Heard It Through the Post-Draft Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 25, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Apparently the Mavs were offered a lottery pick for Rodrigue Beaubois last night, but didn’t even flirt with the idea. Good move; even though I think this draft class is pretty deep with contributing talent, there really aren’t many prospects with star potential. Beaubois has that, and do give that up this early in Beaubois’ career for some mid-summer excitement would be a shame.
  • Dominique Jones described his game to the Dallas media after being drafted (via Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas): “Just getting in the lane, strong body, getting contact, and-1s. And, I feel like the D-Wade style, which is transition, getting out in transition, one-on-one transition, you know, basically being unguardable.” (Emphasis mine.)
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie graded the Mavs with a C, but does concede that Jones could become an immediate factor: “Jones seems like a weird fit, because doesn’t Rodrique Beaubois already provide the same services? And that’s assuming Jones’ best case scenario comes through. Even if he is a bit superfluous, Dallas can use all the depth it can get at this point, so cheers to them for paying the cash to pull in a possible rotation contributor.”
  • Who knew Mark Cuban and Michael Heisley were best buds?
  • Greg Auman of the St. Petersberg Times: “Jones, a 6-foot-5 guard who led the Big East in scoring as a junior, became the Bulls’ first NBA first-round pick, taken by the Grizzlies at No. 25. Barely 20 minutes later, word had spread that the Grizzlies had drafted Jones on behalf of the Mavericks. And Dallas is where his NBA career will begin. ‘The emotions come out because you’ve got your foot in the door. This is just my beginning,’ said Jones, who walked through a crowd of supporters and laid his head on the hood of his Chevy Tahoe, overcome by a dream come true. Jones could have spent draft night in New York, where picks dressed in new suits smile for ESPN cameras, but he chose to stay in Lake Wales, proud of his roots in this small town in Polk County.”
  • A report that David Wesley will be a coach for the Texas Legends.
  • Jones again, this time responding to the Mavs paying $3 million just to pick him (via Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas): “That must mean they have some high expectations, and I don’t like letting people down.”
  • According to the tremendous @mavstats, Dominique was the only player in the country to average 21 points, six rebounds and three assists last season.
  • Don’t get too attached to that 2013 second rounder the Mavs acquired in exchange for the draft rights for Solomon Alabi. Donnie Nelson thinks it could make for a nice topping for an off-season trade. I certainly hope so, because Alabi seems like the kind of project the Mavs could have used. Then again, maybe Toronto was where he was supposed to be all along.
  • Mary Buckhelt has a cool feature on ESPN.com about the various LeBron anthems being written this off-season, including “The Bron Bron Song (C’mon LeBron)” by ESPN Radio’s own Ben Rogers (he of the Ben & Skin Show). In the extremely slim chance that you haven’t heard it yet, check out Ben’s ditty at LeBrontotheMavs.com.
  • Per Kevin Pelton’s similarity scores at Basketball Prospectus, the player most similar to Dominique Jones (in terms of production) at his age was Chris Douglas-Roberts. Not too bad.
  • Video proof that Rick Carlisle wears shorts. Oh, and a nice walk-and-talk with Donnie Nelson.

They Smell Like the Future: Dominique Jones

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | 7 Comments to Read

Photo by AP Photo.

South Florida Junior
6′5”, 216 lbs (Combine measurements)
21 years old
Shooting guard/point guard

The Mavs weren’t expected to be first round players in last night’s draft, yet they’ll soon introduce a top-20 prospect as their very own. The market for draft picks was established in odd fashion by a number of cap-clearing trades, yet Dallas was able to find a pick for sale and scrounge up $3 million in change from Mark Cuban’s pocket. It doesn’t generate quite as much buzz as a lottery selection, but Dallas has nabbed one of the few prospects in the draft that both fills an immediate positional need and supplies a valuable skill.

Of course, no player falls to 25 without flaws. For one, Jones is a talent, but not necessarily a unique talent. He’ll stand out against the Dallas skyline, as his natural scoring talents and athleticism are matched by only Rodrigue Beaubois in the Maverick ranks. Yet if painted as a face in an expansive scene rather than as the singular focus of a portrait, Jones begins to lose a bit of his luster. Dominique isn’t likely to ever become an elite 2, but if one bothers to appreciate what he is rather than lamenting what he isn’t, it’s clear that Jones could make an impact for Dallas as a rookie and eventually develop into something pretty special.

One of the reasons why the Mavericks faltered in the playoffs was a complete lack of shot creation. Dirk can always spin and fade to get a look against single coverage, but aside from Nowitzki (and Rodrigue Beaubois), Dallas struggled to create open looks against the intuitive and oppressive San Antonio defense. The offense was stopped at the source; when the Spurs pressured Jason Kidd and prevented him from initiating the offense with ease, the Mavs folded. What they really needed — and Beaubois’ Game 6 success was a testament to this — was a ball-handler outside of Kidd who could create shots for himself and his teammates. Rodrigue can clearly assist in that capacity, but why settle for one such player when Dominique Jones can do that and more?

