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2011 NBA Draft Preview

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There is most certainly not a magic eight ball which can predict with any accuracy which players will produce in the NBA, nor which teams like those players coming into the draft, but there are some key indicators; Production, Upside, Size and Character, so lets take a look at those in more detail now.


Production

Production from an incoming player, be it in College or an international league, is paramount in predicting the future success of any player. It can be hit an miss, as in Kevin Durant (hit) or Michael Beasley (miss), but it is THE key indicator, when combined with the objective indicators below which highlight a players ability to play in the League. Rare indeed is the player who can under perform before entering the League and still carve out a solid career. If they do, it’s because they have large proportions of the characteristics below. 

Upside

The perceived size of a players ceiling of ability can be a millstone around the neck of talent evaluators, and it’s certainly easy to become infatuated with unworthy players and ignore red flags elsewhere (Darko Milicic, Hasheem Thabeet, Bismack Biyombo to name past, present and future examples) when a more suitable player was available at a draft position. Teams who draft for upside in the first two thirds of the first round almost always regret it, so if your team is trying to talk themselves into the freakish athleticism of a nutcase or reciting phrases like “But if he just learns how to shoot and pass” then you are in a bad place (Sacramento Kings, I’m looking at you here.) 

Size

There is a Basketball truism, “You can’t teach height.” and in no place more valuable than a young player trying to get drafted, where being bigger than your opponents always makes you stand out. And that’s not taking into account the fact that it’s much easier to find a wing player, but teams continue to trot out players like Juwan Howard, Žydr?nas Ilgauskas, Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire. Imagine the carnage if Shaq had Michael Jordan’s drive to eviscerate opponents, we might have seen another 11 ring haul like Bill Russell’s Celtics. 

Character

Another item which is often overlooked, the red flags are pushed aside in the rush to add size, or find a player with upside, or who had fantastic production. Unfortunately, this tends to leave teams with either players who are compete headcases (Eddie Griffin, Rasheed Wallace), or it takes so long for a player to mature that the team who drafted them never sees any return on their investment (Zach Randolph is the king here, but other players include Lamar Odom and probably Michael Beasley).

Players to watch tomorrow

Players who should go high:

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Derrick Williams
  • Kemba Walker
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Jan Vesely
Players who shouldn’t go high, but probably will:
  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Marcus and Markieef Morris
  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Kyle Singler
  • Bismack Biyombo
For lots more draft coverage and pick-by-pick analysis, watch Hoop Diary from 10am Friday 24th June, 2011. 
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @HD_RyanB

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