Ok, let me get this out of the way first: I am an unabashed draft junkie; I draw more pleasure from watching the NBA draft than watching the Playoffs. The fact that I don’t watch college basketball makes this all the more ironic (if I wanted to watch broken offense and terrible defense I’d watch the Timberwolves...HEY-O!). When it comes to the NBA, I have only two unshakeable convictions: 1) never trade away draft picks unless you’re getting more (or better) picks back and 2) never sign a crappy veteran when a rookie is perfectly capable. Naturally, the Grizzlies have done their damnedest to piss me off by violating the former 3 years running. Whatever man, I’m
kind of totally over it; I’m sure Dominique Jones will have a bad career anyway.
I’m sure that you’re probably aware of the fact that the Grizzlies only possess the 49th pick in this year’s draft. Granted, many fans aren’t too upset about this—this draft is considered to be, at best, wretched by most basketball pundits. It’s worth noting that those same pundits declared the 2009 draft class to be “the worst EVER!!!1!!!” and it turned out to be pretty strong. Regardless, history tells us that, in even the worst drafts, there is still talent to be had in the 2nd round. Drafting 2nd rounders is tricky, but it’s not the crapshoot that it’s sometimes made out to be. If the Grizzlies go into the draft room with the correct philosophy, they should be able to come away with a decent player. The following are my strategies for finding that 2nd round gem.
Strategy #1: Draft a Euro
Worried because a prospect is currently signed to a convoluted contract with a provincial factory team? Don’t be because, ultimately, time is on our side. Eventually, his contract will expire (or he’ll gather the requisite number of cattle to perform a buyout) and we’ll have a useful player at a reasonable price. Sure, they may threaten to pull a Fran Vasquez and stay in their native land, but then they’ll miss out on Domino’s endorsements, deep dish pizza, and American pornography. Who’s laughing now Fran?
· The complicated buy-out
· “Doesn’t Want to Play in America”
· Raw player who may never have actually played basketball
Strategy #2: Pick a Specialist
There are many college players that lack any semblance of game. For all practical purposes, they cannot shoot, dribble, pass, defend, or rebound. They’re undersized or overweight and probably un-athletic. However, they are pro-prospects because they possess one legitimate NBA-level skill. These players are specialists and they’re entirely worth of a second-round pick.
Specialists may not be everyday players, but they can usually be counted situationally for 10-15 minutes a game. Many times they can even change the course of the game with their energy and hustle. Also, these players often become fan favorites, so drafting one is kind of a goodwill gesture to the fan base. You don’t need me to tell you that our bears can’t shoot 3 points worth a damn, so we can hold out for Xavier’s jumpshot to reappear or draft Demetri McCamey.
· 3-point Shooter
· Shot Blocker
· Token Dukie
· Dreamy Teen Idol (/swoon)
Strategy #3: Shoot the Moon
My senior year of high school I signed up for the yearbook staff. This proved to be fortuitous as we completed the yearbook 2 months into school and got an extra study hall for the rest of the year. A group of us frequently played cards, especially Hearts. In our group, there was a guy who would always shoot for the moon regardless of the hand he was dealt. This sounds awesome and hilarious, but it was really just annoying. However, through a combination of a little skill and a lot of luck, he was successful more often than not. Every time you’re drafting a guy who has the potential to be a star, but for whatever reason has fallen to the 2nd round, you’re shooting the moon.
Shooting the Moon Archetypes:
· High school stud turned college flameout
· Raw athlete who may or may not have any actual skills
· Tall guy
· Guy with major character issues
· Injury liability
· The Enigma
It seems that Michael Heisley may have turned a new leaf when it comes to spending money. If that’s the case, I’d seriously encourage the Grizzlies to buy any available picks. This is a bad draft and we’d be buying low; we could easily pick up a pick in the 30’s or (fingers crossed!) a late first-round pick. If we could, I’d target a player like Reggie Williams. Assuming we don’t, my pick would Scotty Hopson. He shares my first name (check), plays in the same state (check), is a great athlete (check), and a former high school star (check) who hasn’t played up to his potential at Tennessee, possibly due to lack of discipline and motivation. Sure, he’d be another wing on a team with no less than 17 wings, but you always take BPA in the 2nd round.
Just don’t sell the pick Heisley.