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2009 NBA Draft (KnicksFanatics Live Blogging Event 06/25/2009 @ 7:15pm)

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June 25, 2009 Posted by | Eric Maynor, Gerald Henderson, Jonny Flynn, Live Blogging Event, NBA Draft, NBA Lottery, New York Knicks, Rick Rubio, Ty Lawson | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report: Tyreke Evans

6’5″, 221lbs

17.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.1 spg, 5.4 rpg, 3.9 apg 3.6TOs, 45%fgp, 71%ft%, 27.4% 3pt%

igm-gravatar-copyIGM KNICKS ANALYSIS

Did I save the best for last?  If not, it’s damn near close.

Tyreke Evans brings a great combination of athleticism, skill and size to the 1-2 positions.   This is a nice sized guard and would probably be the best choice for the Knicks, even over Stephen Curry since we all know we can find scorers.  However, big multi-talented guards are a little harder to come across.

He has a well-rounded combination of skills.  He can run the floor, handle the ball, pass the rock, retrieve the bounds and play some D.  However, he needs to work on his shot including his free throw shooting in order to maximize his weaponry.  He seems to almost throw the ball from the back of his head. He needs shooting practice, but he is far more reliable at this point than Brandon Jennings. I would also be very concerned about the low number of assists and the high number of turnovers.  That is a signal that he may not be able to truly play the point position well-enough in a traditional offense.  However, in an offense like a triangle he would probably excel. One report compares him to Hughes and Crawford. That is not necessarily a good thing since Hughes never realized his potential and Crawford is still dealing with his.

He is certainly an added threat on the floor at either guard position.  In addition to his size, you must appreciate his ability to complete drives with a body on him.  As Geoff Petrie said, this guy is strong. He knows his way aroudn the basket and can make difficult shots. He is accustomed to having the ball in his hands as he stated in one of the interviews below. He will need to learn to live with playing off the ball as well.

Others seem to be mesmerized by the speed of the young guards in this draft as though an ability to run fast with the ball in your hand is the penultimate.  Speed is not the critical element for good playoff basketball.  The ability to create options in half-court game/sets is extremely important.   Tyreke has that potential as he can ball in the interior.

He has nice one-on-one creativity skills. You’ll see in one tap how he abuses a young Derrick Rose on the offensive end.  I do believe this is a response to a tape of the same competition where Rose abused him on the other end.  In any event, he can play with Rose.  Reportedly, he can also play with the other top points in this draft.  After being accused of holding soo workouts to avoid the competition and dropping in the draft, Evans  attended Timberwolves workouts which included Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague, North Carolina’s Ty Lawson, UCLA’s Jrue Holiday, Syracuse’s Johnny Flynn and Brandon Jennings.  Reportedly Evans performed well.

I’d rank him under Rubio and Curry in terms of potential to make an immediate impact on a squad. The Knicks could be happy with this pick should he slip to 8th.

OUTSIDE SCOUTING REPORTS

NBA DRAFT.NET

NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford/Larry Hughes

Strengths: An extremely smooth and talented guard … He has an incredible wingspan, with a very strong and mature body … Has proven that he is able to play as a lead guard, but his natural position seems to be as an SG (where he can still be a facilitator, but can look to score more often) … Loves playing at a fast pace, where he doesn’t have to worry about play calls but can rather create on the fly … Puts constant pressure on the opposing team with his aggressive style … Plays with an edge and cockiness that will help him succeed … Was thrown into the thick of things from the beginning and he responded with a very nice freshman campaign … Playing in a spread offense that is predicated on ISO plays, he has proven that he can break down people off the dribble and get into the lane … His vision and passing are extremely advanced, and he’s shown that he can be a reliable distributor … Possesses deceptive quickness and has a variety of crafty moves with clever footwork that allow him to get by defenders … Has a nice repertoire of counter moves, whether it’s a crossover, spin, in& out or behind the back dribble … In traffic, whether in the half court or in transition, he is very steady and comfortable with his dribble … Even though he rarely finishes above the rim, he has a great touch around the basket, and uses his body and finesse to convert on a good percentage … Defensively, he has great hands and his wingspan allows him to get deflections at a high rate …

Weaknesses: His jumpshot has shown very little progress and he continues to struggle with inconsistent shooting … Most of his shooting woes can be directly pointed at his unorthodox release … He slings the ball from behind his head, losing sight of it completely at the point of release … Must improve his midrange game, his pullup lacks rhythm, often leaving him off balance with varying results … A bit of a tweener at this point, does not have the blazing speed or quickness to play as a PG full time, and lacks the vertical explosiveness possessed by the wing players … A decent athlete with an unreliable outside shot (a combination that is not ideal for the next level), he will have to rely on his deceptiveness and crafty game off the dribble to get by defenders … Has always had the ball in his hands and been allowed to operate freely, will he be able to adapt and still be effective playing off the ball and does he know how to use screens or how to work in a traditional half court set? … Is still prone to tunnel vision, where he seems to forget about his teammates … Defensively, he is a bit lackadaisical, and while he does have long arms, because of questionable lateral quickness he will have to work extremely hard to contain the ball on the perimeter … The 3.6 TOs per game are a result of both the system he was in, and his out of control play … Needs to learn to pick his spots better, rather than attacking into traffic and getting into trouble …

Borko Popic – 5/28/2009

Strengths: An elite level talent in his age group … A natural scorer with an excellent “feel” for the offensive side of the game, can put up big numbers on any given night … Flashy. One of the most exciting players when he has the ball; the game comes very easy to him … Long arms allow him to play bigger … Extremely adept at taking opponents off the dribble. Has deceptive speed with the ability to blow by guys and get into the lane … He has good finishing ability and is able to drive and kick … A smooth ball handler with a nasty crossover … Can shoot from anywhere on the court. Streaky, but can be lethal when he’s on … Already has an NBA range from behind the arc … Can create his own shot and is excellent pulling up off the dribble … Finds the open man; runs the fast break well … Excellent penetrator. Very aggressive attacking the basket … Has the versatility to play either guard position and the potential to develop into a point guard or combo at the NBA level …Weaknesses: Was hyped a bit out of control as a high school sophomore. From magazine covers to being called the next great thing half way through one’s high school career can cause some to lose focus … While he’s very talented, he’s got along ways to go before you could call him a sure fire NBA star … Lacks discipline. He must improve his fundamentals. Dedicate himself to becoming great and not just rely on his natural abilties … He is on a strength program but still needs to add strength to be able to finish off drives and handle physical opponents … Since at times the game is so easy for him, it seems like he lacks effort and motivation … He can be a lazy defender, does not always give great effort going after loose balls and rebounds … Hasn’t proven that he makes his teammates better or that he can take over important games during crunch time … Must develop a killer instinct Must become better at playing off the ball. He’s very good at creating with the ball in his hands, but must learn how to free himself for shots away from the ball … A very good shooter, however the mechanics on his release are a little funky. He may need to adjust his shooting form some … There’s a lot of street to his game, so he’ll likely need to tone it down some to limit turnovers and become a sound college player …

Notes: Plays AAU ball for Team Final … Similar to Derrick Rose, Evans was raised by his older brothers.

