Monday, August 30, 2010

Year Two Crop

Our new crop of NBA players. The rest of the world's gotta deal with it.

... and do the John Wall.


Saturday, August 28, 2010


Kyle Wiltjer. Apparently he's gonna commit to UK tonight. Regardless if he does, I'm gonna post a quick profile on the guy.

For starters, he's a 6'9" power forward from the 2011 class who plays high school ball in Portland, Oregon. Terrence Jones, anyone? The weird thing about him is ... he's white. I already made the joke on Twitter, but it bears repeating: I'm pretty sure Coach Cal hasn't recruited a white kid since he was at UMASS. Whatever, though, I'll take him if he wants to come here.

#32 Overall Prospect
#5 Power Forward
They give him a "Scouts Grade" of 96 and say "Skills, skills and more skills along with a great feel for the game and basketball IQ are major strengths of Wiltjer's in addition to his size. He is a match up problem because he can score inside and out with great efficiency. Wiltjer's back to the basket footwork, moves and ..." but the rest is for suckers who pay the Insiders fee.

#19 Overall Prospect
#5 Power Forward
They list his strengths as his "high-low game and perimeter shot", while his weaknesses are a "go-to move and strength". Then they go on to explain that he's a "hybrid power forward who has roots in Canada. Has legitimate touch from the perimeter and the ability to be a guy inside. Improved every season. Next step is establishing himself in the post. Made game-winning shot to give U18 Canadian team bronze medal at 2010 Tournament of the Americas."

#25 Overall Prospect
#6 Power Forward
They have a more succinct debriefing of his skills, listing his shooting as outstanding, his rebounding as good, his handle as good, his passing as outstanding, his strength as good, and his GPA as 3.4. That's all you need to know from them, I guess.

Add him to a 2011 class that already features Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis, Jr. and you got yourself easily the sickest class ever assembled in history. Add another top guy in there somewhere and it entirely laps Chris Webber's Fab Five and John Wall's Sick Six to make them practically irrelevant in the all-time schematics of college basketball recruiting. I love the potential freshman front court combo of offense/defense between Wiltjer and Davis already. I really hope the kid signs here. Cross your finger for the next few hours.

... and do the John Wall.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wall Expectations

John Wall - 6'4", 195 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
34.8 minutes, 16.6 points (46.1% FG, 32.5% 3PT, 75.4 FT%), 4.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists, .5 blocks, 1.8 steals, 4 TOs

Our basketball savior. The guy who made it cool to be a Wildcat again. The guy who calls LeBron James and Drake whenever he's bored. The guy who President Obama name drops about. No, I'm not talking about John Calipari. I'm talking about John Wall. That guy.

Here's the scary thing about Wall at the next level: I believe he could possibly be playing at the level of a slightly altered version of Dwyane Wade within two years. He's got the same kind of size and left for the pros a year before Wade. He's got all the same effortless skills (blinding speed, sick hops, paint penetration at will, incredible court vision, reliable mid-range jumper, and cold-blooded scoring mentality in dire situations) that made Dwyane so special coming in. All Wall needs to do is build on those skills in his arsenal already. He's as quick a learner and willing adjustor as I've ever seen in college basketball. John would identify the situations where his team needed him to force the action and do exactly what needed to be done. It was shown most blatantly in the Stanford, UCONN, and (loss at) Tennessee games. Dwyane even started his rookie year attempting the point guard role before he was slid over to his natural 2 spot, but it's obvious that Wall will be pegged as a point for his whole career and put up better stats than Dwyane's, still exceptional, assist numbers. In the reckless way that both attack the basket and are adept at finding some amazing way to finish the play at the rim and draw fouls, I honestly do think John can come close to being as feared a scorer as Wade. Dwyane is probably the third best player in the entire league today and a guaranteed Hall of Famer when it's all said and done. That's the kind of potential that John has.

Dwyane Wade - 6'4", 220 lb.
2008-2009 with Miami Heat
38.6 minutes, 30.2 points (49.1% FG, 31.7% 3PT, 76.5% FT), 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, 2.2 steals, 3.4 TOs

To exemplify the unworldly expectations of John in the pro ranks, I think the absolute worst he could do as a youngster is replicate Derrick Rose's numbers in a Rookie of the Year-type performance. It's way too easy of a comparison to make, so I'll focus on the differences. Wall's and Rose's 3-point marksmanship were nearly identical in college, both in makes and percentage, but I see Wall as having a little more range in his early career and already has a head start in becoming a more proficient shooter. Where Rose really took the NBA by storm was in his rookie playoff debut, notching 36 points (12-19 FGs and 12-12 FTs), 4 rebounds, and 11 assists all while pulling off the upset. That's winning time. And that's where John Wall has to re-prove himself at. Sure, he hit a game winning 15-foot jumper in his NCAA debut and knocked down every single clutch free throw he ever needed, but he has to prove it again in the national spotlight. His tournament numbers weren't as outstanding or prevailing as Rose's, so it's up to Wall to prove that was a fluke and that he can lead an underwhelming team into playoff contention right away ... like Rose. What better measuring tool is there to compare two insanely talented and freakishly athletic freshmen point guards who played under the same head coach within a three year span? I guess lightning does strike twice, albeit once in Memphis and once in Lexington.

Derrick Rose - 6'3", 190 lb.
2009-2010 with Chicago Bulls
36.8 minutes, 20.8 points (48.9% FG, 26.7% 3PT, 76.6% FT), 3.7 rebounds, 6 assists, .3 blocks, .7 steals, 2.8 TOs

Here's the bottom line: John Wall is guaranteed to be a stud. He was simply already an NBA caliber player his senior year in high school. His style of play is tailor-made for the more wide-open pro game with limited zoning. He's got as quick a first step as you can find and he always has purpose with the ball. I know he has a turnover problem; everyone knows that. But so does Steve Nash, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant. So the TOs aren't an indication of any sizable flaw in his game; he just has to figure out how to utilize his teammates the right way over time and those lost possessions will naturally shrink. While obviously not against the greatest competition, Wall averaged 23.5 points, 7.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals in four summer league games. That's a sick pro platform to jump off of.

Now all that remains to be seen is how Flip Saunders tries to mesh Gilbert Arenas and Wall in the offense together. The entire guard rotation comprises of the two aforementioned players plus Kirk Hinrich and Nick Young; so John's going to get heavy clock from day one, most likely starting every game unless something terrible happens. I swore off believing in Arenas' ability to be a quality teammate in the future, but I'm forced to root for him being a positive influence in the career of UK's first number one overall NBA Draft pick ever. Everybody's eyes are gonna be on Wall in the nation's capital. He's gonna have to balance putting in the time practicing his 3-pointers with all of Barack Obama's personal texts, but he'll make it work. He's made for this.

