NBA AM: Movement Among The Draft’s Point Guards?
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Little Guards On The Decline: The early buzz on the small point guards in the 2013 NBA Draft class has not been good.
As teams begin working out players, some in head-to-head situations, the commentary flowing out on the smallest of the NBA Draft is not redeeming.
Trey Burke (6′ 1.25″ in shoes), who is considered by most to be the top point guard candidate, continues to get hammered by talent evaluators for being too slow for elite status at the next level. Burke is still likely to go in the top ten, but teams with pressing needs seem to be looking elsewhere and view Burke more as a solid backup than a franchise guard. Burke is expected to begin workouts soon and it’s possible he could sway some team’s opinions on him, but as teams really start to tear apart the draft Burke’s stock is taking a significant hit.
Dennis Schroeder (6′ 2″ in shoes) may not be the star in the making that some are projecting him, concerns about Schroeder’s shot and his slender frame have teams doubting that he can be an impact player worthy of a lottery pick. Schroeder has started working out for teams in hopes of cementing some guarantees. One league source said Schroeder is still a first round pick, but doubted that he could go in the teens where many have projected him.
Miami’s Shane Larkin (5′ 11.5″ in shoes) also has his detractors, mainly due to his size. The common complaint about Larkin is that he “plays small” and that’s a problem at the next level. Larkin logged some of the most impressive athletic stats at the NBA Draft Combine last month in Chicago and as he begins his workout tour he will need to prove to teams that he can play “big” and use some of those freakish athletic skills to overcome his size deficit.
On the flip side the lovefest over Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams continues to flourish. Talent evaluators continue to gush over Carter-Williams’ length and potential at the next level. The common comparison for Carter-Williams is Shaun Livingston before the knee injuries, which might be a little off considering Carter-Williams isn’t nearly the explosive athlete Livingston was coming into the NBA straight from high school.
More Draft Buzz: Sergey Karasev put his game on display for NBA executives this weekend in Las Vegas, the first extended look talent evaluators have had since the Nike Hoops Summit.
Overall the reviews were mixed. Karasev did some shooting off in the corner in which he barely missed and was hitting long twos and NBA threes with precision. However, when it came to three-on-three, Karasev wasn’t nearly as impressive. Some of it may have been related to some 15 hours worth of travel Karasev endured to make the workout, some of it might have been who he was playing with – there was a lot of ball domination in his group. Karasev did show some refined skills in the three-on-three, including the ability to come off of screens impressively. Paired with the right point guard, Karasev could be a deadly perimeter player.
Two big concerns from NBA teams were his rather slender frame and his overall feel for the game. It’s clear why Karasev gets talked about in the first round, he is a deadly shooter from deep, however he’ll need to showcase some more of his game to insure the mid-first round promise his camp thinks he’ll receive.
Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to rise to the occasion. After spending a couple of days with Hardaway Jr. before the draft combine, it was clear then that the read many had on Hardaway was going to change. He generated a lot of positive buzz at the combine in Chicago and now that he’s started working out for NBA teams, it’s clear that he’s turning heads with his all-around game and his mature and polished approach.
Hardaway is a classic example of a player’s college career not being a good reflection of his abilities – some of that might have been the role he was asked to play at Michigan, some of it might have been a little disinterest in the college game.
So far in the draft process, Hardaway has been one of the players that might have changed his stock the most. Teams continue to describe it the same way – proven versus project. Hardaway comes across as a proven commodity in a field of project players and at the bottom of the draft where playoff teams are concerned, Hardaway’s value as a contributor right away could cement him a place at the table in the first round.
We Want To Know:
The Philosophical Rift: It’s going to be hard for Memphis Grizzlies fans to understand this comment, but Lionel Hollins doesn’t fit in Memphis.
Yes, the Grizzlies are coming off their deepest run in franchise history and yes the pieces couldn’t have fit together any better than they did this season, but depending on who you talk to that might have been despite Hollins, not because of him.
The Grizzlies are going to allow Hollins to talk with other teams about their head coaching job, sending the message that Hollins not coming back to Memphis is more likely than not and for anyone who’s followed this process you shouldn’t be surprised.
Hollins is his own man. He is a throwback coach that stresses defense, hard work and calls it like he sees it. He scoffs at the notion that advanced analytics should drive the discussion. He routinely drops barbs in the press aimed at new management and ownership and he is simply not going to change for anyone.
That is exactly why Memphis is likely moving on.
Some will say Memphis doesn’t want to pay for a head coach, and that might be true. Some will say that new ownership wants their own guy and that might also be true.
But the reason that Hollins likely isn’t back in Memphis has more to do with refusing to integrate into the team that is being constructed in Memphis.
If you look at the teams that have sustained success, the teams that are routinely in the playoffs and always competitive, they have one common thread – they are all on the same page – from the front office, to the coaches, to the players, to the ball boys.
Like it or not Memphis’ new ownership and front office have a defined relationship and methodology, they work well together and see the world the same way. They are all rowing in one very specific direction and Hollins as head coach is rowing in his own direction and that philosophically does not work.
Grizzlies’ ownership speaks well of Hollins, they have from the very beginning, but what they won’t say and has been clear from the jump is that Hollins doesn’t fit what they are trying to build and the decision to let him talk to other teams only reinforces what’s been so clear all season – Hollins’ time in Memphis is likely over and it’s because he does not fit philosophically into the collective that’s been assembled in Memphis.
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Minnesota Not The Only Team: There has been a lot of chatter recently about teams trying to move up in the 2013 NBA Draft, with the Minnesota Timberwolves being the latest team linked to a move up scenario.
Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press tweeted that he’s hearing the Wolves would be open to moving forward Derrick Williams and the No. 9 to move up presumably to towards the top of the draft to get a grab at Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo.
Sources close to the draft process say that all three of the top three picks could be had for the right combination of assets.
One team sitting on multiple picks said this weekend at the ASM Sports Pro Day that he felt this would be one of the easier draft classes to move around in, especially getting into the top.
There have been several teams linked to moving up including the Lakers, the Grizzlies and the Hawks.
The Grizzlies and Hawks hold multiple picks, including several in the second round where salaries are not slotted or guaranteed which tend to be more attractive to teams with cap concerns or roster spot congestion.
The 2013 NBA Draft is on June 27 in Brooklyn, which is in roughly 24 days.
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