The most consistent criticism of Dominique’s offensive game is his iffy jump shot. It will definitely be a work in progress as Jones voyages into the NBA, and is the kind of technical skill that can be refined over time. And from the sound of things, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban are definitely interested in having Jones around for a long time.

It should be a hell of a ride. At the combine, Jones matched Monta Ellis’ sprinting speed and showed incredible strength for his position. He’s something of a bulldog, and his ability to both get to the rim and finish there (and draw fouls, for that matter) is very impressive. We’ll look at his defense in greater depth over the next few weeks, but the preliminary looks are pretty sunny. Dominique is a physical and persistent defender, and unlike a number of shooting guards the Mavs have had over the years, height doesn’t look to be a serious issue. Obviously he won’t come into the league with NBA-ready technique, but he has the tools to make it work.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game21.46.13.62.91.7.450.311
Per 4023.06.63.93.21.8------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
56.250.33.515.924.457.230.5

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.81.514.9

Other People:

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “What makes Jones intriguing in today’s NBA is that he can spend time at either backcourt position. He’s clearly a good enough ball handler to bring the ball up the court and get a team into its offense, and he shows pretty good court vision on top of that, with his ability to play the pick-and-roll and find teammates off the dribble in drive and dish situations. In the film we studied, it was a bit surprising to see the amount of possessions in which Jones was obviously looking to make the extra pass, but ended up forcing a difficult shot as the clock ran down due to the inability of his teammates to create open looks. He’s clearly not a selfish player. While no one will confuse him with a pure point guard, he’s enough of a lead guard to see minutes as his team’s primary ball handler coming off the bench. The other place that Jones stands out is on the defensive end, where he can come up with some incredibly impressive possessions. Jones appears capable of guarding either backcourt position in the NBA. He is especially effective on the ball, where his terrific size, strength and length shines through.”

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: “He’s neither a great athlete nor a great shooter, but he really knows how to get to the rim. Some NBA scouts were convinced he was a sleeper, while others weren’t that impressed. Interesting pick by the Mavs, who already have Rodrigue Beaubois and Jason Terry ahead of Jones on the depth chart.”

Jeff Eisenberg, The Dagger: “Jones is a tad small to play shooting guard in the NBA at 6-foot-4, but he can get to the rim and finish as well as anyone in this draft besides John Wall. If he hones his outside shot, he could be a late first-round steal.”

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: The 11th Hour

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 24, 2010 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Draft day is upon us. Although the events of this week make moving up in the draft a costly proposition, there’s still an outside chance the Mavs will move up in the second round or even into the late first. Regardless, there should be an interesting prospect of some kind on the board when the Mavs are finally on the clock with the 50th pick. Here are all of the draft previews featured here over the last few weeks (in alphabetical order):

Trevor Booker – PF, Clemson
Aubrey Coleman
– SG, Houston
Sherron Collins – G, Kansas
Charles Garcia – PF, Seattle
Luke Harangody – F, Notre Dame
Mac Koshwal – PF/C, DePaul
Sylven Landesberg – SG, Virginia
Chas McFarland – C, Wake Forest
Art Parakhouski – C, Radford
Dexter Pittman – C, Texas
Jon Scheyer – G, Duke
Donald Sloan – PG, Texas A&M
Mikhail Torrance – PG, Alabama
Greivis Vasquez – G, Maryland
Michael Washington – PF, Arkansas
Brian Zoubek – C, Duke

If the pre-draft buzz is to be believed, Vasquez and Torrance could actually be gone by the end of the first round, with Zoubek not far behind them. Booker should also be out of the question by the time pick no. 50 rolls around, meaning that it’s extremely unlikely that Dallas will be able to draft a player that’s NBA-ready.

Feel free to peruse the per-possession stats of all of the previewed prospects (and all of the players the Mavs have worked out that weren’t previewed) in the chart below. You can sort by any of the listed measures, or classify by position to compare against the rest of the crop.