... and do the John Wall.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Patterson Expectations

Patrick Patterson - 6'9", 235 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
33 minutes, 14.3 points (57.5% FG, 34.8% 3PT, 69.2% FT), 7.4 rebounds, .9 assists, 1.3 blocks, .7 steals, 1.1 TOs

The University of Kentucky's modern day Paul Bunyan figure is now an NBA rookie. He was one of the very, very, very few bright spots shining through the catastrophic Billy G blip of an era. He was the guy who embodied every aspect of any local hero you could ever wish for. He was UK. Now he's a Rocket.

The big issue in looking at Pat's production from last season is the Demarcus Cousins effect. In his 2009 sophomore season, pre-Boogie, Pat put up 18/9/2 with 2 blocks and shot over 60% from the field. That drop in production would be a death toll for any other NBA prospect, but with his added skill of 3-point shooting and the scouts' understanding of his deference all last season to UK's incoming talent, Pat universally rose on everyone's draft boards. It was a crazy gutsy move for him, knowing that the team was in transition and he would have to sacrifice individual production on a monumental level. But he did it anyway, lived with the sacrifice, and was better off (playing-wise and monetarily) because of it. Win-win.

All that being said and as hard as it is for me to admit, I don't think P-Patt has a very good chance at an All-Star level career. Because of that, I see his ceiling as a Horace Grant-type 3rd option player. Grant did sneak in an All-Star appearance in '94 while MJ was busy watching a few baseball games, but he was more noted for his defensive work and tenure, logging over 30 minutes per game in 13 of his 17 NBA seasons. Horace has a little bit of height over Patrick and better natural defensive instincts so far, but Pat already has more consistency in his jumper and far better range. One thing that has to be a major focus for Patterson is developing his passing ability, which was completely nonexistent at UK, if he has any hopes of being as productive as Grant. He won't be seeing many dump-down, clear out situations in the pros due to his lack of size, but being a high energy guy on the boards will go a long way in him defining his game and surprising a lot of people with his insane level of strength and fitness.

Horace Grant - 6'10", 215 lb.
1993-1994 with Chicago Bulls
36.7 minutes, 15.1 points (52.4% FG, 59.6% FT), 11 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.1 steals, 1.6 TOs

In the same way I don't think P-Patt has as high of a ceiling as the other 2010 UK rookies at the pro level, he also has a shorter drop as to what his worst case scenario is. The most frequent modern day comparison used for Patrick is current undersized Jazz forward Paul Millsap; and it's highly warranted. Millsap is a workhorse who runs the fast break well, has an adequate mid-range shot, and destroys his oversized competition on the board, all these being things that Patrick's already got on lock and ready to contribute at the pro level. Yet he's probably going to be a career back-up unless he gets on another squad purged of all front court size. He spent all of his first four seasons as Carlos Boozer's bench relief and is set to play the same role in Al Jefferson's shadow for the foreseeable future. The highlight of Millsap's early career was taking advantage of Booze's injury-prone nature in the '09 season where he had 38 starting opportunities. He put up a string of 19 consecutive double-doubles in Boozer's absence, showing off his capability as an NBA starter. But Millsap was relegated once again to mop-up duty once he returned.

Paul Millsap - 6'8", 245 lb.
2008-2009 with Utah Jazz
30.1 minutes, 13.5 points (53.4% FG, 69.9% FT), 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 1.7 TOs

I'm personally rooting for the Rockets to win the Carmelo sweepstakes and trade away half their big men for him. Unless Patrick's able to pull the ability to handle the ball out of a magic hat in the next month, he's stuck as an undersized power forward or super-undersized center in the most dire of instances. With that niched position in mind, it sucks that the Rockets currently employ Yao Ming, Brad Miller, Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Jordan Hill all fighting for those 96 big men minutes between them. The only guy Patrick's probably ahead of on the depth chart is Hill. Plus you gotta figure that Yao and Scola get at least 65 of those available minutes between them. Not good for a rookie. So unless something big changes, we may not see a lot of P-Patt in the early going. But he's too solid to not break his way into someone's rotation and be an impact player at some point. Big Blue nation will be right behind him for the entire journey. He's our guy.

... and do the John Wall.


2010-2011 Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have signed a contract with ESPN, TNT, and ABC to have 217 of their regular season games broadcasted each year for the next 7 years. That headline must've slipped under the cracks of Coach K cutting Rajon Rondo from Team USA. Jerk. Regardless, I think it's pretty safe to say that everyone's eyes are on the Heat from here on out until Amare, Carmelo, and CP3 team up for the Knicks in 2011. Then everyone's gonna have to practice that independent eyeball control thing so they watch both teams at the same time. I sure can't do it yet.

2010-2011 Miami Heat

Point Guard: Mario Chalmers/Carlos Arroyo
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade/Eddie House
Small Forward: LeBron James/Mike Miller/James Jones
Power Forward: Chris Bosh/Udonis Haslem/Juwan Howard
Center: Joel Anthony/Zydrunas Ilgauskas/Jamaal Magloire

I hate to admit it, but the Heat were able to put some perfect pieces around their Big 3 with some professional Pat Riley cap space wiggling. Though they did miss out on a point guard upgrade (any old, unselfish veteran [a la Gary Payton] would've been sufficient), I can still see how they don't technically need an all-league offense initiator; you only need one of either James or Wade on the floor for that issue to be remedied. The shooters they compiled are almost unfair. House, Jones, and Miller have knocked in threes at clips of 39%, 39.5%, and 40.5% respectively over their careers. They're all threats to drop five or six long range bombs in any given game, just for shiggles.

While they do have size with a frontline-by-committee, the impact of the players behind Bosh and Haslem may be a slight issue. Joel Anthony has proved absolutely nothing in three years of NBA experience. He occasionally blocks shots; that's it. While compiling heady veterans such as Juwan Howard, Big Z, and Jamaal Magloire is never a bad thing in and of itself, none of those guys have been on-court forces in years. They've got a stock of big bodies, for sure, but you don't actually want to be in a position of having any of them on the floor for extended time. Unless Z gets a late career rejuvenation or Joel actually learns a certifiable basketball skill, the front court is more or less gonna develop into Bosh/Haslem or bust.

