Category Archives: Draft Debates

1-on-1: UNC vs. Duke

—> Just like a game of pickup on the courts down at the park, we at EVERY MONTH MARCH will be playing a little 1-on-1 throughout the college basketball season.  Two of our writers will be squaring off in typical street-ball fashion on the ‘Debate Hardwood’ to discuss some of the most Hot-Button topics, schools and players throughout the NCAA. <—

So, over the next few weeks, we are going to begin some back-and-forth about recruiting battles that happen every day between rivals.

Where would you go if you were a top recruit? Why? Why not?

We see teams and coaches battle on the court, but the battle doesn’t end once the game is over. Coaches are at consistent odds with each other, competing for the best players to enlist into their program.

One recruit’s decision can significantly alter multiple programs at one time, and this can be lost on the casual college hoops fan. Let’s start with the biggest rivalry in college basketball: Duke/North Carolina.

DUKE

Pitching Duke on its own could be done by a half-witted fourth-grader while on the short bus on the way to school.

Not. That. Difficult.

However, when it comes to pitching Duke over their archrival North Carolina, the task becomes a bit more murky. Duke and UNC battle over the top recruits every single year, so this exercise is a pertinent one.

Take Austin Rivers, for instance.

He is, by all accounts, a top two or top three recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. His decision came down to UNC and Duke, and he chose Duke. That is an absolute game changer for both programs.

So, let’s take this from Rivers’, or at least a Rivers’-esque type of recruit’s perspective.

The old pitch against Duke would have probably have been: Sure, Duke is a great program. But how many guys has Coach K gotten picked in the top five or ten picks of the NBA Draft in the past five years? How many has he even gotten picked in the lottery? Now, the response to that is just two words: Kyrie Irving.

Irving did more for Duke than just playing in 11 games and bolting for the draft...

Irving did more for Coach K’s program just by being picked first overall in the draft than he really contributed on the court. Irving showed that Krzyzewski will take a guy into his program that will likely leave after a season, and that he will allow a guy like that to shine enough to be in the position to become a high draft pick.

That’s big for a guy like Rivers, or any other top recruit, these days.

What else is there really to say at this point about Duke?

Do you want to play in one of the most historic stadiums in college basketball history for some of the most passionate fans in the country?

Cameron Indoor Stadium—check.

Do you want to play for one of the three greatest head coaches in college basketball history? A guy who could have 90% of NBA jobs with the snap of his fingers if he wanted? A guy who has coached a gold medal team in the Olympics? Continue reading

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NBA Draft: Mock 3.0

The NBA Draft is now less than 24 hours away and we here at Every Month Should be March wanted to take one last stab at predicting this year’s outcome.

After two attempts to lock down this year’s draft class — taking an in depth look at teams needs, player ratings and scouts opinions — we have finally compiled all our thoughts into one Final Mock Draft.

Consensus #1 Overall, Kyrie Irving, leads us off but after that it’s about any bodies guess as who will be taken.

So, take a trip with us here at EMM and find out who our experts are predicting your team will select…

MOCK DRAFT 3.0:

  1. Cleveland CavaliersKyrie Irving, PG, Duke: The rumors have already begun that the Cavs have committed to Kyrie Irving, confirming what the vast majority of draft pundits have suspected. Irving has a lot to prove after missing most of his only season at Duke. Still, most believe that he is one of two players in this draft with any potential to be consistent all-star selections. Irving wins out because the league is becoming a point guard dominated league. (Mayo) 

 2. Minnesota Timberwolves Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona: With Kyrie going 1 overall, it’s pretty much a sure thing that Williams goes to the Wolves here. Long, athletic and good upside he could be a great addition to Kevin Love in the front court. He would also make Beasley an expendable commodity. Any takers? (Luke)

Brandon Knight will be ecstatic if Utah calls his name at number 3.

  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Everyone has Irving and Williams going 1-2. After that, no one is quite sure yet between Knight and Kanter. I have doubts whether the Devin Harris will actually be anything more than what he is (a starting point guard for a lottery team). Knight is the pick as they try and replace Deron Williams. (Giblin)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky, C, Turkey: Kanter gets taken 4th overall but maybe won’t fall this far. Utah is strongly considering him with the 3rd pick. If that is the case, Tristan Thompson may be the pick here (a reach). But for now we are giving the Cavs Kanter. Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are considered the only blue chip prospects in this draft, but Kanter is the top player of the next tier. This would be a coup for the Cavs.
(Dalton)

5. Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard, SF, SDSU: Some believe that the Raptors might go point guard with this pick, but I contend that they give Jerryd Bayless a shot at running the show. They have a big need for a swingman who can defend and provide some toughness to a team who definitely was lacking in that category last season. (Mayo)

6. Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic: The lengthy swingman is probably the most polished foreigner in this year’s draft class. If Leonard isn’t available here or unless the Wiz move up a few spots, Vesely is the best option and could be tossed into the starting lineup right away. (Luke)

7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker, PG, Uconn: Rumor has it the Maloofs want Jimmer, but Kemba is the better player and can sell tickets too. With Walker running the point, Tyreke Evans can move to the 2 where he’s a better fit. (Giblin)

Long, athletic, everything teams are looking for in a 2-guard, right?

