What I like most about the NBA Draft is that college basketball fans care about it. I’ve said being an NBA fan can be lonely, but this is the time of year that college fans and NBA fans can unite and talk about how the best players in college will fare in their new careers.
Most of my friends are casual NBA fans who love college basketball to death. We’ve all been following hoops for years upon years. We’ve devoured every piece of available information about Wisconsin and Marquette and kept our eyes on competitors from all over. Despite all that two things stand out to me about us as fans (and really about all fans out there in general)
A. We still don’t know very much.
B. We can’t agree on much (if anything at all).
So it came as no surprise to me when I threw out some Bucks related NBA draft questions that it spiraled out of control into a barrage of emails about college basketball. Fortunately at this time of year I’m able to relate it to the NBA. Today, I will use our emails to assist me in my breakdown of potential Bucks prospects.
The friends in question will henceforth be referred to as: Bucksketball (that is me obviously), The Obnoxious One, The Hothead and The Rational One.
This is a marathon post, so make sure you have some time or find a good spot to park at halfway through. Without further ado…
Who should the Bucks go with at number ten?
The Hothead: I think if they take Flynn the Bucks should send out a statement stating they want to be an average team for the next 10 years with him running point. I can’t see Johnny Flynn getting any team over the hump anytime soon. His ceiling is probably an average starting point guard to a really good backup.
The Obnoxious One: Who are you expecting to get here? They are picking 10th in a weak draft. You’re not going to find a superstar there. Flynn would be a great pick at ten. He fills a need and will be a solid point guard. Think Jordan Farmar, Aaron Brooks, or Jameer Nelson level.
Bucksketball: Aaron Brooks is a little different player than the other two. I don’t think he’s (Johnny Flynn) anywhere near as polished now as Nelson was when he came out. I’m really starting to believe that Flynn will not be as good as Tyreke Evans or Jrue Holiday.
I think there is some Big East bias in effect here. (SIDE NOTE: The Big East dominates our usual topics of conversation. All four of us grew up in Milwaukee and at various points in our life followed Marquette religiously. I now follow them with less vigor. The Rational One and the Obnoxious One have gone on to graduate from Marquette. This leaves them, ahem, slightly biased when it comes to the Big East.)
Obnoxious: Of course he’s (Flynn) not as good as Evans. That’s why he’ll be gone before the Bucks pick. I think Holiday is way overrated. He was the number three or four top scorer on a team that was not that good.
The Rational One: How many players over the years have been drafted on potential…and haven’t amounted to anything? The fact is, we have seen that Flynn, Evans and Eric Maynor can all play. Not so much with a guy like Holiday. He’s still very young and has a lot of growing/ maturing to do.
The draft is an in-exact science, but I will take a guy that has shown he can play, and lead his team, over a guy with “potential” any day of the week.
Bucksketball: The ultimate rule of any draft has long been take the best player available. So if Evans is available at ten, is he the pick?
He has the upside of a Jrue Holiday with actual college production backing it up. He’s got great size for a combo guard and played successfully out of position for an entire year. Redd has two more years with the team, but could probably be traded during his last season. At that point Evans should be more than ready to fill in.
The list appears to be, in no certain order, Evans, Flynn, Blair, and Holiday. (SIDE NOTE: These emails took place before the recent “Jordan Hill is dropping” discussion.)
Obnoxious: I do like guys coming out of Calipari’s system. Rose was ready to play right away after one year in college. I still really like Flynn and I think this is a year where the Bucks need to go with need. Again if they can resign Sessions then I don’t think they need a PG.
I haven’t really looked into it. Shouldn’t they be able to keep at least one of Charlie V or Sessions? Is Luke Ridnour definitely gone?
Rational: If the NBA’s off-season was like every other league’s, this would be easier for the bucks to handle. In every other league, free agency comes before the draft. In the NBA, it comes after.
If it was before the draft, they could make a decision on CV/Sessions, and then draft accordingly. Instead, they have to draft, not knowing what will happen in free agency.
Bucksketball: The Bucks know what will happen with those two. It’s just a matter of whether or not they can make a deal to free up space to resign Sessions. Villanueva appears to be as good as gone. I think they would rather move in a different direction anyway. For all his offensive talents he’s probably never going to be the player the Bucks want defensively at that position. Power forward is a hugely important defensive position.
Hothead: On DraftExpress they did some research on Flynn and said he only finished like 48% of the time he went to the cup… they felt that might be a problem when he gets to the league since that was only against college front lines. I would take a gamble on Jennings if he was still there no doubt.
Rational: I wouldn’t be surprised if Jennings goes back to Europe if the Bucks draft him. Under Armour wants to position Jennings where he is going to get the most exposure for himself and the Under Armour brand.
