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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Landry Fields Of (Second Round) Gold

… another shitty draft by Walsh.
Jon Abbey, June 24th, 2010

Carlos Boozer, Gilbert Arenas, Nick Van Exel, Cedric Ceballos, Michael Redd, Rashard Lewis, Clifford Robinson, Antonio Davis, Mo Williams, Manu Ginobili. What do these players all have in common other than being members of NBA All Star fraternity? They all have the dubious distinction of being passed over by every NBA team on their draft-day free-fall to the second round.

Historically, the second round of the NBA draft is where good college players go to disappear. Very few second rounders make an NBA team, let alone significantly contribute to one. Since the NBA went to a two round draft system in 1989 an average of only 6.5 second round draftees manage to log 3500 minutes in any given year. That means roughly 20% of second rounders last over three years in the league and contribute more than sporadic garbage minutes as roster-filling practice dummies.

So when draft day 2010 rolled around and the rebuilding Knicks, armed only with two second rounders (no 1st rounder courtesy of legendary franchise destroyers Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury), prepared to fill their depleted roster with a few minimum salaried non-guaranteed players, the hopes that fans had was to find somebody who could contribute something, anything really, at the NBA level. The Knicks went on the clock at 10:46 pm to make their first of two selections. They announced the selection of Syracuse guard Andy Rautins at 10:49 pm, followed by the selection of Stanford swingman Landry Fields at 10:51. The announcement was met tepidly by Knickerblogger posters, to say the least…

Who is Landry Fields!!!!!!!!!” – massive

I have never been more disgusted…well, at least since Frederik Weis.Z-man

Anyone else pining for the Smiling Weasel right about now???” –TDM

bring back thomas, bring back thomas.” –Thomas B.

Presumably Thomas B. was referring to Isiah and not himself with his chant, and if so, he no doubt was remembering one of Isiah’s rare coups as dictator of the Knicks—his plucking of NBA rotation player Trevor Ariza mid-way through the second round in 2004. Still, though, the idea of pining for the days of Isiah Thomas shows just how nauseous the Knickerblogger community was feeling over the selection of the unknown Landry Fields. It was clear that sentiment fell in favor of the athletic 7-footer Solomon Alibi or top high school recruit and Lincoln High legend Lance Stevenson, both still available. Field’s was so unheralded he wasn’t even on Chad Ford’s top 100 prospects (or on Ted Nelson’s even more thorough “Knicks Draft Prospects” list!).

But as the fervor of the moment began to wane, some cooler heads started to whisper. The Honorable Cock Jowles was the first official member of the Landry Fields bandwagon when he wrote: “Hate to say this, but according to PAWS40, Fields might be a steal”. Moments later KB’s longtime voice of reason, Caleb went out on a limb and said: “I am going to be a contrarian and say this Fields thing might be smart.

Well, one month in and it’s time to take a look not at whether this Fields thing is smart, but just how smart it is. After 18 games, all starts, Landry Fields has not only exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic Knick fans. He has completely obliterated them.

So, how good has Landry Fields been? A Priori, I guessed that Fields’ first month was, statistically, probably the greatest first month any second round draft pick had ever had, ever. Gilbert Arenas and Carlos Boozer both struggled to find minutes during their first month in the league. Michael Redd barely played at all his entire first season. Same with Rashard Lewis. Manu Ginobili, arguably the greatest second round selection of the era, was good, but was he better than Fields? With a sample size of 1/5th of an NBA season to judge him by, let’s compare his rookie season thus far to Spurs super star Manu Ginobili.

What has set Fields apart from Ginobili, so far, is his fantastic rebounding and his unbelievable scoring efficiency. In many ways, his first month has been Ginobili’s first season on steroids—a TS% 70 points higher to go along with double Ginobili’s rebound rate. And Ginobili, a 25 year old rookie, had already played on some of the most competitive international teams in the world, whereas Fields had just come from a bad college team playing is a sub-par conference.

So, it is clear that whether he projects out to be better than Ginobili or not, he is clearly a great find at the #39 pick. Smart, as Caleb suggested way back in June. Very smart. But is Fields’ remarkable first month truly the greatest first 18 games any second round pick from the last 20 years has put together?