8. Detroit Pistons – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado: The Ben Gordon experiment (and his contract) has not exactly payed big dividends for the Pistons. With a solid foundation of Greg Monroe at the post, the Pistons need to look to get younger. Burks is a good start. (Dalton)

  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Thompson is one of the better all-around players in this draft. He can guard multiple positions, is a versatile scorer, and hits the boards on both ends. He doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he plays with a blue collar attitude. Charlotte might see higher upside elsewhere, but they can’t afford to whiff on these top-ten picks. Thompson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game and should provide some stability. (Mayo)

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania: Sure, Valanciunas won’t be playing in the NBA next season, but come 2012-13 Andrew Bogut may also not be on the Bucks roster anymore. He may have the highest ceiling of any player in this draft. Look for a team to grab him in the top-10 regardless of contract issues. (Luke)

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Draft Debates: Chris Singleton vs. Jordan Hamilton

With the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant dominating the NBA from the wing, teams are continually looking to counter those stars with great wing players of their own.

Now, neither Chris Singleton nor Jordan Hamilton project to be anywhere near the caliber of James or Durant, but both are athletically gifted and likely to be good NBA players and that’s exactly what this draft class is all about – Potential!

So, who would you rather the defensive guru, Singlteon, or offensive aficionado, Hamilton?

Let’s take a look… shall we:

Chris Singleton, Florida State

(Giblin)

He's got the defensive game but will the lengthy wing ever develop an offensive arsenal?

What He Brings: Defense. Defense. Defense. In a NBA world with wings like the ones mentioned above, having a perimeter defender like Singleton can turn a team’s postseason fortune by shutting down these stars and throwing them off their game. But with Singleton’s size and athleticism, he can guard not only wing-oriented guards and forwards but also opposing team’s power forwards. That type of versatility cannot be overlooked. In a draft that is considered relatively weak, why not draft the one-sure thing: the best on-ball perimeter defender who can make an immediate impact?

So the guy has the athleticism and size to defend at the next level, but what about his offense? Well…it’s improved. It was pretty much non-existent his first couple years in Tallahassee, but he improved his PPG each of his three season at FSU and went from a 30% 3-PT shooter to 37%. That’s a big improvement but he still tends to be a little streaky. Developing a more consistent jumper would do wonders for his game. Nevertheless, he showed signs of improvement which has to be encouraging. But with Singleton’s size and leaping ability, he should be attacking the basket more and trying to pick-up more “garbage” points around the basket.

Some have questioned Singleton’s mentality and “fire” (I’m looking at you Chad Ford). I don’t buy it. You don’t jeopardize your basketball career by rushing your recovery from a broken foot to participate in the NCAA tournament without a little toughness and “fire.”

Possible Landing Spots: Washington Wizards (6th and 18th picks), Sacramento Kings (7th), Charlotte Bobcats (9th and 19th), Milwaukee Bucks (10th),Golden State Warriors (11th), Utah Jazz (12th), Houston Rockets (14th and 23rd), New York Knicks (17th)

Ideal fit: I honestly think Singleton is the safest pick in the draft. There are many gifted offensive players that end up playing in Europe or for perennial lottery teams. Defenders like Singleton are in such high demand and almost always find themselves playing in May and June. It’s not a coincidence.

That said, I think a blue-collar team like the Jazz would be a good fit. AK-47 likely is not going to becoming back to Utah, so replacing his versatility and defense with Singleton seems like a perfect fit. While Jerry Sloan might be gone, Kevin O’Conner will still love the versatility that Singleton can bring and would be a good complement to their already strong front court.

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Draft Debates: Point Guards, Walker vs. Knight

It is no secret that Kyrie Irving is going to be the first point guard taken in this draft. Whether that means he will be the first overall pick remains to be seen, but there is no chance that another point guard usurps him. From there, it has been widely speculated that Kentucky’s Brandon Knight would be the next ball handler off the board, but as the draft looms closer, things could be shuffling a bit. A lot of it will depend on what the Jazz, who many mock drafters have had taking Knight, decide to do with their third pick. If they pass on him, then that opens things up quite a bit. Some teams are rumored to consider Walker a better fit for their offense than Knight. Still, many teams are simply mesmerized by Knight’s upside. Time will tell–but let’s sound off on it.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky

He's represented the Cats, who's next?

