Following 2018 draftees

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bajaden

Hall of Famer
Anyone have an opinion of Carsen Edwards of Purdue? Dropped 40 the other night. First time I've watched him, looks like an elite athlete, kind of like a bigger, more athletic version of Frank Mason. Undersized for SG and questionable PG skills. Looks very talented to me though, is he likely to enter this year? I'd use a 2nd rounder on him.
Well, I think you described him fairly well. He's more of a SG in a PG's body. When he gets hot from the three, he's unconscious. Not a bad defender either. I guess you can always use another shooter, but if I had my druthers, I'd rather take a flyer on a SF in the 2nd round. If there's one there that warrants it. Someone like Melvin Frazier, or Keita Bates-Diop. Of course both those guys are borderline 1st round picks, but you never know who will slide.
 
The thing is... I've heard this story before. About Andre Drummond. About Myles Turner. Not to mention guys who were far off the radar like Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokic. Huge projects, may never reach their potential, can barely run and chew gum at the same time, etc. I'm exaggerating a little. Sometimes it's true but sometimes it's not. The "project" label shouldn't be an automatic disqualifier.

Bamba isn't my favorite prospect in the draft. I agree with bajaden that Bagley is a much safer pick. But I don't like the argument that we can't wait for Bamba to develop. What is the hurry? Maybe Vlade can't afford to wait for him to develop but I would hope that's not the only perspective that matters. If we're talking about the players in the draft who will have the most impact on our worst in the league defense, what's the list? Jackson, Bridges, Williams ... Bamba has to be way up there right? Maybe there are better options but a lot still has to happen before draft day. Workouts, interviews, combine. Once the focus is on measurables, potential, personality, fit... don't be surprised if Bamba sneaks higher up the list.
Another guy that comes to mind when I think of projects who were able to contribute immediately would be Thon Maker. Some freakish length there to compare but we’ll have to see if the same is true for Bamba
 
Ayton is on a mission in the first half versus Oregon. 17 and 11 all ready 0_0
He's playing like it might be his last college game. Which also confirms what we've all suspected... he's already a really good player but light a fire under him and look out! I don't know if we'll get to see him in the tournament or not but right now picking between Ayton and Doncic isn't getting any easier for me. I want both!
 
Doncic is slumping hard right now. Fatigue could be the problem because he's going to play over 60+ games, plus all the practicing European teams do. Even with that said, the question of his shot creating ability it still up in the air. His 3pt% has taken a dip right now. He still doesn't get to the rim enough. He settles for step-backs too much(low efficient shots).

Have to move Ayton above him in my draft board.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
Doncic is slumping hard right now. Fatigue could be the problem because he's going to play over 60+ games, plus all the practicing European teams do. Even with that said, the question of his shot creating ability it still up in the air. His 3pt% has taken a dip right now. He still doesn't get to the rim enough. He settles for step-backs too much(low efficient shots).

Have to move Ayton above him in my draft board.
Amigo, he has no problem creating his own shot. Don't know where you got that idea. He may not make every shot he creates, but that doesn't mean can't create one. Yeah he's in a bit of a slump at the moment, but every player goes through one. It certainly doesn't enter into my evaluation of him. Mikal Bridges just went through a little slump, but has come back strong from it. Slumps come and go, but skills don't. If a player has the skills, he has them. They don't go away from game to game. Doncic is a very very skilled player.

That said, I do think Ayton is making a very strong case for being the number one pick in the draft. I suspect it will come down to a case of need by whomever has the first pick.
 

kingsboi

Hall of Famer
He's playing like it might be his last college game. Which also confirms what we've all suspected... he's already a really good player but light a fire under him and look out! I don't know if we'll get to see him in the tournament or not but right now picking between Ayton and Doncic isn't getting any easier for me. I want both!
Ayton, Bagley & Porter are my top three hands down. I'm not as high on Doncic as others but that's probably because I haven't watched him play live games and all I can go off of is a highlight reel.
 
Amigo, he has no problem creating his own shot. Don't know where you got that idea. He may not make every shot he creates, but that doesn't mean can't create one. Yeah he's in a bit of a slump at the moment, but every player goes through one. It certainly doesn't enter into my evaluation of him. Mikal Bridges just went through a little slump, but has come back strong from it. Slumps come and go, but skills don't. If a player has the skills, he has them. They don't go away from game to game. Doncic is a very very skilled player.

