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: Sylven Landesberg

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 21, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by Getty Images.

Virginia sophomore
6’6.25”, 210 lbs (Combine measurements)
20 years old
Shooting guard
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

To be frank, I have no idea what to make of Sylven Landesberg. From a position standpoint, the Mavs could use some long-term depth at the 2. Landesberg isn’t an ideal prospect to fill that role, but he clearly has aptitude and does fit the bill, in a sense. Yet Sylven is further away from NBA production than many other possible draft selections, and he shouldn’t be viewed as a legitimate prospect for two more years at least.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if the Mavs are looking at a player that won’t be ready to roll for a few seasons, position becomes much less of an issue. Who knows what the Mavs roster could look like in 2011 much less in the seasons beyond? With that uncertainty in mind, it’s far more important that Dallas hit on any draft choice in the second round rather than one that fills a specific need. Drafting based on need is a debatable strategy at any point in the draft, but when selecting with the 50th pick? It’s like trying to win the 100-meter hurdles with your legs tied together.

Development aside, Landesberg is about what you’d expect from a swingman: a good collegiate scorer (though not skilled enough to push him into the first round or even the early second round), a decent playmaker, and a somewhat lacking defender. He’s not limited athletically like some of the other perimeter prospects I’ve reviewed so far, he just has yet to develop the defensive sensibilities that make competent perimeter stalwarts out of collegiate stars.

Landesberg wouldn’t be an important addition for today’s Mavs, but if Dallas ends up selecting him, it won’t be for immediate mop-up duty. Sylven is an interesting asset to have for the long-term though, and could be a great trial run for the Texas Legends. If Donnie Nelson can turn the Legends into an Austin Toros-style farm team, Landesberg would be a great prospect to get the ball rolling. He has the natural talent necessary to eventually make the jump into the NBA, and enough holes in his game and specific flaws that an extended tour with Nelson-appointed developmental coaches would do him a world of good.

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

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game17.34.92.92.30.8.443.383
Per 4021.56.13.52.81.0------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
53.047.34.914.522.236.030.1

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.50.913.3

Other People:

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “While he gets to the line at a solid rate (about average in fact amongst the NCAA’s top shooting guard prospects), he could do a much better job of driving into his defenders (rather than around them) and not settling for as many floaters in the lane as he currently does. Part of this will come naturally with added strength and experience, but getting coached up in this area and making more of a commitment to not settling for the first shot that becomes available will go a long ways in honing his terrific slashing potential. As a shooter, Landesberg has clear-cut strengths and weaknesses. On one hand he doesn’t get much elevation on his flat-footed and somewhat deliberate stroke, either in catch and shoot situations or when pulling up off the dribble. This will make it more difficult for him to get his shot off at the NBA level where defenders are bigger, longer and more athletic than in the NCAA. On the other hand, Landesberg clearly has an innate feel and touch for making shots, something that again speaks to the talent he possesses. While he probably will need to tweak his mechanics and learn how to get his shot off quicker, he should be able to figure things out at some point in his career.”

Jonathan Givony, Draft Express: “Landesberg’s main appeal as a prospect remains his ability to create his own shot as a 6-6 swingman—something you just don’t find that often. He’s an incredibly smooth, fluid athlete, not terribly explosive, but nevertheless possessing a wide array of shifty ball-handling skills and hesitation moves to get his man off balance and attack him with terrific timing. This is a skill that is extremely difficult to teach, and gives him a great base to build off as a scorer down the road. Watching him play, it’s not difficult to see a little bit of Evan Turner in his game in this regard, minus the same incredible versatility and feel for the game. Unfortunately for Landesberg, he does not currently possess the same ability to finish his drives as he does creating then. He is not incredibly explosive around the basket, often lacking the verticality needed to get his shot off in traffic already at the college level, and not yet showing the best instincts for initiating contact in the paint and drawing fouls.”

The Associated Press: “Virginia’s suspended leading scorer Sylven Landesberg is leaving school to pursue a professional career. Coach Tony Bennett said Tuesday that Landesberg won’t complete the current semester. Earlier this month the sophomore guard was suspended for the rest of the season for failing to meet his academic obligations. ‘I have discussed Sylven’s future with the Landesberg family and been informed that he will be leaving the University of Virginia to pursue his professional aspirations,’ Bennett said. ‘I am thankful for the significant contributions Sylven made to the Virginia basketball program and wish him success in his future endeavors.’”

Supplementary Materials:

Video by Draft Express.

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.