Greg Goettner – 4/13/2007

DraftExpress.com

Situational Statistics: This Year’s Point Guard Crop

May 8, 2009
Tyreke Evans has the scoring tools to be productive, but needs to improve his perimeter arsenal to be efficient.

Evans was the top player on our list in possessions used per game as a finisher at 8.8, and his PPP of 1.14 lands him a bit above average. Unfortunately, his overall PPP was .88, which lands him slightly below average and exposes the biggest weakness in his offensive game: his jump shot. His PPP in open catch and shoot situations was a paltry .86. Couple that with only .69 PPP on jump shots off the dribble, and it becomes abundantly obvious that Evans is far from a complete package offensively. His PPP of .54 on isolations is a bit disconcerting as well, but it shows that he’s opportunistic enough to find his way to the rim in other situations, while also displaying his tendency to force the issue in one on one opportunities. Getting fouled at an average rate and not being too turnover prone, whichever team drafts Evans needs to take the time to develop his jumper to help the transition of his dribble-drive game to the NBA.
[Read Full Article]

VIDEO LIBRARY

Tyreke Evans v. Derrick Rose

Tyreke Evans Mix

Tyreke Evans’ Pre-Draft Workout with Kings

Tyreke Evans Interview with New York Media After Knicks Workout

Tyreke Evans Combine Interview

Tyreke Evans Pre-Draft Interview

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June 25, 2009 Posted by | NBA Draft, NBA Lottery | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

WALSH SPEAKS ON THE UPCOMING DRAFT

Donnie Walsh Transcript

compiled by Ricky Henne, NYKnicks.com


Posted Jun 22 2009 3:oo p.m.


Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh addressed the media on Monday, just three days before the 2009 NBA Draft. Below is a transcript of what Walsh had to say regarding the draft, the Knicks and the NBA in general.

Question: Why would you have (Jrue) Holiday in twice?

Donnie Walsh: I just wanted to take a final look at him, because I’ve seen him but I wanted to make sure everybody saw him, scouts and coaches.

Question: How much of a fear is it, I mean obviously there have been a lot of guys who have gone from being freshman to being good NBA players, but is that something also for guys like him that are in that same boat?

Walsh: Yeah, but there’s a lot of them. So is it a fear? No, not if you think that he can project into being a good NBA player. So in the case of most of the guys that are in this draft, that’s what is being done. But it is a jump of faith to try to predict a guy into a certain level, because you are going on what is his potential and if you feel good that he is going to reach it.

Question: Is there something you didn’t see from Holiday the first time that you wanted to?

Walsh: No. I saw him play in the regular season so I have a good feel for him. But going into the draft, you start watching the way the draft can go and you want to make sure. So there wasn’t anything earth shattering, it was like, well, why not let him come in again. And his agent said fine. Most of these kids are going to go to the NBA Draft, so they are on their way anyway.

Question: Are you aware of the smokescreens that are out there now, and the teams ahead of you? I mean, Washington is talking about seven players…

Walsh: Yeah I know.

Question: So do you see games being played, especially because there is a lot of parity in this draft?

Walsh: Yeah, I think that’s true. The only player right now is (Blake) Griffin. You know where he’s going and after that, all the way down past us, you have no idea who is taking who. And I think its to a degree because there is parity. There’s also at this point most teams got a guy that they want to take, and they don’t want anyone else to kind of figure it out. And we have a few teams that are traditionally like that at the top of the draft, and have been for a while.

Question: So do you have to have a plan A, B, C, D…

Walsh: Yes, of course. That’s what we’ll do.

Question: Is that what looking at Holiday a second time is?

Walsh: That’s part of it, but I think we also have until Thursday night and we need to spend it exactly on that to be sure that if this, this and this happens, where are we?

Question: When he talks about smokescreens, is that what people talking about (Hasheem) Thabeet and (Ricky) Rubio falling out of the top four is? Or are you pretty confident that they won’t be around when you pick eighth?

Walsh: No, I’m not.

Question: So you are confident or you aren’t that they will be available?

Walsh: I’m not confident that they will be in the top four.

Question: So they could slide down your way?

Walsh: Yea, they could. I mean, it’s possible. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but you are hearing all this stuff and reading all this stuff. It could happen.

Question: Is this the most in flux a draft has been that you can recall?

Walsh: Not really. I mean, I think they are all like this. People are afraid of teams jumping ahead of them. They figure out, ‘Oh, ok if I want this guy he’s going to stop at four, then I have to get three” and then a trade at the last minute (could happen).

Question: Do you understand why Rubio might slip? Is it because of his situation with the buyout, he hasn’t worked out for anyone…

Walsh: I think it’s effected (Brandon) Jennings as well. They are not here, you don’t hear a lot about them, in Rubio’s case he didn’t work out, so you either really have to want him, because he is not in the news so to speak as much as the other players. And I think Jennings was that way too. That’s why he’s working out a lot. I’m sure he’s impressing some teams.

Question: Did you ask or want Rubio to come in?

Walsh: Probably back, but not now. We are down to it, and we know he’s a good player.

Question: But earlier in the process…

Walsh: Well when we started, I probably wanted to get him in.

Question: So you won’t meet with him?

Walsh: I don’t need to.

Question: Is he still number one on top of the board in terms of point guards?

Walsh: I don’t know. You have to ask the guy whose got two. (laughs)

Question: So on draft night you will have a scenario of someone trying to get up to number two…

Walsh: Yeah, those things happen in the draft. I’m not saying you don’t talk about them now. It’s also in the draft, you might get a call five minutes before you pick or five minutes before they pick.

Question: Do you think there will be any less of that because of the parity?

Walsh: I think there’ll be more than that.

Question: Given the depth of the draft at point guard, do you think it’s likely that’s where you end up?

Walsh: No, I don’t. The players that are at our pick, and the player we think is best for us, that’s who we’ll pick. We haven’t picked out a position that we need to get in this particular draft.

Question:Are you thinking that (Stephen) Curry and Tyreke (Evans) just might not be there at eight?

Walsh: I think that there are a lot of guys that might not be there so I have to be ready for who is there and what we’re looking for. There are good players.

Question: The player that you draft, could he impact the free agents, particularly the top free agents that you have?

Walsh: It depends who it is to be honest. There are some guys that are ready to play right now, and there are some that are very young and need time. The draft isn’t something you can grade the next day. You have to wait to see how you do. There is LeBron James and Michael Jordan, but in most cases, players need time.

Question: Last year, it was the first time working with Mike (D’Antoni). His system isn’t traditional. Do you look at that when you are picking?

Walsh: Yeah, I think you always do that. You always have a coach who has a style, so you try to pick for that style, but not 100-percent. If the guy is good enough, you figure he’ll fit in to his style.

Question: Do you want another number one pick because you don’t have one next year?

Walsh: I’d love to have one but people aren’t running around offering.

Question: Are you shopping for one, or even a two?

Walsh: Yeah I mean you always ask, but people are very reluctant to do that because they don’t know how they are going to be next year.

Question: There is talk with the way economy is, teams might be selling off picks. Have you seen any of that?

Walsh: No. I haven’t seen anything like that. We kind of talked to some people we thought would, and they haven’t yet.

