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Thread: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

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    Default Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    My draft preview rolls on today with a look at Chris Douglas-Roberts, the high scoring swingman from Memphis.

    As one of the best players on a team that played for the collegiate National Championship, CDR is one of the more well known players in this draft. Most analysts put him as a likely pick somewhere in the low teens to mid twenties, meaning he likely won't end up in Indy unless the Pacers acquire another first round pick late in the first round.

    Almost every draft analyst has a much higher opinion of Roberts than I do. While I freely admit that Roberts has "upside" as a potential volume shooter, I am of the opinion that he is one of the more overrated players in the view point of the public. I have several problems with his game, all of which I will discuss below.

    Roberts is primarily thought of from an offensive perspective. Because of that, I will discuss what I see as his offensive flaws first.

    First, I do not think it is being taken into account enough yet how much of an advantage for Roberts it was to play with the marvelous point guard, Derrick Rose. Like all great lead guards do, Rose made the game much much easier for his teammates, and directly led to many of their successes, and in no player was that more true than CDR. Every team playing the Tigers had to account for the lightning quick Rose, letting CDR have almost free reign offensively in the halfcourt. This particularly showed up to me in the "breakout", which is defined as the ability for a player to get open in the half court against tight pressure without the benefit of a screen. Roberts, because of the attention and "sink" defense teams had to employ to help on Rose and his penetration, had to work less hard to get open than perhaps any wing player in the country. Whether Roberts even has the skills and work ethic to do this basic basketball chore still remains an unanswered question in my eyes.

    Secondly, there are many questions about Roberts stemming from the very unique "dribble drive motion" offense that Memphis runs under John Calipari. This is an offensive concept invented by a small college coach named Vance Wahlburg, former coach of Pepperdine University briefly, and is likely the next big thing to become popular in basketball coaching circles. Before I detail Roberts specifics, let me give a quick overview of how this offensive scheme works, then I'll come back to my concerns about CDR in particular.

    This "dribble drive motion" is ideally suited for Derrick Rose, a guard who can blow past almost anyone who guards him. The wings in this scheme are wide to draw defenders away from the middle of the floor, and very little if any screening ever takes place, nor does the "dribble drive" scheme attempt to post anyone up. How it starts is the PG is asked to simply beat his man off the dribble and get near the paint. The wings simply wait for their defenders to be forced to help and circle behind the ball to predetermined spots. Assuming the point guard is stopped, a "kick out" situation occurs.

    This player who recieves this kickout pass was often CDR. His job is either to make the spot up jumper, or drive past his recovering defender trying to close out on him. By driving past a defender who is probably less athletically gifted (due to Memphis weak primary schedule) and already off balance, Roberts often looked like he had a quicker first step than I think he actually indeed has.

    If unable to score, players again behind the ball circle to predetermined spots, where the ball is passed out and another "dribble drive" takes place. This repeats itself as the offense tries to drive the ball constantly against defenders desperate to recover to the three point line. You can see more intricate information on Coach Wahlburg's website if you so desire.

    I already mentioned that I think Rose and his great penetrating skills helped Roberts get open, and how this scheme made his first step look quicker. The DDM also made Roberts look like a better passer and decision maker than I think he in reality is, by making it unnecessary for him to read the defense much. He didnt need to scan the floor on his dribble for open people, he was instructed to throw the ball to predetrmined areas of the floor where shooters were located every time. All he had to do was make an accurate pass, not make a decision on where to throw the ball. Now, making an accurate pass is a skill unto itself, and Roberts does do that well, but his decision making skills simply can't be proven yet.

    The lack of proof of variety to his game scares me alot about Chris Douglas Roberts. He wasnt asked to screen in college.....can he do it well in the NBA? He wasnt asked to run plays and read screens as a cutter...can he do it? He wasn't asked to get open on his own against tight pressure....can he do it? He wasnt taught to post up....can he do it?

    Defensively, the same doubt applies. Is he clever enough to learn how to fight through screens set against him? We don't know.....he certainly didnt do much of that in college in practice. Can he stay effective playing a high volume of minutes? We don't know yet, because Coach Calipari limited his minutes pretty wisely to keep him fresh. Can he defend the low post against a stronger player? He never had to defend the post in practice (or at least not often)....can he learn to do this at the pro level?

    He certainly does seem to be a hard worker, and he showed a lot of improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year. But how much better did Rose make him look, and how much was due to his own labor? It is hard to say for sure. If he worked hard to improve, I find it hard to believe other aspects of his game came along but his free throw shooting didn't. That is a major red flag for me for a wing type of player.

