After fervently scouting summer league and trying to update my perceptions on players, I have to admit that I am completely overdosed on information. I don’t currently feel pressure to have awesome rankings, because I feel it’s an impossible task to correctly weigh this information during the first year that I have complete access to such in depth observations. So I’m going to do my best to rank players anyway, but I think it’s more important to categorize my predictions to track which pieces of information tend to carry the most weight. I suspect it’s going to take a few years of doing this before I am actually qualified to speak with the hyperbolic confidence that I naturally convey, so as usual I’m going to note that I’m probably wrong about lots.
My process has constantly evolved over the course of the season. I started off trying to blending stats, physical profiles, an intuitive understanding of the NBA, and whatever extra details I noticed by watching into efficient evaluations. But trying to do this for players that I have barely watched feels like complete guesswork on my end, and I don’t think it’s ultimately going to yield significant edge over what anybody else is doing. Compare Rudy Gay and Paul George: they play the same position, they have similar physical profiles, they had similar statistical ratings based on Layne Vashro’s EWP formula, and they were chosen at similar draft spots. On paper they were more or less the same level of prospect. But one developed into a top 5 NBA player within a few years of being drafted, whereas the other was consistently a black hole who underachieved on defense and sucked the life out of his team’s offense. I don’t accept that this is solely due to random variance and/or differences in the environments where they developed. There had to have been a signal in their respective play as 20 year olds that indicated that George was on a better developmental path than Gay.
My goal in Las Vegas was to watch players through the lens that style mattered more than stats, and to try to pinpoint the indicators that *might* suggest whether players are on a good or bad developmental path. I feel that I found some relevant stuff, but I shouldn’t invest much confidence in it until I have tested some of these hypotheses a bit more. So in spite of my hot fireballs of disdain for Jabari Parker’s summer league performance, I am not going to rank him hilariously low. He still can be a good fantasy player and he has as good of odds as anybody of winning ROY, and I doubt many people will be inclined to take me seriously if they see that I ranked the #2 pick who won ROY like 25th on my post-SL big board. On the other hand if I rank him 11th and he becomes the worst player in the history of bad players, I doubt anybody will accuse me of going too soft on him. So I’m going to scale my rankings back into more level headed territory for this iteration:
|39||Roy Devyn Marble|
Joel Embiid is the stud of the draft. His talent is in a completely different stratosphere from everybody else and the only thing that can slow him down (or stop him altogether) are injuries. I really hope he stays healthy, but who knows if he can.
Feel For The Game
This is where I think I can find edge that isn’t detected by stats or scouts. It’s the area that is slippery and difficult to pinpoint, so it largely goes ignored. But I think this is likely the area that can enable the trained observer to separate the Rudy Gays from the Paul Georges, so I’m really excited to see how these work out. I should note that “feel” is a vague generalization and some indicators of good/bad feel should carry different weight than others, so not all of these carry equal weight. The ones that stand out as particularly noteworthy to me:
Marcus Smart is my #2 prospect, which seems a bit wild and crazy for a PG that can’t shoot, can’t consistently get to the rim, and isn’t that athletic. On paper he appears to be on a crash course to become Tony Allen or slightly better, which is not somebody you take 2nd overall in a loaded draft. Also his feel for the game isn’t pristine, as on occasion it seems to pop into his head that it’s bucket o’clock and he’ll chuck up a bad contested shot. But other than that he fills me up with warm and fuzzy feelings. He sees the floor exceptionally well, especially on defense. He has lightning quick reactions that make him an awesome playmaker on that end. He doesn’t have super athleticism to be the best man to man lock down defender of all time, but I think his advanced defensive stats are going to be surprisingly good throughout his NBA career. In summer league his feel showed in his ability to see the floor, make smart passes, protect the ball, and err on the side of bricking 3’s instead of long 2’s. I’m not sure precisely how high his upside goes but I have a feeling he will be better than people anticipate.
