Back to Basketball - Initial Draft Primer & Discussion

So I am a draft junkie.  Since I was a little kid, I have followed the draft way too closely.  Call it a side effect on the PX of the Kings Fan pill I swallowed when I was 6.  The 80s and 90s gave me ample opportunity to become a veteran of the lottery process.  When I was a teenager, I went with my parents to Arco and watched Petrie announce we were drafting Corliss Williamson (to a chorus of boos, fans wanted Randolph Keys) and Peja (to a chorus of boos, fans wanted John Wallace).  As I got older and this thing called the internet was invented by Al Gore, I started becoming a complete geek, following games logs, stats, analysis, etc.

So now that the Maloofs decided "the only fair" thing was to stay in Sacramento "because of the loyal fans," I am freaking excited to talk about the draft. 

With that said, let me kick off the first official draft thread of the off-season.  While we all wait for Section’s Annual masterpiece and some of the other traditional threads, I thought I would do an introductory draft post for those of you just starting to wade into the 2011 Draft Pool. 

My only caveat is my knowledge of these players tends to grow exponentially as we get closer to the draft, I only watch so much college ball (much more of a pro fan), so I reserve the right to have my opinion on these players flip flop 1027 times before draft day.


With that said, HERE WE DRAFT:

(Players listed in order of Draft Express rankings - Player Names are YouTube Videos)


1: Kyrie Irving – PG – 6-2 180

Best Case: Less explosive Chris Paul

Worst Case: Devin Harris with better 3s

One of the safest picks of the draft.  He has court vision, a jump shot and a high basketball IQ.  Should be the #1 pick unless the Nets get the pick and want to pair Deron Williams with Derrick Williams.  Or David Kahn gets the first pick and decides that Enes Kanter is Ambrosia from the Gods® (I better get paid when he says that).  He’s the closest thing to a pure PG in this draft, but even he hedged more towards the "shoot first" side of the scale in college.  Should be very good, but scouts question if he has the physical traits to be a true superstar.  Pretty much the same thing said about Blake Griffin, so you know they have to be right.


2: Derrick Williams – SF/PF – 6’8’’ 235

Best Case: Rich man’s Jamison/Granger hybrid

Worst Case: Channing Frye

A big that can shoot and drive.  His handles aren’t great, but good enough to do straight line drives and take advantage of bigs who come out to guard his jumper.  Scouts aren’t sure if he’s a 3 or a 4.  My gut says he’s a 3 in the NBA, playing 4 in the right matchup.   He is a very efficient player with a tremendous basketball IQ.  He’s another very safe pick.


3: Jonas Valanciuna – PF 6’11’’ 240

Best Case: A good player

Worst Case: A less good player

I really fell in love with this Jonas brother the 15th time I saw him play.  No kidding, I have never watched him play.  According to ESPN and Draftexpress, he’s a high energy player with hops.  Tough defender and competitor, with limited offensive game.  On one board, a posted called him Kirilenko on crack.  I remember Hightops saying in his scouting reports that we had too few players on crack this year.  So he's got that going for him.


4: Kemba Walker – PG/SG – 6’0’’ 180

Best Case: Good Steve Francis

Worse Case: Jarrett Jack


5: Brandon Knight – PG – 6’3 170

Best Case: Chauncey Billups

Worst Case: Mario Chalmers

After some initial debate, I decided I had to do these two together.  Especially considering we are probably picking in this range, the debate of Kemba versus Knight could easily dominate the summer. 

Kemba is the leader of the national champions.  Knight is a freshman who led his team to the final four.  Pretty much every draft site I can find favors Kemba.

So let’s just look at some very basic stat lines






















































As most college basketball fans probably know, the top line is Kemba Walker’s freshman year.  The second line is Brandon Knight this year.  The 3rd line is Kemba this year.

Really, the only advantage Kemba has is that he is two years older.  But that’s really not an advantage when drafting for the pros.

Knight is taller.  Knight was a better three point shooter by far as a freshman and is almost as good now.  Knight is a much better defender.  And Knight was also a 4.0 student in high school.  He will have enough credits at the end of his freshman year at Kentucky to be a Junior.  And he had (as of the tournament) a 4.0 in college.  Kemba Walker just finished reading his first book ever this year. 

We don’t want to repeat the Warriors Todd Fuller mistake, but considering Knight has most of the other advantages in my book, the smart be would be the freshman PG with the better tools and 4.0 GPA instead of the junior PG who just finished his first book.  Just saying.

