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Thread: NBA DRAFT 2020 DISCUSSION

  1. #526
    I just want to note as well, that while I have not dug into the footage nearly as much as some others yet, and I certainly haven't gone deep into the draft (like 30+ players), the quality of the 2021 draft compared to this one is still so staggering. There are at least 5 players in next year's draft who would be clear #1 picks this year, and another 5 that might be

    Edit: Just for people who aren't aware, here's a bunch of prominent guys who will be in next year's draft who would have an argument for #1 this year. In no particular order (except number 1, who is number 1):

    Cade Cunningham, BJ Boston, Jonathon Kuminga, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, Usman Garuba, Jaylen Johnson, Moses Moody, Evan Mobley, maybe Keon Johnson.
    Last edited by Pelicanidae; 06-28-2020 at 07:04 PM.
    Tyrese Maxey/Isaac Okoro/Killian Tillie/Onyeka Okongwu/Devin Vassell endorser.

    Eye test people: analytics people watch more basketball than you do.

  2. #527
    Aleksej Pokusevski
    Height: 7'0
    Weight: 205lbs
    Wingspan: 7'3
    Pts/Rbds/Asts/Stls/Blks: 9.9/7.2/2.8/1.2/1.7

    Pros: To start with, Pokusevski is, if I remember rightly, the youngest player in this class by several months. Just flat out about as young as you can possibly be while still being in this draft: he will not turn 19 until his rookie year is already underway (assuming the season starts up within like, 2 months of when it usually does). So just consider that as you read everything else.

    Shockingly good handle for a 7 footer. Just really really good, it would honestly still be high class for a large wing, someone who is maybe 6'9 or so; for a dude who is a legit 7'0, it's weird. Combined with very, outlier good, fluid movement, and Poku can cross people over, hit behind the back moves, shake people, and he can do it with both hands. Totally able and willing to grab a board and go in transition, where his handling lets him really knife through transition defenses, it's honestly amazing to watch a guy of his size do this kind of thing so casually. Creating space off the dribble for offensive creation like someone several inches shorter than him, and doing it even in traffic, you'd expect someone so tall to turn it over at a high rate, but while he's not exactly the world's most secure ballhandler, his TOV% is very standard for a big despite all the added craziness.

    Handles like this combine perfectly with his passing, which is another outlier category. High level vision combined with delicate touch, creativity, and rapid decision making means that Poku is a threat to dish even when crowded by a double team under the basket coming off a behind the back dribble move; it's awesome. He can pass fluidly with either hand mid-dribble, he has short roll passing down well, can drive and kick, and has also shown (albeit limited) ability to run the PnR as ball-handler. Again, this is an 18 year old (most of his games played on record are from when he was 17) 7 footer. Guys this size, this young, who can hit skip passes and pocket passes with touch using either hand are very rare.

    When it comes to scoring game, Poku is a perimeter scorer first and foremost. Over the last two years, he's shot 27/73 from 3 (good for 37%, basically), and while that might seem like very few attempts for 2 seasons, he only played in about 18 games over that span; so it's about 4 attempts per game, which is actually fairly decent volume. 76% from the FT line is reasonably encouraging too, although obviously it's not incredible. What's more enticing than just the raw shooting numbers though, are how he gets them: Poku is 7 feet tall and shoots pull-ups. Now, according to Synergy, he's only about 35% on those off-the-dribble pull ups, but that's still encouraging, and we all know that being able to shoot pull-ups is just a different category of impact from being limited to purely catch and shoot attempts. The one worry about his shooting is that the form is not consistently great, but that's something that's probably a function of his size and frame (we'll get to that later) combined with youth; it's not disgusting, and any competent shooting coach will probably find it easy to work with.

    Somehow, the encouraging stuff doesn't stop here, because Poku, what do you know, is a defensive prospect too. He's got very good timing and anticipation, who plays with good positioning and some real aggression at times. In both of the last two seasons, he's posted stock rates of at least 3%STL and 8%BLK, which is very impressive just on paper, and it's not entirely gambling. He's willing to help, to dig on drivers, and his mobility is good enough that he actually shows some promise as a 7 footer who can chase guys around on the perimeter, which is wild. Hip mobility is there and it helps him be a solid isolation defender as well, and the footwork is seriously promising.

    Cons: Okay so now that I've made him sound like Jesus, what's wrong? Why isn't he the consensus #1 pick?

    1) Competition level. Poku plays in the 2nd division of the Greek league: this is the same league that Giannis played in before coming to the NBA and it is not renowned for being a good league. Simply put, if LaMelo and Hampton are being questioned about the quality of their competition in the NBL, and some people doubted Luka's abilities given the Euroleague, Poku's competition is even lower grade than that. There's some concern that the reason he's able to look so amazing and pull off so much incredible stuff is because he's just outclassing guys who would never cut it in the NBA.