Now with the big deal. LeBron and D-Wade on the wing together. No one knows how it's gonna work. The '08 Redeem Team showed no real preview of this because the shot allotment needed for Kobe and Melo distorted any honest chance of an LBJ-Wade two-man game showcase. Having two of the top three perimeter scorers in the league on the same team for 82 games is unprecedented. No one's had to make that level of and individual sacrifice before with someone filling the same floor space as them. The majority of all-time tandems were either big/little (like Russell/Cousy, Moses/Dr. J, Kareem/Magic, Malone/Stockton, Shaq/Kobe) or alpha/subordinate combos in the same front or back court (like West/Goodrich, Frazier/Monroe, Bird/McHale, Isiah/Dumars, Jordan/Pippen). Unless Bron-Bron or Dwyane have a secret meeting to thumb-wrestle and decide who's gonna be the distinct first option, then we have a brand new monster on our hands. I don't even wanna begin to speculate on if it's gonna work flawlessly or be a potential case of the whole being much, much less than the sum of its parts. And that's the exact reason why the Heat are so interesting and actually will deserve TV air time. Everyone wants their expert analysis to be proven fiercely right or viciously wrong on this brand new NBA scenario for the ages.

My prediction on their season? Second best record in the league. Prolly 59-23 or something like that, putting them on pace with the Magic squad from last year. They obviously have the highest ceiling of any team literally in NBA history, but I got them pegged as bonafide contenders, not as record-shattering world-beaters quite yet. As far as playoffs expectations, I'm kind of torn. I think they match up favorably against Orlando, but I think the Celtics would make quick work of Miami's lack of size and an honest Rondo matchup. And those scenarios only makes it complicated because I think the Magic are gonna be one step ahead of the Celtics if they face each other first. And the Bulls are the completely revamped unknown in any case as to their style of play and playoff potential. So if I were to make a gut prediction (which is the whole frickin' point of writing opinion columns in the first place), I got the Heat making it to the Conference Finals in year one and bowing out. No rings for the King yet. Kobe's still alive, ain't he?

Regular Season: 59-23
Playoffs: Eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals

... and do the John Wall.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The 2011 Trio (8/24/10 Update)

With any other situation, I would say it's too early and ridiculous to look ahead an entire year for a sports club. I don't wanna hear how the Heat are gonna 7-peat until 2017 when LeBron's still never won a single title. But with the University of Kentucky basketball team? Coach Cal has forced us to.

For the 2011-2012 college basketball season, UK is coming fresh off of a surprise Final Four appearance. But the NBA bell tolled and ripped the Wildcat fans' hearts out for a second straight year as Enes Kanter was drafted with the top pick, a decision that had been guaranteed since his end-of-the-season utter dominance in SEC play. Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight cemented the arrival of the 1-and-done era by going 3rd and 7th in the lottery as well. The big surprise was the fact that DeAndre Liggins broke through as the unquestioned leader of the squad and showed such a marked improvement in his long-range marksmanship and slashing ability that he was scooped up late in the first round by a championship contender banking on him filling out into a James Posey-type intangible stud.

This leaves the Wildcats heavily reliant on recruiting once again. There are pretty much two guarantees with Coach Cal: we will have the number one class year-in-and-year-out and we will have plenty of scholarships open after the NBA absorbs half our roster year-in-and-year-out. But 2012 will be the year that everyone understands that it's worth it.

Michael Gilchrist - 6'6", 190 lb.
#1 overall player, #1 SF (ESPN)
#3 overall player, #1 SF (Rivals)
#5 overall player, #1 SF (Scout)

Marquis Teague - 6'2", 170 lb.
#2 overall player, #1 PG (Rivals)
#3 overall player, #1 PG (ESPN)
#6 overall player, #1 PG (Scout)

Anthony Davis - 6'10", 220 lb.
#1 overall player, #1 PF (Scout)
#6 overall player, #3 PF (Rivals)
#12 overall player, #4 PF (ESPN)

The recruiting game is getting ridiculous. Cal is the best there is. Period. He targets in on the all-world talent specifically catered to his system and gets them. It's as simple as that. These 2011 recruits form a trio that you will hear about everyday for the entire year, right up until the NBA Draft where they're all selected in the top 10. Gilchrist has been the best player in all of high school ball since his sophomore summer AAU circuit and is said to have the skill set of a Kobe Bryant/Kevin Durant hybrid. Teague has the blinding speed and attacking ability in the same mold of Devin Harris to where he gets any and everywhere he wants with the ball. Davis is the late bloomer of the group with the ridiculously long frame whose talents range across the board to cement his comparisons as a player somewhere in-between Kevin Garnett and Antonio McDyess. A good majority of recruiting analysts have even come out of the woodwork to vouch for Davis as the newly crowned best player in his class, even over Gilchrist. The three of them together could change the dynamics of talent in college basketball altogether. Never has such a highly touted freshman trio ever been assembled. We're not talking a collective of multiple top 50 talents here; we're talking possibly three of the top five players in the NCAA altogether at that point under the tutelage of one coach while wearing Kentucky blue and white. Coach Cal defeated the entire system. You no longer hope for that five-star messiah to come in and change your program with his NBA skill level once every few years. You expect at least four of them (plus some) putting their name on the Letter of Intent papers every single year.

And Kentucky's still at least slightly in the picture for 2011 recruits Quincy Miller (PF, Rivals #5/Scout #2/ ESPN #4), Austin Rivers (SG, #1/3/2), Adonis Thomas (SF, #15/11/15), LeBryan Nash (SF, #4/12/10), and Tony Wroten (PG, #20/27/24). Depending on his performance in prep school this year, you may even be able to pencil DeAndre Daniels (PF, #9/34/28) on our 2012 roster. Hopefully we can also pull a late coup off and grab local talent Chane Behanan (PF, #23/29/73). I like our chances with pulling at least one more of those guys. Sky's the limit. And an NCAA championship banner is the sky, by the way. There'll always be someone who complains about the lack of tradition or development of players who leave school early to the pros, but once #8 is hanging in the rafters in Rupp ... I think they'll quite down at least for a little bit.

... and do the John Wall.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Professional Wildcats

UCLA was the original school who sent players en masse to the pros, led by the incomparable Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor. Then you had North Carolina with Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, Kenny Smith, and other elite talent throughout the '80s. Then Kentucky was an NBA floodgate institution, sending nine players from their 1996 championship roster alone to the next level. UNC reared its ugly head again, sending four players apiece from each of their '05 and '09 championship squads, led by Marvin Williams and Tyler Hansbrough, respectively. Well guess who's already pre-ordained to dominate year in and year out in the 20-teens? It's UK again. And if you didn't realize that after this year's draft ... I don't know what to tell ya.