PlayerPOSTS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%STL%BLK%DRB%
Jon ScheyerPG/SG57.250.22.211.525.841.623.12.60.68.4
Art ParakhouskiC58.658.415.614.07.365.827.90.96.023.6
Charles GarciaPF53.149.09.722.08.475.834.90.82.924.9
Greivis VasquezPG/SG54.849.63.818.435.231.330.52.81.010.2
Dexter PittmanC63.865.416.520.45.063.024.51.08.915.3
Sylven LandesbergSG53.047.34.914.522.236.030.11.50.913.3
Luke HarangodySF/PF55.150.58.210.611.835.131.90.82.124.1
Brian ZoubekC62.663.821.621.89.755.317.72.14.024.4
Mikhail TorrancePG59.352.51.119.533.644.925.61.50.811.9
Trevor BookerPF54.953.310.014.417.347.324.82.44.620.4
Mac KoshwalPF/C55.054.411.920.715.348.228.13.32.820.9
Chas McFarlandC49.444.59.923.76.075.318.41.04.618.9
Michael WashingtonPF54.850.79.115.96.362.924.81.45.018.1
Mouhammed FayeSF/PF53.651.28.416.17.934.523.51.42.717.3
Donald SloanPG55.249.62.315.616.745.327.11.10.19.9
Matt JanningSG51.647.21.814.820.133.125.72.70.511.5
Aubrey ColemanSG51.5466.310.215.644.434.14.00.415.6
Devan DowneyPG51.345.81.616.823.431.534.64.50.09.3
Courtney FortsonPG48.340.74.724.224.250.935.42.30.512.8
Derrick CaracterPF59.857.41122.29.045.527.52.03.621.7
Sherron CollinsPG/SG55.850.60.817.624.331.723.31.80.15.6
Ryan ThompsonSG55.547.94.014.116.152.424.01.80.911.1
Jeremy LinPG62.657.13.421.230.968.226.84.43.612.9
Justin MasonPG45.042.94.221.614.249.512.82.51.46.7
Elijah MillsapSG51.545.89.521.613.556.429.93.01.024.5
Marquis GilstrapSF52.949.39.419.29.043.825.31.62.821.6
Landry FieldsSG/SF56.151.96.713.619.550.831.02.62.220.6
Tyler SmithSG/SF61.757.35.513.522.980.419.82.81.114.0
Matt BouldinSG58.952.81.516.921.440.421.62.20.512.4
Scottie ReynoldsPG47.654.41.918.221.851.526.52.80.47.8
Omar SamhanC58.955.213.712.77.143.130.60.87.924.5
Andrew OgilvyC57.950.810.416.28.277.428.52.56.018.5
Tommy Mason-GriffinPG53.149.31.519.728.924.623.41.40.07.8
Magnum RollePF/C54.151.313.115.75.838.324.11.46.918.2
Jerome RandlePG61.355.61.422.223.732.326.61.20.05.5

In case it’s unclear, the stats are as follows (from left to right): true shooting percentage (TS%), effective field goal percentage (eFG%), offensive rebounding rate (ORB%), turnover rate (TOV%), assist rate (AST%), free throw rate (FTR), usage (USG%), steal rate (STL%), block rate (BLK%), and defensive rebounding rate (DRB%).

UPDATE (5:04 PM CST): For the sake of convenience, I’ll be updating this post with periodic pre-draft chatter.

UPDATE (7:22 PM CST):

  • Per Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, the Mavs received some good offers for Rodrigue Beaubois, but they weren’t persuasive enough: “‘We’ve had some unusually attractive offers for Roddy,’ Nelson said. But, nothing that would change the Mavs’ stance. ‘Roddy’s not going anywhere,’ Nelson said.”

UPDATE (8:00 PM CST):

  • A nice little video from the Mavs’ official site showing off the pre-draft War Room.

UPDATE (9:00 CST):

  • Looks like the Mavs may have made their way into the first round after all. According to Marc Stein, the Memphis Grizzlies selected South Florida’s Dominique Jones with the 25th pick for the Mavs, who bought the pick. Check out his Draft Express profile here.

They Smell Like the Future: Aubrey Coleman

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by Icon SMI.

Houston Senior
6’4”, 200 lbs.
22 years old
Shooting guard
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

The last thing the Mavs need is another undersized shooting guard, and Aubrey Coleman doesn’t exactly help his case with his high-volume approach. Coleman was a big fish in a small pond (well, one of the biggest ponds in the country if you want to be technical about it, but you know what I mean), but on the NBA stage, his scoring talents would be marginalized. He’s not quite efficient enough to make the most out of limited scoring opportunities just yet, meaning Coleman could turn out to be a Willie Green clone. Even if Willie has managed to hang around in the NBA and make a few bucks, that’s not meant as a compliment. But he could also turn out to be Marcus Thornton-esque, which would be pretty fun.

There’s only so much room in the league for these types of scorers, particularly those that haven’t developed a consistent jumper. The fact that Coleman was the nation’s leading scorer matters a great deal, but so does his level of competition in Conference USA. That’s more of a qualifier than an asterisk, but it needs to be said. NBA GMs often seem reluctant to experiment with fringe NBA players from smaller college programs, but I do think Coleman has talent worth investigating. There doesn’t seem to be enough interest in Aubrey to warrant a draft selection (even at 50), but if Dallas is looking for a perimeter scorer that could be useful down the road, Coleman deserves a proper look.

Plus, he’s not a bad defender. His height puts a limit on his defensive impact as a pro, but he’s actually quite relentless. He rebounds very well, he works hard, and he plays like anything but a shot-eating prima donna.