    2) Frame: Poku is 7'0 tall and 205lbs. He's rail thin, and his frame doesn't look like it will be the best for putting too much weight on. Now, there's the possibility that he's just a Durant type, who can add some weight and strength but will always just look skinny, but that's being optimistic; in reality, Poku is probably 20lbs away from being 10lbs away from heavy enough, and who knows if he can add that weight on that frame without sacrificing a bunch of the mobility that makes him such an enticing prospect? Any team that drafts him would want to be having him monitored closely during physical development, and even then there's just no guarantee that it will work out.

    3) Relative Small Sample: 18 games in the last 2 years is not much. So the usual small sample stuff applies even more heavily here.

    4) There are gaps in the game. Poku is not a very talented finisher at the rim despite his height, partially because of his super low weight, and partially because of his high centre of gravity. He's not able to muscle in the paint or post, and there's some concern that the reason that his game is so perimeter oriented is due to an inability to really make impact at the rim even in the Greek league, which is obviously a problem if true. He's weak, and he hides from contact on finishes like LaMelo Ball does, and the athleticism is very limited: there's no muscularity to his game, and he's not physical right now. Bumped off his spot on drives, bumped in the air on finishes, that's offense, but defensively he's limited due to this lack of strength too.

    5) Lots of flashes, consistency concerns. For all I sung Poku's praises on defense up there, that's the positives. The downside is that sometimes he's unengaged; he can get caught ball watching, or lose his man. And more than just those focus issues, there are some technical problems with the defense as well: he takes bad angles sometimes, his size makes it difficult for him to navigate screens despite his lack of strength forcing him onto the perimeter, and he closes out inconsistently, giving up driving lanes easily sometimes. If he gets beaten off the dribble, he often just gives up.

    Overall: Poku's combination of youth, outlier skillsets in key areas for modern bigs like shooting, handling, passing, and team defense, and his domination of his league are things you just can't ignore. But the concerns are real, both in terms of his on court play and his physical capacity to make that same impact on the NBA level: there's risk here. He's legitimately boom or bust: if everything falls right, he can add weight, focus more as he ages and matures, and patch up the holes in his game, there is real star potential here. But if things go poorly and he can't add weight, or the finishing just never improves, or the defense stays inconsistent, this is a guy who might not be an NBA player at all, let alone a star.

    For me, I think it's worth the risk: there are so few guys in this draft who have ''star potential'' written on them, that the gamble may well be worth it. I could absolutely justify taking Pokusevski with a lottery pick, and if we grabbed him somewhere between 10 and 15 (wherever we end up, I don't know) I think it would be worth that shot, as long as we accepted that it was a risky prospect.

  3. #528
    Quote Originally Posted by Pelicanidae View Post
    Aleksej Pokusevski
    Height: 7'0
    Weight: 205lbs
    Wingspan: 7'3
    Pts/Rbds/Asts/Stls/Blks: 9.9/7.2/2.8/1.2/1.7

    Pros: To start with, Pokusevski is, if I remember rightly, the youngest player in this class by several months. Just flat out about as young as you can possibly be while still being in this draft: he will not turn 19 until his rookie year is already underway (assuming the season starts up within like, 2 months of when it usually does). So just consider that as you read everything else.

    Shockingly good handle for a 7 footer. Just really really good, it would honestly still be high class for a large wing, someone who is maybe 6'9 or so; for a dude who is a legit 7'0, it's weird. Combined with very, outlier good, fluid movement, and Poku can cross people over, hit behind the back moves, shake people, and he can do it with both hands. Totally able and willing to grab a board and go in transition, where his handling lets him really knife through transition defenses, it's honestly amazing to watch a guy of his size do this kind of thing so casually. Creating space off the dribble for offensive creation like someone several inches shorter than him, and doing it even in traffic, you'd expect someone so tall to turn it over at a high rate, but while he's not exactly the world's most secure ballhandler, his TOV% is very standard for a big despite all the added craziness.

    Handles like this combine perfectly with his passing, which is another outlier category. High level vision combined with delicate touch, creativity, and rapid decision making means that Poku is a threat to dish even when crowded by a double team under the basket coming off a behind the back dribble move; it's awesome. He can pass fluidly with either hand mid-dribble, he has short roll passing down well, can drive and kick, and has also shown (albeit limited) ability to run the PnR as ball-handler. Again, this is an 18 year old (most of his games played on record are from when he was 17) 7 footer. Guys this size, this young, who can hit skip passes and pocket passes with touch using either hand are very rare.

    When it comes to scoring game, Poku is a perimeter scorer first and foremost. Over the last two years, he's shot 27/73 from 3 (good for 37%, basically), and while that might seem like very few attempts for 2 seasons, he only played in about 18 games over that span; so it's about 4 attempts per game, which is actually fairly decent volume. 76% from the FT line is reasonably encouraging too, although obviously it's not incredible. What's more enticing than just the raw shooting numbers though, are how he gets them: Poku is 7 feet tall and shoots pull-ups. Now, according to Synergy, he's only about 35% on those off-the-dribble pull ups, but that's still encouraging, and we all know that being able to shoot pull-ups is just a different category of impact from being limited to purely catch and shoot attempts. The one worry about his shooting is that the form is not consistently great, but that's something that's probably a function of his size and frame (we'll get to that later) combined with youth; it's not disgusting, and any competent shooting coach will probably find it easy to work with.

