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Thread: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

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    Whale Shepherd cdash's Avatar
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    Default David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    This will be fun to chastise in the wake of Paul George's coming out party:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...-20-sophomores

    Over time, some draft classes will give the league multiple superstars, but most produce 15 or so quality players who last for a decade or so in the NBA, with perhaps a star or two mixed in. For the class of 2010, though, aspiring to be even average may be too heady, despite gaining one phenom from the previous year thanks to an injury.

    For starters, five of the guys who went in the lottery are no-shows on our top 20 list just a year after the draft. By my count, 22 of the first-round picks are in danger of not even sticking in the NBA for five years. That's bad.

    Still, there are success stories, while others are showing signs of life and can be counted on to represent this class until 2020 and beyond. Who stands tallest today and who might be making waves in the future? Let's explore.


    The top two


    Griffin
    1. Blake Griffin, Clippers
    As if there's another choice? This class is exceedingly weak by any measurement, except one: star power -- thanks to Griffin. Griffin is still racking up monster plays in the paint and finishing even better than he did last season, though some of that is due to the Clippers' upgrade at point guard. He's breathtaking when he attacks the rim, which is often, and he's one of the two most feared big men to tangle with in the NBA, along with Dwight Howard.

    Unfortunately, he shares something else in common with Howard. Griffin's free throw percentage has dropped significantly and is now even lower than any of Dwight's end-of-season percentages. In addition, Blake shoots too many perimeter jumpers, zones out too often on help-side defense and doesn't make nearly enough impact plays defensively (he ranks 94th in steals per game and 52nd in blocks). His poor defense is a big part of why the Clippers are a bottom-six defensive team.

    Still, I'd be a fool to get caught up in his negatives, because he's one of the most electrifying players in basketball and a good part of why the Clippers are a top-six offensive team.

    I expect solid improvement from Griffin on the defensive side of the ball as the season evolves, as he begins to understand the importance of every possession (he did not play many meaningful games last season). I also don't think we'll see as many long jumpers come later in the season, and he'll make more of the ones he shoots. That comes with experiencing pain from tough losses, which will force him to exercise better shot selection.

    The one question I have come playoff time will be about his free throws. Lack of improvement there could be a killer come spring. Of course, even if he drops to 25 percent from the line, he'll still be the best player in this class.


    Monroe
    2. Greg Monroe, Pistons
    How good has Monroe been this year? Not good enough to get Detroit out of the bottom five of the league, unfortunately, but I'll tell you this: If Detroit was a better team, then Blake Griffin would have some competition for "best of class."

    Monroe is top 12 in the NBA in PER and offensive rebound rate and top 20 in overall rebound rate. And while Detroit is an awful defensive team, only Ben Wallace is playing better defense than Monroe, who has to carry an offensive burden far more than Wallace does.

    There are still questions about how Monroe would perform on a better team, or if he's good enough to be a top-three player on a good team. But all things considered, no one in this class besides Griffin can touch Monroe right now.

    Top candidates to one day replace Griffin as tops of this class


    Wall
    3. John Wall, Wizards
    When he's on, he's untouchable. Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, John Wall. That's the list of elite athletes with size at the point guard spot. Wall is the fastest of the three, to my eye, and the best natural passer. So yes, he's got multiple All-Star appearances in his near future, if he and his franchise get things figured out.

    Simply put, the Wizards have steered off course -- which might be by design -- and Wall has taken a step backward this year. Not his overall game, but his shooting. He still can't shoot and is not a great paint finisher, either. There's every reason to believe he'll improve this part of his game, but until he does, he just can't be nearly as effective on offense.


    Cousins
    4. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
    There are those who believe that some players are "coach killers" -- guys that are good enough to raise expectations but who rarely deliver, so consequently they get their coach fired. I, too, believe in that concept. However, I do not put Cousins in that category. At least not yet.

    He may be enigmatic, but Cousins is still efficient and productive and has been more under control this season. There aren't five tougher guys to keep off the offensive glass than Cousins, and if he'd learn to explode when finishing, he'd be even tougher to stop in the paint. He gets over six shots per game near the rim, but makes just half of them.