Of course I’ll remain neutral on this debate until closer to the draft, but feel free to draw your own conclusions from the unbiased information presented above


6: Bismack Biyombo – 6’9’’ 240

Best Case: Follows Serge Ibaka’s developmental curve

Worst Case: Danny Almonte 

Little known prospect who dominated at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland recently and saw his draft stock skyrocket when he recorded the first triple double in Hoops Summit history with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks.  Thought as Draft Express points out, he is already one of the most efficient and is the best shot blocker in one of the most competitive leagues outside of the NBA – so he didn’t just "come out of nowhere."  His skills appear to be legit.  Like some other foreign prospects from less developed countries (he’s originally from Congo), there are questions about if he is indeed 18, 22, 26 or perhaps 47.  No one really knows.   


7: Enes Kanter – C – 6’10’’ 250

Best Case: Good Brad Miller

Worst Case: Bad Brad Miller

Post moves? Check.  Jumper.  Check.  Limited athleticism? Check.  Bad knees? Check.  Savvy game? Check.  Spends off seasons hunting and chugging beers?  I’ll have to get back to you.  I hate the Brad Miller comparisons because most fans have forgotten there once was a very good Brad Miller.  But also because it may not be accurate.  With the European players, I’m really just regurgitating Chad Ford and Draftexpress with my own spin.  Hopefully someone who has seen him play more can weigh in.


8: Jan Vesley – SF/PF – 6’11 240

Best Case: Better than sliced bread

Worst Case: Better than a sharp stick in the eye


9: Donatas Motiejunas – PF – 7’0’’ 215

Best Case: Dirk FREAKNIG Nowitzki, ummm....  Let's go with Bargnani.

Worst Case: Vladimir Radmanovic

Since I haven’t actually seen the European players play, I am not going to waste too much space writing what you can read if you follow the Draftexpress links.  I will just sum up that Vesley is an athletic, energy player who is very explosive, but who needs to improve his outside shot. 

Montiejunas sounds like every Dirk wannabe that has been drafted since Nowtizki became a legend.  He’s tall and a good shooter and scorer.  He’s also poor defensively, not a good rebounder and scouts question his toughness


10: Alec Burks – SG/SF – 6’6’’ 200

Best case: Poor man’s Rudy Gay? Struggled with this one.

Worst case: Flip Murray

An athletic wing who can create his own shot and create havoc in the paint, but can’t shoot (shot 29% on his 3s as a sophomore).  He’s also a decent passer with the tools to become a good defender, though it’s questionable if he showed his full potential in college since he carried Colorado’s offense. Probably not what we need right now.  Questionable how effective he’ll be playing off the ball in the NBA, especially at first.


11: Terrence Jones – SF/PF - 6’8’’ 244

Best Case: Everything we want Donte Greene to be (Marion-Odom hybrid)

Worst Case: Better rebounding Donte Greene we have now

The player from this draft I want to like the most, but who also terrifies me.  In theory the perfect player for our 3 spot.  He has the potential to be a great man and team defender.  He’s very active on defense and blocked a ton of shots.  He had stretches in the NCAA tournament where he single handedly wreaked havoc on the other team’s offense.  He’s got a slow release on his jump shot, but makes a decent percentage.  Good but not great ball handler who can create his own shot, especially on straight-line drives.  For better or for worse, he doesn’t demand the ball and at Kentucky seemed content to play within the flow of the offense and always make the "right" play.  He never really showed the killer instinct to take over games though, even when he had a favorable matchup.  Scouts question if he can play small forward and there is some concern he could wind up an undersized PF.


12: Jimmer – PG/SG – 6’2’’ 195

Best Case: Stephen Curry

Worst Case: JJ Redick

I diverged from Draftexpress here.  Sue me.  Jimmer is more fun to talk about than Kawhi Leonard.  There won’t be a more widely debated player between now and the draft than Jimmer.  And the debate will be very similar to the players listed above.

I think he’ll fall squarely in between Curry and Redick.  I don’t think he’s a star, but Jimmer can dribble, pass, shoot and is more athletic than he gets credit for.  You will hear some people compare him to Adam Morrison, but he’s a better shooter and athlete.  He’s stronger and more athletic than Redick or Kapono.  He handles the ball and passes far better than a James Jones or Trajon Langdon.  I think Jimmer will have a nice career.  I wouldn’t want him as one of my top two players, but he should be a nice complementary piece.



Chris Singleton – Defensive stud SF who can shoot.  Nice trade down candidate for us.


Kenneth Faried – Brockman with athleticism and shot blocking. 


Kawhi Leonard – Athletic SF, who is mildly like Alec Burks, but worse.


Tyler Honeycut – Lacks focus and skill, but reminds me a lot of Trevor Ariza coming out of school.  Potential is there.


Ok, now it’s your turn.  Hopefully this kickoff primer was helpful, if very imperfect.  Now it’s your turn.


Who is the best fit for the Kings?

Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight?

Where was I wrong?

Can anyone fill in the gaps on the foreign players?

Terrence, Jimmer, and Burks – studs or busts?

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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