Kentucky Colonels (our hypothetical 2010-2011 NBA roster)

Center: Nazr Mohammed/Jamaal Magloire/Daniel Orton
Power Forward: Demarcus Cousins/Chuck Hayes/Patrick Patterson
Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince/Kelenna Azubuike
Shooting Guard: Jodie Meeks/Keith Bogans/Joe Crawford
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo/John Wall/Eric Bledsoe

Head Coach: Pat Riley
Lead Assistant Coach: Dwayne Casey
Assistant Coach: Walter McCarty
General Manager: Rex Chapman

That's a pretty sick collection. And it only looks to get ridiculously sicker in the coming Calipari years. As Nazr and Jamaal (the only remaining players from the '90s championship squads) head to their career twilights, future potential pro Cats Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, Doron Lamb, Mike Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis will be making their grand entrances into the league. Five years from now, Rondo and Wall might be two of the best three point guards in the entire league. Cousins and Kanter might be vouching for 2nd place for the rebounding title behind Dwight Howard. Meeks might be the best three point marksman in the league. All these scenarios are legitimately possible.

It's gonna be an unprecedented run. Regardless of if every recruit is a one-and-done jumper, Kentucky will be the absolute go-to school for every uber-talented high school player out. It'll be to the point where the encyclopedia's gonna have to include that as a fact. The combination of Wall with Calipari made an instant transformation of our school where we went from being the historic program with the greatest tradition in college basketball to the cool program affiliated with Drake, LeBron James, and Ashley Judd. And that even affected everything to the point that, in edited retrospect, world champion Rajon Rondo is a beloved child and major representative of the University. Everything's almost too good right now. The Elite Eight loss was tough and having to lose our top five players to the draft hurt, but we reloaded without a skipped heartbeat and our 2011 class is already preset. As long as Calipari can resist a second bout of NBA temptation, UK is guaranteed to be the program of the next decade. And with LeBron now secured in Miami for the next seven years with Pat Riley looming over the organization, I say it's a safe bet that Coach Cal stays put. Within the next two year, we'll have finally unveiled banner number eight and it can only feasibly get even greater after that. I'll getcha back in five years if UK's reign hasn't already ended the world by bringing on the Apocalypse.

... and do the John Wall.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Big Boi vs. Janelle Monae

I've only run two editions of the "Favors" segment, but I'm already shaking things up. This one's all about Big Boi and the crazy talent that he discovered and labeled up, Janelle Monae. That's pretty much the extent of Purple Ribbon that's left, ain't it? Sucks that the rest of them didn't work out, but at least Janelle's a keeper.

She debuted on Big's record label compilation, Got Purp, Vol. 2, with two song features by the names of "Time Will Reveal" and "Lettin' Go". With a little help from Diddy and Bad Boy, the rest is history.

Big Boi - Call the Law (feat. Janelle Monae)
Big Boi - In Your Dreams (feat. Killer Mike, Janelle Monae, & Sleepy Brown)
Janelle Monae - Tightrope (feat. Big Boi)
Big Boi - Be Still (feat. Janelle Monae)

The duo's musical hook-ups surfaced on OutKast's Idlewild, Janelle's The ArchAndroid, and Big Boi's brand new Sir Lucious Left Foot. Their individual sounds are absolutely monstrous and it's just another level of epicness when they join forces. He raps. She sings. And the records speak for themselves.

... and do the John Wall.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cousins Expectations

Demarcus Cousins - 6'11", 270 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
23.5 minutes, 15.1 points (60.4% FG, 55.8 FT%), 9.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.0 steals, 2.1 TOs

The guy's a beast.

Demarcus Cousins probably should have gone before John Wall in the draft. He's more talented and more productive on the court. That shows you how much his demeanor and sullied media reputation scared off NBA GMs. Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, and Wes Johnson are all half the talent that Demarcus is on the floor, but they all had squeaky clean images associated with them. Demarcus has to use this as motivation every single day for the rest of his career to prove that he can be an elite big man against the greatest competition he could ever face.

An acceptable start for his career would be for him to achieve Al Jefferson numbers. The only catch is that, though it took Al 3 years before he nudged himself up to double-double territory, Cousins needs to get there right now. They have a lot of the same skills, as both are amongst the rare bigs left who show off a polished back-to-the-basket post game with deft hooks from either hand. They're both long-armed trees in the paint who, though may not consistently make the right defensive decisions, are always a threat for straight-up or help-side blocks. Their biggest difference is in the fact that Al is distinctively mild mannered while Demarcus is always the aggressor. Jefferson's numbers should be a jumping pad for Cousins. In all honesty, Boogie's best case scenario should be Shaq-like numbers; he's actually that talented. But I'm trying to keep it more realistic and taper off my expectancy of Cuz at the level of a better version of Jefferson. We all cool with that?

Al Jefferson - 6'10", 265 lb.
2008-2009 with Minnesota Timberwolves
36.7 minutes, 23.1 points (49.7% FG, 73.8% FT), 10.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.8 blocks, .8 steals, 1.8 TOs

The worst case for Boogie is a heavy pitfall to the level of Benoit Benjamin. Picked third by the Clips based on his size and potential upside, Benjamin failed to ever break out as anything more than a serviceable role player bugged by nagging injuries. This is where Demarcus would fall only if his weight is a recurring issue and he never fully dedicates himself to putting in the gym time to perfect his craft. If he's not able to show off his perimeter capabilities, something that was never utilized in the college ranks, then his ceiling is as an inconsistent dump-down threat and sizable post defender. That's it. But I can't even envision that happening. Boogie is motivated by every single sleight he perceives from fans, the media, opposing players, and entire organizations. Trust me ... he's not gonna let himself fall to this level.

Benoit Benjamin - 7'0", 265 lb.
1988-1989 with Los Angeles Clippers
32.7 minutes, 16.4 points (54.1% FG, 74.4% FT), 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.8 blocks, .7 steals, 3.0 TOs

Beyond playing style comparisons, hopefully Demarcus will be able to quickly shed himself of the "Derrick Coleman" branding that he's been ordained with. While Coleman was an immensely productive big man for the majority of his 16 year career, the combination of weight issues, alcohol, and his consistently problematic behavior completely overruled his on-the-court play. Despite having the talent to be one of the greatest power forwards ever, Coleman was content with a single All-Star appearance and only two showings on the All-NBA Third Team. If that abbreviated trophy case is all Demarcus winds up with in the twilight of his playing days, he'll have been a major disappointment, too.

