A Quick Sneak Peek Draft Prospects

With the Twenty-Third Pick the New York Knicks Select?

While we are still in the midst of playoff fever I wanted to post a position-by-position thumbnail sketch of the players Isiah Thomas is most likely to consider at #23. (Of course, as Thomas proved by selecting Renaldo Balkman last June anyone’s guess is as good as mine.) I’ll do something more substantial, time permitting, closer to the draft.


Thoughts: This is probably the draft?s thinnest position top to bottom. The Knicks seem unlikely to look for a PG. Yet you cannot rule out Thomas looking for the ?best player available.?

1. Mike Conley, Jr., Ohio St., Fr. ? if he stays he will be off the board by #23; considered the best pure point in the draft

2. Javaris Crittenton, Ga. Tech, Fr. ? he will likely return to school; compared to Steve Francis athletically, only he is more turnover prone

3. Acie Law, Texas A&M, Sr. ? combo guard was not especially efficient until his senior year

4. Gabe Pruitt, USC, Jr. ? likely a 2nd round pick, but his style is tailor-made to dazzle at the pre-draft camp’s glorified pick-up games

5. Mustafa Shakur, Arizona, Sr. ? ditto; Shakur is a pure point guard, totally unselfish, but prone to poor decision-making (his shot also needs to be completely reconstructed)


Thoughts: The deepest position in a draft is usually ?swingman? and this draft is no different. The best value at #23 will probably be here.

1. Arron Afflalo, UCLA, Jr. ? projects as primarily as a defensive specialist and rebounder; a capable though not outstanding scorer

2. Morris Almond ? big-time scorer that brings little else to the table

3. Derrick Byers, Vanderbilt ? a complete prospect; draft position may depend on whether he really is 6?7?

4. Rudy Fernandez, Spain ? combo guard stands roughly a foot taller than Nate Robinson yet is 8 lbs. lighter

5. Alando Tucker ? virtually the same skill set as Arron Afflalo

6. Nick Young, USC, Jr. ? increased efficiency each year at USC; plays NBA caliber defense

7. Marcus Williams, Arizona, So. ? a better defender and rebounder than usually given credit for, but didn?t improve as a sophomore; long player with high basketball IQ

8. Julian Wright, Kansas, So. ? a bit of a jack-of-all trades; very good passer and long-armed defender (very unlikely to drop to #23)


Thoughts: This position is also very deep, and has perhaps the draft?s most intriguing prospects from a Knicks perspective. It features a number of players that don?t necessarily need to score to be effective. I am listing the second tier power forwards most likely available at #23.

1. Jared Dudley, Boston College ? classic case of “do you focus on what he can do or cannot do?”; likely a 2nd rounder but a team could easily fall in love with him in workouts

2. Spencer Haws, Washington, Fr. ? super-hyped prep prospect with a pro-ready 18-foot shot, excellent passer; upside could be limited because he doesn?t jump out of the gym

3. Josh McRoberts, Duke, So. ? ditto; however McRoberts is a very underrated defender and rebounder as well as a gifted passer

4. Jason Smith, Colorado St., Jr. ? 7-foot shooter in the Brian Cook/Channing Frye mold

5. Tiago Splitter, Brazil ? has appeared in mock drafts seemingly forever; nbadraft.net compares him to P.J. Brown

6. Thaddeus Young, Ga. Tech., Fr. ? gifted lefty athlete with undeveloped skills; should stay in school but pre-draft camp might disguise his deficiencies

7. Sean Williams, Boston College, Jr. ? PERFECT fit for the Knicks; long-limbed shot-blocker with Camby?s shot-blocking instincts but a better developed body; unfortunately he?s a bona fide knucklehead, kicked off Al Skinner?s Boston College squad for repeated drug offenses (sigh); no sane executive should hand this kid first round money to piss away


Thoughts: As you are probably well aware the real value at this position is almost always at the top of the board.

1. Marc Gasol, Spain ? Pao?s younger brother is 270 with a well-developed post game
2. Aaron Gray ? he?s definitely a ?beauty is in the eye of the beholder? prospect; poor footwork but very good hands

Liked it? Take a second to support DCrockett17 on Patreon!


