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*As a brief introduction to the upcoming NBA draft, we’ll be looking at 10 different prospects, 2 at each position. DraftExpress and NBADraft.net were used as mock projections based on their relative accuracy in the past, and because Chad Ford wants money. After reading the profiles we’re asking you to put yourself in a hypothetical situation; If you were Bryan Colangelo and you had to choose one of the two players, which would you choose, and why?

While there are interesting backcourt prospects in this year’s draft, it’s the front court players that have people drawing comparisons to the 2003 draft.

Quick tangent: the comparisons between the 2003 draft and the 2012 draft (which, admittedly, I have made) actually make no sense. The 2003 draft was incredibly top heavy (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Melo), had a couple really good late picks (David West, Kendrick Perkins) and not a whole lot else. While the 2012 draft does not boast multiple franchise players it does have a bunch of very intriguing prospects at the top of the draft, and quality talent through the lottery and beyond.

Now back to business. The crop of small forwards in the 2012 draft is impressive, but two former top high school recruits have clearly shown themselves to be a tier above the rest: Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

*Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has stated that he will not be entering this years draft. Instead, he reportedly wants to graduate from Kentucky before moving to the pros. While this is an admirable statement, one he might even fulfill, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Harrison Barnes (#6 DraftExpress, #3 NBADraft.net)

Harrison Barnes came in as a much hyped freshman but the hysteria over this 19-year-old North Carolina 6’8 sophomore has calmed, and expectations have been lowered. After playing the majority of his high school career in the low post, Barnes has had trouble acclimating to the wing position, although he has shown steady improvement. He has a weak left hand which limits his offensive options, as does a less than spectacular mid-range game. Now, take a deep breath, and remember that this is Harrison Barnes. An explosive athlete with great intangibles and work ethic, he can also create his own shot and more than hold his own at the defensive end. Barns possesses a high basketball IQ and his shooting mechanics are solid and only show room for improved range. Despite being a polished player in almost every aspect of the game, he still has oodles of potential to improve. Barnes has excelled at every level in his basketball career, and while he has hit a speed bump, he is still a top NBA prospect despite playing a position that as recent as two years ago, was fairly unfamiliar to him. Teams that sleep on Barnes might have him come back to haunt them.

Best Case: 6’8 James Harden at full potential

Worst Case: Marvin Williams

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#2 DraftExpress , #8 NBADraft.net)

Although there are questions about his true height (anywhere from 6’6 to 6’8), this 18-year-old Kentucky freshman makes those questions irrelevant with a 6’11 wingspan and otherworldly motor. A very diligent worker, fantastic teammate and leader, Gilchrist thrives in getting the best out of those around him. MKG is also an absolute terror on the defensive end and has the potential to become one of the premier rebounders at the small forward position at the next level. Once his body fills out he might also be able to cover everything other than centers, something he is currently doing for John Calipari’s squad. On the offensive end he is very adept at slashing to the bucket, and has underrated playmaking abilities that could translate to the pros. Despite having bright spots on the offensive end, it is by far the weakest part of his game. While he has shown some ability to both shoot off the bounce as well as spot up, he lacks the offensive polish of most of the other small forwards in his class.

Best Case: Dennis Rodman without the crazy

Worst Case: Poor man’s Ron Artest without the crazy

Up Next: The PFs

  • Bigmanshaq

    I like the idea of drafting Barnes. He’s no MKG on the defensive end, but he’s still solid (capable of holding his own). Barnes will pay dividend on the offensive end, he’s a solid shooter, up his play in crunch time situations (isn’t this one of the key ingredients of NBA superstars, Kobe, KD, Wade.) 

    • Destro

      After what you just saw in the tourney,this post needs an edit…Your whole assessment is complete garbo on this kid….His passive ass aint doing shit in the L…..

  • K.J.P

    This one is the hardest pick so far. MKG and D.Casey would be an ideal pairing but Barnes just has so much more hype that i don’t see the Raptors picking MKG over him.