Because of the low expectation that comes with second round picks, few get much playing time, let alone starting minutes. Field’s minutes, alone, put him in a conversation with only a few other second rounders. Only twelve second round picks have ever averaged 26 minutes or more over their first 18 games. These players aren’t the Boozers and the Michael Redds of the league, though, but rather guys like Sherman Douglas, Mario Chalmers, Cuttino Mobley, Trenton Hassell, Sean Rooks, and Chris Duhon. In other words, guys who proved useful early on, but never transcended their niche to become stars. The good news for fans of Fields, though, is that his numbers thus far easily out-perform all of these guys, placing him far closer to Ginobili than to Mobley or Hassell.

On the other hand, though, Fields’ first 18 games are eerily similar to the first 18 games of Luc Mbah a Moute. The 2008 #37 pick, Mbah a Moute was an unheralded 22 year old coming out of the PAC 10 (sound familiar). He assumed the starting 2 guard position during the second week of his rookie season and averaged per 36 numbers of: 8.9 rebounds, 1.03 assists, 1.2 steals, and 11.5 points, in 29 minutes per game over the first month.

Not to diminish Luc Mbah a Moute—he’s a great second round find—but he’s also no Manu Ginobili. If Fields is teasing Knick fans the way Mbah a Moute teased Bucks fans, the Landry Fields love train could lose steam by year’s end.

So, where exactly does Landry Fields’ first month rank, statistically, with other great second round selections? Assuming he stays healthy and continues at the pace he’s on, he is thus far a runner-up with these guys. And who boasts the greatest rookie season by a second round draft pick in the past twenty years? It happens to be a different Landry, currently with the Sacramento Kings and a pivotal piece to the Jarred Jeffries jettison. Carl Landry, the 31st pick in the 2007 draft put up a remarkable 21.4 PER with a .641 TS%. He grabbed 10.5 rebounds/36, and WS48 of .251, good for fifth in the league, just ahead of LeBron James.

But Carl Landry isn’t a star, and since becoming a primary option in Sacramento hasn’t even been very good. Will Fields career project upward from here? Could he one day be seen as the greatest second round find since Manu Ginobili?

Time will tell. But whether his first month is for real or if he comes down to earth as the season progresses, one thing is certain: This was not “another shitty draft by Walsh”.

38 comments on “Landry Fields Of (Second Round) Gold

  1. Nick C.

    Nice job Z! Kinda forget that every year two an all-star comes out of the second round. Superficially Battier comes to mind with Fields..which if I looked at the numbers might be ludicrous or a lower ceiling than we would like (Detroit era Grant Hill).

  2. Thomas B.

    No, see I was talking about Andy Rautins when I wrote that! That quote is out of context. I demand you print a retraction. ;-)

  3. NYK Ewing

    Great article. He’s playing like a beast, and if he works on his shot, he’ll be lethal. I’ve read about his apparently lack of athleticism, but he’s more than making up for it with his ridiculous basketball IQ and the ferocity of which he goes after boards (which makes me question what people are talking about with his athleticism in the first place).

  4. d-mar

    Can’t say that I was hootin’ and hollerin’ when they announced the pick, but I did post at the time that we should trust Donnie and not make any apocalyptic pronouncements before seeing how the pick played out. That’s been my attitude pretty much since Walsh took over – trust that he won’t do anything rash and stupid (i.e. Zeke-like) and believe that he has a plan. I think the Hill pick wasn’t his finest moment, but I also think Jennings is WAY over-hyped and every other game shoots 3 for 15.

  5. Brian Cronin

    Obviously, like everyone else, I didn’t know Fields would be this good, but if I recall my attitude at the time correctly, what I really did not like was the fact that the mainstream media was ignoring the reports that both Los Angeles and San Antonio seemed interested in Fields with their second round picks (both in the #40s) and I believe perhaps Phoenix, too.

    So whether Fields was great or not, the notion that he was a waste of a pick since the Knicks could have just signed him without drafting him was, I feel, a faulty notion (and yet it was spread a lot at the time).

    Wouldn’t Fields make a lot of sense for both the Spurs and the Lakers, given his skill set (I mean, before you knew he was this good – just his basic skill sets)?

