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Posted at 8:04 AM ET, 01/24/2011

Another chance for a road victory

By Gene Wang
Morning brew

Even after an 85-83 victory over reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston on Saturday night, Washington Wizards players didn't allow themselves too lengthy a celebration. While the win certainly was uplifting, the Wizards shortly thereafter began to turn their attention to the next game at the New York Knicks and the next opportunity to get a road win.

The Wizards play five of their next six on the road, where they have gone 0-20 to start the season, nine short of matching the league record. What's more, the Wizards have not won at Madison Square Garden in five years. As a telling point of reference, Andray Blatche is the only player from that team currently still with Washington.

Washington did get a taste of what it may take to get that elusive road win on Saturday at Verizon Center, which at times had the feel of a Boston home game. With plenty of Celtics fans in attendance, the Wizards erased a 16-point deficit in the first quarter and a 10-point halftime margin to log their most impressive victory so far this season thanks to rookie point guard John Wall's three-pointer off the glass in the closing seconds.

"We've just got come in and play on the road the same way we play at home," forward Rashard Lewis said. "Good defense, play together on offense. If we do that, we'll be all right."

Lewis more than held up his end against the Celtics, collecting game highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds despite tendinitis in his right knee. Wall and center JaVale McGee added 16 points each, and Blatche finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.

The Wizards have had some brushes with winning on the road, but their undoing normally has come from late collapses. In their most recent road loss, 100-87 at Milwaukee, the Wizards wasted a 12-point lead in the first half. In a 109-97 loss at Minnesota six days earlier, Washington was unable to hold a four-point lead in the final six minutes.

"That's our lightning bolt. It's no question," Coach Flip Saunders said. "The development of some of our young guys and the positives of how we have played at home, that's overshadowed a little bit because of our ineffectiveness as far as on the road."

FROM THE POST
As gratifying as Saturday's win over the Celtics was, the Wizards can't ignore the rough road ahead, starting tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Very new Wizard Mustafa Shakur had a memorable debut Saturday, and his jersey will be especially hard to forget (DC Sports Bog).

Rashard Lewis is emerging as a leader for his young team.

AROUND THE WEB
Bullets Forever's Jon Kelman awards keys to the palace.

Nick Young talks about his preference between Most Improved Player and the dunk contest (Truth About It).

By Gene Wang  | January 24, 2011; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rashard Lewis settling into leadership role
Next: Open thread: Wizards (13-29) at Knicks (22-21)

Comments

"What's more, the Wizards have not won at Madison Square Garden in five years. As a telling point of reference, Andray Blatche is the only player from that team currently still with Washington."

Wow. That's two whole head coaches ago. And it always amazes me how long players take to develop: Blatche is halfway through his 6th season, Nick Young is his 4th, Javale his 3rd. We've watched Andray play 355 games, Nick 272, Javale 176.

Young and McGee are a good reminder about the practical problem with finishing year after year in the middle of the pack: even when you make a good pick, you have to be ready to wait for him to mature.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"In their most recent road loss, 100-87 at Milwaukee, the Wizards wasted a 12-point lead in the first half. In a 109-97 loss at Minnesota six days earlier, Washington was unable to hold a four-point lead in the final six minutes."

Although I should point out that a 12 point lead in the first half, in NBA terms, isn't worth much. As the Celts can attest. Losing that late lead in Minnesota is a better indicator of the problem. But if that SI article is correct, the home court advantage turns out to be a matter of how the refs call the game -- not just the number of FTs, but turnovers, and the willingness to make certain calls in the waning minutes, when the outcome's on the line.

Based on that we shouldn't be too surprised when the home team wins -- we should be more surprised when they don't.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Just checked and there are only 9 teams that are above .500 on the road, and a couple more that are breaking even. The others are all below. That's about a 2/3 skew, which is quite high.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the maturation process of an NBA player can be a bummer. The light turns on a lot later for some players than others.

Question though, does it seem that the Wizard young guys seem to mature a lot slower than other young guys around the League?

I mean, if you look around the League other young players in the League seem to be a lot further along the maturation scale than our players.

Did we just have a knack for just picking the wrong guys?

I mean, look at Blake Griffin for one. He doesn't appear to have any maturation issues that is comparable to what we've experienced with out players here.

Why is that? You have to kinda scratch your head in wonder.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the maturation process of an NBA player can be a bummer. The light turns on a lot later for some players than others.

Question though, does it seem that the Wizard young guys seem to mature a lot slower than other young guys around the League?

I mean, if you look around the League other young players in the League seem to be a lot further along the maturation scale than our players.

Did we just have a knack for just picking the wrong guys?

I mean, look at Blake Griffin for one. He doesn't appear to have any maturation issues that is comparable to what we've experienced with out players here.