That said, I do think Ayton is making a very strong case for being the number one pick in the draft. I suspect it will come down to a case of need by whomever has the first pick.
Poor wording on my part, I meant he has problems creating space for his offense. With Doncic, I think his scoring ability will ultimately fall down to how good of a shooter he is. Right now, I would say he's slightly above average. His first-step is lacking, and he can't consistently to the rim. He settles for a bunch of step backs which is a negative I see in his game right now.

I keep going back and forth with him. His game has evolved or changed every 6 months it seems. He looked like a PG for the first 10 games, but in the last 10 games, he looks like a Khris Middleton type of point-forward.

I have Ayton over him at #1 right now. Doncic is my #2 player.
 
Poor wording on my part, I meant he has problems creating space for his offense. With Doncic, I think his scoring ability will ultimately fall down to how good of a shooter he is. Right now, I would say he's slightly above average. His first-step is lacking, and he can't consistently to the rim. He settles for a bunch of step backs which is a negative I see in his game right now.

I keep going back and forth with him. His game has evolved or changed every 6 months it seems. He looked like a PG for the first 10 games, but in the last 10 games, he looks like a Khris Middleton type of point-forward.

I have Ayton over him at #1 right now. Doncic is my #2 player.
I have to disagree with this part -- if settling for step backs were a negative, why is James Harden going to win MVP this year? That's a huge part of the Beard's game. I do know what you mean though -- a lot of players use that shot as a bailout when they can't get by their defender into the key. The main distinction for me is that I see Doncic deliberately setting up his step back shot with his crossover. It's not that he can't get to the basket (he does that a fair amount or he gets fouled on his way to the basket which is almost as good), it's that he has confidence in his jump shot and feigning the drive in order to set up an open jumper is a legitimate offensive tactic if you can make that shot.

I would also be more concerned if Doncic exhibit a tendency to ignore his teammates while hunting his own offense. Guys who dance around looking for jumpers tend to slow everything down at best and sink the offense single-handily at worst (when they're missing them). Conversely, a guy who knows when to pass, when to drive, when to shoot, and can execute all of those successfully at game speed is nearly impossible to stop. Doncic is still very young and there's certainly a lot that he can still improve on but I think he has the skillset and the mentality to be that type of player if he keeps developing at the rate he is now. That's a hard guy to pass on in the draft.
 
I have to disagree with this part -- if settling for step backs were a negative, why is James Harden going to win MVP this year? That's a huge part of the Beard's game. I do know what you mean though -- a lot of players use that shot as a bailout when they can't get by their defender into the key. The main distinction for me is that I see Doncic deliberately setting up his step back shot with his crossover. It's not that he can't get to the basket (he does that a fair amount or he gets fouled on his way to the basket which is almost as good), it's that he has confidence in his jump shot and feigning the drive in order to set up an open jumper is a legitimate offensive tactic if you can make that shot.

I would also be more concerned if Doncic exhibit a tendency to ignore his teammates while hunting his own offense. Guys who dance around looking for jumpers tend to slow everything down at best and sink the offense single-handily at worst (when they're missing them). Conversely, a guy who knows when to pass, when to drive, when to shoot, and can execute all of those successfully at game speed is nearly impossible to stop. Doncic is still very young and there's certainly a lot that he can still improve on but I think he has the skillset and the mentality to be that type of player if he keeps developing at the rate he is now. That's a hard guy to pass on in the draft.
Harden is one of the best shooters on the planet though. His scoring is more than just stepbacks. Not saying Doncic is limited to them, but he does struggle to consistently get to the rim and we often see him revert to the stepbacks. Harden is also master at drawing contact on drives. I don't see a lot of burst from Doncic, but he can easily negate it all together by continuing to work on his handles and reworking his body.