Milwaukee isn’t the only place they don’t want him to go, but it’s near the top of the list. Ideally, they want him in DC, New York, or New Jersey
Bucksketball: Jrue Holiday has worlds of upside – more than Flynn I’d say. Holiday played out of position in an offense that did not play to his strengths at UCLA. From what I’ve read he’s very ready to come in and play right away, regardless of what happened at UCLA. He’s also expected to develop into the type of guard that can guard both point guards and shooting guards with much effectiveness. Considering how important point guards have been in team’s offenses the past few years, how can anyone resist a potential lock down defender at that position?
Flynn does not have that defensive ceiling. His athleticism will keep him competitive with other point guards, but he’ll always be battling to guard bigger points. He’s so quick though that he should be able to hound guys coming up the court should his future team ever wish to deploy him in that type of manner.
What I like about Flynn is that he is ballsy as hell. It’s an immeasurable trait, but one of the most important characteristics that a point guard can have. I feel like Flynn could step in from day one and be willing to take a last second shot with the game on the line. The problem is that he is kind of a jacker.
Hothead: What about Patty Mills? Too high to pick him?
Rational: Yawn. How often do mid-major players come in and have an impact in the NBA? (SIDE NOTE: As it turns out, not very often.)
Hothead: I think Holiday would be a better pick than Flynn though. Flynn makes a lot of careless plays, I think Holiday is more NBA ready to play right now.
Rational: That is quite a bold statement…what have you seen to make you think he is NBA ready?
Hothead: I just don’t think Johnny Flynn is ready. He takes a lot of bad shots. If those are the people we are discussing than my choice is Holiday.
Bucksketball: Well, what about Dejuan Blair? Sometimes I think he’s going to be a beast. I’d rather have Blair than James Johnson. Blair is so complementary though. If we’re keeping RJ then I want Blair. He’ll just have to work and help Redd, Bogut and RJ. It’d be a perfect role for him.
Hothead: I like his toughness, it would work for the Bucks. He needs to improve his jumpshot though. If we draft him are we hoping he becomes Carlos Boozer?
Rational: I like Blair…he’s a beast, and will continue to be a beast. Brings a lot of toughness. (SIDE NOTE: Big East Bias alert. Also note how often we like to use the term beast to describe Blair. That has to be a good sign, right?)
Obnoxious: I think Blair would be a great pick for the Bucks if they can keep Sessions. If not, I think they have to go point guard (or maybe go with McSteal (SIDE NOTE: McSteal is the affection name given to former Marquette swing man Jerel McNeal.) in the second round? Think about it, a good defensive minded player for a defensive minded coach). Blair would be a great fit for the Bucks. He can fit the mold of a Kedrick Perkins or Big Baby or Ben Wallace. A lot of championship caliber teams seem to have that tough, hard working body banging at the four and it compliments the stars really well. That’s exactly what Blair can fill. They don’t need him to become as much a scorer as Boozer is.
Hothead: You just named guys that were 27th pick, 35th pick and undrafted. We should use a top ten pick and not except any offense from him?
Bucksketball: I hesitate to say this, but I think teams are more savvy to this type of player now. They know what to expect and they know how important he is. I don’t think he has much offense aside from tip ins and dump plays. He could still average 10 a game just based off those types of plays alone though. I would never run one play for him, but the other things he’ll bring to the game make up for his likely scoring deficiencies. The NBA is figuring out that it’s not just about PPG and RPG. There is a lot that doesn’t show up in the box score that is crucial to wins and losses.
Obnoxious: I didn’t say no offense. We don’t need the offense Boozer provides and I don’t think Blair can or ever will provide that. If you don’t think that type of player warrants a number ten pick then the Bucks should not draft him. I think Blair is overvalued at ten, but I do think he would be a great fit for the Bucks and provides a major role they are missing.
Hothead: I think we will be able to get that type of player later on in the draft. Point guard will be a pressing need even if they keep Sessions. The Milwaukee Bucks will not win a championship with Ramon Sessions as the starting point guard
Obnoxious: I’ll take Sessions for one year right now over Derek Fisher. The Lakers have a very good shot at a championship I don’t think you can say that. (SIDE NOTE: This is where it’s clear this guy isn’t an ardent NBA fan. Fisher is at least an adequate three point shooter, a perfect guy to be playing with Kobe. Sessions appears to be not allowed to even consider a three point shot.)
Hothead: I don’t even know what that is suppose to mean. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant.
Bucksketball: I think its awfully early to rule out Sessions. I did it awhile back and regret that. The heat won it with a decrepit Gary Payton and molding chocolate version of Jason Williams running the show. They just need someone better next to him.
Hothead: When the Bucks get Kobe and Gasol or Shaq and Wade on the team come talk to me.
(I told you it was a marathon.)
And that is really what it’s all about. Superstars win titles. We all know that as we pile through scores of information, trying to outsmart each other and figure out who will be the breakout star of this draft. Will the Bucks get a superstar at ten this year? It’s unlikely. But we can hope right?