TJ Warren is my #3 prospect, which might be overreactive to summer league since he was clearly at the peak of his game and it’s the only environment in which I scouted him. He had some bad games against tougher defenses in college, and maybe his flaws will become clearer against NBA defenses. Further he sounds like a completely blah prospect on paper, since he’s a wing who doesn’t pass, doesn’t make 3’s, and has questionable defensive acumen. But I’m completely and utterly captivated by his approach to scoring, as he displays both unique talent (touch within 15 feet, coordination, footwork) and feel for utilizing it (he has a knack for getting easy buckets from transition + putbacks as well as minimizing his turnovers in the half-court). So I’m gambling on this to mean that 1) his inside the arc scoring will translate much better than expected 2) his defense, passing, and shooting will develop better than expected. The latter is a bit shaky because who even knows if he’s interested in anything other than getting buckets, but I feel he has the ability to develop better than random.
Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis are the players who have good feel but have limited quickness to capitalize on this. Ennis never blew me away when I watched him, but I felt he had some really cool statistical splits that may be indicative of uniquely good feel. Stauskas had less attractive stats but a more attractive eye test, as his ability to handle is not captured by any statistical measure. These are the two prospects who are leaning hard on skill and feel to overcome physical deficiencies, Ennis is team stats and Stauskas is team eye test.
Doug McDermott has good feel but stands out neither statistically nor to my eyes. I remain bearish on him because his limitations are plentiful.
Andrew Wiggins went #1 since he is oozing with potential due to athleticism, but he screams “underachiever” to me. He seems either less interested or less good at developing his game than his peers, as evidenced by 1) his disappointing freshman production and 2) observing his progression from freshman year to summer league. His stepback jumper looked notably improved, and it’s clear that he was putting work into it leading up to the draft. But it also appeared that he’s more enamored with his ability to make stepback jumpers than he is his ability to create for others and be great defensively, which are the high leverage areas for him to become a winning player. He has the talent to leverage his athleticism to be good at all aspects of the game, but I didn’t see him moving in this direction either at Kansas or in Vegas.
The interesting caveat with Wiggins is that people commonly argue that underachievers just need good coaching and everything will be peachy. Wiggins seems to have landed in an awesome situation with LeBron and Blatt. If he doesn’t get traded, I am interested to see how much coaching and a good developmental environment can help overcome his past developmental deficiencies and move him down the correct path at an accelerated rate. I suspect that they won’t be a panacea, but if nothing else it gives him a much better shot of making me look silly for doubting him than he would by taking endless stepbacks for Flip Saunders in Minnesota.
Jabari Parker I believe takes a barbaric approach to offense, and I don’t think he has the quicks, athleticism, or shooting touch for this to end favorably for him. He doesn’t seem adaptable, he doesn’t seem aware of the relationship between his play and his team’s success, and I can’t fathom that his method of scoring translates to efficient play against NBA defenses. Maybe he has more talent than Evan Turner and Derrick Williams which will enable him to look like a fine pick in the early going, as well as a legit fantasy basketball commodity. But I believe his impact on his team’s bottom line will always be worse than the box score stats suggest. I don’t see him as player who makes plays that lead to wins. I do think he wants to win, so maybe he will leverage this desire into becoming solid defensively, creating for others, and scaling back the chucking.
Julius Randle seems more adaptable than Parker, but I don’t think he’s as talented. He’s strong, quick, and good at making difficult shots in the paint, but he has some serious deficiencies working against him. I believe mediocre PF height + length along with lackluster explosiveness and slow instincts make it nearly impossible for him to be a solid defensive player and also limit his offensive upside. If he proves me wrong and turns out better than expected, I am upgrading the importance of adaptability.
Noah Vonleh I can never bring myself to watch for more than a few minutes at a time, but he probably has bad feel based on his assist:TOV and the amount of bricks he chucks up near the rim. This is a low confidence read since it is supported by far less observation than the others.
Dante Exum and Aaron Gordon are the mystery boxes who have great physical tools and seem to have the smarts and feel to make winning plays. But Exum has limited repetitions against respectable competition and struggled in summer league, and Gordon’s offensive game is a major work in progress. I still believe they both have loads of upside and hope they become awesome, but they also both could fall well short of expectations.