    Players with starting, if not starring, potential


    Splitter
    5. Tiago Splitter, Spurs
    What's not to love about a second-year player with years of pro experience globally? Especially one who makes shots, takes only great shots, rebounds, defends and plays his role beautifully. Splitter is good or very good at almost everything and has few weaknesses that matter because he plays to his strengths.

    The only question left about Splitter is: Can he be a top-line player, or is he destined to be an excellent role player? As the Spurs move forward in the coming two years, we'll get our answer.


    Turner
    6. Evan Turner, 76ers
    If the NBA handed out its Most Improved Player award now, Turner would be a finalist. He has been much closer this season to what Philly expected of him in his rookie campaign; he is doing lots of little things to help his team win.

    Can he score 20-plus points in a game? Yes. Can he grab 10-plus rebounds in a game? Yes. Can he control the ball for long stretches and help run the team as an off guard? Yes.

    He has also shown much better shot selection this season and is now one of the two biggest bench producers for perhaps the league's best second unit. His herky-jerky style of a dribble attack is roasting defenders, and he's making more rim shots this season than he attempted last season.


    George
    7. Paul George, Pacers
    George has proven to be a solid wing player for a solid team, thanks to two key ingredients -- his 3-point shooting and his defense. He's struggled overall on offense, but 40-plus percent from 3 combined with an ability to create turnovers and slow scorers down is a valuable commodity in the NBA.

    If he never figures out how to score more efficiently and productively, Indy will still have a wing they can trust as a starter. If he polishes up his offense, then his stock will soar.



    Asik
    8. Omer Asik, Bulls
    This is the second season that Asik has helped solidify one of the league's best defenses as a reserve. The Bulls win a lot of their games thanks to having such a strong bench, and that alone helps him rank this high.

    He has also shown that he's a more-than-adequate replacement for Joakim Noah -- one of the league's best defensive centers -- when he has to spell Noah and play alongside the starters. That suggests he can be a starter for a good team that doesn't need offense from its center. In terms of value, being a starting center for a good team is the next best thing to being a star.


    Pekovic
    9. Nikola Pekovic, Timberwolves
    There is no doubt that Minnesota has played better since replacing Darko Milicic with Pekovic in the starting lineup. And the Timberwolves have been winning games, too. This season, Pekovic has proved to be better at almost everything, finishing better than 70 percent of his rim shots and rarely straying far from the basket.

    He's also banging everyone around on the glass, which only helps banger supreme, Kevin Love, find even more angles for rebounding or scoring off an offensive rebound. Once Pekovic adjusts to playing with Ricky Rubio, preparing for a pass at all times, I can see him getting more involved on offense and creating more space for Love on the perimeter.


    Patterson
    10. Patrick Patterson, Rockets
    After a rough start this season following summer surgery for bone spurs, Patterson is finding his form again and reminding us why everyone was excited for his future. He has excellent body control for a big man with agility and has good touch with solid shooting range.

    Although he has shown only signs of his outstanding defensive potential in Houston, it's fair to guess that Patterson will be a longtime starter in the NBA. And if Luis Scola continues to struggle, it may happen soon.


    Favors
    11. Derrick Favors, Jazz
    Forget about any kind of "bust" talk concerning Favors. He's still only 20 years old and will be so much better in two years. Meanwhile, he's already solid on both ends of the floor.

    12. Landry Fields, Knicks
    The NBA can be a zero-sum game for some players, and Fields became one of those guys once Carmelo Anthony arrived in New York last season. However, he's showing signs of life lately. With Melo nursing some wounds, Fields has a chance to find his mojo again.


    Crawford
    13. Jordan Crawford, Wizards
    Crawford is a blur on the court, slowing down only long enough to shoot the ball, which he does lot. He may not be making many shots now, but he's someone to keep an eye on. As the Wizards mature, his efficiency should grow, because when he learns to slow down and read, the game will become much easier for him.

    14. Jonas Jerebko, Pistons
    Jerebko is proof that tall guys who compete really hard can find their way on an NBA roster and even get playing time on bad teams. JJ hustles everywhere, even when he shouldn't sometimes, like when he catches in space and tries to dribble attack. As a decent midrange shooter and an adequate defender, his energy is what ultimately gets him on the court.