  6. Jafa

    Thomas B.: No, see I was talking about Andy Rautins when I wrote that! That quote is out of context. I demand you print a retraction. ;-)  

    Thomas, I went back and read that thread and found these posts from you right after the Fields pick: “wow, tell my wife i loved her.” and “Do you remember the machine in the Princess bride that steals a year of your life? Donnie just did that to me…again.” :)

    Most of us were very pessimistic and I, with the advantage of hindsight now, made some dumb comments then too. But I did make one good comment: “Some good news guys: Andy Rautins PER:18.08, Landry Fields PER: 29.10″

  7. tastycakes

    Forget Jennings (who is hugely overhyped thanks in large part to that 55-point game last year).

    IIRC, most Knickerbloggers were jonesing for Ty Lawson and DeJuan Blair, and I believe we could have had both. Jordan Hill looks like a bust.

    Some of it is dumb luck .. one pick higher and we’d have taken Steph Curry. Not a lot of great luck in recent Knick history. Grabbing Lee at 30 years ago was one lucky stroke .. Fields in the second round looks like another one. Combine the fortune of having good players fall to us late with some intelligent front office decision-making and maybe we’ll have a winning team for a change!

    Last night, watching the Heat game, the announcers talked about the Heat’s difficult upcoming schedule against +.500 teams, and I must say, I was *startled* to see the Knicks listed. We may no longer be a total pushover!

  8. Thomas B.

    Jafa:

    Thomas, I went back and read that thread and found these posts from you right after the Fields pick: “wow, tell my wife i loved her.” and “Do you remember the machine in the Princess bride that steals a year of your life? Donnie just did that to me…again.”

    I was still talking about the draft as a whole! The Rautins pick was grating on my soul with Stevenson, Warren, Butler, Jordan, and other still on the board. I admit that I was not excited about Fields mainly because I never heard of him. But my anger was over Rautins. I don’t think I would have said that if Fields was picked first. I would have said “Who?” Then i would have looked up his numbers and said “Okay, who are they taking next?” If the next pick had been Jordan, or Stevenson, ect. I would not have been looking for short rope. But my issue was with Rautins more than anything else. Oh and the Jordan Hill pick was fresh on my mind as well. Sure, I said that Fields might have gone undrafted, yes that was wrong but like I said i never heard of him. I knew Ruatins was a waste. 18 per in 124 seconds of play. Yeah that proves me wrong.

  9. rrude

    I haven’t seen anything out of Fields yet to suggest he could be an all-star, and I think his efficiency has to do with specifically playing as a support player and not trying to do more than that. That said, what he does look like is the sort of player the Knicks (in recent memory) tend not to have and seem to undervalue: a guy who could be one of the other (non all-star) starters on a championship contending team. We get a little too mystified by guys whose main ability is scoring in volume (Melo) and forget that good all-around players are required to excel as a team.

    I also think his rebounding is helped by the fact that no one else on the team is really excelling in that role. He still has to get them, but he’s playing with other players that don’t rebound especially well for their positions. Not to be a wet blanket, and I am happy he’s a productive player, but I am trying to be cautiously optimistic.

  10. ess-dog

    It would have been interesting if Hobson was still available when we were picking. Would Donnie have opted for him over Fields? All reports said that the Knicks were high on Hobson and that Iowa St. pf that was just sent to the D League, who was also selected before Fields.
    I think it really is a crapshoot in some respects.
    But I think what separates Fields from Luc Mbop a Booty is that Fields was a legitimate high scoring option in the PAC 10 last year whereas Luc was always known as a “defensive minded” player. Only one other Cardinal has scored more in a season than Landry last year EVER. Sure, that guy was Adam Keefe, but it’s still impressive, no?
    Not to mention he was 2nd in the PAC10 in FT’s, 4th in FG% despite having the most attempts in the PAC10, 2nd in total rebounds in the PAC10, 5th in steals, and 2nd in Win Shares.

  11. jaylamerique

    This was a good read. As an aside, i just read the recent LBJ debate between Bucher and Broussard and wow Ric Bucher is an idiot. In the article, he compares LBJ to Iverson and Carter and questions whether he can ever win a title. I know Lebron hasn’t made many fans over the past year but c’mon he hasnt fallen that much were people are comparing him to those two players

  12. Caleb

    My cautious optimism was a vote for statistical analysis. Forget the eye test, or the sniff test, or the hype test – if you play well in college (relative to other guys your age) you are likely to play well in the pros, relative to those same guys. This obvious observation drives a lot of us nuts when we see teams passing on DeJuan Blair. And there was no reason the best player in the Pac-10 shouldn’t have been seen as a legit draft pick by #38, if not sooner.

