Sliders

Kurt —  June 22, 2006

No, this post is not about the Jerry O’Connell TV show (which I loved the first season or so of, but it went downhill after that).

With less than a week before the draft it’s time to focus there. I’m talking about guys sliding down the draft board. Celtics Blog and Lowpost.net teamed up for an interesting look a few weeks back at the success rate of guys who slide (as well as risers) and found some interesting stuff — basically guys who slide 10 spots or more seem to have done so for a good reason, they tend not to pan out. There are plenty of notable exceptions (hello Gilbert Arenas) but for the most part it holds true.

With the Lakers drafting 26th, Brandon Roy is not going to fall to them, but there are a few other guys that could, and that I wouldn’t mind getting. So I thought I’d point out a few.

Kyle Lowry: He’s a 6-0 point guard out of Villanova who scouts say is likely the best defensive point in the draft. He also is known for having a hard edge (not unlike Smush). Considered very competitive and very quick — he can drive the lane in the NBA, something you can’t have enough of these days, The knock on him used to be his outside shot, but he shot 46.8% overall last year and 44.4% from beyond the arc (getting better like that is a sign of a good work ethic). He had an offensive rating of 113.4 (points per 100 possessions used), very close to more heralded teammate Randy Foye and better than Allan Ray. He may not be tall like Phil likes, but this is a guy who can play out top in the NBA and could develop into the kind of starter the Lakers could use in a few years.

Alexander Johnson: I doubt the Florida State power forward will fall to the Lakers simply because he has the “athletic with upside” tag that gets guys drafted early. That said, if he did slide he’s potentially too good to pass. He’s a 6-10, 235 power forward who is strong enough to push people around on the inside and has a consistent 12-15 foot jumper (he had an eFG% of 56%). He grabbed 23.8% of the available defensive boards when he was on the court last year and a very good 12.9% of the offensive ones. He also blocked a lot of shots. He needs polish but could be very good some day.

Hilton Armstrong: Another big, and I know all things being equal the Lakers are more likely to go with someone to be a triangle point/Kobe backup. But Armstrong, like Johnson above, might be hard to look past if he slides down the draft board (even if just as future trade bait). He’s 6-11, 235 out of UConn and has a rep as a very good weak-side shot blocker. He grabbed 16.2% of the available defensive boards last year. He also can shoot the mid-range and finished last year with an eFG% of 61.1%. That would fit nicely in the triangle.

Kurt

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16 responses to Sliders

  1. I just wanted to put my World Cup rant somewhere.

    Why did we end up focusing the offense around Landon Donovan. This is a guy who apparently likes being the big fish in the small pond of the MLS, but is just average at best on the big stages. The guys who played forward in Europe, even Beasely who was off some, stepped up. Johnson was good when he got the chance. But Donovan just isn’t the man.

    AndI still want Arena gone. And I’m pissed about that performance today. The USA played liike s*%@. (I know I talked about swear words, but I can think of no more apt word for the USA’s play.)

  2. Eric Wynalda rightfully wasted no time in concurring with you that the USA team’s performance was hindered by Arena and his coaching.

    “Bruce Arena screwed up this World Cup for the U.S. team. He should be fired”

    Simmons’ latest http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060622 does a great job of wondering if Shaq knows that he’s no longer the Alpha Dog, as well as calling Shaq out on the carpet for calling this his “favorite championship” and Riley for saying he “would give up his five other rings for this one”.

    “Really, this was better than beating Indiana six years ago and shutting up everyone who said, “Shaq can’t win the big one?” It was much more fun to score 13 points a game and let Wade do most of the work? ”

    “Really? All five? Look, we get the point — you wanted to win the title. But did you really have to crap on Magic, Worthy, Kareem and Coop? I couldn’t believe that. Imagine Kareem watching that at home and screaming at the TV, “You bandwagon bastard! I carried you for five titles!” before whipping a bottle of pinot grigio against the wall.”

