We all saw it. Duke went down, and went down pretty hard, to Louisville yesterday evening in the Elite 8. Things were knotted up at 42 early on in the second half, and then Louisville blew the doors off the rest of the way. As a Duke fan, I did not enjoy myself watching that basketball game. As a basketball fan, it’s safe to say the Louisville is hella good, and I just can’t see them losing. If the tournament lasted ten more games, I still couldn’t see them losing. The Cards are firing on all cylinders right now and isn’t a more complete team in the nation, still playing or otherwise. But, this post isn’t about Louisville, it’s about the Blue Devils and the season at hand. It was a good season, not a great one, and here’s why:
Now that we are done with my incomplete and bias-fueled mock draft, I wanted to give a look at some individual players that I either like, don’t like, or haven’t developed any strong personal feelings toward.
3 Players I love
We start with players I like a lot and think could make a big impact. Two are projected high picks. One somewhere later in the first round. All three project to be quite good.
In case you were unaware, I believe MKG is the second-best player in this draft. The guy can defend at least three positions, goes non-stop all of the time and was probably the best finisher in transition in college last year. This guy is just a straight athlete that can play basketball. He isn’t a great shooter — or scorer, for that matter — but he’s a strong enough player to develop into something decent throughout his career. In three or four years, the team that lands MKG will be getting 15-18 points, 7-8 rebounds and 4-5 assists per game out of a perennial first-team all-NBA defender. Yeah, I’d take that with my second overall pick.
I’ve also made known my love for Beal, and it doesn’t get much better than being compared to Ray Allen and Eric Gordon. He can score in a variety of ways, and, as I said, could be your rookie of the year. I could easily see him putting up 20 points per game his rookie year and adding in three or four assists as well. He was all over the board position-wise at Florida, but settling into a true shooting guard role should provide Beal the opportunity to thrive completely in the NBA.
I’d be lying if I said I’ve watched this guy play much at all, but he’s a serious sleeper this year. At a very thick 6-8, he projects as a tweener at the NBA level, but with his athleticism and ball-handling skills, I see no reason why Royce White couldn’t be a starting small forward in the NBA in two or three years. I know there are some red flags, but by all accounts, this a guy that really straightened things out under Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State, and I know I’ll be rooting for him to succeed.
3 players I like
Here’s some guys that I’m not in love with, but guys that I think will ultimately outplay their draft positions.
This is a guy that has been playing basketball for all of about four years and is still getting assimilated to the American culture, which really explains some of his issues at Syracuse. I’m not making excuses for his absence from the tournament, but he really does seem like a good kid that couldn’t keep things in order when it mattered most. It will probably affect his draft position, but it really shouldn’t. Defensively, we know what he can do, and he has the body to match up down low with most NBA players. Because of that body, I’m not concerned about his transition from the 2-3 zone. He will hold up just fine. His offensive game needs work, that’s for sure, but he’s worked hard on it since he left school and has time to straighten things out. No one will expect Melo to come in and start right away, but any team past about 15 would be wise to pick up Melo and slowly work him into an important role.
Jae Crowder doesn’t necessarily have a true position in the NBA, but he’s a crazy hard worker that seems to really enjoy the game. Maybe it’s just the hair, but I see him as Kenneth Faried with a little more range. He might not be as tough rebounding or on the block as Faried, but he will fill up the stat sheet in more ways than one. Come to think of it, Crowder’s Marquette mate, Darius Johnson-Odom, will be a huge steal in the second round also. Like Crowder, he’s a bit undersized for the position he’s best suited for(SG), but goes hard and has a great jumper. This might be a sneaky-good draft to grab a Golden Eagle.
Tony Wroten Jr.
After just one year, Wroten elected to come out, which was probably a mistake. With that said, he has some serious point guard abilities with some serious shooting issues. With his court vision, I think Wroten will turn out to be one of the better passers in the draft, and like so many others, his jumper can come along as his career progresses. Another situation where the right team will make all the difference. He has the size to play the two-guard, but his highest level of production will be at the point.
3 players that make me say…eh…
These are guys that I’m not terribly impressed with, but still think they will be good NBA players.