    Somehow, the encouraging stuff doesn't stop here, because Poku, what do you know, is a defensive prospect too. He's got very good timing and anticipation, who plays with good positioning and some real aggression at times. In both of the last two seasons, he's posted stock rates of at least 3%STL and 8%BLK, which is very impressive just on paper, and it's not entirely gambling. He's willing to help, to dig on drivers, and his mobility is good enough that he actually shows some promise as a 7 footer who can chase guys around on the perimeter, which is wild. Hip mobility is there and it helps him be a solid isolation defender as well, and the footwork is seriously promising.

    Cons: Okay so now that I've made him sound like Jesus, what's wrong? Why isn't he the consensus #1 pick?

    1) Competition level. Poku plays in the 2nd division of the Greek league: this is the same league that Giannis played in before coming to the NBA and it is not renowned for being a good league. Simply put, if LaMelo and Hampton are being questioned about the quality of their competition in the NBL, and some people doubted Luka's abilities given the Euroleague, Poku's competition is even lower grade than that. There's some concern that the reason he's able to look so amazing and pull off so much incredible stuff is because he's just outclassing guys who would never cut it in the NBA.

    2) Frame: Poku is 7'0 tall and 205lbs. He's rail thin, and his frame doesn't look like it will be the best for putting too much weight on. Now, there's the possibility that he's just a Durant type, who can add some weight and strength but will always just look skinny, but that's being optimistic; in reality, Poku is probably 20lbs away from being 10lbs away from heavy enough, and who knows if he can add that weight on that frame without sacrificing a bunch of the mobility that makes him such an enticing prospect? Any team that drafts him would want to be having him monitored closely during physical development, and even then there's just no guarantee that it will work out.

    3) Relative Small Sample: 18 games in the last 2 years is not much. So the usual small sample stuff applies even more heavily here.

    4) There are gaps in the game. Poku is not a very talented finisher at the rim despite his height, partially because of his super low weight, and partially because of his high centre of gravity. He's not able to muscle in the paint or post, and there's some concern that the reason that his game is so perimeter oriented is due to an inability to really make impact at the rim even in the Greek league, which is obviously a problem if true. He's weak, and he hides from contact on finishes like LaMelo Ball does, and the athleticism is very limited: there's no muscularity to his game, and he's not physical right now. Bumped off his spot on drives, bumped in the air on finishes, that's offense, but defensively he's limited due to this lack of strength too.

    5) Lots of flashes, consistency concerns. For all I sung Poku's praises on defense up there, that's the positives. The downside is that sometimes he's unengaged; he can get caught ball watching, or lose his man. And more than just those focus issues, there are some technical problems with the defense as well: he takes bad angles sometimes, his size makes it difficult for him to navigate screens despite his lack of strength forcing him onto the perimeter, and he closes out inconsistently, giving up driving lanes easily sometimes. If he gets beaten off the dribble, he often just gives up.

    Overall: Poku's combination of youth, outlier skillsets in key areas for modern bigs like shooting, handling, passing, and team defense, and his domination of his league are things you just can't ignore. But the concerns are real, both in terms of his on court play and his physical capacity to make that same impact on the NBA level: there's risk here. He's legitimately boom or bust: if everything falls right, he can add weight, focus more as he ages and matures, and patch up the holes in his game, there is real star potential here. But if things go poorly and he can't add weight, or the finishing just never improves, or the defense stays inconsistent, this is a guy who might not be an NBA player at all, let alone a star.

    For me, I think it's worth the risk: there are so few guys in this draft who have ''star potential'' written on them, that the gamble may well be worth it. I could absolutely justify taking Pokusevski with a lottery pick, and if we grabbed him somewhere between 10 and 15 (wherever we end up, I don't know) I think it would be worth that shot, as long as we accepted that it was a risky prospect.
    After reading your take on both Poku here and Tillie earlier you appear to have the exact grade on both as I do. Griff needs to take the gamble with our first pick then try to bundle all three seconds to get pick 31 for Tillie, if he is still there. That would be AWESOME!

    By the way, thanks for the effort here, and great job.
    Last edited by Silver Nail; 06-29-2020 at 11:28 AM.

  4. #529
    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Nail View Post
    After reading your take on both Poku here and Tillie earlier you appear to have the exact grade on both as I do. Griff needs to take the gamble with our first pick then try to bundle all three seconds to get pick 31 for Tillie, if he is still there. That would be AWESOME!