    At this point, there are way too many questions for me as an analyst to like CDR and his game very much. While others I have read seem to think he will be a very nice scorer off of quick hitting screens, pin downs, etc etc, I just don't see that. I see a player who isn't exceptionally quick or athletic, but who relies on his quickness and athleticism way too much, instead of a deep understanding of how to play. I also see him as way too weak and thin, and a player who when he drives drops his head and doesn't see the floor well. He drives with poor posture, and doesnt present a big target to catch the ball. As a passer he is easy to trace the ball against, because he doesn't pass fake well and he holds the ball awkwardly and weakly. I think he will have a tendency to wear down over the course of a game and season. I think he may have trouble scoring if his initial move is denied, which it will be by a good NBA defender....I don't see any great moves he makes in combination with another move. I think he will be unable to guard most players at his position due to a lack of strength and quickness.

    To me, CDR looks like a developmental league player this year, with real questions about whether he will ever be a productive pro.

    However, if you pair him with a team who can hide his weaknesses better than most, you may have a productive bench scorer in time. I think his best fits are teams with a great point guard, such as New Orleans (who I think will draft him if available), or a team that will play a style closer to his own college game. There are rumors that Coach Calipari's mentor, Larry Brown, will incorporate some of the dribble drive offense in his scheme in Charlotte, perhaps CDR would fit in there well. Or perhaps New York would be a nice fit in their wide open scheme, although I don't see CDR being a particular effective screen/roll player.

    On the vast majority of teams, and especially Indiana, I see Roberts having very high bust potential. I see no reason for the Pacers to add a player who at best projects to be a poor man's Marquis Daniels, with less ballhandling ability and less strength.

    Since I like to project players from the past, let me give something different and project a best case/ worse case scenario for CDR. Let us call it a "tale of 2 Jimmy's!"

    Best case? Jimmy Jackson. Bounced around the league, but at times was a very effective scorer, particularly when paired with a dynamic and young Jason Kidd.

    Worst case? Jimmy King. Played on the fab 5 with Chris Webber and Jalen Rose, but couldn't stick in the NBA for any length of time.

    The Pacers should just say no to Chris Douglas-Roberts.

    As always, the above is just my opinion.

    Tbird
    Last edited by thunderbird1245; 06-08-2008 at 04:38 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    cdr can become a very solid player in the nba, but he must be in the right system to do so. i don't think the pacers are that system.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    A lot of people have been clamouring for this guy if we get a pick later in the 1st round, but I have never been sold on him. He scored a lot of points for the most watched team in college basketball, so people automatically assume he is a good prospect.

    You didn't happen to watch Marreese Speights at all this year did you? I would love to hear a more in depth analysis of his game from someone knowledgable. Im leaning toward a big with the 11th pick.
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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    speights is not worth #11

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Quote Originally Posted by croz24 View Post
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    speights is not worth #11
    Its his defense is that is in question not his offense.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    I've had similar concerns. He's not that great of an athlete, and I just don't understand what's going to separate him at the next level as he's not an overly good shooter either. He relies a lot on trickery and deception in order to score, and I don't see that working nearly as well in the NBA.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    He's a bench player in the NBA.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Nice analysis Tbird

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    You're a bit harsher on him than I've been because I do think he has a pretty good set of comfortable scoring moves. But this quote did hit me after having seen one of the clips featuring he, Mayo, Rush, and someone else posted in the prospects thread.
    Roberts often looked like he had a quicker first step than I think he actually indeed has.
    In that video you got to see all the guys going through various scoring motions, coming off screens, single dribble into jumper, fake and into jumper, etc.

    I'd never realized that CDR was slower into his moves than those guys. He showed a really bad habit of keeping a high dribble which is of course both a slow move and risky for TOs.

    Now my main hangup was his defensive game which never caught my attention. Perhaps that was another offshoot of a slower first step and general lateral agility. I just didn't think about it that way at all to be honest. Having read your views I look forward to pulling up the few games I still have on the Tivo and rewatching with that stuff in mind.


    I don't think the Pacers are going anywhere near him really so it's a moot point probably. You are right though, he's carrying a lot of buzz going into the draft.

    He relies a lot on trickery and deception in order to score, and I don't see that working nearly as well in the NBA.
    I disagree with this part, the "working in the NBA" aspect. Clever, spontaneous scoring moves definitely work in the NBA, and IMO often separate a good college player from a good NBA player. To me it's the trickery that is CDR's one, true "NBA talent". You can't just take away one scoring move on him it would appear, so he can still find his points.

    Now if T'bird is right about the first step issues then it won't matter because he'll never get free enough to get crafty.