Zach LaVine was a mystery box since nobody really knew whether he can handle the ball or not, and I tried to cheat and short him based on statistical indicators. This might have been a mistake, as his summer league play makes me feel less comfortable about the idea of heavily extrapolating based on statistics. He appears to be trying hard and taking his pro career rather seriously, which I imagine is how the players like DeRozan, Lance, and Bledsoe became much better than expected after a few years of development. He still has the issue of a rail thin frame and mediocre length that prevent his upside from being boundless, but I suspect that he might progress at a faster rate than his peers.
Bruno Caboclo could be anything, he could even be a completely broken floor spacer with his long arms. He could also be somebody who never develops the instincts to be a useful NBA player. His feel does not appear to be good now, but he is so young with such a unique combination of strengths that I want to believe he can become good.
Nurkic, Capela, Saric, Inglis, Bogdanovic, Jokic, and Micic are all players who I’m just straight up guessing on based on how good they sound on paper and where they were selected. I expect these rankings to be largely inefficient, but I’m at least going to try.
3 minus D types
I recently realized that James Young and Rodney Hood are exceptionally similar prospects. They both are good, lefty shooters who are willing passers and don’t try to force the issue inside the arc. They are also both bad defensively with similar steal and block totals, and they even make similar mistakes trying to defend the perimeter. Hood is better and more polished now, but Young is almost 3 years younger with better strength and length and clearly has more upside. I don’t know that Young quite has Hood’s offensive feel, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he develops it by the time he’s Hood’s age. His assist rate wasn’t bad for an 18 year old freshman, and he definitely did try to create for his teammates off the dribble. Hood translated to summer league a bit better than I expected due to not forcing the issue on offense, and I feel Young might have done likewise. He was always the player who managed to get buckets for Kentucky against long, athletic defenses, and it might be a sign that he has better feel than he’s given credit for. I think both players landed in good situations and I’m most interested to see if 1) their offense can become good enough to justify their defense or 2) their defense can improve enough to make it possible to get their offense on the floor.
I’m not sure Payton has the athleticism or shooting to become a superstar, but he has the talent to become above average on both ends which would make him a good player.
I have a good feeling about McGary. He’s a funky prospect who handles well for a big and gets more steals than most centers in spite of getting few blocks. I don’t think he has boundless upside since he’s already 22, but it probably gives him a bit more potential than you’d expect from a 22 year old #21 pick.
Kyle Anderson is incredibly smart, skilled, and long, and he gets to play for the best coach in the history of sports. But he’s also ridiculously slow and seems lazy. He didn’t look that good when I watched him in Vegas, but everybody else seems to think he looked great. Maybe I just caught him at the wrong times. At this point I’m more interested in observing than chipping in new predictions for him and his UCLA teammate Jordan Adams.
KJ I’m starting to lose a bit of faith in. I’m not sure what his offensive contribution is going to be in the NBA. He was able to do it all for a bad NCAA offense, but this doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be competent in the NBA. Also I think his defense will be good but may not fully translate without great size or quicks. He can be a good role player for sure, but I might have slightly overrated him pre-draft.
I just like Jarnell Stokes. He fills me up with fuzzy feelings inside. I could qualify this as good feel, but I’m not even sure that he has the best feel for the game. I think he’s a hard worker who is committed to being good and is already better than his 2nd round draft slot suggests.
I have given Gary Harris some flack for being bland and lacking in upside, but he makes 3’s, plays defense, and passes the ball. It’s not hard to see that adding up to a useful player. I still like Mario Chalmers as his upside (and I like Chalmers as a role player), but he’s so young maybe he can surpass that projection and be a rather attractive role player. His lack of size reflected in his summer league 2p%, but he did draw a surprising amount of FT’s.
Nick Johnson looks like a solid 3 + D PG who meshes well with James Harden.
