There may be no bigger time of information misdirection (i.e. lies) than in the week plus ahead of the NBA draft. This is the period where strategic leaks, the up-talking and downplaying of prospects, and spin takes full form from all sides. Be it front offices, “league sources”, agents, or “those close to” the players, it is best to take most reports with a grain of salt and just try to wait it out until the names are actually called the night of the draft.
With those caveats out there, the player whose stock is climbing quickly is Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis. The seven footer held a public workout in Las Vegas on this past Friday and the Lakers were one of several teams who had representatives present to see what he could do. The workout was, apparently, a huge success as Porzingis flashed the shooting stroke and combination of size plus athleticism scouts go crazy over:
On the heals of that impressive showing, Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Lakers had Porzingis in for a workout on Monday evening:
Every day, front-office fascinations rise with Porzingis. Every day, he’s moving himself closer into contention to become one of the top three picks in the NBA draft on June 25. Los Angeles Lakers officials conducted a workout of Porzingis on Monday night at the franchise’s El Segundo, Calif., practice facility, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Suddenly, Porzingis is pursuing the Lakers’ pick at No. 2, along with spectacular Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Suddenly, Porzingis is changing this NBA draft.
Reports like the one from Woj, especially when coupled with the fact that this was not a “public” workout like Jahlil Okafor, Emanuel Mudiay, and D’Angelo Russell went through when visiting the team, will only ramp up that speculation. After all, Porzingis is talented, has professional experience in what many consider the 2nd best league in the world, and has a huge upside. When drafting as high as the Lakers are, doing due-diligence on all players who are worthy of a top 5-ish pick is worth the time.
We cannot know for sure what any of this means, of course. If I were speculating, I’d argue that the Lakers are doing only what they said they would do: look at as many of the top prospects they could in order to make the best, most informed decision possible with the #2 overall pick. If asked why the workout Woj is reporting was not as public, I might counter with reports heading into Friday’s Las Vegas workout noting the group event would be his “only workout heading into the draft”. These answers aren’t as sexy as ones implying the Lakers are leaning towards taking the young Latvian, but they seem reasonable to me.
In any event, take these reports for whatever you want them to be. For what it’s worth, I think Porzingis’ talent is real and that he, like any of the other top players in the draft, has a chance to be special. As good a chance as Towns or Okafor or Russell? Who knows, honestly? I know I don’t. So much of the answer to that question will depend on countless variables specific to the organization which selects him. But the kid can play.
While the workout video above is what has gotten many GM’s salivating, the fact is those who have scouted him point to a skill set deployed in game situations. A skill set like the one below. Enjoy, and tell me what you think in the comments.
Calvin Chang says
With Krispi’s size and skillset, he seems best suited for a Dirk-type game. He can play PF, do a pick and pop or post up from mid-range and dominate from the mid-post. If he adds more strength, I can see him getting the ball from 18 ft. Then he can hit a face-up jumper if given space. Or fake and drive if guarded by a slower big. Or back opponents down to draw double-teams if guarded by a smaller player. He needs a couple of years to build muscle, and be paired with a rim-protecting center like Tyson Chandler or Rudy Gobert.
I’d get him, simply because he would complement Julius Randle’s inside game. He needs more muscle, but he seems he can handle the bumps and grinds of being a ‘5’ in the NBA.
Calvin Chang says
Krispi’s a future franchise player on offense – meaning someone you can build an offense around in a couple of years. But again, he’ll need to be paired with a great rim-protecting C. I don’t know if he’s someone you pick over Towns or Okafor. If available at #3, I’d take him if I was Hinkie and pair him with Nerlens and Embiid.
He appears to be a very skilled big man (good shooting, willing passer), though his Draft Express scouting tape exposes some of the flaws he has with respect to gaining post position and interior rebounding. Given that he’s only 19, there’s certainly time and room for him to improve in those areas. As a fan, I’m just afraid to roll the dice on the guy. The Lakers’ scouting department is obviously in a better position than me to determine if his game will translate to the NBA (his shooting definitely should), but I have no idea if he’s the next Dirk Nowitzki or the next Andrea Bargnani.
I like what I see in the video, but what was up with the defense on him? The sets used to get KP open weren’t anything special, and on top of that, it looked like every defender just died after getting hit with a screen.
But to piggyback on a tweet of yours, Darius, he does look like one hell of an offensive weapon. If the Lakers already had some more playmakers, I’d probably like him a lot more at #2 to give this team a different dynamic. But I think the Lakers need playmakers before they get weapons, and whether or not you can run an offense through KP is definitely up for debate, though.
Lakers have the 27th and 34th picks. There are a number of rim protectors that may still be available by then (e.g. Robert Upshaw, Dakari Johnson).
I like Okafor, but he doesn’t have an outside game and he has poor free throw shooting percentages. Sounds like Shaq, right? The thing is, the NBA game is changing (as the Dubs are showing in the Finals) and good shooting is becoming more of a premium than a big. If possible, Porzingis at #2, a shooter like Delon Wright at #27, and a rim protector like Dakari Johnson at #34.
Porzingis would be a great stretch forward to pair with Randle. The two become interchangeable between the Three and the Four depending on who they are guarding/matched up with. On offense is where Porzingis really helps Randle as he, at this point, is most effective from the perimeter. Randle then has room to play closer to the basket where his speed and strength are huge advantages.
I still say that the Lakers draft Towns if he’s on the board. If KAT is gone then the Lakers may nab anyone from the Okafor/Porzingis/Russell group.
Obviously the post at 4:45 is not me. This should have clued you in: “The Lakers’ scouting department is obviously in a better position than me”
My comment would have been: “Is there any way we can sign Jerry West before the draft so he can make this decision for us?
Elton T says
Is he Dirk, Yi Jianlian, or Brad Sellers?
He can obviously shoot. The footage showed no real defense against him. You hope to see highlights of big guys fighting for the rebound and play post D.
I’m not opposed to taking Porzingis. I think his talent is real and has facets of his game that are definitely well-suited for today’s game. However, I do think that all of the time to nit-pick has only served to severely undermine Jahlil Okafor. Okafor has been the best prospect for the past two years and while I’m not discrediting the talent of Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Emmanuel Mudiay, or D’Angelo Russell I do believe that as is customary during draft time there has been a lot of misinformation put out there. I would be fine with taking Porzingis, but not ahead of Towns or Okafor strictly because I think they are better prospects.
Raymond42N, I’m going to assume you’ve never seen Dakari Johnson play. He is not good and the only thing he will protect on defense is your floor because he cannot jump. The fact he’s even being mentioned as a draft pick in the early second shows me how far the talent drop off is after the first 20-25 picks or so.
Calvin Chang says
Robert Wilkins (not Robert who distrusts Jim Buss) – I think Krispi’s more like Dirk than Bargnani with the way he moves. He seems to possess very good coordination, moderate speed and great footwork. He has the tools to be trained to play like Dirk.
Calvin Chang says
Aaron – what does your talent scouting instinct tell you? Can Kristaps be a more athletic Dirk and anchor an offense in 2 years? He’s got great length and excellent coordination. His shot release is very quick and fluid. Unlike RKelly who has a hitch in his shot. I also like KrisP’s decisiveness. He seems to have a good feel for the game at 19.
Aaron is already on record stating his top three is comprised of Winslow, Mudiay (who still feels like this year’s Exum to me for some reason), and KAT. But like Calvin, I’d still like to hear his take on Kristaps, who is intriguing on multiple levels.
Did I just say that (the Aaron part I mean)????
I kid of course.
For me, Kristaps feels like a player you might love to have and may hate missing…just not at number two overall.
I think Porzingis would be an excellent choice…for Philadelphia. Or New York.