On an interesting note, I think he's actually gotten bigger and stronger, but not in the best way. His body looks a bit sluggish. Not trying to criticize European strength and conditioning, but Doncic has the trademarked "babyfat" a lot of Europeans come into the NBA with... he didn't have a lot of it last year... At the beginning of the year, I was extremely impressed to see his quickness and speed not take a hit at all despite him getting bigger. However, after 10-15 games, I think he's actually lost some speed. When he comes over, I think he'll need to lose that weight he gained in order to get some quickness back. Get him to around 215 again? After that, he'll be able to properly build his body under NBA control. Him going to the P3 performance facility in SoCal noticeably helped his physique and quickness. Again, not trying to critiscize the way European clubs run, but it's obvious that they put a much more heavy emphasis on developing skills rather than maximizing a player's physique.
 
Harden is one of the best shooters on the planet though. His scoring is more than just stepbacks. Not saying Doncic is limited to them, but he does struggle to consistently get to the rim and we often see him revert to the stepbacks. Harden is also master at drawing contact on drives. I don't see a lot of burst from Doncic, but he can easily negate it all together by continuing to work on his handles and reworking his body.

On an interesting note, I think he's actually gotten bigger and stronger, but not in the best way. His body looks a bit sluggish. Not trying to criticize European strength and conditioning, but Doncic has the trademarked "babyfat" a lot of Europeans come into the NBA with... he didn't have a lot of it last year... At the beginning of the year, I was extremely impressed to see his quickness and speed not take a hit at all despite him getting bigger. However, after 10-15 games, I think he's actually lost some speed. When he comes over, I think he'll need to lose that weight he gained in order to get some quickness back. Get him to around 215 again? After that, he'll be able to properly build his body under NBA control. Him going to the P3 performance facility in SoCal noticeably helped his physique and quickness. Again, not trying to critiscize the way European clubs run, but it's obvious that they put a much more heavy emphasis on developing skills rather than maximizing a player's physique.
This is where the "he's only 18" element is a factor I think. Doncic is no where near as sharp as Harden with his moves, his head fake, his follow-through on his jumper. But we're talking about an NBA player at the absolute peak of his powers. I saw Harden as an 18 year old at Arizona State and he was a gifted scorer but also looked sluggish, over weight, out of control on some of his drives, inconsistent on his jumper. It's really just about projecting where they could go from here.

What's special about Doncic is his brain. We call it instincts or intangibles or basketball IQ but it's really all the same thing. He processes the game at a level that 99.9% of kids his age are not capable. The execution isn't otherworldly but where he's trying to go and why is very unusual to see in a prospect. He looks like a savvy veteran already at 18, can you imagine what he'll look like in 10 more years? That's the "franchise player" potential. I can't even think of anyone to compare him to. I didn't watch LeBron in High School but maybe he had it too. I haven't seen a prospect personally demonstrate the innate understanding of the game that Doncic does. He's not blowing anybody away with his physical measurements or his athleticism but I've seen so many of these freak athletes get hyped up because fans like us assume that they can learn the game with a team of coaches and the best trainers money can buy. I'm curious to see what a guy who was seemingly born to play basketball can do with those same resources.

The NBA game isn't even that physical anymore. The slightest whiff of contact is a foul. Dainty little Steph Curry who still looked like a middle schooler in college gets to dribble the ball all over the court weaving around screens and no one can touch him. The best bigmen in the league are hanging out on the perimeter crossing guys up and shooting threes. Offenses are so spread out now that reading floor Geometry -- finding the optimal angles, getting the ball where the defense isn't -- this is the new killer skill. Anyone who started watching the NBA in the last 5 years probably hasn't even seen a man to man defense without some kind of zone switching. It took me a long time to realize this but most of the criteria I used to evaluate prospects in the past are now useless. Is he big enough to have a size advantage one on one at his position? Doesn't matter. Is he strong enough and quick enough to guard his position? Doesn't matter. Can he create his own shot off the dribble? Other than All Star games and the last 30 seconds of a quarter this almost doesn't matter either! Zone defenses have destroyed match-up based one on one play. D'Antoni ball has eliminated the need for low post skills. Backing down a defender takes too much time off the clock. The other team is getting 3 shots off for every one of yours. Even if you kill them on percentages you still lose. All the ways the game has changed lead me right back to Doncic being the prototypical superstar of the next decade. You beat zone defenses with ball movement, shooting, and great situational awareness. The next best NBA dynasty is going to be the first team to find a way to put 5 PGs on the floor at once. I don't mean 5 guys under 6'3" I mean your big men need guard skills, your wings should be point forwards. Your backcourt players should be almost interchangeable. You can't outscheme a 5 headed serpent.
 
