Seemingly trying to live upto the moniker I've bestowed upon him, yesterday Weinman posted an excellent recap of nine D-Leaguer's answers to the question "What do you need to do to take your game to the next level?"
I won't get into breaking down individual answers, but to summarize: there were a couple of guys that made excuses, a couple that pointed out things they need to work on and the rest essentially said they just have to keep doing what they're doing and everything else will fall into place.
By my count, only one of the answers was exactly what I wouldn't have wanted to hear, while the rest of them left me somewhere between indifferent and impressed with what the player had to say.
However Joe Treutlein, who runs Hoopdata, writes for Draft Express and logs video for Synergy according to his Twitter bio, apparently didn't like those answers as much as I did, as shown via the following tweets:
If I were a GM looking at players, only 2 of those players answered the way I'd want them to.Some of those answers certainly tell you why those players are in the DLeague, though. reggie gets it. jones knows his role. the rest either think they "deserve it" or have priorities mixed up based on their skillsets
reggie knocked the ball out of the park with his answer. jones also had a decent answer. Almond/Kurz didn't mention defense. Beck/Butch/Tucker = platitudes. Farmer/Powell = "deserve it" "I'm ready."
If you're in the DLeague, the answer isn't consistency or "playing ball" or "believing in yourself." It's improving something(s).
Really, the only tweets that I'm in agreement with are that "Some of those answers certainly tell you why those players are in the DLeague, though" and the fact that Reggie Williams 'gets it.'
The rest, well, not so much.
I'm sure Treutlein is well respected when it comes to scouting since he's a contributor to Draft Express, but I'm fairly certain he's off base in this case, especially when he speaks about consistency not being a reason that players are in the D-League. While every player, no matter what level of the game their at, could stand to improve on something, I would strongly disagree that that's the sole reason that these players are in the D-League.
My best example for the consistency argument is probably Dwayne Jones: Now that Jones is averaging a healthy 16.8 points and 14.8 boards per game while staying out of foul trouble and blocking right around two shots per game, I'm not sure what he still has left to improve upon. Jones' analysis was correct: he just needs to continue to show what he can do. If he can grab 15 boards and pickup two blocks per game consistently, the points are gravy.
Rob Kurz, who Treutlein apparently wouldn't call-up because he didn't mention defense, has already improved his game tremendously since coming to the D-League. Typically, this wouldn't mean a lot, but since he was in the NBA last season with a less diverse skill-set, I'd certainly assume that he's improved enough to get another NBA look.
I'm also not sure that Carlos Powell really needs to improve on a plethora of things to make the NBA since I'd deem him NBA caliber currently, but sure, it'd be nice for him to have a more consistent 3-point shot. Should it be required for him to make it to the next level? No, because there are plenty of players already in the NBA that aren't as well-rounded as Powell is while toiling in the D-League.
The other problem Treutlein mentioned is that Romel Beck, Brian Butch and DDar Tucker used platitudes to discuss their chances of making it to the next level. Is it so wrong to give what amounts to being a politically correct answer to a journalist? What were they supposed to say? Their answers were professional and shouldn't be discounted because they said what they've been taught tell people.