Readers note: This was two roundtables (email strings) that I combined. One that involved the Duke and Punto topics and the other brought in our resident NBA rube to talk NBA. The first conversation needs to be set-up. Dogg asked three of us (Fuzz, Q and Hill) to be in a March Madness draft pool as one team. Three opinions for one team---not good. Somehow we got a roundtable out of it though.
Hill: I am in for the March Madness draft. Let me know how you boys want to handle this. What is the buy-in?
Fuzz: It's pretty simple---Duke with the first pick. That's how you handle it.
Hill: Great, so I will just be throwing money away, because DUKE boy is involved. We may as well pick Winthrop first they’re about as solid of a lock as Duke right now.
Q: I'll do it as long as we don't pick Duke.
Dogg: Go ahead and pick Duke and lose your first team in the 2nd round.
Fuzz: Fine, I'm out you secret hand shaking assholes. You two sheds can throw your money away on Kansas (Hill’s favorite squad) and Washington State (Q pimped them hard on TKOT earlier in the season, remember?).
Q: I'm sure we'll be able to get all three of these teams. No one else will take them since none of the 3 will do anything in the tourney.
Dogg: I agree Hill. Duke has lost its mo-jo and coach K is losing it. He should retire!
Fuzz: They have four losses fellas. Only about six teams in the top 25 can say they have fewer.
Q: And 0 teams in the country that can say they played and easier non-conference schedule than Duke.
Dogg: And 0 teams can also say they have the refs in their back pocket like Coach K and Duke have… The best refs do the tourney so most often the refs will call the game straight up and why Duke has been losing early every year.
Fuzz: I wish you knew what you were talking about Q.
#13 Marquette, Davidson, #20 Wisconsin, & #9 Pittsburgh were Duke’s four best non-conference games.
That's not the best in country by any means but I bet I could find a handful of teams worse than that. So that 0 teams is way too extreme.
Dogg: Close enough to zero.
Q: Is the Davidson victory really a resume builder? Aren't they supposed to beat those small D1 teams? And they lost the Pitt game, so that's not really anything to brag about either. Oh, and it's called and exaggeration. Learn about it.
Fuzz: Teams four best non-conference games:
UNC- Davidson, Ohio State, Kentucky and Kent State.
Washington State's- Gonzaga, Baylor, Air Force, & Montana
Kansas- USC, Arizona, Georgia Tech and DePaul
G-Town- Memphis, Alabama, Michigan, & Ball State
Do you want me to keep going?
Some teams do play tougher non-conference schedules. UCLA, Texas and Michigan State all come to mind. But the majority of teams play opponents like I just mentioned. Duke's is right where pretty much everyone else is. You play 2-3 pretty good teams and that's about it. Wisconsin, Pitt, MU & Davidson isn't shabby.
By the way, you didn't come off as an exaggeration at all. You clearly said "0" teams. You could have said, "They have a pretty easy non-conference schedule." You made a point to say it was the easiest.
Dogg: Pittsburgh and Marquette suck.
Q: Did you really believe that I thought that out of the 150+ division 1 men's basketball programs that Duke had the easiest non-conference schedule in the country? That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
Fuzz: "Punto is going to hit .280 this year." Your TKOT article last Friday…
Q: "0 teams have an easier non-conference schedule than Duke."
Clearly you have some idea what an exaggeration is and those two statements are similar in their level of absurdity.
Readers note: This is time where I kicked out Hill from the conversation. He clearly had better things to do and we were about to talk Twins. Hill’s not much of a ball-guy.
Fuzz: Why can't Punto hit .280 this year? He hit .290 two years ago. At least my exaggeration has some truth to it. It's happened before and not too far in the past. Duke's not even close to the easiest non-conference schedule in the country.
Yo Dogg, Pitt & Marquette were good at the time. Still, one is 22-9 and the other is 22-8 now.
Dogg: Why can’t Nick Punto hit .280 this year is a great question Q. He had one bad year and now you think the guy is a 14-year old in house player. What do you think he will hit? Remember if he’s a utility player and only plays sparingly, .250 is very good with his defensive skills...Pitt and Marquette are average basketball teams at best.
Readers note: Marx jumps into the conversation with some different news. Q is so ready to talk more college hoops that he ignores his hatred towards Punto and doesn't answer why Punto won't hit .280. Maybe he knows he will...