Question: How far down in the draft would you go if you got a pick for next year to make it worthwhile?

Walsh: This year, I think you will be able to pick players 20-30, who while they haven’t got the cache of some of the players that are picked before that, so I think once we get the draft down and we are pretty close to it, you might be able to get a really good player at 20-30 if you get the right pick.

Question: Is there a market for your players? I mean a good market?

Walsh: I’m not sure. Because I probably value them more than other people.

Question: You’ve been asked about your players I presume.

Walsh: Yeah, there are some who do and some who don’t.

Question: When you talk about what you need and talk about point guards, it seems you like a scoring point guard?

Walsh: That’s not true.

Question: So what do you feel like you need from that position right now.

Walsh: I think a guy that can play a fast tempo. And I’d like a guy who can defend too, so those things. But someone who can play a fast tempo, because that’s what we want to play.

Question: Some say after that the players after one, they all seem kind of the same. Is this not a mediocre draft? Are you saying it is a decent draft?

Walsh: Well I think there are good players in the draft, so in that regard, there will be good players where we are so in that sense it is a good draft. You know, you have to wait two or three years to find out how really good it was. There are some years you go in thinking it’s not a really good draft, and you wake up two years later and these guys are starting, one through 20, and you think ‘Wow, that was a good draft.’

Question: When you evaluated Curry and he talked so much about wanting to be here, how much of a factor is that to you? Just the fact that he’s talking about it, what do you think of it?

Walsh: Well I’ve heard that from a lot of players, and so I like that. I like it better than someone who says he doesn’t want to be here. (laughs)

Question: How different is it this year in New York compared to your first year in the draft?

Walsh: It’s the same. I mean, I’ve told you guys I think you’ve got to get good players when you have this kind of opportunity. So that’s what I think. We have to pick the right guy.

Question: Have you seen Rubio play in person?

Walsh: No. I saw him on TV and all that, and I’ve watched a lot of film on him. A lot.

Question: But your people have.

Walsh: Yeah, I’ve got a European scout who is from people. We have people.

Question: How much do you blame the player or the agent when he decides he doesn’t want to work out?

Walsh: I don’t blame the player. Usually it’s the agents strategy and it either works or it doesn’t.

Question: What’s the strategy?

Walsh: The strategy is to get him picked by the teams the guy wants him to get picked by.

Question: Do you think New York is one of those teams that people wouldn’t mind…

Walsh: Well because we are at eight, not at the beginning but maybe at the end. Who knows? I’m not part of that strategy.

Question: What is your opinion about the one-and-done rule? Would you like to see high school kids be able to come out?

Walsh: I’m probably at the other end of the stick. I thought we had a great farm system. And it was free. But it is what it is now. The NCAA.

Question: Do you think there would be less scandals…

Walsh: Well I’m not going to comment on that because I am not in that world anymore. I just think that when guys went to college for four years, when they came out, they were ready to go to the pros. They receive great coaching, they receive a college degree. So when they come into this world they were ready. We as teams now, we have to make up for that when they get here. We’re doing the best we can. We’re fasting getting to a point where we can do it well, but it wasn’t traditionally so what an NBA team did when it started.

Question: Being that you want to compete sooner than later, are you more apt to go with a player who can contribute right now than a player who might be a project and might take a year?

Walsh: It depends who it is. It really depends on how good I think he can be eventually. And that can be an older guy or a younger guy. You have to look at that.

Question: There are a few small point guards in this league. How important is height as a fact for point guards?

Walsh: Well I would like them to be bigger than smaller, but there are obviously some smaller point guards who are making an impact on the league. I think a lot of that has to do with the rules on the perimeter, so they are not counted out just because they are smaller anymore.

Question: Do you think it’s easier for them to get along in today’s NBA than it used to be?

Walsh: Yeah, I do. I think the floor has opened up a lot. It’s very hard to guard some of the quickness that’s coming into the league particularly with smaller guards, without putting your hand on them and that’s a foul now. Back when I started they could pick you up with one hand and that wasn’t a foul. (laughs) But yeah, I think its better.

Question: Is this your last lottery pick in New York?

Walsh: I hope. Well I’ll say this, whether I was in New York or Indiana, I hope this is my last lottery pick. I never like being in the lottery.

Question: As the Celtics and the Lakers have proven the last couple of years, if you take on salary, there are big time players available if you want to make a trade. Do you think that will happen again this year given how many teams are trying to cut costs?

Walsh: Yeah, I think the guys you think can make a difference to take you from a losing team to a winning team, people will make the investment. But if its close, they might night.

Question: Do you think there are teams that are willing to take on salary anymore?

Walsh: Yeah, I do. I mean, I think there will be, if they see its going to push them up into a winning team. Because if you have a winning team, then you fill the stands and you make a lot more money. And I think that’s the way those teams think. And they want a chance to win the playoffs.

Question: Do you have a better feeling about the David Lee situation today than you did when the season ended?

Walsh: Absolutely not, because I’m not allowed to talk to him or his agent. I mean, I can say hello and that kind of stuff, but no I don’t. I won’t know that until July 1.

Question: How is (Danilo) Gallinari’s recovery?

Walsh: Good, from what I’m told. He went to a photo shoot for the league I think, so I haven’t seen him in about a week. But all the reports I’m getting back is that the operation was a success, and whatever remains to be done is more rehab, and then I have to talk to him to know exactly, but it doesn’t seem to be a big obstacle for him. The doctor is at the point where she’ll let him go play now. But I haven’t talked to her. But he’s close.

Question: Can any pick you make be influenced by what you might possibly want to do later in the summer in free agency or trades or whatever?

Walsh: Well, you are always influenced by what you need and what you might do. So yes, those things could come into it. I’m at a stage now though where I’m trying to see who is the best player for the team, and I’m assuming if you do that, then those things will be there.

Question: Any sense of what the chances are you are going to stay at eight at this point?

Walsh: No, I mean, how many trades get done in the draft? Whatever that percentage is, that’s what it is. Everyone wants to move up all the time.

Question: How confident are you after this offseason ends that you can make the playoffs?

Walsh: Well look, that’s what we want to do. Confident? Well I won’t be confident until we do it. I mean, we’ve got to go out and do it. You can go out and talk about it all you want, but the idea is to try to get to that. And I talked on my first day here, that the most difficult thing will be last year and this year because you’ve got to be very careful with what you’re doing if you have a strategy, like trying to stay under the cap?

Question: How’s Eddy Curry?

Walsh: He’s doing well, from everything I’ve heard. I did see him one day on the day of the Chicago thing, I went up to Detroit and watched him work out. And he’s working very hard, he’s losing weight, and he’s starting to get his body to look like an athlete’s body again. I have to give him credit for working as hard as he can work to try to do it.

Question: When you watch the Finals and you see how the playoffs shook out, bigs are valuable. You have one that a couple of years ago was in the conversation to be an all-star…

Walsh: Yeah, and bigs are valuable in the playoffs. That’s when they are at their best and you really need them, because they can distort the game. And he’s a low post player. Now, at the four and sometimes at the five, you get guys who are standing outside shooting. But when you get to the playoffs, that isn’t as dramatic as having a guy they have to double-team and have to worry about all the time. So you always want that.

