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
Going into last Thursday, many expected C.J. Leslie to be among the select few to hear their name called on draft night. The wiry combo forward’s basketball skill was still deemed raw by NBA scouts after a disappointing year for NC State, but Leslie’s physical tools were impossible to ignore. Besides, after supposedly receiving a promise from a team in the second round, he seemed a lock to be chosen. Either way, when Latvia’s Janis Timma came off the board to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 60th and final pick to conclude the event, Leslie found himself as a man without a team; probably near a silent phone and pondering life as an undrafted rookie in the NBA.
Prior to draft night, the Knicks, who selected Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick, were reportedly looking into making a deal for a second round pick. In a draft where talents such as Jeff Withey, Nate Wolters, and Tony Mitchell slid out of the first round, a second rounder would have been percious, but GM Glen Grunwald couldn’t get anyone to bite. Still in need of help at the forward position, Grunwald extended his hand to Leslie, signing him to the team and adding him to this year’s Summer League roster.
At 6-9, 209 pounds, the first thing you notice about Leslie is his athleticism. His 7′ 2.25″ wingspan is an awesome tool, and in combination with his explosive leaping ability, recorded a 12′ 1″ max reach vertical; the highest of any participant in 2013 Pre-Draft Combine. To put that in perspective, he can essentially reach the space in-between the white rectangle behind the rim and the top of the backboard. He’s also remarkably fast, as he completed the Combine agility drill in 10.19 seconds, also the best of the event. He even finished second in the three-quarter sprint with a time of 3.10 seconds, just behind Shane Larkin’s 3.08 seconds. More
Written by Matt Weiss
With the draft coming up in a few days you will hear lots of talk about swapping picks. Teams will trade for a variety of reasons – some will target a player and go all in for them, others will have “too many” picks and see value in swapping some of them for an established player. Regardless of the reason, when a team moves a pick there is always debate over the value of that pick. Obviously who is picked ultimately trumps all. Manu Ginobili was the second to last pick of the 1999 draft. Jonathan Bender was taken 5th overall that year. Clearly Manu at 58 was a much better pick, but no one is ever going to trade the 58th pick for the 5th pick. There is a clear value in drafting higher, the question is, how much value is there per pick?
I used BBall Refernce to track win shares by pick for every player picked from 1990-2000 (hence why there are only 58 picks). I also didn’t count picks that never played in the league. You see lots of this in the late second round, but in recent years, unless a team was desperate to not pay a player, most players drafted have come over. More
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
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