Why is that? You have to kinda scratch your head in wonder.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Blake Griffin DOMINATED in college. He was the #1 overall draft pick and got to sit and watch for a season.

Most of the Wizards players were mid-first round picks. Usually not players who dominated or guess what? THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN PICKED HIHGHER.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the bad typing.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Blake Griffin DOMINATED in college. He was the #1 overall draft pick and got to sit and watch for a season.

Most of the Wizards players were mid-first round picks. Usually not players who dominated or guess what? THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN PICKED HIHGHER.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 9:37 AM

That could be so, a contributing factor, but, it doesn't take into account the whole maturation thing. It seems the Wiz players are taking a hit for just not knowing how to play the game as well.

Thats a bit more than being a dominating player. One might not be as good as a Blake Griffin and still show great intellect and smarts for how the game is played.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

That could be so, a contributing factor, but, it doesn't take into account the whole maturation thing. It seems the Wiz players are taking a hit for just not knowing how to play the game as well.

Thats a bit more than being a dominating player. One might not be as good as a Blake Griffin and still show great intellect and smarts for how the game is played.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

That's another reason why players slip to the mid first round or lower. Attitude issues, IQ issues, size issues.

Example: Nick Young was criticized for his low basketball IQ coming out of college. So it takes him a little more time to adjust to the NBA game and pick it up.

JaVale McGee: Athletic freak, but still growing and almost anorexic. Needed to put on weight and learn that basketball is more than "run and jump" one of his better games this season against Roy Hibbert...what did he say? He studied the scouting reports and learned what he liked to do. That's what that means. You can't rely on being more athletic than everybody all the time.

Mid-round players aren't usually complete players. The lower they go it's usually the more questions they have. Some hit and some miss even at the top...but there is your answer.

Even Rondo...Phoenix took him #19 I think? Because he couldn't shoot. I'm sure people would change that now if they could...but it is what it is.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Take a guy like Ben Wallace that wasn't even drafted, but signed as a FA by us and we traded after 2or3 years for what we thought was a seasoned vet/player in Ike Austin. We know how that worked out.

Wallace knew how to play his position and I don't think he has the same type of maturation issues that we seem to be addressing with our players now.

How do we square him with our dilemma?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Take a guy like Ben Wallace that wasn't even drafted, but signed as a FA by us and we traded after 2or3 years for what we thought was a seasoned vet/player in Ike Austin. We know how that worked out.

Wallace knew how to play his position and I don't think he has the same type of maturation issues that we seem to be addressing with our players now.

How do we square him with our dilemma?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

That was 12 years ago Larry. Let it go...
Actually Ben didn't break out until he got to Detroit....5 years into his career. He didn't come in mature. He was very raw...even though he did show signs of being what he became. He went somewhere where he fit PERFECTLY into what they wanted to do. System matters too...how did that Chicago signing work out with him?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The wiz take more developmental players if you think about it. Prime examples are Seraphin, McGee and AB (out of HS). NY was known more for his scoring talent then anything else. Booker was brought in to be a high energy guy off the bench. Wall played only one year in college but he is further along then most rookies and already is establishing himself as a star. Thorton, even though he played all 4 years, also known more for his talents then his IQ. The Wiz never take the 4 year accomplished in a big school stud (i.e. the Shane Battier, Kirk Heinrichs).

Posted by: merajc86 | January 24, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

It's always important to compare apples to apples. You'd compare Young, McGee, and Pecherov to the rest of the players drafted 15-20 in the span of say, those three seasons. McGee's draft year offers Roy Hibbert for comparison -- Roy has emerged this year in much the same way Javale has (reportedly Hibbert was the player Ernie really wanted). Their respective records this season:

Hibbert: 40 games, 39 starts, 27.4 minutes, 12.4 points, 43.7%FG, 71.8%FT, 8rbs, 2.3 assists, 1.8 blks, 2.2TOs, 2.9PFs

McGee: 41 games, 39 starts, 27.3 minutes, 9.1 points, 54.7% FGs, 62.5% FTs, 7.9rbs, 0.4 assists, 2.6 blks, 1.3 TOs, 2.8 PFs.

Allowing for the difference in player strengths -- Roy is a passer with good interior offense, Javale an athletic shotblocker who likes the offensive boards -- those are very similar numbers. Both began to emerge later last season.

Or take a legit bust like Oly Pecherov. The year Oly came out at 17, here are the players drafted on either side of him:

15.Cedric Simmons
16.Rodney Carney
17.Shawne Williams
19.Quincy Douby
20.Renaldo Balkman

Simmons last played in '08-09. Carney is averaging 13 minutes as a reserve for the Warriors, Williams 17 minutes as a reserve for the Knicks. The two players drafted right after Oly: Douby is OOL this season, and Balkman, after a fast start in NY, is averaging under 9 minutes in Denver.