  • ezz_bee

    I haven’t been able to watch either prospect (i’m currently in a part of the world where the internet isn’t fast enough to stream video…) BUT I’d rather have MKG… I’d take Metta World Peace w/out the crazy over Marvin Williams.   Unfortunately, I think there’s a good chance that MKG’s stock takes us out of contention.  The good news is that we should be able to land one of the two.

  • Mantcore13

    I like Barnes more than MKG. Barnes looks better leader on court and he’s above average defender. What about MKG, i saw only several his games but he looked like Al Farouq Aminu on the offence – just running from side to side, standing on corner behind the arc and waiting the ball (and doesn’t get it), while guys like Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb trying to score.

  • Butt

    Barnes didn’t look to good last game. Big game and he didn’t step up 3-16 shooting. I know you can’t go based on 1 performance but idk that was a huge game lucky his team was on that night.

    • Akash_singh

      that game also shook my confidence in him.

    • Destro

      Your screename is perfect for describing for barnes effort….He stunk something terrible and worst of all he’s got real small balls in these type games….Its almost kinda sad someones gonna waste a lotto pick on this guy…He’s destined to be a bum in the NBA….this guy wont average 15 and 5 in the pros

  • mountio

    Id be thrilled if we got either of these two guys. Outside of AD, they would be my next two picks for the Raps. I think I would marginally take MKG over Barnes .. but its close. Something about Barnes .. he seems to be sleepwalking a little bit out there. Having said that, hes got all the tools .. great shooting form and very athletic. I can only hope our draft comes down to a choice between the two (although that probably would mean we are drafting 2nd or 3rd overall .. cause these guys wont last long

  • TheR3dMenace

    Barnes is our man.

  • tank

    My issue with Barnes is that he seems extremely passive and lacks fire.  We already have two “scorers” with the exact same mentality.  Barnes also doesn’t have great ball handling skills and isn’t great at creating his own shot.  As much as Demar & Barnes compliment each other they possess qualities which make them a not so formidable wing duo.  MKG has shown promise on the offence end but what I love most about him is his FIRE and NEED to win.  Our team severely lacks those qualities.  Nobody on our team shows the passion that MKG does.  Oh and not to mention he has the ability to completely change the direction of a game with his elite level defence.

  • buckabeer

    has anyone taken a look at Perry Jones? i’m just saying 

    • mountio

      Perry Jones is an ok player .. but much worse than these two (and doesnt fit what the Raps need either). I would take AD regardless of the fact we have lots of 4/5s, but Perry Jones, no thanks if these guys are on the board ..

      • Andre

        And if they are not on board, do we then go with PJ3? Not totally sold on him either but just wondering if he would be considered a decent consolation prize.

        • mountio

          I would say yes, hes a good gamble if we are in the 10th pick type zone .. but I wouldnt take him top 5 (AD, MKG, HB, Robinson and Beal I would all take ahead of him pretty clearly in my mind). After that, I would consider PJ3 pretty strongly vs anyone else ..  

    • Destro

      Wouldnt take Perry,great athleticism and tools problem is he doesnt have a motor even tho i hate that term,hes got no drive….sad to see.Whoever takes him  think is going to be very disappointed….

    • Marvin

      Questionable motor, extremely inconsistent and sometimes doesn’t look interested. As a second year player in college, I was expecting a whole lot more from him, and significant improvement rather than just marginal.

  • Justin

    Dennis Rodman? MKG is better offensively now than the worm ever was. I think Scottie Pippen would be a way more accurate best-case scenario… I do like the Artest worst-case though.

    • Bendit

      You replied for me. Dennis Rodman???? Did Roddy ever score 24 in a game he played? That was the MKG stat line in the last game. His mates tolerated him because he was a rebounding beast…and wasnt he a PF? He displayed none of the MKG leadership intangibles which all the scouts, his team and coach rave about. He’s the pick if available. But sadly he probably wont be.  

