The Third Wave

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 26, 2010 under Commentary, News | 3 Comments to Read

The 2010 free agent class is unprecedented in many ways. Never before has a group of athletic mercenaries been so thoroughly dissected, endlessly analyzed, and hotly anticipated. Once the shenanigans begin on July 1st, all sorts of fun will be had, as so many franchises across the league will y be either destroyed or reborn in a cleansing fire.

Now, pay close attention, because while everyone is paying attention to the glitter at the head of the class, plenty of interesting things will be going on at the tail. Players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are proven and invaluable, but the summer will also yield completely untested prospects: undrafted free agents. In a typical NBA off-season, that doesn’t mean much; occasionally a team may unearth a role player from the undrafted ranks, but even that only happens on the rarest of occasions. Yet the survivors of this year’s draft seem a bit different. There obviously aren’t any earth-shaking talents in the bunch, but there are a number of interesting players that are viable candidates not only for a Summer League roster, but perhaps a spot on the Legends or even more.

Obviously not all of those prospects are going to pick Dallas over all of their other suitors, but the early returns are promising. Despite a mini-report from Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports, a Twitter exchange between St. Mary’s center Omar Samhan and Mark Cuban indicates that Samhan will indeed be a part of the Mavs’ Summer League team. Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin is also tabbed as a part of the fun. That’s a hell of a start, especially since Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones will headline. It should be interesting to see how the rest of the Vegas roster turns out.

Unfortunately, the Mavs have to do without a number of players they had expressed a clear interest in.

There are plenty of prospects still out there (Mikhail Torrance, Charles Garcia, Mac Koshwal, Aubrey Coleman, etc.), but the demand for these players is clear. By now, I’m sure the appropriate calls have already been placed. That makes the process less of a selection and more of a waiting game. The Summer League roster should be assembled in about a week’s time, which doesn’t leave much time for anticipation. Still, it’s worth keeping tabs on the unclaimed third round draftees over the next few days.

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: Jon Scheyer

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 17, 2010 under Commentary, Rumors | 8 Comments to Read

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

Duke Senior
6’6”, 180 lbs (Combine measurements)
22 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: late second round/undrafted

Regardless of who drafts him, Jon Scheyer will face an uphill battle for NBA acceptance. For one, he’s from Duke; if there’s a more reviled American institution of higher learning, I know not of it. Beyond that, he’s the preeminent post-Redick, post-Paulus Blue Devil. Every iteration of Duke basketball has its lightning rod, and for the ’09-’10 squad, it stood as a 6’6” combo guard.

A combo guard. It’s a term that makes strict positionalists wet the bed, and more than a few GMs wary of such a prospect’s future. Scheyer certainly fits the bill, but in a more optimal way. Rather than being a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body, Jon has the shooting stroke of a knock-down wing, solid playmaking skills, and a legit off-guard size. He’s not a perfect draft prospect — hence the tag as a likely late second-rounder — but in terms of the value to be found at No. 50 overall, Scheyer could be a good get.

First, a disclaimer: odds are that Scheyer is in and out of the NBA or relegated to end-of-the-bench duty, but let’s dive into a vision of what could be. Selecting Jon would be a gamble, sure, but a low-risk one that could yield pretty decent returns. It’s tough to predict exactly how his overall game will translate from college to the pros, but at the very least Scheyer has skills that appear to be valuable for an NBA team.

Jon will never be the type of athlete that can explode off of a screen or penetrate at will, but his shooting abilities still make him a threat in the pick-and-roll and his experience running the point makes him an interesting selection. His ability to defend NBA shooting guards is a huge question mark, and that’s just about the last thing Mavs fans want to hear regarding a 2-guard prospect. Shawn Marion is really the only true wing stopper the Mavs have had in the Dirk Nowitzki era, and the shooting guard position has provided particular problems for the Mavs over the years. Caron Butler isn’t a terrible defender, but Jason Terry and the aging Michael Finley? The two longest tenured shooting guards weren’t exactly earning their paychecks on the defensive end.