The gem, Rajon Rondo, went at 21, to Phoenix, who traded him.

Compared to some of his peers, Oly doesn't look so awful. But for those Oly fans who still gripe that he never got a shot here, a link to a recent report:

http://www.startribune.com/blogs/80874937.html?elr=KArks47cQiU17cQiU47cQUzyaP37D_MDua_eyD5PcOiU

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hibbert has been steadily regressing since december, has played terribly this month....averaging 8/7 on 35%FG for january. Minutes are steadily decreasing and he's completely fallen out of MIP talk. Not sure what happened with him

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Actually..if you get bored...go look at the draft profiles of Nick and JaVale and scouting reports from when they were younger.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Nick's draft profiles seem spot-on...much use of the word "outstanding" with a cautionary number of "questionable" thrown in

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Nick's draft profiles seem spot-on...much use of the word "outstanding" with a cautionary number of "questionable" thrown in
Posted by: divi3

----

yup, everyone pretty much agreed he can really play, with consistent focus, intensity, work ethic, and lack of killer instinct identified as the negatives.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 24, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

That's nothing we didn't know about Nick. Great offensive talent. Didn't show any effort ANYWHERE else with awareness and focus issues.

Now that he's focusing and showing effort in other areas...and taking shots within the flow of the offense...he's a much better player.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

i thought the Cs game was quite encouraging re:Nick. One of the worst shooting nights of his career, yet he hustled all night and did a great job on Ray Allen in the 2nd half.

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

javale's reports were pretty much what we see now too: great length and athleticism but lacking in maturity, ability to overcome frustration, go-to offensive moves, strength

Posted by: MinuMang | January 24, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually SDMDTSU, your point about system is a good one as well in the Ben Wallace example. But, projections and reports can be about right and in some cases like Rondo as you point out you get a diamond when you thought you had coal.

Deciding on whom to draft might me our undoing as it appears for Ernie. Because we've had so many mid to late round picks, we've kind of determined that the picks availble are not to our liking.

The Rubio draft year Lawson and Hansbrough and many other 3-4 yr players were available but not determined to be worthy of our selection. These guys don't appear to have all stigma as you look at them now as comparable to our selections.

Maybe you just have to go with the best available instead of making the decision based upon whether the guy is worthy of the pick.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Great offensive talent. Didn't show any effort ANYWHERE else with awareness and focus issues.

Draftexpress mentioned his solid defense several times, but he came to an organization that didnt preach defense and was mentored by a player that considered it a disease.

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Deciding on whom to draft might me our undoing as it appears for Ernie. Because we've had so many mid to late round picks, we've kind of determined that the picks availble are not to our liking.

The Rubio draft year Lawson and Hansbrough and many other 3-4 yr players were available but not determined to be worthy of our selection. These guys don't appear to have all stigma as you look at them now as comparable to our selections.

Maybe you just have to go with the best available instead of making the decision based upon whether the guy is worthy of the pick.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 24, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

When did we determine that mid-round picks were not to our liking?

The main two 1st rounders Ernie traded were both #5 overall. One for Jamison...can't be mad at that.

And last years Mike Miller and Foye...which clearly didn't work. Which may have been a blessing in disguise to break that team up. Hansborogh was NOT worthy of the 5th pick overall. Not even in the slightest.

I would've like to have seen Curry here but that's just me.

I completely forgot what you were talking about.

Another Larry Jedi mind trick.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Draftexpress mentioned his solid defense several times, but he came to an organization that didnt preach defense and was mentored by a player that considered it a disease.

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking at the same thing. I just don't see that. Care to share?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Here's an update for the RubioRumorMongers:

"The Timberwolves continue to push him toward the N.B.A. as soon as possible, contending privately that they have a commitment from him for next season. But Rubio's camp does not appear to be convinced. "The bottom line is, why would he want to play in Minnesota?" a senior member of Rubio's camp said this month. "He'll continue to say all the diplomatic things, and Minnesota needs to keep his value up for trade purposes, but the family's preference is to be on the East Coast, specifically New York, Miami or Boston."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If EG had drafted Rubio, he probably wouldnt be here and we'd have drafted Wall and people would be furious about the wasted Rubio pick. If Rubio did come, it would have been apparent we still had to draft Wall and people would be furious EG drafted a dud with #5. Not buying into the Rubio hype was fairly shrewd of EG imo, there was a lot of pressure to get the kid. I think stooge Wilbon wrote a piece about the huge mistake EG had made in passing on the next Pistol Pete

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me Rubio is a player who could wind up in NJ -- 'scuse me, I mean Brooklyn.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Grunfeld has looked at what was available chosse to pick some players with high upside that were available because of various reasons. The one common demonaitor with a lot of these picks has been lack of maturity. Thats one reason we've seen the up and down development path. But really when compared to guys that were picked in the same area of the draft, Ernie has done pretty well overall.

