This week on The Doctor is In with Phdsteve, we discuss the NBA Draft and Combine in real depth.
Each and every year we release a Raptors focused Big Board (below) as we get close to the NBA draft that outlines and highlights some of the players who may be available and who we would select with the Raptors pick if we were the GM. This season, the World Wide Round Table has decided to each select the player they like best at #20 for our introductory Big Board. Each week, with the podcast, we will update the Big Board – so be sure to check back each and every Friday.
Joined by my brother Mike (who knows college basketball), Greg Mason (the brain from the south), and Blair Miller from The Fifth Quarter Blog we take turns answering the following questions.
- The guy who helped himself the most at the combine was……
- After watching some of the combine, I hope raptors scouts are looking at…….
- At the #20 the raptors should select if he’s available……..
- But it’s much more likely the raps will draft…..
- I know the media will hype him to death but I hope the Raptors don’t draft in the 1st round……
Without further ado, The Big Board 1.0
Rodney Hood, SF, Sophomore
Only one season at Duke after transferring, but it was a good one. Hood is easily one of the best pure shooters in the draft. Last season he averaged over 16 ppg (on the same floor as possible #1 overall pick Jabari Parker) shooting 47% from the field and 42% from 3. He also shoots 80% form the FT line and is not afraid to put the ball on the floor. At 6’8″, he is a bigger SF, and his 36″ vertical leap and high release point means he can shoot over almost anyone guarding him. He also averaged 4 rebounds a game, but mostly on the defensive end and rarely did he crash the offensive boards.He doesn’t have the defensive fire yet, but the raps have enough defensive players to cover his lapses. The combine showed that he has the speed and quickness, so his defensive laxity was more a mental than a physical problem. With all the hype on the freshmen, Hood slid under the radar.
Adreian Payne, F, Senior
Michigan State 4 year senior who got better each season under Tom Izzo. Last season, while playing with Mono most of the season (according to ESPN’s Chad Ford) he averaged 16 ppg and 7 rpg, an impressive feat. Payne spent his fourth year in college learning to shoot the 3 point shot and became an effective shooter from beyond the arc – 42% for the year to go along with 53% from the field. At 6’9″, with an impressive 7’4″ wingspan, he can not only play the pick and roll/pop, he can spot up for the 3, dribble drive to the basket, and get out in transition (mostly as the trailer). At the NBA leve he will be a solid stretch 4. What he lacks is on the defensive end. With his impressive wingspan he averaged less than a block per game, and was never a real threat inside for interior defense beyond being a body to get around. His help defensive needs some work, but he can come in immediately and help a team. Brings toughness and leadership.
Mitch McGary, F, Sophomore
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: A tall guy with back surgery. Small sample pool. A positive test for marijuana.Consider, though, that potential first overall pick Joel Embiid has only been playing basketball since 2011 and is also coming off back surgery. As far as the marijuana situation, McGary’s nerdy profile doesn’t exactly scream character issues (he used to ride a unicycle around town, for crying out loud – which is a nod to his body control for a big man). I also think we’ll see the NFL and other leagues loosen their stigma on a drug that is already legal in two states. Most of McGary’s stats won’t jump off the page to you…. 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game in 2012-13, his only full season at Michigan.
What’s reassuring is that not only did all of those numbers jump to start last season, but also in his 8 games before back surgery McGary had a PER of 26.2. If you need some context for that advanced metric, it’s just 2.3 below that of Jabari Parker’s and, get this: it’s safely above the 24.5 and 21.4 put up by Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins, respectively. The big man also shot 58.8 percent from the field in his college career. And don’t forget: Before McGary’s season ended, Michigan’s offense was built around him getting the ball in the high post. Keep in mind that at that time the Wolverine offense also contained potential top 10 pick G Nick Stauskas and another potential first rounder, Glen Robinson III (not to mention Caris LeVert, who could go high next year).