    Hayward
    15. Gordon Hayward, Jazz
    Hayward is a tough guy to peg because just when you think he's a definite bust, he'll have a beautiful game. There is an NBA player inside of Hayward, but until he learns to shoot, we'll probably see it only on rare occasions.

    16. Gary Neal, Spurs
    Neal will never win any kind of PER contest because he has such a specific role: finish plays, shoot from deep or float in after a quick drive. But he's great at what he does. Even though his overall game has slipped a bit since last season, he's still a specialist who is thriving at his craft.


    Booker
    17. Trevor Booker, Wizards
    I find Booker to be one of the most intriguing players of this class. He's probably the most athletic player overall, which makes up for his smaller size as a power forward. When he tries to do too much, he's turnover-prone. But when he plays within himself, he's a very valuable player who helps his team by scoring efficiently, rebounding and earning extra possessions through sheer hustle.

    18. Ed Davis, Raptors
    As expected (read John Hollinger's player profile on Davis), Davis has not had the same impact thus far that he had last season. Dealing with a new coach, Dwane Casey, who had some terrific veterans as a Dallas assistant last season, is not helping. Still, Davis has had some good moments and is playing decently on defense.


    Vasquez
    19. Greivis Vasquez, Hornets
    Although he's on a new team now, Vasquez has picked up where he left off last season, when he helped Memphis get to the playoffs. He has proved he can run a team and move the ball to the right man, currently ranking 16th among all point guards in assist rate. Now he just needs to learn how to shoot. Unless he learns that skill, it's going to be tough for him to make any more progress on an NBA team.

    20. Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets
    Mozgov buys in beautifully to coach George Karl's request to race the floor as much as possible. Mozgov frequently beats his defender down the court, even though he usually likes to drift outside instead of banging inside. Starting for one of the league's top teams, his upside is considerable.
    Tiago Splitter ahead of George really slays me. Questionable rankings here by Thorpe.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Score more efficiently? He is shooting nearly 48% overall and over 48% from 3. Thats pretty efficient.

    How is Evan Turner ahead of him? PG is clearly having a better season. Splitter? PG grabs as many boards as he does, but Splitter is a F/C and George is a SG.

    I am fine with the others as of right now. Griffin is a beast. Monroe is having a very nice season. Wall, I would love to see him on a not absolutely terrible team.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    i think PG should be #5 on this list. evan turner has been a disappointment thus far, imo, for a #2 overall pick, and taigo who?!

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Splitter is having a worse offensive season in terms of points, they are averaging the same amount of rebounds despite paul playing ON THE WING and Splitter being a CENTER, and PG is one of the top 15 defenders in the league, while Splitter's defense is average at best. WHY?!?!

    I also don't really see how Evan Turner is rated ahead as well... they same argument for his offensive numbers being so low of "Philly is a team-oriented ball club" also goes for PG.
    Last edited by neosmndrew; 02-04-2012 at 02:47 PM.


    Carmel HS Class of 2011

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    I agree he might be overvaluing ET and Splitter, but not by much and his assessment of George is pretty solid. PG has killed the 3, killed on defense most of the time, and then does something silly with the ball or just looks like he's gone on auto-pilot.

    It's been a common discussion by us all year. I love his game and he is my favorite player on the team, but let's not let the Mavs game blow away some of the really pointlessly flakey plays he continues to make this year.

    When he cleans that up and adds a bit more offense that is RELIABLE (take care of the ball) then he'll be the bad *** many of us know he can be. This is all Thorpe is saying.

    Paul is NOT GOING TO HIT 7 3s on almost any other night this year. Guys that get to 25-30 points on a regular basis need more inside offense. Paul was on fire and was facing some favorable matchups.

    This is also why he won't be a bust when he puts up 8 points on 10 shots with 4 turnovers in a few games. Just like Roy's Dallas game doesn't cast aside all the good production he's been giving the team on offense.



