The 2013 NBA Draft class was dubbed by pundits as being a “weak” class. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but I believe there are definitely intriguing first-year players worth watching. Here are five rookies that I’m especially excited to watch:
1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:
You down with KCP? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is on this list for good reason. Yes, partially because of his fantastic name, but also because of his silky smooth jump shot.
I go bonkers whenever there is a shooting guard in the draft labeled as a hybrid with the attributes “athletic freak” and “natural shooter”. Those are my favorite kinds of players besides bruising centers that can crash the glass. KCP falls under that shooting guard hybrid category. If you ask anyone that watched Georgia basketball last year, they’ll tell you how KCP carried the team. He posted an offensive rating of 115.7, along with 3.9 offensive win shares and 6.3 total win shares. Get this: Caldwell-Pope led the team with his 3.9 offensive win shares while the second highest OWS on the team belonged to Vincent Williams at 0.5. Crazy, right? More
A few hours ago, the Knicks signed journeyman Chris Douglas-Roberts to a non-guaranteed training camp deal.
This is a very interesting move. CDR is one of my personal favorites, especially when he played the role of Derrick Rose’s sidekick at the University of Memphis. He vanished from the NBA after playing with crappy Nets teams for two years and played overseas for Italian powerhouse Virtus Bologna during the locked out season, after playing with the Bucks in 2011. He then made his return to the NBA last season, playing 6 games with the Mavericks and their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. And just last summer, the Lakers signed CDR to play with their summer league squad, and was then cut from the roster shortly after Summer League play ended.
With the signing of CDR, random forward that’s not named John Shurna (remember that imbecile?) Justin Brownlee will we waived in order to free up the 20th and final training camp spot for him.
Something that I’ve always remembered about CDR is that his mid-range game and slashing to the tin were his main sources of scoring, along with (don’t tell Raymond Felton) floaters. He can also generate spacing around the perimeter for the open three, although, he’s a career 27.6% three point shooter. I bet if you look at old shot charts, you’ll see loads of green in the paint and on the elbows of the charity stripe.
Like most small forwards, CDR has a relatively long wingspan. It’s definitely not as long as Paul George’s wingspan, but it’s good enough to pester ball handlers.
In most aspects, Douglas-Roberts is under appreciated defensively. He posted 1.3 defensive win shares in 44 games during his lone year with Milwaukee in the 2010-11 season, and has 2.4 career defensive win shares. That’s not too bad for a player of that caliber.
I really hope CDR makes the roster. Making the roster will be a difficult task for him, though, due to the abundant of depth on this year’s upcoming roster. And to make everyone feel good about him, here’s a picture of CDR and two kittens.
Earlier today, the Knicks signed point guard Beno Udrih to a one year deal worth $1.27M, the veteran’s minimum.
There were a few teams that were strongly interested in the 31 year old southpaw point guard, such as the Grizzlies, Spurs and the Sixers, but he ultimately chose New York.
The point guard vacancy left by Jason Kidd is now filled. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni now have a great third point guard to back them up. Udrih was the ultimate safety net for the Knicks, in case if the Knicks’ other options (ex: Will Bynum) departed for somewhere else (surely enough, they did). Just yesterday, there were reports of franchise-record-22-assists-in-a-game Chris Duhon returning to New York for whatever ghastly reason as a backup quick fix. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. Bobby Brown was also another backup solution, but he decided to stay overseas. More
There is some international talent to look out for in this year’s draft. Brandon has already covered Croatian superstar, Dario Saric, who is considered to be the international crop of NBA Draft prospects, according to the great Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, and German point guard, Dennis Schroeder. In last year’s draft, Frenchman, Evan Fournier, was drafted by the Nuggets with their 20th pick, the first international prospect to be picked off the board. Fellow high-rising 7-2 Frenchman, Rudy Gobert, is considered to be the second best international prospect below Dario Saric. It’s actually a back and forth battle between draft analysts and writers with Saric and Gobert. They really get into a war over the two, which is pretty hilarious to say the least. But I’m only touching on Gobert in this post.