Let me preface this by saying that there is no team in the NBA that wouldn’t love to have this guy, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with picking him number one. He would be my pick, but I’m not crazy in love with him. I worry about his ability to handle bigger players down low, both offensively and defensively. He made a feasting on guards getting into the lane and swatting their futile attempts at the basket, but NBA guards are much smarter and know how to get a shot off. He will rebound the ball and play above-average defense, but his offensive game still needs to come around. Davis will be a good NBA player, but I’m not convinced he will retire as the best this draft class had to offer.
He is climbing a lot of draft boards, but I’m not all-in on Barton. Granted, I don’t think he goes anywhere higher than 20th, and may still slip to the second round, but he’s just so darn skinny. He scored a lot at Memphis, and he certainly knows how to put the ball in the basket. I think he can be a career backup, and a pretty good one, but I’m very lukewarm on Will Barton right now.
Another top pick that just doesn’t quite do it for me. I see him scoring when he wants to, but don’t ever see him as a reliable constant threat that you can keep on the floor in any situation, which is what I think the team that drafts him hopes they are getting. He could go nuts and become a top-10 player in the league. He certainly has that potential, but he also has the potential to be “just okay”.
3 Players I Don’t Like
I don’t like these guys. Not, like as people, just as draft picks.
I saw him in his workout with the Pacers, and I just wasn’t that impressed. Fournier is a good scorer, but he is quite young (19) and will have to learn a new style of basketball for a team that will expect him to contribute right away. I’m not saying he will need to start, because he’s going to go in the back end of the first round, but teams like Memphis, Chicago and OKC that pick at the end of the first round will want him to be one of the first guys off the bench, and I just don’t see it. Fournier has the ability to score, but against stronger, physical NBA defenders, will he be able to impose his will as he has been doing in France? It’ll be tough.
Henson is another good college shot blocker, but I just think he will get taken to the woodshed down low on an NBA court. He’s just too skinny. That’s really all the rationale I have for Henson, but it’s a big issue that will be detrimental until he puts on a few pounds.
Of all the players that could have used another year in college, Teague tops the list. His jumper is below-average, and it was a lot easier to make decisions on a college court surrounded by superstars than it will be in the NBA. He can pass the ball well and sees the court well, but he’s not an iso point guard and will need a few years to really come around. File him away in the “potential” drawer for now. Teague will take some time to develop — time that could have been well-spent on the court at Kentucky.
3 Players I Really Don’t Like
Hate is a strong word, one that I prefer not to use. It sounds like I’m personally attacking someone, when, in reality, these guys all may have very good personalities and would surely beat me 100-0 in a 1-on-1 pickup game. However, these three guys don’t have my vote when it comes to basketball playing. Not at all.
History tells us that at least one of that top group of guys will be a bust, and Drummond is the most likely candidate. His body is ready, but his game is not. This is another guy that really could have used another year at school, although there was never really any chance he was coming back. He just didn’t put up the stats that you would like to see out of a top-5 type player and doesn’t appear to be mentally ready to play at the next level. As high as he will be picked, you imagine he will start right away, which probably isn’t the best way to bring him along. Drummond will struggle his rookie year and never really recover, but someone is likely to take a chance on him early.
Again, nothing personal, because he really seems like a great guy, great teammate, and will be a consummate professional. With that said, where does Draymond Green project as an NBA player? He’s too short to be a power forward, but do you really see him defending the Lebron James and Kevin Durants of the world? I don’t. He has a solid jumper and will leave it all on the court every single game, but sometimes, that just isn’t enough to get the job done. There is a place in the NBA for guys like Green, and he will probably go in the first round, but I don’t see him ever being anything other than a halfway-decent backup.
In my last post, I talked about how un-confident I was in saying that I didn’t like Rivers. He could really be a star. But I don’t see it. I just don’t ever see him taking a step back and learning to play without the ball. Granted, he is excellent when he has the ball, but Rivers just isn’t quite good enough to dominate the ball in the NBA like he has his entire basketball career. There’s sentiment that he should play point guard because he is a little small to play shooting guard, but he’s best suited for the two. That’s his best shot. If his year at Duke was any indication, he doesn’t much care for passing the ball, and I don’t think he’s physical enough to get to the rim against NBA bigs. And his defense has always been less-than-stellar. Basically, everything Rivers did in college will be a hell of a lot harder in the NBA, but I don’t see his game changing much. He could easily be a star, but could just as easily float around the NBA trying to find a team that will let him shoot as much as he wants to.
