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: Mikhail Torrance

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 22, 2010 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.