2013 NBA Draft: The Lottery Recipients Part III

NBA Draft
NBA Draft
Jun 28 2013 Philadelphia PA USA Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter Williams 1 is introduced during press conference at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine He was the 11th pick overall in the NBA Draft At left is general manager Sam Hinkie Eric Hartline USA TODAY Sports

The Lottery portion of the the 2013 NBA Draft concluded with picks 11 through 14. We already saw some shocking selections and trades throughout the first round and the picks, in some cases, just became harder to understand. Picks 11 through 14 were no different as this was one of the most difficult drafts to predict in recent memory.

11. Michael Carter-Williams 6’6”, 185 lbs. It is very hard to believe that they make point guards this tall, but here we are. This might be the reason why Philadelphia 76ers’ GM, Sam Hinkie, traded away last year’s starting point guard and All-Star, Jrue Holiday. I  mentioned in Part II how Hinkie’s strong background in basketball statistical analytics might shape how he builds the franchise. One of the things that this relatively new basketball sabermetrics seems to preach is the importance of defense. Here’s the always entertaining and engaging John Schumann writing about the eventual, Western Conference champions, the San Antonio Spurs. In his statistical analysis of the Spurs, Schumann explained that the dominance they have shown in this past regular season is completely different from the dominance they have displayed in seasons past. Whereas the Spurs have proven to be one of the more efficient offenses in the league in the past few seasons or so, it’s their vastly improved defense in the most recent completed season that has been a key difference maker all year long. That improved defense was fueled by studious analysis of available data during the last offseason that showed that the Spurs, “had actually regressed each of the last eight years.”

Clearly, adding size to the 76ers’ defense was a true motivator in trading away Holiday and acquiring Nerlens Noel and Carter-Williams in this draft. MCW is not just a defensive specialist.  He’s also a player that possesses “true” point guard skills.  Along with his size and distribution skills, MCW was praised for his high, basketball IQ.  Despite having good defensive attributes, he’s been criticized for being too aggressive on the defensive end.  And, of course, because of his size, Slam Online believes that he will struggle against shorter, but quicker guards. As good of a ball-handler that he is, he ironically has been described as “turnover prone.”  Not a good label for a point guard that is supposed to be a facilitator for others.  It gets worse as his jump shot could use some work and seems to not have any sign of a long-range game.  As overly aggressive as he is on defense, he’s been known to pass up open shots on offense, which leads me to ask the question, “is there an issue with confidence as well?”  Because of his advanced point guard skills, his ceiling is low, but if he can vastly improve his jump shot, maybe he can make Philly fans forget about Holiday.

HISTORY PLAYBACK: We take a look back at listed point guards, taken in the top 15, measured at 6’5” or above since 2007.  Here are the results:

Not a good sign for Carter-Williams and the 76ers, but as long as he plays a solid point guard and shows off his defensive prowess, he’ll be a fixture in Hinkie’s vision of the future in Philly.  You know who else had a starting point guard listed at 6’6”, en route to three consecutive championships?  The Chicago Bulls; the point guard?  Ron Harper.  Optimism!

12. Steven Adams 7’0”, 255 lbs. Many basketball message boards have listed the Oklahoma City Thunder as losers of the NBA draft, but Adams might prove to be a sleeper in a couple of years or so. NBAdraft.net has compared him to Enes Kanter and Byron Mullens. Not bad comparisons, but not impressive either.  Let’s take a look at the positives for the big man from Pitt:

  • Athletic center combined with length and height will help with rebounds and defense
  • Can run the floor
  • Has the right intangibles and plays with lots of energy
  • Some upside
  • Shoots the ball well, especially from below 18 feet

However, after looking at various scouting reports, the same thing was repeated over and over again: he is a very raw basketball player.  Slam Online went as far as saying that it will take Adams “a few years down the road” to reach his potential.  Most likely, the young New Zealander will be seeing a lot of his first years in the NBA on the Thunder bench.

13. Kelly Olynyk 7’0”, 234 lbs. I have, what I think is a good, highly opinionated “NBA inner circle.”  I think every NBA junkie should have an “inner circle” they can discuss their NBA issues with. And besides C.J. McCollum, Olynyk was the other player that caused immense conflict in our Internet draft party.  One friend went as far as saying that he was a “mirror image of Kevin Garnett.”  Yes, Olynyk (will now be referred to as KO) does have the offensive skill set to score in the paint and he does have a good shot from 15 feet and in.  He is also a good passer for his size, can rebound, and brings plenty of intangibles, especially to a team that is on the long road to rebuilding.  My friend and I agreed that perhaps KO is similar to KG on offense.