However, he seems a bit underdeveloped (physically) to me. With his slight build, he could really get pounded in the NBA. He probably needs another good 30 lbs. (48 kilos) on him — at least.
By contrast, Towns and Okafor are much closer to being filled out although both athletes still need to define their bodies. As such, I think that Porzingis might be something of a project, someone who may not contribute for another 2 years. Towns and Okafor should go 1 – 2 in the upcoming draft. I’d be surprised if that changes in the next 9 days.
Another note: you might consult Renato’s comments from a few days ago. He lives (and coaches) in Europe. And he had some reservations about Porzingis’s game. Renato, any other comments regarding Porzingis vs. some of the other players such as Okafor, Towns, Russell, Herzonja, Cauley-Stein?
Since Mozgov was contributing first half I guess big men are relevant again…
I’ve already spoke about Porzingis but I haven’t rated 4-6 yet. I might even move Towns out of my top three when I take a look at the rest of the draft class. Hint… There is another euro that I rank ahead of Porzingis.
Porzingis isn’t the athlete people are telling you. He doesn’t have great coordination and his build suggests he won’t be able to add much strength. I sill like him though but not compared to the top players in the draft. . I’ll break him down a little more in depth in the future.
Chris J says
Mychal Thompson would give the Warriors more in this series than Klay is.
Hey Cats. You’re right, bro. I only saw Dakari Johnson during the NCAA Finals last year (when WCS was injured). I saw a lot of promise then, but did not see him thereafter. His name is being considered in the 2nd Round, nonetheless. If you say he can’t jump, then i may have to reconsider my suggestion. Uphaw maybe, but he might be gone by #34.
My point basically is that, as proven by the new champs, having an all-star at the 5 may be negligible in today’s game. You will note that even MIN will get KAT ONLY as a complement for Wiggins.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers, who own the first two choices, will play July 10 when the Summer League tips off.
Baylor Fan says
I do not think that Klay fully got over his concussion. It is impressive that the Warriors were able to win without a big contribution from him. How useful is Per since Igoudala got MVP? This series was as much about bench depth as it was about the two superstars.
Mid – I think you mean 13.6kg
To me, the Porzingis bandwagon is getting a little overloaded. Yes, he looks like he could be another Nowitzki when he puts on some pounds. But stretch 4s tend not to dominate the game like a great, multi-skilled center or point guard or the rare Jordan, Kobe, or Lebron. I see Shaq as a realistic comp for Okafor. For Towns, I really dont see a comparable big. Maybe Duncan or Kareem or Wilt with a 30 ft stroke.This draft is really talented at the top. Russell will be a very good offensive player but not as uniquely talented or skilled as Okafor at his position. Both need work on their D. The one guy getting overlooked because he’s still playing for his team, is Hezonja.
Oh and one other thing. Porzingis doesn’t need to play with a rim protector. He is the rim protector or at least can grow into that. What he needs is a a center like Cousins or Okafor or Mosgov who can bang down low, get rebounds, make some post moves pass him the ball, and absorb punishment. Of course those guys are getting rarer.
@aaron: Just guessing, but is it one of the following guys from Europe?
Jaiteh, Hezonja or Diop maybe?!?
I would pass on all european prospects. I know okafor has a shaky jumper an is pedestrian at bewst from the FT-line, but you can’t pass on a guy like him being able to bully on people and read defenses from the post to make the correct play. That is unusual for a young big. KAT is, in my eyes, a can’t miss prospect, so if either one is availabe, select him.
Thanks for the correction. My bad. I should have divided rather than multiplied.
The bottom line is: Porzingis is just too skinny. It’s going to take about 2 years (at least) for that boy to fill out. Can you imagine him going against Dwight or Tyson Chandler or Blake Griffin?
Craig W. says
The key to looking at Iggy’s contribution is not his stats, although he did score much better than expected. Look at Lebron’s shooting percentage and how tired he was in the 4th qtr of every game. A good deal of that can be credited to Iggy’s defense. Certainly he had help from everyone else, but he was the main defender and Lebron wasn’t able to either shoot a high percentage, nor gather too many assists. For someone who handles the ball as much as Lebron does and played the number of minutes he did he didn’t produce Wilt Chamberlain numbers. Iggy gets a lot of credit for that.
All the Warriors played a really opportunistic and active defense. That, more than their offense, was key to this series.
LOL Aaron the fact that you would move KAT out of your top 3 ruins your credibility forever. My close friend is a well known high school ball scout for a prominent site and he says Karl is one of the best prospects he’s ever seen. Karl was compared to Kevin Durant before he attended Kentucky and was forced into an improper role.
Also Don Maclean in his 10 years of working out NBA draft prospects (including a really long list) says Karl is the first player to ever make him say wow.
Baylor Fan says
Mid- I completely agree on the weight and I do not think Porzingis will get the wide open looks he did on the video. Whoever drafts him is banking on what he looks like in a couple of years.
I don’t like towns. He looks like he moves in slow motion.
KP looks great in non-contact drills, and who knows maybe he pans out… But what a risk taking this kid at #2.
My main concern is the likely-hood of injury for young bigs… And this kid has injury prone written all over him, if he has to bang with the bigs in the NBA.
In my opinion, Okafor will be a 20 & 10 machine for 8+ years in this league, but will always be some form of a liability on defense (& the free throw shooting doesn’t help). Just too one dementional for my taste.
I beilieve towns has the whole package, and will be an Anthony Davis 2.0. Personally, I think the lakers should try and aquire the kid by any means necessary. Towns has no flaws, I don’t care what @aaron or anyone else says about it. The kid passes the eye test, has a great frame, guard-like skills, solid (&developable) post up game, a monster on defense/boards, and would be an extremely tough guard from the high post. If the Lakers want him, go get him. At this point, no piece on our roster is “un-movable.” I really hope flip’s dumbass passes on him at #1
Cats8884 – You mean the same Don Maclean that Towns agent is paying to say nice things about Towns?
It’s probably never a good idea to take as gospel anything that a college coach says about a top prospect because to some extent their recruiting, and thus their job, depends on their ability to get their guys a high draft position.
It certainly is never a good idea to listen to someone who works for a prospects agent. And that’s who Don Maclean is. He is literally being paid to make Towns look good, and he even ran a special workout designed to highlight Towns strengths while hiding his weaknesses. He is the very definition of biased.
Renato Afonso says
Do we really want to talk about European players now? (This is not directed at Darius, as I find the post rather thought provoking) Porzingis was not a coveted asset in Europe and up until now pretty much an unknown name. His team didn’t play in the Euroleague but in the Eurocup (think of it as the second division for european basketball) and he never gained starter status even if rotations here work somewhat differently. Please note that his team finished 15th out of 18 teams in the spanish league. Yes, he has size and shoots well but he is not fully coordinated yet, very thin and his off hand is terrible. He may become a very good NBA player in a few years but he’s definitely not worth a top 3 pick. If we had the 6th or 7th pick, maybe.
The best European player available to draft is Hezonja who plays for a big team that always goes far in Euroleague and in Liga ACB (the spanish league, arguably the most competitive domestic league). But Hezonja is not the second coming of Drazen Petrovic nor even Stojakovic. Hezonja is a more all around player who can fill up the wing rotation. He’ll be a solid rotation player and his ceiling is borderline starter in the NBA. Don’t get infatuated with European players just because they have fundamentals. In Europe we do teach better fundamentals but the USA still have the best talent and it’s not even close.
Towns, Okafor, Russell and Winslow, right now, are undoubtedly better than Porzingis or Hezonja and probably will have better careers. I can’t say much about Mudiay as I don’t follow the chinese league at all. The Lakers are not picking Porzingis (and if they do, our FO is worse than I thought).
