Draft Thoughts

Kurt —  June 27, 2008

Lots of things to talk about, but as this is a Lakers blog and all, maybe we should start there. As word filtered through the Kentucky faithful that Crawford had been drafted, more information on the newest Laker came out.

That starts with long-time reader here Zach who is a UK fan, lives in Louisville and saw a lot of Crawford.

Since I’m a UK fan, Crawford has been one of the most frustrating players in recent memory, almost as frustrating as watching Rondo mature into everything that we thought we should’ve had at UK, now only see him win a title w/ the Celtics compounds the frustration tenfold. Crawford is a Tubby Smith guy. He came to UK w/ Rondo and Randolph Morris (and Ramel Bradley) w/ the hopes that this was going to be the recruiting class that got UK back to the Final Four. 3 McDonalds All-Americans, you had to like your chances. Well, to say the least it didn’t work out as planned.

Defense is probably what he’ll need to do to be able to make the team….I don’t think his stroke is anything special…but he is a “scorer”, not a spot up shooter by any means. Offensively he’s a scorer, gets in the lane, could hit the college 3 well enough for defenses to have to cover it, because he can drive to the rack, now with the bigger bodies he’s going to face, he’s going to have to become a better shooter. Did I trust him to hit a big jumper when need be? I wanted him to shoot it because that’s all UK had, but was I confident…eh…not so much. I would trust him to make a move and get a shot though, which is a plus.

Zach also pointed me to an article on Crawford in the Louisville Courier-Journal that summed up what seems to be a lot of UK fans thinking.

Prince, Bogans, Rondo, Azubuike, Hayes – all Tubby guys, all guys that have their knocks, but have lasted in the pros. Whether it’s the toughness that Smith instilled, or the defensive work ethic, not sure, but they’ve all seem to have made some sort of impact in the league. Crawford didn’t flourish under Smith, he really picked it up under Gillespie, who’s a defense first coach, and who made Joe play defense. There are no doubts about his offensive capabilities, the only doubts I have is whether or not he’s good enough. He played thru injuries, and I think he’s been mentally toughened by Gillespie, but there are still doubts to whether or not he could play, and whether or not the Lakers could’ve waited and invited him to a tryout, instead of wasting a draft pick on him.

There also was some interesting stuff at Sea Of Blue, what looks to be a very good UK blog (SB nation really only has quality guys)

Crawford really came on in the last 2/3 of this season after a slow recovery from minor knee surgery last year and a bit of a rocky start with Kentucky’s new coach, Billy Gillispie. As the year progressed, Crawford and teammate Ramel Bradley developed into a dynamic duo and became the backbone of a Kentucky team that reinvented itself after a rocky non-conference season to finish second in the SEC East.

What I will always remember is the sudden appearance of noticeable heart and passion in Crawford, who for three years at Kentucky played with a kind of disinterested and even surly demeanor. Later in his senior year, it became obvious that he was leaving it on the floor every single game, and Crawford became an unmistakable leader for the Wildcats.

As has been said before, it is basically down to Crawford, Coby Karl and some summer league free agents to get that last roster spot (assuming Sasha and Turiaf return, and some money is spent on one vet off the bench and/or another backup center). That should make summer league more interesting to watch.


As for other thoughts, count me in the group that loved what New Jersey did. I think they waited a couple years to long to start to rebuild, but when they did they did it right. Darius summed it up well:

Lopez, Anderson, CDR. That’s a 7 footer with a low post game, a 6?10? PF with perimeter skills, and everyone’s fave CDR. As I mentioned yesterday, you add that to Devin Harris, Marcus Williams, Yi, VC, Josh Boone, and Sean Williams and you’ve got some good, high regarded talent and a lot of youth. They’ve also dumped all their contracts except for Carters and can make a run at FA’s in the Summer of 2010 when Wade, Melo, Lebron, and Bosh are all their. Not bad work in a season for Thorn and Kiki.

The Knicks are willing to move David Lee? I thought he’d be a great fit with D’Antoni, so color me confused.

Wow I really don’t get what Memphis did. Well, I think if that had been a Love for Mayo swap it would have been fine (but can you see Love throwing the outlet to Gay in transition — that would have been impressive). But putting Mike Miller in that deal? That’s a win for Minny now. It’s pretty clear that Memphis loved Mayo (unless the trade for Beasely rumors are true) and wanted to totally shake up the roster in rebuilding, but they paid a very high price to do that. Unless Mayo turns out to be better than we all thought….

If I were the Clippers, and I thought I needed passing and a true PG to start to use the talent on the roster, I might be calling Chicago today about Kirk. Not cheap, but he’s a quality PG they could really use.