  • Lorenzo

    MKG.

  • Destro

    I think at 4-5 were going to have to choose among Barnes or Robinson…
    I think Gilchrist is going top 3….and i would stay away from PJ III and barnes…i think both of em are going to underwhelm as pros….Jones just doesnt care and barnes is too passive to be a star….

    • voy

      I think Robinson is a dangerous pick that high.  if the game is a track meet then fine but if the game slows down into halfcourt sets, I think, Robinson has a lot of flaws - not tall enough to play pf, no real post moves, he wont be able to overpower guys to get his shots like he can in kansas.

      • Destro

        You could say that about any big man in this draft…

      • Vino

         Have you seen his last two games? Robinson is a beast! By the way, I think he can play the SF – he’s got the handles and the outside shot…
        Future all-star, mark my words!

    • Raps Loyalist

      MKG is not going top 3!!!  Davis, Drummond, Sullinger, Barnes, Beal, Lamb, Robinson are all better prospects at the NBA-level than him.  I love MKGs hustle, d, rebounding, and heart but his offense is pathetic in the half-court and why does really well in college because he is on a stacked team where his weaknesses are hidden and where he simply overpowers the guys he goes up against (usually the weakest wing defenders on the other team.)  If MKG played on an average team he wouldn’t be close to as hyped.  Imagine if Beal was on Kentucky everyone you would be claiming he was a top 3 pick b/c he would be D. Lamb on steroids.  Don’t get fooled by a prospect b/c he look super good on a stacked team.

      MKG is a nice pick in the 6-8 range but is not going top 5 much less top 3…his upside as an offensive player in the NBA just isn’t there…he is K. Lennard 2.0 (another guy I absolutely love for his D, rebounding, and hustle but not a top 3 pick b/c of limited offensive potential).  To be honest watching Kentuky these last few months I don’t think MKG is that much better than T. Jones.

      I would be stoked to have either Barnes or MKG on the Raps but Barnes is the better prospect by a mile.  Barnes is just as good an athlete/defender and has a WWWAAAYYYYY better NBA-ready offensive game.  Just look at the way Barnes shoots compared to MKG (not that MKG ever shoots further than 5 feet from the hoop)

      • mountio

        No doubt Barnes has the better offensive tools (sweet stroke .. a little more athletic) .. but I have to disagree that MKG isnt going top 3 (or at least top 5 for sure). Barnes I like .. but his sleepiness worries me. MKG, not an issue at all .. which is why I top to the scale to him.
        Especially when you mention Sullinger (who isnt the best PF on his own team and has been continually outplayed in the tourney to prove it) .. i have to disagree with the guys you put ahead of MKG.
        BTW – MKG just nailed a 3 to give him 10 pts in the first 10 mins of the baylor game… not for a guy with “limited offesnvie potential” …

        And while we are here, if anyone still thinks AD is not a stud, I dont know what games you are watching ..

        • Raps Loyalist

          MKG is def having a nice game/season and I would LOVE to have him on the Raps b/c I think D and rebounding are bigtime needs for this team but his game is a mirror image of JJ’s (that’s not a dis as Johnson is fast becoming a fav of mind and I loved that trade for him from day 1).

          Sullinger has been having a great tourney and was the difference down the stretch last night in the O’s win.  I agree that he is undersized as a 4 but his long arms and extremely polished offensive game and his willingness to bang make him a really good prospect imo.  Sully will get his shot blocked a lot but he is already a 80% FT shooter and has 3 point range so he could mirror his game around another nonathletic/too short PF named K.Love (not that he’ll be that good ever just that the things said about Sully now is what people said about Love then and I think a lot of GMs have leaned from that.) 