Im not sold on this guy, those highlights all those shots he was shooting basically by himself, I doubt that translate to the NBA, need more muscle and a there is a concern about his rebounding, he is going to be very good NBA player looks like but I don’t know if he is what the Lakers need right now, that’s my opinion and I might be totally off but as of right now I would pass.
ThomasF if a guy says Towns looks more special than many current superstars (which is exactly what many say after seeing him workout) I have no problem trusting him over someone on a message board that was all I meaning by bringing him up. But once again my friend has seen the kid since middle school and told me everything I need to know about the guy. I’ll trust someone who gets paid to evaluate talent rather than Aaron.
Not to mention Aaron said so himself, he hadn’t seen much of the guy until he started watching highlights, I’d also rather trust someone who watches the entire season and gets the whole context of games not a few plays.
re: Porzingis –
I´d like to hear what Renato has to say –
Congrats to to the Dubs, & to the great Jerry West – must be satisfying as heck for him
(& congrats to Mychal T. as well, how proud must he be right now?)
& LeBron, amazing effort man – two guys down & all…
(I´m sure everyone remembers when we lost Byron ,& then Magic against Detroit)
Renato, excellent post, thanks for the European perspective.
Fantastic post, particularly your comments regarding the Spanish League. Really useful info and completely agree with your conclusions!
The Lakers are not picking Porzingis (and if they do, our FO is worse than I thought).
now that´s food for thought – thanks Renato
david h says
darius: thanks for sharing….
lakers still hedging on cluelessness, aren’t they? hopefully that won’t be the case come draft day.
Like the others commenters, I too appreciate Renato’s take. I’m sticking with Okafor and the FO should too.
On a side note, I guess the Embiid set back is the kind of karma Mitch was referring to in regards to tanking.
david h says
p/s: congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, champions of the NBA – 2015.
working behind the scenes as always, pretty certain former laker, Jerry West played a large role toward enabling this to happen.
To follow on Renato’s point: Porzingis’s 3% in the Eurocup? 46%. In ACB? 31%. Any guesses as to which % he’ll be closer to in the NBA?
Craig W. says
76er karma is seemingly coming home. First they get neither the Laker or the Heat picks, then Embiid gets a severe setback. Now they may want to look for a big at the #3 pick.
It all comes down to whether the Lakers trust Oakfor’s ability to learn some basic team defense. If they feel he can’t, then it’s probably Russell, with Upshaw in reserve – or some other big who they think can defend.
On Towns, I see Bynum at his best as the floor and Wilt/Kareem as the ceiling. On Okafor, I see Marc Gasol as the floor and Shaq as the ceiling.
On the others talked about for lottery, Russell will be a very good guard. Mudiay, Hezonja, Stein & Porzingis have big upside but red flags as well. Booker is overrated. Kaminsky, even tho 3 years older is right now what we are projecting Korzingis to be IF he develops like we hope. Shud be in top 7. Hopefully, somehow one of the premier 3 & D guys like Hollis-Jefferson, Dekker, Oubre, Hunter, Anderson makes it to #27. PG Wright would be a good pick too.
The Lakers interest in Porzingis is designed to get the T-Wolves thinking about him as well. Then when Saunders bites the bait and drafts Porzingis the Lakers can get their man: Towns.
Is Jerry West allowed to take Mitch’s call about who the Lakers should draft? I think I’d rather have JW make this pick.
Please get OFF THE JERRY WEST TRAIN ! It’s 2015, not 2005.
Jerry West was just bailed out of his own lack of judgment by Kelly Olynyk. Otherwise, he’d have singlehandedly cost Golden State their only chance of a championship. Here are the facts:
West claims to have turned down Love for Klay one year ago. The reasons cited then were Klay’s ‘vast imending improvement’ in playmaking and taking the ball to the hoop. It was BS, obviously, and he has exactly the same about of substandard fouls draw, free throws and assists as he did his first 3 years. To the decimal point. He also has proven to be an average defender, despite his hustle.
Yes, Steve Kerr’s implementation of a motion offense emphasizing his screens and off ball movement for catch and shoots resulted in an absurd 7 threes per game taken with a 44% accuracy. That’s his ONLY improvement. And the only area he ranks above average, even a tad. And it’s unsustainable. Once teams clued into how to shut down the high screen-open shot action, Klay’s production plummeted.
However, more importantly, Cleveland was handed this victory by Olynyk. If Love doesn’t get his shoulder ripped apart in the playoffs, LeBron then has ONE actual starting player on his team, and a solid all-star to boot who can hit 50% on open shots off double teams. You redistribute 20-25 shots per game from Shumpert or JR or Dellavedova or Thompson or Mozgov or Jones to Love ? You have the Cavs basically pulling away every game and winning this series 4-0, or 4-1. The fact that these games were all within 5 points or so with 4 minutes left in the 4th is a testament to LeBron and to the lack of playmaking of GState that they couldn’t build up a big lead over LeBron being tripled on virtually every possession because nobody else could make a shot. Love would have changed that all, and every play would have resulted in an open shot by a guy who regularly puts up 25 ppg on 60% true shooting.
Then you have the rebounding. Which would have wrecked GState because they had to go small and have Dray Green fly over to contest on all of LeBron’s drives. Love would have gobbled up the offensive boards. No disrespect to Thompson, but he ain’t a poor man’s love. Not on the boards, and not on the putbacks.
Then you have the playmaking. Love initiates high pick and roll offense. Lebron could have been the screener, or resting on at least some plays on the weak side or bench.
In short, even without Kyrie, with just Love, this series is a Cavs victory hands down. And West is exposed as about a half decade past his prime, and pilloried for turning down a top 5-7 player for a one dimensional shooter, and thus costing his team the title.
Did he win ? Sure. Because of the injury. And lest there be any argument. But Kyrie back in as well and it’s a no brainer. So, no, I don’t want West’s judgment anymore. There comes a time when we all have lost judgment. And we’re past that point with West, as we are with Phil.
In other words, getting lucky that a freak injury bailed out your unjustifiable and terrible decision on a trade is not the same think as actually exercising good judgment.
Thank you for the perspective on Euroball and talent eval.
With deference to your background the perspective it carries, however, it’s kind of strange to see you drop him to 6th and state that Russell and Winslow will be better than him… as a certainty or something close.
Aren’t you minimizing his rotational play given the penchant these teams have for working in their younger players, regardless of talent and ability ? Moreover, translation to the NBA is a different topic entirely. A guy like Winslow, who’s 6’4″ has an outside change of being Tony Allen with a decent shot. But it’s outside. There’s really only been one Tony Allen in the last 10 years that I can recall. And Winslow’s offensive skill is dubious. Not just the shot, but the ability to do anything off the bounce.
You compare that to KP… and you can easily see how KP is different level asset. At his height, off screen and pop action, he’s going to get that shot open for 15 years. The fact that he’s averaging about 38% as a teenager, and, in your own eyes, not fully coordinated yet, which corresponds to most outside skilled 7 footers, only adds to the considerable likelihood that KP will be an even better three point threat, hovering at around 38-40% for his career.
In addition, the larger 3 point radius in the NBA will only assist KP in spreading the floor and gaining space for that shot. You thrown in obvious physical development, enabling some inside play… you have a guy with a great shot at being an 18-25 ppg player. No ?
Again, deference accorded. But some players have skill sets that translate better to the NBA than others. 6’4″ defensive monsters who can’t create off the shot and have very limited success in their outside stroke don’t usually do too well. But they can. But compared to a 7 foot sweet shooting, pick and roll, and post up (albeit not at a level he’ll be able to do it in the NBA for 2-3 years) game… who can also step out on P&R defense and weak side shot block ? That’s a strong recipe.