  3. I don’t watch much soccer and I hardly know what I’m talking about, but I don’t like Bruce Arena much either. Of course I only say that from what I’ve seen in interviews so it’s more of just an impression.

    Quotes like that from Shaq are why I don’t like him. If he left gracefully and didn’t trash LA every chance he had (maybe that wasn’t his intention but that’s what he implied), I would be happy for him.

  4. I can’t stand this Dwayne Wade hero worshipping. He’s so humble. He’s such a hard worker. He and Shaq are bff. I love him so much. I wish I were female so I could have his children.

    Everybody is so much in love with him, but I’m not and I certainly don’t want to.

    I don’t know why. Maybe I’m still angry at Shaq because if he treated Kobe when Kobe was young the way he treated Wade the past couple years, everybody would have said to Kobe the things they say about Wade (or that’s my theory). Maybe I have some psychological affliction because Shaq and Wade get along well while Shaq and Kobe didn’t, and as a Laker fan, I’m stuck with just Kobe.

    If Kobe and Wade happened to switch lives, ie, Shaq played with Wade in LA and then with Kobe in Miami, who would Shaq like and who would he hate? I’m not sure if Shaq chose to be second fiddle for Wade as much as he decided that it was time for him to be second fiddle and Wade happened to, well, be the better fiddle player he was with at the time.

    This all didn’t boil to the surface until Miami got to the Finals and started winning. I think at the heart of it is just resentment towards Shaq and what-could-have-been.

  5. Here Here

  6. Isn’t it ironic that draft express’ “worst case scenario” for Kyle Lowry is Marcus Banks?

  7. Where do you find that offensive rating stat for college players?

  8. Jake, Ken Pomory (who got picked up for some work by ESPN this past season) compiles it. It’s at:

    http://www.kenpom.com/

  9. As a die-hard Bulls fan looking in on your Lakers, I think you guys need sharpshooters to complement Kobe. Someone who can consistently knock down an open jumper brought about by swinging the ball away from the inevitable double or triple team. Kobe needs his Pax/Kerr. If all the bad news causes Reddick to slip a little, or open up a team willing to trade out, you guys should steal him. Reddick certainly is not athletic and lacks the physical stats, but you know he knows how to run a play, succeed under pressure, and has great shooting mechanics. His personality and drive would work well with Kobe and he would instantly become the second best shooter on your team.

    Even if you don’t get Reddick, your team would seriously benefit from draft a good shooter with one of your picks. I emphasize “shooter”, and not “scorer”.

  10. I totally agree with you CRG, I just don’t know what it would cost to trade up to probably the 12-14th spot (where i think reddick will fall), but if ever we do not get him, I sure hope that Sasha would have a breakout year since he is the “designated shooter” on the team. even if they add marcus banks, sasha can still play at the backcourt with smush and banks, with kobe sliding to SF and taking over the minutes that Devean George had last year. But if they manage to land reddick, then I think sasha should be traded

  11. count me as one of the laker fans that feel bitter about miami (in particular shaq) winning a championship. Why couldn’t shaq be that “accomodating” and “nice” to kobe as he is to wade now?. in reference to #4, wade would have had the same problem if wade and kobe’s life were switched. Maybe it was just the timing in 2003 and 2004 (shaq was still in his prime, and kobe was entering his) and since both are “alpha males” (according to Phil), a clash for dominance was forthcoming. I think both are to blame for the break up, maybe kobe should have allowed himself to play second fiddle in 2003 and shaq starting to give way starting 2004. but all of these are water under the bridge now, and laker fans, lets just hope that Laker management will be able to surround kobe with the right mix of talent, experience and coaching (keep phil ’til about 2011) for him to win the first of his multiple championships post-shaq. A lot of good players are willing to play for the organization, for phil and with kobe (boozer, Daniels, harrington just to name a few), they just have to realize that good talent and experience doesn’t come cheap. They may have to overpay a bit, but it will all be worth it once the championships start coming in!