          Davis and Drummond will go 1,2 and if you think MKG is the third best prospect I bet there is a couple of GMs that would agree with you.  My only thing with him is that he would have to play on a team that already has scorers so that he can focus on the things he does best (D, rebounding, fast break)…he can have big offensive games here and there but he is also a no-show in lots of games in the points department.  MKG is miles away from being a go-to scorer/1st/2nd scoring option material.

          As always the draft depends on who is picking where and what the teams needs are BUT on the NBA-level guys that can score from deep and create of the dribble are what most GMs are looking for in a top 3 SF or SG and Lamb, Beal, and Barnes are all superior in that regard to MKG. 

          My bet is that MKG goes no higher than 5 (and I hope that’s the case because otherwise the Raps got no shot at him)

          • mountio

            All very fair points. I agree with you .. more guys like JJ/MKG are a very good thing for the Raps imo.
            As for Sullinger .. he has extended his range this year (and got in shape after being super fat last year) .. but even with his improved body .. he cant jump and is undersized for the NBA. Hes able to outmuscle most guys in college (where he ends up just getting fouled and not actually finishing much .. against college level guys) .. that will not last in the NBA.
            Hes the only guy in the draft that if the Raps even think of taking, I will lose my mind.  Much more tractor traylor or michael sweetney than K Love to me.
            When I watch Ohio State play, hes the third most important guy most nights (behind Thomas, who has outplayed him every game .. maybe the Cuse was a draw) and Craft.
            Im also not sold on Drummond. Yes, he has size .. and depending on whos picking, he could go 2 .. but I could easily see him outside the top 5. Was a non-factor in many UConn games this year.
            Finally, can someone get Davis off the court!! Hes clearly hurt and UK is up 20 .. wtf gives!

            • voy

              I agree regarding Drummond.  The guy is clearly an athletic freak.  Strongest guy on the team and some reports say he is the fastest also.  However the games I’ve seen him play he’s looked totally lost with the ball.

            • Raps Loyalist

              Drummond’s not dropping out of the top 3.  His size and athleticism are too rare a combination.  The guy is still super young and teams would be terrified to pass on a guy who could easily become an all-star center.  I agree that he hasn’t looked great this year a lot of the time and his team underperformed this season but this is the NBA and a potential franchise center never drops in the draft.  Think of it this way Thabeet went 2nd overall and he was nowhere near the prospect Drummond is.

              I agree with you mostly about Sully.  He won’t be a K Love but he also absolutely will not be a bust either…he’ll be a very rich man’s Big Baby at the very worst.  The Raps don’t need a PF not named A. Davis though so don’t worry about B.C. drafting him.  In fact, drafting is the only thing I have a a lot of confidence in B.C. with (he’s not perfect but his draft record overall is really good).

              • Vino

                Went over hoopshype profile of B.C to refresh my memory:

                Draft 2011
                Selected center Jonas Valanciunas (5th overall pick).Draft 2010
                Selected forward Ed Davis (13th overall pick).Draft 2009
                Selected guard DeMar DeRozan (9th overall pick).Draft 2008
                Selected center Roy Hibbert (17th overall pick) for Indiana. Too bad this trade has ever been made…Draft 2006
                Selected forwards Andrea Bargnani (1st overall pick), PJ Tucker (35th overall pick) and Edin Bavcic (56th overall pick).
                Draft 2005
                Selected guard Nate Robinson (21st overall pick) and center Marcin Gortat (57th overall pick).
                Draft 2004
                Selected forward Luol Deng (7th overall pick).

                Other selections: Amare (9th), Marion (9th), Stephen Jackson (43rd)

                Have to agree, this draft record is solid

                • Destro

                  Theres alot of picks made not showing on that list my dude….Zarko Cabarkapa for example…

                • Destro

                  Luol Deng was drafted by the Bulls…you’re giving him credit for picks that havent panned out yet…Nate Robinson ? meh

                  Theres a bunch of stiff euro bigs on his resume who never did shit and he made a few bad trades giving away picks (JO)

                  Stat and Marion were really his two gems,nothing else was that great… 

                • Raps Loyalist

                   Criticizing a guy for missing on 2nd rounders while the team is probably wanting to draft euros to keep them off the cap while they develop is just stupid.  No sense in looking at 2nd rounders when accessing a guys draft record because 95% of all 2nd rounders do absolutely nothing in the NBA.

