I should warn you in advance, before you start reading, that this will be the least-informed post I've ever written for PtR, and that's a high bar to clear coming from a guy who's used this forum in the past to discuss the 2006 World Cup, his depressing love life and why Kawhi Leonard will never be a great ballplayer.
Yes, it's a draft preview from me: a fellow who proudly, vehemently LOATHES college basketball. Leonard, a fellow San Diego State Aztec, is one of the few players I've watched play more than two or three times in the past years and I was convinced he was an undersized four with no future since he couldn't shoot or dribble. So obviously take anything I ever write about the draft with not just a grain of salt but more like all the salt that's in the Uyuni salt lake.
Also, it's hard to concentrate right now because it's crazy hot out here, a condition that I can't imagine those of you living in the arctic hinterlands of Texas could possibly relate to (ahem).
Actually, this is just more proof of why everyone wants to live in California and specifically the Bay Area. People who've never been here think people like California because it's hot all the time, when really it's the complete opposite. People love it here because more often than not -- it's not hot, it's not freezing, it's not anything. There's no weather, which makes it perfect. I'm like flipping out right now because it's 91 degrees, when 91 is probably like a pleasant spring breeze to y'all. Oh, and also, there's no humidity here. Like, at all. Living in California turns you into a finicky house cat about the weather. Anything below 65 and above 85 and we lose our minds.
Now you might think it's rather difficult to write a draft preview considering I watched precisely zero college basketball games this past season, but I wrote about the final game of the Spurs' season without ever having watched it, and nobody called me out about it. So clearly I'm a BIG DEAL around here, with BIG IMPORTANT SPORTS OPINIONS. [Editor's Note: Easy there, big fella. -jrw]
First, a quick word on J. Gomez's recent Gary Neal SHSOSHG piece: my official stance on Neal is I don't care if they re-sign him or not. Cold, I know, perhaps even a bit heartless, but there were just more negatives (defense, passing, dribbling, truly awful shot selection) than positives (cheap, unafraid) in the end for me, and I'm convinced he could be replaced with somebody better or at least not worse. I won't shed a tear over anyone besides the top six guys and I'm even flexible on Tiago Splitter, actually.
The layman Spurs fan would be perfectly justified in skipping this draft altogether. I mean, by all accounts it's supposed to be one of the worst drafts of all time, completely bereft of franchise-altering superduperstars, and possibly even run-of-the-mill fringe All-Stars. Plus, the Spurs are slotted to draft way down there, with the 28th overall pick, and when have they ever gotten anybody worth anything with No. 28 except for this guy and this guy and also this guy, this guy and this guy?
See? Completely worthless.
What do all five of these fellows have in common, besides for the fact that they're still kicking around the league to various degrees? None of them are 'Mericans born in 'Merica. Chad Ford, who I consult with personally for all my drafting needs, has a beanpole Frenchman named Rudy Gobert as his projected Spurs pick. Gobert is 7'2," with a 7'9" wingspan and a 9'7" reach, supposedly, and weighs all of 238 pounds, meaning that I could back him down in the post. He was born a couple weeks after Michael Jordan finished kicking Clyde Drexler's butt in the NBA Finals, just in case you hadn't read anything today that made you feel so old that you wanted to hang yourself.
This would be a good time for some highlights of Gobert dunking and blocking shots against various whodats at Adidas Eurocamp 2012. Try to contain your excitement.
Various other foreigners the Spurs could opt for include:
- Lucas Nogueira: a Brazilian center seen as a poor man's Nerlens Noel.
- Dennis Schroeder: a German point with comps to Rajon Rondo.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: a Greek point-forward whose best accomplishment so far is that he hasn't yet been eaten by Sofoklis "Baby Shaq" Schortsianitis.
- Alex Abrines: a Hispanic shooting guard with a good handle, leaping ability and shooting range who has issues with turnovers. (Sounds familiar somehow).
- Hakan Erler: an enigmatic lefty Turk of murky Judeo-Hispanic origins with a streaky three-point shot, daring Manu-like passing ability and, despite his 5-11 frame, excellent shot-blocking skills. Conditioning may be an issue.
- Livio Jean-Charles: a French Kawhi Leonard because the Spurs can evidently teach anyone to shoot and dribble.
- Manoli Gounalakis: an undersized 5-6 shooting guard with a decent handle whose streaky shooting gets red-hot when guarded by Turks. Plays zero defense.
- Nemanja Nedovic: a stocky, 6-4 Serbian combo guard with a freaky vertical.
- Bojan Dubljevic: a Serbian Matt Bonner clone who looks like a subpar athlete for the Euro league, let alone the NBA (Ford's scouting report doesn't mention whether he's fond of sandwiches).
- Andrea Carrera: Beautiful, graceful athletic specimen with superior dribbling skills but questionable decision making. Far likelier to grab rebounds than countryman Andrea Bargnani.
So there you go. Three of those aren't even real prospects. Go crazy about the guy you won't see in a Spurs jersey for at least two years and likely ever.
* * *
Though I didn't watch any of the NCAA tournament, the gist I got from the commentators and the blogosphere was that it was the worst quality basketball anybody had ever witnessed. I don't imagine anybody watched March Madness and thought to themselves, "Say, there are lots of quality NBA prospects here."
Still, no matter how wretched this draft turns out to be, it can't possibly be as bad as the 2000 draft, the tire fire to which all subsequent drafts will forever be favorably compared.
How bad was it? Well, Michael Redd, drafted 43rd by the Milwaukee Bucks, probably had the best overall career of anybody in that class. How bad was it? Hedo Turkoglu in 2009 was the draft class' absolute ceiling. How bad was it? The Nets drafted Kenyon Martin first overall and in retrospect you can't even blame them, since all in all he's offered the best combination of offense and defense in that class.
Your other 2000 notables include: Mike Miller (no. 5, Orlando), Jamal Crawford (no. 8, Cleveland), Desmond Mason (no. 17, Seattle), Jamaal Magloire (no. 19, Charlotte), Speedy Claxton (no. 20, Philadelphia), Eddie House (no. 37, Miami), Edurardo Najera (no. 38, Houston) and Brian Cardinal (no. 44, Detroit).
Again, these are the success stories of that draft class. Overall it's produced three All-Stars (Redd, Martin and Magloire, all based in the talent-starved Eastern Conference and the latter almost certainly because he was a center), and just one guy to ever make an All-NBA Team, which Redd cracked in 2004 as a third-team selection.
There's no question who's had the best career of this draft class though, it was Marko Jaric (no. 30, Clippers), because he wound up marrying Adriana Lima. No, seriously, She's Marko Jaric's wife. Here's them together. One of the most gorgeous women The Flying Spaghetti Monster ever created married a man who once wore his jersey backwards in a regular season NBA game. He must have a great sense of humor. The Flying Spaghetti Monster that is.
Just think, five years from now somebody drafted tonight will marry Kate Upton.
* * *
Obviously by now I hope it's been well established I know nothing about this draft class. At least I'm not going to insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise.
What I do know is that when evaluating a draft prospect you have to consider how he'll mix with your roster. Team chemistry is important.
Happy 2013 Draft everyone, and here's to us drafting another Parker, Ginobili or Leonard, because lord knows if anyone is due for some draft luck, it's the San Antonio Spurs. I'll be watching tonight, taking notes on every stupid thing said in the broadcast (considering Simmons, Jalen Rose, Stuart Scott and Jay Bilas will all be prominently involved, that's like the 1984 draft class of broadcasting idiocy potential here) and I'll write about it for Friday.
I'm sure that will totally make us all forget about that excruciating Finals loss to the LeBron LeBrons, six seconds away from a title.