NBA Draft Analysis With ESPN’s Experts
The Worldwide Leader’s Jay Bilas, Chad Ford and Fran Fraschilla break it down.
Question: Howard Beck from The New York Times asked about what the New York Knicks would do with their 17th overall pick.
Answer: Given that they’re a team with needs all over the floor, they should take the best available player regardless of position, according to Fraschilla. Ford said Klay Thompson or Fredette are ideal since the team needs a pure shooter. Brooks is a logical pick; he had a good workout for them against Thompson, can score in a myriad of ways and has the sort of athleticism and length one would expect in an NBAer.
Bilas mentioned Texas’ Hamilton as a possibility. He also thought Faried is sensible. “I tend to think that a kid like that in New York will have a lot of supporters because he’ll do anything to be successful in the League, said Bilas. “And he knows who he is. He’s not trying to be something more than a guy who will rebound, give energy and defend and play hard all the time.”
Question: Brian T. Smith from The Salt Lake Tribune had an interesting question in which he cited the trend of small market teams showing reluctance toward players with character issues. Smith wanted to know if that is, in fact, still the case with teams
Answer: Bilas said that the Celtics have a saying: character, not characters. Teams do want hard-working players who are accountable for their actions. Ford said an NBA general manager told him that they have had more positive character reports on players in this Draft than any one he could recall in the past. Good character doesn’t necessarily cover everything—a player still must have the talent to succeed in the League—but teams don’t want a repeat of the Jailblazers. (That last line is mine, not from Bilas, Ford or Fraschilla.)
Question: What perimeter shooting in the Draft will be there for the Chicago Bulls when they pick at 28 and 30 in the first round, wondered the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson.
Answer: Not much. Ford offered Charles Jenkins of Hofstra, who shot 42 percent from downtown last season and 41 percent the season before that. Latvia’s Davis Bertans, a 6-10 sharpshooter, is another option. He has a quick release and blew away NBA scouts at the Nike Hoops Summit, Ford added.
Bilas said Justin Harper from Richmond, who’s 6-9, can act as a stretch-four. In other words, a power forward with deep range. Fraschilla chose to go with Duke’s Nolan Smith, who he said is a player who will keep a team from losing games, given his intelligence, defensive ability and experience at a successful college program.
Question: Finally, Mary Schmitt Boyer from the Cleveland Plain Dealer had two questions: whether any other player aside from Irving or Williams could be the first overall pick and if Brandon Knight of Kentucky might be hurt by not going against other players in team workouts.
Answer: A strong ‘no’ to the first question. It’s likely Irving, although Ford attributed the Williams rumors to coming from his camp.
As for Knight, all three experts basically made the same point. It’s that most players want to compete but their agents often keep them from doing that. If an agent knows his player is already likely to be taken high in the lottery, then the risk of a poor performance during a team workout makes little sense. There’s not enough to be gained to take that chance. Ford had a good finishing point in the debate of how Knight might play in a workout if he were to go against, say, UCONN’s Walker.
“The fact is they played against each other in the Final Four,” Ford said. “If you were going to compare the players, you have an amazing game at the highest stakes right before the end of their college season to watch two guys go head-to-head. I’m not sure that a workout would tell you anything that that game wouldn’t tell you anything.”