While pretty much everyone expects Cousins to start from day one with the Kings to begin perfecting his two-man game with Tyreke Evans, he does have some legitimate competition for heavy minutes. Samuel Dalembert is probably going to be slated as the starting center while Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Donte Green, Darnell Jackson, and even fellow rookie Hassan Whiteside will compete for clock from the bench. This logjam will be easily remedied from Cuz's perspective if he's physically capable of holding his own in the early going at the center position, as well. That way he can just naturally slide over one spot when Dalembert goes to the bench and preserve his floor time. This is all assuming, though, that Boogie will be able to drop his penchant for committing stupid fouls. It's very telling that Demarcus was only able to play 23 of 40 minutes of college ball on a nightly basis because of foul trouble, stunting what could have been Player of the Year caliber statistics. All things considered, I think Demarcus is a legitimate threat in the Rookie of the Year race and, by his third season, could already be in All-Star territory. If he plays his cards perfect, he has the potential to be an era-defining big man and wiggle his way into the heart of fans as the loveably tough monster, a la Shaq. Though many see it as a deterrent, I see his on-court ferociousness as a trait that could help seamlessly transition his game onto the pro level. You can bet anything that Favors won't be mixing it up, knocking against Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard from day one. Demarcus will.

... and do the John Wall.


Who Am I

I'm completely jacking a 2dopeboyz post. Sorry Shake & Meka. But they practically wrote up one of my "sampled" posts, so I had to. It's all good. Here's a little like-mannered Dipset and Rhymesayers to start of your musical day.

The O'Jays - Who Am I

Juelz Santana - Who Am I
Atmosphere - Little Man

... and do the John Wall.


Bledsoe Expectations

Eric Bledsoe - 6'1", 190 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
30.3 minutes, 11.3 points (46.2 FG%, 38.3% 3PT, 66.7 FT%), 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, .3 blocks, 1.4 steals, 3.0 TOs

It's pretty hard to believe that NBA scouts were so head-over-heels for E after a single year in college even though the supposed experts at ESPN didn't even have him ranked as one of the top 100 incoming freshmen of '09. Idiots. But what level of expectation can you actually have from the service that, in the same year, ranks Avery Bradley number one and John Wall number five?

Eric is a real tough case in gauging his potential contribution at the NBA level. The guy is definitely not ready to play pro ball yet, but I honestly can't blame him for going for it while being slotted just outside of the lottery, especially when he may have permanently been stuck playing off-ball next to would've-been future UK teammates Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague. And make no mistake, Eric will be playing point guard in the Association. He simply doesn't have the size to get away with playing the 2 like he did in NCAA competition. He sure-fire would have been picked even higher had he not teamed with Wall. Bledsoe's much more comfortable as a pure point looking to get his teammates involved as opposed to spotting up for jumpers and only occasionally penetrating, something that would have resolved a number of the questions attached to his draft report.

My best case career scenario for Eric is him being in the mold of '90s point guard Robert Pack. Though constantly plagued by injuries, Pack had a solid 7 or so seasons in his 13 year career where he was a threat on the court. Known for his blinding speed and insane in-game dunking ability, Pack was a known commodity and a game changer at times. His finest production came during the first half of the '96-'97 season with the Nets (before he was traded) where he nearly averaged a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists. This was just a year after averaging over 18 points in 31 starts with the Wizards before suffering season-ending nerve damage to his right leg. Bledsoe already has a better jumper with considerably better range than Pack ever managed, but both have eerily similar body molds, exceptional jumping ability, play-making potential, and a nagging turnover problem.

Robert Pack - 6'2", 190 lb.
1996-1997 with New Jersey Nets
34.9 minutes, 15.9 points (40.7% FG, 29.7% 3PT, 78.8% FT), 2.5 rebounds, 9.6 assists, .1 blocks, 1.7 steals, 4.4 TOs

Eric's worst case scenario is that he can't make the distinctive shift to being a pure point guard. This would leave him in a year-by-year case of limbo where teams are hesitant on making him a key rotation player as he's looked over, being the undefined combo guard with no size and an inconsistent jump shot. This would put him on a Marcus Banks-like career path where never finds his comfort zone with an organization and is only signed on as a band-aid for uncompetitive teams in transition without a competent starting point. The similarity in this case is the fact that Banks was once discussed in his early career as possibly being the fastest end-to-end player in the game, a title Bledsoe may be in competition for. But Banks was never able to convert his speed into feasible, consistent production. In his only starting opportunity, a midseason trade to relieve Marco Jaric of his lead duties, Banks made the most of it; but he's never been able to put the pieces of his game together to replicate that temporary glimpse of success and he hasn't had job security since.

Marcus Banks - 6'2", 205 lb.
2005-2006 with Minnesota Timberwolves
30.7 minutes, 12.0 points (47.9% FG, 36.4% 3PT, 77.8% FT), 2.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, .3 blocks, 1.2 steals, 2.4 TOs

The good news for Eric is the fact that, at this time, the only other players capable of logging minutes at the point on the Clippers are Baron Davis and Randy Foye; and Foye is even more naturally a shooting guard. That means he's definitely seeing the floor this season. Regardless of the results, any extended amount of legitimate floor time is invaluable for a developing lead guard. Practices don't simulate the intensity and experience that Eric will need to adapt to and understand at this level. He has to find out where to pick his spots with his jumper and how to optimize his playmaking capabilities without over-penetrating, which was an often occurrence while at UK. Expect turnovers galore in the early going. Shoot, TOs may be a defining issues that drags on his whole career. But I believe Eric is capable of capturing a starting guard slot in the league in time. He's a freak athlete with good form on his jump shot (that has already improved immeasurably since high school) and a highly willing passer with quality court vision. Hopefully he can perfect a change-of-pace aspect to his game and tighten up his handles in both the open court and half court sets. His speed has to be used with a purpose or else it's not really that much of an advantage at all. When the decision-making catches up with his natural ability, there's no reason he can't be a good NBA player. He's probably not an All-Star kind of guy, but definitely a notable contributor. Here's wishing him good luck with the cursed Clips. Hopefully he can sneak in Staples and watch a few Laker games. The perfect scenario for him is to wait in the wings as Davis' eventual successor while patenting a deadly two-man game with Blake Griffin. That could be a sick combo 5 years from now if the players and the organization play their cards right.

... and do the John Wall.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Orton Expectations

Daniel Orton - 6'10", 255 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
13.2 minutes, 3.4 points (52.7% FG, 52.4% FT), 3.3 rebounds, .4 assists, 1.4 blocks, .6 steals, 1.0 TO

Sucky stats, I know. But Daniel still managed to get selected in the first round based on potential. And I'll now put value to that potential.

Pluses for Daniel: shot blocking, unknown shooting ability, and a high level of athleticism when healthy. Forget every preconception you have about the guy coming off back-up duty as a college freshman and all the anger you have towards him for leaving for the pros early. Orton's career will not be defined by the completion of his rookie contract. He's simply not ready or currently healthy enough for that to be the case. I see him as having an eerily similar career path as Jermaine O'Neal. While under his rookie contract with the Portland Trailblazers, O'Neal struggled to stay on the floor for double-digit minutes for four entire seasons. A year later, he was able to escape Rasheed Wallace's daunting shadow (and influence) and earns 32 minutes a game with the Indiana Pacers. He then proceeds to spend the next 6 years in his playing prime as a premier All-Star post player and noted defensive swatter. Not bad for a guy who still averaged less than 4 points during the year that hypothetically could have been his senior season in college. When given the opportunity after an extended tutoring allotment, Jermaine flipped the switch. That's the best case scenario I see for Daniel Orton.