The next best NBA dynasty is going to be the first team to find a way to put 5 PGs on the floor at once. I don't mean 5 guys under 6'3" I mean your big men need guard skills, your wings should be point forwards. Your backcourt players should be almost interchangeable. You can't outscheme a 5 headed serpent.
This is what Vivek was trying to tell us the moment he became owner of the team and the people laughed. Now the weight of the wisdom in his words "position-less" basketball is beginning to sink in.
 
This is also why i dont see Ayton being able to impact the game much more than Dwight Howard. He cant put the ball on the floor to punish a defender crowding him and his back to the basket game will be limited in its effectiveness due to trapping/doubles. Also, he wont be playing against guys the size of shooting gaurds. The top big men today, Cousins, Kat, Embid, Davis can all shoot the 3 AND attack you off the dribble. That is what makes them great. Not their post up ability which is useful but its secondary.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
Poor wording on my part, I meant he has problems creating space for his offense. With Doncic, I think his scoring ability will ultimately fall down to how good of a shooter he is. Right now, I would say he's slightly above average. His first-step is lacking, and he can't consistently to the rim. He settles for a bunch of step backs which is a negative I see in his game right now.

I keep going back and forth with him. His game has evolved or changed every 6 months it seems. He looked like a PG for the first 10 games, but in the last 10 games, he looks like a Khris Middleton type of point-forward.

I have Ayton over him at #1 right now. Doncic is my #2 player.
I think we have to remember how young Doncic is, and that despite his youth, he's ranked as the best player in Europe. I've watched about 5 of his games this year, and to be honest, I just don't see a problem with his ability to create his own offense. There are times when it looks like he has the ball on a rubberband. I've seen him make people fall down while trying to stay in front of him. Now I grant you that the NBA will be tougher, but a lot of people had similar doubts about Bogdanovic, and I think he's proven that he's an NBA player.

However, that doesn't mean I wouldn't take Ayton over him. The main reason is that I think a player like Ayton comes along every 10 years or so. If you get the chance to get him, you should. But I don't have to discredit Doncic to justify taking Ayton. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them. I have Ayton and Doncic in tier one. I have Jackson, Bagley, and Porter in tier two. I have Mikal Bridges, Young, Bamba, and Carter in tier three.

I struggled with whether to put Miles Bridges in the third tier, but my gut tells me that he won't be as effective in the NBA. Could be wrong about him though. He relies a lot on his athleticism and strength in college, and those will be nullified to some extent in the NBA. But if he can prove to be an efficient outside threat, then he moves up a notch. Right now he's fairly consistent with the open shot, but not so much when highly contested. Which is fine, except he has a tendency to force those shots at times. He is a good defender though. Not as good as Mikal, but then I think he may be the best in college.

By the way, since I mentioned Bog's, I've been amazed with his ability to work his way through traffic and get to the basket. he's almost Hardenesque. Harden always amazed me with how he could get to the basket through traffic. Tyreke is another one. Don't know how they do it, but it's an amazing talent.
 
I think we have to remember how young Doncic is, and that despite his youth, he's ranked as the best player in Europe. I've watched about 5 of his games this year, and to be honest, I just don't see a problem with his ability to create his own offense. There are times when it looks like he has the ball on a rubberband. I've seen him make people fall down while trying to stay in front of him. Now I grant you that the NBA will be tougher, but a lot of people had similar doubts about Bogdanovic, and I think he's proven that he's an NBA player.

However, that doesn't mean I wouldn't take Ayton over him. The main reason is that I think a player like Ayton comes along every 10 years or so. If you get the chance to get him, you should. But I don't have to discredit Doncic to justify taking Ayton. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them. I have Ayton and Doncic in tier one. I have Jackson, Bagley, and Porter in tier two. I have Mikal Bridges, Young, Bamba, and Carter in tier three.

I struggled with whether to put Miles Bridges in the third tier, but my gut tells me that he won't be as effective in the NBA. Could be wrong about him though. He relies a lot on his athleticism and strength in college, and those will be nullified to some extent in the NBA. But if he can prove to be an efficient outside threat, then he moves up a notch. Right now he's fairly consistent with the open shot, but not so much when highly contested. Which is fine, except he has a tendency to force those shots at times. He is a good defender though. Not as good as Mikal, but then I think he may be the best in college.

