Can Trae Young Survive On Defense?
Young is absolutely a great offensive talent, the list of players to score 27 points and over 8 assists in their freshman year of college is very short. The problem with Young? His stature could prove to be an impediment defensively. Standing a shade under 6’2 with a lean build could prove to be a problem on the defensive side of the ball. Sure his quickness and tenacity could lead to steals and fast breaks but another question one must ask is will he make the right decisions on defense?
Sure, that was one play, and the truth is he could, in the right system be an adequate defender for his position, but Atlanta just took Kevin Huerter and Young, two players who are by no means elite defenders and added them to a team that ranked 21st in defensive rating.
Is Trae Young The Next Stephen Curry?
Let’s move on to the Steph Curry comparisons. Even last night draft experts on ESPN were comparing him to Curry, maybe this is just to fuel the hype but comparing Young to a two time MVP and the best shooter of all time is a huge overstatement.
Curry’s defense at Davidson was also far superior to Youngs. Curry boasted a 3.6 DWS(defensive wins shared) during his junior year at Davidson. Compare that to Young’s 1.1DWS and it starts to paint a picture. Even in Curry’s freshman year in college he put up 2.4 DWS. Defensive Wins Shared reflect the players defensive impact on the court. This statistic might be flawed but unfortunately defensive RPM was not around when Curry went to college.
Let’s look at the offensive numbers comparisons for the two players. In his freshman year, Young stuffed the stat sheet with 27.4 PPG and 8.7 AST. Fantastic numbers, his usage rate was 37.1 percent, which is just insane for a freshman, and from 3 he shot 36%. Amazing numbers that reflect his sheer ability to score at will.
Over three years at Davidson, Steph Curry averaged 41.2% from 3 and never dipped below 38%. His usage in his senior year was 38.1%, a full point higher than Young’s which would be concerning but he had a much more successful college career, reaching the Elite 8 in his sophomore year, compare this to Oklahoma’s first round exit from the tournament and it speaks volumes to the two players impacts. Curry was a winner day one and even today as a top 5 player in the NBA strives to get better and ultimately wins games doing it.
Here is a video showcasing Young’s weaknesses against bigger opponents that might change your mind on anointing him the next Steph. I know the guy who narrates is annoying but he makes some good points.
Young will be a great player at the next level, no doubt, but will his stat stuffing result in wins for the Hawks this year? I say that’s unlikely.
Will Mo Bamba Reach His Potential?
Mo Bamba is just oozing potential, the 7’1 center with a 7’10 wingspan had scouts and GMs licking their chops all year. This guy is huge, with coordination and elite speed for a center, yet in the games he played his weaknesses stuck out like a sore thumb. His lean, lanky frame doesn’t leave much room for him to fill out and strong college players were able to have their way with him offensively and defensively at times due to his lack of strength. Fast forward to the 5:55 mark and you will see why his weaknesses are as apparent as his upside.
He was often unable to get in position offensively and defensively to make efficient plays and that is often hidden by his incredible frame.
This isn’t too bash Bamba, his upside is crystal clear. His speed coast to coast is amazing, imagine having a player like this on fast breaks, that is just terrifying.
What he lacks is elite lateral quickness, but can make up for that with his length and stature.
The potential deadly weapon Bamba could develop that would make him impossible to defend would be a three point shot. He showed glimpses of it at Texas and at one of his workouts did this.
He has been training with legendary shooting coach Drew Hanlen and his skills are definitely improving. This could be the case where he improves so drastically post freshman year that what we are getting day one of the NBA season is a completely different player who polished his skills all summer. Just look at this tape.
He can be great, although one glaring impediment on his development might not necessarily be his fault. The team that selected him, the Orlando Magic, don’t have a great playmaking point guard to get him good looks and help make him better, that’s a problem. Of all the teams that had the opportunity to take Bamba, Orlando presents the most question marks at the guard positions, which could mean Bamba’s development may have a cap in his first few years in the league. Here’s to hoping they find a great point guard in free agency or via trade, because with two young forwards in Jonathan Issac and Aaron Gordon, this team could be just a few pieces and a few years away from being a serious playoff contender.
If Lebron Leaves What Can Collin Sexton Accomplish In His Rookie Year?
Collin Sexton is an athletic point guard with high energy and the ability to score at will. That being said, this has all the makings of Kyrie 2.0, Lebron leaves the team in disarray and a rookie comes in to try and pick up the pieces.
This will be the first year of a multiple year and the name of the game for the Cavaliers is assets. They have an exciting young talent in Sexton who will have the green light every second of the year, and besides that. They should look to trade players like Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in hopes to acquire picks. Thompson definitely reestablished himself as a commodity in the playoffs and he has one year left on his contract. His salary is steep at 18.5 million but a team fighting for a playoff birth might take that rental.
