The 2012 Draft Expresso

Dave Murphy —  June 27, 2012

Instead of the usual Wednesday Storylines, presented for your reading pleasure is the Forum Blue and Gold “draft preview” by Dave & Emile plus the staff’s lucky longshots: Shout out to Draft Express by the way. There’s a lot of data and draft sites out there but Jonathan Givony goes way above and beyond. He’s on it all year long.

Dave Murphy - By a confluence of events including overall record, trade-aways, give-aways, and sheer dumb luck, the Los Angeles Lakers possess the worst possible draft scenario in the entire league. One pick only and it’s #60 – butting right up against nothing. The Lakers are trying to improve their lot of course, but at this point we don’t know if they’ll find any givers or takers and we probably won’t know until either Stern or Silver steps up to the mic.

That said, we thought we’d toss some names against the wall. The last slot’s pretty much a crap shoot – it’s most definitively getting somebody that nobody else wanted. Still, Isaiah Thomas fell to #60 last year and there’s always the story of Manu Ginobili who was taken at #58. And of course, Jeremy Linn, who wasn’t drafted at all. So, never say never. We’re due for a miracle.

Emile Avanessian – Not gonna lie, at first blush, the idea of handicapping the final pick in the NBA draft struck me as slightly nuts. That is, however, until one remembers that last June’s second best player slotted in at #60. That same evening, the Lakers cashed in four second-rounders of their own, with Darius Morris (hope springs eternal, but man…), Andrew Goudelock (presumably deported in March – wait, he was still there?), Chukwudiebere Maduabum (take it away, Dave), and Ater Majok (I got nothin’).

It’s hardly reasonable to look ahead to a draft in which a team is not slated to belly up to the bar before last call with legitimate expectations. More reasonable, however, is the assertion that at least one player – and probably two or three – whose name is not among the first fifty called on Thursday night will not only succeed in earning a place on an NBA roster, but will carve out a career as a professional rotation player.

Why not us? Let the brilliance begin.

Dave – my first inclination is to look for backcourt help, somebody who is rabidly dedicated to at least one thing – passing, shooting, or defending. It’s either that or pick someone who’s halfway competent across the board which will mean a seat on the bench or a ticket out of town. Tu Holloway seems to be a guy that everyone’s keying on as being right on the bubble. Atlantic-10 player of the year for Xavier last season, barely six feet, led the conference in assists.

Somewhere up the ladder is Scott Machado, a four-year point guard from Iona College who led the nation in assists at 9.9. Again, on the small side and I can’t image he’ll be available when it comes our turn. Certainly a possibility if we can leapfrog up about 15 slots or so. Machado was a finalist for the Cousy Award and the Wooden Award his senior year, and was named MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Player of the year. He’s got good three-point range and has worked out for a lot of teams, including the Knicks, Celtics, 76ers, Nets, and Spurs.

I’m intrigued by Tomas Satoransky from the Cech Republic. He’s still only 21 and has been playing in Spain for the past few years, most recently with Banco Civica Sevilla. He’s a 6’7” combo guard and has been described as one of the best euro prospects in this year’s draft. Video shows that he has great passing skills. He’s skinny at about 200 lbs, and doesn’t have consistent shot mechanics. Tomas has been making the rounds for workouts, was in L.A. very recently and then was headed back to Spain where there’s an offer on the table from Turismo de Merida. Hus plan was to come back for more workouts and the draft – he’s projected around the middle of the second round.

I’ve been living in Austin the past few years and J’Covan Brown is well-known around here as a member of the UT Longhorns (hook ‘em horns!). He’s a pick and roll combo guard, 6’3”, played mostly off-ball in college but doesn’t have the size for that in the NBA. Mostly a pull-up jump shooter, fairly decent from beyond the arc but gets a bit wild sometimes. Definitely likes to score the ball, passes well off the dribble-drive. A lot of the boards have him right around the upper 50’s.

Given the latest Mo Williams rumors, I should probably back up my guard selections with a few bigs. Leon Radosevic, 6’10”, playing PF/C for Milano by way of Croatia, has some nice paint moves but isn’t particularly strong. Dusan Cantekin, a Serbian who’s playing for Mega Vizura, is extremely tall, 7’4” and 245, and mobile, with a nice shooting touch. He doesn’t appear to have any backdown moves whatsoever though. Getting away from the euro bigs, Miles Plumlee out of Duke could easily be available at the tail end of the draft. Good size at 7’0” and 247 lbs, has a knack for offensive boards and putbacks and probably wouldn’t be a huge gamble. He’s my sleeper pick.

