Fool’s Gold?

Pyrite is a mineral that has a pale luster to it, very similar to real gold. The phrase fool’s gold is coined because there are countless stories of men who invest,search and collect pyrite in hopes of making a fortune.

This NBA draft is very important. I don’t know how much Matt and I have expressed this but this draft class has the potential to shape the NBA for the next 10 years. The last time a NBA draft with such promising players came about was nearly 10 years ago in the 2003 draft. Players like Andrew Wiggins, Jabri Parker and Joel Ebmiid are looking to be the number one options on the team’s they get drafted by.

Make no mistake about it. These kids are very good. Most of the players that get drafted will most definitely have an impact on their teams. The question everybody has is going to are they the real deal or did these teams tank and dismantle their team for fool’s gold. Lets take a look at some of the big names in the draft and look at their projected outlook. Using DraftExpress.com’s draft projection I will be starting at number 10 as we ask the question of Fools gold or real gold? Remember, Pyrite is still worth some value, just not as much as gold. An appraisal of gold means that for the expected draft number the player is being taken, he is worth the value. fool’s gold simply means the player will not be as valuable as they are expected to be.

10) Aaron Gordon

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Aaron Gordon is the real younger sibling to Blake Griffin. He will always have the expectation of being a discount Blake Griffin unless he plays better than Griffin can. At 6,9 he is a bit undersized for the PF position. He is coveted because of his athletic ability, defense IQ and offense in the paint.

Like his older “brother”, Gordon has the ability to drive to the basket. For a power forward he has really good handles and is also a decent passer. When he has the ball in the paint, his relentless effort forces the ball into the basket. Let us not forget that he has an impressive vertical. The guy is a high flier and is most dangerous on a fast break.

He struggles with shooting free throws. For a player who gets to the basket as much as he does, it is not acceptable to have a below 50% free throw percentage. His offense repertoire is lacking as well, he is not that great at creating his own offense.  He also lacks in basketball IQ, showing lack of discipline on offense frequently.

Gordon will be a good 6th man at best. I do not see this player developing as an effective start in the long run.(See: Tyrus Thomas)  He will start on whatever team he goes to because who ever drafts this player is looking for a player of his skill sets. In 4 years I do not believe he will still be a starter.

Appraisal: Fool’s Gold

9) Nik Stauskas

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Stauskas is an electric shooter. He will definitely make a name in the NBA as a sharpshooter. Stauskas Is best as a catch and  shoot player. He shoots 50% from the field and 45% from the 3 point line. He is very smart on the offensive end of the ball. He shows signs of being an effective slasher and shoots around 80% from the free throw line. Offense, offense and offense is the Nik Stauskas’ game.

On the flip side, Nik is not the greatest defender. He  does not  have great defensive footwork and will get beaten on the dribble 7 out of 10 times. As a perimeter player that will become a liability. He also is not very physical. When driving to the paint he struggles immensely with stronger defenders or help defense. He also does not have a great defensive IQ.

Nik Stauskas is going to be a great utility player. Like most sharpshooters, Stauskas gets cold as quickly as he can get hot. In the NBA there is a bigger need of consistency which is why Nik will not be a premiere starter on a team. If he does start, it will be because there is nobody better. Will put up about 15 point a game, but not starter material. Still going to be a valuable player

Appraisal: Gold

8) Doug McDermott

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This is the  prime example of the growth of a player who spends all 4 years in the college basketball. Doug McDermott’s game is very similar to Nik Stauskas with the exception of being a much more consistent and refined player and that comes from playing at a the collegiate level for more than one year. Doug McDermott is a fantastic scorer with an emphasis on Dirk’s one-legged jump shot which like Dirk’s shot can not be blocked.  McDermott is 45% at the 3 point shot and is going to be a real asset to a team. He has the instincts and the guts on offense to make up for the lack of athleticism.

The biggest question will be what position to play him. He is too weak and a bit short to play power forward, however his offensive abilities will create a lot of space  for his team. He is not the greatest rebounded but can still give you 6 to 7 rebounds. If he can put up 15-18 points from the power forward position, he can start very soon and be extremely effective as a combo forward .