Some of his offensive tendencies are a bit of a turn-off though, and I don’t think Coleman is quite ready to be an NBA role player. He’s going to come into the league with the same inefficient approach that hindered his statistical excellence at Houston, and while having more scoring threats on the floor could give his shooting percentage and turnovers a healthy bump, you can’t change a player like Coleman overnight. He needs time to work on his game with a professional team, but not necessarily the Mavs. That’s why the D-League or a European team are likely the best option for Coleman’s immediate future, at least until NBA types can properly gauge his abilities against quality competition.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game25.67.42.62.32.7.425.317
Per 4027.78.02.82.52.9------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
51.546.06.310.215.644.434.1

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
4.00.415.6

Other People:

Joe Treutlein, Draft Express: “Coleman’s saving grace is the contributions he makes on the boards and on the defensive end, where he plays with high intensity consistently, putting his physical tools to use to disrupt the opposition. He approaches the game with a high motor in general, and his offensive problems appear to be more about not having much familiarity with team basketball than him being selfish. Coleman lacks a significant amount of high-level experience, as he did not play much basketball in high school, went to a junior college, and then played in an extremely loose system under Tom Penders at Houston.”

Draft Express: “Now, Coleman is on the cusp of getting the chance to do that on a nightly basis. Regardless of where he lands though, the player who didn’t know a thing about basketball except how to play hard, isn’t going to suddenly change the approach that has taken him this far. ‘When I first started out I made my mark because I was a hustle guy who never stopped running and that caught the coach’s eye,’ he said. ‘It shows that if you put your mind to it you can do it. I’m not where I want to be yet, I want to rise higher and higher and show people that I’m one of the best players in the nation, not just because of my scoring either.’”

Joe Treutlein, Draft Express: “Coleman’s offensive game starts with his outstanding handle and creativity attacking off the dribble, showing a complete repertoire of moves and the instincts to meld them all together. Coleman’s first step is not overwhelming, but he frequently manages to create separation at the second level either by changing speeds, changing directions, using an advanced move to get his man off balance, or some combination of all three. At the basket, Coleman is extremely aggressive in seeking out contact, and elevates pretty well around the rim, where he is a very good finisher at this level. His size poses some problems projecting to the NBA, though, where he could have a harder time finishing against weakside defenders, while opponents may also be less likely to foul him. Coleman could definitely help himself by working on his floater in this regard, as it would make him a more dynamic threat finishing in the lane if it were a more reliable weapon.”

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: Donald Sloan

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | 3 Comments to Read

Photo by Jeff Tuttle/Wichita Eagle/MCT.

Texas A&M Senior
6’3”, 205 lbs (Combine measurements)
22 years old
Point guard
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

Donald Sloan is a scoring point guard, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What is a bad thing is that he’s not particularly skilled defensively, athletic but not a standout, and isn’t an especially deadly shooter. He simply did well for himself at A&M, but not well enough to warrant serious draft consideration.

For comparison’s sake, look at former Texas A&M star Acie Law. Law is cut from a similar mold, even if his talents made him more of a jumpshooter than Sloan. Acie was a much better three-point shooter in college (.458 his senior year vs. .364 for Sloan), a more efficient overall scorer, and an intelligent defender. Package those abilities with some playmaking skills, toughness, and leadership, and it’s not so surprising that Acie was taken with the 11th pick in the 2007 draft. Yet Law has struggled to earn and keep a consistent role in the NBA, despite being a superior talent to Sloan. If the best player in A&M’s history can’t even produce at the professional level (though to be fair, Law’s hardly been given the opportunity that other lottery picks have), why should we be optimistic about Donald’s chances?

Sloan is actually a pretty decent rebounder for a point guard, but at this stage it doesn’t look like he has the chops to run an offense (note his mere 2.8 assists per 40 minutes and 1.0 assist to turnover ratio). That wouldn’t be so big of a deal if Donald had proven NBA range, but at the moment he’s merely a solid shooter from the college three. Maybe he’s more reliable from outside than I’m giving him credit for, but if scoring is his lone attractive NBA skill, I expect better efficiency. Even second round/undrafted prospects need to impress with either their skill set (even if it’s highlighted by one single skill) or potential, and Sloan doesn’t quite do either.

He’s still something of a scorer though, and his quickness is fairly enticing. I wouldn’t mind seeing Donald hang around as a back-up for the Mavs’ summer league team, but there are likely better point guard prospects than he.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game17.73.62.32.40.6.444.364
Per 4021.44.32.82.80.8------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
55.249.62.315.616.745.327.1

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.10.19.9

Other People:

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “Much more of a scorer than a pure playmaker, Sloan played on and off the ball in college in a system that was largely geared to maximizing his strengths. He has good speed in the open floor and finishes creatively around the basket, even if he’s clearly undersized for the shooting guard position. Although his 2-point percentages weren’t particularly high in college, he got to the free throw line at a good rate and shows nice instincts in this area, particularly in terms of the strength and aggressiveness he brings to the table.”