The Pecherov pick has one additional factor that was at play when that pick came around. Ernie didn't have the cap space to sign a first rounder, so he wanted a that he could park overseas for a year.

I've been one of the guys saying that I've been seeing improvements in this team's play since the Arenas trade. Lewis has came in and really grasped that there was a leadership void that needed filling. One of this team's biggest problems in the past was that Jamison was always that guy. And as much as Jamison talked about the need for the younger players to play better defense, he was a poor defender himself.

That short period when Lewis, Howard and Hinrich were all healthy really saw the defensive effort p/u. Without Howard & Hinrich available it was really good to see the young guys dig in and defend the after falling behind early. That's the kind of defenvive effort this team is going to need on the road.

Nick Young's really got to be commended for keeping his head in the game the other night. Nick was always a guy that missed a couple of shots, and then his head would start wagging around like one of those bubblehead dolls on a bumpy back road. I never knew if he was worried about getting yanked or hoping a coach would just put him out of his misery. But now he's actually keeping his head in the game and competing.

The Celtics gave him the ole' bump and grind, grabbed his jersey, yanked his shorts, and trash talked him, into a terrible shooting night. But Nick defended and worked and managed to hit a couple of key shots down the stretch. That's the sign of a player that's growing up and has earned his starting job.

McGee did a nice job against Boston as well, he seems to be getting stronger as the year has progressed, and I'm not sure that kid is even done growing yet. I'd love to see him get a chance to really bore in on and work on that hook shot more, at time I see a what looks like a classic skyhook. Only one guy mastered that thing, and it's totally unstoppable when it's mastered.

Right about now I'm starting to feel good about the Wizard's draft picks. Seriphan gave them a good solid 10 min off the bench. Doesn't show up in the box score, but he played well. Booker's got to work on his jumper a little, but it will come.

And Wall is, money. Everybody's high on Blake Griffin right now, but I bet you if you polled every GM in the league and asked if you were starting a team from scratch, first pick who do you take? I bet more would pick Wall then Blake. But I'd love to have them both...

Posted by: flohrtv | January 24, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Blake Griffin came in as the #1, #1 and had a starting spot. Ben Wallace showed flashes in practice according to C-Webb who stated "nobody" could keep him off the glass in practice. But he was still a project. A project who was buried behind Webber/Howard/Muresan. When he got to Detroit, guess what he got...MINUTES...PLAYING TIME.

Our current project seem to have emotional maturity issues, but look what kind of minutes they got compared to a Rondo or Griffith. Nick was stuck behind DeShawn Stevenson of all people. Blatche was behind Jamison. McGee, behind Haywood. None of them were handed a starting position and allowed to develop thru mistakes. Currently, John Wall, a #1, #1, had the point handed to him, and as a 19 year old rook, appears to be mature behind his years, but again, he isn't sitting.

I just think Blatche and Nick were not given the opportunity to mature thru mistakes on the court. McGee either, but he has the added issue of playing center, with a Romper Room mentality.

Posted by: G-Man11 | January 24, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I've seen Rubio play a few times in the last months and many times over the years and I'm sad to say that he may not ever be NBA ready. This is coming from someone who really thought he could be a fine player in the league.

All the hype was based on a projected development of his game, but it's not happening, the jump shot makes you cringe, he's so scrawny my grandmother could post him up (granted, Grandma has some sharp elbows for her patented spin move)and he just isn't quick enough to get by most European point guards, nor explosive enough to finish at the rim.

No doubt, he possesses uncanny court vision and passing ability, but he's had a number of years to work on these things and the progress has stopped cold. Still, I'd love to see him make the jump and prove me wrong.

Posted by: mugsybol | January 24, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"We don't know if Kirk was on Blatche's butt about the club issue"

That might explain Kirk's black eye.

Posted by: divi3

It would have been worse, but AB was fading away when he threw the punch ;)

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

H just isn't quick enough to get by most European point guards, nor explosive enough to finish at the rim.

No doubt, he possesses uncanny court vision and passing ability, but he's had a number of years to work on these things and the progress has stopped cold. Still, I'd love to see him make the jump and prove me wrong.

Posted by: mugsybol | January 24, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Honestly...sounds like a multiple MVP winner we have over here in this league.