Alec Brown intrigues me. Between him and Adreian Payne, his shooting release appears a bit quicker. He shot a slightly higher % from 3 over a slightly larger sample over the past 2 years, and while I imagine both of them will have their 3 point volume stretched in the pros I have an inkling that Brown has a bit more upside since he’s also 1 year and 5 months younger. Also Brown is taller and got more blocks in college. Payne is stronger, longer, better at rebounding, and better at finishing. I’m not sure Brown has the strength to finish at all in traffic vs. NBA bigs, but that’s probably for the best since he’s not much of a passer either. I assume that the Suns are going to try to groom him to become the Channing Frye replacement, and I can’t think of a reason why he can’t produce similar to Frye. That doesn’t mean that he necessarily can, but he’s a nice flier at 50th overall.
Tyler Johnson was probably the 2nd best player in Las Vegas after TJ Warren. I’m simply amazed by him. The fact that he was able to get as many assists, buckets in the paint, and FTA’s as he did while only turning it over 5 times in 10 games is truly amazing. He definitely goes in the good feel pile. His only good tool seems to be his athleticism, but he applied it relentlessly on the floor and really looks like he belongs in the NBA.
PJ Hairston appears to be a chucker who punches high school kids in the face, which is not the best combination of traits. I’m not completely giving up on him, but I don’t like all of his summer league 2 point bricks. Stick to your strength of 3 point bombing, Peej.
Have you looked into the idea that players who move more smoothly/fluidly correlates with feel for the game? This is a big reason why I’m higher on the Parker/Randle/Vonleh trio and their ability to figure things out eventually. It’s not a perfect correlation of course but most of the best players in the NBA have smooth, fluid movements to their games especially when they drive or post up (excepting athletic freaks like Westbrook and Howard). It’s pretty much a guarantee that a relatively unathletic player who’s also good has to be super fluid to compensate. I’ve done a lot of comparisons between seasons via YouTube and Synergy and it seems to be a fairly static quality too. I didn’t watch Paul George at Fresno State but he definitely is in the upper tier of the NBA in terms of his smoothness so I wonder if that could have been the indicator of his development.
I admit I got the idea from the A Substitute for War blog, and I really disagree with some of his other ideas for talent ranking, but although it feels kind of nebulous and hard to put numbers to, the concept seems to hold water the more I look into it.
I think it’s really difficult to quantify smoothness of movement, but I pay attention to it when it stands out. I don’t perceive any of the 3 you listed to be to be particularly smooth. IMO most smooth in this draft are Joel Embiid and TJ Warren, don’t think anybody else is really close to those two. Seems having great coordination and footwork is a huge advantage in being to step through NBA defenses. That’s what defines players like James Harden and Paul Pierce to me, and I suspect it’s part of the reason why they were able to become so good offensively w/o elite athleticism.
Related to footwork, there’s something else I think is sort of important, but it’s kind of weird. It relates to how comfortable a player is moving with different stride lengths. How often do you see an average or below player drive into the lane, pick up his dribble, and take two really long strides before getting a shot off? It’s pretty rare, right? Being able to get shots off after taking long strides seems to be a feature of only good players (which isnt the same as saying all good players can successfully vary their stride length). i noticed this last year when i watched nerlens noel and how huge his strides were when he tries to face a player up. I thought that reminded me of Nene, and it seemed to me that would be a big advantage for him offensively.
Yeah I think I’m going to pay more attention to this next year. So many college players use their physical abilities to bulldoze through defenses, and that just doesn’t work in the NBA. I think you need some combination of explosiveness/quicks/handling/footwork to get where you want to go against NBA defenses.
I really agree with jmethven’s comment about fluidity. It’s something I noticed this year, as I watched a ton of player footage–most NBA starting caliber players have an incredible amount of body control, and as a single determining athletic trait, it seems more important than anything else. Fluidity or body control or coordination, or whatever you want to call it, seems kind of undervalued as an aspect of athleticism, maybe because it’s so hard to quantify, as opposed to max vert or whatever. Harden’s a good example of this–his body control is tremendous and allows him to get where he wants to go (the FT line). From this draft, I agree that Teej and Embiid have elite fluidity. To my eye, Payton, Parker, and Stauskas, among others, are also very fluid.