    By the way, thanks for the effort here, and great job.
    Glad to hear some agreement! I do try to watch the games, look at the statistics, listen to the pods, and read the breakdowns before coming too firmly down on a player so I hope that it's clear that I'm trying to be fair and measured.

    Keep that in mind when I do the inevitable Lamelo breakdown later

  5. #530
    Exhibit C Nola3's Avatar
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    The more I see, the more I really want Poku especially in this draft. His ceiling is sky high and if we're gonna keep our pick we might as well swing for the fences since there are basically no sure-fire starters even in the top 3. With all the possible busts littered throughout this whole draft, the opportunity cost to taking a boom-or-bust prospect goes way down.

    Also, Dae, not sure if he's on your list to do, but I would love a breakdown for Paul Reed.

  6. #531
    Quote Originally Posted by Nola3 View Post
    The more I see, the more I really want Poku especially in this draft. His ceiling is sky high and if we're gonna keep our pick we might as well swing for the fences since there are basically no sure-fire starters even in the top 3. With all the possible busts littered throughout this whole draft, the opportunity cost to taking a boom-or-bust prospect goes way down.

    Also, Dae, not sure if he's on your list to do, but I would love a breakdown for Paul Reed.
    Paul Reed is on my radar, for sure. I'll make sure to add him on the list.

    I agree as well. I definitely see an argument for players who I legitimately believe just will be impactful, quality players very quickly (Vassell, for example, who I really like), but I also can't deny the logic in taking a swing at a boom bust prospect like Poku. The rewards are so high and, like you said, the opportunity cost so low given the likelihood of any other number of players being kinda meh anyway. While Poku at his worst outcome is worse than, say, Haliburton's worst outcome, Hali's worst outcome is so marginal as to be the 11th or 12th man on the bench; in that case, what's the difference between that and being out of the league, as Poku would be? Functionally the same when considering long term team construction.

  7. #532
    Maxi Kleber comp for Tillie sound about right?

  8. #533
    Quote Originally Posted by pelafanatic View Post
    Maxi Kleber comp for Tillie sound about right?
    I don't really like doing player comps too often because they always come with a bunch of caveats.

    That said, I don't think Kleber is a terrible comp for Tillie. I think Tillie is probably going to be a better passer though, by quite a margin, and his handle is superior so there's more offensive versatility. Kleber is more athletic though and probably is a better rim protector than Tillie will end up being.

  9. #534
    Paul Reed
    Height: 6'9
    Weight: 220lbs
    Wingspan: Not known
    Pts/Rbds/Asts/Stls/Blks: 15.1/10.7/1.6/1.9/2.6

    Pros: Reed is a pretty solid all around offensive player, though far from a star. Taking a quick look at the Synergy stats shows that he grade out as at least ''good'' in 5 of their offensive play types, and while all of the usual caveats revolving around Synergy use here apply, it's still worth noting. I say solid, rather than exceptional; for comparison with a truly exceptionally effective scorer, see Zion Williamson last season ranking out as ''excellent'' in 8 different offensive play types.

    Perhaps what stands out to me the most when I watch Reed play is his fluidity as a mover. He's not truly mindblowing there, especially given that he is actually a little small for a ''big'', but there's something very wing-like about his movement at times, which combined with a solid handle (he has the potential as a grab and go threat given his fairly strong nose for the ball on the glass) makes him a difficult matchup for less agile bigs who may be assigned to guard him. This fluidity and quickness also applies to his athleticism; he isn't a elite jumper, but he gets off the ground quickly and it helps him finish in space despite being a little short: his wingspan helps here too. We don't know exactly what it is but it looks to be fairly lengthy.

    Reed's shooting is also a potential positive. It's true that he only shot about 30% this year, and his 73% FT percentage doesn't exactly light the world on fire, but his form looks relatively smooth even if the legs are touch inconsistent. It's a two-motion shot, with a slight pause at around the forehead level, but he follows through well and there's a lot of confidence in the shot. On catch and shoot threes, he went for 39.2% this season, albeit on very low volume (fewer than 2 threes a game), but his fairly impressive touch around the basket and the fact that his shot isn't absolutely broken tells me that he may well be a threat to shoot at least catch and shoot in the NBA.

    Defensively, Reed fills up the stat sheet and he uses his length and mobility to work pretty effectively as a rim protector despite his height. His anticipation is solid and his timing tends to be very good, working with his physical tools to maximise the event creation even when there are some technical hitches. He's a great help defender as well on the perimeter and is actually a fantastic hedger when it comes to the pick and roll. One memorable play that comes to mind is when he hedged a ballhandler into a back-court violation, which is frankly just very funny. The 3.3% STL rate this season combined with his 8.7% BLK rate are indicative of this kind of great timing and anticipation, and when he's defending on ball he looks like he genuinely wants to stop the ballhandler more than he wants to breathe sometimes, which is the kind of aggression and commitment that is great to see in a prospect.


    Cons:

    Getting it out of the way: he's a bit old and a bit short. Moving on.