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: Michael Washington

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 23, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by Glenn Bryant.

Arkansas Senior
6’10”, 224 lbs
23 years old
Power forward
Projection: Late second rounder/undrafted

When all is said and done, Michael Washington may be yet another cautionary tale of what not to do with incredible physical gifts. Not only does Washington have a frame made for pro ball, but also athleticism that could even make NBA bigs blush. Yet after four seasons of college ball — the crash course in character-building, fundamental-teaching, and man-making, if I’ve been told correctly — Michael has yet to really capitalize on his enormous potential. That’s not necessarily a death knell for Washington’s NBA dreams, but it makes his climb into the NBA even steeper than most second round prospects.

The arc of Washington’s career is particularly troublesome. After improving aspects of his production from season to season over his first three years at Arkansas, Michael’s senior year was a step back in the worst possible way. Washington regressed across the board, and regardless of who (or what; the situation in Arkansas has been rocky to say the least) is to blame, interest in him as a prospect collapsed. A player with Washington’s lack of technical skill doesn’t have a lot of leeway with NBA teams looking for legit talent, and the fact that his production not only plateaued after year three but fell off of a cliff is glaring.

If the Mavs or any other NBA team selects Washington in the draft, it will be an exercise in faith. That’s obviously true of all draft choices, but even more so for a prospect with incredible potential but little to show for it. You’d think four years would be enough time to develop some reliable skills on either end of the court, but Washington’s unrefined game stands as evidence to the contrary. It’d be terrific if every prospect like Michael Washington would just figure it out. Not necessarily with a flick of a switch; even the mildest hint of evolution over an extended period could satisfy my desire to see a player like Washington succeed.

Doubt over Washington’s future has crept in and set up base camp. After all, how else does one make sense of Washington’s rapid decline if they don’t attribute it to something greater?

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOBLKFG%3FG%
Per Game12.56.10.81.81.3.496.231
Per 4019.79.61.82.82.0------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
54.850.79.115.96.362.924.8

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.45.018.1

Other People:

Jonathan Givony, Matt Kamalsky, Joe Treutlein, and Joey Whelan, Draft Express: “He is still very raw offensively as we have mentioned on multiple occasions, showing little in the ways of post-moves or counters…His ball-handling skills and overall shot-creating ability remains weak, and he’s not making shots from the perimeter at a particularly high rate either. All in all, there is little to point at in Washington’s offensive profile that would appear to translate on a consistent basis to the NBA level…As a whole, the big man has seen a significant decrease in his rebounding numbers, dropping from 12.4 per-40 minutes last season, to 9.1. For a frontcourt player who lacks a defining offensive skill and is not considered a very good defender, this sudden drop in production on the glass is fairly disastrous for his case as an NBA prospect.”

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: Chas McFarland

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 22, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

Wake Forest Senior
7’0”, 225 lbs (Combine measurements)
23 years old
Center
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

Chas McFarland was a serviceable component for Wake, but in the pros? He’s an exchangeable part. Easily exchangeable, in fact; Chas is a nail in a bucket full of them, and while he can likely do his job as well as any of those other nails, I see no reason to choose him over all the rest. It’s an odd thing to say for a guy with McFarland’s size, but nothing in Chas’ game really stands out.

Now, if the Mavs liked what they saw from McFarland in workouts, think he could potentially fit with the team in a minimal role, and want to sign him as an undrafted free agent? Take the shot. I have no qualms with a team taking a closer look at a legit seven-footer, even if they didn’t show a lot of flash in college. Reliable bigs are hard enough to come by that they’re due the proper diligence when they come along, and McFarland could theoretically be such a player. The evidence just isn’t there to support it, from the tape to the stat sheet and back.

Even at a basketball institution like Wake, there was a lot working against Chas. With his minutes and role, he wasn’t really put in a position to show off his skills, so he didn’t. That’s not entirely his fault, but it’s also at least partially indicative of the type of player we’re looking at: a pedestrian collegiate role player that can fill a few holes in the pros. Despite his size, McFarland wasn’t a particularly effective rebounder or efficient scorer. There’s no reason to believe he’s going to be markedly better at either of those things in the NBA, even if he does have pro center’s frame.