Alright Swensanity fans. It’s been awhile, but I’m back at it for at least the next half hour or so. I know you love the NFL insight that I provided on a regular basis for like two months, and trust me, I will get back to that once things pick up, but I just have all of these thoughts buzzing around in my head regarding the NBA Draft tomorrow night and no one with whom I can share them. Except for you. Lucky!
I would do an entire 1st- round mock draft, but I don’t want to. Instead, I’ve chosen to pretend like I know what will happen in the first ten picks, plus include my favorite team and yours alike for good measure.
1. New Orleans Hornets select Anthony Davis
Typing any sort of description or argument here would only lead to a quicker onset of carpal tunnel, or some other typing-related disorder. Davis is good. I hate Kentucky.
2. Charlotte Bobcats select Thomas Robinson
This is the first mis-hit of what will surely be many in the NBA draft. In my humble opinion, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the second best player in this draft. Bradley Beal is the third best player in the this draft. T-Rob is somewhere in the 4-7 range. But Charlotte likes him, and so they will pick him. He will be good, but not great, in the NBA. He will rack up rebounds, but will not be the alpha-male in the NBA that he was in college. Seems like a great guy with a high motor and a level head on his shoulders, but there are other guys in this draft that will be better than T-Rob.
3. Washington Wizards select Bradley Beal
Surely MKG would have been the pick here before the Wizards picked up Trevor Ariza, but now the only missing piece in Washington’s starting lineup is a 2 guard, and Beal is the best this draft has to offer. I think the Eric Gordon comparisons are spot-on for Beal. He can get to the hoop or not get to the hoop, but he can score better than anyone else in this class. And people love scorers. Don’t be surprised if Beal wins rookie of the year. He should lead all rookies in scoring. And people love scorers.
Taylor Wilkerson and I sat down to discuss the upcoming NFL season just a few days ago. Topics range from the draft to Peyton Manning to our 2012 picks to Bountygate, because I’m sure no one is sick of hearing about that.
And oh yeah, what would an NFL piece be without a segment devoted to Tim Tebow? This talk should be very popular with the ladies and gentlemen over in Bristol.
Anyway, enjoy, and let me know what you disagree with, because no one every replies to a post just to say they agree with everything.
Mike Shanahan wasted zero time in speaking his mind on the Redskin’s quarterback situation.
“He’s the starter. Period.”
That was Shanahan on Robert Griffin III, Sunday after the Redskins completed their three-day rookie camp.
Not Shannie’s worst decision in a long line of pretty bad decisions in Washington. With that said, his comments on Griffin even further call into question a decision made by the Redskins’ brass just last weekend. If the ‘Skins knew that Griffin was their guy (which they did), why waste a fourth round draft pick on Kirk Cousins? Why why why why why?
Now that the draft is completely concluded and you have had a chance to check out my analysis, I wanted to get some reader feedback. Check out the poll questions below, answer honestly, and if you feel so inclined, don’t be afraid to leave a comment or two about why you answered the way you did.
In just a weekend, the NFL draft came and went. As we have talked about before, this draft class may have been one of the more talented in recent memory. Quality picks were made from round one all the way to the back-end of round seven. I already looked at each first round pick, but here is my review of the entire draft and how I think each team did.
(In alphabetical order)
I thought the Cardinals made a great pick with Michael Floyd in the first round and added some quality depth later on. Jamell Fleming should compete for a starting job next year, and Bobby Massie probably should not have dropped to the fourth round. The Cardinals seem ready to break out, and much of that will depend on their quarterback play. Floyd may be a key ingredient in that formula right off the bat.
It’s always hard to really have a great draft without a first round pick, but this year was deep enough to give some of those teams a shot with at least one very good player in the second round. Peter Konz dropped considerably and was grabbed by Atlanta at 55. The rest of their picks were neither great nor overwhelmingly poor, and a good team got better on both sides of the ball. Still, there was nothing to write home about in Atlanta.
The Ravens traded out of the first round, but didn’t necessarily suffer because of it. Courtney Upshaw certainly had first-round talent and is exactly the type of hard-nosed player that defense is built around. Bernard Pierce should be a good option to spell the undersized Ray Rice at times and I think Tommy Streeter could turn out alright for being a sixth-round pick. I would have liked to see them address the wide receiver position a little earlier, but a good job addressing needs by the Ravens.
