OK, gents and ladies, I'm a little behind on this, but I'm gonna start my submissions to you with a draft write up by one of our submittees. The following is written by someone we shall only know for now as "Glenn." I know I shoulda got this out to you before
the draft, but if I had my act together, the site wouldn't be looking for people. If good draft post-analyses are sent to me, I will send them to you.
Opinions, for once, welcome.
What 2012 NBA Draft Prospect Should Jordan Pick to Avoid Catastrophe
Michael Jordan needs the best possible number two draft pick in the
worst possible way. The Charlotte Bobcats are fresh of a 2012 season so
abysmal that it may have been predicted by Mayan doomsday prophecy.
(They did have an ancient form of "basket" ball after all.) His Airness
with the right pick could hear less mumbling in the future about Kwame
Brown and Adam Morrison, and you know he must thirst for that like he
once did for the tears of Craig Ehlo. This article shares the assumption
that the famous unibrow of Anthony Davis is pointing towards the Big
Easy. So far Michael Jordan and GM Rich Cho have worked out Harrison
Barnes, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, and Andre
Drummond. Unless the Bobcats end up making a trade, one of these
prospects is going to end up with the herculean task of trying to lift
the heaviest looking team in NBA history onto their back, so they can
carry it for 82 games while searching for a free hand to battle back the
specters of Jordan's infamous draft busts. So who's up for the job? I
rank the likely candidates:
The conventional wisdom on drafting big men whenever possible is
beginning to wane nowadays as more and more franchises are finding
themselves wishing they had gone small on draft day. History has offered
too many great players like MJ and KD who flourish after being passed
over because as the argument goes you can't teach height. Still, it's
hard to think of a standing reach of over nine feet and nearly three
blocks a game and not dream of a time when centers roamed the NBA
hardwood with impunity.
Andre Drummond worked out for the Bobcats last Friday scrimmaging with
Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson. The two participated in a full
court 3-on-3 drill run by Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap. Although
there is no noted animostiy between them neither man was holding
anything back. "We're friends off the court, but on the court we're
trying to take each other's head off," Robinson said. Drummond expressed
simpler aspirations than decapitation when asked what he was trying to
achieve, saying that he wanted to show he could "run the floor hard,
play hard, grab rebounds and block shots".
Drummond clearly represents the bigger perceived bust risk of the two
making it unlikely the Bobcats will take a chance with him. This is
exacerbated by Jordan's history; it seems unlikely given Kwame's
dramatic example that Jordan would stick his neck out for another young
unproven big man on the basis of his potential ceiling. On a Connecticut
squad that went nowhere in 2012, Drummond was neither the leader in PER
or Win Shares but the Bobcats don't have to look much further than one
old fashioned stat to get nervous. Drummond converted on less than 30%
of his free throws. That's possible? I had no idea. I mean maybe if Ben
Wallace was trying to shoot them while recovering from the effects of a
flash grenade...in a wind tunnel...with his hands soaked in butter...
According to Genesis man was created in God's own image. It must be
tempting for Jordan when he sees that Carolina blue draped on a prolific
scoring All-American to imagine molding Harrison Barnes in his
likeness. What more dramatic way could there be to bring hope to
Charlotte? Harrison has the tools to be a great player. As a physical
specimen he possesses a 38 inch standing vertical to go along with his
6'11" wingspan. He can run three quarters of the court in 3.16 seconds
which is only .02 seconds slower than John Wall. As a scorer he displays
a smooth arsenal of mid-range shots and is proficient at creating space
with his step back and high release. His jumper has classic form and range. However, something doesn't feel quite right.
There is an ominous feeling that sets in when a player was the top guy
in the class of 2010 but isn't even discussed as the number one pick
after two years in a prestigious college program. Granted, it's not his
fault that Anthony Davis won't stop growing, but that's not the only
problem. Barnes tops the list of the 10 Most Overrated Draft Prospects
compiled by the Wages of Wins Journal. Using Wins Produced per 48 minutes their model
actually has him as the number 83 prospect in the draft. He finished behind teammates
Zeller and John Henson in both PER and Win Shares last year. His
offensive efficiency for now is mediocre at best and he has difficulty
finishing up close, only scoring 1.049 points per shot
around the rim. It's fun to daydream, but I think Jordan is going to
need to keep his feet on the ground here and pass on Barnes.