Part-time blogger on the Knicks at Knickerblogger.net and Seahawks at FieldGulls.com. In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

77 thoughts to “A Quick Sneak Peek Draft Prospects”

  1. I saw a lot of GTech games this year – Crittenden and Young were both up and down. I don’t think Francis is a good comparison… JC is bigger, a better playmaker but not an unstoppable (for college) get-to-the-basket guy. His outside shot will probably be better than Francis in the pros. I didn’t really see what the fuss was about, he seems like one of those big point guards who are a step too slow in the pros.. but then again I missed some of his better games, like when he supposedly beat Carolina single-handed.

    Coming out of high school people were talking about Thaddeus Young in the same breath as Kevin Durant. By comparison he suffers mightily but if he hadn’t been so hyped, he would have been impressive. Everyone gripes about his shot, and it’s not pretty, but he actually shot 40 percent on threes so it doesn’t seem like that big a problem. He would probably be a Top 10 pick next year so if he slides to 23 – or even close, where we could trade up – he’d be a steal.

    Has anyone here actually seen Tiago Splitter? I’ve been reading those draft capsules for years, and he seems like the kind of guy we could use – backing up C and PF, solid defender, etc. But I don’t see a lot of Euroleague games (ha!) so I’ve never seen him in action.

    I know what you mean about Sean Williams, but your average #23 pick is barely going to be a rotation player on a decent NBA team, so I wouldn’t mind taking a gamble. Obviously, if I ran a pro team I would do more research first, instead of just sitting here in my living room saying, “what the heck!”

  2. I wouldn’t want B-Rush on the Knicks. I watched a lot of Kansas ball the past 2 years and he’s not the answer for us.

  3. I think this draft offers a lot of great value picks, even on into the 21-25 pick range. I think the steal of the draft is Rodney Stuckey, whether he would be a great fit for the Knicks I’m not really sure but he is flying under the radar out on the West Coast. I really like Brandon Rush’s all-around game. If they want to go big, getting someone like Fazekas or Gray at 23 is as good a value as you could possibly expect for an inside player. I would think Isiah wants someone who can help now so any of those 4 would be solid choices.

  4. I don’t think Gray and Fazekas are NBA players, even 2nd-rounders. In this draft the big guys really tail off by the middle of the first round.

    Stuckey doesn’t fit any kind of need – we’re loaded with undersized scoring guards – but the hype is building. Is he a better prospect than Nate Robinson?

    I just think we have enough ok rotation players, and unless we can really fill a need (like a pure point guard to develop, or a genuine defender at C or PF) — it would be better to gamble on star potential. The decent point guards will go early, and with the possible exceptions of Splitter, Smith & Williams, the big guys aren’t too exciting. I’d rather try to package our pick with a player (someone decent, with value, like Frye or Crawford) to see if we could move into the top 10 or 15. That might give us a shot at one of the big-time forwards, or maybe Law or Crittenden.

  5. Any reason you left Marco Belinelli off the list? I’ve never seen him play but he gets listed around the late teens early twenties in a few mocks. Based on the capsules looks interesting, good outside shot, decent finisher, the knock is defense and weight. Any thoughts?

  6. whew…. KB, you forgot Rodney Stuckey?
    This is the guy who can fit on Knicks bench as a combo guard. He can handle the ball and put score numbers at will.

  7. I think we should just throw this pick into a trade. It probably has more value for the knicks that way.

    We already got our faux-draft pick in R. Morris.

  8. Sean Williams is the one I’d go with. We really need a blocker badly (and so does half the nba)

  9. Jon – people are all over the board on Rush. I didn’t get to see much of him, so I’m agnostic. He’s a player whose fate may depend on his performance in the pre-draft camp. Given what (I think) I know of his game, great stroke–reasonable though not tremendous athleticism, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing for him.

    Caleb – thanks for the insight on Crittenton and Young. I probably saw a third of the college basketball I usually see this season.

    KB – thanks for the Splitter and Belinelli links.

    Belinelli’s exclusion was purely an editorial decision on my part; I just hadn’t heard much buzz. What I have heard doesn’t make him sound like a Thomas kind of player (whatever that is). Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement (or denouncement) of said player by the KB staff ;)

    Rodney Stuckey is a player I’d like to know more about. There certainly seems to be buzz a-building. He’s another guy I figured I’d wait on for the pre-draft camp.