    For all the praise of his scoring game, Reed's offense is far from beautiful. Firstly his passing comes under fire, from myself and others: he's simply either not able or not willing to make many reads, and it almost comes across as selfish at times. His AST% has only barely topped 10% once in his 3 years in college, whereas his TOV% has hit at least 14% every season. Now, 14% isn't bad at all for an average passing big, but Reed is not an average passing big: he has tunnel vision as a scorer at times and it feels like he shifts between ''modes''. Once he catches the ball, he decides then and there if he's going to be in passing mode (at which point he will probably miss higher leverage reads or turn it over) or if he's going to be in scoring mode, with very little flexibility between the two.

    There's downsides to his shooting as well: despite that pretty impressive 39.2% catch and shoot percentage, Reed shot about 13% on all other threes, and 27% on contested threes. For him to be a threat right now, he really has to be open and have his feet set, which sets a fairly hard limit on his ceiling as a shooter. Further, it's not like his ability to shoot opens up the Pick and Pop for him as an offensive tool because, frankly, he's a terrible terrible screener. There's a lack of motivation in his screening. Part of this is probably because of his frame: despite having decent strength he's no brick wall, but another part of it clearly comes from listlessness. Sometimes it seems like unless the ball is in his hands, he just isn't interested in taking part in the offense, and screens are part of that for him.

    With PnP out of the question for now, we have to ask about PnR, and that suffers from his lack of screening desire as well; after he sets a poor screen, he's an inconsistent roller, and the result of this is that Synergy has him in the 13th percentile as a rolling big: 0.68 points per shot. This is fairly dismal.

    One reason that I didn't praise his defense to the heavens in the pros section despite him being actually pretty impactful on defense at the college level is the scepticism that it might translate. Reed's defense is filled with technical flaws: his footwork is poor, leading to him having trouble closing out and defending on the perimeter, and as it is right now he's not strong enough to really bang with bigs in the post. He's a tweener physically, in the worst of ways. Beyond that, the tunnel vision that applies to his scoring also applies to his defense, and he can lose his man while defending off ball. The physical gifts that let him shut down drivers in the paint don't help him when he gives up back-cuts as he ball-watches.


    Overall: Now, I have to give a slight caveat here because I haven't actually watched a MASSIVE amount of Reed play. For some prospects, I watched basically everything they did, whereas with Reed it was more inconsistent, but the way I see it, Reed's game is very hard to project into the NBA with confidence. On one hand, there are elements that should translate like his ability to hit wide open jumpers, his solid rebounding, and his mobility. On the other, there are some skills that he has at the college level that are hard to see moving with him into the NBA; his handle probably isn't good enough at the next level to do some of what he does in college, and his lack of a passing game is the sort of thing that the NBA likes to punish big men for these days. If he can improve as a passer, continue improving as a shooter, tighten up his handle, and engage more consistently off ball as a defender, he could be a genuinely very good prospect, but those are quite a few things for someone who doesn't really have an instinctive grasp on any of them. On the other hand, there are flashes of really encouraging play here and there's an attitude to his game that I enjoy. For me, I see Reed as an early to mid second round pick. One comparison I've seen of him floating around is Thad Young, and while I don't think he's actually as talented as Thad as a team defender, and Thad is a more willing passer even if he's not great at it, it's not a completely absurd comparison to make.

  10. #535
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    Thanks. Love to read your write ups. Would you mind Cassius Stanley from Duke?

  11. #536
    Quote Originally Posted by tdcreator View Post
    Thanks. Love to read your write ups. Would you mind Cassius Stanley from Duke?
    Sure, I'll have to watch a couple of his games though because I didn't watch a ton of Duke this year (no real main attraction types).

    Fun fact that I do remember about Cassius Stanley though: 100% of his threes were assisted this year according to Synergy.

  12. #537
    Exhibit C Nola3's Avatar
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    Good looking out on Reed. Hell of a quick turnaround. Kind of took the wind out of my sails though haha because I was high on him just from having heard about him from a few different places

  13. #538
    Quote Originally Posted by Nola3 View Post
    Good looking out on Reed. Hell of a quick turnaround. Kind of took the wind out of my sails though haha because I was high on him just from having heard about him from a few different places
    I had the exact same experience because earlier in the year, Cosmis (great guy on draft twitter) kept posting Paul Reed highlights and talking about how fun he was. So I went to go watch him, super excited, and he definitely was fun about 50% of the time. The other 50%, very frustrating

    There's some really special flashes in his game, and there are reasons to be high on him, but the flaws are fairly serious and given his age and tweener build, it would be hard for me to draft him too much more highly than where I placed him. Late first round (like, 25-30) wouldn't be too much of a reach I guess, depending on team: he'd probably do really well in Toronto or Boston, they have a track record of getting younger players to really buy in.

