Thursday, June 5, 2008

Draft Guru Presents..."The Big Men"

On the heels of a fabulous post by the Crotty Kid, the Draft Guru wishes to offer some gems of draft wisdom regarding the draft’s big men. After some discussion about “The Curse of Mark Eaton”, I’d like to provide some players who might just fill the shoes of the Quiet Giant. Because really, the dreaded curse of “Big Mark” will definitely befall upon the Jazz. Right?

As Dark Helmet was approached by Colonel Sanders in their search for the princess, in the great movie Spaceballs he was questioned, "Don't you have the Schwartz, too?" Dark Helmet then replied, "Naw, he got the upside, I got the downside. See, there's two sides to every Schwartz." In like manner, with this group of big men, there are two sides to each player: the upside and the downside. And with the Jazz picking at 23, there’s probably going to be a bit more of the downside than we'd like.

So without further ado, I give you the big men of the 2008 draft:

1. Roy Hibbert 7’2” 275 C Georgetown
Upside: size, length, inside presence, good skills, good hands, coordinated, solid passer
Downside: slow, mechanical, soft
Analysis: I think Hibbert gets a bad rap. He’s better than what many people give him credit for. He has the ability to be like Ostertag with his length in the paint, though he’s much more skilled on the offensive end of the floor. I believe he’s better than Collins already. He could fit in well with the team. Remember when Hibbert outplayed Greg Oden in the Final Four, scoring 19 points and 6 rebounds? He’s pretty good. I have a feeling he’ll be gone by the time the Jazz pick.

2. Robin Lopez 7’0” 255 C Stanford
Upside: toughness, tenacity, length, agility, defense
Downside: low skill level, no offense/post moves, lack of quickness
Analysis: There are more Stanford twins! Lopez specializes in defense and that’s what we need. Opponents didn’t dare come into the paint with the Lopez brothers in there. Both on the ball and off the ball, he can guard and block shots. He’s limited offensively and somewhat raw skill-wise. Is he better than Fess? Perhaps defensively he’s better. He could be good for the Jazz because he doesn’t demand the ball.

3. Jason Thompson 6’11” 250 PF/C Rider
Upside: size, skill level, rebounding, agility, shooting ability, versatility, blocks
Downside: low level of play (adjustment?), soft, defensive intensity, lateral quickness
Analysis: This guy is the darkhorse. I saw him play once, and he scored 26 points, had 24 rebounds and 5 blocks against Siena (who, mind you, beat Vandy in the NCAA tourney…decent squad). He’s got all of the skills. He just hasn’t played against great competition. He’s a decent athlete who moves around really well. Is he tenacious enough to be a defender for us? 20 pts, 12 rbs, 2.7 blks average…not bad numbers!

4. Javale McGee 7’0” 240 C Nevada
Upside: athletic, long, talented, explosive
Downside: inexperienced, raw skills, skinny, lacks strength
Analysis: McGee has the greatest bust potential. He could go higher in the draft just based upon athleticism and developing skills. He’s not proven and will take time to develop. He hasn’t done squat in college. At least Patrick O’Bryant led his college team to the Sweet 16…

5. Kosta Koufas 7’0” 240 C Ohio State
Upside: size, versatility, shooting, skills, agility
Downside: defensive intensity, toughness, strength, post presence
Analysis: He plays like Memo. Loves to shoot the 3-ball and hang out on the perimeter. He’s not the greatest athlete around the hoop but he’s got skills and talent. I think we already have one of him.

6. DeVon Hardin 6’11” 240 PF/C California
Upside: incredible athlete, strength, explosiveness inside, defense, low maintenance
Downside: hoop IQ, desire/motivation, bad hands & post game, tenacity
Analysis: This guy really makes you frustrated. He’s got all of the physical abilities. It would seem like he ought to dominate his competition, but he doesn’t. In fact, he disappears a lot of the time and loses focus and intensity. He would probably drive Jazz fans crazy. But, if he only played a few minutes each game for defensive purposes, he could probably be effective.

7. Nathan Jawai 6’10” 270 PF/C Australia
Upside: athletic, strong, good hands, touch, footwork
Downside: defensive focus, lateral quickness, unproven, length
Analysis: He’s a complete unknown to me. He seems to have some real upside and ability based upon what I’ve seen on Youtube. He’s an unproven talent. Some compare him to a poor man’s Elton Brand.

8. Alexis Ajinca 7’1” 240 PF/C France
Upside: length, athleticism, defense, shotblocking
Downside: strength, slight frame, inexperience, toughness
Analysis: Another mystery man in my estimation. He must have serious potential if he’s being considered for the first round. It seems like he’d be a long term project. Perhaps the Jazz wouldn’t take on another project.


Orlando said...

Great post. This is why we have the draft guru!

I've made my feelings on Hibbert known. Also, against Oden he had a nice game, but it was painfully obvious that Oden was a game changer (at last defensively) while Hibbert was a skilled, soft big man. I can't imagine Hibbert ever dunking in the pros.

I actually don't mind Lopez. He is an athletic, high energy defensive presence. That's about all you can hope for.

McGee will be a bust, you can write that down. I also think the Australian is a power forward - he looks short and stocky, ala Millsap plus two inches.

The Golden Griff said...

Guru, what are the chances that Jason Thompson is around when the Jazz pick? And is he related to the enigmatic athlete, Jason Thompson, who would occasionally be spotted during football/basketball tryouts at East High?

Draft Guru said...

Pretty good chance he'll be around. It depends on how he works out against bigger, better bigs. It could happen that Toronto, Washington, Cleveland, Orlando, NJ all choose bigs...meaning a firesale on big guys. If that's the case, he'll be gone. If he's any relation to the said East High Thompson, we best not select him!

Pasty Gangsta said...

Hibbert is much better than Robin Lopez. In fact, had Hibbert come out last year he would have gone much higher (Jeff Green made him look great). Having watched Hibbert play for four years I can tell you that his biggest flaw is that he doesn't love the game and disappears when it counts. He and Georgetown dominated the Big East this year, so I'm not sure if "soft" is the right word. . . but he certainly is not the toughest guy mentally on the court. You definitely don't want him playing 35 minutes a game for you. As I've opined before though, I think he'd be a fine backup center and if we keep the pick and he's there, we might as well grab him.

Hardin is a disaster. I watched him play a lot too and he's one of these guys with a ton of talent who can't seem to translate it into good play. Cal should have been a lot better than they were, even though the Pac-10 was great. Frankly I'm suspicious of anyone who is a bit of a head case and can't win at the college level. . . shades of Luther Wright there.