Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More thoughts on the draft

For all of the stories that have been written about new statistics making it sound like the draft and player evaluations are mature and scientific and thoughtful, with random dudes waving around regression analysis like a magic wand, etc., it's funny how much of a significant part stupidity plays in the draft. Particularly, stupidly limited comparisons. I mentioned before about how Euros are only compared to Euros (why not compare Danilo Gallinari to Kevin Durant?). But I think there is something particularly bothersome about the "questions" regarding Michael Beasley's character. I don't know much about the guy, but according to stories he used to play practical jokes on people when he was in high school, and now people are worried that he is not serious enough for the NBA. The issue I wanted to point out are the comparisons.

1) He's left-handed, slightly undersized for a 4, a good rebounder, and has inside-outside offensive skills. Therefore, he's the next Derrick Coleman? And because of that comparison, people are worried that he'll be a bust or he's not willing to work hard enough, a la DC. So, would the questions still be there if he were right handed?

2) He has sleepy eyes:

Which makes people think he's not playing very hard when they see him on the court. How would he be a top scorer and rebounder if he didn't play hard? Besides, Tracy McGrady should have put all worries regarding sleepy-eyes to rest by now.

[UPDATE: I had thought that the "sleepy-eyes" observation was original, but I just noticed that the same exact wording appears on freedarko, in the (excellent) Retarded Ornithology post. So yeah, credit where it's due. The point still stands. I agree whole heartedly with DLIC when he says "Wait, have we already talked about how Michael Beasley's sleepy eyes have cost him draft placement because they appear to suggest lack of work ethic?"]

The Lakers only have 1 pick in this draft, at #58. I'm hoping they pick one of those random foreign guys who can continue playing in his home league for a year or two before coming over, but if he's available I would love for them to draft Jamont Gordon. I don't really know why, but I've decided that I like him. A taller Kyle Lowry, perhaps? Also, I am wondering what is going on with Sun Yue, the tall point guard they drafted in the 2nd round last year. Will he join the team next year? Star alongside Colby Karl for the D-Fenders? In any case, I would assume that Sun will be participating for the Chinese national team, who will be in Group B along with the U.S. and Spain, so we should get a look at him then. Is he really the Chinese Magic Johnson? The people must know!

After the draft, I'll have plenty of commentary on who was the best and worst-dressed, crazy memorable suits, who got whom, and, particularly, any big trades or whatever that happened. In that vein, apparently the Blazers just bought another 1st round draft pick, from the Hornets. Given how many good young players they already have, one would guess that with 5 picks in the draft this year they are setting themselves up for some movement. There were already rumors about them picking up Barbosa. Let's see what happens!

Finally, only tangentially related to this year's draft: Let's hear about Marc Gasol! Pau's little brother, who was a budding star in Spanish junior leagues until he decided to move in with Pau in Memphis during high school. He went native and got super fat and it looked like his career was over, but then he went back to Spain, got in shape, and is now the reigning MVP of what might be the second most talented basketball league in the world. The Lakers drafted him last year and then used him as a throw-in in a trade for his better-known brother, but now that Marc is a year older and an MVP, is he coming to Memphis? And do the Grizzlies have some rule about only being able to have one Spanish player at a time? (They had Pau all these years, then brought in Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau was gone within months, now Navarro has left the team to return to Spain and they might bring in Marc).

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