If you want him to play the 3 you have a different problem. McDermott has a hard time staying in front of players. While he has a very high basketball IQ and can play very good team defense if you put him on an island he will drown. Getting beat off the dribble often leaves him far way from the top 3 picks in the draft.On defense he may become a liability and because of that I do not see him being a starter for long unless he can put up close to his college numbers at around 21 points a game. If he can maintain his scoring output and consistency then getting him this late into the draft will be a steal.

Appraisal: Gold

Julius Randle PF

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15 points a game and 10 rebounds. That is the kind of work that nearly won his team a national championship. A crime is that a foot injury has made Randle fall so low. I still believe that he is a more polished product than Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid. But that is none of my business I guess.

What is my business is breaking down this guy’s game. He can score some buckets. He is not a shooter, but he is very strong. His use of his shoulders in relation to the basket is difficult to teach, and will take him a long time to master but he has a great start. Give him the ball in the paint and expect 2 points. That is the old school brand of power forward and Randle fits it. He can go over the top, drive in the paint, or simply muscle the ball. He occasionally can pass out of the paint as well.

He is a very good offensive rebounder. which mean as a big man, he is very good at the second chance baskets. He has great footwork for a man of his size and his ball handling skills are better than most big men.
A comparison to an NBA player that matches up with his skill is Zach Randolph, with all the desired hops and athletic ability. His biggest challenge coming into the NBA?

His jump shots. While Randle can drive, he sure as hell can not shoot. Fortunately he has the discipline to understand that a game is not the place to practice nailing jumpers at the risk of becoming Josh Smith. In the NBA he is going to have to learn a hit at least from the free throw line or run the risk of being one-dimensional. He also has a tendency to hang on to the ball too long. He often gets stuck holding the ball in the paint and has to shoot the ball at a difficult angle.

There is no doubt in my mind Randle is going to be a great power forward in the NBA. I believe that he may be the steal of the draft. Only time will tell

Appraisal: Gold

Marcus Smart

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 Marcus Smart is both smart and dumb at the same time. It is going to be very intriguing to see how he develops into a better point guard in the next few years. At 6’4 he has a 6’8 wingspan, and because he plays point guard he can be scary. His athleticism, toughness, passing ability, and defensive smarts are going to be driving factors for why he will be a good player.

What will determine if he will be a star will be if he can learn to shoot at a higher percentage. Couple that with his poor shot taking ability and you have a perplexing point guard. You have a player is very fast, can get to the rim and yet would rather shoot. You have a player that makes both wise and silly decisions at the helm. Comparison to Rajon Rando comes to mind, except Rando is a smarter player and a worst free throw shooter. He is very competitive but also has a hot temper and has been branded with a bad attitude.

I can see Marcus Smart being a premiere point guard in the NBA but it is going to take a lot of refinement on his end. Couple that with his hot temper and you  have a volatile player. Time will tell whether that is a good thing or not.

Appraisal: Gold

Noah Vonleh C

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Noah Vonleh is a big man with even bigger arms. He stands at 6’10 but has a freakish wingspan of 7’4. At 240 pounds Vonleh is a huge problem for teams.

There is a lot to like about Noah. He is very physical in the paint. His length offers rim protection that is unique in the to his size. He loves to back down defenders and deter drivers in the paint.

He is an all around big man who will shine on a young team looking for a big man to mold.

With that said, the big man leaves you wanting a bit. While agile he is not quite. He wont beat you down the floor and won’t explode to the basketball. He has a pretty raw set of offensive skills so using his height in the NBA will not always be enough. He also is not that great at the pick and roll. While his length makes him a very good rebounder, I must question his athletic ability. When playing against big men that can stretch the floor, will his rim protection matter? A player that is build very similarly to Vonleh is Ibaka. They play very similarly with the exception that Ibaka is extremely athletic.

I am not sure if I buy into Noah this high into the draft. He is going to be good, but is he lottery  pick good?

The answer may be no.

Appraisal : Fool’s Gold

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