“a player that played pretty well in college, but we’re not sure how he’ll translate to the pros, everyone better hold their breath and hope he does though.”
This is where we take a look at a few guys that translate to role players with a little more safety. Here’s the thing about these three. Few people think any of them will be stars, but most think they are a safe bet to land on rosters and hang around for a long time. In every draft, there are loads of guys who will be out of the league within three to four years. Drafting a guy like that is a certifiable disaster if a team is in the lottery and probably expected half the time if a team is not. At 15, if Milwaukee can get a player they want to give a second contract to, that’s a success. These three seem like second contract type players, though maybe not stars.
But who knows, maybe they’ll surprise.
Paul Imig from Bucks Beat at JSOnline is down at the combine and has some video of interviews with a few players. Here’s his Gordon Hayward video.
DraftExpress.com Mock: 17 Chicago Bulls
NBADraft.net Mock: 16 Minnesota Timberwolves
Chad Ford on Anderson in Vegas
Anderson was virtually the entire Oklahoma State offense last season. And he did not disappoint, finishing sixth in the nation in points per game. Offense has certainly been the focus of Anderson’s game through three years in college. DraftExpress pegs him as a terrific shooter.
Anderson’s shooting ability is simply outstanding, as he boasts excellent form, consistent mechanics, a quick release, and terrific range on his jump-shot. Despite shooting just 36% from beyond the arc this season (more an indication of the type of defenses that are thrown at him than anything), Anderson projects as a high-level NBA shooter any way you slice it when looking at the way he can put the ball in the net.
But Anderson isn’t a one trick pony. What may particularly intrigue Milwaukee when it comes to Anderson has been his steadily rising ability to get to the free throw line. In his three years in college, Anderson shot 105, 164 and 258 free throws in each season, with his junior year numbers good enough to rank 11th in the nation. The large number of a attempts fit well with his 81% accuracy rate from the line. Milwaukee has needed someone who can step in and get to the free throw line with consistency off the bench and, if John Salmons leaves, in the starting lineup.
Anderson doesn’t have blow you away type athleticism, so he’ more prone to rely on craft to get himself to the free throw line. Think Michael Redd, but don’t panic. Redd was long able to get to the stripe without a 40-inch vertical or mind-blowing quickness. His various scoring abilities certainly are what have gotten him on the map at this point.
And he’ll have to be able to put the ball in on the next level if he wants to succeed according to DraftExpress.
The biggest chink in Anderson’s armor and the main thing holding him back from being able to project him as an outstanding NBA role-player has always been his play on the defensive end.
Inside that statement lies trouble. If Anderson is projecting to be a role player on the next level, he’ll absolutely have to be a defender to see many minutes for the Bucks. There’s no question he can score, but if he isn’t contributing to getting stops for Milwaukee, he won’t see enough time on the court to produce much offensively anyway. His lateral quickness is questioned and while his 6’8” wingspan isn’t awful, it’s not monstrous like Damion James (7’0”) or Stanley Robinson’s (7’0”). But sometimes, knowing how to score can go a long way. Chad Ford had positive things to say about Anderson’s workout in Las Vegas.
Anderson isn’t the quickest nor the most explosive athlete, but he uses his size, toughness and a knowledge of how to get to the basket and get separation to pour in the points. While he wasn’t a showstopper in the drills portion on Tuesday, when they rolled out the ball for 3-on-3 play on Wednesday, he dominated. No one who guarded him could do much to stop him. He even displayed an underrated skill — his ability to hit the open man when the defense collapses in the lane.
DraftExpress.com Mock: Not in first round
NBADraft.net Mock: 31 New Jersey
Brackins worked out for the Bucks last Monday along with Paul George and a variety pack of players with second round possibilities. Brackins is a very interesting case.
Traditionally, players with big time vertical leap numbers, size and shooting ability don’t make it through three years of college. They leave early and scouts and front office types alike drool over their potential as they sky rocket up the draft boards in the months and weeks leading up to the big day.
But Brackins hasn’t experienced that yet. After his sophomore season, he had to decide whether or not the time was right for him to toss his name into the draft as a likely first round pick and Brackins decided to return to school. He was primed for a big junior season that would vault his stock up into the higher parts of the lottery.
But things didn’t work out that way. Brackins numbers dropped across the board. A lower field goal percentage, fewer points per game, fewer rebounds and even fewer possessions used. Did Brackins regress in every way as a junior? He talked to Chad Ford about his numbers at a recent Vegas workout.
