Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NBA Draft Dumpster Diving...The Fours.

Chuck HayesImage by jeffbalke via Flickr

To complete my sleeper hunt series in the NBA draft, I will take a look at the fours. In which I will break the walls down and show you the four archetypes of the potential sleeper power forward, and fit most of them in the box. There's a couple of dudes who break the frames. They will be broken down further.

1) The Chuck Hayes.

The Chuck Hayes is the man who provides undersized boards and blocks and a grit and determination that will lead old school people who hate sports to think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. But since Chuck Hayes didn't lead the Rockets to beat the Lakers? Not so much.

Potential Chuck Hayes?
Jeff Adrien UConn
Diamon Simpson St. Mary's

Tony Gaffney UMass

Variant Cover: Chuck Hayes
Chris Johnson LSU
(Because while he does have the required height to be a 4, dude's positively Keith Closs in terms of frame.)
Jon Brockman Washington (He can make a living off of the second chance basket for all of the rebounds that he can generate.)

Personally, some team somewhere is going to find a lot of use for Simpson. His strength is in generating defensive chaos. And if a seemingly out there pick like Luc Mbah a Moute can have success based on the Chuck Hayes ethic? I can see Simpson surprising someone as a relatively high draft choice.

2) The Tyrus Thomas

You have seen moments of the explosive with a player like this, but they live in the phylum of "run and jump energy guy." They have all the upside in the world, but one in a hundred scratch the surface of their tools. But if they are European and you have a late second round pick? It may be worth paying the cost.

Potential Tyrus Thomas?
Vitor Faverani Brazil
Alade Aminu Georgia Tech
Henk Norel Spain

The slight variants to Tyrus Thomas lead to a whole new archetype. The last two sentences of this archetpe preclude me from talking to you about the Euro-Brazilians. (Though Faverani could roll up and be great when he's ready to hit stateside.) But Alade? Alade was in a system that criminally miused his talents. He's a guy who can murder you in a pick and roll system. Paul Hewitt didn't use the system by any stretch.

3) The Drew Gooden

The variant to the Tyrus Thomas is the Drew Gooden. Why? Because while Tyrus Thomas has the greatness in moments, Gooden will show off with the great games. He will also have the games of the 4 points and 5 rebound set. Inconsistency is the watchword with a Drew Gooden type. The spirit song for their coaches? Something from REO Speedwagon. Riding the Storm Out is too on the nose.

Potential Drew Goodens?
Leo Lyons Missouri

The Variant Cover Drew Goodens
Brandon Costner N.C. State
Nemanja Aleksandrov Russia

The variant cover is for the player who had a sustained fit of brilliance, but with either circumstance (Costner) or injury (Aleksandrov) making what they once were something that may never some back again. You likely are never going to see these two make the league. But a baseball principle still applies here. Once a player shows a skill, it does not disappear.

4) The Kurt Thomas

The jack of all trades and master of none. These guys bring a little of a lot to the table. Their love of How Stella Got Her Groove Back may vary, but their massive array of solid does not wax or wane. The upside? They'll be solid starters for six seasons, and character bench guys for a decade thereafter.

Potential Kurt Thomas?
Kevin Rogers Baylor
Gary Wilkinson Utah State
Ahmad Nivins St. Joesph's
Dante Cunningham Villanova
Taj Gibson USC
Jeff Pendergraph Arizona State

Obviously, this list is in order from least likely to most likely. Not to say that I don't like Kevin Rogers. I mean, he was Jeff Pendergraph as Jeff Pendergraph was being Jeff Pendergraph, I'm merely saying that Rogers or Ahmad Nivins won't get the shot that a Taj Gibson would. And that's kind of malaise inducing. Kind of.

Anyway, this leaves a couple of prospects who have enough of a potential interest that they fit into a different sort of archetype. Or may be able to graduate from it.

We start with...

Derrick Brown Xavier
6'7" 225

He's got a skill set more along the lines of a Michael Redd when he graduated from Ohio State than your average power forward. After all, you're looking at a man who really does not have a defesive position right now. His strength is in his length and atleticism. And why I'm comparing him to Michael Redd is because his offense isn't there yet, but it's developing. I mean, he did hit 43% of all his threes. If he keeps practicing he will make the above-average occasional All-Star tier on a bad team and become overpaid.

DeMarre Carroll Missouri
6'8" 225

He probably belongs in the Tyrus Thomas phylum. Moments of brilliance in a high energy package. But you know what? You have a very active defender. He used his system to be as chaotic as a Gerald Wallace/Josh Smith bringer of chaos. But he also takes good care of the ball and can hit a jumper. This may just be my gut instinct. The whole hear me now and believe me later sort of a deal. But I think he will bring swagger. I think people will sing hosannas about his skills.

This is a draft class that's going to surprise you. I can see sleepers for miles and miles. I went a little different here because it's all good. The circle of sleeper hunt is complete.

Please read me.
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Anonymous said...
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Bret LaGree said...

Kudos on beating me to publication on touting Simpson, and, if I may pin a slight criticism on the tail of that complement, wouldn't the Gooden and Thomas (x2) types really be guys who demonstrated significant skills and/or had great success in college but would fail to be more than role players in the NBA? Gooden won a couple Player of the Year awards and Kurt Thomas led the NCAA in scoring and rebounding at TCU.

The sleepers would be Chuck Hayes/Leon Powe/Craig Smith/Malik Rose types.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, you bring up some interesting prospect groupings and do a good job of finding players from this year's draft to fit.

I would say that Kevin Rogers belongs in the Drew Gooden category, but Lyons is perfect and Costner could be also.

Two names I think of when I see DeMarre Carroll are Louis Amundson and Bo Outlaw. Low upside energy pure energy guys, as opposed to the Tyrus Thomas high upside pure energy guys.

Derrick Brown strikes me as having the perfect tools to be a Shawn Marion type 3/4 in the NBA. Of the groupings you list, he is probably closest to the Tyrus Thomas one. Guys like Devean George and Jumaine Jones come to mind as a realistic grouping.

Anonymous said...

Renaldo Balkman would be another for Carroll

Andrew said...

You know what? A day later, and sleeping on it, I probably would rephrase sleeper and name it playing style.

Because if you think about it? Malik Rose and Chuck Hayes fall in the same type.

But you know what? I'm glad I'm not alone on the Diamon Simpson call. Parallel creativity makes you seem like less of a crank.

Andrew said...

I'll admit I did sort of struggle with where to put DeMarre Carroll. I think if he doesn't improve you probably fit him in with Amundsen, Balkman and Outlaw.

But I don't know, I just see him improving. And I can see him turning into Wilson Chandler. This is wholly a hunch. I admit it, but I think he's going to make it.