By the way, since I mentioned Bog's, I've been amazed with his ability to work his way through traffic and get to the basket. he's almost Hardenesque. Harden always amazed me with how he could get to the basket through traffic. Tyreke is another one. Don't know how they do it, but it's an amazing talent.
Bogdan is another player who had questions around his athleticism, but he's been proven to be a solid NBA player despite his average athleticism. This should bod really well for Doncic's transition. Both players are reliant on skillset and smarts rather than pure athleticism. I do think Bogdan is a better athlete, but I don't see much of a problem for Doncic's game translating over to the NBA, but just questions on his scoring ability as a #1/#2 option. I think there's 3 players who are in the conversation for the #1 pick right now. Ayton, Doncic, and Porter Jr. I would be happy with any 3 on them. All 3 are bluechip prospects imo.

Miles is one of the more harder players to project in terms of NBA ceiling. I see no improvements in his game this year. He's the most disappointing player for me this year. He's an explosive athlete, but he lacks speed and quickness for the wing positions. His ball handling has not improved at all this year. Pretty much limited to straight-lane drives. Mikal is definitely the better prospect. BUT. I don't think he has SF size in the NBA. However, we're seeing an extinct of big-skilled wings anyways. So it might be all moot-point 4 years from now. Mikal reminds me of a bigger Bradley Beal with less scoring instincts. If Bridges were 3 years younger, he'd be a lock for the top 5.

Right now, I have my draft board as:
1. Ayton
2. Doncic
3. Porter Jr
4. Jackson Jr
5. Bagley
6. Bamba
7. Mikal
 
I think we have to remember how young Doncic is, and that despite his youth, he's ranked as the best player in Europe. I've watched about 5 of his games this year, and to be honest, I just don't see a problem with his ability to create his own offense. There are times when it looks like he has the ball on a rubberband. I've seen him make people fall down while trying to stay in front of him. Now I grant you that the NBA will be tougher, but a lot of people had similar doubts about Bogdanovic, and I think he's proven that he's an NBA player.

However, that doesn't mean I wouldn't take Ayton over him. The main reason is that I think a player like Ayton comes along every 10 years or so. If you get the chance to get him, you should. But I don't have to discredit Doncic to justify taking Ayton. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them. I have Ayton and Doncic in tier one. I have Jackson, Bagley, and Porter in tier two. I have Mikal Bridges, Young, Bamba, and Carter in tier three.

I struggled with whether to put Miles Bridges in the third tier, but my gut tells me that he won't be as effective in the NBA. Could be wrong about him though. He relies a lot on his athleticism and strength in college, and those will be nullified to some extent in the NBA. But if he can prove to be an efficient outside threat, then he moves up a notch. Right now he's fairly consistent with the open shot, but not so much when highly contested. Which is fine, except he has a tendency to force those shots at times. He is a good defender though. Not as good as Mikal, but then I think he may be the best in college.

By the way, since I mentioned Bog's, I've been amazed with his ability to work his way through traffic and get to the basket. he's almost Hardenesque. Harden always amazed me with how he could get to the basket through traffic. Tyreke is another one. Don't know how they do it, but it's an amazing talent.
On an unrelated note, I'm really curious about your thoughts on Hamidou Diallo. He's been really inconsistent this year and hasn't been putting up the stats. However, we saw Malik Monk put up the stats in college, but he's struggled with his transition into the NBA. Tells us college production isn't everything.

I just think Diallo has much more to offer to NBA teams. He could easily bust and flame out as another Archie Goodwin or James Young, but he has just as high of a potential as any wing in this draft.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
Bogdan is another player who had questions around his athleticism, but he's been proven to be a solid NBA player despite his average athleticism. This should bod really well for Doncic's transition. Both players are reliant on skillset and smarts rather than pure athleticism. I do think Bogdan is a better athlete, but I don't see much of a problem for Doncic's game translating over to the NBA, but just questions on his scoring ability as a #1/#2 option. I think there's 3 players who are in the conversation for the #1 pick right now. Ayton, Doncic, and Porter Jr. I would be happy with any 3 on them. All 3 are bluechip prospects imo.