None of which is to suggest KP is a better bet than a guy who dominated college all the way to a championship, as the primary offensive threat, shooting 67% from the field, and with good center range, with great measurements and game intelligence (passing out of doubles). I just think your post reads overly condemnatory to a guy that has franchise potential.
Bravo Renato, your post is an eye opener better than our scouts doing online surfing, not directed to you Darius but to other sites who kept on plugging a tall Euro.
Mozgov got a taste of the Finals which is a great experience from hereon. Congratulations to Dubs, in my book Curry is the Finals MVP. Take away Curry from the team, I doubt if they would reach the Finals.
If by chance(odds against it) Minn goes for Okafor,would the Lakers take KAT without working him out or Russell. who had an extended workout.Don`t see the Lakers with Porzingis,but the Knicks.The big question in my mind is how far has Okafor come since the end of the season,and if that can be projected into this year and 2-3 years down the road. It`s all about potential.
Mike – my understanding was the T-Wolves wanted Klay & David Lee for Love, not Klay for Love straight up.
In any event, Love WAS injured and unavailable to play during the Finals and its not the first time he’s been injured, having missed 91 games over two seasons to a hand/finger injury. So perhaps he’s a bit fragile in general, no?
It’s easy to play the “what if” game with respect to injuries; even the esteemed coach/GM across the hall from the Lakers has done this.
In fact, though, alternate outcomes are unknowable. Stated another way, all a team can do is play the opponent in front of them. Which the Warriors did – and emerged triumphant, by a impressive 4-2 margin.
KP is all of 7 feet (with long arms) and can shoot from the 3 line. Those things alone make it likely he will eventually be a solid NBA player. In addition, he looks reasonably athletic to me and I think he has potential as a rim protector and rebounder (obviously, he is not that right now). Overall, I think there is a good chance of his being an excellent NBA player.
On the other hand, he is under-weight and does look like he has some coordination problems. Clearly, he will bulk up as he get older but I agree that he will probably have trouble adding real strength. Also, he does appear to know how to move without the ball or take full advantage of his size. That may come with time but sometimes it doesn’t.
Much as I like KP (for his potential) if the Lakers can’t get Towns, they must take Okafor.
I meant KP doesn’t (yet) know how to move without the ball or take advantage of his size.
T. Rogers says
Love and Tristan Thompson are a wash. Thompson defends well and crashes the offensive boards, but doesn’t score much. Love spaces the floor, scores more, but suffers on the defensive end. Not having Love didn’t kill Cleveland. Missing Irving is what really did it. They needed another dynamic scorer other than LeBron. Irving’s scoring versatility would have given them a lot more options.
Thanks for the scouting report Renato, reinforced my belief that this dude is not what the Lakers need that “highlights” reel of him didn’t impress me at all, i believe is a bluff, little mind games between our respective FOs. I was going to do the P.C. thing and congratulate the Dubs, but i really doubt there are any of their fans here so screw it lol. Lebron was otherworldly on this series but the best team won, i believe this was the Dubs year and even with Irving and Love they still had the best team. Would had been a grueling 7 game series though. About the Logo, it’s not 1996, and i think Mitch has done pretty good on the Draft when we have the chance to draft sometime worthwhile. In closing you know what i see in Porzingis? Darko Milic may God have mercy on all our souls if that happens.
Please, please, no Euri big the has “shot up the draft board”. Here’s what they were saying about Bargnani:
“The most intriguing European player to enter the draft since Pau Gasol in 2001, Andrea Bargnani’s credentials speak for themselves coming off playing a leading role in helping his team win the Italian League Championship just last week. The comparisons to virtually every other European player that’s entered the draft since Gasol in 2001 end here for that reason precisely, as he’s been through the fire repeatedly after playing a grueling NBA-type season with two or even three games a week in the most competitive and demanding environments a player his age can face outside the NBA.
For that reason alone Bargnani is an attractive prospect, being proven again and again to be one of the top talents in the world in his age group and having seen and experienced far more than any NCAA player in this draft. Watching him play, it’s impossible to deny what GMs see in him as far as his talent and mismatch potential goes. His combination of size and offensive skill is without parallel in this draft, and it’s not difficult at all to see where the Nowitzki comparisons come from.
Bargnani is a potential nightmare as far as defensive matchups go. Put an average 6-10 NBA power forward on him and he’ll pull him right away from the basket and attempt to blow by him with his excellent first step and ball-handling skills. Sag off him and knock down a 3-pointer right in your face. Bigger forwards will have their hands full once he reaches his full potential, as his footwork and ability to read angles and slither his way to the basket for a creative finish is both surprising and quite effective coming from a player his size.
What makes him even more difficult to defend is the fact that he can pull up fluidly from mid-range and knock down difficult shots even when off balance or fading away. His understanding of how to throw the ball in the basket is extraordinary at his age, as his smooth, slithery movement and the confidence he has in his offensive skill goes well with the cool and calm demeanor he brings to the floor.
The pick and pop should be a play his coach begins running from day one for him, as he understands how to move off the ball and has the size and shooting mechanics to get his shot off basically whenever he pleases. The fact that he averaged 44% from behind the arc on just under 4 attempts per game in the Italian league playoffs is no fluke. Get him a good point guard, run some offense for him, and he’ll knock down his shot with no hesitation more often than not if he can get his feet set.
Beyond his terrific offensive skill, there are other things to like about Bargnani’s potential. Defensively, he can deny angles to the basket due to his quick feet and excellent length. He’s quite an agile player, not explosive, but moves his feet well enough to get the job done.
All indications are that he’s a hardworker who is very much dedicated to achieving his goal of becoming an NBA star, which is the type of work ethic you’d expect from a player who was almost a complete unknown even in his home country three years ago. As mentioned, his court demeanor is excellent, as he’s a mature player who understands the game, executes well, plays under control and is relatively mistake free despite his age. People often mistake his calmness for a lack of intensity, but you must understand that chest-beating and trash talking isn’t the European way.”
From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com/#ixzz3dMhDbvfR
Incidentally, it looks to me that the reporting of Towns going to Minny #1 may some projection on the part of reporters and Wolves staff not named Flip Saunders. http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2015/6/17/8799889/nba-draft-2015-la-lakers-jahlil-okafor-karl-anthony-towns
Certainly it would be the smart move. That doesn’t mean its a done deal tho.
Renato Afonso says
It’s not a certainty that all those players will be better than Porzingis. If you understood that, I apologize. What I’m saying is that right now they are better than Porzingis and have a better shot at becoming solid players. Porzingis is a risk you can take with a lower pick (6th and beyond) in this year’s draft but I think it’s too risky too draft him at #2 and I don’t believe we should or will take that risk.
He obviously can become very productive as he is an unfinished product to say the least. The main problem is that he’s a 7 footer that plays like a 6’7” player and actually avoids contact (nevermind the left hand thing). Time will tell if he’ll be good.
In my honest opinion, you can’t really compare him to Dirk because he can’t create his own shot at all. So, I honestly believe that Winslow has a better chance of becoming 85% of what Tony Allen is than Porzingis becoming 50% of what Dirk is. But I may be wrong and future will tell. Nobody knows how each prospect will develop…
Mike: “Please get OFF THE JERRY WEST TRAIN ! It’s 2015, not 2005.” This is not a train you ever get off. Jerry West is the best executive of all time. He is also the logo with good reason. His contributions to the Warriors are just yet another accomplishment added to his illustrious resume. I look forward to the day when the Lakers win a championship on the back of a superstar who was not brought to us by Jerry West.