I wouldn’t say Scheyer is more of the same, but well…yeah, he’s more of the same. Quite inferior to JET and Fin, actually, in terms of his defensive ability. He wasn’t exactly a great defender in college, and by upping the talent, strength, quickness, and size of his opponents, things are about to get far more difficult. That said, all Jon has to do is hold his ground on defense. He doesn’t have to lock anyone down, but provided he can prevent his match-up from going hog wild (a big assumpion, frankly), his offense should be good enough to earn him solid time as an NBA reserve.

Scheyer could possibly thrive in a Derek Fisher-like role, should he ever find himself in the triangle offense or a variant. But as an alternative, I could see him and Rodrigue Beaubois coexisting in an Eric Snow/Allen Iverson style backcourt. By playing Beaubois and Scheyer together, the Mavs would have two playmakers that can both create and score, with Scheyer as an oversized point and Beaubois an undersized shooting guard. Beaubois’ ability to penetrate would more than make up for Scheyer’s lack of quickness, and Jon’s shooting touch would be a welcome complement alongside a drive-and-kicking Rodrigue. They could share the ball, utilize each other’s strengths, and maximize the post-Dirk Mavs’ potential by having two entry points for the offense.

Both will have to prove themselves defensively. Beaubois still needs to improve his defensive fundamentals to prove that he has what it takes to really zero-in on NBA ball-handlers, and we have yet to see whether Scheyer can impress with average NBA defense. Still, because of Rodrigue’s athleticism and length and Scheyer’s size, imagining a world in which the two could succeed defensively isn’t that much of a stretch.

Of course, Scheyer doesn’t have to be an NBA starter for the Mavs’ pick to be a success. Even if they can bring him off the bench for limited minutes, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban would have made something of a late pick. Most teams don’t expect to find a rotation player at 50, yet Scheyer is an NBA-ready shooter that works hard and could eventually contribute for an NBA team…supposing he can continue to find ways to succeed in spite of his lack of athleticism. He may not be an ideal off-guard, but he’s still a rather useful player whether spotting up on the perimeter or running the offense.

Scheyer doesn’t fill any immediate needs for the Mavs and his upside is limited, but if he’s on the board at 50, he’d be a nice value pick. Perhaps not one that yields immediate benefits (the learning curve of J.J. Redick is not only convenient, but fair), but a useful asset nonetheless.

Oh, and the Scheyer face.


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

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game18.23.64.93.61.6.399.383
Per 4019.83.95.33.91.8----

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
57.250.22.211.525.841.623.1

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.60.68.4

Other People:

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “John Scheyer ranks as the most efficient overall scorer [among shooting guards] at 1.054 PPP. As one could guess, his tremendous jump shooting ability when left open afforded him success in spot up situations (1.16 PPP), but he surprisingly ranks well above average in isolation (.938 PPP 3rd) and is the most effective pick and roll player on our list (1.16 PPP). Despite his limited quickness, Scheyer is one of the savviest prospects around. If he’s able to show that he can defend his position on a consistent basis, he should be able to carve out a niche for himself in the NBA.”

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com: “Scheyer won’t sniff the first round of an NBA draft — he, like Reynolds, simply isn’t athletic enough to hang in the NBA. (Scheyer isn’t athletic even by college standards; much of his scoring came from crafty hesitation moves and efficient cuts around the perimeter). It’s not that hard to understand. But as a college player, especially in Duke’s 2009-10 national championship run, Scheyer was ruthlessly effective.”

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: “Did you know Scheyer was 6′6? I didn’t. I thought he was more like 6′4. But he’s a guy that can shoot, can handle and get even get to the rim. He could run point or play off the ball. Obviously again, like Rautins, you wonder if he could defend Kobe Bryant, but as for a marksman with other abilities, Scheyer could fit [with the Thunder].”

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.