What He Brings: The word “upside” is one of the most overused terms when it comes to any draft, but when it comes to picking 18- and 19-year-old kids who have only played a year in college, most of what teams base their decision on is potential, or in other words “upside.” Knight certainly falls into this category–not that he didn’t produce at Kentucky during his one year there where he averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 4.2 APG. NBA scouts are in love with his size for the point guard position. He stands at 6’4″ but his length doesn’t detract from his quickness or defensive ability, which is a big plus.

The questions arise as to whether or not he fits as a pure point guard in the NBA. Where Kemba Walker dazzles GMs is with his charismatic personality which instills a confidence that Walker can run a team. Knight, on the other hand, is much more reserved, but so is Derrick Rose. How is that working out for the Bulls? Knight can score in a variety of ways and proved during this past NCAA Tournament that he plays big in big games. His turnover numbers (3.2 per game) are definitely where he needs to work on his game and are part of the reason that some GMs aren’t 100% sold on him as a pure point guard in the NBA, but those are the kind of problems that can be ironed out in his development.

It would not surprise me in the slightest if five years from now Brandon Knight is rated as the best point guard to come out of this class.

Possible Landing Spots: Utah Jazz (3rd pick), Toronto Raptors (5th pick), Sacramento Kings (7th pick), Detroit Pistons (8th pick)

Ideal Fit: There is no way that Knight slips past the Kings at number seven. The question will be whether the Jazz snag him third overall. If so, I think it would be a great fit for both sides. With Devin Harris in the fold, Knight does not have to start and run the offense from day one. He can learn the system and develop behind a veteran player. The Jazz are amassing young talent that will be able to grow and develop with Knight. They have another pick in the lottery (#12) this year and added rookies Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward to the squad last season.

Hypothetically, if the Jazz were to choose a guy like Alec Burks or Chris Singleton with their later pick, they would have quite a group of youngsters to develop. A lineup of Knight, Burks/Singleton, Hayward, Favors, and Al Jefferson in three years could have other Western Conference teams a little nervous about their futures.

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Draft Debates: Reggie Jackson vs. Charles Jenkins

This draft is plenty heavy on point guards and there’s plenty of fringe first-rounders to be analyzed. But, with guys like Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker almost assured of a top-10 selection, there is tons of talent left floating between the mid-lottery and into the second round.

Two of these such “tweener” guards are Reggie Jackson of Boston College and the lesser known, Charles Jenkins from Hofstra. Both point guards are seen as athletic freaks in the eyes of NBA scouts and there is even lottery whispers sprouting up on both guys, mainly due to their potential.

Now, not much is known about the Hofstra product, Jenkins, but he’s got a lot of upside and is firmly on the first round bubble due to a stellar career, averaging close to 20 points and 4.5 assists per game. Meanwhile, Jackson was performing on a much more prominent stage nightly, playing against some of the country’s best teams. The Eagles guard broke out during his junior season, averaging 18 points and 5 assists per, while showing off his drool-worthy athleticism and newly honed ball skills.

The two prospects present much of the same for NBA teams, with a combination of athleticism and instant offense in the back court. In fact the two prospects are so closely rated that ESPN NBA Analyst, Chad Ford, has them rated as the 24th (Jackson) and 26th (Jenkins) prospects respectively on his big board.

Let’s see how the players break down comparatively:

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Draft Debates: Marshon Brooks vs. Alec Burks

Back in April, the shooting guard position was probably considered the thinnest position in the 2011 NBA Draft by a fairly wide margin. However, as the scouting process has continued, both through continued review of game tapes and pre-draft workouts, opinion around the two-guard has become more positive. The headliners of the group are clearly Colorado’s Alec Burks and Providence’s Marshon Brooks (no offense Klay).

Both played in similar situations this past year, playing for traditionally middle-of-the road programs while being the first, second, and possibly third option on the offensive end of the floor. Burks probably had a bit more talent around him and was also helped out by playing in a league that was not the Big East; thus, Colorado won quite a few more games than Providence. Still, Burks certainly was the driving force behind one of the most successful seasons that his former program has had in some time. Brooks did not enjoy the same type of success when it came to wins and losses, but he certainly made a name for himself, leading the Big East in scoring at just under 25 per game. His 52-point performance in a loss to Notre Dame was one of the more impressive efforts in a loss in quite some time.

Mock drafts have these guys all over the place. Burks has widely been rated a little bit better of a prospect, but Brooks has made a charge of late, gaining “sleeper” status by many draft pundits. Giblin and I are going to figure out who we’d rather have on our squad and where the best landing spots for each might be.

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