Def agree on Stauskas. Jabari is not somebody I perceived as fluid but re-watching his higlights vs Warriors his footwork looks pretty good to me.
I think the problem with Jabari is that he’s accustomed to trying to run through the defense, which is why his footwork never really stood out to me in college. So the question with him is: can he learn to step around the defense once he discovers that he can no longer run over it? It’s definitely an out for him to prove me wrong.
Also I’d say Jordan Adams seems fairly fluid and if he becomes a thing as a pro it’s prob bc he develops great footwork.
Wiggins is somebody who strikes me as not fluid at all.
Yeah, all of the guys you mentioned are players I think are notable in this are as well. The UCLA combo of Adams/Anderson definitely. And yeah, I think Wiggins is one of the least fluid players in the draft and that’s a big reason why I think his ceiling might be lower than a lot of people think.
You put Noah Vonleh too high in my opinion. It takes him forever to get off the ground and he has a very limited feel of the game. He looks like the big bust of the draft. I think Julius Randle is better because he at least gets off the ground fast and has some feel for the game.
Vonleh at least has length that gives him a shot of being alright defensively. But you may be right and I may like Vonleh even less than Randle if I watched him more. Based on his stats/age/draft slot I don’t really want to take a super anti-Vonleh stance w/o watching him, but at the same time I have avoided watching him because he doesn’t sound that hot to me.
I think that’s the right attitude for the moment – Vonleh hasn’t yet actually been in a situation with a decent offense that might use him correctly, and he definitely has greater defensive capability than Parker/Randle. At the same time, he doesn’t look ready at all and might see pretty limited minutes on Charlotte initially.
The more I think about it, the more I think Vonleh might be the most likely lottery bust. He has really good size and length but if you just read about him and looked at his stats, you’d think he was an explosive athlete who needed to develop his skill level, whereas in truth he’s a below-the-rim player all the way. He hit some 3s at Indiana but still has work to do on his jumper. He has the potential to be a good two-way player but I don’t think his ceiling is all that high and his awful assist/turnover rate is a red flag.
I think Noah Vonleh can be Tristan Thompson that can protect the rim. Which is an incredibly useful player.
I just want to understand your lingo. Please explain what you mean by broken. You’ve used that in a few of these posts.
I have called Aaron Gordon’s shot broken (which means it sucks), so I can see how it’s misleading when I call Bruno a broken floor spacer.
By that I mean it has the potential to be an huge advantage that’s almost unfair. It’s like when a video game character has too much power, he breaks the game by destroying the competitive balance.
Yeah, I meant to mention Adams and Slo-mo in that list (Anderson is super fluid, maybe the most fluid guy in the draft, but as Dean noted he may be the rare player whose slowness actually outweighs his control). The little footage of Nurcic I’ve seen, I also thought looked quite smooth.
Wiggs is a weird case, bc he occasionally looks very fluid, but not usually. And actually, when he does, it’s when he’s executing one of his little learned spins moves or dropback jumper. He doesn’t strike me as having any improvisatory fluidity, if that makes sense–with TJ Warren being an example of a player with improvisatory fluidity in spades.
Yeah I was just watching some Kyle footage and he moves his feet real well. Dunno if you can eurostep through an NBA defense in slow motion, but we’ll soon find out!
This is a pretty interesting train of thought. Maybe this is something I will try to rank prospects at next year, just for the sake of tracking.
Here’s something to look for: Marcus Smart definitely doesn’t look uncoordinated, but he never really tries to eurostep. He kinda just tries to bully his way through defenses. Incidentally he gets to the rim some but not a ton considering his draft slot and physical tools. Is this just shitty coaching that he never learned to develop his footwork and has potential be an area where he randomly improves a bunch as a pro, or is this a sign that he just doesn’t have the natural feel for stepping around defensive players?
