Sham's unnecessarily great big draft board: Point guards
June 22nd, 2011

(Listed in no order other than the order they were thought of.) You’d look happy if you were about to go first overall, too. Kyrie Irving – Irving is this draft’s most complete player, which is why he will inevitably be the first overall pick. His Duke career didn’t last very long – Irving played the first eight games of the campaign, before suffering a broken foot that would normally have led to a medical redshirt. However, be it due to “heart,” or an implicit acknowledgement that this was always going to be his only college season – or both – Irving came back ahead of schedule and made it back in time for the NCAA tournament. Irving’s season averages are not overwhelmingly dominating – 17.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.5 turnovers and 1.5 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. They are certainly impressive, though, and none is more impressive than his sheer efficiency. Irving shot 53% from the field, 90% from the line and 46% from three point range, and while much of his time was spent against non-conference opposition, it was against some damn good non-conference opposition. In the 11 games Irving played as a Dukie, only four games were cakewalks; Hampton, Colgate, Oregon, and Miami Ohio. The rest of his games came against Princeton (a tournament team, if not on the level of others), Butler, Michigan State, Michigan, Arizona, Marquette and Kansas State. This meant matchups against decent-to-good defenders such as Shawn Vanzant, Shelvin Mack, Jacob Pullen, Darius Morris, Kalin Lucas, Keith Appling, Doug Davis and Momo Jones, amongst others. And yet in those seven games, Irving averaged 19.4 points, 4,7 assists and 1.6 steals on 51% shooting. A point guard with adequate size, good speed, a 70% true shooting percentage and a 36.2 PER ticks […]

Posted by at 5:19 PM

Sham's unnecessarily great big draft board: Centres
June 21st, 2011

(Listed in no order other than the order they were thought of.) Any time you watch a game with Jonas Valanciunas in, randomly pause the live action, and I guarantee he will be making this face. Jonas Valanciunas – Valanciunas was a big minute player in the Euroleague aged only 18. You just don’t do that in the Euroleague, unless you’re Ricky Rubio. Right now, he compares somewhat to Joel Przybilla if Joel Przybilla had any offensive finesse. Valanciunas runs the pick and roll to a Lithuanian standard, is smooth, polished, controlled, never rushed, and highly poised, with good touch around the basket and a very nice free throw stroke. He does not shoot jumpers yet, but he’s such a quick learner and such a good foul shooter (89% in the Euroleague, 125-158 and 79% across all competitions) that it won’t take long. He is an extremely good rebounder through size, smarts and effort, and he blocks shots with his great wingspan and aforementioned effort level. More than likely, he will not stay Przybillay for long. This is in no small part because of his much higher offensive skillset. The free throw percentages already mentioned are a testament to that. Nonetheless, there are still flaws. Valaciunas is finesse more than power, doesn’t have a go-to move other than the pick-and-roll, and still has to beef up some. He was also consciously and constantly attacked by opposing Euroleague offenses, for he was the young and experienced one. And it is true that he struggled with that at times, giving up fouls on his pick-and-roll defense, and not always being in position. But it is also true that he improved noticeably during the season. Such is the common trend amongst Valanciunas’s story – if there’s something he can’t do, he learns it […]

Posted by at 5:11 AM