  14. #539
    Dae, how would Cole Anthony fit as a volume scorer off the bench on this particular Pels team. I'm envisioning a future with he and NAW sharing ball handling duties on the second unit with Didi and Melli in the corners and Hayes on the roll, and I'm kind of salivating.

  15. #540
    Also, how much stock should we put in what Griff said about height? Would this new Pels regime consider an undersized player in the lottery? I'm not so sure they would.

  16. #541
    Quote Originally Posted by pelafanatic View Post
    Dae, how would Cole Anthony fit as a volume scorer off the bench on this particular Pels team. I'm envisioning a future with he and NAW sharing ball handling duties on the second unit with Didi and Melli in the corners and Hayes on the roll, and I'm kind of salivating.
    I have kind of a mixed outlook on Cole. Going into the year, based on pre-college play, he was a strong contender for a top 3 pick in my mind. He was great in high school and EYBL/FIBA play, but then he had a fairly horrible offensive year at UNC, and it's hard to work out how much of that was real struggling, and how much was a product of his injury combined with truly awful team fit.

    There are a few things I'm confident in for Cole that I think will probably translate to the NBA, because they were things that stuck around even through the rough times at UNC; those are his pull-up shooting and his team defense. Synergy ranked out his pull-up shooting as ''excellent'' this season, and he shot 41.9% off the dribble which is obviously pretty good, and he has nice footwork on those attempts as well as a ton of confidence and smoothness. Pull up shooting is a real X Factor skill in the NBA so if you believe in that being high-level, then it's obviously valuable. He was a 38% catch and shoot guy in EYBL on a much larger sample size (180 attempts), so that's a bit more evidence that the shooting projection is probably real. Obviously the decline in FT% isn't great at the college level but again, it was much better pre-college (83% on nearly 200 attempts vs 75% on 128 attempts at UNC) so we can speculate about which is more likely to be the 'real' Cole, as it were.

    As a team defender, he's really good even at college. Rotates really well, was a great guard-type rim protector, good timing, keeps his head up and on a swivel, stunts, digs, all the little things. His man defense is pretty solid too, quick feet and hands and generally good hip mobility combined with high awareness and focus helps him a lot there. Overall he's not a perfect defensive player, since he still needs work on his pick and roll defense and he has some of the occasional defensive lapses that we expect in young players, but it's all very encouraging.

    His passing at UNC was pretty bad, but again this is somewhere it was better before college. He was never a savant or anything but he was capable in EYBL play, so we have to ask whether his poor passing and low assist numbers at UNC are a product of him being bad, or a product of him being in a really bad team context with very few good teammates and awful spacing that cramped passing lanes (or a bit of both). I expect him to be an okay but not noteworthy passer at the next level.

    If you believe in the pre-college footage and think that some of the shinier aspects of his on-ball game, like his handle and driving, can be unlocked in a league with better spacing and shooting, then I don't think he'd be a bad pick if he slid down to late lottery, and there's even a chance that he could end up being a steal if his deficiencies really mainly UNC related, but I don't know if he would be my first choice there. Depends on who is left on the board, I suppose.

    On this particular Pels team, the combo of pull up shooting (Shamit has often talked about his wish to pair Zion in the PnR with a dynamite pull-up shooter) and team defense is probably very valuable, but then of course we get to that conversation about whether you should draft based on this team context or not. I won't go into that here, we've discussed it a ton in the thread, but that's a personal judgement. For me, I think I would be happy picking him if he fell to that area and a few other names were gone, but he probably wouldn't be my first choice.

  17. #542
    For me in no particular order

    Guys who will be gone:
    Anthony Edwards
    Killian Hayes
    Lamelo Ball
    James Wiseman
    Obi Toppin
    Onyeka Okongu
    Tyrese Halibuton
    Deni Avdija
    Isaac Okoro

    In the mix for pick:
    Leandro Bolmaro
    Devin Vassell
    Kira Lewis
    Aaron Nesmith

    Safe but meh:
    Saddiq Bey
    Tyrese Maxey
    Jalen Smith

    Scare me:
    Cole Anthony
    Aleksej Pokusevski (probably worth it though)
    RJ Hampton

    I like but probably too high

    Reggie Perry
    Josh Green
    Killian Tillie
    Jahm'ius Ramsey
    Tyrell Terry
    Grant Riller


    This draft is really weak on forwards who aren't tweeners/"stretch" 4s

    Haven't looked a ton though.

  18. #543
    Nesmith in the lottery would be a huge reach, imo. Very good shooting prospect but not particularly great on defense and has very little creation off the dribble. Would be excusable if he was just like, the best shooting prospect in the class but with people like Desmond Bane out there, he's not.

  19. #544
    Also I've said it before and I'll say it again: draft Wiseman in the late teens, you'll probably end up being happy with the standard of player he turns out to be. Draft Wiseman in the lottery, you'll be kicking yourself.