                  As far as 1st rounders go overall he has done a good job at drafting quality guys given who was on the board to choose from.

                  Is B.C. hitting home runs every time? NO!! but I have full confidence in him that he will not draft a bust or reach based on need…a lot of GMs do just that.

                  I haven’t liked most of B.C. free agent signings and trades in Toronto but his drafting overall has been good (not perfect but good)

  • Nilanka15

    If MKG is still on the board, and we pass him up, this franchise will regret it for years to come.

    Yes, I can see the future….

    • mountio

      The good thing is the only way this happens is if we chose first overall and take AD (which we should). Otherwise .. MKG likely only on the board until 3 at worst .. and I agree that if we are picking that high and pass on him, we will regret it ..

  • A Guy

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is staying in school.

    • Joshua Henriques91

      That’s old news buddy, he’s made himself eligible. Look it up.

    • mountio

      That would be a terrible call on his part. Ive heard the rumours too .. but Ill beleive it when i see a consensus top 3 pick in a loaded draft go back ..

      • Joshua Henriques91

        Agreed. I hope he doesn’t make the same mistake Perry made last year. Jones was a top 3 pick and he decided to stay and his stock plumetted. Now some got him outside the top 10. Talk about a fall from grace.

        • Lorenzo

          The only reason he didn’t declare last year was because of the lockout, and you can’t blame him.

          Think about it, what if he DID declare… who knows maybe we would have picked him and missed out on Jonas; which I think would have been a big mistake.

      • Bendit

        And he’ll have very little incentive to stay cause UK is going to win the NCAA this year.

  • Kingmaxwell47

    I think if we take either of them and try to pair them with DeRozan on the wing we have a huge weakness. With Barnes and DeRozan we have 2 scorers, and an above average defender with Barnes, but neither of them will contribute in any other areas. With MKG and DeRozan, we have 2 wings who just aren’t good shooters. For the record, I prefer MKG, and he’s second on my Big Board. Harrison Barnes is 5th.

  • Lee

    Regarding MKG staying in school, check this link out via ESPN’s Chad Ford– 

    http://espn.go.com/nba/draft2012/story/_/id/7723624/2012-nba-draft-kentucky-wildcats-michael-kidd-gilchrist-enter-draft-source-says

    MKG went on to say: ”After the season Ill make a decision that’s best for me and my family!

    In short, he’s finalized nothing. There’s no impending lockout like last year’s draft, and this kid is a top 5 pick, and quite possibly a top 3. Also, John Calipari is known for encouraging his top players to enter the draft, as he’s done with B.Knight, D.Rose etc. 

  • voy

    I like mkg over barnes. 

    regarding perry jones, I think he has definately regressed over last year but the system he plays in isn’t doing him any favours either.  he doesn’t nearly get as many touches as he should.  I think if pj3 was playing with a player like kendall marshall his numbers would be comparible with Barnes, if not better.  still, the one thing that bothers me about Jones is that he doesn’t seem to be as fluid as he was last year.

    Anyway, bottom line, for the raps pj3 would be a horrible pick to combo with bargs.  same reason that bargs and turko didn’t work, bargs and jones wont work (even if jones lives up to his potential).  If we end up with pj3 and bargs and their play merits they deserve to play 30 minutes each, you’ll have to get rid of one.

    Just spitballing here, but if jones shows he can bulk up a little and play the 4 then a jv and pj3 combo at the 5/4 could be really interesting, especially if we can then land an athletic 3 who can create his own shot. 

    best case scenario though for this draft is landing AD and pairing him up with jv in our frontcourt. is that a wetdream or what?