    But the other player in the draft that's proven to be a more crafty scorer than pure traditional scorer is Kevin Love. That's why I give him a shot at the next level, he doesn't have to count on guys not being bigger or quicker than him to score because he just throws out another fake and gets one of his below the shoulders type of scores.

    CDR is like that, but in the mid-range game and usually after coming off the kick-out dribble. If he can get that step into something then he can duck under, step back, turn, fade, whatever with apparent equal comfort.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 06-08-2008 at 06:26 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    You're a bit harsher on him than I've been because I do think he has a pretty good set of comfortable scoring moves. But this quote did hit me after having seen one of the clips featuring he, Mayo, Rush, and someone else posted in the prospects thread.

    In that video you got to see all the guys going through various scoring motions, coming off screens, single dribble into jumper, fake and into jumper, etc.

    I'd never realized that CDR was slower into his moves than those guys. He showed a really bad habit of keeping a high dribble which is of course both a slow move and risky for TOs.

    Now my main hangup was his defensive game which never caught my attention. Perhaps that was another offshoot of a slower first step and general lateral agility. I just didn't think about it that way at all to be honest. Having read your views I look forward to pulling up the few games I still have on the Tivo and rewatching with that stuff in mind.


    I don't think the Pacers are going anywhere near him really so it's a moot point probably. You are right though, he's carrying a lot of buzz going into the draft.
    I'll be interested in seeing what you think after looking at his game in further detail. You and I have mostly been singing from the same songsheet in this series, so having you review my opinions and getting a fresh set of eyes to examine what my own eyes are telling me will be good reading for a basketball nerd like I am.

    I really think as time goes on that every player that plays in that "Dribble drive motion" scheme will have to be evaluated alot closer to see if the skills needed to look good playing that way translate. Something similar to an option running back (which I mentioned in the thread) or perhaps a quarterback in a "run and shoot" spread passing attack.

    I sincerely think he will have defensive issues not just for size/strength/quickness reasons, but because they didnt practice getting through screens every day in practice, since their offense didnt utilize them much.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    I like CDR for a few reasons.

    1. He has good size for a NBA 2 guard.
    2. He can create his own offense. He is the type of offensive player you can throw the ball to with 5 seconds on the shot clock and he can make something happen other than throwing up a lazy contested jumpshot. He will also draw fouls and get the opposing defense moving around. We don't have many guys like that.
    3. He was a pretty good perimeter defender at Memphis from what I saw.
    4. He is definately a hard worker. With time he could develop an outside shot, making him a very tough cover. He should also improve his handles with time.

    He does have some holes, but every player outside of Kobe has them. His strengths and how they translate is what concerns me. How will his unorthadox style of offense work against NBA athletes? How will his quickness hold up when he bulks up over the next few years? How will his slight build affect his defense until he bulks up? And how will his defense hold up, if he bulks up and loses quickness?

    Sure Rose is due some credit for Roberts solid play, but it's not like Roberts is a spot up shooter that just caught Rose passes and nailed threes. CDR had a lot of big games during thier tournement run. The NBA type size and skill level of both of Memphis' guards was the reason for thier success, IMO.

    I personally would rather the Pacers take a guy like CDR than gamble on a guy like Westbrook. I think he at worst is a 6th man type who can come in and give you some instant offense and play some good defense against the opponents bench players. Atleast that is his best role at the next level, IMO.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    I'm curious why you credit Rose so much with CDR's success considering he was a featured offensive player with Memphis last year, scored over 15 ppg and had a higher FG% than he did with Rose. His improvement between his freshman and sophomore years was far more striking than between his sophomore and junior years when Rose joined the team.

    He isn't overly athletic, which the world knows, but what he is one of the best at is changing speeds and body control. When he gets a defender on his hip he'll be able to keep him there unless a foul's committed. He knows how to work his defender into a disadvantage and when he does takes the quick opportunity to make something of it.

    Sometimes you have to look at players capable of making plays. CDR does, and he did when Rose was still in HS.

    Personally, I think he'll be a very solid pro. He may never get to an all-star game but he should be a starter for a long time, the kind of guy who will be a very good defender within the team concept, knows how to gain an advantage and utilize it, and has a lot of basketball savvy.

    Most of the folks I've seen discounting him seem to be overvaluing athleticism rather than basketball skills and knowing how to play the game. The first he doesn't have a lot of but IMO he has enough. The second he has quite a bit of and for the third he may have as much as anyone who'll be taken in the 1st rd.
    The poster formerly known as Rimfire

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Man, t-bird, I find myself agreeing with you far more often than not.

    What are your thoughts on Mario Chalmers?