“I may not have put up better numbers as a junior,” he said. “But I became a better player, physically and mentally. If the NBA scouts liked me as a sophomore, I think they’ll see I’m a better player because of last year.”
For Brackins, last season didn’t seem to be as important as what he can now show scouts in workouts. His tools are second to few. He has a surprising 40-inch vertical to go with a reach of nearly 7’0”. In workouts he’s apparently shown the ability to step out and hit threes, although he has very little evidence that supports the claim that he’ll be able to do that in the NBA based on his college body of work.
Learning to deal with constant double- and triple-teaming in college could prove to be helpful in the league to Brackins. DraftExpress had favorable things to say about his ability to work out of isolations and make pull-up jumpers after his 2009 season, and it’s hard to do either of things when facing a gaggle of defenders. If Brackins can provide a solid release valve option as a midrange shooting power forward, he could fill a role on the Bucks. At least, he could if his defense holds up. DraftExpress has concerns about that.
…his frame doesn’t project well when trying to determine how he’ll fare against NBA caliber post scorers.
At 22, Brackins does still have some room to grow and fill out as a power forward. But he doesn’t project as a great on-ball defender down low. Though, considering how many great back to the basket power forwards there are in the league these days (less than 10 is my guess) perhaps it’s more important that he’s just active and athletic. He has the athleticism, whether or not he’s active may rely on his future coaching staffs and his motivation.
DraftExpress.com Mock: 18 Miami Heat
NBADraft.net Mock: 21 Oklahoma City
The flavor of the moment. I’ve actually heard rumblings about Hayward catching the eye of those in the Bucks organization back in March, so it’s no surprise to me that Hayward is gaining steam as a perspective choice for the Bucks if he’s available at 15. After leading Butler on a stunning ride through the NCAA Tournament, Hayward has become a much debated draft prospect. I’ve had friends complain to me that they’re worried about taking “another Joe Alexander” even though the two players could not have more differences.
Hayward projects as a terrific shooter, despite struggling from distance last season. Playing on a mid-major team as their featured player, he faced loads of double-teams and wasn’t always comfortable with his shots. DraftExpress dives into this.
Hayward was defended more effectively than he was in his first season at Butler, and he took some shots that he may not have taken as a freshman. In 2009, nearly 75% of his catch-and-shoot jumpers were unguarded, according to Synergy Sports Technology. He saw less than half of such attempts go uncontested in 2010.
He’ll obviously have more of a supporting role in Milwaukee. Think Carlos Delfino, but hopefully more consistent and with more upside. That has me thinking Manu Ginobili, but I’ll tone it back a little bit. Perhaps some Mike Dunleavy Jr. too? I may keep going back to that due to the similar physical characteristics and the fact that their both white with high basketball IQ’s.
Aside from athleticism, the biggest difference between Alexander and Hayward is Hayward’s basketball IQ. A good example comes from a breakdown of his numbers offensively. We’ve acknowledged that Hayward slumped on his 3-point shooting last season, but he didn’t let that ruin his offensive output. He took over 100 more 2-point shots his sophomore season than he did as a freshman and bumped his shooting percentage on those by nearly 7%.
Freshman Year: 56/107: 52.3
Sophomore Year: 126/213: 59.2
When teams weren’t letting him get good looks outside the arc, Hayward showed the ability to step in and create better shots for himself, something not everyone is able to do. As a reference point, in his junior season, Adam Morrison shot 49.6% from the floor, 42.8% on 3-point shots and just 52.2% on 2-point shots. I know people are going to harp on Hayward’s athleticism, but there is a lot more to the game than just hops.
And in saying that, I should address Hayward’s defense. His length isn’t great (he measured 6’7.75” wingspan) and his quickness has been challenged by many. But according to Chad Ford, scouts thought he looked quicker and more athletic than many of them expected at the combine in Chicago. What Hayward most has going for him, is effort and a motor that doesn’t have him quitting on plays. From DraftExpress:
Regardless of who he matched up with, Hayward was a fairly effective defender for two reasons: First and foremost, he never gave up on a play — although some players were able to get a step on him off the dribble, Hayward consistently stayed with the play and rarely gave his man a free pass to the rim. Second, he doesn’t over-commit, and seems to understand the limitations of the player he’s defending. While neither of those tendencies will assure him success in the NBA, they certainly won’t hurt his transition.
Those are the kinds of players that have a chance to do well in Milwaukee. If he’s giving effort, can hit shots and shows a high IQ, it’s likely that Coach Scott Skiles can make it work with Hayward. Whether he’ll be around at 15 may be another story though.