Miles is one of the more harder players to project in terms of NBA ceiling. I see no improvements in his game this year. He's the most disappointing player for me this year. He's an explosive athlete, but he lacks speed and quickness for the wing positions. His ball handling has not improved at all this year. Pretty much limited to straight-lane drives. Mikal is definitely the better prospect. BUT. I don't think he has SF size in the NBA. However, we're seeing an extinct of big-skilled wings anyways. So it might be all moot-point 4 years from now. Mikal reminds me of a bigger Bradley Beal with less scoring instincts. If Bridges were 3 years younger, he'd be a lock for the top 5.

Right now, I have my draft board as:
1. Ayton
2. Doncic
3. Porter Jr
4. Jackson Jr
5. Bagley
6. Bamba
7. Mikal
Well Mikal is 6'7" with a 7'2" wingspan. Beal is 6'3" with a huge wingspan. I've seen Mikal guard every player on the other team from PG's to centers. Don't be fooled by his listed weight. That's his freshman weight. He's put on at least 15 pounds of muscle since then. Not suggesting he can guard NBA centers, but when teams go small ball, I don't think he'll have any trouble guarding some of the small ball PF's. I will admit some bias with Mikal. I've watched him play for three years now, and he is my single favorite player in the draft. Not the player I think is the best, but just my favorite because of his ability to excell at both ends of the floor. He's one of the best fundamental players in the draft.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
On an unrelated note, I'm really curious about your thoughts on Hamidou Diallo. He's been really inconsistent this year and hasn't been putting up the stats. However, we saw Malik Monk put up the stats in college, but he's struggled with his transition into the NBA. Tells us college production isn't everything.

I just think Diallo has much more to offer to NBA teams. He could easily bust and flame out as another Archie Goodwin or James Young, but he has just as high of a potential as any wing in this draft.
Another player that could be really good, or out of the league in three years. His athleticism is off the charts, and to his credit, he has improved his game this year. He's proved that he at least has the foundation of a three pt shot, even if it is inconsistent. He's shown that he can defend, even if he makes mistakes from time to time. He has a very high ceiling, but he also has a very low floor. So he's the prototypical boom or bust player. The best I can say about him, is if he's a gym rat, and is willing to put in the work, I think at the very least he can become a decent to good rotational player. Maybe even a starter. But I'm talking about a lot of work.

On the other hand, if he tries to just rely on his athleticism once into the league, I think he'll be a candidate to open a 7/11 with Donte Greene.
 
This is what Vivek was trying to tell us the moment he became owner of the team and the people laughed. Now the weight of the wisdom in his words "position-less" basketball is beginning to sink in.
I'll admit to that! I didn't see it because I thought Golden State's offense wouldn't ultimately win out over traditional positions and match-up based defense. It's hard sometimes to see the changes as they're happening. To be fair, when D'Antoni tried this in Phoenix with Steve Nash he won a lot of regular season games but it never got him past the Conference Finals so there was no precedent for sustained success. Also, when Vivek first started talking up the idea of "position-less basketball" San Antonio had just won it's 5th championship of the Tim Duncan era. Even a year later we were looking at one Golden State championship that looked kindof flukey (with Cleveland losing Kevin Love, "lob city" choking against a mediocre Houston team that had already lost Pat Beverly, etc).

I don't know how much credit to give Vivek for this, but it's clear now that the Golden State way won and that's the new normal everyone else is adjusting to. The three point shooting arms race is in full flux now and the "switch everything" defense we openly mocked George Karl for has only become more popular. Perhaps there was something to that initial plan the Pete D braintrust put into effect. I can even see where the "jazz band" analogy comes into play now with players asked to read and react rather than run specific sets. Perhaps if we had a little more faith in the unknown we could have seen that vision through...