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble1 View Post
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    Its his defense is that is in question not his offense.

    well he has the body and speed to defend, so it comes down to a question of desire and ability to learn. Some have questioned his drive, so its a legit concern. Probably the reason he is not a top 10 prospect right now. I still like him much better than Darrel Arthur, who is too skinny and a poor rebounder, but seems to be projected as the better talent.
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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite MAN_force View Post
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    You didn't happen to watch Marreese Speights at all this year did you? I would love to hear a more in depth analysis of his game from someone knowledgable.

    I'll second that motion.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble1 View Post
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    Its his defense is that is in question not his offense.
    Chad Ford at ESPN had a video of Speights and Alexander and was pointing out how hard Speights was working and had lost weight and gained strength and that he supposedly
    shutdown Alexander. That comment was about the last thing mentioned on the video.
    I wonder if that was a slip of the tongue.

    I like Speights and Alexander. If Westbrook is gone I would consider Speights,
    Alexander and if another first was acquired get a center. Hibbert would be
    better than Foster eventually and Harrison for sure. Get a guard via trade.
    {o,o}
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    I watched Memphis a lot to see Rose. I was never sold on CDR. He always felt gimmicky, or hollow. I just feel his game has no staying power in the NBA. I'm not a basketball fundamentals guru or anything .... but I just don't see his gimmicky habits making for a career in the NBA.

    -- Steve --

  18. #18

    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    100% agree on CDR. He's this year's most overrated prospect. I'm sure most teams will have figured that out; I'm hoping we're one of them.

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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    if CDR were smart, he would work his *** off after he gets drafted to develop his game after rip hamilton and reggie miller. they have been the most effective at coming off screens in the NBA and he could really expand his game to be an extremely good shooting guard in the nba. i just have the same concern as tbird when talking about his college system. he would be a terrific complement to LeBron at #19 for Cleveland. i think this kid could be a terrific NBA player if he works as hard as everybody says. i completely agree with the fact that this kid seems to have holes in his game, but i like his tenacity, i like that he was the one to take the big shots at the end of games, and i think you cannot discredit the kid because of calipari's system. i dont want the pacers to draft him necessarily, i just think the kid has a legitimate shot to make it because he will have NBA coaches surrounding him and helping him to know how to improve his overall game.

    i agree his current set of skills are not enough to have a legitimate NBA career, but i like this kid and think he could be special if he finds a good situation to develop.

  20. #20
    It Might Be a Soft J JayRedd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird draft analysis: Chris Douglas-Roberts

    That first-step comment is indeed interesting. He definitely isn't super-quick. That could certainly be a big impediment if it is as pronounced as tbird suggests.

    But, while he may not be that quick...he is a scorer.

    And you don't need a ridiculous first step to be effective. Guys like Paul Pierce and Caron Butler have proven that. I'm not for a second implying he is even close to those guys or that their first steps are as slow as his, but those guys don't rely on "blowbyability" and are able to use spin moves, reverse dribbles and subtle, change-of-pace, stop-n-go moves to get theirs more so than needing any sort of Monta Ellis/DWade quickness. That nuanced ability to change speeds can be deceptive and it sort of mimics the old baseball adage that you don't need a 95 mph fastball if you have a quality 88 mph fastball, a 76 mpg changeup and an 82 mph slider. It doesn't matter how fast it's coming at you; it just matters that you're not prepared for the speed that's coming at you.

    And CDR has that gift, I reckon. To me, his herky-jerky style isn't an indication that he's unathletic...it's just how his body moves. It may seem like he's all elbows and knees high-stepping through the paint, but it seems to work pretty well for Tayshaun. Mully, Reggie Lewis and Glen Rice spring to mind as able scorers who weren't the prettiest as they went towards the rim but were often able to "bull in a China shop" their way to the cup.

    But, while I've probably sang the CDR praise as loudly as anyone here, I also realize the bust potential here. I'm in no way trying to say he's a sure bet.

    He doesn't play D at all really so he'll have to retain his ability to put the ball in the hoop to be a legit rotation player in this league. And if he can't hit the NBA three with some consistency, he may as well hang em up now.

    I personally think he will be able to do those things with some success and would give him a legitimate Steve Smith-level ceiling (or, tbird's Jimmy Jackson is pretty good too). The possibility that he could become a Ricky Davis-level one-dimensional scorer is certainly not out of the question. Maybe not 19-20 ppg, but 16 ppg in 32 mpg seems reasonable. Maybe Mo Pete-esque if he can develop his range.

    Then again, I agree that his basement is probably Jimmy King.

    As far as current young guys, he most reminds me of Francisco Garcia.

    And in the end, he could either have a 12-year career and make one All Star team or be out of the league in three years and I would not be surprised either way.
    Last edited by JayRedd; 06-09-2008 at 03:29 PM.
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