Emile - This feels like a pretty good time to point out that when it comes to the draft, I am far more “ideas man” than “problem solver.” Like any consultant worth his salt, vague solutions to difficult problems with little in the way of personal risk are my stock in trade. So, what the hell, right?

Many will look at the Lakers’ roster and conclude that Jimmy Buss and his mixologist must look to (again) address issues at the point (especially should Ramon Sessions opt to move on this summer) and with size off the bench (ditto for Jordan Hill). And they would be right.

In response, Texas’ J’Covan Brown, a 6’1” combo guard probably best suited to the point at the pro level – is worth a look if he is on the board when the Lakers step to the podium. A bit reliant on the jump shot (per Draft Express, 68% of his shots in 2011-12 were jumpers) despite not being the most accurate shooter (41.5% FG), Brown is by all accounts supremely confident at the offensive end. He stepped up admirably (20.1 points per game, 86.3% FT) for a Longhorn team that had lost Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley, Jordan Hamilton and Corey Joseph to the last two NBA drafts. He’s got NBA range and is an effective ball-handler in the pick-and-roll. The more I learn about J’Covan Brown, the more visions of Nick Van Exel dance in my head.

Should Brown be off the board as the draft winds down, another possible option for the Lakers is Georgetown big man Henry Sims. Though he is raw offensively and is still learning to rebound, Sims is an intelligent player, has an extremely live body, is an able and willing passer and possesses a 7’4” wingspan. These will qualities will make him an asset at the defensive end of the floor and allow him to quickly carve out a niche for himself coming off the bench.

Should the aforementioned duo no longer be available come pick #60, I will toss my support behind Tomas Satoransky, Furkan Aldemir (Turkey), Leon Radosevic (Italy), Tornike Shengelia (Republic of Georgia) or Josep Franch (Spain). Not because I know anything about any of these guys or their games, but because I feel like it’d be fun to be “stash a guy overseas.” Y’know, all slick, Bufordy.

As much as I hate the idea of surrendering even more assets (remember the first round pick it cost to land Sessions) to maybe address the point guard situation, if the persistent (though unsubstantiated and wildly speculative) rumors of the Lakers moving into the first round prove accurate, I would love to see either UNC’s Kendall Marshall or Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague draped in purple and gold.

In their absence, Michigan State senior Draymond Green. At 6’7’”-235, Green has an NBA-ready body to go with his solid ball-handling skills and high basketball IQ. This dude can score (16.2 per game on 44.9% FG), board (10.6 per game), pass (3.8 assists per) and shoot from distance (38.8% on 3-pointers). The greatest flaw in his all-around skill set is the lack of a single, elite skill.

On a related note, my greatest fear heading into the draft is that the Lakers will in fact trade into the first round to draft Perry Jones, III. Not that he wouldn’t be the perfect modern day Laker – talent to spare but iffy on the effort.

Rounding the clubhouse turn, we’ve got our crack staff handicappers’ picks.

Darius’s Double-Down Doozy: Darius Johnson-Odom (with a name like that, how could he fail?) 6’3” SG, Marquette.

Phillip’s Lucky Lefty Long Range pick: Hollis Thompson, 6’8” SG, Georgetown (because my nickname is Lefty and this guy can really shoot).

JM’s Just Money (trademarked) Longshot Bet: Alex Young. 6’6” SG, IUPUI. Boom!

RR’s Railbird Special: Kostas Papanikolaou (because he has a long name – remember last year’s Chukwaiarjeaijiaiaj teaitjaeiot io jaji?!) 6’9” SF, Olympiacos, Greece.

Jeffrey’s Stop Watcher: Mike Scott, 6’9” PF, Virginia (good motor, rebounds hard, plays D – sounds like Josh Powell 2.0 to me).

Emile’s Trade-Up Trifecta: Draymond Green (sans the one elite skill) 6’7”, PF, Michigan State.

Dave’s Daily Dime: Tomas Satoransky (because he reminds me of Kiovanic Atomik), 6’7”, PG/SG Sevilla, Spain.

Now it’s your turn. The FB&G commenters have been bringing it home all season and we appreciate you! Tell us who and why you’d draft – for talent, for position, or for any particular skill. And more than anything, give us names!

 

Dave Murphy

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43 responses to The 2012 Draft Expresso

  1. Ater Majok’s cousin.

    Or Casper Ware.

  2. Scott Machado can hit his 3s.

  3. Tu holloway from xavier if he is available

  4. Dave M,

    Lakers will sell again their draft picks just like what they did before because they are in dire need of money to pay Kobe & Pau plus Bynum in the future.