Marx: Wade is out for the season, let the Mike Beasley tanking begin!!!!
Fuzz: The Wolves keep winning, too! We still have the second lowest loss total in the league but are only two games from the fourth lowest. If we get the three or four pick, whom are we taking?
Q: Obviously if it's #1 then it has to be Beastly. Otherwise, then next 3-4 projected picks are all smaller guards. Is that really what we want/need? I love the Bayless kid in Arizona. He'd be my pick. They also keep projecting that DeAndre Jordan out of A&M really high, but he hasn't done much in college. I don't want Gordon and I'd be ok with Rose. I'm telling you that if Bayless comes out though, he'll be the best of those three.
Marx: Bayless is probably a good pick also if we can trade down. He's not a top 5 pick and he's a 2 guard trapped in a point guard body. I might even compare him to Jason Terry. We already have 2 small 2 guards in McCants and Foye. Also, our current pg is maybe 6 foot tall (Telfair). I have no clue who we take with the 3rd or 4th pick. Do we go for the Euro guy (Danilo Gallinari from Italy) that is supposed to be one of the top talents in the draft? Do we go for either Eric Gordon or OJ Mayo? Both are flawed prospects.
Do we take the freshman center DeAndre Jordan from Texas A & M? He is a major project similar to Andrew Bynum. He might develop nicely or he could just be another DeSagana Diop. Do try to trade down in the draft and take someone like DJ Augustin from Texas or Darren Collison from UCLA? I really hope we end up with one of the top 2 picks so we can take either Beasley or Derrick Rose.
Fuzz: Wolves roster:
PG: Telfair, Jaric & Foye
SG: Buckner, McCants & Snyder
SF: Brewer & Gomes
PF: Jefferson, Smith & Walker
C: Doleac, Madsen, & Richard
With that roster, I don't know if we need another swingman. Brewer, Gomes, McCants and even Foye can all play the 2 or 3 spot. That's why getting a top two pick is important to me also. We need Beast-ley or Rose. I would rather have those guys over like a Gordon or Mayo.
Marx: We probably won't have Buckner, Snyder, Doleac, or Antoine Walker on this team next year. We will trade Jaric in a heartbeat if someone is stupid enough to take him. I believe we will ship out McCants for the right deal. I also believe that Gomes will be offered too much money by somebody and I hope it’s not us. That leaves Foye, Telfair, Brewer, Jefferson, Smith, Madsen and Richard. These guys plus our high first round pick, our high second round pick, plus a select veteran or 2 will be brought in to hopefully help develop our young guys. We also have another 2nd round pick this year, but its lower. The point is we have some major needs, like pg, but we just need to draft talent regardless of position as we need major help everywhere.
Dogg: DO NOT TAKE COLLISON!!!! I don’t like him at all. I told Q last week that I’m on the Bayless bandwagon hard right now. I think he’s the real deal. I’ve also warmed up to Rose. Beasley first choice, Bayless 2nd choice and Rose 3rd choice. Bayless can play PG. This is the NBA and there isn’t many true PG’s. Rose and Bayless are similar players to me but I think Bayless shoots better. Rose might be a slightly better passer but that also has to do with Bayless having to shoot and score more on his team than Rose does.
Fuzz: I like the Bayless kid also, like everyone else here. Here’s a question for you goons: If we end up with the 4th or 5th pick because we keep winning would you guys be against taking a center like Brook Lopez? With my point I made before that we have a bunch of wing players, would this be too high for him? I've seen him top 10 in most mock drafts.
Dogg: Stanford always has good center that never pan out in the league but I actually wouldn’t mind taking him if we had the 5th pick. He can play great defense and can let Al just guard the worse of the 4 or 5 position, which will allow him to continue being the best low block player in the league. Yes Fuzz, he’s better than Duncan.
Fuzz: Dogg, I’m ignoring the Duncan comment. You're trying to goat me and I'm not taking it.
Marx: Brook Lopez is better than the Collins twins are/were. He will be a nice NBA player, but he only averages 5-6 rebounds a game right now in college, which is a little concerning. We are getting into Mark Blount territory there. Also, you guys might like Bayless, but be realistic. He is not better than Rose nor will he go higher than Rose.