Not saying that he's Steve Nash...I've never really watched him so I can't say...but sounds familliar.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

With a developmental pick like Seraphin, it helps to look at who was taken in the five or six spots after him. You had Eric Bledsoe, picked by OKC but traded to the Clips -- he's been good but at a position where the Wiz didn't need help. The others:

Avery Bradley, Boston: active for 14 games, 4.7 minutes per.

James Anderson, Spurs: SF was averaging 17 minutes off the bench til injured, stress fracture in foot.

Craig Brackins PF, Phila: active for 2 games, averaged 10 minutes.

Elliot Williams PG, Blazers: active 4 games, 12 minutes, hurt.

As you can see, injuries played a big part this season. One or more of these players may turn out to be way better than Seraphin, but so far there's no basis on which to make that comparison.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sort of 50/50 on the draft argument. It has been a little disconcerting that several of the Wizards' recent draft picks have had maturity issues. But part of it definitely has been where they've been picking. At that point in the draft, you don't get total packages. Even with Rondo, he was listed as a good distributor, great rebounder, but everyone wondered how he would fare without a jump shot, which is why he lasted to 21.

At that point in the draft it's about deciding what you value. EG, imo, has tended to value physical attributes, apparent talent and the amorphous 'upside' over experience, maturity, etc. Which is a valid way to go, lots of teams do, and there are plenty of examples that argue both sides. For every Ty Lawson, there's a host of smaller, experienced, accaomplished PGs who didn't have what it takes to make it in the League.

But I think you have to mix it up, as EG started to do this year. Seraphin is definitely a classic EG pick. Upside. Don't know if he has maturity issues (though I haven't seen signs of any). Booker is more the other side. Talent, sure, but tough and experienced. His ceiling is limited probably by his size, but you know you'll get the effort.

You hope to get starters who are going to be your hardest workers and lead by exmaple. But if you don't, you definitely want some of those guys on the bench, who will push everyone else, just through effort.

Wall is going to be an interesting case. He definitely has all of the talent in the world. But he also has a big time temper, imo, and wear his emotions on his sleeve. His ability to positively channel that going forward will be key to his development. I see his scowl some times on the court and wonder if it will be his undoing. But I've also seen the same scowl on MJ, Kobe, Isiah, Karl Malone, and certainly Bill Russell, et al. It's just that fine line between driving him to greatness and driving him crazy.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Honestly...sounds like a multiple MVP winner we have over here in this league.

Not saying that he's Steve Nash...I've never really watched him so I can't say...but sounds familliar.


Posted by: SDMDTSU

I would disagree in the sense that Nash is very quick, and has very good change-of-pace and change-of-direction.

Rubio's lack of quickness (within reason) isn't a deal-breaker though, because of his height. In theory, he can compensate.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think you can't look at draft picks as if they were made in a vacuum. There is context as to why certain players are picked. For instance, had the Wiz had a need for a PG at the time, perhaps they pick Rajon Rondo instead of Pech?

When we picked NY we were specifically looking for scoring punch off the bench for a veteran squad that was being built to contend. In other words, plugging certain holes for what you hope to be a contender anyway. So, you take a flyer on the guy with great scoring ability but lacking a lot of intangibles and a diverse skillset.

But, I will grant Larry the point that there is an initial maturity/IQ issue with a large amount of our draft picks. Not in terms of how long it takes them to mature in the pros, but how mature they are when drafted. This past draft I thought Booker was a perfect selection and a slight deviation from the past. But, again, different team different objectives now. I do hope this trend continues as there are already plenty of "knuckleheads" on the roster with "potential".

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 24, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think you can't look at draft picks as if they were made in a vacuum. There is context as to why certain players are picked. For instance, had the Wiz had a need for a PG at the time, perhaps they pick Rajon Rondo instead of Pech?
Posted by: rphilli721

Which, of course, leads back to drafting for need vs drafting the best available.

"Need" should be on the list, but given the relatively short nature of the NBA draft, I increasingly tend to lean towards picking the guy you think has the best chance to be a player in the League. If it's close, maybe you break the tie based on need.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

lol....seems ts35 and I are on the same page. Just read that post.

By the way, I would bet $100 that in 3 seasons Seraphin is a much better pro player than JM. I know that is going to kill you divi.

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 24, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@ts35,

Well, it's not like Rondo was some sort of hot commodity we were passing up. The classic example of what you are talking about was Darko Milicic or Carmelo Anthony. That I can understand. But, we are talking about the 17th pick in the draft, I believe, and Rondo was not even drafted for a few more picks. The Celtics simply got lucky. They had no clue whatsoever that he would be the player he is today. And, as pointed out by someone earlier in the thread (something I totally forgot), we had no cap space to sign a first rounder that draft. So, we were looking to draft someone and park him overseas for a year. Context!