    You could also look at the stat line and see a player who – although a senior – was on a trajectory of improving, a lot, year by year.

    Of course, I never imagined he would be this good, this soon.

    Hard to say what the long-term projection is. Rebounding isn’t much affected by the surrounding players, and holds up well over time. That’s a real strength. I’d be surprised if he keeps up his league-best efficiency, but he’s done it with a bad 3-point shot so there’s plenty of room to grow. He makes smart decisions with the ball and it would be interesting to see what he could do with more ball-handling responsibility. Most players become better defenders as they gain experience. It will be exciting to see.

  13. Frank O.

    Jon:
    I enjoyed the read, and respect people who are willing to shrug and say they were wrong.
    I don’t pretend to follow the draft as closely as many who post here, so I make no judgment. I just respect people who are willing to say it.
    I think in Fields I admire that he’s shown himself to grow every year he’s played ball. His junior year was nothing like his senior year, and his first year in the pros has exceeded all expectations to date.
    This is a young guy, who is a kind of underdog, and he is proving he can play well.
    Hard not to like that kind of story. It was one of the reasons the David Lee story mattered here so much, too.
    We all knew the Knicks, with this team, would need contributions from every position to be competitive, especially on the boards. They have been delivering.

    But judging by conventional wisdom as well as an honest assessment of the Pac10 and Stanford, it would have been easy for anyone to get the Landry Fields selection wrong.
    Walsh got it right, which is most important.

  14. Z Post author

    Sorry guys. Point of the piece wasn’t to call out the people who thought Walsh was a moron for selecting Fields. I thought the reactions were amusing, considering how good Fields has been. In all fairness, once the moment was over and people learned about who Fields was, everybody actually got very excited by the selection. In a matter of days, Fields was already becoming somewhat of a KB folk hero.

  15. Z Post author

    I should add that the reason I found the initial comments amusing was that it showed just how high expectation was that ANY of the players that would be available would somehow be franchise changers, or make LeBron want to come to NY. This expectation, considering the history of 2nd round picks and the low % that even contribute in the NBA, was irrational, which makes the rapid emergence of Fields all the more ironic :)

  16. Frank O.

    Sorry, Z. I thought Jon wrote the piece.

    Your single letter name got past me.

    Good read, but it does affect the overall read if one believes the person writing was a major critic of the move originally.

  17. Thomas B.

    If you are going to pull quotes from the thread, you should have at least taken the best one of the night.

    ess-dog: Fine! I’ll try to like the overeducated douchebag. But Rautins has ‘ballboy’ written all over him. His ceiling looks to be somewhere between Forrest Gump and Powder… ess-dog

    Killed me then, killing me now. And I admit that in my Andy Rautins rage, I didnt give Landry the benefit of objectivity. It’s funny, a healthy Kelenna Azuibuke and who know what we ever see of Fields.

  18. rrude

    “My cautious optimism was a vote for statistical analysis. Forget the eye test, or the sniff test, or the hype test”

    not sure if this is a bit of snark directed at me, but I have to say I am pretty bored with folks on boards denigrating the value of watching games for almost 30 years when it’s convenient for them and when they themselves make plenty of judgments that aren’t ‘proven’ by any stats. I think it’s perfectly legit to have a feel for players and their games and make value judgments based off of that. I am happy the stats exist and are changing the way people look at the game. But outside of the stats, fans still form opinions and any projection off of stats is just that, an opinion. And although it is probably more informed than that of a mere spectator, that alone doesn’t make it more true.

    Fields looks like a perfectly nice complementary player. I wouldn’t pick him to build a team around at this point and I am skeptical he ever reaches that point. Not really an earth-shattering claim.

    Maybe instead of saying I was being cautiously optimistic I should have said I was preaching restraint.

  19. ess-dog

    Thomas B.: If you are going to pull quotes from the thread, you should have at least taken the best one of the night.
    Killed me then, killing me now.And I admit that in my Andy Rautins rage, I didnt give Landry the benefit of objectivity.It’s funny, a healthy Kelenna Azuibuke and who know what we ever see of Fields.  

