Join Date: Jun 2008
Post Summer League Talks: Re-Draft
Any NBA player-evaluation exercise that's connected to summer league performance should be accompanied by a disclaimer.
And here's that disclaimer: Some player may look tremendous in a summer league game because he really is tremendous, but probably just appears to be tremendous relative to the competition. Especially if he's a rookie.
Or, as one of four NBA personnel employees contacted for this column explains, "You can't always use the summer league to be certain which players can play, but it does give you a nice head start on deciding who can't."
With that in the air, we're here to review last month's NBA Draft, consider this month's summer league results and offer up a draft lottery do-over provided by the collective reconsiderations of the aforementioned personnel quartet.
It should be noted that the altered lottery lineup may not represent an evaluation change for the teams making the picks. For example, if Hasheem Thabeet's reality-based spot at No. 2 in the draft has been claimed on our list by another player, it doesn't necessarily mean the fab four believe the Memphis Grizzlies should have selected that player.
We're only using summer-ball-related fickleness to potentially alter how four personnel guys rank the best 14.
Away we go.
1.Blake Griffin, power forward, Oklahoma (Reality is No. 1 by the Los Angeles Clippers): So Griffin stays firm at No. 1 based on looking like a Stealth jet among propeller planes during the Las Vegas Summer League .
"He has a chance to be an All-Star ... and not too far down the road," said one of our panel members. "But I have to say I'm not wild about what seems to be his belief that he should grab a rebound and lead the fast break. Whoa ... not good."
2. Tyreke Evans, combo guard, Memphis (Reality is No. 4 by the Sacramento Kings): Three of our four panel members believe Evans is only masquerading as a point guard, but the consensus is that if the Kings may have something here.
"He'll be a turnover machine early in his career," one panel member said, "but, man, that kid can get to the cup and he's strong as a bull."
3. James Harden, shooting guard, Arizona State (Reality is No. 3 by the Oklahoma City Thunder): The consensus is that while he's no threat to revolutionize the sport, Harden also seems immune from wrecking the Thunder while assimilating in the league.
"He's really, really solid," a panel member said. "That's what we've come to ... being thrilled when the No. 3 overall pick is solid enough to not screw a team up."
4. Jonny Flynn, point guard, Syracuse (Reality is No. 6 by the Minnesota Timberwolves): All four panel members insist they were this high on Flynn before the draft. I think at least two are lying.
"Our league is made for guys like him," one scout said.
5. Austin Daye, power forward, Gonzaga (Reality is No. 15 by the Detroit Pistons): Three of the four panel members admit being surprised by the upgraded Daye's willingness to mix it up. The fourth did a lousy job of convincing me he saw that quality in Daye before the draft.
"He won't win the dunk contest," one scout said, "but we still have a place for guys who can shoot and pass."
6. Earl Clark, power forward, Louisville (Reality is No. 14 by the Phoenix Suns): Another climber, Clark showed enough competitive spirit in Las Vegas to go with his already-impressive versatility.
"He may make me look stupid once he starts going against live bullets in the regular season," a panel member said. "But the guy can do a lot of things with the ball ... most of them good."
7. Ricky Rubio, point guard, Spain (Reality is No 5 by the Minnesota Timberwolves): While not participating in the summer leagues, memories of Rubio led to a pair of really high scores, two really low scores and this mid-range ranking.
"Based on the quality of the rookie point guards in Vegas," one scout said, "the issues regarding Rubio's defense, for now at least, would have been raised in a hurry if he had played out there."
8. DeMar DeRozan, small forward, USC (Reality is No 9 by the Toronto Raptors): The panel members agreed that the bouncy freshman was pretty much what they expected.
"The summer league was made for a guy like him," one scout said.
People are snoozing on DeRozan. I think he will be a top five rookie this year and beyond maybe better than that.