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 24, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm of the opinion that once you're out of the top five or so selections, the 'best player available' is likely one of three or four roughly comparable prospects. Any GM can thus reasonably claim that he picked the BPA when he selects any one of them. But need is usually the determinant there.

For instance, if the Wiz had been picking at number 8 instead of 1, they could have chosen between Aminu, Paul George, Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, Ed Davis, and justified any of them. They're all talented players and they're all developmental types with identifiable strengths and flaws. You could argue that Aminu has the upside over Aldrich, but Aldrich plays the always-desirable center position, and those are hard to find. The GM gets rapped by some fans no matter which way he goes, and he knows that, so in the end, he follows the path he thinks will yield the best results. Short or long-term -- that depends on the strategy.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Honestly...sounds like a multiple MVP winner we have over here in this league.

Not saying that he's Steve Nash...I've never really watched him so I can't say...but sounds familliar.

Steve Nash is one of the best shooters in league history, all the way back to his college days he was absolutely dead-eye. And he has a quick forst step.

Rubio cant hit the broad side of barn, who wants a euro PG that shoots 38%FG? And he has no first step, let alone ability to finish. As far as the vaunted court vision, he does make highlight passes for sure. But overall, he was 4th in assists last season...his promoters talk about him giving up scoring to dish is pretty much nonsense. American Omar Cooke scores more and dishes more over there, maybe we should sign him to backup Wall...

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I would bet $100 that in 3 seasons Seraphin is a much better pro player than JM. I know that is going to kill you divi.

Not really because you'll probably call Seraphin the dumbest player in the nba before the end of next season, while lamenting how great Yi was...before he was terrible again

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The mistake with Seraphin is that he was drafted to play Center for us and he's simply not tall enough to be a legit C in the nba. And no, he's not going to be Ben Wallace- that level of raw athleticism is not there. I wouldnt mind seeing him spell Blatche at times, be the bruiser next to JM for a few minutes here and there

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm not clear on where the notion comes from that Seraphin can't play center in the NBA. Seems to me it depends on the matchup. We don't have combine measurements on the guy, but he matches up pretty well with physical big men like Kendrick Perkins and not so well with someone like Pau Gasol, who's really long. But you could reverse that and say the same about McGee, who really struggles against the league's strongmen. I guess the real question is how quick he is. I haven't seen enough of the kid to assess that.

Looking at who was available at 17, I don't see big man I would have seen being picked ahead of him. Here's who was available:

Daniel Orton, Kentucky
Tibor Pleiss
Dexter Pittman, Texas
Hassan Whiteside, Marshall
Solomon Alabi, Fla State
Jarvis Varnado, Miss State
Jerome Jordan, Tulsa

Everyone after Orton went in the second round. Couple guys I like, but I thought Seraphin was the one with the big upside. A risk, obviously, but hey, it's a crapshoot, right?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I would disagree in the sense that Nash is very quick, and has very good change-of-pace and change-of-direction.

Rubio's lack of quickness (within reason) isn't a deal-breaker though, because of his height. In theory, he can compensate.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I'll give you that...I meant more a long the lines of Nash isn't built for lightning quickness or a blazing first step...like you said with changes of pace and such...he's more crafty.

And critiquing Rubio on his stats over there...I don't put too much stock into it because I don't watch the games, but I do know Brandon Jennings had terrible stats over there. I wouldn't be surprised if Rubio's numbers were better.

Pros that have played him say he's the real deal and I'd trust that more but honestly...I have no idea.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Pros that have played him say he's the real deal and I'd trust that more but honestly

Whom? The guys at the Olympics who said nice stuff about everybody...it was the Olympics afterall.

Brandon Jennings said Rubio was all hype and that he dominated him when they played, caused a bit of stir and I think he later apologized. But here we are a few years later and imo it looks Jennings had it correct whereas scouts went by the canned pleasantries CoachK was delivering

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The mistake with Seraphin is that he was drafted to play Center for us and he's simply not tall enough to be a legit C in the nba. And no, he's not going to be Ben Wallace- that level of raw athleticism is not there. I wouldnt mind seeing him spell Blatche at times, be the bruiser next to JM for a few minutes here and there

Posted by: divi3

For me, with Seraphin, it's less about size, than type. He's part of a typical PF/C type these days. Offensively he doesn't have the game of a PF yet, but size-wise he was brought in to match up with the stronger guys, a lot of whom aren't overly tall. Howard, Perkins, Al Jefferson, Horford, etc. Which means on any given night, he might be playing C or PF depending on the matchup.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant to say less about position than type for Big Serf

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not clear on where the notion comes from that Seraphin can't play center in the NBA.