    Your given scenarios are youth movement, however Lakers wanted oldies and vets. Lakers will just tweak the roster but overall Jimbo is relatively satisfied with status quo. Currently, Mo Williams is rumored in the Lakers radar, problem he has 8M + contract. If he becomes a Lakers, it will be a reunion of Mo and Mike, Ramon slides to 2nd unit PG and Blake as SG. Searching also for Verajao, JJ Hickson and Ilgaukas too, to complete the roster of Cavs. ’10. Lakers pattern their roster to dream team Cavaliers 2010 Whoaa!

  5. The draft’s one of the most fun times of the year, because it allows all of us to put on our GM hats and try our hand. It feels more interactive than other times of the year.

    If the Williams thing goes through, I wonder if it affects our chances of resigning Sessions. Will Buss want to spend $5 million on another backup PG when we’re already stuck with Blake? And will Sessions be willing to go back to a bench role?

    I’d be surprised if the Lakers could sell their draft pick. Doubt anyone wants to buy #60. It’s just 1 step away from inviting undrafted players to training camp.

  6. It is possible that Jared Sullinger falls out of the draft due to the back issues. With the 60th pick, I would take a flyer on him. A number of young players fell deep due to health concerns (D. Blair, D. Arthur) and have produced well regardless.

  7. I like Machado a lot but we’ll have to trade up to get him (or buy a pick).Tu Holloway is a very real possibility, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go undrafted if we don’t take him. I think the Williams signing would definitely have an impact on Sessions. The next 24 hours should be really interesting – I would be absolutely floored if Jim and his brothers didn’t actively try to get involved in some way or fashion with the middle area of the draft. There’s some genuine depth and possibilities to be had this year for affordable numbers, and finding a way to impact the roster without incurring tax penalties is right in line with current management philosophy.

  8. @Avidon – the evolving Jared situation is one of the more interesting stories this week. I’m really curious to see how far he falls.

  9. When you’re drafting 20 or below, I’m a firm believer in drafting niche players. You find players with 1 good-to-great skill and hope they develop competently in other areas. It’s why I liked the Goudelock pick and was nervous about Morris (although not drafted as high as #17, some of Morris’s game reminds me of J-Critt, who also showed flashes at times).

    For second round picks, I also like players who are high on draft boards early on and end up falling over the course of the year (e.g. Chase Budinger, DeAndre Jordan) because often it’s a developmental problem that can be fixed with structure and a good player development coaching staff.

    The Sullinger situation is interesting because it’s hard to know who exactly is telling the truth. Obviously Sully’s father is going to protect him, but I’ve seen back issues misinterpreted before. If it’s really just a core stability issue, then the risk is much smaller. If Sullinger’s legs are different lengths, that’s a huge red flag for me – bigger than Blair’s knees. But I agree with Avidon – at 60 you have to go for him. I just don’t think he’ll fall past the 30-40 range. But one can always hope.

    The guy I’m most curious about is Tony Wroten. Not entirely sure what to make of him. Sometimes he looks like a solid prospect, the next he looks clueless. Can’t make up my mind on him, but I was big on him for a while so I’ll be interested to see how he develops.

    Dave M – for what it’s worth, nbadraft.net has us taking Machado. Not sure if he falls that far but it’s something.

  10. I just hope someone drafts Furkan Aldemir, so when he scores I can say that Mother Furkan can play.

  11. R.R. Magellan June 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    If Kostas “Big” Papanikolaou (that’s actually not his nickname but I like the sound of it) turns out to be better than Nikoloz Tskitishvili… then I’ll be a happy man.

  12. Isn’t’ Papanikolaou a Pap Smear Test?

  13. Festus Ezeli is a 6’11” 240 pound player that went to Vanderbilt. He started playing basketball really late having graduated high school at the age of 14. He was a biology major at Vandy and understands one side of the basketball..defense and rebounding. He’s limited offensively but runs and jumps very athletic.

    If drafted by the Lakers he’d be a player that’d give Bynum a challenge everyday in practice. Sometimes a player (Bynum) can become more focused by having someone to compete with that’s on the same team on a daily basis.

    If this guy isn’t drafted he’d be worth an invite to the Lakers summer league and then maybe an invite to camp.

  14. Snoopy – I’ve been intrigued with Wroten was well. He’s somebody who should have waited another year or two IMO… had so much hype as a prep star and was a number one prospect at one point… really would have benefited from at least a sophomore year at college. I saw the draft.net board and can’t figure it – that’s basically saying Machado’s going to fall all the way of the map and that doesn’t make sense to me. He led the nation in assists this year and has had solid workouts for a number of teams. Sure would be great to have him though,

  15. Chearn – Festus is really interesting – another guy who could fall. His senior year got pretty screwed with the knee injury and suspension.

