Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Draft Links!

This is such a wonderful time to be a basketball fan.  Not only is the draft the most exciting single event on the NBA calendar -- and this year's should be no different with player movement uninhibited, unlike the NFL's -- but there is a ton of great coverage from every angle.  As we wait for the RFH Final Mock to go up, here are some of my favorite reads leading up to Thursday:

  • Cate School alum and wonderful writer John Krolik breaks down the possibilities for the Cavs with the 1st and 4th picks at Cavs: The Blog.  Like the Cavs, John has settled on Kyrie Irving over Derrick Williams, if for no other reason than all things being equal, he'd take the point guard.  At 4, he has developed an affinity for Jonas Valanciunus that he makes no effort to conceal, mainly because of the 7-footer's efficiency and commitment to defense.  But he also worries that the next logical big that could be available, Enes Kanter, could have significant shortcomings on the defensive end. 

  • Get your motor running.  The Timberwolves figure to take Derrick Williams with the second pick in the draft.  He's at worst the consensus second best player in the draft, arguably the best all-around offensive player, and now he -- like Kevin Love and Wes Johnson and Michael Beasley -- will have the pleasure of playing alongside one of the most prodigious passers we have ever seen: Ricky Rubio.  Not that Rubio has done anything yet, he hasn't.  At this point he is just a rookie, a card-carrying member of Club Tril (Editor's note: no he is not. The essential component that makes Club Tril so special is the "1" in the minutes played column and the subsequent zeros).  But in addition to closure for a 2009 draft that has hung over the team like a constant fog, as Zach Harper says, Rubio will bring excitement.  They will be interesting, for sure, and that could start on Thursday.  The Wolves have the 2nd and 20th picks and assets like Beasley and Johnny Flynn to deal.

  • Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty addresses the idea of Alec Burks at 7 with a focus on the question, can Burks be a point guard?  His answer is "no," but that wouldn't stop Ziller from supporting the pick. 

  • Kanter to the Wizards sounds like a pretty great fit, and Mike Prada breaks down how it could happen.  I don't see how Kanter slips that far, but after reading this report on his defense (via Cavs: The Blog) from Draft Express, it makes some sense:

This lack of experience shows up first and foremost on the defensive end, where Kanter was incredibly ineffective in the film we watched. His fundamentals, instincts and positioning leave a lot to be desired. He can often be found standing straight up in the paint with his arms down, putting in little to no effort. He rarely boxes out his opponent and generally looks disinterested in anything that has to do with defense. He rarely bends his knees and often fails to get back in transition--doing very little to protect the paint when he does.

  • Fred Katz does an impressive profile on increasingly-less-sleeperish draft sleeper, Norris Cole, at Hoopspeak.  Cole seems like just about as good a point guard prospect as anyone not named Kyrie in this draft.  With the Jazz set to take Brandon Knight in all likelihood, someone could be in for a value after the run on European guys, college tweener 3/4's and "combo guards."  From his Draft Express profile, he sure sounds like an NBA guard:
Looking at the way Cole has improved himself from his sophomore to senior season, what's remarkable is his dramatic increases in production across the board despite relatively static minutes. Increasing his points per game from 13.3 to 21.6 while more than doubling his assists without increased minutes is an impressive feat, and a testament to Cole's coachability and ability to excel in various roles.

The most improved aspect of Cole's game this season would have to be his point guard abilities and overall feel for the game, as he's developed into a complete point guard capable of making all the passes needed in the halfcourt and transition. Cole does most of his damage operating out of the pick-and-roll, where he sees the entire floor at all times, keeps his head up, and frequently makes tough passes out of double teams to open teammates.

Some Clipper news that seems like the lead-up to a really big storm.  Or just a lot of talk:

  • D.J. Foster had a great interview with Clips G.M. Neil Olshey, in which Olshey spoke extensively about Al-Farouq Aminu and made a handful of suggestive remarks about trades and free agency.  He sounded optimistic about Aminu becoming the guy they need at the 3, which is great, but the thinking goes that the Clippers have a hole there now and they can upgrade while adding the veteran presence that they so openly desire.   

  • Larry Coon seems to think the Iguodala-Kaman trade "has a good shot" at happening, which sounds crazy to say about any trade of that magnitude, but he isn't one to exaggerate, so we'll see.  Clips Nation compiled all the necessary links to prepare for whatever trade does or doesn't go down.  I am not the biggest Iggy fan, but I would imagine the Clippers would have to take a deal for Kaman straight up.  As long as Aminu, Bledsoe and the 2012 Minny pick stay out of it, Iguodala is too talented to pass up, regardless of contract or offensive shortcomings.  

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