    There is much left to determine obviously with the draft, though from here it’s likely to get deeper than anything else. I’m speculating–based on an admittedly cursory reading of the market–that most of the underclassmen that declare are coming out. All things equal, the only time worth declaring then returning is after your freshman season. Oden and Durant aren’t returning, though Conley may. Crittenton and Young are the most interesting cases. They probably have more to gain by going back than staying out. Julian Wright and Brandon Rush would–solely from a business standpoint–be silly to return.

  10. I think Afflao may be just what we need – someone who won’t hurt us on the defensive end and can be lethal with an open 3. We don’t a SG who can create their own offense (we have enough of that already) but we do need someone who can reliably hit open jumpers when Curry’s triple teams leave them unguarded. Belinelli, Fernandez, and Almond are also strong candidates in this regard and I’d be very interested in any of them, but Afflao seems to fit the Knicks needs the best even if he has less star potential than the others. Either way, I think there’s a fantastic crop of shooters projected in the Knicks’ range and that we should definitely not trade our draft spot unless we’re moving up to get a truly elite player or packaging it for an All-Star. Use Frye and Nate as our bargaining chips, not the pick.

  11. I guess my point in bringing up Belinelli is that IMHO the knicks most need defense (internal first, perimeter second) and outside shooting so they can spread the floor and give Curry room to operate. In addition they need people who can feed the post, meaning height on the outside helps a lot. Given their draft position, and roster I’d advocate either PF or Swingman. Belinelli looks like he can feed the post and shoot from outside, perhaps he can learn D. Of course I’d also advocate trading Frye,Q,Rose and N. Robinsion, in a sign and trade for Rashard Lewis. But that’s another story.

  12. Given that Isiah has the best draft track record in the league, and that he’s failed to improve the team through any other means, and that this is a deep, strong draft I’d like to see the Knicks keep the pick, trade up, and/or acquire another pick.

    Splitter is pretty athletic. He’s good at attacking the basket on the screen-and-role. He shoots a good percentage (62%) playing in Luis Scola’s (San Antonio has to bring Scola to the NBA, or trade his rights so someone can) shadow, but his offensive game isn’t super-developed IMO (not that much range, although his post moves are improving). Might be an average or even above average passer for a big in the NBA, but he gets fewer assists per minute than the other top bigmen in Spain (Scola, Vazquez, Gasol, he’s even with former Jazz center Curtis Borchardt).
    He’s a worse rebounder than teammate Luis Scola and fellow 22 year old draft prospect Marc Gasol (maybe worse than Gasol because he gets less chances playing with Scola??) and way worse than Borchardt, although he is a slightly better rebounder than former Orlando lottery pick Fran Vazquez. His shot blocking #s are slightly worse than Gasol’s, behind Borchardt’s, way behind Vazquez’s, and better than Scola’s.
    Basically, my opinion is that if available at #23 he might be the best bigman fit for the Knicks to play next to Curry. He’s athletic, an ok passer and shot-blocker, and pretty high energy. He kind of reminds me of fellow Brazilian Anderson Varejao, although I think he?ll shoot a much higher percentage and develop a far better offensive game in general, and probably not be as strong a rebounder although he has the athleticism to develop into a good rebounder once away from Scola.

    Gasol should be at least a decent NBA player (maybe a good deal better than decent) because he has silky smooth post moves, good size, is a pretty good passer, and a solid rebounder/shot blocker. However, I think he?d be a terrible fit on the Knicks because he’s a bit lead footed and I can’t see him anywhere but the 5, so him and Curry probably can’t coexist. At least a solid NBA back-up and could be a great value if he falls to the very late first/second.

    If the Knicks could get Fran Vazquez cheap from Orlando and he’d come over in the next couple years he might be a decent fit: better range than Splitter, good shot blocker, although not as strong a rebounder as the other bigs in Spain.