    Frankly the biggest key across the board is that no matter who is hot or cold, they ALL bring the defense. Roy and Danny weren't making shots, but they were defending their *** off. It's been a brilliant display of team basketball, and that's why we don't really need Paul to be a top 3 guy in his class. He's an excellent pick regardless.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    The stats on NBA.com show Paul George 5th in nearly every Sophomore category. In the playoffs last year, George led all rookies in rebounds,steals,blocks and was 2nd in assists in only 6 games (doesn't mean much because the majority of teams with top rookies didn't make the playoffs but still interesting)
    Last edited by Pacersalltheway10; 02-04-2012 at 05:38 PM.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    There's some pretty solid foreign bigs on that list I wouldn't mind the Pacers getting ahold of.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    the fact that he has Omer Asik at #8 tells you all you need to know about this guy...

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    I will say tho, you guys are rediculous for hating on Splitter. He's getting a lot less minutes then PG so you can't go comparing stats like its apples to apples.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDavisBrothers View Post
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    I will say tho, you guys are rediculous for hating on Splitter. He's getting a lot less minutes then PG so you can't go comparing stats like its apples to apples.
    I'm not even bothering to bring up stats. George is a much better all around player than Splitter. I like Splitter, but he isn't as good as George is now and he doesn't have nearly the ceiling that PG has. It's just silly to put Splitter ahead of George, even when you factor in the inevitable Spurs boost.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    The author clearly values big men (rarity). Splitter is a pretty solid one, and so is Asik. I still feel that PG is better than both.
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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    I'm not even bothering to bring up stats. George is a much better all around player than Splitter. I like Splitter, but he isn't as good as George is now and he doesn't have nearly the ceiling that PG has. It's just silly to put Splitter ahead of George, even when you factor in the inevitable Spurs boost.
    avg/36 pts reb ast stl blk
    Splitter 15.5 9.2 2.0 0.8 1.4
    George 14.4 6.4 2.4 1.5 0.7

    He's is a better scorer, rebounder, shot blocker and almost as good a passer even as PG right now. Splitters might not have as high a ceiling as PG, but he's got a plenty high ceiling if you actually knew anything about him

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDavisBrothers View Post
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    avg/36 pts reb ast stl blk
    Splitter 15.5 9.2 2.0 0.8 1.4
    George 14.4 6.4 2.4 1.5 0.7

    He's is a better scorer, rebounder, shot blocker and almost as good a passer even as PG right now. Splitters might not have as high a ceiling as PG, but he's got a plenty high ceiling if you actually knew anything about him
    Comparing per/36 numbers is a slippery slope. Splitter is averaging 21 mpg this year, George is at 30. When Splitter actually posts those numbers in extended playing time, I'll be more willing to put serious stock in those (marginally) better numbers. Splitter is also 27 years old, he doesn't have an elite physical profile like PG does, and is playing a much smaller role on his team than PG. I know plenty about Splitter, thank you very much. There is no need to say **** like that just because you have a different opinion than I do.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    I still can't stand the fact that they consider this Blake Griffin's sophmore year........ I really don't think it's fair Blake was the number one pick in the 2009 draft..!!!!!! So did LA not pay his 09' salary?
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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    Comparing per/36 numbers is a slippery slope. Splitter is averaging 21 mpg this year, George is at 30. When Splitter actually posts those numbers in extended playing time, I'll be more willing to put serious stock in those (marginally) better numbers. Splitter is also 27 years old, he doesn't have an elite physical profile like PG does, and is playing a much smaller role on his team than PG. I know plenty about Splitter, thank you very much. There is no need to say **** like that just because you have a different opinion than I do.
    I really don't like per36/48 numbers because thats not what is actually happening on the court. You can't just project numbers like that.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by ilive4sports View Post
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    I really don't like per36/48 numbers because thats not what is actually happening on the court. You can't just project numbers like that.
    yea well I don't like comparing what a guy has done in 31 mins to what another has done in 21

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Another thing you have to consider is up until these last couple of games PG hasn't really shown his full "potential" and that aggressive additude needed to get to the next level, he was too passive

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDavisBrothers View Post
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    Another thing you have to consider is up until these last couple of games PG hasn't really shown his full "potential" and that aggressive additude needed to get to the next level, he was too passive
    Well maybe Splitter should improve so he gets as many minutes as PG. PG has been more passive because our team is still learning to play together. We have an excellent starting 5. Yeah, he has had 2 big games of the last three, but he is still putting up 12.5, 5.5 boards and 2 assists per game. Thats damn good on a team where they really play team basketball.

