Thursday, February 25, 2010

How the NBA Sees Sticks, Dyson, Edwards, etc ...

Tired of NFL draft coverage already? I know I am. The NFL combine? Seriously? People actually watch that stuff? Unreal. But no worries, the NFL draft is only two months away, so two more months of non-stop coverage. Then a month of post-draft coverage ... ugh.

Anyway, the NBA draft is more relevant around these parts, particularly how it pertains to UConn's players. Stanley Robinson, Jerome Dyson and Gavin Edwards could each be selected this June (Kemba Walker, too, though it seems extremely doubtful he'll enter this year's draft).

The Internet mock drafts vary on where the players might go, with Robinson as anywhere from the lottery to early second round, Dyson from early second round to undrafted, Edwards from mid-second round to undrafted.

But putting much stock in mock drafts is silly, for a variety of reasons -- none better than Kemba's rationalization: “The mock drafts, those are guys who probably never played basketball a day in their lives. So, it really doesn’t mean anything to me.”

We asked some NBA talent evaluators (an Eastern Conference director of player personnel, and a Western Conference scout, at least one of whom has played basketball a day or two in his life) how they see UConn's potential draftees. Here's a sampling:


(Is Sticks a lottery pick?)

Director of player persononel: “At the end of the day, I don’t think he’ll go there because of the issues surrounding him. People are worried about his makeup: leaving school, going to work in a factory, he’s already got a couple of kids. Not that those are deal-breakers, but they’re things that could scare some teams away. I think he’s got a shot for the first round, with his length and athleticism. He’s shooting the ball real well this year, he’s freaky with his athleticism. Obviously, he’s a little thin, he’s going to have to be a small forward. He’s not strong enough to play down low.”

Scout: “It’s more of a mental thing. He’ll do typically two or three things a game that show his athletic ability, shows flashes. Some games, he shows more flashes than others, but he’s sticking his nose in there, getting better at rebounding. He’s not a great outside shooter, he’s got to keep working on those skills, also. He has the talent, but he’s got to get really focused.”

DOPP: "I think he could go 15-30, right after the lottery, as long as the mental testing and stuff goes OK and people are comfortable where he is mentally. With his shooting, length and freak athleticism, I think he will test very well at the combine. He’ll work out pretty well 1-on-1, he’s a pretty versatile offensive player, defensively he’s pretty long. I think he’s a guy who could actually move up.”


DOPP: “He’s talented. I think he’ll end up fitting on an NBA roster because he’s a pretty versatile offensive player. The thing that hurts him, as far as being a first-round pick, is he’s not a real consistent shooter. He’s more of a scorer than a shooter. The game seems pretty easy for him at times, because he glides to get where he wants to go. He can get pretty much any shot, but he’s not a guy you can rely on as a consistent shooter.”

(where would Dyson fit in on an NBA team?)

Scout: “Some type of combo, backup guard, that kind of player, like a (Keyon) Dooling. A guy that comes in, gives you a little bit of everything. He’ll have to really establish himself. He’s got the physical tools to figure that out, and he seems to have the mental capacity.”

DOPP: “He can play some back-up point guard, because I think he’s a pretty good passer. He’s got pretty good vision … he’s a scorer first, but when you watch him play, I don’t think he’s a real selfish player. Once or twice a game you say, ‘Wow, I didn’t think he’d get (that pass) in there.’ In some ways, I think he’s got better vision than Kemba. I love how hard Kemba plays, but I just don’t think he sees (the floor) very well.”


DOPP: “I really like him, and I see why the coaches like him. He probably won’t get drafted, but a team will take a long look at him at summer league or camp. I love how smart he is. When one of the guys on the team isn’t making the right reads, he’s the one calling that out. It seems he makes the right decision most of the time. He’s not spectacular, but he’s got decent size and athleticism. I can’t say he won’t make it because he doesn’t do this or that, I just don’t think he’s athletic enough or quite skilled enough.”

Toughness is also an issue.

Scout: “One of the worst things you can call somebody is soft. I’m not so sure he is, he just has a real subdued personality … If he had the mentality of a (Jeff) Adrien or a Dyson, he’d be really good. He doesn’t lack talent.”


There is zero indication that Walker will declare for the draft, even if he makes a big NCAA tourney run. And that’s just as well, according to the league sources.

Scout: “I think that would be a real mistake. I don’t see him there yet. He’s a tough kid, comes from a good background. I like his competitiveness and stuff, but I just think he needs a lot more seasoning. That’s a tough position to try to come in right away. I don’t think there’s any rush for him, and that’s not knocking him.”

DOPP: "I don't think he should, because I don't think there's any way he gets in the first round. The only thing that would make sense is, if he knows next year will be his last year at UConn, it makes some sense for him to put his name in, not hire an agent, then return to school. But if he's not sure of your future, he should hold that one free try until next year. People know he can score. But from an NBA perspective, I don’t want a 5-foot-11 guy being a score-first guy. Unless he’s exceptional, like a Nate Robinson – one of those freak athletic scorers, which I don’t think Kemba is.”


Looking to the distant, distant future, the talent evaluators weighed in on these two freshmen.

Scout: Oriakhi “has got to dedicate himself to being a crazy rebounder. I don’t see him having the skill set.”

DOPP: “His body’s interesting, he’s got a decent stroke. I don’t think he has a great feel, though. I feel like he should get more out of his ability than what he does.”

As for Majok?

DOPP: “I don’t think Majok ever gets there. He’s skinny, he’s already old (22) … I don’t see that happening.”


(See a related story in tomorrow's Register)

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Anonymous Brendan said...

I agree with most of this. However, I don't think the biggest issue with Stanley is character. I think he had some issues, sorted them out, and is apparently a great guy. The bigger issue with him is his handle, consistent shot, and tendency to drift in and out of games, especially in the 2nd half.

February 25, 2010 at 3:06 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Brendan, I totally agree. Remember, those quotes are coming from an NBA talent evaluator, not me.

February 25, 2010 at 3:18 PM 
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