SLAMonline Mock Draft: Austin Daye, No. 22
Shades of Nowitzki come to mind.
Eleven years ago, our organization pulled off one of the shrewdest draft-day heists in league history, when we basically swapped out Michigan’s Robert Traylor for a relatively unknown player. The kid was gangly, to be sure; awkward as the day was long and light years from any semblance of a serviceable pro, let alone the MVP-type performer he is today. That rookie from the Class of 1998 struggled at times early, as he was basically still a kid when he moved from Deutschland to Dallas. He looked too skinny; he was too weak, now way he could absorb the punishment.
“It doesn’t even look like he had ever lifted weights in his life!”
Even if he could gain the weight needed to fill his suddenly almost 7-0 frame, would it just slow down his long-gaited moves to the hoop? Wouldn’t it just expose him as a defensive fraud against the quicker, more agile superstars of today’s game?
He could obviously shoot the ball and possessed an almost “assassin” quality when the ball was in his hands. After a quiet first year, the flashes were bright and the comparisons to Larry Bird started gaining traction beyond just the superficial hair color/skin tone level. Despite the height, the distance from where he shot on the court was irrelevant, as his penchant for long-range scoring became as prominent as his crafty maneuvers around the hoop.
“But he doesn’t rebound well enough! He’s 7-0 for chrissakes!”
Today, people still hate on Dirk Nowitzki; not arguably, but certifiably one of the world’s best basketball players.
This year, the Dallas Mavericks have found someone who makes us think strongly of the player that we have built our last decade of success upon (66 percent winning percentage by the way). He is an unfinished product with a bright future as an offensive player, so we also can’t see those Tayshaun Prince comparisons. He’s a different guy, altogether.
With the 22nd pick in the 2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select…
Austin Daye. Yes, the Denver Nuggets eliminated us in the second round of the Playoffs, so we know we have deficiencies that need to be addressed, but the fact that this kid is still here at this point is too good to be true. A player who has been on our “lottery watch” since his first bumbling, borderline awkward college moments in the late fall of 2007 as a freshman, Daye is a talent beyond that of many of the picks made before this one.
Throughout the thousands and thousands of hours of game tape we poured over, Daye stood out as one of the few real mismatch problems in the college game that could carry over to the NBA. Currently at 6-11 and around 200 pounds, the Irvine, CA-native’s first-step from the perimeter is long and deceptively quick, and his ability to post up smaller wing players is an added bonus. He also plays from the perimeter with a natural ignorance of the existence of the three-point-line (a huge bonus in our scouting department) that reminds us of the likes of Nowitzki, Hedo Turkoglo, Ray Allen and other great shooter/scorers. He can catch-and-shoot or pull-up and knock down mid-range jumpers. Daye is still “learning” the game to some respect as he still struggles to catch the flow of certain games. To be fair, in his two years in Spokane, he played on a pretty impressive ensemble cast that might have a few more professionals to come.
Yes, we are comparing Austin Daye to Dirk. Re-read the first few paragraphs. We hope that in 10 years you could be reading the exact same thing but with the OC substituted for Wurzberg.
|2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft Results|
|1||L.A. Clippers||Blake Griffin|
|2||Memphis Grizzlies||Hasheem Thabeet|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||Ricky Rubio|
|4||Sacramento Kings||Brandon Jennings|
|5||Washington Wizards||Jordan Hill|
|6||Minnesota Timberwolves||Demar DeRozan|
|7||Golden State Warriors||James Harden|
|8||New York Knicks||Stephen Curry|
|9||Toronto Raptors||Tyreke Evans|
|10||Milwaukee Bucks||Jonny Flynn|
|11||New Jersey Nets||DeJuan Blair|
|12||Charlotte Bobcats||Terrence Williams|
|13||Indiana Pacers||Earl Clark|
|14||Phoenix Suns||Jrue Holiday|
|15||Detroit Pistons||B.J. Mullens|
|16||Chicago Bulls||Sam Young|
|17||Philadelphia 76ers||Ty Lawson|
|18||Minnesota Timberwolves||Eric Maynor|
|19||Atlanta Hawks||Patty Mills|
|20||Utah Jazz||Gerald Henderson|
|21||New Orleans Hornets||Wayne Ellington|
|22||Dallas Mavericks||Austin Daye|