There’s nothing wrong with what McFarland is, honestly. He could be a serviceable NBA big, even if he has no potential to explode onto the scene. That could be worthy of the pick alone, particularly if the Mavs are desperate to put names on the depth chart. I know how little sense drafting for need makes at this stage in the draft, but if there’s little left on the board and the Mavs are desperate for another center, why not? Even if Dallas selects McFarland in a blind grab among the number of others like him, he could still work out.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOBLKFG%3FG%
Per Game7.27.00.81.91.2.446.000
Per 4011.711.31.33.11.9------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
49.444.59.923.76.075.318.4

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.04.618.9

Other People:

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “Offensively, McFarland is a traditional, inside oriented 7-foot center, which is somewhat of a rarity these days. He’s not afraid to throw his big body around inside, as he’s a fairly active player who can make good things happen for his team when he’s dialed in and managing to keep mistakes to a minimum. McFarland is not what you would call an overly skilled player with his back to the basket, but he’s regardless a nice target to have as a finisher on pick and roll plays and simple cuts to the rim, as he’s got a wide body, good hands and possesses reasonably soft touch. He draws fouls at a very nice rate, converts his free throws on solid (72%) percentages, and shows some signs of a spot-up 15-footer or a turnaround jumper in the post, although neither can be relied on consistently just yet…Defensively, McFarland can be a presence at the college level with his excellent size and high motor, but is likely to be considered a liability on this end of the floor when stacked up against most NBA prospects. His fundamentals here are not ideal, as he tends to lose his focus easily after falling asleep on plays and give his man deep position in the post. On top of that, he doesn’t show great explosiveness contesting shots around the basket and lacks the lateral quickness to be effective stepping away from the paint. He’s fairly foul prone in turn, which tends to limit his minutes in certain contests. On the plus side, he is a solid rebounder on a per-minute basis due to the energy with which he plays.”

Supplementary Materials:

Video evidence of how much opposing fans appreciate McFarland’s hustle and game.

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: Mac Koshwal

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by AP Photo/Keith Srakocic.

DePaul Junior
6’10”, 240 lbs
Birthday unknown (seriously)
Power forward/center
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

Mac is a bit more talented than the “project center” archetype suggests, but ultimately we’re dealing with something in the same genus. If the Mavs are willing to invest time, coaching, and energy in Koshwal, he could eventually become something of a player. If not, Koshwal is the type of big body that could float around the periphery of the league for quite some time, riding unguaranteed contracts, ten-days, and summer league teams as a practice body for hire.

Koshwal put together a relatively decent basketball portfolio in college, which is the only thing to suggest he could be something more than a 6’10” body. Obviously his height gave him an advantage at DePaul that he he won’t have the benefit of in the NBA, but his size does mean that he can try to hang with other pro bigs. He’s not the strongest, the fastest, the most athletic, or the most skilled, but Mac could end up being “Opposing Center #247.” It’s not a glorious life, and it typically leads to little more than a bare bones Wikipedia page to signify his existence. That’s still better than most, even if Koshwal never plays a minute of meaningful NBA action.

Ultimately, Koshwal looks like filler. He didn’t fake his way through his collegiate production, and considering just how bad DePaul has been, the numbers are honestly pretty impressive. He just doesn’t have one skill that could make him an NBA commodity, nor has he shown the potential to even be a solid NBA reserve. If the Mavs are looking for someone to potentially use up some minutes in the near future, they can do better. If they’re looking for a player to develop down the road, they can still probably do better. Mac may be a nice “just in case” guy to have floating around at the end of the bench or on the Legends, but aside from emergency utility, he’s not a particularly notable prospect.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTL/BLKFG%3FG%
Per Game16.110.12.03.21.8/0.9.544---
Per 4018.511.53.33.72.1/1.0------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
55.0534.011.920.715.348.228.1

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
3.32.820.9

Other People:

Joe Treutlein, Draft Express: “One area where Koshwal does excel is the glass, especially the offensive end, where he pulls in 4.3 offensive boards per game. Koshwal has a relentless motor on the glass and has no problem throwing his body around, as we’ve previously documented. This is probably the most attractive part of his profile in fact when projecting him to the NBA level, as players of his nature aren’t always that easy to find, at least not for the minimum. Defensively, Koshwal has a pretty upright stance on the perimeter, and doesn’t seem to put in full effort moving his feet, which probably makes his lateral quickness look worse than it could be. On pick-and-rolls, he looks completely out of sorts, usually making peculiar decisions and not really putting in full effort most of the time. In the post, he doesn’t get great leverage and his fundamentals could probably use a little work, but he does put in a better effort level here. On the weakside, he really is not much of a threat blocking shots due to his lack of explosiveness, but he does show a terrific ability to anticipate post-entry passes and come up with steals.”

Footnote:

  • Mac is originally from Sudan, but he attended Boys to Men Math and English Academy in Chicago. Boys. To. Men.

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: Trevor Booker

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Clemson senior
6’7.5”, 236 lbs (combine measurements)
22 years old
Power forward
Projection: Early second rounder

It’s extremely unlikely that the Mavs will even sniff Trevor Booker in the draft. Even if Trevor isn’t guaranteed a spot in the first round, he seems to be everyone’s favorite early second rounder. That’s only logical given Booker’s size and skills, but there’s still the remote possibility that Trevor slips on Thursday night. After all, in this zany NBA draft world, stranger things have happened. Stranger DeJuan Blair-y things, for one. Obviously Booker doesn’t come with the same health concerns that Blair did, but some talented players just end up dropping on draft night for footnotes on their draft profile. There’s nothing to indicate Booker could be such a player at present, but the draft winds are still blowing.

