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Thread: Why draft pick criticisms might be unfair

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    Default Why draft pick criticisms might be unfair

    Grantland: The Kawhi Leonard Conundrum and Why Life is Unfair

    tl;dr Sometimes, it's not the player, but the situation he lands in that makes him what he is. Some teams consistently put players in a good situation - and make their picks a steal, not make a steal of a pick. Thoughts?

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Soft Euro's Avatar
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    What's still undervalued in this article (for me) is the role of development and long term thinking by management and the coaching staff.

    That Leonard started shooting well pretty soon in his nba career isn't a coincidence. And that James Johnson still can't shoot even though working with English here and in Sacramento and that they kept emphasizing developing his shot isn't a coincidence either.

    Drafting well, or being lucky in the draft is only the first part of the story. You gotta know what you have and have to be able to develop young players to even have the fans of other teams say you draft well or were lucky in the draft. Same goes for under the radar free agent signings.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star RandomGuy's Avatar
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    Well it's true Even Bonner in San Antonio is a steal pick. I just cannot understand, how that coach or his staff does that, what's so special about his system and why other coaches cannot replicate that.
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    @Soft Euro: ... What the... unless I'm misunderstanding your point, that's exactly what I'm trying to point out. If some other team drafted Kawhi, there's no guarantee he would've become the player he is so far. The article wasn't about scouting at all - and even barely about drafting. You think Leonard would've turned out this good if he was drafted by the Raptors? You think this couldn't be Ross if he were drafted by the Spurs? If the answer for you is no, then yes, then you agree with the article.
    Last edited by TRX; Mon May 20th, 2013 at 05:08 PM.

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    Quote RandomGuy wrote: View Post
    Well it's true Even Bonner in San Antonio is a steal pick. I just cannot understand, how that coach or his staff does that, what's so special about his system and why other coaches cannot replicate that.
    There are some teams that do similar things. I still love what Denver and Houston are doing. Houston might land Howard this year and will be extremely good; Denver, I think, was very unlucky with injuries to two of their best players (one still played, but not at all like he can) and still has a lot of room to get better.

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    Quote RandomGuy wrote: View Post
    Well it's true Even Bonner in San Antonio is a steal pick. I just cannot understand, how that coach or his staff does that, what's so special about his system and why other coaches cannot replicate that.
    Out of a limb here but I would not be surprised San Antonio gives more importance to the interviews than other teams. It seems to me their young players are more willing to accept specialized roles than similar young players on other teams.

    You rarely hear discontent from young Spurs players. Stephen Jackson was unhappy and was shown the door.

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    Quote TRX wrote: View Post
    Grantland: The Kawhi Leonard Conundrum and Why Life is Unfair

    tl;dr Sometimes, it's not the player, but the situation he lands in that makes him what he is. Some teams consistently put players in a good situation - and make their picks a steal, not make a steal of a pick. Thoughts?
    It could be, but its an unprovable hypothesis. For every player who fell into an 'ideal' situation, there is another who has the same or similar 'ideal' situation yet fails. Not every Spurs player suceeded despite being in a similar situation to Leonard, and some players have thrived being in a situation thats the exact opposite (ie. asked to be the #1 immediately).

    How much is it the 'situation' as it is the players own mentality or approach to basketball? How much is due to team make up vs a player's individual talent? And how often is it teams undervaluing/overvaluing certain conditions (eg. length vs height, positions, big school vs small school)?

    Then who is to say someone like Leonard wouldn't be even better if he had been offered the proverbial keys to the car immediately? And while he looks good as a pseudo role player on SA, whose to say he wouldn't have become an allstar because the confidence that came with increased usage and responsibility?

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    Mm, fair enough. I would more than agree that it's unprovable, but I feel like so are most discussions about the draft. I do think though that even if you don't agree with the hypothesis of the article, too many people look at draft picks in a vacuum. Like "I can't believe we drafted player X when players A, B and C were still available." A lot of people ignore context and fit, I think.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote TRX wrote: View Post
    Mm, fair enough. I would more than agree that it's unprovable, but I feel like so are most discussions about the draft. I do think though that even if you don't agree with the hypothesis of the article, too many people look at draft picks in a vacuum. Like "I can't believe we drafted player X when players A, B and C were still available." A lot of people ignore context and fit, I think.
    I agree with you for the most part and I agree most look at the draft in a vacuum (although I think fans and media with a intimate knowledge of their teams can look at their drafted players outside that vacuum). And I don't want to say the right situation doesn't help some players or work out well for some players. Rather just the lack of predictability on both what the right situation is and who for. Also some players are just plain great and others just suck.

    For instance in the article he talks about Jan Vesley would have worked out with the Spurs. But Vesley, while athletic, I don't think would be quick enough for the SF position, and lacks the general basketball skills someone like Leonard has. At the PF position he's quick, but extremely thin and pushed around to easily. I think Vesley would look a rather poor player in San Antonio as well. His situation isn't as relevant as his lack of proper position and skill set.

    But generally speaking, the simplest answer is usually the right one. In this case I think the simplest answer is talent - some GMs can spot it, some think they can spot it, and others just hope the magic eightball picks the right guy.

    As for fit, I'm not one thats big on drafting for fit anyways, but I'd argue this is at times one of the things that cause players to get improperly drafted. The Raps are a great example - Ross was drafted for fit, Drummond was passed over because he didn't 'fit' (the Raps were supposedly flush with bigs, light on wings/shooters etc). Now its looking like Toronto passed on the better player (and ironically enough need another big now....) Or Hoffa was supposedly drafted so high because the Raps thought he'd fit well with Bosh (then again he may just be an example of complete failure at drafting) as he was 'hockey tough' and Bosh could move over to the PF position.

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    Quote RandomGuy wrote: View Post
    Well it's true Even Bonner in San Antonio is a steal pick. I just cannot understand, how that coach or his staff does that, what's so special about his system and why other coaches cannot replicate that.
    Three core guys, one an MVP level, one an all-star level, and one a borderline all-star level. All three good guys, who play defense and share the rock. That's the foundation of what comes next. Most teams can't get a foundation like this so what comes next can only be so effective no matter the coach.

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    San Antonio could be in rebuild mode within the next couple of years. The core is getting long in the tooth. Duncan will be 38 next year, Ginobili 36, Parker 32, Bonner 34, Diaw 32, and Splitter 29.

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    rofl, I liked the post and never responded.

    @Craiger: I wouldn't be so quick to say Vesely wouldn't have worked out with the Spurs. Kawhi was not a three point shooter - or even a jump shooter - in college. He shot under 30% from three in both his college seasons. If I remember correctly, he was drafted for his athleticism and defensive abilities. Vesely's draftexpress profile plays up his athleticism, his ability to finish at this off-the-ball smarts on offence and his ability to draw fouls. He could use a bit of bulk, but otherwise, you don't think he might've worked in San Antonio as a role player?

    So hard to discuss any of this definitively though; it's not like we have access to parallel universes where we can watch the draft go differently and see what happens, haha. A lot of discussions about draft results are just post hoc speculation.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    It's the timeless "nature vs. nurture" debate to which there is no definitive answer.

    But I agree with TRX's point that we shouldn't be so quick to say, "we should've drafted so-and-so instead".
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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