Going into tomorrow's draft lottery, I thought I would give a bit of a run down of the draft prospects from a little different perspective. I will list them in the categories as I see them. It is not a ranking of where I think they will go in the draft. Nor is it a draft board, as I am not listing them as I rank them, except they are in order of how I would rank them in each category.
I am far from a professional scout. During the last couple months I have tried to watch the top prospects during the NCAA (and NIT) tournament and some Euro league. And then I am relying heavily on DraftExpress.com and NBADraft.net heavily for information.
I am interested in what other fan's opinions are about where prospects fall in these categories.
Very Good Chance at Becoming an All-Star
In this draft it doesn't seem as if we have any prospects sitting in the Definitely a Franchise Altering Talent category, so this is the highest category here. It has two players: Irving and Williams. I have high confidence in both of these players to become All-Stars. If they Jazz have a chance at either of these two, via trading other picks, or luck, they better take them and quick.
Irving doesn't have jaw-dropping speed or jumping, but he might be in the top-ten players in the league as far as passing ability from day one. That is saying something, and it is special.
William's has that "look". He believes he is the best player on the court at all times, and he plays like it. Relative to context, he threw down one of the most amazing dunks I have seen when he willed himself to dunk two handed over three players in the second half against UConn. You can't teach heart, and he has it.
The biggest question for Irving and Williams might be how dedicated are they going to be on the defensive end. Or will their interest only be peaked on one side of the court. Its the difference between players like Kobe and Carmelo.
Could be All-Stars. Could Flop.
I think this is where this draft is lacking. Usually there are about ten players who, if they can just overcome one thing or another, could be really good. But if they don't, they might not have a long career. For example Hayward from last year. Everyone knew he had the tools, but would he become strong enough to play and not be blown away in the wind?
Usually there are more flops then stars here, but it always seems there are a good number of players in this category. This year I think there are only three. But with the Jazz's first pick, I think they have to roll the dice with one of these guys if they have a chance.
Kanter probably doesn't have the running/jumping ability to dominate. In fact, that could make him nothing but big body to take fouls against Dwight Howard. On the other hand, if he shows he can at least hang with more atheletic players he has everything else in place to become a fringe All-Star every year. He understands the game, he has amazing skills for his size, and he is big and strong.
Burks is interesting. I actually watched NIT games just to see him play. For being a volume scorer, watching him play one thing stands out: he might have the second best court vision in the draft behind Irving. He is like AK in that regard. He really see's the court well. And he is unselfish. For being a "gunner" he probably should have been taking more shots considering the talent level of his teammates. But he seems very willing to make the right play. I am not concerned with his poor jump shot percentages because his form is good an pure. I actually think he will show himself to be a good spot up shooter in the NBA. His problem, as far as I could see, was that he never, ever, got set up for open jumpers. They were always off the dribble. He has a great handle as well and is by far the best rebounding SG in the draft (again, he reads the play and times rebounds very well).
His down side? He scarily sometimes seems to be drifting... not a high motor from what I have seen. If he show a desire once in the NBA he will be great, if not he will be someone who's name none of us will remember in five years.
In contrast to Burks, Brandon Knight has a very high motor. He is running full speed from tip-off to the final whistle. And his full speed is fast. Very fast. He is fearless, smart, and you can tell he wants to win badly. He has a great handle, and deep range on his jumper. And he is a relentless defender. Sounds great. Except he is a point guard and what I left out is .... well... he can't pass very well. I hate to say it, because I loved watching him compete, but I never once (in two games) saw him make a pass where I said to myself, "wow, nice pass". In fact, I rarely said to myself "That was a pass". Because he doesn't pass much. Maybe my sample size was small, maybe it was the offense. And he is young and reportedly a willing learner. If he can learn to facilitate, the sky is the limit. If not, well, I really like watching Ronnie Price play his 5 minutes a game too.
Physically Outstanding Defenders
These are the guys who probably never be stars, but are something special physically, high-motor guys, who will be in the league a long time because they will, at the least, be good defenders. If the Jazz could get any of these guys at #12 I would be ecstatic. And if none of the other prospects I've mentioned are available, with there first pick. Actually I would think about packaging our #12 with one of our incumbents to move up to get one of a couple of these guys.
Vesely might have a bit of a boom or bust in him. But I doubt he will ever be a star. You don't seem many clumsy stars, and he looks like he might be a little of that. From highlights that seems to be why he is such a poor rebounder for his size. Can't grab the ball well. On the other hand, he is 6'11 and can dunk from 30 feet away. And he supposedly has a never-ending motor. And he can spot up for the J. So he might be the first D&J 6'11 player in the league. I would take that.
I think most know Biyombo's story by now. Has only been playing a few years. 6'9 with a 9'6 wingspan. He just blocked a shot in my driveway as I was shooting around. Then stared me down as I was going inside. Seems like a very intelligent kid who might have a bit of the "sports crazy'. Kind of like his hero Garnett. Kind of like the opposite of Boozer and Big Al. Kind of what I would like to see the Jazz.
Kawhi Leonard is a bit of a sleeper in the draft. Will be a lock-down wing almost assuredly. If he gets a can get his offensive game together, he could easily be the third best player on most teams.
Valanciounus has one big question: Will he ever weigh more than the ball boy? If so, he is tall and long with boundless energy (every highlight I ever see with him ends with him sprinting full speed the other direction, no matter what the play happed to be All of them. Watch.) And, unlike most big men, he could be in the game late because he is a really, really good free-throw shooter. That all counts for a lot. But can he win a wrestling match with the ball-boy?
Great Offensive Players Who Hate Defense, Who I Do not Want the Jazz to Draft Because the Team is Bad Enough on Defense Anyways and I am Sick of It.
I never want the Jazz to draft these players. Or sign them to 60 million dollar deals. Sometime's it happens. I hope not in this draft.
The Jimmer, and the Lithuanian Jimmer (Motiejunus). They can shoot, they can drive, they can pass, they use both hands, they have a handle. They have no idea what else there is left to do. So they will kind of jog around and avoid all contact until their team has the ball again. I hate these kinds of players.
College Players Who Might be Good, But Will Probably be Role-Players if Anything
This is pretty much the rest of the draft pool, highlighted by Kemba and the Morris brothers. Probably at couple surprises as always, but at this point, players will be drafted to fit a team. And for once, the Jazz don't have to worry about this pool. I hope they do from next year on though.