durant this year kept him on the perimeter. He still made his shots, but they were much tougher and there were fairly long spells of games--usually in the middle of the second half--when things weren't going down. Dominique Kirk of Texas A&M (I'm pretty sure he guarded him, but not positive), who's 6-3 180, did fairly well--although the stats won't really show it--just by keeping him out of the lane consistently. Daniel Hackett of USC did well during the tournament game with the same sort of game plan.

In those games, Durant never stopped shooting like Sergio says, but it's not like he was attacking the basket at every opportunity. Of course, it's entirely possible that he didn't force drives out of frustration related to Barnes not having any idea how to run plays for the best college player in a long time.

In the NBA, it'll be tougher for him to get good shots consistently because of the strength issue. BR's right that he has incredible handle for his size, but that gave him an astronomical advantage in NCAA that won't be there next year just because more NBA wings can come close to matching his length. It would have been nice to see what he could have done against Corey Brewer.

Hibbert is the best defender Oden's faced outside of the Florida guys. He went for 13 pts on 6/11 shooting in 20 minutes. But both guys were in foul trouble, so who knows if that's indicative of anything. Hibbert had really good stats, too. Given that Oden also performed well in the championship game against Noah and Horford, though, I'm willing to bet that he'll be just fine offensively. Not a world beater initially, but just fine.

At 6/07/2007 12:30 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I should add that I still think Durant will average close to 20 next year and win ROTY.

At 6/07/2007 1:08 AM, Blogger Bryn said...

I'm glad someone agrees with me on the Thaddeus Young situation. The dude is nothing short of a freak athlete but his game is still really raw. I'd probably take it a couple of steps further and have him forgo his senior year to enter the draft, but there's no question that he isn't fundamentally sound enough to thrive as a rookie.

At 6/07/2007 1:12 AM, Blogger Sergio said...


I think we can safely blame Barnes for any of Durant's meandering stints on the perimeter. I think it is safe to say that any coach with half a brain would simply have told DJ Augustin to run plays according to who was matched up on Durant: someone should have told the kid to move into the post as soon as the defense put a guard on him.

Oden on offense: many have complained he looks mechanical. Furthermore, while I concede that Florida did have some great defenders this year, they lacked anyone who could match Oden's size and weight; Noah is thin as a beanpole and Horford just isn't that big. It was therefore no surprise when the former ran into foul trouble and the latter was simply overmatched physically.

Anyone seen Rodney Stuckey play? I hear great things from the talking heads.

At 6/07/2007 1:31 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Yeah, Rick Barnes is retarded. Can't argue with you there. I'm not sure Augustin is too smart either; I remember many plays this year where he would try taking it to the hoop after three consecutive Durant makes, with Durant standing out on the perimeter in lazy single coverage. Still think he'll have a tough time adjusting to the strength of some NBA wings, but he'll get to where he needs to be eventually.

I see your point about Horford not matching Oden's size, but I don't think the difference is really that great. Horford is stronger than Oden and was one of the best low block defenders in college. But I'm anxious to see Oden match up against an elite defender, too. Jesus this is gonna be fun.

I second the request for Stuckey impressions.

At 6/07/2007 7:48 AM, Anonymous Berts said...

I think whats making everybody...crotchety, is that some people are acting like its going out on a limb to say, "I PROMISE you that Durant will not post better numbers the next two years than 'Shard." It's just an idle prediction, and whether its true or not could come down to a few decimal places. Who cares? If you care about basketball and you've watched his games in college, you are aware that we may not have seen someone with Durant's killer instinct since Jordan. There's no ceiling with this guy; let's not split hairs about his rookie averages.

At 6/07/2007 10:45 AM, Anonymous txb said...

Durant has a better handle than all these dudes yall are mentioning, including Melo. He is so smooth pulling up off the dribble, sometimes looks like a stretched out Ray Allen.

He isn't a 'more inside Melo' cuz Melo's got a much better post game, now and back when he was first drafted. Melo's the best non-big post player in the game (by a wide margin, i'd argue). Durant is a super smooth jump shooter, and will continue to be. Even in the post, he's mostly twisting around and hitting pretty shots, not bulling past people or getting crafty.

And Tayshaun was fucking sick in college. He didn't just spot up. They would post him up all day and no one could touch that lefty jump hook.

At 6/07/2007 6:27 PM, Blogger Nate said...

I haven't seen Stuckey play that much, but my boy Aaron Goodwin represents him, and he told me he's the truth. He's a combo guard like Wade, Billups, and Foye. But he's just not as athletic as Wade, and more of a scorer than Billups.

Also, here's what my friend that's a scout sent me regarding Stuckey:

Not a great athlete but can score his ass off. Doesn't have the quickness to get by people. Gets to the foul line a lot. Good passer. Isn't selfish. Awful defensive player. Doesn't play hard all the time.

At 6/07/2007 11:47 PM, Anonymous aug said...

My friend at depaul talks about nothing but Wilson Chandler. I never got a chance to see any depaul games this year. He's convinced he's the real deal. I guess i'll have to wait and see.

At 6/08/2007 12:02 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...


Yeah I screwed up on my Tayshaun impressions. I was remembering one of his last games (I think the St. Bonnie's 3OT tournament game) and extrapolated poorly. My bad.


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