Four year hundred-proof Murray St. phenom, Isaiah Canaan, is yet another unique point guard that is contained in this year’s draft. He intrigues me the most. Canaan is perhaps the most underrated player in this year’s draft. He has draft steal written all over him, literally.
Canaan decided to return to Murray State for his senior year, after his ridiculously awesome junior season, in which he lead Murray State to a 31-2 record, including 23 straight wins, and to a 15-1 record in the Ohio Valley Conference under 1st year head coach, Steve Prohm. That 23 game win streak start is also the third best winning streak for a coach starting out in his inaugural season. If I was in Canaan’s position, I would have felt the same, too. I would have been like “hey, we ended up at March Madness…for two games, until we got eliminated. But still, what a mirthful ride that was! Let’s do it again, team!” That’s exactly what Canaan did, except, obviously, he didn’t say those same exact words in the quote. Maybe the “team” part, but, yeah. He has everything in a point guard you want: leadership while running the offense, and most importantly, confidence. More
There are lots of great centers in this year’s draft; Nerlens Noel being the main man out of guys like Cody Zeller, Alex Len, Kelly Olynyk, Dario Saric, Jeff Withey, and lots more. In this post, I’ll be discussing the Senegalese, Gorgui Dieng, the full-grown center from Louisville.
Dieng’s journey to America is a pretty interesting one, to say the least. He attended the prestigious Huntington Prep school in West Virginia, the same prep school that nurtured the most hyped prospect since Lebron James/presumed first overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft from the University of Kansas, Andrew Wiggins et al. In 2010, the NCAA ruled Dieng ineligible, not letting him attend individual workouts and practices. Of course, Louisville had to repeal the decision. They did, and the NCAA reversed it, and Dieng’s college career begun. Louisville coach, Rick Pitino, complemented his attitude and his defensive strengths, and made him the officer of the Cardinals zone defense, quarterbacking it throughout the whole season. Think of it this way: Dieng is to Louisville as Tyson Chandler is to the Knicks; both of them were/are anchors of their defenses, and had/have total control over them. More
Whether it’s Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Ray Allen, even Steve Novak, it doesn’t matter. Any shooter that ignites a fire is a joy to watch. In some cases, a hot shooter is more exciting than a monster dunk. Shots that are hit at a high clip will make you ask for more and more. Glen Rice Jr, much like his father, is a perfect example of a shooter with those traits that were previously listed. More
The Knicks, as strange as it sounds, have the 24th pick in this year’s NBA Draft (I know, I’m still recouping from typing that). In this post, I’m going to touch on my favorite player in this year’s 2013 NBA draft class, Jeff Withey, the incredibly dominant center from Kansas.
Withey played four seasons at Kansas; his first two seasons were playing behind Cole Aldrich and Marcus and Markieff Morris, so he didn’t get lots of playing time until his junior year, where he started getting all of the significant minutes from Kansas coach, Bill Self. This year, his senior year, was his best year, as that is displayed in the lion’s share of college players. Kansas fell short in the Final Four, because Trey Burke decided to go off in the latter moments of the fourth quarter, and in overtime.
Withey’s absolute best ability is his shot blocking ability; it’s simply amazing. More
Where’s the playoff pipe?
Quasi-elbowing that was considered a real elbowing, a proclaimed funeral that was actually a near-death experience, clubbing excessively (not seals), Twitter ranting, and the like; J.R Smith has never been the same on the court. The inefficient Sixth Man of The Year in the playoffs as of recent has been worrisome. It’s at a point where people prefer him to be on the bench rather than on the court, so people’s eyes could be saved from the hydrochloric acid being poured into their eyes that is the ghastly shooting percentages posted ever since he came back from his quasi-Bill Cartwright elbow incident on Jason Terry. Of course, it’s J.R in a nutshell; his cool shooting performances resulted in a playoff homecoming of “Bad J.R,” and playoffs “Good J.R” is still nowhere to be found. Let’s take a look at his recent shooting percentages: More