Question:What about Jonny Flynn?

Walsh: He’s a guy, who even in college, if you catch him on the right day, even in these workouts, this guy, if teams want a certain type of point guard, then you go for him.

Question: What about Sacramento and all the talk about them and what they might do?

Walsh: Well they are the eye of the storm right now. Everyone is trying to figure out what they are going to do, and it will be different tomorrow.

Question: Hypothetically, if Rubio is sitting there are eight, is it a slam dunk that you would take him?

Walsh: It depends who he is with. I can’t predict who he will be with. But I think there are other players who are on his level. He has experience, a great game, flair – but like most players in the draft he’s got some things he does better than most NBA players and he some things that he doesn’t do. And I can’t think of anybody in this draft that doesn’t fit into that category. That’s where he is. He’s like 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5. That’s a big guard.

Question: Is that what you like most about Holiday, that he is a two-way player?

Walsh: Yeah. I mean, he’s a good player. And he is good defensively, yeah.

Question: Of the guards, is Evans the most explosive going to the basket?

Walsh: Well, he is one of them because he is powerful and he has a great handle. If he gets kind of an opening, he is very strong so he gets there. There are a couple who get there one quickness, he gets there because of that. And he can pass too. If you help off on him, which you are probably going to have to do, he will get the open guy.

Question: Is he a combo guy? Is he more of a two in your mind?

Walsh: No. I think he can play both, but he will be a point guard eventually in the NBA. You can post him. I think he weighs 215.

Question: Does he have to work on his shot a little bit?

Walsh: Yeah, but I didn’t see – all these guys that I heard couldn’t shoot, that would be the quote, I didn’t think they were that far away. So I think all these guys they are saying that about, they will get better in the NBA because most players once the concentrate on being a pro and are shooting all the time, they get better. And their form, these guys forms at this point, they are not bad. I mean, he shot it well when he was here. He was hitting threes. He shot it very well.

Question: Are there questions about Stephen Curry defensively?

Walsh: Well, I think you have to have a system for all these players, and to me, a guy like Curry is smart enough to figure it out and learn how to play in the NBA defensively.
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Related Previous Posts:

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Ricky Rubio

And With The Eighth Pick, The New York Knicks Select. . .

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jrue Holiday

Is Brandon Jennings Playing Media (and Us) With Rubio Diss?

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Eric Maynor

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Brandon Jennings

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Demar Derozan

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Series Stephen Curry

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Tywon Lawson

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jonny Flynn

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Brandon Jennings, Donnie Walsh, Jrue Holiday, Mike D'Antoni, NBA Draft, NBA Lottery, New York Knicks, Rick Rubio | , , , , , | 21 Comments

Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report: Ricky Rubio

ricky-rubio Dribbling6’4″, 180 lbs

10 ppg, 39% fg%, 42.3% 3pfg%, 80.4 ft%, 6.1 apg, 2.2 spg, 3.0 topg

igm-gravatar-copy

IGM ANALYSIS

Sorry Fanatics. Call me an MSM mouthpiece if you want, but I’ve done my homework and I can say without hesitation that Ricky Rubio is the truth. No lie.  Certainly, he has been over-hyped, but we can easily cut through the media generated uber- image and see the real thing.   I offer you 44.5 minutes of game tape below to help you understand that this kid is the real deal with skills that will translate to the NBA.  The problem however is that there are many other questions which cannot be answered until he goes up against the best international competition in an 82-game, 30 to 48-minute per game schedule traveling from American coast to American coast for a full season.   I will go on record now and say that it is not the game that will bother him — he can play this NBA on-court  game — — it is all of the peripheral elements of being an NBA baller that may prove to be his greatest obstacle to excellence.

I took great pains to view all the tape very closely before reading the scouts.  After I wrote my piece, I found that I saw it just about the same as they did.   I will not change my view to be different or exclude their views to avoid repetition.  It is what it is.  This kid, Rubio, is good, O&B.

Make no mistake about it.  Rubio has game, but plenty of room for growth.  Let’s strip away the pin-point, laser accurate, showboat passes and the behind the back, hesitation dribble for a moment and pay attention to his basic skill set.  There are two keys for Rubio — his court vision and his timing.  His court vision will not change once he is in the NBA.  Like Magic Johnson and John Stockton this guy sees the entire court.  Sometimes it seems as if he sees it seconds before a play happens, like he is in a time warp. (Remember the character “Hiro” in “Heroes” the television series, who could control time? Rubio’s not quite there yet. LOL).

I can count the number of players on my right foot  who talked about (and proved) that they could see, while in motion themselves, the game develop seconds before it happened.  Chris Paul, Rubio’s basketball model, sees the game like that.  For those players, the game moves extremely slowly and they are able to anticipate action, shift gears and control the game.  Clyde and Magic are among those who knew exactly where the ball needed to be and when; and had the skills to get it there.

The second element, timing, is a little trickier because Rubio is currently playing on Euroleague time.  In the Euroleague, although the competition has improved significantly, the game does not move as fast as the NBA game.  I am not certain how long it would take Rubio (or any other player from the Euroleague) to adapt to the speed and strength of the NBA game.  He is fast.  His ability to fill lanes and anticipate passes on defense is good, although his man-to-man defense seems to suck (welcome to the Knicks or Kings). He is quick with the ball in his hands.  Perhaps, he will be in charge of how his timing is affected since he will have the ball and control the tempo of the game.  He will also need a good coach to help him adjust.  But, if he can make the adjustment to the “speed” of the NBA game, which I bet he can, he will be fine.

There are certainly several concerns.  It is difficult to tell whether he will be more than just a role player.  But he talks about the need to practice and he plays with great intensity.    Does he have the heart to stick with the ups and downs of playing NBA level competition at this point in his development?

Another concern is his strength and conditioning.  Can he physically handle the NBA for 20 to 36 minutes a night?  The way he plays the game, I would guess, not yet.  He drives to the basket a lot and has a nice ability to score on the drive.  Mostly he is a backboard user.  He swoops, hooks and banks his shots out of a defenders reach.  However, I did not see him subjected to a lot of physicality in those tapes.  He was not banged up in those drives.   In the NBA, especially playoff ball, he will absorb a lot of body shots.   Dedicated players will constantly work to improve their strength and conditioning.  It may take a couple of years, but it does for most ballers.

I am only slightly concerned about the fact Rubio seems to travel (I think they call it “steps” at Rucker ) a helluva lot.  But knowing Stern, it won’t be traveling in  the NBA  since the game is traveling abroad. The NBA will just change the rules again to meet the playing style of his stars.

Rubio’s shooting is only fair for now, but the critical thing is that he can hit from any spot on the floor and he can do it on the move.  His form is fine; he needs to continue practicing. He seems to shoot jumpers with both feet on the ground (that’s a “set shot” at The 4th Street Cage). He barely elevates for his tres.    Now that’s odd for a pro baller.   With his uncommon ability to see the open man and to anticipate defensive moves, he will create a lot of open looks for himself.  Once he hits those with regularity, forget about it, defenses are toast.

