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Thread: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

  1. #1
    Member Ace E.Anderson's Avatar
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    Default ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    Hey can someone please post the new ESPN Insider article that talks about 6 players 25 and under that are going to have a make-or-break season next year? I'm kind of curious as to whether or not Paul George is mentioned at all (though I doubt it)

    It'd be greatly appreciated.

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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    yea, Paul George is not mentioned but here it is

    Although hope springs eternal in the world of sports, especially when it comes to the untapped potential of youth, the actual facts have a sobering way of tempering expectations for a player's career arc. In terms of per-possession advanced stats, the average player improves quickly in his early 20s; development then slows and ultimately stalls at age 26, the most common peak season. From that point on, it's a long march downhill toward retirement, with each year bringing more age-related decay than the previous one.

    Which is to say that young players, even those with great draft pedigrees, need to show more than just flashes of potential by the time they hit their mid-20s, or they run the risk of never turning into the players they once seemed certain to become.

    We're going to focus on six such players, all 25 or younger, who were top-10 draft picks and have not consistently lived up to their pre-draft billing yet. The 2012-13 season may or may not be their "make-or-break" campaign, but if it isn't, it's pretty close. These players still have a chance to change their legacies, but as of last season, they're not yet where they need to be.

    Michael Beasley, PF/SF
    2013 Age: 24
    On pace for: 12.7 Career VORP
    (A No. 2 overall pick should have a 32.7 career VORP)

    As hard as it is to remember now, there was legitimate debate in the summer of 2008 over whether the Bulls should take Beasley or Derrick Rose with the top overall pick in the draft. Obviously, Chicago made the right call -- Rose blossomed into an MVP, while Beasley has struggled to find any rhythm as a pro.


    Beasley
    Beasley clearly has a knack for creating shots, but all too often they've been low-percentage looks of the dreaded midrange variety. He also compounds that deficiency with tunnel vision and poor rebounding numbers for his size, somewhat of a surprise given his knack for it in college. His problem is that of the classic "tweener" -- he still doesn't have a true position. Although Beasley's pure offensive skills seem best suited for small forward, historically he's performed much better on offense while playing power forward. Yet power forward is also a position in which Beasley struggles to match up physically with his counterparts on defense.

    The Suns, Beasley's third team in five years, are hoping they can accomplish something neither the Miami Heat nor Minnesota Timberwolves could do before them: translate Beasley's raw talent into on-court performance. If they can't, Beasley probably won't ever deliver on the promise that once made him the second pick in the draft.

    Evan Turner, SG
    2013 Age: 24
    On pace for: 13.3 Career VORP
    (A No. 2 overall pick should have a 32.7 career VORP)

    In terms of point differential, the 2012 Philadelphia 76ers were as good as any Philadelphia squad since the 2001 Finals team. And just think how good they'd have been if they hadn't seemingly whiffed on the second overall pick in the 2010 draft.


    Turner
    OK, so maybe Turner hasn't quite been a total bust, but he's contributed very little to Philly's cause in his first two NBA seasons. A career per-36-minute average of 12.1 points (compiled while taking 18.6 percent of the team's shots when on the floor) undermines Turner's pre-draft billing as a pure scorer/shot creator. His rebounding has been strong for a guard, but his defense and shooting have been mediocre; plus his floor game is nowhere near as good as advertised.

    It might well be too early to write Turner off completely, but the initial returns have him tracking for a career that falls well short of what you want out of a No 2 pick.

    Wesley Johnson, SG/SF
    2013 Age: 25
    On pace for: 8.4 Career VORP
    (A No. 4 overall pick should have a 25.9 career VORP)

    In retrospect, Johnson was pretty clearly a reach at No. 4 in the 2010 draft, especially considering he went right before two big men who are likely future All-Stars, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe. Despite his advanced age for a rookie (23) in 2010-11, Johnson did not impress at either end of the floor, and he followed that up with a sophomore campaign that can be described only as atrocious, putting up an 8.0 PER and ranking in the bottom quarter of NBA players according to Regularized Plus/Minus.


    Johnson
    Johnson wasn't a great scorer in college, and he's been downright bad as a pro (11.2 points per 36 minutes on 17.5 percent of team shots while on the floor). That fact alone wasn't altogether unexpected, but his over-reliance on the jump shot, his near total inability to get to the basket and his lack of versatility were extremely disappointing for a player who once drew Shawn Marion comparisons.

    Like Beasley, Johnson will have the chance to find a more suitable role in Phoenix. That's good, because he has to change something if he wants to avoid going down as one of the biggest draft busts of the decade.

