If Jaycee Carroll was 6’6, he’d be in the NBA and Matt Carroll wouldn’t. But he’s not. He’s 6’2, not a great athlete, and nearer to 30 than 20. So now it doesn’t matter how much Carroll scores and in what league; it just won’t be good enough.
Carroll is a seriously big time scorer, mainly on jump shots and floaters. He is extremely good at both of those things, and it is not by chance that he led the Spanish ACB (the world’s second best league behind only the NBA) in scoring this year at 18.8ppg. Carroll knows how to get open off the ball and can create his own shot with it, an incredibly efficient scorer even when up against world class defences.
The last pick in the 2008 draft, Erden signed with the Celtics today after spending two years developing at Fenerbahce in his native Turkey. In 42 TBL games this season, Erden averaged 8.2ppg and 5.1rpg in 21 mpg, shooting 62% from both the field and the line. The TBL is neither a bad league nor a great league, although Fenerbahce have won three titles in the last four years, so Erden has the experience of being a starting centre on a championship calibre team. Erden is an athletic 7 footer whose skills (particularly offensively) are improving; however, despite turning 24 next month, Erden is far from ready. He could use some toughening up (with a tendency to put his little paws on you defensively rather too cheaply), and his offence is more opportunistic than deliberate. He hasn’t really lived up to the billing of his potential so far. Nevertheless, he’s here now.
Gaffney is the ultimate late bloomer, exploding onto the scene out of nowhere in his senior season at Massachusetts, and losing out on a roster spot with the Lakers only because of budget constraints. He signed with the Celtics for the last two days of the season, and although he didn’t get to play at all, he did get a few grand for his troubles and a brilliant front row seat during the Celtic’s championship run. Gaffney could become what the Celtics were hoping Bill Walker would, although he’s not the shooter Walker is. If he can just roam around winning possessions for the team, just like he did at Mass, then he’ll be fine.
La Salle guard Green has joined the summer league team most apt for his name. Green is a personal favourite of mine for one simple reason; it is entirely within his nature to bring the ball over halfcourt, start posting up from 40 feet away, back his way in all to the foul line, and shoot. How often do you see a 6’5 guard do that? Not very. Green’s jump shot is poor and his athleticism a concern, but he can handle the ball, pass, and most definitely post up. I didn’t say he was an NBA talent, but I did say I like him.
Skillz Train will make the roster and make some shots. It’s just awkward that he begins (and maybe ends) his NBA career on the team already with the comparable Glen Davis. Harangody needs to develop an outside stroke, not to replace or negate what he already does, but to compliment it. I never want to see him lose the weird flip thing. It’s too effective and too fun.
Seeing as it’s customary to give the hometown boy a summer league spot, Northeastern’s Matt Janning is here, ready to live a fleeting NBA dream. Janning is 6’4 and under 200lbs, with average athleticism and not much of an ability to create for himselft. Good luck to him, though, and live the dream for as long as you can.
Kravtsov is one of the best centres in the whole of the Ukraine. That’s good. Then again, the Ukraine isn’t known for its output of quality seven footers.
Kravtsov has spent his entire career with BC Kyiv, a team that features no imports and who owe quite a significant debt to Clay Tucker. Last year in the Ukranian Superleague, Kravstof averaged 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and a league leading 2.7 blocks in 29 minutes per game; to put that into some context, the league’s second best shot-blocker was former NBA draft pick and serial Ethiopian adopter, Dan McClintock, at 1.9bpg. And here is one such block of Kravstov’s, an emphatic swat of an EWE Baskets Oldenburg player that might or might not be Je’kel Foster:
Unfortunately, Kravtsov’s offensive game is not as nice. He scores highly in the Ukraine, but it’s born through size advantage alone. Kravs cannot post, shoot or hit foul shots, and while he can pass the ball and make shots around the basket, someone else has to get him the look. (And even then, he might drop the pass.) He shot 70% from the field, but he also turned it over 2.6 times a game, and it wasn’t as an offensive creator. Kravtsov is intriguing because of his size, defensive presence and decent athleticism, but the recently signed Erden just took Boston’s project centre roster spot.
Like Gaffney, Lafayette is a late bloomer, a man who shot only 35% from the field in his senior season at Houston before a couple of years in Mexico and the D-League straightened him out. Now that he has learned to shoot, Lafayette is the complete stats package, adding 38% three point shooting to great rebounding numbers for a point guard, decent assists numbers, an acceptable 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, and prolific steals numbers. Lafayette is very athletic and a great slasher to the basket, who now has the jump shot. If you want a cheap version of Nate Robinson without the ability to win a game single-handedly but with much more interest in playing defence, Olly Fats could be your man.
Parakhouski is largely unproven against other bigs, after playing for Radford. It doesn’t help that when he did get the chance to compete against legit NBA centres, Cole Aldrich (and a few double teams) made him look pretty ordinary. Art can certainly rebound the ball, and he’s certainly big enough. Other than that, we’ll wait and see.
Art also suffers from the same problem that Kravtsov does – Semih Erden is signed now, and so the roster spot now looks unavailable.
Sims declined an invitation to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, despite his status as a likely undrafted player. He later changed his mind, but it was indicative of his varible frequency oscillator of a season. Forced to play centre in the really awful Michigan system – how can you base your offence around three point shooting when you have no good three point shooters? – Sims demonstrated a versatile offensive game, improving his jump shot as time went on, being able to drive the ball from about 16 feet away to about 8, and also score a little bit in the post. Problematically, however, Sims is only about 6’7 and 220, which are not NBA measurements for a power forward. And apart from occasional three point range, he is a small forward in size only, unable to handle the ball on the perimeter or defend opposing 3’s. Skillz Train is of a similar size and less athletic, yet Skillz Train knows how to get open for shots.
Horny Postman is a good all-around shooting guard who, like Parakhouski, was a surprise to go undrafted. Both of them have valid chances at making the Celtics roster, Parakhouski as a rebounding specialist, and Thompson as a bench scorer. Thompson is considerably smaller than his brother Jason, but he has the right kind of size for an NBA shooting guard, and can both drive the ball and shoot from the outside. He is far better at the former, however.
Had Thompson come from a bigger school and/or bloomed about two months earlier, he would probably have been drafted. As it is, he’ll have to make it in the hard way. He has the talent to do so.
Wittman is a delicious shooter who we just wish was more athletic. He’s 6’6 and with a good frame, who scored heavily and efficiently in the efficient yet simple Cornell mode (which consisted largely of “find three, take three”, without the silliness or volatility of the Seven Seconds Or Less offence. Great times.) Wittman’s stroke is awesome, yet he problem lies in his ability to create his own shot, and his athletic disadvantages (which, in the NBA, would spell bad news defensively. It only helps to be smart if you can also keep up.) As it is, he’s a spot-up shooter who doesn’t make many mistakes. Steve Novak has cranked out three years in the NBA with basically the same MO, but he has a height advantage that is deemed all-important.
Boston’s first-round draft pick Avery Bradley is absent due to injury. Additionally, I realise they might want more veteran contributions seeing as they are still just about in their championship window, but I can foresee a Celtics backcourt next season of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Avery Bradley, Tony Allen, Oliver Lafayette and Ryan Thompson. It could use some veteran guidance and maybe one more shooter, which makes it unlikely that Thompson and Lafayette both get a spot, but it’s not a bad unit.