    Rudy Fernandez, to me, is definitely an NBA player if and when he wants to make the move. He’s got a decent stroke from outside (just under 38% in ACB games, he makes the 3rd most threes/game in the league behind Luke Recker and J.C. Navarro at a slightly lower clip than Recker and a far worse clip than Navarro, who should be great on the Wiz next year although he’s not the best complement to Arenas as an undersized combo guard). I’m not sure how this % will transfer into the NBA. Charles Smith (not that Charles Smith, but the one who most recently played in the NBA), for example, was a 38.8% shooter in the NBA, and is shooting 31.7% for Real Madrid. Pepe Sanchez was a 0% NBA 3 pt shooter in limited minutes, and is a 22% shooter for Unicaja. Jiri Welsch shot 38% in his only NBA season playing over 2000 minutes, but 34.3% on his NBA career, and is shooting 39% on 3s for Unicaja.
    While I think handling substantial minutes at PG is a stretch, Rudy has some definite guard skills, handle, and can create for teammates (unlike someone like Jiri Welsch who went to the NBA advertised as a combo-guard despite the fact that he still has no handle). Rudy’s a pretty good athlete who can finish in transition. His athleticism should allow him to be a good team defender, though I don’t see him as a great one-on-one defender or stopper.
    I think he’d be a good fit on the Knicks: doesn’t demand the ball in his hands (already an upgrade), decent outside stroke, good passer, gets out on the wing in transition, potentially a solid defender. An instant improvement over Crawford, as he basically shares Crawford’s strengths (creating for teammates, decent height, John Starks like willingness to take shots, finishing ability) but lacks his weaknesses (terrible shooting, unwillingness to go to the basket, no effort on D, low b-ball IQ).

    One guy I’m very interested in is Alando Tucker. Sure, he’s going to have to put in a lot of work to get his game NBA ready, but he’s shown that he has a great work ethic and drive to do it. He clearly has the athletic ability, just has to add a perimeter shot and maybe a better handle/passing abilities. He reminds me a lot of Latrell Spreewell (I never saw Spreewell at Alabama, nor have I seen his numbers there).

    I know it’s a bit unfair, but no way I’d touch Brandon Rush in the first after the family history. If both JaRon and Kareem disappeared into oblivion, not due to lack of talent but lack of effort, it’d take a lot to convince me Brandon is any different.

  13. i like nick young!!! or that French guy Tatum…
    bellnelli or splitter seem to both give us what we need as well

  14. No, nobody from France please. That’s all the Knicks need is some asshole from France surrendering all the time in the final minutes of every game. I dont want to regress on the one think we have really improved on this year.

  15. Hey remember that awesome French guy we drafted once????

    The ripple effect from that was extra awful because it turned us off from signing any Europeans whatsoever while the whole rest of the league found all this talent there.

  16. I just checked out the Frederic Weis draft: http://basketball-reference.com/draft/NBA_1999.html

    Not only is he the ONLY 1st round draft pick that year that didn’t make it to the NBA, there were at least five centers drafted, all stiffs, in the second round that made it: Michael Ruffin, Evan Eschmeyer, Calvin Booth, Wang Zhizhi, and Francisco Elson.

    There were about nine centers left on the board when the Knicks drafted, and they took the only one that could even make it as a back-up in the NBA.

  17. I’m selling a WW2 French infantry rifle. It’s never been fired and only dropped once.

  18. some good french players out ther, you can’t exclude them from contention cuz of Weiss

  19. LOL. Also, don’t draft any Americans because of how Dontae’ Jones turned out.

  20. It’s rather odd to pick on French players when the top 3 French guys in the league (Parker, Diaw, and Pietrus) are all rotation players on second round teams. The only team with a French player on its roster not to make the playoffs was the Supersonics (Mickael Gelabale and Johan Petro).

  21. Look people, we’ve already had a quasi PR problem with Jedi Knight Starbury sitting on the bench at the end of games with that towel over his head.
    Could you imagine the can of worms that would be opened if we drafted Tatum from France, he would virtually inevitably at crunch time in big games be running up and down the sidelines in front of the bench waving the white towel around to the other team, it would just be the worst message possible.

  22. Having a sense of humour is clearly a virtue you were genetically deprived of, and I understand you’re angry about it, but throw me a bone would ya?

  23. Jokes are supposed to be funny. If you don’t get a laugh the first time, you should try to find a different angle.

    To get back to the subject…I honestly have no clue who the Knicks should draft because outside of the top 2 it seems like everything else in the first round is up in the air. There seem to be a lot of guys who in an average year would be surefire lottery picks coming out. I’d be ecstatic if a guy like Marc Gasol were still available when the Knicks pick, though.

