Today’s workout is brought to you by the fine folks at Krispy Kreme. Without their donuts, I would not have been able to stay on a sugar-high enough to write this and work on my sociology essay at the same time.
And I wonder why my dream of playing in the NBA never materialized. (Along with being short, having dodgy knees, limited athleticism, and playing on the other side of the world from most scouts. I prefer to blame those).
Anyway, today’s workout focuses on Cole Aldrich, the junior center from Kansas carrying on the tradition of Shawn Bradley, Eric Montross and Darko Milicic of Big White Guys Getting Lottery Spots For Being Big.
OK, that’s racist—there are plenty of black guys who got drafted in the lottery for that reason alone as well. (Can I get a “Hasheem Thabeet?”) But everyone knows the kind of players I’m thinking about.
However, for every Darko there’s a Chris Kaman, who goes on to have a solid NBA career despite being tagged with the “big white stiff” label.
Can Aldrich have a similar career? Let’s take a look.
Even though he regressed somewhat in the past year, I still believe that Aldrich can step onto this Warriors team and automatically become a solid contributor, whether it be as the starting center or off the bench.
He’s not going to revitalize the team the way Stephen Curry did this year, but he would provide us with what we need from a big man.
As I said earlier, I figure the ideal career arc for Aldrich is Chris Kaman — a solid center who can put up good stats on a bad team, or as a fourth or fifth option on a good team.
I can only imagine him as an All-Star if the West is totally short of centers that year, however. He is what he is right now and I can’t see him having that much upside — most likely he’s going to be an NBA role player.
A bit of a mixed bag here.
Aldrich’s mid-range shot is quite inconsistent, however, it is there as long as you’re not relying on him to continually stretch the floor.
In the post, his moves are a bit limited (he has a drop step, spin move, fadeaway and jump hook) but they were pretty effective at college level. Whether they can carry over to the NBA remains to be seen, but his post game is a cut above Biedrins, Turiaf or Randolph (although that isn’t saying a lot).
If we draft him, however, I would like to see him develop some better moves in the post—call in Hakeem or Ewing?
While you probably can’t rely on him as a major scoring threat, Aldrich does the other things on offense quite nicely. He sets screens and runs the pick-and-roll very well —he and Curry could form a dangerous tandem in that regard.
He passes out of double teams reasonably well and can find outside shooters more often than not, which is useful when Stephen Curry, Anthony Morrow and Kelenna Azubuike are your teammates.
Aldrich also has much better mobility and athleticism than your the traditional big white stiff, another reason why he doesn’t really deserve the title. He would be able to handle Nellie Ball much better than DeMarcus Cousins, for one.
Possibly best of all, Aldrich seems to understand his game well. He doesn’t take many bad shots, doesn’t turn the ball over much and seems to get his role on the court most of the time.
Aldrich has been described as “the most efficient defensive center in college basketball”. I’m not sure if that assessment is completely accurate, but he would definitely provide the Warriors with the inside presence that we’ve been lacking until now.
He’s a decent shot blocker (3.5bpg last season) and also has the ability to alter shots. With him in the middle, the Warriors will be able to prevent the "90 points in the paint" games that were too common this season from happening.
As for post defense in general, Aldrich isn’t afraid to body up and play tough if needed, and he’s proved to be quite an effective post stopper. While the usual college to NBA questions remain, I’d feel more comfortable at the sight of him up against Howard/Bynum/Stoudemire than anyone else we have on our roster.
However, Aldrich isn’t perfect on D. Although he has decent mobility, his lateral quickness is somewhat lacking, meaning his effectiveness against more mobile or stretch 5s is limited.
That said, if the coaching staff are looking for a guy who can provide us with interior toughness and defense while still able to handle Nellie Ball without passing out and DMC is off the board, Aldrich would have to be the guy.
10 rebounds per game without a significant size or athleticism advantage over your competition isn’t anything to sneer at.
I think Biedrins is still a better rebounder than Aldrich, however he will do what’s expected of him on the glass. Although he’s not going to win any rebounding titles.
This is always the hardest category to judge.
Aldrich has no obvious flaws. By all accounts, he’s a good character guy (and by that, I mean I haven’t heard anything about him being a diva or problem child), and he is an Academic All-American so I’d guess he’s pretty smart and coachable.
His basketball IQ is good, he plays tough and hustles…really, there’s nothing that wrong here.
Yet, the little voice in my head tells me something’s missing. Maybe it’s simply because of my bias against big white guys with stiff potential. I don’t know. I’m ignoring that guy.
Everything about Aldrich adds up, except for the little deal regarding potential.
With the sixth pick, I do honestly believe you have to take a chance on the best guy available, or, in a draft like this one where you just miss out on the guys who can give you an All-Star career, at least the guy who could potentially do so with the least impediments (i.e. the thing that sits between their ears).
If we end up drafting Aldrich with the sixth pick, I would not be that happy for that reason alone. However, after a couple of hours of blood-letting on Golden State of Mind and threatening to become a Clippers fan, I think I’d come around.
If nothing else, he'll give us solid defense.
And at least he’s not Shawn Bradley.