Berdj J. Rassam says
Now that the Warriors have won the championship and the West is already packed tight with solid teams, the Lakers have a ton of work to do just to get to a playoff level team.
Wow. Berdj has just called my attention to something. Not only is he the logo. He now has the dominant conference of the NBA named after him: the “West”.
lil pau says
That’s not all. If you look at the first post of the previous thread, he’s also Aaron’s ‘basketball twin’!
lil Pau — I’ve been struggling not to respond to the “basketball twin” reference, but now you have forced me to do so. I can only conclude I’m Einstein’s “Physics Twin” because I also think Special Relativity explains a lot. Similarly, I must be the “Intellectual Twin” of Darwin because I agree with the theory of evolution by natural selection. I had no idea I was so darned smart!
You guys are so easy. It’s like sarcasm wasn’t invented yet on the other side of the Internet. Having said that I of course am a bigger basketball intellect than Jerry West. Who are we kidding. The guy didn’t want to draft Magic Johnson.
The Dane says
Krispi is too long, too tall. He will not be able to move around enough to play heavy minutes in the NBA.
From NBA Scouts:
Weaknesses: He’s still skinny with narrow shoulders, needing to bulk up, without consistent improvements on his frame over the last three years … This physical shortcoming affects his game, with losses of balance after contact and the consequent preference to settle for the mid-range jumper instead of attacking the rim and drawing fouls. Furthermore he totally lacks an inside game, struggling in establishing position in the post and lacking effective moves … Most of his points in the painted area come from offensive rebounds and put backs, and his game is based solely facing the basket .. His lack of strength affects his ability to guard traditional centers, with a tendency to be rag dolled during the battles below the rim … Essentially he’s a shooting guard in the body of a center, an intriguing prospect that painfully needs to develop physically, and still a tweener at the moment …
This is a two person draft. Okafor or Towns. Small guys that can shoot are a dime a dozen. A franchise center on the other hand is hard to come by. Guys that can slash and shoot can be addressed in free agency. Guys that can dominate the paint cannot. If Love and Irving had played in the Finals, no one would be talking about this paradigm shift to small ball because Mozgov and Tristan Thompson would’ve been able to fill their natural roles dominating the Warriors on the glass and in the paint. The Cavs would’ve been the team winning in 6. What we saw this year cannot erase 60 years of NBA history. The Warriors were good but very lucky this year.
I saw Mudiay up close yesterday. He is a big guy. He could definitely guard 2s in the league if Clarkson is too thin (never seen him in person).
I think some of your highlight points need a bit more context.
“Porzingis was not a coveted asset in Europe and up until now pretty much an unknown name.”
He won the 2014-15 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy.
“he never gained starter status even if rotations here work somewhat differently”
He lead his team in scoring and blocks while shooting 45% from the 3pt arc in 21 min per game.
I understand you are trying to differentiate between him and some more polished guys but I think your points are casting aspersions greater than they really are. He obviously has a great shooting stroke that he can pull up and shoot. I like what I see of his off man defense, he reads plays and comes up with blocks. Exactly what I want to see from a guy playing PF.
I don’t think he’s going to play as well next year as guys like Okafor or Russell. But hes no Darko. This kid has a great work ethic and loves to play. I don’t think people appreciate how hard it is to teach the things KP does well vs throwing the kid in the weight room. I think he has great career ahead of him.
I wonder if they played KP vs Madsen in his private work out. Mark Madsen seems to be the measure of all things. They were very excited about Randle after having him play vs Madsen, and they also brought Madsen in to guard Okafor in his work out.
Calvin Chang says
Mad Dog Madsen is the true talent evaluator and the decider. Beat Mad Dog one on one and you shall get drafted.
I didn’t think Porzingis’s hightlight reel was all that impressive, He doesn’t seem capable of creating his own shot. Some of the scouting I’ve read talk about how he is so small of frame that he gets knocked off balance when he gets some contact and has a hard time finishing. He seems like a 7 ft tall shooting guard/small forward who you’d run off ball screens for to get open. I see the potential that he could develop into a more complete player, but I don’t know if he is worth the risk at a pick higher than 5 or 6.
Interesting read on Scouting of Towns, Russel and Okafor.
Robert — Kudos to you; you are in rare form indeed. Especially considering the off season has just begun!
Beat Mad Dog one on one and you shall get drafted.
Calvin Chang says
Ryan – I agree that Krispi isn’t capable of creating his own shot yet. But it was the same with Dirk when he was a rookie. In 2 to 3 years, when Porzingis adds some muscle and gets some time to work on his game, I think he has the tools to play like Dirk and be the hub of an offense. The question is – do you want a guy who has Dirk potential to be the #2 pick, when you got Towns or Okafor available.
Interesting read on Scouting of Towns, Russel and Okafor.
After reading that article, I’m convinced that the Wolves will take Towns. I really want Towns but he’ll be gone. As a result I think the Lakers will trade down and pick up an asset as well as drafting among who’s left from the Okafor/Russell/Mudiay/Porzingis group.
The more I read about Russell to the Lakers rumors,the more I think there might be a 3 way deal in the making between Minn,Lakers,Phily, with the Phily draft assets,and Russell involved. Would certainly not be surprised if things don`t go down according to script 1) Towns 2)Okafor3) Russell.
I digress but here are some less than heralded (I.e. Low risk, high reward, young, and inexpensive) 3/D wings I’d wish management would consider making a move for:
Kentavious Caldwell Pope
Any thoughts or other players that deserve mention?
Too funny; Madsen couldn’t play at an NBA level in his prime and seriously he’s working out prospects now 300 years later? Somebody tell me this is a sick sick joke.
Chris J says
All the Porzingis talk just raises my worst-case fears that a front office that hasn’t hit on several key decisions in recent years may again whiff on one of the top picks this franchise has ever held.
When the talk was “Towns or Okafor?” it was somewhat comforting, as the Wolves will take one and the Lakers would naturally take the “clear” No. 2 player. Now, I’m having nightmares that we could wind up watching Darko 2.0 for the next few seasons while the guy they pass over goes on to become as successful as Wade or Carmelo.
I’m no scout and don’t profess to know who is the correct pick, but I slept better when the consensus was the guy the Lakers would get was as close to a lock as could reasonably be expected. Now, the worry sets it… Whomever they draft, they absolutely cannot afford to get this one wrong.
George Best says
Are the Lakers really considering that Rik Smits wanna be at 2? They are picking Russell because they don’t see Hot Rod Okafor as being a difference maker.
Russell is the safest pick if kat is not on the board.
Renato Afonso says
Prozingis seldom produces anything in post play.
I have no idea if he works hard or not, so I can’t say anything about that other than the other prospects probably also work hard. The Eurocup Rising Stars trophy is a somewhat recent award and the previous winners are actually good players. I never said he wasn’t going to be good, I just firmly believe that there are better prospects available. I’d like to see him get his team pass the second group stage in the Eurocup or play a major role in one of the better teams in Europe before analyzing those stats. Valanciunas, Motiejunas and Dubljevic all seemed better prospects than him when they got the award. I particularly like Dubljevic’s low post game but I think Minnesota has his rights, if I’m not mistaken.
Any value in bringing on Danny Ferry as a consultant? The Hawks just won 60 games a number we haven’t won since 08/09.
“Mad Dog Madsen is the true talent evaluator and the decider. Beat Mad Dog one on one and you shall get drafted.” lol.
I’m not a big fan of these solo work outs.
I beginning to sense that if KAT is gone the Lakers will take Russell. The recent Grantland article was not too favorable to Okafor. I’m concerned about the feedback from sources at Duke who questioned his dedication to the game – not always motivated and not always in shape (think Andrew Bynum). The Lakers need a true foundational player with this pick (like Magic or Kobe) — someone who is consumed by winning, and improving.