That says a lot in my books. Just as important, McGary was very productive as a freshman while complimenting PG Trey Burke, who plays a similar game to Kyle Lowry. McGary could free up space for Jonas Valanciunas with his shot, he’s got the footwork – and the booty – to get space for rebounds, and in college he showed glimpses of being able to pass out of the high post, something that could be a welcome addition for Toronto when Jonas is on the bench. As I said in this week’s The Dr. Is In podcast, overreactions to some knocks on this player will have him falling to a spot in the draft that isn’t indicative of his talent. The Raptors can’t overlook considering this guy at 20th overall.
James Young, G-F, Freshman
I am going with James Young as my guy for the Raps in the first round. He’s projected to fall somewhere between 13-20, so it’s no guarantee that he’ll be available. He has strong potential as a shooter. Due to a major slump out of the gate Young only shot 35% from 3 point range as a freshman. Don’t let the numbers fool you, he will be a very good shooter in the league and he shot over 40% from beyond the arc in the final month of the season. His mechanics are fluid and the ball leaves his hand quickly. He struggled at times to create his own shot but he’s lethal coming off screens and as a spot up shooter. The other major selling point is his size and length. He is 6’7”, 215 pounds with a 7’ wing span. Young isn’t an amazing athlete but he isn’t bad, either. His max vert. was 35.5” but his game is predicated more on size, length and shooting than elusiveness.The Brooklyn series exposed the glaring need for size on the wing. Young is essentially a poor defensive player at this point in his career but that has more to do with poor fundamentals than effort or athleticism. Young will not turn 19 until August 15. He was a bit more one-dimensional offensively than scouts had hoped in his first year but he is only 18 and loaded with considerable potential. He has the size to defend large guards down the line and the shooting range to pair well alongside DeMar.
There is certainly some risk involved in taking a gamble on Young. If I am Ujiri, I pull the trigger. He needs time to develop but this team is equipped with a young core. After a year or two of seasoning, Young could be a steal.
Glenn Robinson III, F, Sophomore
Pick by Steve Gennaro, @therealphdsteve
When drafting at number 20 overall I think the Raptors need to be realistic about who will be available but also about how that player will fit into the existing Raptors team. Part of what makes a solid draft pick in the 20 range isn’t who drops, but more, who has gone under the radar. And a player that has gone under the radar leading up to the combine is certainly Michigan swing man Glen Robinson III. After watching Joe Johnson undress the Raptors in the 1st round of the playoffs and the need for a clear cut shooter to help space the floor and hit some buckets to calm the team down in dire situations, the talents of GR3 became evidently clear. But let me simply spell them out.
First, he can shoot. Even before he lit up the combine as the best shooter there, over his two seasons at Michigan in a “pro -style offense” he shot over 50% from the floor and can do what not many current Raptors can: stick an 18ft and a12ft jumper with extreme consistency. Second, while his 3 point shooting numbers in college were poor, he was one of the top 3 point shooters at the combine demonstrating that he has NBA range and that is an element of his game he has worked on. A solid 3 point shooting wing is another desperate need for this current Raptors team. Third, he tested extraordinary well at the combine for athleticism, which he was not known for during his time at Michigan and this again shows that there is more to his game still to be discovered and this then adds to the fourth point, which is that he is athletic enough to guard both the wing positions and this is very helpful when playing teams like BKN and Joe Johnson who have 6’8 shooting guards. Robinson also has a lot of Joe Johnson to his game and certainly could develop to be precisely that type of player offensively. And lastly by drafting an athletic wing that can shoot and defend, the Raptors would have the option to play DeRozan at the 2 guard for long stretches in the fourth quarter rather than relying on a Vasquez/ Lowry back court.
GR3 will be on the board at 20 and while it appears to be a reach at this point, it is precisely the type of savvy drafting move that can turn a 45 win team into a 50 win team without breaking the cap or trading players from your existing roster.