Here’s evidence that he’s not inept at moving his feet: http://youtu.be/_0fCnp2oH_Y?t=1m47s
He definitely has the ability to do so, but like Jabari, he’s probably so used to just flattening everyone in his path that he’ll have to work on finesse movements.
I’m glad you’re going to look into this a little–it’s a slippery concept, and I’ve had trouble pinning down what it is, though I know it when I see it. Some combination of physical dexterity, feel for the game, and spatial awareness I think.
“He never really tries to eurostep”
Not sure if you’re talking either half court or in transition, but here’s more evidence
Cool, thanks for sharing. That euro step is nice. I suppose “never” was hyperbolic, I just watched a few minutes of clips of him trying to attack and it looks like he tries to rely on strength more than shake.
He is smart, he is committed to being good, he appears to be coordinated, and he landed in a good developmental environment. If it’s possible to develop good footwork after not displaying it often in college, I think he’s a prime candidate to monitor. I’d say that if a few years from now he’s still trying to bully his way to the rim and struggling I will start looking at this as an “either it comes natural or it doesn’t” type of thing.
I completely agree with your offensive assessment of Wiggins but I think that he’s proven that he’s got a world of defensive potential. I also think that it’s been proven that a good coaching and developing environment can do ALOT when it comes to taking a player with obvious flaws and helping minimize those flaws and maximizing strengths, evidenced by the Spurs. Is David Blatt a player developer on the level of Pop. Well not until he proves it.
If Wiggins can get himself to average 3-4apg and 1-2 turnovers to go along with his admittedly decent mid range game you could have what amounts to a super athletic defensive DeMar Derozen which isn’t exactly what you want with the 1st overall pick but eh, as a Cavs fan I’ll take it and not complain.
Yeah he definitely has plenty of defensive potential. I don’t mean to say that he’ll be bad on that end. I think he can be really good. I’m just not certain that he necessarily will be good.
If he can average 3.5 assists and 2 turnovers then he’s probably going to be a really great NBA player. I think that’s a bit optimistic based on early signs though.
With Jabari, I think it’s going to come down to how much his athleticism improves with better fitness. If it improves a lot–and he shows flourishes of really good athleticism when he’s built up momentum–then I think he’s at least a dynamic scorer. He’s too skilled and physical not to be. If his athleticism improves only marginally but he doesn’t get constantly winded, I think he hits his medium ceiling. If he never gets in shape, I think he’ll bust.
Jabari’s one of the most hard to figure players I can remember. Everyone loves his character and he talks a grown up game. Based on his reputation, he figures to be an extremely hard worker who plays a team game. However, he’s never been in shape and his offensive game is extremely individualistic. He’s like Michael Beasley with an impeccable off the court reputation and Mormon beliefs.
One thing I like about Jabari is that he’s coachable. Why do I think that? Just look at how much he passed ahead after his first Summer League game. The difference was so stark that I imagine it had to come from the coaches. Nevermind that it was kind of stupid since going coast to coast is the strongest part of his game right now, it shows that he’s capable of changing his ways.
I’d say the not going coast to coast is likely randomness fooling you. He went coast to coast twice in 5 games. I doubt he went coast to coast more than 14x in 35 college games, and it should be a lower rate in summer league since those defenses are faster and harder to beat in transition.
I doubt that after two of his best plays game 1 the Bucks asked him to stop doing that. He probably just happened to get his two big coast to coast plays in the first game and not in the next 4.
And even if your hypothesis is true that he’s focusing on not going coast to coast then lol at him/bucks coaching staff for focusing on that instead of his aimless attacking and horrible shot selection. I’ll believe he’s coachable when he actually shows improvement in the stuff that matters.
I was wondering if you could clarify some of your thoughts on TJ Warren. First of all, you said that you believe he’s the best scoring prospect in the draft. Does that mean that you believe he’ll average the most points per game out of any prospect during his career or be the most efficient scorer or a combination of volume/efficiency? Or does that mean he just has the best natural scoring instincts and ability?