My only thought, with Russell, is that the Lakers already have a PG in Clarkson. So, the question would be can a backcourt of Russell and Clarkson work? Or, does drafting Russell just step one of future moves? Another question is should the Lakers trade up to get KAT and be satisfied with getting a franchise Center?
So, the question would be can a backcourt of Russell and Clarkson work?
Yeah, it could, structurally. Both of them can play on or off-ball and are big enough to guard 2s
FWIW, I will be surprised if the Lakers take Russell over Okafor.
And, again, the Lakers need to take whomever the FO thinks the BPA is. The Lakers’ roster is too weak to sweat fit much right now.
Craig W. says
I think we fans can talk ourselves into almost anything, including convincing ourselves we know what the front office is going to do. Fear is one thing, actualizing that fear by saying the Lakers are going to do ‘X’, when there has been absolutely not a peep about what the Lakers will do, is another whole level of fear.
– Beginning to feel it won’t really make that much of a difference who the Lakers pick at #2 as long as that player will be a solid short rotation contributor (a starter or 6th man). I don’t see KAT, Okafor, Russell, Porzingis, Mudiay, or Winslow as a 1st or 2nd scoring option on a serious contender…do you? Those guys will come via free agency. And who has any idea whom the Lakers will be able to get via that route in 2016-17? Until I see otherwise, I’m expecting Kobe to put up at least 19-20 fga per game and average at least 31mpg during this “transition” season, and a VERY DIFFERENT team the following season. So as long as they can become solid players and not bust, Lakers s/b fine.
– BTW, which team(s) in the West are suppose to regress so much that the Lakers have a chance to improve on their 14th place finish? Not the Warriors, Clips, or Rockets. Not the Spurs or Grizz. Thunder or Pelicans? Not. Mavs or TrailBlazers? That’s nine teams, so obviously at least one won’t make it. But the Jazz and Suns are still unaccounted for. And the T’Wolves do have more talent than our Lakers…and the 1st draft pick.
– In my book, if the Lakers can avoid a 3rd 50 loss season while finish better than 13th…they’ll be on the right track and I’ll be ok w/ their season.
Calvin Chang says
Renato, Aaron – what’s your take on Mario Hezonja? He seems very skilled and talented, and he’s a cocky a-hole who will show opponents up. I like that. Enough of these squeaky clean, respectful ambassador wusses like Lin. We want to see some bad attitude and trash-talking. When asked if Mario wants to watch Messi’s matches, he replied “let Messi come watch me”. I’m not sold on his speed, but I like his attitude.
I don’t see KAT, Okafor, Russell, Porzingis, Mudiay, or Winslow as a 1st or 2nd
Too early to tell. I think Okafor, Russell and Towns are seen as guys who can be at that level, however, on O.
And yes, the Lakers will have a hard time moving up much in the standings, even if things go well.
another whole level of fear.
Not seeing any fear in the posts on this thread.
BCS and rr – completely agree that the road back for the Lakers will be a long one.
The Lakers could improve 20 games in the standings and not make the playoffs. Putting it another way the Lakers have to climb over 6 teams just to be 1st round playoff fodder. Just more rationale to take our time and do this right. Mitch is on record as not wanting to have too many rookies on the roster, I say why not? Since its unlikely that we truly compete soon why not build a young team that has a long time horizon.
I also think it’s between KAT and Okafor. KATs a no brained. If it’s Okafor I’m not worried. I’m a huge UCLA fan and I recall that KLove was not I great shape his one year there and only did so when he became a pro.
Good post. I think it will be Okafor, as I said. I personally like Mudiay, and think I would probably take either of the guards over Okafor, but if the FO goes with Okafor, I will certainly understand that.
Mario Hezonja is a top five player in the draft. He is a tremendous athlete and has a very bright future. He is a better prospect to me than Porzingis. I’ll break him down in more detail next week.
I don’t think you get a chance at such a skilled big as JO every day.
If the FO take russell or mudiay what chance do we have to get a decent big later in the draft? i see on opther boards comments like” we’ll just sign Marc Gasol/LaMarcus Aldridge/other marquee center. Its not that easy.
Is it not easier to get sharpshooting wings that JO can pass to out of double teams?
From recovery and workout videos JR is shooting the midrange. Could we not run high P&R with JR around the elbow and FT lines with the option of dumping in to JO when we NEED a basket?
Or Go to JO and if double and triple teams come then he has the ability to hit the open shooter.
my two cents.
I won’t understand if any team takes Okafor in the top five. I haven’t finalized it yet but I think Okafor will probably end up being the 7th or 8th best prospect on the Aaron draft board.
Somebody please remind me — when does swaggy come off the books?
Question for all: Where would you rank Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson in this year’s draft?
Both in terms of overall draft position and in comparison to PGs and PFs coming out this year?
Somebody please remind me — when does swaggy come off the books?
Not until after the 2017-18 season. The last year of his deal is a 5.7M player option.
Nik Kannan says
I always looked at KAT as potentially a Marcus Camby w/ the ability to score off the dribble. He won’t score from the post in the league & isn’t a good passer… certainly not the passer Jah is from the post. Jah will be transcendent.
This pick for Lakers is a no brainer – no matter who we bring in & what euro is available.
rr — thanks
Nik Kannan says
We are on the hook w/ Nick Young for another 3 more years… unless he can be dealt. It isn’t a terrible contract, but I think he has proven not to have championship pedigree. He better step it up & work his butt off this offseason to become someone more reliable on both ends of the court.
Nik Kannan says
As for us not being in the top 8 west teams next season….. Consider Free Agency & Player movement…. not just the draft. Last time I checked we have a lot of cap space & many impact players are available. We need to attack on all fronts… smart picks, selling high & buying low, adding role players, get 8-9 players who can compete…. I am not as high on Clarkson as most… he put up numbers on the worst Lakers team all time
With a good draft, a solid free agency period, & establishing depth… keeping Ed Davis, Let Jabari Brown get more run, Julius has looked great in the work out videos i’ve seen… we right back in this for championship contention. We also got this guy named Kobe who everyone has written off….
Nik Kannan says
Aaron your insane if you think Jah is the 7th best player in this draft. I like going the opposite way than the league… this is an aberration.
All the NBA champions for the last 30 years have had great post players, with exception to the heat teams, jordan teams, & the golden state teams…. LeBron & Jordan could cover for a lack of a center… the warriors won cause the NBA was lacking comprehensive talented team that were healthy…. Honestly the warrior would have lost to any of the garrnett, allen, pierce celtics, a younger spurs team, or any one of the Lakers 5 championship teams, + the Heat of the last years…. this years championship was a joke…
Nik Kannan says
Any 1 Mouse – Based on Clarkson numbers & being first team all rookie… he would be re picked in the top 10…. & based on Julius injury late lottery….. But the fact is, 1 year isn’t good enough to gage ask the question in 4 years… then it will matter.
Who would pick Embiid #3 if the draft was redone? almost no one, cause of injuries does it mean he isn’t a top talent still…. dunno??
Craig W. says
Already we are downgrading the Warriors because they don’t fit our conception of what a championship team ought to look like. Yuck!
They did luck into some situations, but no more than most other teams. The Jordan teams played some of the most ‘pantywaste’ teams of the last 35 years and we don’t downgrade Michael Jordan because of it. You play the teams put in front of you. IMO, the 87 Lakers would have soundly beaten the 15 Warriors, but I am certainly biased – I saw that team play.