But when I try to compare NBA prospects, I try to look for players that actually emulate a prospects’ entire game.  Missing from KO’s player makeup is KG’s athleticism, explosiveness, intensive play,—especially on defense—toughness, grit, and killer instinct.  NBAdraft.net went as far as using the word “finesse” to describe KO’s game. When has KG ever been described as “finesse?”  Never.  Will opposing players be fearful of KO’s defensive presence in the middle?  Probably not.  Do opposing players still fear KG’s defensive presence in the middle despite his advanced age?  Absolutely!

KO definitely has skills on offense to play in the NBA right now, but  he needs to show that he’s tough enough to bang down low in the NBA before I start using a name like KG to compare KO. One thing is for certain; I can’t wait to see that first game between the Boston Celtics and the new-look Brooklyn Nets. A true test for KO, assuming he doesn’t get KO’d in this match-up.

14. Shabazz Muhammad 6’6”, 225 lbs. We talked in Part I about the carousel that was the #1 prospect spot since the last NBA draft took place.  A name that was not mentioned was Muhammad.  At one point, especially after he was reinstated to play for UCLA, was a top 3 prospect during the college basketball season.  Unfortunately, NBA scouts saw many weaknesses in his game and a poor attitude as he tried too hard at times to prove that he was the true alpha dog in college basketball, but he couldn’t even prove to pundits that he was the alpha dog at UCLA.  However, it’s not all lost for him or the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Let’s take a quick overview of his positives:

  • Great long-range shot
  • Not afraid to get physical to draw fouls on offense
  • Not afraid to crash the offensive boards
  • Good offensive skill set
  • Fierce competitor
  • High upside

He just sounds like a great shooting guard prospect that every team would want to have on their roster.  So what is the problem again?  He still needs to work on his off-the-dribble shot.  It’s hard to create your own shot when you also have sub-par ball-handling skills.  He also has poor shot-selection as well.  And even though he profiles to be an outstanding athlete, NBAdraft.net describes his athleticism to be “not fluid…movements appear rigid and herky jerky.”  Probably the worst thing about him is despite having a 6’11” wingspan, he is a coaching nightmare on defense as his awareness on that side of the court will probably lead to a lot of bench time in this upcoming season.  Finally, to show how enigmatic Muhammad might be, he is described as a player with “a strong passion for the game,” but also prone to show poor “body language.”  Durability is also in question.

For a guy that is supposed to be offensively gifted, his player comparison is Nick Young.  I believe that he can be better than that and I can easily chalk his poor attitude to him just going through the motions of college just so he can finally make his way to the NBA.  We shall see if getting paid to play a game that he loves will be a difference-maker, but as of right now, it cost him by dropping down to 14th.

And that concludes our Lottery coverage. But did someone ask for an encore?  Ok, here’s a bonus pick.

15. Giannis Adetokoubo 6’9”, 205 lbs.  It’s going to be a very interesting offseason for the Milwaukee Bucks.  But that’s another article for another time.  In the meantime, the Bucks have an 18 year-old prospect who will continue to develop his game overseas.  Giannis has great size and the mobility and body control to go with it, which explains why scouts had marveled at his ball-handling skills.  And even for a youngster, his basketball IQ is pretty good.  Not surprisingly, NBAdraft.net has compared him to Nicolas Batum.

Of course, Giannis has plenty of glaring holes in his game.  Most notably, despite the solid IQ, he is one of those players that needs to have the ball in his hands in order to be productive (where have I heard that description before?  Oh yeah, Tyreke Evans!).  He also needs to work on his shot.  And there is no denying the size advantage, but he clearly needs to bulk up.  You want to talk about your long-term projects, Giannis is the mutual funds portion of your investment portfolio.

Back in 2011, I took a quick look at NBA drafts between 2000-2010 and counted all the foreign players taken in the top 20 for my blog, Pathological Hate.  What I learned is that if a team drafts a foreign player that proves to be “a notch below Pau Gasol or Yao Ming, it should be considered a small victory.” Nothing is more frustrating to me than seeing an NBA team draft a foreign player and not only having to wait years to see that player make his NBA debut, but the fact is, a lot of these foreign players never make their NBA debuts.  And I don’t hate foreign players, but I wish we can get that immediate satisfaction that we would normally get from a U.S. collegiate player that gets drafted.  But I digress and I understand that it is the nature of this game.

Here is a list of foreign players that were drafted in the top 20 in the 2011 and 2012 NBA drafts:

At least these five players are currently playing in the NBA.

author avatar
Felipe Melecio
Felipe Melecio was the managing editor for the blog Pathological Hate. He believes that math is your friend and numbers can be fun, especially when it comes to baseball. Keep tabs on all his knee-jerk reactions on Twitter: !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');