Pondering the NBA Draft…
We’ll start with a couple of bits of good news for the team drafting first in the 2010 NBA draft. First, the top two candidates to go No. 1 aren’t 7 footers with calcium deficiencies. Second, the team drafting first won’t be the Portland Trailblazers.
Between John Wall and Evan Turner, likely the first two picks in this draft, there aren’t any Sam Bowie or Greg Oden gaffes possible here. But there is a solid chance for a proverbial “miss,” relatively speaking.
Each of these two players has a weakness meaning neither is a can’t miss superstar on par with Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony.
First, the masses’ choice to be the first pick in draft is John Wall. The kid’s as a explosive a guard prospect as there’s been since Allen Iverson .
He can handle, and is quick enough with the basketball to get virtually anywhere on the floor he wants with the dribble. He does things with the ball on a string that would make Kenny Anderson blush.
Oh, by the way, when he steps on the floor, he’s usually the fastest, most athletic player. He has a 40-plus inch vertical and is faster with the ball than most players are without the rock. He wrecked things in the college game, but the open-floor NBA style of hoops should further benefit his skill set.
The 800 pound gorilla of a question is shooting. Can he? For a guard, shooting the basketball is a wee bit important. Michael Jordan wasn’t a great shooter coming out of college, and Kobe Bryant went from an above average jump shooter to otherworldly sniper by hard work once he got to the league.
Bryant and Jordan are John Wall’s athletic ceiling. If he puts time an effort into his game as these two greats did/do, he’ll be the steal of the draft as the number one pick. If he’s merely average in terms of work ethic which translates to skill and shooting improvement, OJ Mayo would be a more accurate comparison. Which isn’t bad, just maybe not No. 1 worthy.
As for Evan Turner, his beta is a lot smaller than that of John Wall. You know what you’re going to get from the talented wing from Ohio State. Especially between the ears. Turner is a solid kid who’s going to improve because he’s going to work hard. Basketball’s very important to the young man and you can bet he’ll work on his game and put the time in to get better.
He’s also versatile in that he can play positions one through three for an NBA team, depending on the supporting cast. He’s quick enough and handles well enough to play the lead guard, but Turner also has the size to slide down to small forward and be able to compete in the post and on the glass.
To go along with those glowing measurables, Turner has the “it” factor that takes a player from being really good to great. Turner is a natural leader who’s used to taking big shots, but he’s also mature enough to get teammates involved so teams won’t have to worry about that growing pain.
The only problem I can see for Turner is the chance he’ll be “a jack of all trades master of none” type player. Is he elite enough to take smaller players off the dribble? Is he physical enough to slide down to the three if that’s what the club that drafts him needs?
Don’t get me wrong, he can be a solid player at any of three positions, but solid isn’t what the No. 1 pick in the draft is about.
If I’m New Jersey, I go Evan Turner because he’s going to come in and give you a talented team guy on a squad lacking direction and chemistry. I’m not sure Wall can do that right away.
In all honesty, Turner can be what fellow Big Ten big guard Steve Smith was supposed to be coming out of college—the next Magic Johnson. Only Turner is a much better ballhandler and playmaker than Smith.
Either way, both Wall and Turner are going to be solid picks. Neither has a history of non-contact compound fractures of obscure bones in the foot.
Plus, the New Jersey Nets don’t have that “shoot me in the face” type bad luck that haunts the Portland Trailblazers.
Perhaps we can burn some Sam Bowie arch supports in effigy. Throw in an Otis Birdsong baseball card if you’re really superstitious, Mr. Nets fan.
Kevin writes a leading college hoops blog: March To March
Follow him on Twitter: @MarchToMarch