While cruising on down the information superhighway last night looking for links for this morning's link dump, I happened upon the various viewpoints of ESPN's Doug Gottlieb regarding the upcoming NBA draft class.
As you may know, I typically write about the positive stuff - the upside, the potential, the other-sweet-draft-buzz-words - that I see in players when analyzing them. Doug Gottlieb apparently isn't as big on the positive stuff, however, deciding to lead off his ESPN Insider column with a "buyers-beware guide to next month's NBA draft."
I guess it's fair, and somebody was going to write it anyway, but it came off to me as a bit over-the-top. Still, it's interesting stuff to read, analyze and attempt disagree with as we further formulate our opinions regarding next month's NBA Draft.
After the jump, I pulled Gottlieb's most egregious quotes to scrutinize.
Gottlieb's take: "... the "Carfax" report says he is just emotionally immature at the moment, and to throw him to the wolves in the top 15 of this draft seems foolish at best."
Draft Express kind of corroborates Gottlieb's sentiment... except they blame it on his father:
Perhaps more worrying is the recent behind the scenes chatter about potential off-court concerns. The fingerprints of Orton's father were all over his every move on the recruiting trail, in reported heated discussions with Kentucky's coaching staff about his inconsistent playing time throughout the season, and now regarding his draft declaration decision, to the point that some wonder whether this could become a distraction for the team that picks him down the road. While Orton certainly comes off as a thoughtful and intelligent young man, teams will need to study these issues and draw their own conclusions, especially since he's such a work in progress that will only be able to reach his full potential down the road if he's fully dialed into the task.
Gottlieb's Take: Orton's Kentucky teammate, Eric Bledsoe, is a Westbrook-type of athlete, but he is not close to the finished prospect that even Westbrook was after two years in college. Bledsoe has a very average handle, is a streaky (though improving) shooter and not only did he play very little at the point, but the team played very poorly with him leading the way instead of.
Interestingly enough, Gottlieb seemed to refute the Westbrook issues earlier in the exact same column:
was a major risk at the No. 4 spot in the draft. He had not really been a point guard at UCLA and in truth his explosive game only took shape during his second, and last, college season (he averaged just nine minutes a game as a freshman). Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti took a supreme risk in drafting Westbrook and handing him the reins, but despite a high turnover rate and a work-in-progress jump shot, Westbrook has been as or more dynamic than most -- myself included -- could have imagined.
I'm not saying that Bledsoe is the next Russell Westbrook (I'm not saying he isn't, either), but I don't think too much should be read into the limited minutes Bledsoe played at the point.
He could not shoot over (Stanley) Robinson, he's not a good ball handler, and though he played the 4 most of his college career, he does not have great post moves. His length, shooting accuracy and team play will make him a nice addition to any NBA team, but remember that he is 22, has already spent a year at prep school and a year redshirting at Syracuse. Just not sure he's worthy of a top-5 pick.
Did Johnson really play at the power forward spot most of his college career? I apparently need to do my homework.
I'm fine with his age, by the way, but his upside probably is a bit limited. Still, he's ready to contribute now - which should mean something.
Has anyone actually looked at Gordon Hayward's shooting numbers? The guy who is often compared to Mike Dunleavy Jr., shot just 25 percent from 3 in Horizon League play last season and struggled to get a step against Kyle Singler in the national championship game, making just 2 of 11 shots.
As a freshman, Hayward shot 44.8% from beyond the arc. Unlike last season at Butler, I doubt he's going to be expected to be the top scoring option any time that he's on the floor for his first few NBA seasons - and when that happens, it seems he can shoot just fine.
Greg Monroe does not want to be a superstar. While he is very smart, savvy and skilled, his lack of aggressiveness in terms of demanding the ball and taking over in key situations is at least troubling.
I guess I don't see this as a huge negative. He's "smart, savvy and skilled" - who cares if he's not a superstar?
He also doesn't think Evan Turner should fall out of the top two, does think that Luke Babbitt is the "Western version of Turner", believes Gani Lawal is better than you think and last, but not least, Greivis Vasquez is a second round steal.