SLAMonline Mock Draft: Luke Babbitt, No. 12
Looks can be deceiving.
by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn
After years of being consistent cellar dwellers, the Memphis Grizzlies are making some serious strides. Last year’s 40-42 record would have been enough to get them in the Playoffs in the East. They have some pieces and a little bit of cap flexibility. Things are looking bright for a franchise that would live to forget their awful start north of the border (along with those hideous jerseys from that era).
Ronnie Brewer and Rudy Gay are both free agents, leaving a big whole here at the 3-spot for us. We only have two players under contract for next season who played meaningful minutes and shot over 30 percent from beyond the arc. The point guard situation, although not necessarily ideal, isn’t quite as bad as the small forward situation. With there being a legit possibility of both the R&R boys bouncing for greener pastures, we need to get some insurance.
Time’s up and the pick is in.
With the 12th pick of the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select…
Luke Babbitt from the University of Nevada.
Some of you guys may be scratching your heads and we don’t blame you. We were too initially, real talk. With guys like Paul George, Xavier Henry, and James Anderson on the board, it’s easy to see why at first glance. But, if you dig deeper in to things, you’ll see that Babbitt has some serious game.
Productivity was never a question here. Dude averaged 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists as a sophomore. He was on sizzling from the perimeter, shooting 50 percent from the field, 41 percent from 3, and 91 percent from the line. We know it was the WAC, but he wanted to stay close to home for college and what other major college is close Reno, Nevada? He was committed to Ohio State at one point and the 2008 McDonald’s All-American could have had his pick of the litter of just about any school in the country coming out.
Babbit had an amazing NBA Pre-Draft Combine. While there was non 5-on-5 action, a guy like him proved about as much as he could to the haters with his measurements and athletic testing. He came in at a hair under 6-9 with his kicks on, owns nearly a 7-0 wingspan, and is a solid 220. In the athletic tests, he hit a 37.5 inch vertical, benched 185 15 times, ran the ¾ court sprint in 3.4 seconds and did the lane agility in 10.98. Pretty impressive stuff for a guy who was considered a terrible athlete by most going in to Chicago.
In fact, Babbit’s numbers from the Combine were so good that he compares to last year’s top pick, Blake Griffin. Griffin measured 6-10 with a 35.5-inch vertical, identical wingspan, 10.95-second lane agility and 3.28 second ¾ quarter court sprint. Obviously their games are nothing alike, but it’s shocking to see how well Babbitt fared compared to similar sized forwards from the past. Oh, did we mention he shot 75 percent in the shooting drills in Chicago too?
Now to his game. We went through nearly every offensive possession of his from this past season, thanks to the service offered by our friends at Synergy Sports Technology. The guy is an animal to guard. He has a deceptive first step and uses a number of jab steps and ball fakes to get by even the quickest defenders. Babbitt is tough enough to get you buckets with his back to the basket, but skilled enough to get by you off of the bounce. His shooting range is limitless, extending well beyond the NBA three point line. And for a guy who averaged only 2 assists per game, his court vision is pretty good too.
The main problem that centers around Babbitt is his inability to defend either forward position. He’s going to come in to the League as an immediate defensive liability for us because he definitely doesn’t have the foot speed to guard a small forward and we’re not quite sold on him being strong enough to guard a power forward, especially in the West. We may have to take a page from the Phoenix Suns and go a little zone with him out there, if things get too bad.
All in all, the Grizzlies organization is happy with this pick. We would have loved to grab Luke with our pick at 25, but given the buzz around him right now, didn’t see there being any way he stuck around ‘til then. Luke fills a number of areas of need and will immediately help our team as a shooter.
Time to get back on the grind and consider guys for our 25th pick. Toronto is on the clock!
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|
|12||Memphis||Luke Babbitt||27||New Jersey|