  24. Panorama,
    I agree completely that we don’t need another guy who can create his own shot. I would just stand Afflalo in the corner, teach Curry to pass out of the double team in the offseason and let Marbury drive and dish to his heart’s content. We would be halfway there as far as halfcourt offense goes.

    Also getting rid of Francis, Jerome James, & Malik Rose, is imperative by any means necessary. The Knicks need more playing time for Balkman and Collins and also need to see what Morris can do.

  25. there are 10 coaches available who’d i prefer over Isiah, specifically Sam Mitchell…

    the draft is so deep that having 2 first rounders is a great idea but Personally its really hard to identify the Knicks needs because the team needs an identity!
    who can you draft or trade for that will get you an identity, no one…thats why the people in the know suggest the knicks need the present roster to come back as improved, mainly Curry(‘no fire and desire’ on the defense).

    p.s. I love Walt stepping up to tutor Mardy!

  26. You’d prefer Sam Mitchell over anybody?

    For serious?

    Mitchell is one of the worst coaches in the NBA. Doc Rivers is the only coach I can think of who is noticeably worse than him.

  27. I dont think he so great but of the available coaches, Mitchell would be successful as a motivator to get in Curry’s head, no doubt!

  28. Maybe the Lakers would take Curry for Kwame Brown. Demand their draft pick, too… but if we made that trade we would actually have cap flexibility in 2009.

  29. Take it from a guy who has seen roughly 100 Raptors games over the last 2 years, Mitchell is not someone you want coaching your team. He sucks at finding ways for his players to play to their strengths and almost always takes whatever the defense gives him instead of trying to get his team the best looks possible.

    We’re talking about a coach who encourages TJ Ford to shoot more. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

  30. “Having a sense of humour is clearly a virtue you were genetically deprived of…”

    T-Mart, if there is anyone here that is genetically deprived, trust me, it’s you.

    “the draft is so deep that having 2 first rounders is a great idea but Personally its really hard to identify the Knicks needs because the team needs an identity!”

    What do you mean? We just need a shot blocker who can play small forward so he won’t take time from David Lee and can shoot the 3 efficiently to take advantage of the double teams of Eddy Curry. Oh yeah, he should also be able to run the point with good court vision. Kinda like a combo between LeBron James, Kyle Korver, and Ben Wallace. You think one will drop to us?

  31. “Kwame Brown for Curry”

    why the hell would you want Kwame Brown???
    i thought you’d say Odom for Curry

  32. Kwame Brown for Curry? Even I might balk at that. Brown is rated higher, but the frustration qoutient seems to be even higher then it is with Curry. I have seen only a few Lakers games this season, but the ball sure seems to deflect off his hands a lot.

    And I have another nickname suggestion for our big man, since Curry Fingers doesn’t do it all for me.

    What about:

    “The Chocolate Turnover”

  33. “if there is anyone here that is genetically deprived, trust me, it?s you.”

    For someone who is constantly whining about how people on this board are going to be banned for posts you deem baseless and juvenile from your little knickerblogger throne, you seem awful capable of dishing out your own ignorant and weak garden variety comments.

  34. Does anyone know the details of Sean Williams’ off-court issues? I mean if he’s just a pot head he’s going to fit right in in the NBA. But are we talking about some bigger issues?

  35. The point of the trade is a straight salary dump. We’d be better off having no one – just the chance to sign a free-agent – than Curry taking up $12 million of salary, through 2011. Kwame gives us a year of decent defense, then he’s gone. (or re-signed cheap).

    Sure, we might do better, like demand Bynum or insist they take Jerome James, too, in exchange for a shorter bad deal.

  36. Caleb,

    I would also love to see Curry moved. Unfortunately, Curry is the “franchise player” and centerpiece of the finished product resulting from Isiah Thomas’ 3 plus years of rebuilding. I don’t think Isiah has any interst in moving Curry unless he gets a KG or Jermaine O?Neal or maybe a top 5 pick and decent player. Plus, he’d have a hard time explaining to James Dolan a move that replaced the centerpiece of “the best [and most expensive] 33 win team ever constructed,” whom the Knicks gave up a #2 and top 10 pick to acquire, with an expiring contract and a mid first rounder.