Kendrick Perkins is 6'10" over 280 and with a longer wingspan than Seraphin. Nene, whom seraphin is often compared too, was listed at 6'9.25" without shoes at the combine. Seraphin is unoffically 6'9" with shoes and that looks generous based on what he looks like standing next to guys in the huddle.

May not mean he cant play Center, but it does mean he'll always be at a disadvantage given the average nba C these days is 6'10" in socks. He cant get taller, whereas JM has already gotten stronger.

Guess I'm not hoping for the day we're starting a 6'9" Center and a 6'7" PF, but that's just me.

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm of the opinion that once you're out of the top five or so selections, the 'best player available' is likely one of three or four roughly comparable prospects. Any GM can thus reasonably claim that he picked the BPA when he selects any one of them.
Posted by: Samson151

Which for me, goes back to where I started. Before need as a determinant, I think it has to go to what the GM, the team, and the organization value. Using your Aldrich / Aminu example, both could have technically fit needs for the Wiz, but do you value the longer-term established college player, or the more athletically gifted 'upside' player. Or do you scrap both of those notions and go with whichever player, regardless of anything else, you think has the best chance to be successful in the NBA. Which, admittedly, is impossible to predict with accuracy.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Ricky Rubio has yet to make his NBA debut, but that may not mean he isn't ready, at least according to Kobe Bryant. Bryant isn't among Rubio's critics. "This my third time playing against him, and he is definitely ready to play in the NBA," the Lakers' star said. "The kid can play. I felt like in the Olympics he played very well and showed a lot of poise and he reads a lot of things that average players don't."

Not exactly pleasantries...I think this ties into what Larry was talking about earlier. If his awareness and IQ is high enough...you can overcome some of the physical/athletic deficiencies.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin can't get taller...and JaVale CAN get stronger...

but JaVale is only gonna get but so strong...he's ALWAYS gonna be at a strength disadvantage on the bigger guys.

This is where physical attributes come in again. Seraphin seems to have a little spring in him to make up for the 2-4 inches he may be lacking some nights. Or even if he's guarding C's and letting JaVale handle PF's.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 24, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Kendrick Perkins is 6'10" over 280 and with a longer wingspan than Seraphin. Nene, whom seraphin is often compared too, was listed at 6'9.25" without shoes at the combine. Seraphin is unoffically 6'9" with shoes and that looks generous based on what he looks like standing next to guys in the huddle.
Posted by: divi3

What does Nene look like standing next to the guys in his huddle?

Perkins may be a bit bigger, but Seraphin is more athletic (granted these are relative terms). Seraphin can get up higher than I've seen Perkins jump. Also, when it comes down to it, an inch or even two isn't a make or break deal. McGee can get stronger, but he'll always have limitations based on his frame like Seraphin does. It's how you use what you have.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The mistake with Seraphin is that he was drafted to play Center for us and he's simply not tall enough to be a legit C in the nba. And no, he's not going to be Ben Wallace- that level of raw athleticism is not there. I wouldnt mind seeing him spell Blatche at times, be the bruiser next to JM for a few minutes here and there
Posted by: divi3

understand your concern about seraphin's height but everything else seems to be there. javale is tall, but he definitely lacks some of the other attributes I'd like to see in a center (probably because run, jump, highlight reel are his biggest interests).

both might be better off sharing time at the pf position, but that's not going to happen.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 24, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

What does Nene look like standing next to the guys in his huddle?

Like the tallest guy on his team. Could be the 'fro though, Nick is quickly getting towards 6'9" afterall

Posted by: divi3 | January 24, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"What does Nene look like standing next to the guys in his huddle?"

Like the tallest guy on his team. Could be the 'fro though, Nick is quickly getting towards 6'9" afterall

Posted by: divi3

Well, see there's your problem. Parallax error. Nene, listed at 6'11", *is* the tallest on his team, meanwhile Serf is regularly standing next to actual 7 fters.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone hear think Seraphin CAN'T progess to play at least as well as Kendrick Perkins? Perkins is a good player, but to be honest, he is mainly a bodyguard for the celtics. Nothing special about him. Put him on a lot of teams and he'll get exposed. Nene was a lottery pick.

Sure they took a flyer on Seraphin. But ge can progess to be a more athletic Big Baby off the bench. Just because a draft pick isn't an all-star(Ben Wallace), doesn't make him a mistake.

Posted by: G-Man11 | January 24, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

But the afro thing does remind me of the line from Fletch where he's dreaming he plays for the Lakers "He's 6'4"...6'9" with the afro"

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone hear think Seraphin CAN'T progess to play at least as well as Kendrick Perkins? Perkins is a good player, but to be honest, he is mainly a bodyguard for the celtics. Nothing special about him. Put him on a lot of teams and he'll get exposed. Nene was a lottery pick.