But then Pete also targeted Rudy Gay as his first big move and it's tough to think of a player who is less equipped to carry out that "move the ball, space the floor, shoot as fast as possible" game plan. Not to mention Mike Malone's Denver team is doing a pretty good of putting points on the board right now which lends credence to the idea that a good coach knows how to utilize the players they have and adjusts the strategy accordingly. Even if the intent was good, having the right idea and knowing how to carry it out aren't the same thing. I think it's fair to say though that Vivek looks a lot less crazy in retrospect.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
Well Villanova pulled it out in overtime, and Mikal had another of his usual games. 23 points on 9 of 18 shooting and 3 of 8 from the three. He also had 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and one block. The thing I love about Mikal is that there are nights when his shot isn't falling, but he still impacts the game with his defense. I'm convinced that if he were a freshman, he would be a top five pick, maybe top three. He is so fundamentally sound.
 
Well Villanova pulled it out in overtime, and Mikal had another of his usual games. 23 points on 9 of 18 shooting and 3 of 8 from the three. He also had 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and one block. The thing I love about Mikal is that there are nights when his shot isn't falling, but he still impacts the game with his defense. I'm convinced that if he were a freshman, he would be a top five pick, maybe top three. He is so fundamentally sound.
The foul they called on him at the end of regulation (that allowed Seton Hall to tie it up) was a clean block IMO.
 
I'll admit to that! I didn't see it because I thought Golden State's offense wouldn't ultimately win out over traditional positions and match-up based defense. It's hard sometimes to see the changes as they're happening. To be fair, when D'Antoni tried this in Phoenix with Steve Nash he won a lot of regular season games but it never got him past the Conference Finals so there was no precedent for sustained success. Also, when Vivek first started talking up the idea of "position-less basketball" San Antonio had just won it's 5th championship of the Tim Duncan era. Even a year later we were looking at one Golden State championship that looked kindof flukey (with Cleveland losing Kevin Love, "lob city" choking against a mediocre Houston team that had already lost Pat Beverly, etc).

I don't know how much credit to give Vivek for this, but it's clear now that the Golden State way won and that's the new normal everyone else is adjusting to. The three point shooting arms race is in full flux now and the "switch everything" defense we openly mocked George Karl for has only become more popular. Perhaps there was something to that initial plan the Pete D braintrust put into effect. I can even see where the "jazz band" analogy comes into play now with players asked to read and react rather than run specific sets. Perhaps if we had a little more faith in the unknown we could have seen that vision through...

But then Pete also targeted Rudy Gay as his first big move and it's tough to think of a player who is less equipped to carry out that "move the ball, space the floor, shoot as fast as possible" game plan. Not to mention Mike Malone's Denver team is doing a pretty good of putting points on the board right now which lends credence to the idea that a good coach knows how to utilize the players they have and adjusts the strategy accordingly. Even if the intent was good, having the right idea and knowing how to carry it out aren't the same thing. I think it's fair to say though that Vivek looks a lot less crazy in retrospect.
The whole positionless thing only works when you have freakish players like Durant and Green who can switch and guard nearly anyone. Before Durant, it was Draymond that allowed them to play like that. Without him, the Warriors don't win that first championship no matter how well Curry and Klay play. Vivek was/is right in a sense but I don't know if he realizes how rare it is to build a team like the Warriors. You can't just go out and play Warrior ball without the pieces in place. The Kings have tried that in the past and failed miserably.

I think it's a combination of having special players (Lebron, Durant, Harden), the best shooters of all time (Curry, Klay) and rules that allow players to "draw fouls" by merely running into defenders on purpose or by swiping the ball through their arms.

It's not a losing strategy to try and copy this blueprint but the Kings will more than likely never manage to get there. George Karl tried it when he was here and all I remember is Rondo guarding a PF every other possession. If the NBA wants to make 2 point shots obsolete, then teams are just going to have to adjust to that. Right now I believe the Kings take the most 2 point shots in the league and are in the bottom 5 in 3 point shots even though they shoot them at a very high percentage. The Rockets take the least amount of 2's and the most amount of 3's and they have the best offense. They also shoot the 2nd most free throws. So it's obvious what the blueprint is for scoring. I just wish the NBA would do something to even things out. I'd be all for moving the 3 point line back a couple feet to make it less of an advantage. Also swallowing the whistles on half the plays would make things much more enjoyable.
 
e. Also swallowing the whistles on half the plays would make things much more enjoyable.
Couldn't agree more. Drives me crazy how hard it is for a defender to challenge a driver near the rim. Even when practically vertical, the slightest of lateral movement draws immediate foul. Vast majority of the time the offensive playet frashes into the defenders (who are retreating) and they get th foul, especially if its a headliner player aa Harden. Fix this and thungs would be much more balanced and the game more enjoyable. Then defensively can play tighter at the 3pt line as the scoring percentage would then go down with a rim attack...maybe the 2 pt midrange shot would bo longer become as ancient and backward as the post up.
 