    In a perfect world I agree that moving Curry would be addition by subtraction, but there are only a few situations in which I see that happending and they involve either Jerry West or Kiki Vandeweghe as the Knicks’ new President and/or O?Neal or KG as the Knicks’ new PF.

  37. why do people around here still want aging vets like O’neal or KG?

    We have a young frontcourt with Curry, Lee and Frye. sure I would weant a Shot-blocker but that would come at the expense of playing time for these three.(f.y.i thats what Morris is here for)

  38. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Curry sucks and Frye will never be much better than he is right now.

  39. honestly dont you think Curry and Frye and Lee will improve together?
    they’re only 24/23 years old, and have a good feel for the offense…thats our tri-fecta frontcourt, they will be fine

  40. The authors of a study that found racial bias in foul calls in the NBA offered a compelling defense of their conclusions. Now the question is: What if the study is right?

    The above is a headline on espn right now, I recognize this is way off topic, but does anyone here think the author’s argument holds water? Im really not convinced there’s a material racial bias amongst refs in the NBA. I qualify that with material because ofcourse there is going to be a couple undetectable bad eggs that could go either way, but over all, I just don’t see it.

  41. T-Mart, I can count the number of people I’ve banned with one hand, and have a couple fingers left over. I’ve yet to ban anyone for less than being a detriment to this board. The same goes for comments. I’ve only deleted the ones that are either offensive or inflammatory, and I’ve done than less than 10 times (except for spam).

    So I don’t sit on a little throne over here. Besides if I did get a throne, it’d have to match my little KnickerBlogger crown and scepter.

  42. Brandon Rush is absolutely a great pick. What do we want in a 2/3? Size, defense, an ability to share the ball, a team player, a good stroke from deep, and someone who is going to bring a winning attitude.

    Putting Rush on the floor with Balkman would be a revelation. I am a KU alum, and saw every game last year. Brandon is not his brothers. He is easily coached, will absorb the best of those around him, and play hard. If Phil Ford is still there and coaching BRush, it will be a great day for the NYK.

    I’d love to see Rush in Blue.

  43. It’s clear from these postings that New Yorkers are the most knowledgable fans in the world.
    23rd pick sucks and should be packaged with a player to get A. Law, otherwise draft Aflalo.
    Isn’t there a point guard from the Spurs who’s from France??????He might have won a couple of championships.
    last summer while most players where improving there game Frye was healing an injury and now your knocking his lack of improvement, want him traded.
    Good thing for Conlin (OSU) to be coming out this year, he sure looks good at the point with Oden
    in the middle, guess he was quick to figure out his stock was going down next year if he stayed.
    Mardy should start next season, Mbry is just stealing min from him.

    Mardy bench, Mybury,Crawford,Balk,Frye
    Aflalo Morris
    Rashad Lewis
    Rush would look good in Blue, Kansas Blue.

  44. i kind of like the idea of gambling on sean williams. if not, afflalo, nick young, or alando tucker would also certainly fill a need.

  45. any chance isiah hires jeff van gundy to take over coaching responsibilities? pretty please?

  46. No thanks. Nothing has changed with Van Gundy; excellent defensive coach but he still messes up in key moments and is clueless about what to do on the defensive end.

  47. Boy-this crowd sure has short memories. Does anyone recall the surge that was building just before Craw,Lee&Q went down? Don’t you wonder how far we would have went had 3 of our top 6 in the rotation went down? Do you recall Eddy’s string of 20+ games? Lee & Q(my pick for Knick MVP) getting double figure rebounds every game? As far as the draft goes-take the pothead and let the NY media &fans give it to him dayin &dayout until he staightens up or flunks out-we need a shot blocker!

  48. Curry’s string of 20+ games? I wasn’t aware that scoring at least 20 points in 11 straight games was something to be excited about when it comes from the focal point of your offense. Especially when your team is still below .500 during the streak.

    I believe the Knicks were 9-9 just before Richardson went down. Same goes for Crawford. They were still 6 games below .500 before losing Lee and were, of course, playing .500 ball right before he went down as well.

    So it’s not that we have short memories, it’s that we don’t get excited about a team that is average at best.

  49. The improvement wasn’t really that great, though. Let’s not pretend that they put together the kind of run what Warriors had to end the season. They were 6-11 in November, 7-9 in December, 7-8 in January and in February the injuries started.

