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.

Heard It Through the Weekend Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 20, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Ryan Blake, the NBA’s director of scouting, on draft prospect Sherron Collins (via Jeff Caplan): “If Collins is down there, which he could be, he’s one of the better point guards in this draft, but it depends on how good you think he is. This is not a point-guard draft whatsoever, but the guy is tough, he’s quick and he’s proved it. He doesn’t have size, but you have [J.J.] Barea, who is very tough, comparatively, the same kind of guy.”
  • Caron Butler, through his Twitter account (@realtuffjuice): “Wherever I’m at next year I’m going to be a problem. (I love dallas)…I wanna win a chip in dallas and that a realistic goal luv holla in the am…I wanna win in dallas let’s get it(chip).” He also noted that he’s trying to drop about 14 pounds for next season.
  • Dwane Casey is staying in Dallas for now, but the Mavs will lose player development coach Popeye Jones to Avery and the Nets. Best of luck to Popeye in the Swamp.
  • Reebok is holding a celebrity baseball game in Frisco next weekend to benefit the Mike Modano Foundation and The Heroes Foundation, and Jason Kidd, Nancy Lieberman, and Mark Cuban will all be playing.
  • J.J. Barea, with a declaration that if he weren’t a Maverick, he would want to be a Net. It’s implied that it’s out of respect for newly-hired coach Avery Johnson, who coached J.J. during his first two seasons in Dallas.
  • Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com, channeling Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Speaking of Shawne: As we noted a few days ago, he’s trying out in Charlotte and we wish him well. Even Larry Brown says Williams’ ‘past is no problem.’ But in the next breath, Larry notes that Shawne showed up for his tryout 20 pounds too fat.”
  • Jason Kidd, coaching consultant. It’s actually a pretty interesting idea, even if Kidd technically has no prerogative to help out another team or Byron Scott.

They Smell Like the Future: Sherron Collins

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

Photo by John Gress/Reuters.

Kansas Senior
5’11.75”, 217 lbs (Combine measurements)
23 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

If the Mavs end up picking Sherron Collins in this week’s draft, it means something went wrong. For one, it signifies that the Mavs were unable to move up in the draft from No. 50, despite Donnie Nelson’s indicated interest in nabbing an earlier pick. In addition, it means that the other point guard prospects — be they scorers or more conventional pass-first types — were snatched up by other teams, leaving Dallas holding the bag.

Simply put, despite Collins’ somewhat impressive overall college line, I fail to see his advantage over other PG prospects or what he’s going to bring to an NBA team on the offensive end. He was an inefficient scorer and sub-par playmaker at Kansas, and his lack of height and athleticism are going to be serious problems in the pros. Super serious.

Unless an NBA team can wipe Sherron’s brain clean of all of his shooting tendencies and start from scratch using him as a spot-up shooter and distributor, you’re ultimately looking at a less efficient, slower, and shorter Ben Gordon. In theory, that may not sound all that bad. Then consider that the only reason Gordon is able to get off his jumper is due to his quickness, and the difficulties start to become a bit more apparent. If you look at shorter point guards that are able to create shots in the NBA, nearly all of them have incredible burst speed in half-court sets or end-to-end speed on the break. Collins doesn’t really have either, as evidenced by his sub-par showings in the agility and sprint tests at the combine.

On the agility test, which measures a player’s ability to move laterally around the lane, Collins clocked in as the sixth slowest prospect measured at the combine (he ranked between bigs Daniel Orton and Greg Monroe, for reference). He performed slightly better on the 3/4 court sprint test, but Collins’ time of 3.24 seconds is right in line with the times of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal. He’s safely removed from the quicker prospects at his position and otherwise, which is unfortunate considering that speed and quickness are exactly what Collins needs to be an effective NBA player.

If you look at any of the NBA’s recent midgets of varying success, they share one trait: they’re pretty much all quicker than Sherron Collins. It’s not easy to get a shot off in the paint or on the perimeter when playing with such a considerable height disadvantage, and its those guards’ speed that affords them the space they need to fire. Here are a few recent draftees of comparable height and their times on those same combine drills:

PlayerHeight (w/o shoes)AgilitySprint
Sherron Collins5'10.25''12.313.24
Jameer Nelson5'10.25''10.663.16
Will Bynum5'10.5''11.123.00
Aaron Brooks5'10.5''10.573.20
D.J. Augustin5'10''11.273.07

Without it, you’re looking at a less efficient Salim Stoudamire with better passing skills. That’s something, I guess, and teams could probably do worse in the second round, but Collins’ offensive game will be locked up in a box upon his departure from Lawrence, chained tight, weighted down, and thrown into the ocean. Or maybe a volcano.

Collins’ redeeming NBA value lies in his defense. Sherron was a fine perimeter defender at the collegiate level, which does at least hint that his on-court mobility surpasses his combine measurables. However, shorter point guards generally have a rough go of it defensively across the board, and Collins figures to be no exception. Still, there’s a lot to like about Sherron’s defensive abilities. If Collins can show that he can defend in the NBA at anywhere near the level he was able to defend in college, there could be hope for him yet.

A lot of that depends Sherron’s weight and conditioning. Multiple reports (and the visual evidence in video form) assert that Collins has trimmed down since the combine. It’s tough to judge exactly what that will mean for his game, and I refuse to throw four years of tape and stats out the window because of dropped waist size and a six pack. If that turns out to make all the difference for Sherron, and he lights up his rookie year as a combo scorer/playmaker playing tenacious defense? I’ll gladly eat crow. In the meantime, I’ll continue to insist that the bad offensive habits are already in place, and that Collins isn’t quite quick enough to be a shot-creator against NBA competition.

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

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game15.52.14.52.41.1.426.370
Per 4018.82.55.42.91.3------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
55.850.60.817.624.331.723.2

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.80.15.6

Other People:

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com: “Collins is undersized and not very athletic. He can’t create separation from defenders, certainly not in the NBA, and when he gets to the rim his size can make it difficult for him to finish. But there’s no denying he has a collegiate résumé most players would kill for. Over four years, Collins never averaged fewer than 22 minutes per game. He won a national title with the Jayhawks in 2008. He played smothering defense, led his teams on both ends of the floor and ran Kansas’ break with gusto. If you were starting a college hoops team right now, and you had to pick one point guard — well, you’d probably pick Wall. But Collins would be hard to pass up.”

Joe Treutlein, Draft Express: “Where Collins impressed the most in the scrimmages, however, was on the defensive end, where he played extremely tough, especially on the pick-and-roll, as he fought through screens pretty easily, benefitted greatly by his incredibly strong build and low center of gravity, which allows him to change directions easily and get right up into his man on these types of plays. While Collins’ size will have some defensive drawbacks in the pros, he also is showing he understands how to make use of his size’s benefits, and he has the potential to be a very tough pick-and-roll defender at the next level if he keeps playing like this.”

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “Sherron Collins is the second worst pull up shooter in our group (.62 PPP), but is the second best spot up shooter when left open (1.38 PPP). That could help him considerably in a smaller role on the next level.”

Supplementary Materials:

Also, sweet tat, Sherron. (Via Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge)

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.