Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ESPN's Draft Preview:Backcourt Summary

Tuesday night ESPN dove into the backcourt for a draft preview. Although there are many Guards in this year’s draft none really stand out as a safe pick. Thursday’s draft will have plenty of high risk/high reward players; like Ricky Rubio, Sthepen Curry, Brandon Jennings, and Jrue Holiday. With a cluster-fuck of PGs and SGs I do not envy GMs have to sift through the stats, film, and measurements, they could still easily pass on the right player. The backcourt positions are such a gamble this year, will be interesting to see who pans out and who doesn’t.

The coverage wasn’t as concentrated on one player as much as it was Monday, with Blake Griffin. To start things off they led with the top point guard prospects;

o Ricky Rubio—6’5 out of Spain. Draws comparisons to Pistol Pete in terms of his passing ability.

o Stephen Curry—6’3 out of Davidson. Lights out scorer each of his two years in college.

o Brandon Jennings—6’1 out of Rome. Playing pro in Europe may help the NBA transition.

o Jonny Flynn—6’0 out of Syracuse. Good leadership and defense. Also has the max vertical in the class with a 40’ jump.

o Ty Lawson—6’0 out of North Carolina. Another leader, won a championship. One of the fastest PGs in the draft.

o Jrue Holliday—6’4 out of UCLA. Didn’t do much in college, but he could easily follow in Russell Westbrook’s footsteps

o Darren Collison—6’1 out of UCLA. Mature player, 3 seasons at UCLA all including Pac-10 titles.

o Eric Maynor—6’3 out of VCU. Well rounded point guard from a small program. In his senior year he averaged 22 PPG and 6 APG.

o Jeff Teague—6’1 out of Wake Forest. Led a very streaky Wake team while shooting well from the 3. Shoots a high percentage and could turn out to be one of the best guards from this class

o Patty Mills—6’0 out of Saint Mary’s. An injury derailed his sophomore season, but he is a great scorer perhaps only 2nd to Curry.

Only looking at the college players Stephen Curry seems to be the most intriguing. Curry has only played point guard for 1 season, his last at Davidson. He is a pure shooter and has a quick release to get his shot off. Also helping him score is his movement without the ball. Curry sees the PG position as the “anchor of the team” and that being a PG means being a leader, both qualities he seems to possess. His high octane offensive game would fit D’Antoni’s New York Knick offense, at 8, that will give him plenty of opportunities to score and set-up other players. Some mock drafts have Curry going earlier at 6 to the T-Wolves. Where ever he winds up he is sure to come in shooting.

Two of the top prospects hail from Europe, sort of. Ricky Rubio is a very high risk/high reward player that could go anywhere from 2nd to 6th. This guard is a team player that loves to pass and loves to please teammates. Rubio prefers to run and gun and try to make plays. That style is sort of a concern for GMs because it leads to too many turnovers. A contract buy-out may be necessary to retrieve Rubio from Spain, could be a max of 6 million. An NBA team is only allowed to put $500,000 toward a buy-out the rest is out of the player’s pocket. Even with the concerns Rubio is set to be the first PG taken and he’ll come to play and play hard, Ricky says, “I love to win, hate to lose.” He’ll do his best to keep winning. Another concern is of a physical aspect whether his body can hold up in the NBA. The other “Euro” player is Brandon Jennings who skipped playing college in order to playing professionally in Rome. The Brandon Jennings experiment had its ups and downs. For one he was able to play against top PG prospect Ricky Rubio and in his opinion outplayed him. After a year in Europe Jennings feels he can lead a team better now than he could a year earlier. The ordeal didn’t totally hurt Jennings, but he didn’t help his draft status all that much. Experts believe the move from high school/college to Professional Europe is too tough and Jennings should be looked at as an exception not the rule. Jennings claims Rubio is all hype, we’ll get to see if he is right in their rookie seasons.

Onto the top shooting guard prospects;

o James Harden—6’5 out of Arizona State. Harden would have been a lottery pick last year, but choose to comeback for a sophomore season. Jalen Rose labels him as a “Poor Man’s Manu Ginobili” not too bad of a compliment.

o Tyreke Evans—6’5 out of Memphis. A year after a high ceiling guard, Derek Rose, left Memphis Tyreke Evans filled the void. A score-first guard with an NBA body and ball handling skills

o Demar DeRozen—6’6 out of USC. Started off slow, but really morphed into a leader as the season progressed. He has great length and athleticism

o Gerald Henderson—6’5 out of Duke. Evolved into a great perimeter player for the Blue Devils. Like DeRozen improved greatly as the season went on.

o Terrence Williams—6’6 out of Louisville. A player that can do it all. Has caught the eye of his airness. Michael Jordan made a trip to watch Williams in person.

o Wayne Ellington—6’5 out of UNC. Ellington has been a sniper from long range since his freshman year. The skill should carry over into the NBA.

o Toney Douglas—6’2 out of Florida State. Another standout from the ACC. Douglas is a 5 year senior and should bring that maturity with him to his team.

o Jodie Meeks—6’4 out of Kentucky. 54 points ‘nuff said.

ESPN told us Monday night to not be surprised if the Timberwolves make a deal and Tuesday they were proven right. Minnesota obtained the #5 pick in the draft Thursday by sending Mike Miller and Randy Foye to Washington. Heading to Minnesota along with the 5th pick are big men Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila. This trade gives Minnesota 4, count them! 4 draft picks. Even in a weak draft you have to hope to hit on one of those picks.

Another player packing his bags is Richard Jefferson. The Bucks sent him to the Spurs for a shit on a tray’s worth of expiring contracts; Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto, and Kurt Thomas. Milwaukee gets some salary relief and tradable assets. San Antonio receives an elite wing scorer and somehow got younger by obtaining a 29 year old. I guess both teams came out with what they wanted. Richard Jefferson definitely got his wish even if it wasn’t publically announced he has to be happy leaving Milwaukee for San Antonio.

The experts seem less thrilled about the Guards. There may be a great number of them, but they just can’t tell who will emerge as players and who will be Williams Avery, go ahead and google him, take it in. Again it has been fed to us like Hollywood feeding us Shia Labeouf as a lead in an action movie, this is a weak draft. Does that mean that Transformers won’t be interesting? Does that mean this draft won’t be interesting?

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