Bucksketball Podcast

Venn Diagram: Joe Alexander and Gordon Hayward

| June 9, 2010

Category: Draft Talk

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I’m constantly reading, hearing, seeing and being told how the Bucks may make a mistake and draft “another Joe Alexander” in Gordon Hayward.

But I don’t get it. If it means drafting a player who won’t work out, that makes some sense, but Milwaukee will run that risk with anyone they draft. Of course, I don’t think that’s what people mean when they say Hayward is “another Alexander.” I think people really believe that the two have some similarities. Which blows me away. If anything, the player I think most resembles Alexander in this class is Hassan Whiteside, another workout wonder with very little successful basketball on his resume. Of course, Whiteside is nearly 7-foot tall with the wingspan of a small plane, so Alexander rarely is mentioned in the same sentences as him. Oh, and there’s another difference between Whiteside and Alexander that seems to be playing a more significant role in this conversation.

Both Alexander and Hayward are indeed white. And that’s why they are linked. Foolishly, that’s how many people first judge players. White players are typically unathletic, good shooters and rely on their intelligence to make up for their inability to dunk or do fancy dribbling tricks. That is the stereotype that exists. It’s so powerful that before Alexander was drafted, two other friends and I had to spend 15-25 minutes of a car ride convincing another friend that Joe Alexander was in fact one of the most athletic players in the draft, much to his disbelief. But the games, experience and production of Alexander and Hayward are so drastically different, I’ve assumed everyone would be able to get by the fact that they are both white and see how they could have completely different impacts with the Bucks.

But that appears to have been wishful thinking.

Anyway, I’ve put together a handy comparison of Alexander and Hayward hoping to put to rest the talk of their similarities, though I’m fully aware the comparisons will continue on as long as Hayward is connected with the Bucks. Bear in mind that I obviously have not listed every difference and similarity, just enough so that I feel like the two are justifiably different.

I’m not naive and I know if Hayward is drafted by the Bucks, none of this is going to go away unless he proves that he can be a productive player. But as someone who enjoys basketball and seeing the differences in players that play it, the comparisons between these two are one of my pet peeves. This is my pet peeve therapy.

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About the Author ()

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in January of 2009 because he hated his job. It’s like basketball, but with Bucks instead of basket. I know ... I’m sorry. He might come off as a bit negative, but I'm really not so bad. He just wants the Bucks to succeed, so he points out areas where they are coming up short. Someone has got to do it and he's ornery and opinionated enough to take on that task. He isn't sure if this should be in third person or not. Contact him at Jeremy@Bucksketball.com if you must use e-mail.

Comments (4)

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  1. hoopinion says:

    I think Babbitt’s a closer comp to Alexander (though Babbitt’s clearly better than Alexander was, also) due to the difference between the great results of his athletic testing and his low offensive rebounding, block, and steal rates against relatively weak (even by collegiate standards) opposition.

  2. Jake says:

    You’re right that the only big similarity between Alexander and Heyward is that they are the same race. I don’t think the Bucks will repeat the Alexander mistake again because John Hammond and Co. were still moving into their Bucks offices as players were coming in for workouts. They have a lot more time to evaluate talent and interview players now that the same group has been around for a couple years.

  3. Matt says:

    Adam Morrison!

  4. Mat says:

    Basketball is a slightly racist game and the NBA is an extremely racist league. Fans, GM’s, scouts, even the players. 6’10 fellows are automatically perceived as non-ball handlers. But there are plently of tall players who can handle the rock like guards. But is a coach gonna play against the odds and risk his neck and let a 6’10 guy start dribbling everywhere? Nope. White fellows are automatically perceived as non-athletic, high-IQ shooters. Is any coach gonna play against the odds and risk his neck and let a white kid try to be a slasher (which Joe Alexander is)? Nope. Thus, it’s hard out there for a pimp…any white pimp…in the NBA…who is any type of player other than a gel-guy shooter. Name one. doesn’t happen. its a league of perception. and the perception is tainted by the racism. Too bad. But to all you Alexander haters (everyone on this board), try not to hurt urself jumping on his bandwagon when he starts killin. peace