According to the model established by WP48
Bradley Beal is actually right where he should be in most mock drafts
at pick number three. However, Jordan has pick number two so Beal would
still be somewhat of a gamble. Putting aside Jordan's highly publicized
penchant for gambling, this is still a move he'll likely avoid despite a
good workout for the Gator
This may be less of a judgment on Beal than a realistic look at the
needs of the team. Arguably, Charlotte's backcourt is the most
salvageable part of the Bobcat wreckage that has to be somehow made into
an airplane. Though the freshman has impressed with his solid advanced
stats and been lauded for a high basketball IQ, the task of carrying the
Bobcats appears too heavy for his combo guard frame. Under 6'4"
shoeless, it isn't hard to imagine him struggling against NBA shooting
guards, and having a higher turnover percentage than assist percentage
isn't the world's best sign for the Bobcats if they would want him to
explore the point. Beal also needs to improve on his pick and roll offense
to distinguish himself in the NBA. Given the attention whoever gets
drafted here will demand in opposing coaches defensive schemes, it seems
hard to believe that Beal would thrive in a Bobcat backcourt. There's a
good place on a starting squad amongst the lottery teams for Beal; it's
just not here.
What the Charlotte Bobcats really crave is the feeling of winning.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the only player they've worked out who could
tell his teammates next year what it's like to win an NCAA title. Going
from a championship to a team that just set a historical record for
futility would be a hard adjustment for any player. Not having a single
player on his new team who's the caliber of his old partner Anthony
Davis wouldn't make adjusting any easier.
From the Bobcats
standpoint they could certainly do a lot worse with this pick. When you
are as bad as the Bobcats, there is no department that you don't need
help in. As the youngest player in the draft, the Wildcat has the
potential to follow up his auspicious college career by developing into
that rare combination of glue guy and star that the Bobcats so
desperately need. It's a well worn adage that defense wins
championships. Right now the Bobcats are just worried about winning
games. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's defensive acumen should come in handy at
that more modest task as well.
As a scorer he's still pretty raw. Nearly half of his shots
come at the rim.
Below a quarter of his shots come on jumpers and his rate of conversion
is poor for a wing. He also struggles with a high turnover rate. His
noted work ethic should help him improve on these deficiencies.
However, it's hard to drastically improve as a player while drastically
improving as a team, and saying that the Bobcats need their improvement
to be drastic is like saying the crew of the Titanic might have wanted
to improve their iceberg avoidance skills.
The Bobcats, a team in need of everything, would be well served to
address two of the most fundamental necessities in basketball with this
pick: rebounding and scoring. Thomas Robinson brings both as well as
anybody in this draft, and that's including a certain future Hornet.
Somehow, I don't think Michael Jordan is going to mind a prospective big
man who's spent three years in college either seeing how well that
whole straight out of high school thing worked for him in 2001.
Robinson has a reputation for being perhaps the most NBA ready player
in the draft. His rebounding prowess and motor are unquestioned. His
jump shot needs some work but he's improved every year at the free throw
line. He can face up, put it on the floor, or score in the post over
either shoulder. Plus, his draft video
has a classic Killah Priest instrumental playing in the background. What's not to love?
all that, there is something very important about Thomas Robinson that
the Charlotte Bobcats should be ecstatic about. He actually wants to
play there! Or at least he says he does
which in itself is admirable: "I think I would fit into the system well
here. I know the coach - he was at St. John's - so I'm real familiar
with him and I know the playing style he likes." Apparently, Mr.
Jayhawk backed up the talk up too as he showed a keenness for coach
Dunlap's system in his workout
He's got the tools, he's got the attitude, and he fits the system. If
this Thursday night David Stern begins a sentence , "With the 2nd pick in
NBA Draft..." and ends it with the two words "Thomas Robinson", then the
dimmest arena in all of the NBA just got more than a little brighter.