  20. #545
    Quote Originally Posted by Pelicanidae View Post
    Also I've said it before and I'll say it again: draft Wiseman in the late teens, you'll probably end up being happy with the standard of player he turns out to be. Draft Wiseman in the lottery, you'll be kicking yourself.
    I disagree. I think draft twitter is way too low on this guy. In a draft this bad, a guy that big, long, and strong who can move like he can, even with limited feel, should go top ten, probably top 5. There are a limited number of players on the planet who physically can be elite rim protectors, and he's one of them. If he ends being even a good rim protector and ends up shooting, and I think there's a reasonable chance that happens, then he's a really valuable player. Myles Turner had pretty poor feel for the game coming out and is not as physically gifted as Wiseman, and I think there's a fair chance Wiseman approximates his career. I really don't like him for the Pels because of the investment they have made in Hayes, but I would still end up taking him in this draft where they'll be in the unlikely occasion he falls.

  21. #546
    Quote Originally Posted by Biasvasospasm View Post
    I disagree. I think draft twitter is way too low on this guy. In a draft this bad, a guy that big, long, and strong who can move like he can, even with limited feel, should go top ten, probably top 5. There are a limited number of players on the planet who physically can be elite rim protectors, and he's one of them. If he ends being even a good rim protector and ends up shooting, and I think there's a reasonable chance that happens, then he's a really valuable player. Myles Turner had pretty poor feel for the game coming out and is not as physically gifted as Wiseman, and I think there's a fair chance Wiseman approximates his career. I really don't like him for the Pels because of the investment they have made in Hayes, but I would still end up taking him in this draft where they'll be in the unlikely occasion he falls.
    The question is, what has he ever done to make you think he can be a shooter, and what makes you think he's a particularly great mover?

    It is damn near impossible, in my mind, to justify taking a strict centre (because Wiseman cannot play power forward) in the top 5 unless they are special. Wiseman is not special. He moves pretty well, although most of his movement highlights you see are him moving in a straight line because he's not actually super super fluid laterally. He passes badly, which is the end result of his overall poor decision making. He's a horrible defender anywhere outside of 5 feet, which is partially to do with movement but more largely to do with not having any idea what he's doing 90% of the time. He's shown no real reason to expect him to become a shooter aside from willingness to shoot.

    Being an elite rim protector is good; it's not enough to justify going top 5 in the draft. If he ends up being just a solid rim protector (which he probably will, he's big and he's pretty much destined to play in drop schemes so he'll be at the basket a lot) then, as you say, you're banking on him shooting a bit, which we have no reason to suspect he will; he's never been a good shooter pre-college, he's not a notably great midrange shooter either, and it's not like he has fantastic layup touch.

    You give the Myles Turner comparison. Do you draft Myles Turner top 5? I don't, even in this draft, and I'd be surprised if Wiseman was as versatile a defender as Turner.

  22. #547
    Charter Member PELICANSFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelicanidae View Post
    You give the Myles Turner comparison. Do you draft Myles Turner top 5? I don't, even in this draft, and I'd be surprised if Wiseman was as versatile a defender as Turner.
    Really? Even knowing what he brings (i.e. you know what you get). There may be a future star in this draft, but there appears to be so many boom or bust types.

  23. #548
    Quote Originally Posted by Pelicanidae View Post
    The question is, what has he ever done to make you think he can be a shooter, and what makes you think he's a particularly great mover?

    It is damn near impossible, in my mind, to justify taking a strict centre (because Wiseman cannot play power forward) in the top 5 unless they are special. Wiseman is not special. He moves pretty well, although most of his movement highlights you see are him moving in a straight line because he's not actually super super fluid laterally. He passes badly, which is the end result of his overall poor decision making. He's a horrible defender anywhere outside of 5 feet, which is partially to do with movement but more largely to do with not having any idea what he's doing 90% of the time. He's shown no real reason to expect him to become a shooter aside from willingness to shoot.

    Being an elite rim protector is good; it's not enough to justify going top 5 in the draft. If he ends up being just a solid rim protector (which he probably will, he's big and he's pretty much destined to play in drop schemes so he'll be at the basket a lot) then, as you say, you're banking on him shooting a bit, which we have no reason to suspect he will; he's never been a good shooter pre-college, he's not a notably great midrange shooter either, and it's not like he has fantastic layup touch.

    You give the Myles Turner comparison. Do you draft Myles Turner top 5? I don't, even in this draft, and I'd be surprised if Wiseman was as versatile a defender as Turner.
    I would definitely pick Myles Turner top 5 in this particular draft. If there are 10 long-term starters in this draft, I'd be very surprised. If there are even 7 above average starters in this draft, I'd also be surprised. And I see a lot of non-valuable types of players in the lottery (non-special combo guards like Anthony and Maxey, big men who are currently better players but lesser upside like Toppin or Okongwu).

    I agree that he is a bad passer and a bad decision-maker.