Sure they took a flyer on Seraphin. But ge can progess to be a more athletic Big Baby off the bench. Just because a draft pick isn't an all-star(Ben Wallace), doesn't make him a mistake.

Posted by: G-Man11

Perkins value is that he's a very good post defender, defensive anchor and a solid rebounder. I think Seraphin can be all of those things as well, and I think is already a little more adept offensively.

Sort of as your saying, Perkins works well on that team. They don't need him to score. I think Serf works in the short term as a back-up / compliment / change of style for McGee. Time will tell if he can become more than that long term.

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin looks to me like he's as strong as anybody in the NBA. OK, maybe not Shaq. But the others. He just doesn't know how to use it yet. Neither did Ben Wallace at that age.

For a team that has McGee, Yi, Blatche and Hil Armstrong inside, Keh-VEEN could be a lifesaver.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Most of what an interior post defender does these days involves using the lower body to push his man away from the basket and out of his comfort zone. That's really all Perkins does. That's what Seraphin can learn to do.

We haven't seen much of the kid yet, but when we have, I haven't seen many NBA big men who can outmuscle him.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

We have to be prepared to give Seraphin 3-4 seasons to develop fully. He should probably be in Europe right now, but apparently wouldn't go for it. If we put up with Nick, Javale, and Andray, we should be willing to put up with Kevin, particularly when we don't have any other muscle players on the roster.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Here's what Kendrick Perkins did his first 3 seasons in the NBA:

'03-04: 10 games, 0 starts, 3.5 minutes, 2.2 points, 1.4 rebounds
'04-05: 60 games, 3 starts, 9.1 minutes, 2.5 points, 2.9 rebounds
'05-06: 68 games, 40 starts, 19.6 minutes, 5.2 points, 5.9 rebounds

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

If we put up with Nick, Javale, and Andray, we should be willing to put up with Kevin, particularly when we don't have any other muscle players on the roster.

Posted by: Samson151

Yes.

Posted by: nmik | January 24, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think what you are asking from Seraphin doesn't involve "putting up" with much of anything. He clogs the lane. He rebounds. He intimidates with hard fouls whether unintentionally or not. He gets a few baskets here and there. And, he already seems to have better court awareness than JM. We don't have to wait on a outside shot to develop etc.. He can very useful as early as next season. He should be better adapted to the NBA, culture, and language by then.

And what 7 footers are out there dominating the NBA that he can't guard? Yao Mind is done. Howard? The biggest thing in defending Howard is to be strong enought to keep him 7 ft away from the basket as much as possible. He can do that.

Hell, he already clobbered Artest, which is when I started on his bandwagon.

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 24, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

We can beat them if both Dray & NY are on there games but you never know when that will happen at the same time. If Wall's J is going then he will keep us in it. Lets run and get it. If we have any kind of success then we have a great chance because they see this as there game to end the slump. If they fall behind at any time or struggle at any time then that crowd will start moaning, booing, the team will get down, play tighter, and we can feed off it.

Gallo is going through the norm. Whenever guys come from injury they always look like there stud self in the 1st game or 2 but then reality sets in and the rust shows. I expect him to still look crappy this game if we can play any kinda D on him. Dray can go off if he's right

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 24, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/1/24/1952725/nba-pace-speed-spurs-suns-knicks

----

if you haven't read the above, do. fascinating analysis.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 24, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/1/24/1952725/nba-pace-speed-spurs-suns-knicks

----

if you haven't read the above, do. fascinating analysis.

Posted by: MinuMang

Um, I was told there would be no math.

:)

Posted by: ts35 | January 24, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"if you haven't read the above, do. fascinating analysis.Posted by: MinuMang"

It sure is. But I don't know what I think about it yet.

One thing I did notice: like most metrics, it's most evident at the top and bottom of the scale. It correctly predicts the really fast-playing and slow-playing teams. I don't know if it's as valuable for middle of the pack clubs.

I liked the part about clubs playing fast or slow on different sides of the ball.

Anyway, thanks for the link. Hopefully I'll get a chance to look at it more closely later.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 24, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

if you haven't read the above, do. fascinating analysis. Posted by: MinuMang

Just finished skimming it in front of the TV. The order of Mil, Sas, and Orl on the speed differtial chart doesn't look right to me. I'll have to go back to it after the game. And it looks he's using this season's data, but I didn't see any mention of scheduling. Anyway, nice find.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 24, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The order of Mil, Sas, and Orl on the speed differtial chart doesn't look right to me.

OK, I think I get it. The speed differential isn't really a +/- value. That chart describes the data more than the teams. I'd like to see another chart where the faster/slower of the O and D speed index numbers are incorporated together.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 24, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

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