Part of the problem is that at a little over 6’7”, Booker seems like the type of college big man that could theoretically struggle to produce at the next level. He won’t be a consistent post threat in the pros, which is why his ceiling is likely as a fringe starter, but a more realistic projection might be as a decent, competent reserve. Trevor can rebound and score — even without having as many post-up opportunities  — in the NBA, but it’s going to take some adjustment. It requires unbelievable talent to make the jump from NCAA standout to NBA player, but the contrast in styles and athleticism also forces lesser players to make changes to their game that they’re not always comfortable with (or capable of) making.

It’s one thing for a guy like Booker to accept a smaller role as a pro. That’s essentially a given, and when he’s selected in the second round, there’s an implicit understanding that he’s not brought in to be a star. It shouldn’t keep him from working hard and clawing to get what he can, but it should force certain modifications to Trevor’s approach. Against college defenders, Booker’s size was a non-issue. He could go to work inside, and use every bit of his strength and length to force his way into easy buckets. It just won’t fly against most NBA defenders, and Booker will need to continue to diversify his game (while maintaining the essence of who he was at Clemson) to become a real NBA player.

The same goes for the defensive end, which could be where the real trouble begins. I don’t doubt that Booker will work hard to improve his defense, it’s just important that we retain realistic expectations for a 6’7” power forward. Rebounding is different; we’ve seen a number of undersized bigs become rebounding machines in the pros. There’s just something instinctive about hitting the boards, and it’s so intuitive to some of these players that they simply can’t be denied. But how many undersized bigs have gone on to become defensive weapons? Or even average defensively? They do exist, but the odds are against Booker being efficient defender as an NBA 4.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the guy among the second round prospects. Hard-working, athletic power forwards will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m actually pretty high on Trevor’s ability to stick in the L. But like so many other late draft selections — and this is a point that honestly hasn’t been hammered in enough of these draft profiles — Booker doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. No second rounder does. Lottery players are expected to produce and those that go in the second round or aren’t drafted at all are expected to fail. That’s clearly not always the result, but expectations needs to be low, even if only so Booker can shatter them.

Trevor can be an NBA player, and he really is an impressive athletic specimen. On top of that, he’s exactly the sort of aggressive scorer that just about anyone would love to have on their team. His height will likely play a major factor though, as his tear-the-rim-down mentality from college will be met with the waiting arms of NBA shot-blockers. If Trevor can work on his face-up game and further refine his driving abilities, there will be a roster spot for him on a number of teams. If not, he’ll go down as yet another impressive college player that couldn’t quite cut it. I’m rooting for him, and at this point I’m damn near positive he’ll be able to adjust while still thriving in some of the same areas that made him a success at Clemson. Yet if he doesn’t, there will unfortunately be nothing spectacular about his failure. It’s hard out there for a second-rounder.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTL/BLKFG%3FG%
Per Game15.28.42.51.91.3/1.4.521.265
Per 4019.810.93.32.51.7/1.8------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
54.953.010.014.417.347.324.8

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.44.620.4

Other People:

Kyle Nelson, Draft Express: “Despite being tougher and more athletic than most post players at the collegiate level, Booker has become far more perimeter-oriented and somewhat less efficient on the offensive end. Though his 3-point shooting numbers are down to an unsightly 26.9%, his form is much improved, far more fluid and quick than in past seasons, suggesting that he could develop into a solid shooting option at the next level from inside of the NBA three point line. He also looks considerably more adept on pick and pop plays from mid-range. Evaluating his ability to attack matchups off the dribble, he appears to have improved as well, looking eager to beat opponents with his terrific first step. Unfortunately, for as much as he has improved his ball handling abilities through the course of his career, he is still not that efficient in this area, looking overly ambitious at times, turning over the ball over in iso situations, not getting quality looks at the basket, and not drawing contact at the rim. Similarly, he does not seem to know his limits, as he lacks the offensive polish and basketball IQ at this point to be a prolific slasher at this level or in the NBA. All things considered, though, Booker’s improvements from the perimeter as a shot-creator and jump-shooter should be duly noted, despite the fact that it’s hurt his efficiency numbers in the process.”

Fran Fraschilla, ESPN.com’s Draft Blog: “As a junior, he was the first ACC player since Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan to lead the league in rebounding and field goal percentage. It’s a good indication of his warrior-like approach around the basket. While undersized, he should provide a spark for an NBA team in its rotation. At worst, he’ll be a great ninth or 10th man..”