Also you said “his upside is exceptionally high.” Are we talking about top 20 player in the league high or are we talking about a nice 15-18 PPG scorer who plays average D and can be an above average player on a playoff team. Not regarding style of play, which NBA player would you compare him to as far as what impact they can have on a team. Is he a Nicholas Batum type who can be a good, starting role player or is he a star that can be the 2nd or 3rd best player on an elite championship team? Can he be a # 1 option?
I can’t precisely predict TJ Warren. There has been no player like him before. I just have a good feeling about him.
I think he’s the complete package as a scorer and can get both volume and efficiency and also keep his turnover total low. I feel a little bit better about his volume since he looks like he’ll be able to get off a ton of floaters and mid-ranger jumpers, and then it’s all a matter of whether he can get enough garbage buckets (and/or develop a 3 point shot) to keep his overall efficiency good. He has a knack for getting garbage buckets, but it’s harder to get em in the NBA than it is in summer league.
I think if everything goes right for him he could be a Paul Pierce level steal that goes on to a hall of fame career. But there are so many ?’s that could go either way, he could also fall well short and only become say an Antawn Jamison type, or maybe he’s not even that good.
Overall I feel optimistic about him and think he can be on Batum’s level or better a solid % of the time, although he’s not a particularly similar player. Antawn Jamison is the most similar prospect, and I think Warren is better than him more often than not (mostly because he has upside to be MUCH better on defense. he’ll be a worse rebounder though).
Minor lol at Jamison being Warren’s floor. Dude is the #39 all time NBA scorer.
I think it comes down to whether Teej develops a three. As crafty as he is, it will currently be a bit too easy for good NBA defenders to sag off him on the wings and in the high post. He’ll get decent production regardless bc he’s so good at scooping up garbage points, but he needs a longer shot than 12 feet to become a Pierce type imo.
To become a Pierce type he needs to develop a 3 point shot, passing ability, and become a good defensive player. He also needs to become an efficient player inside the arc. This is a pretty sick parlay which is why it’s hard to become a hall of famer w/o elite athleticism.
Jamison is a lofty comparison for Teej but he was pretty lol on defense and when people use him as an upside reference they don’t seem too excited with it. So Jamison = floor, YOLO
I binge-read all of your summer league posts this weekend, and I wanted to think you for them. It’s rare to read either this sort of post-draft follow-up from a draft analyst or a broad, unbiased review of summer league, and I’m impressed at the work that you put into doing both.
The thing that struck me reading all of it, is that the challenge of draft analysis is that statistics can tell you what somebody has done but the most important factor for success in the NBA is how much they can continue to improve and refine their game. You talk about that with both Warren and Randle, but it’s an interesting problem.
Which of the many players who don’t have an outside shot (Gordon, Warren, Payton, etc . . .) will be able to develop one? Which players will be best at picking up team defensive concepts?
I don’t have an answer. I’m more skeptical of TJ Warren than you are, but I’d like to see him succeed and I’ve had exactly the same thought you have — that the precision with which he scores suggests an ability to learn the game. But, to take one example, how much confidence can you have in predicting that Warren is a significantly better prospect that Saric? Both need to improve their outside shooting, but Saric is better right now. Both need to improve their defense, and Warren is more athletic, but probably less disciplined. Warren is a much, much better scorer, and better able to play offense off the ball. But Saric draws praise for his court vision, feel for the game, and passion.
For me I can come up with a convincing argument why either of them might succeed or fail to expand their respective games.
I agree, that is the biggest challenge and the one that I look most forward to solving. Unfortunately, I am not a team that gets to interview the players and for all I know that may be the biggest indicator.
But if there are hidden indicators, I think it might be in players who tend to take a more efficient approach. I am probably too high on TJ Warren but I just want to make a note that I feel that his inside scoring is so sharply executed that it gives him a solid chance of populating the rest of his game quite well too.
My goal is to look for details like that and see if it leads to anything. Overall it’s still a bit of a crapshoot because I have no idea how much Warren wants to work on his body, defense, passing, etc. Maybe he just likes playing and getting buckets and whatever ability he had to develop that won’t aid the rest of his game because he doesn’t care enough.