The NBA game is changing and we have better long-range shooters today than in the past, but the players aren’t as tough – IMO – and the defense isn’t as physical. We also don’t have the talented post players that graced the league in the 60s or the 80s. Therefore, when we find a dominant big – Okafor – select the sucker and stop arguing about what’s wrong with him. Every player in the draft has something wrong with them – starting with their age, most likely.
Nik Kannan says
Craig – I think we see a player like Steph who really is one of the greatest shooters of all time & pretend basketball has changed. Nobody said any of this crap once the Nash Suns were outed… it was a fad.
Basketball hasn’t changed…. a high % shot in the paint is always better than a 3…
The warriors take terrible shots, & a methodical team that plays “right” can beat them easily – keep contesting shots & our team takes high % shots & well thats what it is… Tony allen getting hurt, or kyrie getting hurt ARE the reasons the warriors won.
67 wins would have meant nothing otherwise..
Great big man… play the game with a post entry, wait for the double & swing the ball – the right way… open three & great shooters…
I shutter to think that players like Bird & West are worse shooters than todays day & age…
I agree – Jah is the easily the best pick – & sorry we dont need to be showtime, we want rings… not gimmicks
Nik – basketball has changed.. the new rule helps small fast guard, hurt big slow post players
Nik Kannan says
Your citing an article from 2010??
The rules have always been changing…
look at the teams who have won since 2010
Which one is the small ball shoot a lot of 3s early in shot clock or transition out liar??
My point is don’t change the approach of what has traditionally work just cause one team defied the odds, had no target on their backs, & won a championship.
& What we also know is Dwight isn’t very good at all… with a skill set that a 16 year old Jah had… terrible footwork, no touch… howard is garbage & i am glad we didn’t lock him for 7 years… cause that is st8 purgatory
Kupchak talks to SI’s Chris Mannix:
Nik Kannan says
Listen – Also Kobe is the greatest player i have ever seen (magic & mike / shaq withstanding)… He had never been strictly a pick & roll player… he spent a lot of very productive possessions in the post to win our championships without shaq…
We still need great perimeter player – who will get the advantage of having more space… But with a great offensive big man.. who has to be doubled teammed every time down the floor… your guards/ wings now have the luxoury of more space, better options of slashing, more open shots, & mismatches based on rotations. They can take advantage of it even more…
On the defensive end, we still have to guard the screen/roll have jahlil hedge, rotate & try to recover.
I’ll take my chances with the post player setting up the guards/wings, rather than the other way around.
thats all im saying.
Great offensive big men make the game easy for everyone else, more than great shooters coming off screens… both obviously are nice to have.
Nik Kannan says
Apparently the Lakers made a promise to Justin Andersen should he fall all the way to #27, which supposedly isn’t likely. Can’t find the tweet.
Also, George De Paula has withdrawn from the draft.
Nik Kannan – thanks for the response. Knowing what you do today, would you draft Clarkson over Mudiay, Russell or Winslow?
Also, that Kupchak interview was very interesting – Kupchak’s views on Saunders were refreshingly candid.
Wonder why the Wolves are wining and dining Russell if KAT is who they are fixated on. Could they be trading down?
James Katt says
Porzingis is a shooter.
But as an offensive-minded big man, he has no hops. He can barely dunk the basket. So his game is going to be limited to the perimeter or uncontested plays at the hoop.
And he cannot defend. This is why he has to be paired with another big who can defend to hide his deficiencies.
As such, Porzingis is NOT a big who can lead you to a championship. He is no Tim Duncan. He is an incomplete big man in the worse way – the unable to defend the rim big man.
-Don’t understand the minimizing of the Warriors championship and their playoff run. When you post the best regular season record you are suppose to be rewarded w/ an easier playoff run (on paper anyway).
– During the regular season:
* 9 men played 66 or more games
* 6 men averaged 20+ mpg
* 8 ” ” 18+ ”
*10 ” ” 15+ ”
*12 ” ” 11+ ”
* NO player averaged more than 17 fga per game or 33 mpg and they were still able to win 67 games.
– The Warriors are a deep team, an “anti-Big 3”. Of course a team has to be “lucky”, but a major factor in having healthy and less fatigued players come post season is by spreading the minutes and workload. And they obviously accomplished that.
– This team is set up to be a serious contender for the Western Conf title & NBA title for the next few years. They are basically young and deep w/ workable contracts. Steve Kerr s/h at least three more years before or if these guys get tired of hearing his voice. They will have an opportunity to address their biggest weakness (a rim protector) by trading 32 yr old under utilized David Lee’s expiring contract (tied w/ Klay Thompson @ $15.5 mill next season as their largest salaries).
-Their team accomplishment s/b respected…not minimized.
Well put Big City, totally agree –
I love post up players. I love big men over small men. If talent is close to equal I go big over small because big is better and there are less quality bigs available. Okafor to me doesn’t have the talent or the drive to be selected in the top four in this draft. I don’t see him as being able to score in the post against NBA centers. He is already out of shape as an 18 and 19 year old. And I’m not just talking about his body. Grant land had the piece about how he is too tired to get up and down the floor. People at duke question his love for the game. That’s not just a body fat and athletic weight thing. That’s an endurance thing. I love his coordination. It’s elite. It’s Duncan esc. If he was in better shape or I thought he would get in better shape I would change my mind on him because I think he would be a much quicker player with more explosiveness. But because of his issues he is Tim Duncan. He is a forty year old Tim Duncan instead of a twenty year old Tim Duncan.
How does Saunders not take KAT? Okafor is just a better version of what they currently have in Pekovic so there would be redundancy in skill set. If he takes Russell then he duplicates what he has in Rubio – albeit that Ricky can’t shoot and Russell can.
So in my mind drafting Okafor or Russell means having to then move players that were recently signed to long term expensive extensions and who are quite frankly un-moveable (Pekovic is injury prone and as I said Rubio is a Rondo clone from distance).
I can’t see the Wolves passing on KAT. Which means the Lakers will be selecting from the Okafor/Russell/Mudiay group at #2.
I covered this in the last thread but the outlier would be the 2010 Lakers. The Spurs despite having Duncan passed the ball like crazy to beat the small ball Heat, The Heat Headed by James and Wade where anchored on defense by PF Bosh playing Center, and I cannot think of the last time I would thought of the Maverick lead by Dirk as being a team run through the post. There has not been a post heavy offense winning the Finals in 5 years. It is not a stampede yet but is a trend worth noticing.
Nik Kannan says
The Clarkson vs. the top 3 PG/Wing players in the draft questions is an easy one.
I would take any of the top 3 of this years PG/Wing players in this years draft over him. When you start getting to Tyus Jones & Camron Payne that’s where I start to question who would i rather have on my team, i like big guards & that is what Clarkson is.
D’Angelo is going to be special, very special he will be a year in year out all star, his feel for the game, passing ability, & shooting stroke make him a can’t miss. When I woke up this morning, that was the one thing i realized, Russell is the most for sure thing in the draft.
& I think Wislow has a very good shot to be an allstar caliber player, he knows how to get contact, get to the freethrow line, is a good shooter, he might be a tad undersized for his skill set at 6’6″.
Mundiay – Too unknown but based on what Larry Brown has said & potential he will probably be a better player than Clarkson.
I have no problem with Clarkson but expectations make a lot of difference. Pressure on Clarkson to perform last season wasn’t high & he over achieved, therefore we championed him. Had he been our 7 pick, we would have thought he had the year he was suppose to. He isn’t a great shooter, i think above avg. NBA ath. & can finish at the rim, He showed he can reasonably guard both guard positions, but he will lack as we move forward a lot more growth potential. I think we have to use Clarkson as a major bargaining chip now cause he may lose value a year or two from now.