  • Destro

    I dont think its the system at all…He doesnt get the touches cuz he doesnt do anything to warrant them…He has physical and athletic advantages over every team/player he goes up against and rarely uses them…If he cant dominate college players,he’ll never dominate NBA players…..

    • Flint

      Players don’t get drafted high on whether or not they dominate college players, they get drafted on the POTENTIAL to dominate. Fredette, Morrison etc. dominated college players, are they doing the same to NBA players?

    • voy

      he doesn’t do anything to warrant them?!? he leads the team in scoring and rebounding and shoots over 50% from the field.

      last game there was a very indicative series of plays that I think describes the season for Jones.  The Bears run their offence and Jones hits back-to-back jumpers.  the next offensive possession Pierre Jackson jacks up a three within the first 5 seconds of the shotclock.  PJ3 doesn’t see the rock again for a significant period of time.

      I understand part of it is Jones’ fault for not being more demanding but the team has to understand they are not going to win against elite teams with Jackson dominating the ball.

      • Destro

        Who cares what he averages on THAT team…team has no talent next level….he SHOULD be killin every night with his gifts but he doesnt…

        Thing about Perry he could be an all star at the next level i think hes more likely to be a real average rotation player….I saw too many baylor games past 2 seasons where he was invisible for me…

  • Luke

    Draft talk in March, the life of a Raptors fan.

  • sleepz

    2 things. James Harden at his full potential? How is JH underachieving?
    Harden is way more shifty than Barnes.

    MKG would be privileged to have the career and be the type of player
    Rodman was. He might have lived ridiculously later in his career but
    earlier in his career that man was straight business. A terror on the
    boards and the leagues best defender. No joke

    • Destro

      harden would be an all star starting on another team…I would say dudes overachieved….Barnes is going to be a bust,no comparison…

  • johnnyblaze

    MKG is an overhyped role player. Heart and Hustle. Not a great leaper and doesnt have great length. Broken jumpshot and cant go left. Passing(kickouts,swing,entry passes) and Finishing(from cuts,off. rebounds,transition,postups) are his best skills. Ron Artest. Trevor Ariza. Ruben Patterson. Overhyped role players.

  • wishes

    MKG or Bradley Beal……then add Austin Rivers…….Make it happen Colangelo!

  • JB

    you guys have to realize though that there is a few nba all stars that didnt show up in tournament games when they were in college.. Derrick rose in the finals, john wall have a couple rough games in the tournament.. I believe that Barnes is going to be a elite scorer in the NBA and a future all star.. In my opinion that is exactly what we need, a deep threat and a great take you off the dribble scorer.. I agree with johnnyblaze i think that MKG is goin to be a really good role player. So for him to go over barnes i would say MKG is getting over hyped.

    • Raps Loyalist

      Agreed!

      The best recent example of this scenario were a top 5 pick plays himself out of the top 5 in the NCAA tourney is a player that plays the same position as Barnes.  Rudy Gay was considered a lock for the top 3 all season the year he came out but then UCONN had a terrible tournament and he played poorly and then slipped in the draft to the 8 spot where Memphis traded S. Battier to Houston to get him.

      Guys like Randy Foye, Shelden Williams, Tyrus Thomas, and Adam Morrison (who played the same position as Gay) all went ahead of him even though Gay was clearly a better prospect.

      If the 2006 draft were to be done over the only player from Gay’s class that would be drafted ahead of him would be L. Aldridge.

      I hope Barnes slips…Bill the BS Guy Simmons thinks Barnes cost himself “10 spots in the draft by his tourney performance”…I sure hope he slips b/c of this  because the Raps shouldn’t be able to draft him where they are likely going to pick (7-10 range) but if he slips to us it would be an amazing gift for the franchise and I know B.C. would pull the trigger without hesitation (he told me).