    And this doesn't even factor in his defense. Or his potential.

    Your not convincing anyone that Splitter should be ahead of PG. And thats because he shouldn't.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Just another scout that doesn't do their job. Messed that one all up!!

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by ilive4sports View Post
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    Well maybe Splitter should improve so he gets as many minutes as PG. PG has been more passive because our team is still learning to play together. We have an excellent starting 5. Yeah, he has had 2 big games of the last three, but he is still putting up 12.5, 5.5 boards and 2 assists per game. Thats damn good on a team where they really play team basketball.

    And this doesn't even factor in his defense. Or his potential.

    Your not convincing anyone that Splitter should be ahead of PG. And thats because he shouldn't.
    He's got hof Duncan and a solid Blair in front of him, SA has got just as good of a balanced, team ball type team as us, so that's a moot point.
    As far as defense Splitter averages 100 points per 100 possessions against, in comparison to PGs 98, so the difference isn't very big.
    Another factor, that's talked about with Roy, is the lack of good big men in the NBA. Splitter can def be a very good big guy.
    I'm not even saying that he should be ahead of him, I'm saying that its foolish to think they r not very close.
    Last edited by TheDavisBrothers; 02-04-2012 at 07:10 PM.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDavisBrothers View Post
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    He's got hof Duncan and a solid Blair in front of him, SA has got just as good of a balanced, team ball type team as us, so that's a moot point.
    As far as defense Splitter averages 100 points per 100 possessions against, in comparison to PGs 98, so the difference isn't very big.
    Another factor, that's talked about with Roy, is the lack of good big men in the NBA. Splitter can def be a very good big guy.
    He is a serviceable big guy that can play the 4/5. He may start on some teams, but seems more like a bench guy for his career. He scores at a decent pace as he is usually playing with back ups, where PG plays with starters. He is also defending back up bigs, while PG is defending the best player on the court usually.

    Splitter doesn't have much room for improvement. PG has a ton.

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by ilive4sports View Post
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    He is a serviceable big guy that can play the 4/5. He may start on some teams, but seems more like a bench guy for his career. He scores at a decent pace as he is usually playing with back ups, where PG plays with starters. He is also defending back up bigs, while PG is defending the best player on the court usually.

    Splitter doesn't have much room for improvement. PG has a ton.
    He should be a starter as soon as this season, I think he's going to be a very good starter in the league, a hell of a lot more than serviceable, I think he could easily be a very good defensive player as offensively talented as say Scola

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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Id put PG 3, with a good chance to overtake Monroe at 2 by the end of the season. At the very worst hes not worse now than Cousins or Splitter, who in my opinion are both better than Wall at this point. John Walls been an utter disappointment in my eyes, and that has nothing to do with the Wizards' record. He is inefficient, lacks control, and puts up good defensive numbers but doesnt play solid defense. Say what you want about the state of that team, but they have offensive weapons and he's not doing anything with them.

    His ceiling might be higher than anyone's on this list, but he made absolutely no improvement between year 1 and 2, and theres no indication he'll put it together. Every single other player in at least the top 10 of that list has gotten markedly better since last year in multiple facets of their game.

  31. #24
    Whale Shepherd cdash's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDavisBrothers View Post
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    He should be a starter as soon as this season, I think he's going to be a very good starter in the league, a hell of a lot more than serviceable, I think he could easily be a very good defensive player as offensively talented as say Scola
    If you actually watched Scola, you would know that is an outlandish statement...

  32. #25
    Born ready? TheDavisBrothers's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Thorpe Ranks Top 20 Sophomores

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    If you actually watched Scola, you would know that is an outlandish statement...
    What about that is outlandish at all? At 27 Scola averaged 10.3 ppg in 24.7 min, at 26-27 Splitter has averaged 9.2 in 21.3

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