  12. Shaq lost me forever as a fan when he YELLED at Dr. Buss to “PAY ME !!!” ….during a game…in front of Dr. Buss’ customers. I’ll bet that right at that moment, Dr. Buss thought “If it ever comes down to having to decide between Shaq and Kobe, I just picked Kobe.”
    Shaq is one of those people that wants people to think he’s smart, but everyone knows he isn’t.

  13. I used to tolerate the idea (during his laker days) that shaq was “saving himself” for the post season (reporting to camp out of shape, using the 1st 3 months of the season getting in shape, and “turning it up” in the playoffs, but after the fallout with kobe, I realized that that may be one of the main (if not “the reason”) that they started the fight for dominance in the team. anyone remember the season when kobe averged 29+pts per game and had a playoff series with san antonio where he averged 40+?! then when the finals came, shaq would “demand” all the touches and started dominating the game (i think it was the second championship). If you were in kobe’s shoes, wouldn’t you feel the least bit pissed and insulted that your “dominant” partner sandbags during the season, lets you do all the hardwork during the regular season and then starts getting all the attention come finals time (including winning the finals MVP). Shaq even claims it to be his “formula for success”. I realize now that it is simply a disrespect for the game. Did you ever hear of news that Jordan, Magic, Russell or all the other greats doing that? I grew up watching Magic and Michael, and I knew that they showed up for work ready and in shape and worked hard and gave it their all in every single game that they played. We all heard that bill russel, jerry west or larry bird were the hardest workers in their team. I always respected and admired athletes who succeeded because of hardwork and dedication. That is why I have always idolized Kobe over shaq, even during the laker days, and i never regretted shaq leaving the lakers, i just hate it now that he has won a ring, and sublimely insulting kobe, phil and the lakers. If it weren’t for kobe (and now wade) he wouldn’t be wearing any rings now. If it weren’t for wade, they would have been out in the 2nd round. Shaq portrays himself in the media as the “gentle giant” smart and softspoken nice guy, but in reality is a big bully that lets others work hard for him and starts working only near the end. Kobe meanwhile never hides his emotions, attitude and will to win, some may not like it, but just like jordan, he works so hard and is up at a level higher than any of his teammates, he will demand the same hardwork and dedication from everyone. The guy is a competitor, and as ana thlete myself, i could see why he questioned shaq’s work ethic (thats where the trouble started right?). I think it was just right that kobe questioned that from him

  14. I know that trading big for small is a rule that few teams break, but Mihm for Gordon, if the Bulls go for it, gives the Lakers a lineup that could contend. Let’s just assume that Smush and Sasha continue to develop, this lineup relieves them of the stress of having to guard small point guards all the time.

    PG: Gordon/Banks
    SG: Smush/Sasha
    SF: Kobe/Luke
    PF: Odom/Turiaf/Cook
    C: Kwame/Bynum

    Of course, Kwame has to step up, and Bynum has more minutes. But we could get a backup center with our MLE. Kwame could also learn to play PF at least for a few minutes a game, even if he starts at center, allowing us to slide Odom to the 3, and Kobe to the 2. The lineup has flexibility, if not size. In this lineup, Kobe would be our point forward, which might be a good role for him. He’d really have to learn how to know when to facilitate and when to score. If he could bring the imagination and abiltity to improvise that he shows in his scoring to the facilitate/score role to the point where defenders don’t know when he’s scoring, when he’s facilitating, then watch out. Kupchack needs to take the risk.

  15. Paul,

    Trust me on this– Things being what they are at the moment, Pax would never trade Gordon for Mihm straight up. It is very unlikely he would do Gordon and the #2 for Mihm and Odom either. Pax considers Gordon to be “extremely valuable”. Gordon is one of the deadliest shooters in the league who is getting better every year and is our leading scorer. It is not a stretch to project Gordon scoring 20-25ppg in a more open offense like the Suns and/or with higher calibur post players whom the Bulls will eventually get.

    Not going to happen. Sorry! He’s ours.

  16. k_swagger8–

    They might be able to move up with either Mihm and their pick, or trade some future pick.

    I doubt Sasha and their pick would be able to move up much.