    It’s actually a pretty confusing quote because Gump and Powder both had exceptional abilities, whereas Rautins… er…

    And “douchebag” has become a term of endearment spoken amongst fellow douchebags. We’re reclaiming the word like “nigga”.

    Yes, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

  20. Mike Kurylo

    Z: Sorry guys. Point of the piece wasn’t to call out the people who thought Walsh was a moron for selecting Fields. I thought the reactions were amusing, considering how good Fields has been. In all fairness, once the moment was over and people learned about who Fields was, everybody actually got very excited by the selection. In a matter of days, Fields was already becoming somewhat of a KB folk hero.  

    The piece wasn’t about who predicted what, but rather the mood of Knick fans at the time. Actually it’s not about that either, but that’s the purpose of the quotes.

    Ironic that all these years I’ve been told at times that I’m defensive by commenters, but here the roles have been reversed. And a majority of the comments are about he-said/she-said, while the main point, where Fields fits historically as a second rounder, has been largely overlooked.

    BTW kudos to Z who pitched the idea & wrote it up. One article that I wished I had penned, for sure.

  21. Thomas B.

    Z,

    Very nice work with the article and I apologize if in my attempt to humorously defend my actions from draft night took away from the point of the this fine write up. Fields’ work so far deserves recognition and comparison to other 2nd rounders. I was wondering about this when I asked about similarity scores yesterday. Your article is a great substitute for sim scores as it is too early to run them.

    It’s just so fun to try and spin the past.

  22. Robert Silverman

    Guys, guys!

    I figured it out. Here’s why Landry Fields is so good. He’s actually Na’avi (you know, from Avatar). That’s why he can jump out of the gym. Walsh must have made an interstellar journey to scout him years ago, secretly got him enrolled at Stanford, and called Spike Lee up to get his makeup guys from his movies to devise an intricate pre-game ritual to make him look human. All w/the master plan of drafting him in the 2nd round last year. Conspiracy uncovered!

    http://yfrog.com/ndihq01j

  23. Z Post author

    Thanks Mike. Hope to do more in the future.

    And back to the subject at hand, I should add that though Mbah a Moute’s per 36 numbers for his first month were nearly identical to Fields’, his scoring efficiency wasn’t even close. Mbah a Moute shot 44% from the field, only attempting (and missing) two 3 pointers.

    Also, I may not have given enough due credit to a few other players that put up impressive rookie years coming out of the second round. Here’s how four others performed (Millsap, Boozer, Scola, and Gasol).

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=millspa01&y1=2007&p2=gasolma01&y2=2009&p3=scolalu01&y3=2008&p4=boozeca01&y4=2003

    It’s interesting how there’s been a spike in the past few years in impact 2nd rounders. The 1990s saw very few 2nd rounders come in and contribute significantly in their rookie year. And the ones that did were well aged Euros (Radja and Kukoc). Nick Van Exel got attention for his flashy style, and Anthony Johnson saw a lot of minutes, but neither performed extremely well statistically. Yet in the past three years 10 2nd rounders have come in and played significant roles their rookie year.

    And finally, in case anyone was wondering who the last 2nd round draft pick to win a rookie of the month award was? It actually happened just two months ago, when last years #39 pick(!) Jonas Jerebko won the honor for March 2010.

  24. Ben R

    The biggest difference between Luc Mbah a Moute and Fields is Fields is much much more effieicient. Efficiency is often what seperates good rookies from rookies that just happen to get the opportunity to shoot alot. (ie: Jennings)

    I think what strikes me the most about Fields is his incredible poise. The game seems easy for him, he is never rushed, never lost and always seems to be in the right place. Right now he is a low usage player but he was a scorer in college and as he gets used to the NBA I could see his usage increasing.

    The rebounding numbers are not surprising, he was a great rebounder in college, 2nd in the entire Pac10 last year. Also while we are very weak rebounding at the 5 we have solid rebounders at every other position, Amare and Gallo are average, Felton and Douglas both above average, so it’s not like he is on a horrible rebounding team, plus if it was easy other two guards would pull down 7-8 rebounds per on weak rebounding teams but they don’t.