  50. Caught the 3rd place game in the Euroleague final four on tv yesterday. Don’t know if anyone else caught it, think it was on NBAtv in the U.S., but I thought I’d share my impressions on Tiago Splitter and Luis Scola:

    Tiago and Luis’ team, Tau Ceramica, lost, but Tiago quietly had a very solid game. He had game highs in minutes played (33:45) and rebounds (8 total, 5 of them offensive), scored 10 points on 5/8 shooting, and dished out 3 assists coupled with 3 TOs (one of which was a questionable traveling call on a very nice move to the basket for a lay-up that, obviously, wasn’t counted).

    You barely noticed Tiago for stretches and he’s not assertive on either end, but every time I thought “where the hell is Tiago” he would do something impressive: use his long arms to come out of no where and grab a board in traffic, a strong block on a Marcus Brown lay-up, numerous uncontested dunks.

    He really seems like a consummate team player. Although he could use to be a little more assertive, I think his timidness is partially due to not wanting to step outside his role on the team. He’s great with spacing on offense, especially important for someone with a limited offensive game and no jump shot to speak of. He loves to set a screen on the perimeter and then slash to the basket, often finding a seam in the defense and giving a guard a wide open lane to pass to him for an uncontested dunk. If the guards looked to use his screens and get him the ball a little more I think Tau would have won. He?s somewhat comfortable getting the ball on the perimeter, although he can?t really do much with it out there except find a guard. He looked to post up a lot, but Tau almost never got him the ball when he did.

    Defensively, he’s not yet much of a force, but he shows some potential to be one. This is where his lack of assertiveness becomes a bit of a problem. He showed great restraint in only picking up one foul all game, and looked pretty menacing patrolling the paint and keeping Unicaja out. But then he didn’t always step-up to stop penetration: Tiago would ignore penetrators if they weren’t right in front of him and finished the game with only one block (equaling the number of shots he got blocked, by a 6-6, not overly athletic Spanish forward). However, his arms are extremely long and with some polish he could be a real shot blocking threat.

    Tiago?s Tau teammate, Luis Scola (a former Spurs 2nd round pick who I’ve hear they don’t want to pay and would trade for a 1st rounder), had a disappointing game after a very dissapointing showing against eventual champions Panathinaikos. He had a decent stat line against Unicaja: 33 minutes, 14 points on 6/11 shooting and 2/5 on fts, 5 boards (3 offensive), 2 ast.s and 2 TOs (one of his was also on a questionable traveling call: the ball had been knocked out of his hands when he ?traveled?). But Scola is supposed to be one of the best players in Europe and failed to live up to expectations: seeming to lose concentration at times, especially crunch time. In the 4th quarter he missed an open 2 foot bank shot when Unicaja was making a come-back from a 10 point deficit, missed consecutive fts with only a few minutes to play, and got the (questionable) traveling call on another crucial possession. Unicaja ended up winning by 2 points on a Marcus Brown lay-up with 1.2 seconds left. Interesting, not 100% sure it was that shot it might have been earlier, at 6-3 Brown managed to get around his defender at the three point line all the way to the basket without dribbling once. My point with all these traveling calls/non-calls is that I think there are much bigger problems with Euro refs, like bribery, than with NBA refs.

    Scola is both rugged and agile in the low-post, and can just flat out score down there. He?s far more polished than Tiago, but is only about 6-8/6-9 and not nearly the athlete Tiago is: he?s fairly athletic in his own right, just not as graceful and fluid, or as long, as Tiago. Also, he?s 5 years older than Tiago. Defensively, I don?t know how his game will translate in the NBA. He?s not much of a threat as an off-the-ball defender (although he?s not currently much worse of a shot blocker than Tiago), but gives a good effort and has the strength to match up with NBA 4s and 5s. I don?t think he?ll be anything close to a star at the NBA level, but could definitely be a solid starter or 3rd bigman on most teams.

  51. big_fella – There are good gambles and bad gambles. Williams is a bad gamble. His suspension for weed makes him a poor decision-maker independent of whatever drug-related problems he may have. He was already on “double secret probation” with the Jesuits up in Boston. Skinner and the team all stuck their necks out to keep this kid eligible and he basically turned his back on them in order to smoke weed. C’mon, you don’t have to go to Betty Ford to quit smoking weed. You just have to decide to quit smoking weed.