David Thorpe, ESPN.com: “I’d lean heavily to Trevor Booker. NBA execs mention Paul Millsap and Carl Landry when they are discussing Booker. Um, hello? Those are two of the top 18 power forwards in the game! Booker has the “beast” mentality with long arms — a perfect combination. If his neck was an inch longer, he’d be a lottery candidate. Who cares about neck length?’”

Supplementary Materials:

I’ve been trying to stay away from highlight reels, but it’s important to really see this guy in action. Just a beast. Pardon the video quality, effects, and music, though.

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

They Smell Like the Future: Mikhail Torrance

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by AP Photo.

Alabama senior
6’5”, 209 lbs (combine measurements)
21 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: Second rounder

Forgive me if I continue to sound cheery concerning the fates of fringe NBA prospects, but Mikhail Torrance is among the most promising. His size makes him a bit unconventional for a point guard, and in the hands of a lesser coach, with a lesser roster, and as a part of a lesser franchise, that could be a rather glaring problem. Nevermind the fact that Torrance is a solid NBA athlete with impressive playmaking skills; if Mikhail is tagged with the dreaded “tweener” label and stashed in the bottom of the toy box, he could see his potential NBA career quickly wither away.

The point guard designation is important to Mikhail carving out a place for himself in the L. Mind you, the little “PG” next to his name isn’t nearly as important as the responsibilities that usually come with it. Mikhail’s greatest skill is his ability to make plays for his teammates, and if he’s relegated to off-ball duties, he’ll struggle to be effective. Torrance just isn’t a strong enough scorer to make it as a cookie-cutter shooting guard on the next level. His shooting isn’t consistent enough and his finishing abilities aren’t really where you’d like them to be. That doesn’t mean he can’t improve his stroke or work on his creativity around the basket, but if a team throws Mikhail into the fire as a conventional 2 and expects him to produce, his life as an NBAer will be over before it really began.

If the Mavs are looking to go point guard, Torrance may be the best option. He’s not a knock-down shooter or the most reliable slasher, but he’s an interesting, athletic prospect with good size, reach, and instincts. He’s a big point guard, but not exactly in the Tyreke Evans mold; his physique is useful but hardly dominating, and while it gives him specific advantages in his ability to thread passes and get off his shot (not to mention contest those of his opponents), Torrance has no singular physical attribute that makes him a terribly valuable prospect. Mikhail isn’t the platonic ideal of an NBA athlete, but his combination of size, speed, and strength are still unique for his position.

There’s the distinct possibility that Torrance just isn’t good enough, that his talents were notable at the collegiate level but are just too nondescript in a sea of former college stars. In fact, the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of just such a result, considering the catastrophically small success rate of late second-r0und selections. I see hope for Mikhail yet, and as long as a coach is willing to be patient with him and put him in the right situations, Torrance could become a nice back-up point guard with a long NBA life.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game15.63.75.12.70.8.470.358
Per 4019.24.66.23.31.0------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
59.353.01.119.533.644.925.6

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.50.811.9

Other People:

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “A 6’5 point guard, we’ve written a great deal about Torrance since his performance at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. He stacks up fairly well here –his overall points per-possessions of .981 is good for fourth in this group, and is third amongst college players. He doesn’t turn the ball over at a high rate either, coughing the ball up less than average on 16.2% of his possessions. However, his 15.3 possessions per-game render him as one of the lowest usage players on our list. Torrance stands out the most in transition, where his size clearly helps him as a finisher. He scored 1.354 points per-possession in transition, ranking as the best fast break scorer in the group. Though only average in half court situations, Torrance is the third most effective isolation player in the group shooting 47.5% and has a lot of experience on the pick and roll, with 30.8% of his possessions coming such situations (3rd most).”

Scott Schroeder, Ridiculous Upside: “Mikhail Torrance is a guy we might want to keep an eye on.  He did well at the Portsmouth Invitational and seems to have done the best in the functional mid-range drill as he hit 39 of his 42 attempts.  I probably don’t need to tell you this, but that’s awesome – and he can play the point.”

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “He dishes the ball in a variety of ways, be it with fancy bounce passes, creative lobs, bullets through the teeth of the defense, or simple, fundamental kickouts. A willing distributor, it’s fairly rare to see a converted wing player embrace the point guard position so thoroughly, as the talent he shows passing the ball is clearly innate. Fairly turnover prone, Torrance coughs the ball up a lot more than you’d hope, at times stretching the limit of his creativity and at times simply making unforced errors that hint at his inexperience running the position. A very unorthodox player, Torrance drives left almost exclusively (77% of his drives go in this direction according to Synergy Sports Technology) despite the fact that he’s right-handed. He looks highly uncomfortable finishing with his right hand around the basket, often switching awkwardly to his left even when the play doesn’t call for it. With that said, he shoots jumpers and free throws with his right hand, and when asked which one he prefers, jokingly says that it “depends on what day it is.”

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.