  25. Frank O.

    You know, I got into this with a friend today, and it kinda, sorta, fits into this discussion.
    We were talking about how a lot of these early out of college players struggle so much in the pros and how much that has cost teams.
    I wonder if four year guys like Fields, who are more mature, better educated, more well rounded skillfully, are making a comeback in the league.
    I think Fields needed four years to realize his potential, and it has helped his polish.
    How much money has been spent on guys like Anthony Randolph, who are well-paid, but struggle to win minutes in the NBA in their early years.
    Or the young guys that come over who fall into trouble with the wrong people.

    I think the NBA really needs to consider a rule that encourages kids to stay in a full four years. I don’t recall, but it seems as though the average career is pretty short and a lot of NBA players who did not finish college in the long run suffer for it.

    I realize this isn’t a fully formed thought, but I was wondering what others think.
    And please, the they should get paid now if they can argument, in my view, is very, very short-sighted. I think the money and the league eats up a lot of good kids who might have been better, and better off getting a full four years of school before coming to the NBA.

    Of course, college is another problem. Money has corrupted the college system quite a bit, IMHO.

  26. Ben R

    Frank O. – Alot of NBA players would be better off with four years of college but forcing players into four years of college is unfair, they should have the right to pursue their professional interests rather than be free labor for college basketball teams. I think better advice for the kids and smarter GM’s in the NBA would solve most of the problems.

    Also a more fully realized minor league would give players a backdoor into the NBA and allow players to get paid something while preparing themselves for the NBA. Why not allow players to play pro minor league ball here and have those players unavialiable to the NBA until they declare for the draft or turn 22, like international prospects.

  27. Robert Silverman

    Frank O.: I think the NBA really needs to consider a rule that encourages kids to stay in a full four years. I don’t recall, but it seems as though the average career is pretty short and a lot of NBA players who did not finish college in the long run suffer for it.I realize this isn’t a fully formed thought, but I was wondering what others think.
    And please, the they should get paid now if they can argument, in my view, is very, very short-sighted. I think the money and the league eats up a lot of good kids who might have been better, and better off getting a full four years of school before coming to the NBA.Of course, college is another problem. Money has corrupted the college system quite a bit, IMHO.  

    If it were solely a “what’s the best way for a potential NBA player to develope/hone their skills” question, sure – it’d be worthy of conversation. But the problem is, the massive dollars that Universities get from NCAA bids, being on Nat’l television, etc., doesn’t even begin to equal the money (a 100k scholarship, let’s say) that a college player is given in return. And while one might be tempted to say, “Yeah, but we’re giving a kid who’d never be able to afford it the shot at a college education,” I’d say that argument runs head-first into some seriously racist memes.

    The NCAA exploits free labor. The idea of forcing a worker (an NBA prospect) to basically give away the fruits of his labor for basically nothing in order to be able to ply his trade is really problematic to me. Whether it’s in that worker’s best long-term financial interests to give away that labor (spend 4 years in college) is another question altogether. It is clear that it’s in the NBA’s long-term interest to have all college players stay for 4 years as it (probably) would improve the quality of the their product….

  28. Robert Silverman

    Hit the Ted Nelson wall. Anyhoo, since salaries have skyrocketed the last 20 years, it’s hard to compare the long-term earnings of 4 year players (pre-1990 or so) and the 1-year/straight out of HS Garnetts et al.

    But the fact that it’s sports that we’re talking about and not any other labor question doesn’t dissuade me from giving up my lefty street cred

  29. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    No one wanted to listen to C. Jowles. Probably has something to do with my name.

    I just hope that Fields doesn’t turn out to be like Lawson and Blair: expectedly-awesome rookie campaigns followed by weird drop-offs in value. What is going on with those guys?

  30. Z-man

    “I have never been more disgusted…well, at least since Frederik Weis.” Z-man

    Mea culpa. On draft night, especially after enduring the misery of seeing no sign of the Knicks logo until the mid 2nd round, only to hear the name of one “known” guy not projected to get drafted (Rautins) and one unknown guy with a milquetoast-sounding name who also wasn’t projected to get drafted, after throwing lots of other names around in the pre-draft posts here and never seeing those two, after reading mock drafts one after another in Draft Express and never seeing those names anywhere, much less going to the Knicks, I admit that my usual optimism was tapped out. Really, I’d be impressed if anyone could show me one reasonable source that touted Fields before the draft.