Rubio’s defense looks deceptively good in highlights because he gets quite a few steals by anticipating passes in the lane and timing opponent’s dribble.  I especially like the over the back “axe steal” which should be a foul, but he executes it to perfection.  (That’s what I mean about timing).  However, that also means he is a gambler and will leave his teammates exposed and his team defense broken with that type of risky defense.  He also does not seem to put a lot of pressure on the ball.  I’m sure the video below of all the American buckets against Spain in the Beijing Olympics is not fair for judging defense, but it is one of the few videos that isn’t a valentine for Rubio.  In that video, he seemed lax on D and not very strong.  But in all other videos, he seems to hustle quite a bit.

There seems to be an issue about Rubio’s contract, which he has discussed vaguely on TwitterReportedly, Rubio must pay $6.5 million to buy out his current contract with DKV Joventut. According to Rubio’s dad, Esteban, the termination clause in the contract does not reflect Rubio’s actual salary.  He would be paying them more than he actually earns to get out of his contract.  The owner of DKV is attempting to convince Rubio to stay until 2010 at which time he claims he would cut the buyout in half.  He believes the buyout is not unfair and that Rubio may have been young when he signed it, but he had adult advisers.  He says that Rubio benefited greatly from playing for his team and the contract is what it is.

Some fans are upset that Rubio has made it clear that he is not interested in playing for the Grizzlies, who have the 2d pick in the draft.  Fans seem to hate when teams publicly try to muscle other teams into not selecting them (a la Peyton Manning).  They believe the reason is that he would prefer to play for New York, while others say that the real reason is the bad experiences Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro, fellow Spainards, had in Memphis.  The word is out that Memphis is not for Spainard pros for whatever reason.  Rubio did visit Sacramento, but became too ill to show his wares.  At the time of this writing, there are no reports regarding whether Rubio will work out or visit other teams such as OKC.  But, the truth is that he really doesn’t need to workout.  He knows that he will be going in the top 8 and probably the top 4.

Yes, Rubio is hyped, but this guy is not hype.   Put him with some good players and he will do fairly well.  Will he be a star?  I don’t know about that, but I would think of him as one of the top three guards in this draft.  Don’t be mad if the Knicks pick him.  Be pissed if they don’t develop him properly.

(Don’t forget to make your draft choices in our draft selection post “With The Eighth Pick, The New York Knicks Select. . . )

OUTSIDE PRE-DRAFT REPORTS

NBADRAFT.NET

NBA Comparison: Jose Calderon/Steve Nash

Strengths: One of the purest point guards to come around in a while … His vision and ability to deliver precise passes make him the ultimate distributor … Has good size for the position, allowing him to survey the court over top of defenses … A great and natural feel for the game allows him to see plays before they materialize, keeping him one step ahead of the opposition … He is extremely good at maintaining his composure when operating in the pick and roll, he does not panic when the defense converges, but rather shows patience and waits to make his reads … Loves to split the hedge on a high ball screen to get into the paint … Has a wide repertoire of moves off the dribble … Knows how to incorporate head, pass and shot fakes to get defenders off balance and to keep them guessing … Uses change of speed and direction extremely well, always mixing up the moves and staying unpredictable … His shot has come a long way in the last year or so, even to the point where he has become a serious threat from the outside … Defesively, he plays with a lot of energy and puts in a great effort to put pressure on the opposing ball handlers … Quick hands and terrific anticipation allow him to get his hands on a lot of balls … His game is mature beyond his years due to the fact that he has played on the top senior level for a long time … He has been on the draft radar for some years and has been able to maintain a fairly high level of play … Has shown that he can perform on a big stage by being a key member of the Spanish National team in the Olympics …

Weaknesses: Has good speed but lacks the great explosiveness that top tier point guards in the league possesses … He is forced to shoot high amount of attempts in the paint because his marginal leaping ability makes it difficult for him to finish around the basket … Heavily depends on the pick and roll to create his opportunities and does not show a great ability to break down defenders in ISO situations … Has gotten better at taking what’s open, but his pass first mentality still gets him into trouble as he passes up open shots … His jumper is still not a finished product by any means … Because it takes him a bit to get his feet set, and his release point is fairly low he still looks like a set shooter … Has battled some injuries over the last year, which raises the question of durability and whether he will be able to handle the rigors of an 82 game season … His game has been up and down this season after coming back from his injury (Had a better overall season last year) … His performance on the international scene does not guarantee his game will translate well to the NBA … Is also a bit of a risk because of his high buyout and because he has hinted at staying overseas if he doesn’t go to the right team …

Borko Popic – 6/15/2009

Strengths: The problem with Ricky Rubio is: Where to start? He has more skill than anyone in his worldwide age group. Including but not limited to: Defense, anticipation, intelligence, ball handling, PG (vision) creation, rhythm, coordination, ambition, scoring and personality He is practically ambidextrous, has good foot speed (not great) and excellent body control With excellent use of speed/ direction changes he excels both on the open court and the half court game as a set up or assist man Catch and shoot is quick and clean A smart rebounder, he gets optimum position under both boards Voted the best Euro young player for 2007, he has only acceptable shooting %s both from 2 and 3 points. His shooting delivery is consistent with no waste of time or extra movement. Ive thought about it a lot and think the best comparison to past-present NBA players would be the best of both Walt Clyde Frazier and Steve Nash At 17 years old he is already a feared and well respected ACB and Euro-level competitor. He is a warrior and plays all out, all the time. On top of that knows how to flop (with this kid its an art form) Hes also a master at getting to the FT line, where he knocs down a high rate (80%) Adventurous in his passing, he has two skills; Seeing and when necessary, creation of passing lanes. Excellent. Statistically he is a gem and he has personality. He leads. He knows how to win He will become a household name in many more households.

Weaknesses: His outside shooting needs to continue to improve Maturity will bring the necessary leg strength and stability to shoot with better consistency His ratio of Assists/ Turnovers needs improvement, time and experience being the only necessary elements required. Related to this: His youthful inexperience sometimes gets him caught out of control when competing with physically stronger men at the highest Euro level He is thin but will fill out as his frame is good.

Timo Lawrence – 4/29/2008

Weaknesses: Rubio will have trouble guarding point guards in the NBA. His lateral quickness is decent but not great. Against top competition, he does have some mental lapses at times. He often backs off his defender and uses his instincts to play position defense, but in the rare moments when he guesses wrong, he can get beat on simple plays like a back-door cut, or his defender will easily dribble right by him. Some of his height and vision advantage is lost when longer players guard him. He doesnt jump at all on his jump shot and could stand to change his shooting mechanics a little. This will be a problem when playing against elite athletes.

He is a big star at a young age, and already shows signs of having a big ego. He often creates contact and then expects LeBron James-type calls from the referees, and can get frustrated when he doesnt receive them. He has his own warm-up routine, and is often seen off on his own and not with the team, (although there are no reports of him not being a team player). The type of fame and success that hes had at such a young means it will be that much more important for him to continue to working on his game, improve his skills and not settle for just being as talented as he is now.