Based on film I have seen so far and not accounting for workouts, medicals, interviews, psychological testing:

Tier 1
1. Doncic

Tier 2
2. Ayton
3. Jackson Jr.

Tier 3
4. Bagley
5. Porter
6. Young

Tier 4
7. Mo Bamba
8. Jontay Porter
9. Mikal Bridges

10. ??? Not sure yet. I like Gafford, Bridges, Carter here.

The draft really drops off after tier 1 (i.e. Doncic) for me. If all prospects of 2017 and 2018 were in the same draft I would have ranked all Fultz, Ball, Fox and Tatum before Ayton/Jackson. Doncic would still be nr.1 by far however.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
My boy Mikal Bridges had another very good game yesterday helping Villanova to another win, which will probably move them up to number three in the rankings since Kansas lost. Mikal had 23 points, going 9 for 18 overall and 3 for 8 from the three. He also had 10 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 blocked shot. I won't be upset if the Kings end up with him.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
Based on film I have seen so far and not accounting for workouts, medicals, interviews, psychological testing:

Tier 1
1. Doncic

Tier 2
2. Ayton
3. Jackson Jr.

Tier 3
4. Bagley
5. Porter
6. Young

Tier 4
7. Mo Bamba
8. Jontay Porter
9. Mikal Bridges

10. ??? Not sure yet. I like Gafford, Bridges, Carter here.

The draft really drops off after tier 1 (i.e. Doncic) for me. If all prospects of 2017 and 2018 were in the same draft I would have ranked all Fultz, Ball, Fox and Tatum before Ayton/Jackson. Doncic would still be nr.1 by far however.
Don't know if you've seen Jontay Porter play or not, but there's no way I'd take him over Mikal Bridges. Jontay has had some nice games of late, but when you take his season as a whole, I don't see him going that high. I would throw him in the mix with Gafford and Williams, but all three of them are behind Carter and Bridges, and that includes both Bridges, Miles and Mikal. Not saying that Jontay won't turn into something, and he does have some skill sets that Gafford and Williams don't currently have. But I don't rank people based on pipe dreams and hopes. And frankly, Porter has had some stinker games along the way.

He is a player on the way up though. At the beginning of the year, no one knew who he was, other than the other brother, and he certainly wasn't ranked in the first round. I have him going around 16 or 17 now. I doubt Missouri makes the tournament, which is a shame because it would give him a national stage to show off his skills. Hope I'm wrong about that.
 
Don't know if you've seen Jontay Porter play or not, but there's no way I'd take him over Mikal Bridges. Jontay has had some nice games of late, but when you take his season as a whole, I don't see him going that high. I would throw him in the mix with Gafford and Williams, but all three of them are behind Carter and Bridges, and that includes both Bridges, Miles and Mikal. Not saying that Jontay won't turn into something, and he does have some skill sets that Gafford and Williams don't currently have. But I don't rank people based on pipe dreams and hopes. And frankly, Porter has had some stinker games along the way.

He is a player on the way up though. At the beginning of the year, no one knew who he was, other than the other brother, and he certainly wasn't ranked in the first round. I have him going around 16 or 17 now. I doubt Missouri makes the tournament, which is a shame because it would give him a national stage to show off his skills. Hope I'm wrong about that.
Yes I have seen him play and his IQ really popped of the screen. I'm sure you have watched more than I have so I'm looking out for some of his worse games. But Goldsteins draft model also has him #4 so I feel quite comfortable where he is on my board right now.
Oh and by the way, I really like Mikal Bridges dont get me wrong. In fact I would have taken him in the lottery last year already :)
 
So it's very possible that we could be picking 6 or later given that we don't look like we're tanking. At that point, you have to consider Bamba, the Bridges, Knox, Carter and maybe even Young/Sexton just on talent. I hope it doesn't come down to that. I like a lot of those guys, but it will be much harder to find the star among them than it will be with Ayton/Doncic/Bagley/Porter.
 
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