Fuzz: Brook Lopez is averaging 18.9 points a game and 8.2 rebounds a game while averaging only 30.2 minutes a game. He's not Mark Blount.
Marx: Alright, so I underestimated his rebounds. I think its Roy Hibbert who is only averaging 6 rebounds a game. I hope we do not end up with him.
Q: Is Lopez too much of an "on the block" guy? We already have Al anchored down there. Is there someone who might be able to pop out and hit J's a little better? Would Jordan kid out of A&M be a better fit since he seems to have more versatile game?
Marx: From what I've heard about Jordan, his offensive game is very raw. I assume that includes his jump shot. If anybody was going to develop more of a 15 foot J it would be Lopez or Kevin Love. Besides, we already have a post who's main weapon is a spot up jump shot-Mike Doleac.
Dogg: Lopez can actually shoot jump shots already. I wouldn’t mind him at all. Jordan is very raw and seems like a Tyrus Thomas type project, which I personally don’t like at all. I don’t want him one bit. Brook Lopez is a legit center where Love would be undersized just like Big Al. Fuzz, I think you have warmed me up to Brook Lopez...Bayless is the man.
Fuzz: Well, now I think I'm in the camp where we need to go in tank mode. We at least need a chance at a top two pick. I think Beasley and Rose will go 1-2 also, and that's whom I would like. I know people hate when you root for losing but what's the point now? We are a horrible team and if we win 20 games instead of like 17 games, we'll end up drafting a project. And what's the difference in winning 17 games instead of 20 games? You still suck but it puts you in better position to draft an immediate impact player.
Q: Hey, if Wade can put it in the tank for the rest of the season, then in the next week or so I'd say it's perfectly ok if Al comes down with some sort of "back problem" that sidelines him for most, if not all, of the rest of the year.
Marx: We need the KG "tendonitis" that he developed over the last couple of seasons after not having missed a game in 4 seasons. Anyways, I think Kevin Love could be a dominant rebounder because nobody can move him out of the paint and he is not terribly undersized. He is only going to get stronger as he gets older. He might have trouble getting his shot off because of his athleticism, but I think he will be ok. Not a stud, but a good pro. Plus, his ability to outlet pass to start a break is overtalked about, but it is impressive. Wes Unseld, baby.
Fuzz: Funny story about Love's outlet passing. Q & I were watching one of UCLA's first games of the season and our first time watching them. The whole pre-game was about Kevin Love's outlet passing. We definitely made fun of the broadcasters and ESPN for a good 20 minutes about this. The main theme was: Why were they even bringing this up and is it that important to talk about the whole pre-game? I mean it's outlet passing! We were confused. Then the very first rebound Love got he fired a dart about 3/4 of the court for an easy dunk for one of his teammates.
We were like... "Oh, I see..."
It is overplayed by announcers but it's a skill worth mentioning.
Q: Even I've come around on this impressive skill that he possesses. It's still ridiculous to talk about, but the kid can fire an accurate, long-range pass. Despite this, he does not fit in with the Wolves--not tall enough.
I guess I wouldn't be pissed if we took Lopez with the 5 pick or Jordan (we're rebuilding anyways, so a project player like him might not be a bad idea). Rose should, and will, go ahead of Bayless, but I'm saying that the kid can play and a lot of people are overlooking him right now. The problem is that we're trying to guess what Kevin McHale is going to do. We could get the 2nd overall pick and he'd go with Drew Neitzel because we need a shooter. The guy has no clue.
Dogg: You seen that Jordan kid play? I don’t think highly of him at all. Absolutely no shot outside of 3 ft. but I guess he could turn into a baby Dwight Howard. He’s strong and very athletic but I hate guys who can’t shoot the ball besides a dunk shot. The Magic can’t go do Howard in the last minute because he can’t shoot FT’s and if he doesn’t dunk it, he isn’t scoring. Like I said, I would very happy if we get Beasley, Rose or Bayless.
Fuzz: The bottom line for me is that I want Michael Beasley on this team next year. I've been on his bandwagon since day one. I like the starting five of Foye, Brewer, Gomes, Beasley and Big Al. We'd win more than 20 games next year with that lineup and we'd be on our way to make a run at the turn of the decade.
Mr. Mchale...get him!