Jermaine O'Neal - 6'11", 255 lb.
2002-2003 with Indiana Pacers
37.2 minutes, 20.8 points (48.4% FG, 73.1% FT), 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.3 blocks, .9 steals, 2.3 TO

Much like O'Neal, Orton has a sick jump shot extending out to around 20 feet. He never once got to show it at UK, but I swear to you it's there. People close to the Wildcat ball club last year would tell you that Daniel was easily one of the squad's top 3 practice shooters. He has a feathery touch, just not the confidence yet to prove it in game action. Hence the disgustingly painful free throw percentage. He also has a few legitimate post moves that were only seen in literally about three play sequences in the entirety of his abbreviated college career. The majority of his adjustments, as dismissive as it is for me to say, rely exclusively in getting healthy, building his body, and getting used to NBA-sized contact. The talent and knowledge of the game are there; every player who played against Daniel daily in practice would tell you the same thing. He's a quality human being with the right combination of height and an understanding of the game, but he's been caught as the proverbial deer in the headlights over the course of the last calendar year. That's why I have such confidence in his potential ability to succeed at the highest level.

Worst case scenario is quite a bit more grim, though. While I hope Daniel finds a team where he can carve his niche and his extensive (and, as of yet, unseen) skill set can be utilized, nothing in the league is guaranteed. His knee may not heal as perfect as he (and the Orlando Magic) may hope. Or he may simply never regain the confidence to explode effectively off his knee, neutralizing his natural level of athleticism for the rest of his career. Maybe because of all the things going on in Daniel's life (the death of his mother, the lack of control shown by his father in the media, the outpouring hatred of a portion of UK fans, his plunge in NBA draft boards), he isn't able to put it all together at the right time and loses his chance at professional basketball prominence. In that case, his career ceiling falls to the disappointing level of a Keon Clark replication. Clark came out of UNLV in 1998 and was drafted by the Magic with the 13th pick. He was a highly talented big who couldn't ever seem to focus all of his attention on the court, resulting in him being relegated to a simple defender who couldn't even manage staying in the league for six seasons. His best outing came in 2002 when he put down the bong long enough to start 31 games for the Vince Carter-lead Raptors.

Keon Clark - 6'11", 221 lb.
2001-2002 with Toronto Raptors
27.0 minutes, 11.3 points (49.0% FG, 67.4% FT), 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.5 blocks, .7 steals, 1.7 TO

Besides health and conditioning issues, the biggest obstacle in Daniel's path to early floor time is his own teammates. The Magic probably have more front court depth than any NBA team should. Dwight Howard is the main cog with the rest of the power forward and back-up center minutes taken up by Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortat, Ryan Anderson, and Brandon Bass. On top of that there's even fellow rookie Stanley Robinson as 12th man competition. Unless the roster is purged for Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul in some massive trade, I don't see how Daniel manages any clock in the early going. Though that's probably not a bad thing since he definitely isn't ready at this point. On a brighter note, Patrick Ewing will definitely be a pivotal piece in getting the right habits going for Daniel's future opportunities.

Here's hoping Daniel manages to steer his way closer to Jermaine territory as an eventual franchise-type player for a regularly competing team as opposed to a journeyman plagued by off court issues ousted out of the pro ranks before his 30th birthday. Make Oklahoma and Kentucky proud, Daniel. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm willing to give you a little extra leeway in your window to accomplish that.

... and do the John Wall.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

UK NBA Team Photo






What else do ya need to know?

... and do the John Wall.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Canada Trip

It's all just a pre-preseason exhibition for the inexperience 2010-2011 University of Kentucky Basketball team. Don't read too much into it. Who am I kidding? Read everything into it.

Brandon Knight
Game 1: 28 minutes, 31 points (11-19 FGs, 1-5 3PT, 8-8 FTs), 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Game 2: 32 minutes, 17 points (5-13 FGs, 1-3 3PT, 6-7 FTs), 3 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, 3 TOs
Game 3: 34 minutes, 27 points (10-14 FGs, (2-7 3PT, 5-6 FTs), 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 2 TOs
I know we're not supposed to compare him to John Wall, and I know this was just an exhibition game against mediocre competition ... but Knight scored 31 points in his very first outing and didn't have a single turnover. While he's most likely not the singular innate talent that John is, Brandon may actually turn out to be a bigger contributor at the collegiate level, as blasphemous as that may seem. His pull-up three is an unguardable weapon that I can't even begin to overstate how important it will be in certain situations. To make that move even more ridiculously potent is his willingness to forcefully take straight paths to the bucket and absorb any and all contact. The game commentator said early on that Knight is gonna "shoot a million free throws this year". And that's only barely an exaggeration. He's absolutely fearless, and that's something I never expected to see out of him in early season play. Hopefully it'll still be on full display when he visits legitimate Division 1 post bodies in the paint. He played the role of distributor when his shot wasn't falling as effortlessly in the second game, cranking out 12 assists (a few of them being jaw-droppingly threaded through for the score). His jumper, out to 25 feet, is silky and consistently reliable. He also has an astonishingly quick crossover that's impossible to react to when in control. My only complaint in the early going is that he's mostly stuck on one speed: superfast. While that may work perfectly in college ball 90% of the time, he still needs to sprinkle in a little change-of-speed in his floor game overtime. He got called for a few charges due to this exact thing, but I'd much rather have an aggressive point guard (as Knight has been) over a timid one. The raw figures: 31/7/7, 17/3/12, and 27/5/9. It was very apparent why he was once ranked the top recruit in the 2010 high school class. And just for kicks, he punched in two sick highly-contested dunks during the Canadian games to remind everyone that he's still a freak athlete regardless of if he's going to be dealing with John Wall comparisons all year. Brandon's the truth.