    That he has blossomed into a 30mpg starting 2-guard on a thus far on an above .500 team is mind-boggling, as is the fact that all of the teams in the NBA, with all of their highly-paid scouts, passed on him (in some cases 2-3 times!) At least Ariza was on people’s radar when he came out.

    It’s great to look back and laugh at that moment from today’s lofty vantage point of hindsight. Good job, Z!

  31. Ben R

    Z-Man – Ed Weiland at Hoopsanalyst (my favorite pre-draft website) actually had Landry fields as his 3rd ranked sg/sf. (he splits up combo guards, sgs, sg/sf hybrids, sfs and combo forwards all into different categories) He had Landry as one of his top 30 players and said he was a good pick late in the first round.

    He was high on Landry and I’m pretty sure even he would be shocked. One of the things that is interesting is that 2nd rounders that have success are usually international prospects, undersized 4′s or combo guards. The fact that Landry was a prototypical 2/3 both in size and athleticism, and was a great scorer and rebounder last year makes his slide even more strange. I understand he didn’t come on till his senior season and both stanford and the Pac10 were horrible butit still surprises me he did not impress someone in workouts.

  32. Frank O.

    Robert Silverman: Hit the Ted Nelson wall. Anyhoo, since salaries have skyrocketed the last 20 years, it’s hard to compare the long-term earnings of 4 year players (pre-1990 or so) and the 1-year/straight out of HS Garnetts et al.
    But the fact that it’s sports that we’re talking about and not any other labor question doesn’t dissuade me from giving up my lefty street cred  

    I don’t entirely get this giving away stuff to college. I went to college. There’s a hell of a lot kids get from that experience. Sure the schools make a lot money from sports, but those schools also provide world class educations for their students with a lot of it being paid for by proceeds from athletics.
    Would the University of Michigan be as good as school as it is without athletics? Would the University of Alabama? Seriously, I don’t think so.
    So, yes, students who play sports help bring money into a school. Many get to come to those schools on full scholarships. Especially those players that are likely to go pro.
    So, they get essentially an education for the price of playing a sport…not sure that’s a terrible trade.

    And Ben R.
    better advice, and better GMs? Seriously.
    That’s basically saying you’re going to do nothing. I mean, you can’t control any of that. And the GMs and advice givers are acting in their own interests. That suggestion is tantamount to lip service, IMHO.
    No, these kids get preyed upon by the very people you are asking to look out for them.

    Again, pro-worthy kids pay no tuition, virtually not housing or food costs, and they get skilled coaching and preparation for a career, and then some because of the four year degree they get. The schools are better schools for the money they make from sports, certainly, but at least they are giving something in return.

    I think it protects these young guys. Prepares them better for life.

  33. Ben R

    Some people get alot out of college, but it is not for everyone and forcing a kid who has no desire to be at college to stay for four years, risking injury when they could be making lots of money for themselves and their family is unfair.

    Like I said a better minor league system like they have in baseball or hockey would allow kids who do not want to go to college a chance to earn money and grow into an NBA caliber talent. What about a draft system where a team can draft a player and then let him stay in school, like stashing in Europe. I don’t know if these are good solutions but I don’t like forcing players to stay in college. I don’t even like the one year rule, even though it seems good for the game, because it sets a poor precedent.

    These are adults, it is not the nba, or the ncaa or anybody else’s job to protect them from their own choices. If they want to drop out of school at 19 and enter the draft that is their choice whether it’s smart or I like it or it’s good for the game it does not matter. They are grown men making their own life choices for better or worse.

  34. Z Post author

    It’s also, technically, illegal to discriminate based on age. 18 year olds are allowed to choose to enter the work force. The only reason Stern was able to circumvent state law was by collectively bargaining with the players union. There is no way the union accepts a 4 year college prerequisite to eligibility. Maybe if the League agrees to abolish the the salary cap and do away with maximum contracts, but I think we can agree it’s not likely to happen.

  35. bobbidybob

    I saw Fields and Mbah Mute both play in college. While Mbah is a high energy garbage guy Fields was a consummate scorer and much better player. I posted to another board on draft night that I thought Fields was a great pick. Anyway, I truly doubt that his numbers will do anything but go up from here. I see him as a twenty and eight guy with a long career. What a steal. Nice article.

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