Back to Sexton, obviously if 2018-2019 is a tear down, you can’t expect much from the team as a whole but with Sexton’s scoring power mixed with his defensive prowess I could definitely see him winning rookie of the year or at the very least one of the all rookie teams.
Sexton’s scoring ability stems from his relentlessness on drives, finding open lanes, stopping on a dime and swiftly changing direction. This guy will be hard to guard.
This guy plays with a high basketball IQ and is very underrated as a playmaker, sure his assist numbers are not great, but Sexton makes winning plays and is as unselfish as he is a lethal scorer, this guy just wants to win.
What is Wendell Carter Jr’s Ceiling?
Wendell Carter Jr is one of the smartest players in this draft, and he has the talent and the wherewithal to instantly make his team better. He gets knocked for not being an athlete which may be unfair since he was relegated to the role of center with Marvin Bagley getting the majority of touches and all the fast break opportunities. Make no mistake Wendell Carter is an above average athlete with great lateral quickness that could translate to him being an elite switchable defender.
Need I say more? That guy is everywhere on defense, constantly filling holes and always getting in the right position. The Bulls were smart to pick other in lieu of a high potential risky player like Michael Porter Jr. Carter will help Lauri Markkanen greatly by matching up with the tougher assignment on defense as well.
Offensively, WCJ has as much potential as anyone. In his freshman year at Duke he shot 41.3 from 3 point range, and has great touch from all over the floor. His mechanics might be the best of any big man in the draft and that means his shot will most likely improve at the next level. What he lacks is a consistent shot off the dribble, but this kid is 19 and has plenty of room to grow.
Ok, so if you watched the video, you see what I mean. Obviously he needs to work on his handles and pull ups, but overall he is miles ahead of all the other big men in the draft both mechanically and consistency.
Another strength from Carter is his passing ability, he can throw dimes from the low post as good as anyone, his high basketball IQ and quick decision making skills will give his teammates easy shots and that will lead to wins, isn’t that what all teams want?
As you can see, his ability to thread the needle can really force defenses into making mistakes.
Carter will be a great player in the NBA for years, he has developed so many skills at both ends of the court that will translate immediately to the NBA and given a few years, who knows what else he could pull out of his bag.
Who “Won” The Draft?
This is a toss up between a few teams. The Dallas Mavericks obviously got a guy in Luka Doncic who has the potential to be an all timer. Luka has the court vision and IQ of a 10 year vet, and he is constantly improving and improvising new moves to his game. Doncic has perfected a James Harden step back impersonation, and that will be deadly in the league.
I wonder what else he has in his bag, at 19 years old draining shots like that with those handles, that’s scary.
Doncic is also an elite passer who will make his teammates better, that can’t be overstated. His court vision is so mature for his age and the kid simply doesn’t make mistakes.
Look at those reads, that vision, this guy is going to be a ton of fun to watch next year, all he needs is a big who is skilled at pick and rolls and he might be unstoppable.
Dallas got their guy with Luka and if they put the right pieces together over the next few years the Mavericks are in store for some deep playoff runs.
Oh did I forget to mention they also got Kostas Antetokounmpo with the 60th pick? Giannis’s brother. The kid is raw as hell but if they keep him around it might give the Greek Freak a reason to relocate to Texas in a few years.
The Suns got their guy in Ayton, and then they got a top 10 pick in Mikal Bridges and then again in Elie Okobo who somehow slipped all the way to the second round. What great moves by the Suns front office.
Everyone knows the deal with Ayton, so I’m not going to even talk about him. Let’s instead talk about the two other players now joining the Suns.
Mikal Bridges is exactly who the Suns need, a great shooter and a lockdown defender. He will make Ayton’s life much easier with his ability to stretch the floor and keep defenders from doubling Devin Booker and Ayton. His off ball movement is so fluid and it should be noted that he has gotten better every year in college.
That’s just good basketball right there. Regardless who is distributing buckets it will be hard to miss a wide open Bridges a few times a game. You know what team he would have been deadly on? The team that drafted him, the Sixers. It’s hard to understand why they traded the hometown guy who would fit easily into that system, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Elie Okobo will immediately impress at the next level. He’s a great shooter and an underrated passer who could certainly be the Suns point guard of the future.
After moving from shooting guard to point guard due to his size, Okobo has brought his game to another level. Averaging 6.6 assists per 36 minutes to go along with 17.7 points, this guy has improved every year. He’s also a guy with the potential to be a great defender, given his athleticism. As a pure scorer alone Elie Okobo is an interesting prospect, but throw in his athleticism and his new found passing ability. This kid could be a star.
I wonder how long until the Suns unleash Okobo, given their current situation with the erratic Elfrid Payton, just give Okobo the ball and just sit back and watch him tear it up alongside Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and Deandre Ayton, why not right?