What a CA-RAZY first round that was. To the layperson, I pretty well sucked in trying to predict what would happen. In my defense, the eight trades that ended up taking place pretty helped cement my place as one of the worst draft analysts ever, but I’m thinking that there probably weren’t many mock drafts that were too spot-on. There’s literally no way that anyone won Jim Irsay’s BMW Challenge.
Because I am a big man, though, here are my picks as compared to the ones that actually went down, and a short piece of analysis on each. But then again, what incentive do you really have to listen to anything I say after last night’s disaster.
1. Indianapollis Colts
My pick: Andrew Luck
Their pick: Andrew Luck
One for one baby. Obviously, everyone knew this pick was coming, but it was still a great pick by the Colts. They will spend the rest of the draft trying to build a team around their new QB, now. They’d be nuts to pass up Coby Fleener in round two. (Note: time to use the ol’ two-year upgrade on your cellular device, Andy.)
2. Washington Redskins
My pick: Robert Griffin III
Their pick: Robert Griffin III
Another no-brainer. RG3 will start right away in Washington, and with good reason. I still think Luck was the better pick, especially when you compare the two offenses these guys ran in college, but Griffin should transition nicely.
3. Cleveland Browns
My pick: Matt Kalil to Vikings
Their pick: Trent Richardson
It was a good pick, and to be fair, one that I called correctly, it just took place one spot sooner. With that said, I don’t think there was ever a serious threat for the Vikings to give up the pick for someone to draft Richardson. And to be clear, Cleveland wasn’t worried about Minnesota drafting the running back, they were worried that someone else would hop up and grab him. They got the player they wanted, but probably could have done so without giving up three late-round picks.
It’s been a long and exciting road, but here are my last six picks of the Swensanity 2012 Mock Draft. I’m not done with you yet, though. Check back tomorrow for first round draft grades and analysis.
You can find my full mock draft here.
27. New England Patriots select Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse Orange
Other options: Harrison Smith, Shea McLellin, Kevin Zeitler, Jerel Worthy, Devon Still
As always, this pick is contingent on the Patriots not trading down to stockpile picks for next year, which they would then trade to stockpile picks for the year after that, and so on. With that said, I think they for sure make a selection at 27 and look to deal down from 31. But in reality, I think they make both picks anyway.
Expect this pick to be a pass-rusher for New England. They have been looking to fill the outside linebacker hole since, really, Willie McGinest left some six years ago. Their secondary needs help, and Harrison Smith is a late-riser, as does their defensive line at the 3-4 end spots, but they need a guy that can consistently pressure opposing QBs.
Chandler Jones is huge and really moves pretty well for his size, and he, like some of the other OLB/DE hybrids, is moving up the boards. I think he possesses the right mix of strength and speed to fit in to this defense, which was really quite awful a year ago.
I know I have said time and time again how deep this draft is at this position, but any if not all of the three teams between now and the Pats’ next pick could choose a pass rusher, so Belichick and crew take their pick of the group, and Jones it is.
As the NFL draft rapidly approaches, I will post the final 12 picks today and tomorrow, in two six-pick segments. The analysis may not be as deep or thorough as the past picks, as I don’t want to waste any of your precious time. Following the draft, I will post my draft recap and draft grades, so please remember to check back for that.
You can find my full mock draft here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals select Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina Gamecocks
Other options: Cordy Glenn (original pick), Dre Kirkpatrick, Kendall Wright
As I said the first time around for Cincinnati, this pick will likely be either a guard or a defensive back and will likely come down to who is picked by the Bengals at 17. There is an outside chance that if Glenn is still around and they go with DeCastro first, they could pick him up as well. The same goes if both corners are available after both of the guards have been selected. My money says that they will be able to cash in on some combination of the two.
Gilmore is one of those quick risers. I am hearing now that Jacksonville may be interested in his services at seven, although I do think that is a little high for the corner. A more likely scenario would be the Jags trading down with someone that wants to grab Tannehill before Miami gets to him. If that happens, I could see Gilmore ending up in Florida next season.
However, I am no trade predictor, so I deal with what I have. Gilmore is a very good cover corner with very good ball skills. In my last post, I noted that he isn’t quite as big or physical as Kirkpatrick tends to be, but he ran a fast 40 by more than a tenth of a second. The two corners certainly make up the second-tier in this draft, and your guess is as good as mine in who is off the board first.