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Thread: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

  1. #1

    Default A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    I think we're at the point where the circle is starting to come back around. This years workouts where college kids have been blowing away the Euros and where there's only two consensus "superstar potential" high school kids (Howard, Livingston) is going to have teams looking at more born and bred American players (both Smiths have big potential as well but I would hesitate to put them on the same "potential" level as the other two). Teams are looking for someone who can contribute sooner rather than later.

    You might say that it's because it's a weak draft. I might agree with that, but I believe we may be seeing more teams (esp. in the mid to late lottery up through picks 17 to 20) move away from the "raw potential" gamble towards the "this guy can contribute" today or tomorrow as opposed to maybe being able to contribute in three years (though I still think that teams in the late first round will take the gamble, there's not much to lose with a #26 pick is there?).

    I guess we'll see tomorrow. I'm anxious to see how things shake out (and not just with the Pacers). I'll be more than happy to eat my words should players like Gordon, Jackson, Humphries, Harris, Snyder, and Araujo drop (and I'm sure by voicing this the gods of karma are deciding which side dishes go best with crow) but methinks some of the thrill is gone and the stars in her eyes are fading a bit.

    Anyway, enough. Here's the article:
    ___

    Buy American
    by Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
    June 23, 2004

    Remember when the consensus opinion on the NBA draft was that while the United States was still producing some athletes, when it came to fundamentally sound, multi-skilled players, you had to look overseas?

    The Europeans were the future. The Americans were the flawed.

    "Carmelo Anthony didn't look he had any flaws in his game, did he?" Bob Hurley Sr., the legendary coach at St. Anthony's High School in Jersey City (N.J.) asked rhetorically. "LeBron James didn't have any flaws, did he?"

    Yeah, so much for that one. If you want a trend to look for in Thursday's NBA draft, watch all these American-trained players go early and often. Teams can go the foreign route at their own risk.

    It was, after all, U.S. players who recently stepped into the league and contributed immediately James, Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, et al. In the 2003-04 Rookie of the Year balloting, every vote was cast for an American.

    Then there is the Darko Milicic factor. A player might look good, but the concern is whether he is ready to play or even practice.

    "I have a 10-year-old son and I think he's a lot more mature than Darko right now," Detroit coach Larry Brown said Monday on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

    So do you really want to be the NBA executive that spends a lottery pick on Pavel Podkolzine, the 7-foot-5-inch "Siberian Shaq," who may look imposing in the layup line but averaged a measly 2.6 points and 2.2 rebounds a game last season in Europe?

    "I don't care what league you are in, if you put the (Dwight) Howard kid in that league and give him minutes, he'll put more than 2.6 points on the board," said Hurley. "I think what has happened is that we take our 18-year-olds and look very closely for flaws and the European players are getting passes."

    Sure, this stuff is cyclical, and there is little question good players can come from anywhere. But that includes Baltimore as well as Belgrade.

    Just a year ago, the Euro-craze was in such full effect that a frustrated Jason Kapono provided the classic quip: "I should have left UCLA after my freshman year, played in Croatia, grown a beard and changed my name to Vladimir Kaponovich."

    That was when everyone was complaining that the American system of player development the unstructured and often competing worlds of high school, AAU and the NCAA produced unprepared prima donnas who only wanted to get on "SportsCenter."

    "I think everybody overreacted," said Steve Smith, head coach of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, which has produced dozens of NBA players including Anthony. "Everybody was saying kids in America were more interested in dunking and dribble moves than fundamentals. They said they weren't being coached at a young age.

    "But as a whole, American kids are more athletic and more skilled. And they work just as hard."

    Hurley, who has coached at St. Anthony's for 33 seasons, says there isn't that significant of a difference between the members of his current team and his first team.

    "My kids play every single day," he said. "They love basketball as much as kids ever did. Maybe the society they live in is different, but they still dream the dream and work toward achieving it."

    Coach Smith spent the last year at Oak Hill marveling at the dedication of his star, Josh Smith, a 6-foot-8-inch Georgia native who should be a lottery pick Thursday. An eye-popping athlete, Smith could easily have spent the year perfecting dunks. Instead, he took his coach's advice and practiced his mid-range game.

    "He'd work out twice a day, sometimes three times a day," said coach Smith, no relation to Josh. "A lot of mornings he was in the gym at 6 a.m. and he always worked out after study hall at 9 p.m. He was in there working on ballhandling, shooting off the dribble, fundamental basketball. He was working toward (the draft)."

    Maybe the current American players learned from the mini-generation of aloof personalities such as Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry and Kwame Brown and applied themselves. All you hear from NBA executives now is that this group from Emeka Okafor to Dwight Howard to J.R. Smith is full of respectable, hungry, old-school style players.