    John Wall, PG
    2013 Age: 22
    On pace for: 28.6 Career VORP
    (A No. 1 overall pick should have a 39.5 career VORP)

    In some ways Wall is a special case here, seeing that his NBA supporting cast thus far has included a generous helping of Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis. Having said that, though, Wall hasn't yet produced at a level that would indicate he's going to someday match the careers of Rose or Kyrie Irving, the other point guards recently drafted first overall.


    Wall
    For instance, even after an injury-shortened 2012 season, Rose is well on his way to outpacing the expected career value of a No. 1 overall pick. And Irving's impressive rookie year gives us reason to believe his ceiling is as high as Rose's, if not higher.

    Wall absolutely has the physical tools to be in that group, but he needs to cut down on his turnovers and improve his horrid midrange shooting stroke. He made just 29.7 percent of his shots from 10-23 feet last year (compare to Irving's 38.6 percent clip and the league-average rate of 39.3 percent). If Wall can make those improvements, he'll reclaim his place among the league's great young point guards, but he needs to start heading down that path soon if he wants to stay on that track.

    Al-Farouq Aminu, SF
    2013 Age: 22
    On pace for: 9.2 Career VORP
    (A No. 8 overall pick should have a 19.1 career VORP)

    Aminu came into the league with the expectation that he'd eventually become a Josh Smith or Thaddeus Young type of tweener-but-in-a-good-way forward. Defensively, he has not been too far from that archetype, but rebounding numbers aside, he hasn't really provided anywhere near the level of all-around versatility you'd expect from those pre-draft comparisons.


    Aminu
    The big thing holding Aminu back is his offensive game, or lack thereof. Even acknowledging that his scoring numbers were never supposed to blow anyone away, he has scored 10.5 career points per 36 minutes and has created precious few scoring chances for himself or others. Part of that can be chalked up to bad finishing; among regular forwards in 2011-12, he had the league's eighth-worst field goal percentage on attempts at the rim.

    It should be noted that Aminu isn't an outright bad player. After taking his defense into account, he actually had a positive Regularized Plus/Minus last season. But with a lifetime PER of 10.1, he's definitely on pace to be something of a bust relative to where he was drafted.

    O.J. Mayo, SG
    2013 Age: 25
    On pace for: 20.3 Career VORP
    (A No. 3 overall pick should have a 28.7 career VORP)

    The nation's top high school recruit from 2007 showed signs of coming around in 2011-12, but forgive us if we're not convinced Mayo has finally figured things out. After all, he also tantalized in 2009-10, then turned in a disappointing 2010-11 campaign, losing his starting job and putting up a career-low 12.6 PER.


    Mayo
    Mayo is another guy who has the talent to create offense but has been known to fall in love with his jump shot, dragging his efficiency metrics well south of the league average. And while he's improved as a man-to-man defender, his defense within the team concept remains subpar at best.

    This isn't to say Mayo has been a horrible all-around player thus far. Even if he doesn't take the next step, he still has enough skills to forge a future as a solid reserve/borderline starter. But time is running out for Mayo to salvage the star potential he flashed as a highly touted teen.

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    Member Ace E.Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    Quote Originally Posted by PacerPenguins View Post
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    yea, Paul George is not mentioned but here it is
    I didn't think so, but I was curious nonetheless. I appreciate it!

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    Go Paytherth! rel's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    I'm sure everyone here has high expectations for PG this year, but agreed, shouldn't be a 'make or break' year for him. He's still extremely young...

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    Member Ace E.Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    Quote Originally Posted by rel View Post
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    I'm sure everyone here has high expectations for PG this year, but agreed, shouldn't be a 'make or break' year for him. He's still extremely young...
    Lol it's crazy but two players from the same draft class (Wall and Turner) are mentioned in the article.

    I agree with you, much too early to tell. The article was definitely different than what I expected, as it was much more negative than I thought it would be.
    Last edited by Ace E.Anderson; 08-08-2012 at 11:40 AM.

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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    It looks like this list, with the exception of Aminu, is about recent Top 5 picks that haven't met expectations.

    I don't think it applies to Paul George, who has met my expectations so far, even if he hasn't quite exceeded them.

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    Member TinManJoshua's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace E.Anderson View Post
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    Lol it's crazy but two players from the same draft class (Wall and Turner) are mentioned in the article.

    I agree with you, much too early to tell. The article was definitely different than what I expected, as it was much more negative than I thought it would be.
    Maybe I'm crazy but I coulda swore Wes Johnson was in that class too.

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    Member Ace E.Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN Insider: Time to step up

    Quote Originally Posted by TinManJoshua View Post
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    Maybe I'm crazy but I coulda swore Wes Johnson was in that class too.
    He was, as was Al-Farooq Aminu!

    So basically a bunch of players from the 2010 draft plus Beasely and Mayo.

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