    I am somewhat of a believer that for bigs, just showing a willingness to shoot 3s early means something and I think that his mechanics look okay. I don't think it's a guarantee he ends up as any kind of shooter but I definitely feel more confident about it than I would for, for instance, Jaxson.

    I don't think his movement skills are particularly great. I think they are fine in comparison to other really massive human beings, but I don't think they are near AD's level, for instance. I just think there is a chance based upon physical tools he could defensively be similar to Rudy Gobert, and I think there is a chance based upon mechanics and willingness to shoot chance he can stretch the floor, and the upside of a player who could possibly be both of those things is better than anyone else in this class except LaMelo and Anthony Edwards. And while I think that's super unlikely he ends up anywhere near that, I think the other options are bad.

  24. #549
    Quote Originally Posted by PELICANSFAN View Post
    Really? Even knowing what he brings (i.e. you know what you get). There may be a future star in this draft, but there appears to be so many boom or bust types.
    I mean, it depends, are you asking me if I would draft 23 year old Myles Turner in the top 5, knowing exactly that he would definitely have the skills he's had in the NBA at the NBA level, or are you asking me if I would draft 18/19 year old Myles Turner from college? Cause no, I don't think I would draft 19 year old Myles Turner in the top 5 in this years draft, no.

    In the top 5 of a draft, what I'm generally looking for is potential lead ballhandler and/or playmaker upside. Those are the guys who can really define a franchise. That's your Lebron, your Luka, your CP3, etc, the guys who you think can really be that Star. Unless they are very very special, (AD, for example) I don't draft bigs who can't shoot in the top 5, in general.

    Think about Luka's draft, for example. Do you draft Ayton over Luka, even if Ayton looks like he's really good? No, or you shouldn't (sorry Phoenix), because even if that big becomes very very good (which Ayton may well do) he's never going to be Luka in terms of what he can do for a team. The role is just so massively unbalanced. Obviously nobody in this draft has Luka's potential, but then again, Wiseman is no Ayton either, as a prospect. If you have someone like Anthony Edwards, who I don't love as a prospect, do you take him over Wiseman even if you're aware of all of his flaws? Absolutely, because even a sort of reasonable higher end outcome (not his 1% ultimate outcome) for Edwards is more impactful than Wiseman unless Wiseman reaches the absolute pinnacle of his potential.

    And you can play that game with a bunch of guys in this draft. Say that everyone in this draft becomes the best version of themselves that I can feasibly imagine them being. Edwards figures out how to shoot, to focus on defense. LaMelo figures out how to shoot, how to finish, and decides to defend. Pokusevski puts on 25lbs and everything translates to the NBA. Vassell's passing upside is real and his pull up shooting hits. Okoro's slashing potential is unlocked and he becomes a decent shooter, and so on.

    Is Wiseman one of the top 5 best possible outcomes that I see? Nope. Top 10? Probably not. Top 15? Yeah, sure. So do I draft him with the 5th pick, or the 9th? Nope. 15th? Sure, maybe.

  25. #550
    Quote Originally Posted by Biasvasospasm View Post
    I agree that he is a bad passer and a bad decision-maker.

    I am somewhat of a believer that for bigs, just showing a willingness to shoot 3s early means something and I think that his mechanics look okay. I don't think it's a guarantee he ends up as any kind of shooter but I definitely feel more confident about it than I would for, for instance, Jaxson.

    I don't think his movement skills are particularly great. I think they are fine in comparison to other really massive human beings, but I don't think they are near AD's level, for instance. I just think there is a chance based upon physical tools he could defensively be similar to Rudy Gobert, and I think there is a chance based upon mechanics and willingness to shoot chance he can stretch the floor, and the upside of a player who could possibly be both of those things is better than anyone else in this class except LaMelo and Anthony Edwards. And while I think that's super unlikely he ends up anywhere near that, I think the other options are bad.
    This is what gets me, the bolded bit. You think that just based on physical tools, he could defensively be similar to one of the best two or three defenders in the NBA today? That's a huge reach, for me; that kind of defensive impact doesn't just come from tools, there has to be a high level of feel and awareness on the defensive end to pull that sort of thing off. The NBA is filled with 6'10, 7'0 tall guys who are super lengthy and semi-mobile who will never have Gobert's impact because they just don't know what they're doing. I feel like Wiseman isn't as bad as some of those guys, but the Gobert upside is a huge leap.

    I do agree that the other options aren't great, but I think they play more useful or versatile potential roles in the NBA today, and that they do have higher upside even if it's not top-15-player upside like a LaMelo might have.

    Shamit was saying this on twitter the other day; say that Wiseman manages to use his size and athleticism well and becomes a reasonably solid defensive centre who can do all the standard rim running and put-back stuff that we like centres to do. You can pick up a centre who does that for almost nothing these days. Teams give away guys who are just ''okay'' at the centre position all the time, for very little or sometimes nothing at all. Why would I spend a top 5 pick on a guy who I think will probably be one of the guys who gets given away for free?

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