    "All I know is Josh could have come in here and coasted," said coach Smith. "But he worked harder than just about anyone.

    "He's dedicated."

    Just your typical American kid.

    http://tinyurl.com/3b9s4

  2. #2

    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    The "Euro-craze" was overhyped IMO. In the last 5 years there have been a ton of 1st round selections taken from Europe and in those 5 years there have been zero all-stars. In fairness the book is still out on Darko and Pietrus but really the only 2 European players that have had a significant impact from the last 5 drafts are Gasol and Parker. Teams have to start becoming weary of them because there have been too many busts.

    There have been productive international players selected in the last 5 years like Yao, Nene and AK47 and its good for the league to have the best players from around the world but I think teams will start to use more scrutiny when scouting some of those guys especially the young kids in the Euro leagues.

    Of course now that I wrote this I probably jinxed myself and the 76ers will draft Biedrins tonight.

  3. #3

    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    I'm scared the Warriors will take Biedrins if he's around at their pick too

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    The "Euro-craze" was overhyped IMO. In the last 5 years there have been a ton of 1st round selections taken from Europe and in those 5 years there have been zero all-stars. In fairness the book is still out on Darko and Pietrus but really the only 2 European players that have had a significant impact from the last 5 drafts are Gasol and Parker. Teams have to start becoming weary of them because there have been too many busts.
    In all fairness a lot of those picks are still playing overseas.
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    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    The "Euro-craze" was overhyped IMO. In the last 5 years there have been a ton of 1st round selections taken from Europe and in those 5 years there have been zero all-stars. In fairness the book is still out on Darko and Pietrus but really the only 2 European players that have had a significant impact from the last 5 drafts are Gasol and Parker. Teams have to start becoming weary of them because there have been too many busts.

    There have been productive international players selected in the last 5 years like Yao, Nene and AK47 and its good for the league to have the best players from around the world but I think teams will start to use more scrutiny when scouting some of those guys especially the young kids in the Euro leagues.

    Of course now that I wrote this I probably jinxed myself and the 76ers will draft Biedrins tonight.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    A smart team will cover its bases and learn everything possible about players everywhere in the world.

    Any team which only specializes in one area will miss out big time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    Hi Jay, Dirk went in the '98 draft 6 years ago.

    He's forgetting quite a few actually.
    Like who?

    1st round Euro's selected in last 5 years...

    1999- Radojevic, Weis

    2000- Turkoglu, Bagaric, Tsakalidis, Brezec

    2001- Gasol, Radmanovic, Lopez, Parker

    2002- Tskitishvili, Nachbar, Welsh, Krstic

    2003- Darko, Pietrus, Cabarkapa, Pavlovic, Diaw, Planinic, Delfino

  8. #8

    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    Hi Jay, Dirk went in the '98 draft 6 years.

    He's forgetting quite a few actually.
    Like who?

    1st round Euro's selected in last 5 years...

    1999- Radojevic, Weis

    2000- Turkoglu, Bagaric, Tsakalidis, Brezec

    2001- Gasol, Radmanovic, Lopez, Parker

    2002- Tskitishvili, Nachbar, Welsh, Krstic

    2003- Darko, Pietrus, Cabarkapa, Pavlovic, Diaw, Planinic, Delfino
    Not many of those have produced. Only Gasol is really good, and Parker. Turkoglu plays some, and Darko and Pietrus have potential. Not really sure about the others.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    Also, if fairness to the Europeans, many of these kids are drafted at or near the same age as American HS kids, so we need to understand that they won't contribute right away and they have to adjust double from the American HSers. First, they have to get up to speed with a league much more physical and quicker than they are used to and second, they have to be able to adjust to the new culture.

    Teams that have systems in place to help the European kids adjust to the new culture will have far more success than teams just treating them as another player on the roster.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A short draft article that I think is getting it right

    Hi Jay, Dirk went in the '98 draft 6 years ago.

    He's forgetting quite a few actually.
    Like who?

    1st round Euro's selected in last 5 years...

    1999- Radojevic, Weis

    2000- Turkoglu, Bagaric, Tsakalidis, Brezec

    2001- Gasol, Radmanovic, Lopez, Parker

    2002- Tskitishvili, Nachbar, Welsh, Krstic

    2003- Darko, Pietrus, Cabarkapa, Pavlovic, Diaw, Planinic, Delfino
    To make that list meaningful you need to compare it with a list of American players taken in the first round of those drafts and compare the percentages of the good foreign, and the good American.

    There are plenty of American first round picks who aren't any good. The question is which is the better bet for a first rounder. You figure that out with the percentages. (Even that has flaws but its more informative than just throwing out the Euro names and saying "see they suck!")

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