Nik Kannan says
Yea I have a tendency to agree with some of your statements, I went back & watched his “bad games” from the tournament last night – my gf was yelling at me wondering what I was doing still up on Thurs at 3 am…Lol
But… I do think 18-19 years olds can get in better shape, as a matter of fact I think that is the norm, obviously going from 40 games max to 110 games max makes a huge difference. I think kids also are less likely to be aware of the max health & fitness needed to succeed.
What I did see last night was, yes at times a lack of hustle & a guy who was tired at the end of the season compared to KAT. But also a guy who was doubled teamed almost every time he touched the ball. As a guard myself i know both feelings… being able to deny a guard the ball as soon as he gets across half court & try to never let him sniff the ball(& how frustrating that can be) & also having been denied the ball & having someone in your face the entire time you are on the offensive end & not even getting space to breathe… it is tough to deal with…. So i think at times you can attribute it to frustration, lack of conditioning, but most importantly consider this:
KAT did not need to play the minutes as Jah – KAT had support – Jah carried his team & had to play 35/36 min a game, by the time the Tournament started, one stock went up the other was going down… is that 18-19 years old who – 1 having the luxury of playing half the minutes earlier in the season & able to be fresh vs. one who had to carry a team for double the min to achieve what they did.
Duke won the NCAA – Jah was the best player – he is a champion – Was for the 1st four months of the NCAA season the most sought after incoming NBA player i can remember. He was getting tired at the end of the season as you noted, as a 19 year old. I think this can improve, I think him & Julius need to find Kobe’s work ethic – & if they do… well it is a matter of time before we can start thinking banners again, instead of draft picks.
I honestly think the Lakers will go with Okafor. If he busts I think there would be a lot less second guessing then other choices. I still find Russell a better fit, KP despite lacking strength I find a more interesting talent, and Towns I think is a no-brainer but unlikely to be available.
Nik Kannan says
Most sought after since LeBron…
Nik Kannan says
Put the Warrior of this year in a 7 game series against any of the last 14 champions – I think u find the are way below 50%… that’s my point. That’s fine they were balanced, they had contributions from everyone, but really… Steph made the engine go, Draymond was the key, & lot of above avg. NBA wing players helped them win.
Yes the Heat used Bosh at the 5. But i don’t consider them a small ball team, mainly because they weren’t a run & gun team who depended on small players to create, drive & dish. It was LeBron, & for him the anomaly is a wash… were the Bulls of the 90s a small ball team? no…
The Spurs, play fast… but they don’t play small…even Leonard is one of the longest wing players in the league, Parker is mediocre from mid to long range… Timmy anchors them we all know it. The small ball argument is a style of play & a way a team is structured, its philosophies –
I think we are missing the point here, yes you can win, & win a lot of regular season games, & you can win the title as been shown… but it is less likely. Look – the Suns of the mid 2000’s deserve some respect, would i ever want “that” to be a Lakers team… not unless we could consistently party on Figueroa.
I don’t find your Heat explanation very compelling. There is also a difference in terminology. I’m very specific about running an offense through the post. I’m not excluding having guys on the court who are 7′-0″ tall.
Nik Kannan says
Let me clear up “The Heat Explanation” – If you have LeBron James you can almost win the championship regardless of type of ball or almost any roster shape. Can’t really say it is “small ball.”
With the Mavs – they won cause T- Chandelor was playing great D & Washing boards…. & were still a “big” team.
I LOVE Porzingis. Look st that shooting stroke, quickness, hops, length. Of course we take Towns, but I think Okafor ( from all reports ) is not a person with a championship mentality. I know they won, but he was FAR from the leader. We need a special talent and attitude with this pick, not an average NBA player.
It is worth taking some risk, remember the goal is championships.
Nik Kannan says
& I get what you are saying about running offense through the post. It isn’t the trend right now in the NBA – spreading the floor run your big man to set & on ball screen, screen roll, drive kick, yada yada yada… I get it.
But lets not just write off running offense through the post. It brought 5 championships to the Lakers the last 15 years with 7 finals run.
Nik Kannan says
He (Jahlil) Just won the NCAA Championship as the team’s best player & Won his State Title… He actually is everything a champion is suppose to be, win first, let people try to sling mud at things that don’t exist.
@ Eric: While I agree KAT is most likely the ‘Wolves pick, I could see them drafting Russell. He would be a dramatic improvement over Rubio in terms of shooting. Plus Rubio is young enough that a team in need of a PG (Knicks, Nets and Mavs) would deal for him in a heartbeat.
That is the one scenario that I cling to. But, yes other than that, it is not likely that Towns will fall to the Lakers.
Craig W. says
Aaron does have a good basketball mind about players, but he also gets fixated on his first opinion. If you initially don’t like Okafor you can find reasons for passing on him, but I really don’t see 5 teams passing on him.
If you do like Okafor there are lots of reasons, starting with the fact that he has won at every level and was tops on everybody’s list until he was on their list too long. It is a fact that our attention-span is short enough that after a while ‘on top’ people – read talking heads and others – will try to tear someone down and replace them with the ‘newer’ fad. It is more interesting to do this. However, good general managers simply can’t buy into this approach. They have to be tough early and not let fashion sway them late. Okafor has been a standout since he became a teenager – that’s a long time in the media world – and he is now old news.
Me – I will be very happy if the Lakers decide to take Okafor with the 2nd pick.
Anon & Eric: The Knicks are an interesting team. With Melo on board for 4 more years (Jim and Mitch – never, never sign a 30 year old FA to a max deal, its the kiss of death) the Knicks have painted themselves into a win now corner.
I could see the Knicks being takers for Rubio and sending back a future pick (they have no real talent on their roster). Another plus for them taking Russell is that Dieng is the real deal and can play center lessens the loss of passing on Towns. I also could see the Wolves pushing for Greg Monroe as a FA. Which would give the Wolves the following lineup:
PF: Dieng / Garnett
SF: Wiggins / Mohammed
C: Monroe / Pekovic
SG: Martin / Lavin
The big thing for me is that Dieng, Wiggins, Monroe, Lavin, Mohammed, Russell are all 24 years old or younger.
david h says
Darius/Erez and Renato: thx to you all for keeping this blog going; day in, day out.
one more thing: Happy Father’s Day and have a great weekend for next week this blog will be popping.
Towns appears to be the consensus #1 pick. As Chad Ford mentions, all of the remaining top choices have a weakness (perceived or real) to overcome – shooting for Mudiay, athleticism/defense for Okafor & Russell, and strength for Porzingis. By now I’m assuming Mitch & co have developed a pretty clear idea re: what these prospects are capable (the 2nd rounnd of workouts serving as confirmation), and they’re gonna go w/ the guy most likely to overcome the glaring weakness separating them from being considered as on par w/ Towns. I’m actually not as sure as I was before that Okafor will be (or should be) our guy, and am much less pessimistic about Porzingis’s potential than before. In Mitch I (have to) trust.
Nik Kannan says
Barry G –
Don’t risk a for sure thing on a Euro – for they are far more prone for being a bust.
We have seen a lot of Jahlil, he is our pick, get a #15 & get used to the name… he is our next plus with Randle we have quite the best young front line in the NBA… nobody is even second close… if Embiid was healthy maybe he & Noel… but things are looking bright.
I think Mundiay would be great… so would winslow so would russel.. but the pick is an easy one…
what we do for the rest of the draft will be interesting… I am hoping we can land Rashard Vaughn & if not we should take whatever steps are necessary to get between 10-15 to get Stanley Johnson or Obre…
Porzingis looks great with nobody guarding him… too bad thats not how basketball works.
It’s really easy. Towns if he’s available no matter what. Russell if you think you have a great shot at Marc, Okafor if you don’t.