  16. More rumours (out of Canada): Andrea Bargnani and the 5th pick to Lakers for Pau and Goudelock?

  17. To clarify, the Raptors currently have the 8th pick but they would have to make a separate deal for No. 5.

  18. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-atlanta-hawks-target-gasol-20120627,0,889901.story

    What does FB&G think? Josh Smith is a 5 tool player and a stat stuffer. Can do it all except he has prolonged mental lapses. I will say it wasn’t a sure thing Boston would win that series until he got hurt.

    Reuben: You have a link?

  19. if we acquire a late 1st rounder, my guy is andrew nicholson out of st. bonnie’s: a big with 3pt range.

    as it stands, i’ll go w/ josep franch, who’s already playing big minutes at pg as a 21 yo in the Spanish 1st Division.

  20. William Buford, Kris Joseph, Reeves Nelson, Casper Ware would all be good value if they fell to Lakers.

  21. A quick review of the NBA web site:
    1) DW: Article that states he will stay in Brooklyn. Then a question where the Lakers are not one of the possible destinations.
    2) RS: An article that basically calls it like it is. Trick or Treat. Ramon is in costume – pretending to be a starting point guard.
    3) A few trades involving picks and players – not involoing the Lakers (limiting later options no doubt).
    4) A bunch of articles about the Heat.

    Can somebody find the half full side of that web site right now?

  22. JOsh Smith is declining athletically and fast at an early age. For a guy who relies on athletisim I’m nOT not interested. I would love though Baragnani and the fifth pick. Andre is underrated and would be a great floor spacer for Bynum for years. The fifth pick can get you a great player. I would have to look at film though on the top players to discuss if this is a great trade for a good trade. I don’t watch minor league basketball.

  23. No love for Machado?

  24. The general consensus among journalists is Howard ends up in Brooklyn next summer because he wants to blaze his own path. Start a legacy and not follow in the footsteps of other greats. Does he know if you win no matter where you are your legacy is cemented. Somehow Shaq is talked up like a god he won 3 but Kareem won 5 with LA. Howard is kind of showing he doesn’t want pressure of having to succeed. But the NY media will eat him alive when they lose to Miami or Chicago. And it will take 2 or 3 years to establish yourself with Deron it won’t be a come together the first year and win rings. All this is moot if he goes somewhere else but I don’t get the being stuck on going to Brooklyn idea.

    Maybe the Lakers should draft someone oversees so he can develop and come to the states in a few years. He won’t get any playing time. Lakers really should develop Goudelock and McRoberts see how much they can grow. Gibson from the Cavs is similar to Goudelock can’t believe Brown can’t see that. A lot of players come to the Lakers and die because we stunt their growth. Times a changing.

  25. with all the rumors out there featuring the Lakers it is obvious they are at least trying to make something happen. There are several that are appealing, hopefully one comes through.

  26. If the Lakers coveting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rumor is true (LA Times article) and they are trying to get him I think it may cause my head to explode.

    On one hand he has been my favorite UK player ever (being a UK fan for life) and I would love to see him as the starting SF for LA. The guy can lock anyone down, speedy PGs, SGs, even bigger SFs. He’s a blue collar worker who will give his everything to the team.

    On the other hand I can objectively say his lack of outside shooting is a great concern for me, he has the ability to improve (especially his mechanics) because of how hard of a worker he is, however he immediately doesn’t solve the problems LA has. If the Lakers are trying to win now to maximize Kobe’s last few years then this makes no sense. If they are trying to use him as a cornerstone player to build around Bynum then I guess I could see it.

    Oh and a thought about Marquis Teague, after having seen him play every game last season he would be a horrible fit in LA. The guy is average in just about every possible facet of PG skills, he is an average dribbler, below average shooter (UK wouldn’t have lost a game all year if he could hit jumpers), below average finisher around the rim, he over penetrates, and makes bad decisions often. I like the guy but many times last year UK won despite him, if you are looking for a PG late in the first round Kendall Marshall is a better bet. He has the tools to be a Rondo type player with an even better jump shot.

  27. The rumors seem to be about Gasol being moved, but Bynum will be up the following season and he will want a max contract. Between Kobe and Bynum most of the cap will be used up between the two players and their max contracts. I am just wondering how the Lakers are going to pay a full team along with the revenue sharing hit.
    I would like to see the Lakers move up in the draft this year though.