DeAndre Liggins
Game 1: 28 minutes, 10 points (5-6 FGs), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 TO
Game 2: 25 minutes, 11 points (4-5 FGs, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FTs), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 3 TOs
Game 3: 30 minutes, 10 points (4-7 FGs, 2-2 FTs), 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 4 TOs
Dre will be an NBA player now. There were hopes of that with his size and lead guard potential while he was initially recruited by Billy G, but those hopes were quickly shattered when everyone saw Liggins finally hit the floor and seemingly have no idea what to do at any given moment. But now those hopes are back in full force. He's reprised his role as the go-to hustle defender, but now has made himself a deadly slashing threat. No one could stay in front of the guy. With his size, vision, and newly found finishing ability, he's a lock for the pros. In Game 1, he was easily making impressive close-range finishes while never settling or letting the defense dictate his effectiveness. He had an equally effortless second outing where he once again showed the deftness of his interior touch by way of floaters, runners, and strong lay-ups. Overall, he shot a sweet 13 of 18 from the field, including knocking down his only three. It was too easy for DeAndre. In a second half sequence in Game 3, Liggins even showed off a Kobe-like baseline fake-and-go into an outstretched reverse lay-up that had the crowd and commentators in awe. He's still highly deferential to his teammates, but now when he has a mind to attack, you'll surely find him right at the lip of the rim creating a play. Liggins also showed that he can be trusted in leading the fast break, exemplified in the second half of Game 2 when he pulled a board off a missed free throw, sped downcourt, and dropped a perfect no-look feed into the hands of Harrellson taking his last stride to the rim. He made a habit of making some amazing reads in his limited play-making opportunities. He may very well be slated as the starting small forward and the back-up point guard once the season commences. He was always under control and let every aspect of the game come to him. This was so much more than just the scrappy Liggins of last season who made his contributions by way of hustle plays that never made their way onto the stat sheets.

Darius Miller
Game 1: 35 minutes, 18 points (6-13 FGs, 4-5 3PT, 2-2 FTs), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 4 TOs
Game 2: 32 minutes, 20 points (8-16 FGs, 2-6 3PT, 2-5 FTs), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 blocks, 5 steals
Game 3: 29 minutes, 24 points (10-12 FGs, 3-4 3PT, 1-1 FTs), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 3 steals, 2 TOs
Miller came into the collegiate ranks as a shooting guard. This year? He's probably gonna see the majority of his minutes guarding against the power forward slot. And he looks the part, too. Though his game still lies almost exclusively on the perimeter, all we can hope for in potential improvement from Darius is in the confidence department. He's always had a capable, though usually flat, 3-point stroke. He's always had a sneaky blow-by ability to go with a deft midrange floater. He's always been a high quality team-first guy. This season is all about him knowing that he's a beast and bringing those facets of his game consistently and with purpose. In Game 1 he did exactly that with a ridiculous double-double, following it up with an even more aggressive 20 and 24 point contests. And you simply can't beat his 9 makes out of 15 long range attempts. Miller can't fall into the type of uninvolved lapses that he did last year, and he didn't at all in these Canadian games. This season, he's slated to be the team's Patterson-type leader who needs to be established game-in-and-game out. He simply looked like a man on a mission, always putting the ball on the floor with purpose and intent, as well as confidently stepping into his long bombs instead of reluctantly throwing up his open looks. He had a sick move in Game 2 when he received a high post pass, faced up and read the defense, jabbed right, took one strong dribble to the left, and spun back right, absorbing a reach-in foul plus the help defender's contact and finishing with a floater. Who knows if he'll be utilized in the post once Enes Kanter is filling out the middle, but Miller also showed some promise with some very strong and well-executed post-ups, converting with some smooth hook shots that we've never seen from him before. If he can keep it up this season, his name will soon enough be in NBA scouts' notebooks along with his freshmen counterparts. It almost seasons crazy to say with the UK player hierarchy as it is, but I think Darius could contribute more dominantly and meaningfully this season as a junior than Patrick Patterson did last year as a junior. I can't wait to see this version of Miller out against the best competition in the NCAA. He killed it these last three days.

Josh Harrellson
Game 1: 25 minutes, 9 points (3-5 FGs, 3-4 FTs), 11 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 TOs
Game 2: 23 minutes, 12 points (4-6 FGs, 4-4 FTs), 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, 1 steal, 3 TOs
Game 3: 27 minutes, 8 points (4-8 FGs), 19 rebounds, 1 block, 4 steals, 3 TOs
Though Josh will most certainly be a back-up to Kanter and define his season with bench contributions, he made the most of Kanter's Canadian absence in an offense that doesn't often utilize a big low-post body in the way Harrellson needs touches. For starters, he looks like he's in 100% better shape than last season and utilizes it by being active on screens and controlling the boards for the most part, even though he did gets abused regularly by smaller players getting into his body or around him on cuts. He scrapped for a monstrous 19 board game in the final outing and rejected 12 shots total in the three contests (albeit against shorter competition). His range was never intently utilized in the play calling, so it's still undetermined as to whether Coach will ever creatively put him in high post or perimeter situations to switch up the schemes. He scored exclusively off offensive putbacks and controlled power-dribble hook shots at the rim in all three games, never even attempting a jumper (besides a dead ball fadeaway 3 that he swished). Unfortunately, he was still plagued by missed bunnies and some unforced fumbles when he did get his scoring chances. He should have been able to put up more impressive numbers against the shorter Canadian front courts, but he was only able to make his impactful contributions in the rebounding and shot blocking departments. In Game 3, he did take advantage of some shoddy entry passes while sealing off his man to get the deflection and gather in the steals, showcasing a lightness of foot which he by no means had last year.

Jon Hood
Game 1: 26 minutes, 9 points (4-9 FGs, 1-2 3PT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 TOs
Game 2: 24 minutes, 8 points (2-5 FGs, 2-4 3PT, 2-4 FTs), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 TOs
Game 3: 24 minutes, 8 points (3-8 FGs, 0-2 3PT, 2-6 FTs), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal
I'm not sure where Hood fits in with this year's team. If Jones is fully healthy and Lamb's role is clearly understood at the start of the season, I don't see where his minutes can possibly come from. He showed purpose in his starting slot in the first game by notching a 3-pointer and punching down three open court dunks, but he still feels like the odd man out even with his newly gained assertiveness. He's obviously infinitely more confidant than what he showed in his limited freshman outing as he actually attempts ball attacks to shift the defense on his touches, which is a pivotal aspect to the effectiveness of the dribble drive offense on a possession-by-possession basis. With his still-improving stroke, hopefully he can become a dead-eye shooter for the second half of his UK career in future seasons. He knocked down a perfect baseline 3 in Game 1 and dropped two step-in 3s in Game 2. Hood had one nice fundamental heads-up move in Game 3 where he followed up his own missed 3-ball that came up short, gathering the rebound in stride, absorbing contact from a post player, and finishing the lay up smoothly despite the foul. Unfortunately, he still displayed a slight sense of anxiousness with some open court misreads and forced passes, but he definitely has stepped it up since last season. His biggest obstacle is his composure and patience in the offensive sets. Hopefully he'll clean up those mental aspects of his game as the season wears on.