Joshua Motenko – 8/20/2007

DRAFT EXPRESS.COM

Situational Statistics: This Year’s Point Guard Crop

May 8, 2009
Ricky Rubio doesn’t have overwhelming stats, but he’s the youngest prospect on our list playing against by far the strongest competition, and thus isn’t as weak in some areas as people may imagine.

Considering his frail frame, lack of awesome leaping ability, and level of competition, it would be fairly reasonable to expect Rubio to struggle around the basket. Even though European prospects (and veterans for that matter) tend to have a lower PPP than their NCAA and NBA counterparts, Rubio actually falls right around the average of this group as a finisher at 1.11 PPP. His ability to transition that part of his game to the NBA is going to be very important when you consider that he takes under 2.5 jump shots per game, has made only 5 of his 25 logged pull up jumpers, and is still gaining confidence in his improved catch and shoot ability (1.1 Pos/G, 41%, 9/22).

Always better known for his creativity and playmaking ability, it doesn’t come as a shock that Rubio looks good in transition. He is shooting 69% on his transition opportunities on just 13 attempts this season –which is a bit misleading since he doesn’t take many attempts more because he knows when to give the ball up than because he isn’t pushing the tempo. In contrast, his limited isolation possessions are indicative of some issues, as he’s not going to produce a ton in pure one-on-one situations. Fortunately, Rubio, like most European point guard’s we’ve evaluated, is effective on the pick and roll. With 27% of his touches coming from the two-man game, Rubio could have a mutually beneficial relationship with the post players he is teamed with in the NBA, since they’ll likely make his life just as easy as he’ll make theirs.

Obviously our sample size is a bit limited for two reasons: Rubio simply doesn’t use that many possessions as a scorer (9 Pos/G), and he missed a good portion of the season with a wrist injury. We were on hand for one of his first games back in December, and while he’s shaken off some of the rust as the season has continued, his wrist is still limiting his production, but not to the extent that it was initially. Evidence for that can be found in the observation that Rubio drives left nearly 74% of the time he looked to go to the rim, the most of any player on this list by over 5%. His injury is also partially accountable for the fact that he turned the ball over on 28.5% (1st) of his halfcourt possessions. The team that drafts will need to make sure that they get him back on the right track as a shooter and help open up the floor to get him back in the swing of things to make up for all the time he lost this season.
[Read Full Article]

RUBIO’S VIDEO LIBRARY

Child Prodigy Rubio at 14

Ricky Rubio Mix

Born To Be Wild

2008-2009 Euroleague

Rubio On Defense Against USA Sorta Kinda
Spain’s Offense Against US in Beijing Olympics

Kobe on Ricky Rubio

Toby Bailey On Rick Rubio

Brandon Jennings Talking Smack

Brandon Jennings On Rocky Rubio. (Psyyyych or “Just Kidding,” Jennings says later.)  Click here to see video.

Ricky Rubio On Ricky Rubio (Pre-Draft Interview)

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Related Previous Posts:

And With The Eighth Pick, The New York Knicks Select. . .

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jrue Holiday

Is Brandon Jennings Playing Media (and Us) With Rubio Diss?

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Eric Maynor

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Brandon Jennings

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Demar Derozan

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Series Stephen Curry

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Tywon Lawson

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jonny Flynn

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Brandon Jennings, New York Knicks, Rick Rubio | , , , , | 8 Comments

And With The Eighth Pick, the New York Knicks Select . . . .

WHERE YOU ARE THE GM HAPPENS.

Vodpod videos no longer available. Next week the 2009 NBA draft will finally be here. The buildup has been intense and tense. At the draft Donnie Walsh and the Knicks will finally make decisions which may change the fortunes of the organization for years to come.  They dare not blow it, as hard as that would be from the 8th spot this year.

Although, some suggest the draft is not as strong as past drafts, it has proven to be one filled with potential and possibilities.  First, thanks to IGM for educating us on some of the fine points of the point guards. The series was very useful and I understand you may have additional posts on Ricky Rubio and Gerald Henderson. This group of points is very competitive and may provide much drama for the NBA as this becomes a bit more of a guard-oriented league.

But the Knicks options extend beyond finding a guard in the draft to run the D’Antoni offense. It may include a shooting guard such as Jordan Hill or a big such as James Harden. The Knicks may find their leader ready-made in free agency.

At this point the rumors are coming fast, furious and plentiful.  Some of them have a kernel of truth and others are smoke screens by general managers to disguise potential moves and sorta-secret desires.  The only certainty is that Blake Griffin will be drafted by the Clippers.  After that, it’s anyone’s guess. And we’re all guessing.

The selection process became even more complex with the terrific showing in workouts of guards such as Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn. And the potential of players such as Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson, Ricky Rubio, Jeff Teague, Jru Holiday and DeMar Rozan have team executives tossing in their sleep and biting their nails.  No one knows who will be going where, so the GMs must be prepared for almost anything.  They will have their “favored player” list and their “best player on the board” list.  The choices will be tougher as the first round progresses.

At 8, the Knicks seem to have enough choices that they do not need to make any player expenditures to move up in the draft.  However, without making a move forward before their selection, the Knicks are not likely to get their preferred players which seem to be, according to MSM reports, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings and Jordan Hill.  Still, even if those players are available. Ricky Rubio, a media darling, may fall to eight and make the Knicks choice that much more difficult (or easy).  I guess it depends on how you look at it. But do they take the Euro-star who enters the draft without working out against his major American competition? Do you dare take that gamble? Why not?

So, how do you look at it?  We have provided you, below, with five different scenarios that could arise by the time the Knicks pick at the 8th spot (assuming they do not trade up).  We want you to tell us who you think the Knicks should pick in each circumstance and if you can defend your choice, tell us why in the comment section after you take the polls?    What is the right pick for the Knicks, if as in scenario five, the unlikely occurs: Stephen Curry, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings are available? Who do we cheer for when the Knicks make that pick? Who do we boo?

You’re on the clock, but first a little inspiration — it can be good again.  Good luck.

The Ultimate Knicks Moment in the NBA Draft

Vodpod videos no longer available.

MOCK DRAFT SCENARIO #1

1. Clippers        Blake Griffin

2. Grizzlies       James Harden

3.  Thunder     Hasheem Thabeet

4. Kings            Ricky Rubio

5. Wizards       Stephen Curry

6. Timberwolves   Tyreke Evans

7. Warriors    Jordan Hill

Mock Draft Scenario #2

1. Clippers       Blake Griffin

2. Grizzlies      Hasheem Thabett

3. Thunder     Ricky Rubio

4. Kings          Jrue Holiday

5. Wizards    James Harden

6. Wolves     Tyreke Evans

7. Warriors  Johnny Flynn

Mock Draft Scenario #3

1. Clippers       Blake Griffin

2. Grizzlies      Jordan Hill

3. Thunder     James Harden

4. Kings          Jrue Holiday

5. Wizards    Brandon Jennings

6. Wolves     DeMar Derozan

7. Warriors  Jonny Flynn

Mock Draft Scenario #4

1. Clippers       Blake Griffin

2. Grizzlies      Stephen Curry

3. Thunder     James Harden

4. Kings          Jrue Holiday

5. Wizards    Hasheem Thabeet

6. Wolves     DeMar Derozan

7. Warriors  Ricky Rubio

Mock Draft Scenario #5

1. Clippers       Blake Griffin

2. Grizzlies      James Harden

3. Thunder     Hasheem Thabeet

4. Kings          Jordan Hill

5. Wizards    Jrue Holiday

6. Wolves     Jeff Teague

7. Warriors  Jonny Flynn

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Related Previous Posts:

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jrue Holiday

Is Brandon Jennings Playing Media (and Us) With Rubio Diss?

