Monday , Jan , 30 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

The 2006 NBA Draft Buzz: Agree or Disagree?

I’m usually a dedicated Sports Illustrated fan, but I was not in accord with their recently posted 2006 NBA Draft Buzz. Wait, let me reword that – ‘I was not in accord with the scouts’ views on SI’s recently posted 2006 NBA Draft Buzz.

I’m certainly no expert in scouting, and I’m sure the experts are quite skilled at what they do, but I’m seeing what they are. 

However, let me start by pointing out the one thing I do agree with them on: Adam Morrison. Out of four scouts who posted their picks, they all included Morrison within their top 3 choices. He’s the nation’s leading scorer with 27.6 points per game … and he’s 6’8”. His defense, or lack thereof, has always been questionable to many, but it seems to me that it’s not that he can’t play defense, it’s that he won’t  play defense. He’s got the quickness and the skill, as shown by his scoring performance, and the NBA can change his atitude about the other side of his game real quick.
But onto my disagreements. Connecticut’s 6’8” sophomore Rudy Gay is within all the scouts top 4 picks, as he should be, but one scout was quoted as saying “He hasn’t taken his game to new heights. He isn’t dominating , and there are questions about whether he really likes basketball.”
Are you kidding me?!!! I guess 20 points and five blocks against St. John’s isn’t dominating. As one of the most highly touted freshman last year, Gay has only improved his stats. He can leap out the gym, he’s quick, he’s strong (6’9”, 220 pounds) … yeah, he’s pretty shoddy.
But it gets better. Everyone, at least the majority of the scouts have, questioned J.J. Redick as one of the top prospects. In SI’s article, only one scout chose Redick within his top four choices. He may have entered Duke as primarily an outside shooter, but Redick has adapted and changed his game to become one of the most, if not the most well-rounded player in the NCAAs. He can shoot the lights out, he can drive and he actually plays defense. Yet, the scouts keep referring to him as simply a good shooter. 

Comparing Redick’s game to Kobe Bryant’s could be a stretch, but to establish my point, I’m going to anyway. In the Lakers’ last game against the Pistons, Kobe scored 39 and went 12 for 28 in field goals. In Duke’s last game against Virginia, Redick scored 40 and went 11 for 13. The Lakers lost their game. Duke won their game. My point is this: Redick’s efficient scoring sets him way ahead of other prospects, and even other players in the NBA. (For Kobe, probably just in that example, but not overall.)

One other comment on the scouts’ early picks. Tyler Hansbrough is in no way ready for the NBA. He’s got talent and he plays with heart, but he’s a baby. He’s not even had a full year of college coaching and experience, and with Roy Williams guiding him, I think he’ll be so much better a couple years down the road. If Marvin Williams had stayed a little longer, I think he would have turned out to be a dominant pro player. Hansbrough may have what it takes in the long run, but he’s not ready yet.

The interesting thing about these prospects though, is that none are foreign or of high-school age. We’ll see if that changes, though. A name that has been mentioned is Andrea Bargnani of Italy – a 6’11” player who didn’t attend college. Keep a look out. 

If you want to take a look at the SI article, go to http://premium.si.cnn.com/pr/subs2/siexclusive/2006/pr/subs/siexclusive/01/23/nba0130/index.html