    These days I think “character” issues are way overblown. Many media types try to turn every youthful indiscretion into Maurice Clarett Part II; as if kids don’t screw up then grow up. But, for my money the one tell-tale sign of a person you can’t trust is one who will turn on folks who have tried to help him. I don’t want this kid on the team at all. He’s former Rocket and T-Wolf Eddie Griffin just waiting to happen.

  52. i dont agree with that ‘character issues’ nonsense either…if you’re in college and you haven’t smoked pot then I’m worried!

  53. If when you were in college though there was potentially a 5 million dollar contract at the end of it so long as you don’t mess it up by smoking pot you’d have to be clinically insane to do it.

  54. Questions of importance:

    Will you commit seppuku if the Bulls (through the Knicks) get either the first or second pick?

    Will you soak a rag in gasoline and take a nice walk through the park with it wrapped around your face?

    Would you take a potshot at Isiah if Greg Oden averages 15/10/3 next season?

    What would you do… if you were asked to give up your dreams for freedom?

  55. It is, but you should keep in mind that Sam Smith is Chicago’s version of Peter Vecsey, and has been the one talking about KG going to Chi for 3 years now.

  56. I’d think any deal there would have to involve Tinsley also, signed through 2010-2011, when he’ll be 33 (O’Neal is signed for one less year, until he’s 32).

    I have trouble seeing a package for those two that makes much sense for Indiana without involving Lee or Balkman, we don’t even have big expiring contracts.

  57. For O’Neal or KG, Lee or Balkman is worth it. A really talented and likeable role player is not the same as a franchise big man who sounds like he would fit well with the roster.

  58. yeah, I was thinking more about that, probably true.

    so what would you offer, maybe Lee/Francis/Collins/Rose for O’Neal/Tinsley? that gives them a young stud in Lee and a ton of cap space in two more seasons. it would make our team:

    Q or Balkman

    Frye, Tinsley, Q or Balkman, Morris, Nate, our first round pick, Jeffries, James

    it would kill us on the cap for at least one more season, through 2009-2010, but I’m not sure we can afford to worry about that much at this point. it would also help Walsh/Bird’s evident goal to build a team of all-Caucasian starters, the only possible explanation for the deal they made with GS, Stephen Jackson’s insanity aside.

  59. maybe you could throw in Jeff Foster (who’s an older, worse version of Lee, but who we could use off the bench) for Jeffries, who might flourish back in Indiana, or at least has a better chance there than anywhere else.

  60. What is with all this Curry bashing? Curry for Kwame Brown? Are you all insane? I live in LA now and Kwame is an okay role player when he assumes his role — which is to rebound, play defense and block shots. He does these things okay. sometimes he gets bored though and wants to “take over” the offense which results in a turnover or atrocious forced shot. He is not good.

    Curry is 22 years old, and has spent most of the season triple teamed because he has emerged into an offense force that you can gameplan your offense around. And YOU WANT TO TRADE HIM FOR KWAME BROWN?

    Does Jawaan Oldham ring a bell for any Knick fans?

    Curry may never be Bill Russell when it comes to rebounding and defense, but he still has room to improve. The Knicks need to add a PF that blocks shots and plays defense. Then Curry will truly flourish. Why you guys want to dump the guy right now makes no sense. That isnt the answer.

    Knicks need: A badass defensive PF to go with Curry. A versatile SF that can also play defense and score (kind of like Q Rich when healthy but a bit bigger and more athletic ideally). Plus a million intangibles. But Curry sure as hell isnt the problem right now. And he is quite possibly a solution. Cut the kid some slack he had a great year.

  61. curry’s 24 and trading lee in a package for o’neal would be absurd. lee is going to be part of the foundation for an eastern conf. finals team in 2010. you watch.

  62. Alando Tucker is great Player who can block shots as a small foward, play physical defense and by the way he just past M finley as the all time scoring leader at UW. Also Corey Brewer stock is rising but he is a long lenthy player who might be a top 5 defender in the draft ask aaron afalo. Also he is a great offensive player.

  63. Yeah, I saw that about Rush. Interesting move. I guess he figured this draft was a bit TOO deep, and he wanted to come out in a better year for his draft position.

Comments are closed.