Terrence Jones
Game 1: 9 minutes, 4 points (2-4 FGs, 0-2 FTs), 2 rebounds
In his pre-aggravated injury state, Jones quickly asserted his multi-faceted game. His ball handling is as good as any forward in the game is going to have and he's always unafraid to show it off. Being a lanky lefty, he makes highly creative finishes at the rim when attacking, even showing off a Rondo-esque behind-the-back fake on a fastbreak in Game 1. Unfortunately that's all we got to see of the hobbled Jones. He came down with a stress fracture in his rib that's gonna have him sitting out for about a month. It's maybe a good thing as he also had nagging ankle and shoulder issues. In his very limited appearance, you could immediately see his potential and the Lamar Odom comparisons were reinforced. He's as strong a candidate as any to flash from the perimeter to the paint and create a play with ball at any point in the drive. Now we just gotta get the boy fully recovered so he can be out on the floor discombobulating opponents' matchup schemes.

Doron Lamb
Game 1: 25 minutes, 6 points (2-9 FGs, 0-3 3PT, 2-4 FTs), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, 3 TOs
Game 2: 36 minutes, 24 points (9-14 FGs, 1-3 3PT, 5-6 FTs), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 TO
Game 3: 31 minutes, 23 points (8-13 FGs, 3-4 3PT, 4-4 FTs), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 TO
Lamb is an action forcer. Though he had a slightly rough first outing missing 7 of his 9 shots, he's the potential third-option scorer that you will innately need during stretches with this squad. He showed that the slump was short lived as he notched 24 and 23 points in the final two contests, making seemingly every single one-handed tear drop on the run that he seemed to miss in the first game. He showed off a floor game comprised of worming his way around anyone in his path to the bucket and being able find some way, any way, to creatively get a quality shot off in congestion. He's simply a dynamic scorer in every way you can fathom. One great talent he possesses is his ability to make blindingly quick catch-and-releases when he receives a pass while flashing to the post, which allows him to get his shot up to glass with ease despite his immense height disadvantage. He had a tough time specifically with his jump shot altogether for the first two games, but his heralded reputation in that department leads me to believe that'll come along during the rest of the summer with no problem, as he did in Game 3. In all honesty, he's probably going to wind up being everything we'd hoped that Darnell Dodson was going to provide for us last season in the offensive department. He's not afraid to make things happen when the team offense gets a little stagnant, so it's not that big of a deal if he misses a string of shots here and there; it's all about forcing the defense to adapt and providing opportunities for possible second chance buckets at that point to get the team going. But beyond that, he'll get the junkyard credit as a baseline-to-baseline presser with super-quick instincts and a willingness to dig in defensively that you rarely see from such a young player. He's less of a gambler, in the way that Wall and Bledsoe went for anticipation steals, and more of a straight-up man-to-man perimeter barrier with quick feet. This two-way game will make him an invaluable asset in so many recurring situations during the course of the season. "Buckets". He gets 'em.

Stacey Poole
Game 1: 18 minutes, 4 points (2-6 FGs, 0-2 3PT), 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 TO
Game 2: 16 minutes, 4 points (2-5 FGs, 0-1 3PT, 0-1 FTs), 2 steals, 1 TO
Game 3: 13 minutes, 2 points (1-5 FGs, 0-2 3PT, 0-1 FTs), 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 TO
Poole wasn't able to show very much in his limited minutes besides being an active defender. He looked the most timid of anyone out there, afraid to make mistakes and throwing up nervous air balls on three of his long range shots. His jumper is stressful at this stage. While the results weren't always on point, he did show that he already has moves in his arsenal such as a spinning pivot in the open court and a strong perimeter jab step to start his drives in the half court. Poole will take a little more time than everyone else to get used to where he can be utilized in the offense. He shot an ugly 5 of 16 from the field, a miserable 0 of 5 from downtown, and a pained 0 of 2 from the line overall in these games. He made some painful reads over the course of the games with multiple botched entry passes, forced drives, and a general sense of panic when he had the ball in congested situations. He's probably only ready to contribute as a finisher over the course of this season, as he showcased by -ooping a Brandon Knight alley in the first half of game two. Unless he makes a marked improvement in the upcoming months, he's probably more likely to not see the floor at all.

Jarrod Polson
Game 1: 7 minutes, 4 points (2-3 FGs), 2 assists
Game 2: 10 minutes, 0 points (0-1 FGs)
Game 3: 13 minutes, 2 points (1-2 FGs), 1 block, 1 TO
The non-walk-on made use of his extended preseason cameo to show his ability to push the ball in game one. He obviously had limited usage, but he's an active guy out there who's intent on making the right decisions when he sees floor time. I doubt he ever gets into the rotation this year, but the exhibitions displayed that he's an actual ball player with hops and good decision making, not just the local white kid who lucked into a roster spot. Though he had no actual opportunities with the ball in game two, he still has the potential to carve out a niche as a contributor by the end of his career. But unfortunately, in all reality, he'll probably be recruited over every year. It sucks, but ... yeah.

... and do the John Wall.


Monday, August 16, 2010

2 New CH Albums

Charles Hamilton - Tafietu: The Album for Interscope Executives to Understand
1. The Loser's Revenge
2. Telemundo
3. 3rd and Goal
4. Webster's
5. Free Will
6. This is Cheating
7. The Right Kind of Brownies
8. Stones on the Dancefloor
9. Laffy Taffy Outro (Anti-Hater Zone)
10. The North Pole (feat. Max B)

Charles Hamilton - Grow Wing Pains
1. Some First Single Type Sh1t
2. More C Food
3. Two Straws, One Cup
4. Home Alone
5. Twittering About Masturbation
6. Selective Deafness
7. Advice from a Sunbeam
8. SomeoneToTalkTo
9. Tax Evasion
10. Miss Stress
11. In-Flight Music
12. Coming Attractions

... and do the John Wall.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

2 New CH Mixtapes

Charles Hamilton -
1. Flirting with My Old Sound (Settings)
2. Totally Awesome (Autosave)
3. Neverland Ranch (Edit Posts)
4. Kat Stacks for President (Comment Moderation)
5. Blogger Dashboard
6. Previous Posts (RSS Feed feat. Amen & Brook Yung)
7. Decency Policy (ODn)
8. Jamarris (Tags)
9. 9 to 5 (Layout)
10. From the Desk Of Flashbacks, Pt. 1 (Hoe)
11. My Hi (Online Outlaw)

Charles Hamilton - The Charles Hamilton Project
1. Reminder
2. Murder He Wrote
3. Hollywood
4. Wonderful Wondering
5. Speech Impaired
6. Superman
7. The Truman Show
8. Simone Outro

... and do the John Wall.