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Eric Maynor

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Brandon Jennings

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Demar Derozan

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Series Stephen Curry

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Tywon Lawson

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jonny Flynn

June 18, 2009 Posted by | Brandon Jennings, Donnie Walsh, Jrue Holiday, NBA Draft, NBA Lottery, Rick Rubio, Ty Lawson | , , , , , , | 19 Comments

IS BRANDON JENNINGS PLAYING THE MEDIA (AND US) WITH RUBIO DISS?

jennings_headerOn one hand, Brandon Jennings should keep his mouth shut as he disses player after player in his quest to become a top two lottery pick and an NBA star.  He should probably let his play in workouts do the talking for him.  Instead, he is supplementing (or is it supplanting?) his impressive one-on-one offensive displays with pot-shots at the likes of Tyreke Evans, Jru Holiday and now, Ricky Rubio.  (See video and draw your own conclusion).  Jennings has done the press a favor by giving them something to write about as the draft draws near and more focus is placed on a very competitve group of guards who are shaping the 2009 draft.

But, as Jennings finds a way to boost himself, while displaying either his arrogance or confidence (depending on how you look at it), you have got to wonder whether Jennings is playing the press to pump up his profile and marketability.  Jennings may have attended two high schools largely to play ball and had a hard time qualifying for college, but you gotta believe that his year in Europe taught him that the NBA is a business and this business will be his livelihood.  He knows that right?  Or is he just a skinny Ricky Henderson in shorts?

I don’t know for sure, but I think Jennings knows that being associated in a competition with Rubio is great for his career and probably Rubio’s.  Although he dogged-out Rubio a couple of days ago, Jennings  wrote some very nice things about him and his game in his December blog entry. He wrote:

“Now to what everyone wants to hear about, the game and the matchup with Ricky. Unfortunately Ricky only played about 8mins cause he’s still kind of hurt from a wrist injury he suffered in the Gold Medal game vs. Team USA, but in just 8mins he showed me a lot. I have a ton of respect for the dude. He’s real mature out there on the court, he has a great feel for the game. He passes the ball like crazy, reminds me of Steve Nash a little bit. Put it like this if he were in the class of 09 in high school basketball he would be the #1 player hands down. No question about it. I can only hope that when Ricky and I one day get to the NBA we can be like Chris Paul and Deron Williams, as our careers take off together like CP3 & D Will’s did. Despite what the critics say that he can’t shoot Ricky is going to be going a Great NBA player someday…he brings a complete game to the table.”

So who’s hyping who? Well, he got me.  I am looking forward to seeing them play each other in the near future.

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Related Previous Posts:

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Eric Maynor

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Brandon Jennings

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Demar Derozan

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report Series Stephen Curry

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Tywon Lawson

Fanatics Pre-draft Scouting Report: Jonny Flynn 

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Brandon Jennings, NBA Draft, NBA Lottery, Rick Rubio | , , , | 8 Comments

Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report: Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings Facebook6‘1″, 170lbs

Euroleague, 7.6ppg, 1.6 apg, 1.2 spg

igm-gravatar-copyIGM Analysis

OMG. WOW.  Brandon Jennings has mad, mad skills.  Viewing most of  the videotapes is an absolute pleasure.  Some of the film makes me feel even worse that I am not recommending him for lottery draft position because this is one analysis that could really come back to bite me. Sometimes GMs and Incidental GMs get it wrong.  But, I’ve got to go with my gut — what I see, what I know and what I feel.  The bottom line is that there is no way (as Knick GM) I could pick Brandon Jennings over Stephen Curry (and others) in the 2009 draft.  (If you look closely at the Europe videotapes, most of you will see why.)


The written reviews about this player are off the charts, including the fanfare afforded him by some astute Fanatics. He has the skills and the body frame for a high quality point guard.  If Rubio is the new “white chocolate,” Jennings is a “Deep Chocolate Jason Williams Souffle” with a kick.  He is flashy and creative and possesses “basic” pure point guard skills.   But he does not have the experience.  He was just recently playing in Europe after high school because of a combination of financial need and academic deficiencies. The larger problem however, is that HIS SHOOTING IS ATROCIOUS. He has trouble putting the ball in the basket unless he is hopping on top of the cylinder.   His shot is scary bad.  Again check the most recent tape of him in Europe in the Roma v. Unicaja game.  Wonderfully fast and gorgeous moves, but his shooting form is a form of chucking. (It looks even worse when you compare him to Stephen Curry).

Still, he is seen by many scouts as a high reward pick because of his speed and quickness and his ability to pass on the fly.

Since he is so loved and I think it is overblown, I have included all the video I could so that you get a sense of his skills and the type of person he is.  By the way, he seems to be a pretty good kid trying to make his dream come true. He is certainly battling through adversity to make it happen.  You must love the effort he is putting into being successful at realizing his dream. His persistence (plus showmanship plus upside) will get him an NBA gig.

IMHO, however, the arc of his story suggests that he will be a journeyman free agent for a few years before he becomes a serviceable role player for a veteran squad.

Jennings is getting a lot of praise and style points for making the brave decision to leave his comfort zone and go to Europe where he had a chance to play ball on a professional level.  Brandon is thankful for the experience but less enamored by it than his supporters.  About the experience during which his playing time consistently diminished, he says. “If I could do it all over again, I probably would have signed with a smaller team, but things haven’t worked out that bad.”

Despite gaining very little experience as a point guard in Europe, he has practiced a lot to refine his game and to correct deficiencies in his shooting technique.  A combination of poor technique, new unstable environment and lack of playing time perhaps led to his poor three point shooting  (22% or 22 of 99 attempts).

Statesman2 would certainly appreciate this observation from DraftExpress.net which sounds eerily familiar to his own insights:

The best things that Jennings brings to the table, though, definitely can’t be taught. He’s incredibly fast in the open floor, highly fluid getting up and down the floor, and extremely natural changing directions sharply and attacking the rim. In today’s NBA, where speed is absolutely at a premium like at no other point in time, Jennings has game changing potential as a shot-creator. Look no further than the way a relatively unheralded player like Aaron Brooks has been able to put his stamp on this year’s NBA playoffs for evidence of how valuable a speed demon like Jennings can be in the right offense.


I have looked at all of the available tape several times over and I am certain that it would be a mistake for Brandon to become a New York Knick.  He would be better suited for a stable veteran environment where he can be brought along slowly and without the added pressure of the Big Apple and some of their rotten fans.  I mean, the guy has almost no point guard experience at a level higher than the Micky D tourney.  Even Kobe was not rushed into the forefront and had the advantage of developing with some good players and a teaching coach.  Furthermore, Kobe was not a point guard which is by far the most difficult position to play, since a great point must think like five players and a coach.