  28. sT,
    You have to keep in mind 2014/15. That’s when Kobe’s contract comes off the books and that is also when the repeater tax kicks in. We have to be under the salary cap that year, not the luxury tax cap.

    Kobe will not be signed at that time for anything like the kind of money he is now making. Also, after the age 35 clubs can’t spread money out the same way as before that time, due to the knowledge that they could retire at any time – CBA is written to penalize that.

    Before that time this team will live in salary cap h**l. That is why we won’t see any long term contracts. That is why we are not likely to see easy improvement, except by our young, developing players.

  29. http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/31552/source-roy-not-on-lakers-radar

    How about Michael Redd? Struggled early once he got some games under his belt shot 40% from 3 in April. He scored 23 vs Lakers too.

    A Goudelock/Redd backcourt would be lethal in an inside out game.

  30. UFA – Spot Up 3s. Reasonable backup SG’s.

    Michael Redd 35%
    Carlos Delfino 36% – 43% off screen 3s – 10% TO rate by comparison LeBron had a 12% TO rate. Delfino’s a good defender
    Danny Green 39% – Good defender.

    Jim’s guy Jason Kapono 28%
    Troy Murphy 39%. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  31. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers FO ripped a big trade before the draft.

    Moving up while landing an short term veteran (with a bad contract).

  32. Kevin,
    Kapono is the best shooter in the NBA. So good that even only playing 2 min a game teams wouldn’t give that guy a foot of space at the three point line. Unfortunaltey he is just too bad at everything else to be allowed on the floor.

    Everyone,
    FYI… The reason that stars don’t want to play for the LAL anymore is because they know Kobe isn’t as good and doesmt have many years left. Any way they get over here would be in exchange for the Lakers best player (Bynum) who is also the only young gun on the roster. This isn’t an attractive place to play for a young star if Bynum isn’t on the squad. Simple as that.

  33. Aaron: There was a reason Kapono pt decreased last few years. He couldn’t play. Murphy I thought could shoot and rebound but his defense negated his positives.

    That would seem to be a problem players know Kobe is on the downside. And the 2nd best center is on the Lakers and players should be flocking here but their not. Tells more about Bynum than Kobe if you ask me.

    I actually like the Smith/Pau swap. Underrated part of Smith game is his passing. But a Smith/Bynum combo would cause severe migranes for Kobe.

  34. Kevin,
    It appears you don’t get it. Players would love to play with Bynum (a big guy who gets teammates wide open shots). Unfortunaltey the Lakers are over the cap and any trade that would bring over a star player would include Andrew Bynum heading out for that said player. This isn’t rocket science.

  35. Aaron: Players want to run up and down the floor get fastbreak points. Play PnR and overall a faster game. They know Bynum wouldn’t last a whole game playing that way. Throwing the ball into a guy who can’t pass it back out isn’t what elite players are looking for. They want to play with athletes.

  36. If free agents are spurning the Lakers it could be for a variety of reasons. I doubt it has anything to do with Bynum or Kobe’s play on the floor. If anything they are looking at:

    1) The transistion in front office power and are not sure of the team’s direction

    2) The team’s cap situation, Kobe’s impact on it, and their ability to remain truly competitive over the next few years

    3) The coaching staff and the fact many of the players have rebelled against Mike Brown in one way or another this season

    With these things to be concerned about I doubt free agents are saying, “Bynum is a slow!” or “Kobe shoots too much!” Fans are saying those things.

  37. TRogers: Nets FO is in a worse position than when they traded for Deron. Lakers suits have pedigree everyone around the league saw the veto. Whose coaching plays a huge part and who your playing with. It’s a combination of all those things you mentioned.

  38. Kevin,
    Really? Really? Teams don’t want to play with a seven foot big man who constantly gets double teamed and is one of the league leaders in blocked shots every year? Really? At 24 years old? Really? Right now in the NBA as far as pkayers who get their teammates open shots… It’s LeBron and then Bynum and a big drop off. Players want to play with young guys who get them open shots/new contracts.

  39. Aaron: Being double teamed doesn’t necessarily mean your getting your teammates open shots. If you can’t get them the ball on time when they’re open. How open are they? The same can be said for Kobe at times.

    LeBron is in a totally different category from every player in the league. He should be compared with no one.

  40. kevin,
    If you didn’t see with your own eyes Bynum getting guys wide open shots almost every trip down the floor than you should probably just stop watching basketball

  41. Congrats to Darius for winning the first annual staff handicappers longshot special with his Darius Johnson-Odom pick.