The scouts cited below accurately detail what he can do. What he can do is great; the way he does it is amazing.  He is a showman par And1 Excellence — but points still count for either 3 or 2 points.

  1. He is jet fast on the break.  He zooms down the court and to the basket.
  2. He has serious hops and can dunk creatively with the best of them.
  3. He can take the ball to the rim and score when not bumped
  4. He can beat defenders off the dribble
  5. He can dribble between his legs
  6. He doesn’t mind hustling on D, although he reaches behind players a lot

Is that good enough?  Can he rebound?  Can he lead a team? Can he shoot a mid range jumper instead of a back rim brick?

Are the Knicks a good spot for an unrefined, raw talent? I am not aware of D’Antoni, a point guard himself,  ever training a  guard this raw.  Perhaps Duhon would take Brandon under his wings, but Duhon has his own issues with the D’Antoni offensive system.  Quentin Richardson goes out of his way to help youngsters as he has Lee, Robinson and Chandler, but will Richardson be around.  But aren’t Q’s days as a Knicks’ senior statesman numbered?

Brandon Jennings may  eventually prove that he is worthy of the hype, but for now, IGM believes it is best to catch this pick on the rebound, at the end of a three year contract with his first NBA team.  Those who like the kid should wish him the best and hope that he is picked up by an organization that will give him the attention and court time — even in the Developmental League — that he needs to realize his potential.  Otherwise, he will just be more fodder for the NBA mill.

I am IGM and I approve this message.  If you don’t, holler back.

OUTSIDE SCOUTING REPORTS

College Hoops.net

Strengths: Blazing speed, both with the ball and without. Great ball handler. Able to score or create for teammates. Left handed. Three-point range on his jumper. Played in the toughest league outside of the NBA – the Euroleague. Great leaping ability. Familiar with the American and European styles of play.

Weaknesses: Very thin – needs to get bigger and stronger. Will be undersized for the NBA. Has to become a more consistent shooter. Played a lot of shooting guard in Rome – will be too small to do so in the NBA. Still needs more experience running a team as a point guard. Needs work on the defensive end.

Projected 2009 Draft Range: Top five pick.

Consensus: Jennings should be used to the spotlight since his decision to skip college and head to Europe garnered him so much attention. The year spent in Italy should do wonders for his game (mentally and physically) but he probably is still a few years away from being a big-time NBA point guard.

NBA DRAFT.NET

According To Borko Popic – 5/8/09

Strengths: An extremely quick and explosive player … Plays with cockiness and confidence that is necessary to succeed at the top level … His wingspan and leaping ability put him in a rare category of point guards … Has great open court speed and likes to attack in transition … He is very good at changing direction mid-stride without losing speed or control of the ball … He is extremely dangerous off the dribble, where his first step and nice handles allow him to explode by defenders … Gets to the rim and finishes well with a nice mix of moves … Converts a good percentage at the line … His lefty jumpshot looks smooth and he has a quick release … Has the ability to stop on a dime and pull up … Defensively, he has very quick hands and great lateral footspeed allowing him to stay in front of even the quickest guards… Enjoys pressuring ball handlers … Anticipates well and gets out into the passing lanes … Showed mental toughness and he deserves some credit for sticking through a difficult situation, where he encountered a new culture, a coaching change and inconsistent playing time … Was tamed by the system that did not allow all of his strengths to be on display …

Weaknesses: Did not have the season needed to improve his stock, but playing the PG position at the top Euro level is difficult for any player, much less one coming straight out of high-school … Has struggled playing in the half court because his jumpshot has been inconsistent, which allows defenders to play off him and clog the lanes … Does not take care of the ball, but is rather very careless with it, trying to make the flashy play rather than the simple and correct one … Needs to learn to control the tempo, to slow down and change gears; he goes at one speed (full throttle) at all times which leads to a high turnover rate and it makes him very predictable and easy to defend … Shows a strong preference to finishing with his left hand, even when going right, he will usually switch back to his strong hand and expose the ball to the defense … Because his frame is extremely light and frail, he has a hard time going up against stronger guards because they can body him out of driving lanes … Defensively, even though he does a good job staying in front of people, they are still able to get their shoulder on him and take him to the basket … Tends to fade on his shot too much, leaving many of them short, especially when playing longer stretches of minutes …

According To Aran Smith – 8/7/2006

Strengths: Tremendous lefty point guard with a scary package of speed, athleticism, point guard skills and tenacity … A natural. Really understands how to play the point guard position, the type who can penetrate at will and create offense for everyone … Exceptional vision and passing ability … Makes everyone around him better … His speed pushing the ball up the floor is at an elite level … Very feisty, a fighter, won’t back down to anyone … Has a great toughness and competitiveness about him … A spectacular leaper, who regularly converts backdoor alley oops Shows a solid outside and mid range jump shot … Creates very well off the dribble and gets to the rim well due to his explosive first step …Weaknesses: Desperately needs to add muscle mass to his body … Right now his body is about 20-25 pounds too light … He can be pushed around by bigger and stronger guards, and is less effective at penetrating because he can’t absorb contact … He may struggle to put much strength and weight on, as he appears to have a naturally skinny body … Can improve upon his offensive game. His jump shot and decision making are good but he’ll need to develop those skills further Inexperience. He still must prove himself on the college level …

DRAFT EXPRESS.COM (excellent articles)

Situational Statistics: This Year’s Point Guard Crop
May 8, 2009
AAU basketball and high-level European basketball are worlds apart. Brandon Jennings got to experience the difference first hand and it shows in his numbers.

Jennings has the second lowest usage on this list at 7.6 Pos/G, and his .77 PPP is the worst. The rigors of international basketball aren’t kind to the average eighteen year old, and considering he threw himself to the wolves in signing with a team playing on the highest levels in Lottomatica Roma, he struggled as expected. His athleticism let him make some plays from time to time, but his inexperience was constantly apparent in his shot selection. He took 2.1 pull up jumpers per game, but only hit 21% of them. He shot under 25% from the field when running the pick and roll and when isolated as well. The fact that he was fouled on merely 6.2% of his halfcourt shots didn’t help his PPP in those areas either. Jennings was at his best in spot up situations, but his 1.07 PPP is still only a bit above average –though he did put up 1.39 PPP on open catch and shoot jumpers. News isn’t all bad for Jennings, as he turned the ball over less than average (15.2% of halfcourt Pos), but at the end of the day, he scored on merely 29.7% of his possessions. Jennings’ struggles may make any point guard considering the jump from high school to the top level of Europe think twice, as it’s likely just too big a jump in competition to overcome in a minimal role in a single season.
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Brandon Jennings Video Report

Brandon Jennings at Oak Hill

Brandon at Micky D’s

Brandon at Jordan Classic

Note: There is a must see dunk at the end of this video. Amazing.

Brandon at RBKU Camp

Sick Handle

Jennings in Europe v. Tau & Unicaja


Brandon Jennings Interviews

May 12, 2009, Part II

In Rome, Nov. 11, 2008

Jason Kidd on Brandon Jennings

Next (By June 3rd): DeMar Rozan, Jonny Flynn & Eric Maynor

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson | , , | 12 Comments