It’s getting drafty in here

And here is our less-than-24-hours-old-but-still-late-to-the-game NBA draft analysis.

Dion Waiters: What more can you say. The #4 pick in the draft. Well done young man. I’ve never heard of someone shooting up the draft boards so dramatically. Remember, when he declared for the pros, a large contingent of Orange nation was calling it a mistake. There was even a split amongst the Cuse Country staff as to whether it made financial sense for him to stay or go (an internal disagreement that was never published in this space). One of our number, who thought he should wait, said this:

Giving up a 3-year ten million dollar rookie contract in 2013 so you
can make one million dollars over three years starting in 2012 seems
like the height of impatient immaturity. All he has to do is keep his
grades alive for one more year, and he gets nine million more dollars.

I looked at the rookie salary scale and had this response (emphasis added):

Dion is projected in the early 20s. That would get him a deal worth around $3mil over 3 years…. To get the $10mil contract you mention, he would need to be at worst the #4 pick overall in 2013. I seriously doubt he would develop enough in his junior season to get picked that high…. He’s giving up a chance at a better deal, but not $9 million better. He’s not going that high in any draft ever.

Heh. Shows what I know. Next year when I talk about Brandon Triche’s draft potential, you should remind me that I’m basically full of it.

But Dion’s stock kept rising. As the reports circulated, I started to look at what was going on and I began to realize what the Cavs (and everyone else) was seeing. This was a draft with one “lock”; beyond Davis, nobody is projected as a superstar. Plenty of talent and potential but this was not 2003, with James, Anthony, Bosh, and Wade all in the top 5. And when you look around at the rest of the 2012 lottery picks, Dion Waiters may have the highest ceiling of any of ‘em. He may be the only other guy with superstar potential. He could end up flaming out in Cleveland, if his jump shot doesn’t continue to develop or if he has trouble adjusting his game once defenses have scouted his preferred moves and start playing him accordingly. But he could turn into a stud scorer like Russell Westbrook. Nobody else on the board at that time really had that upside. He’s not there yet, but they took a gamble and we’ll see if it pays off.

As for Melo and Joseph, it’s great that they are both going to Boston because that means one fewer NBA team to which I have to pay attention this summer. Good on Fab — as I’ve said in this space before, I have no ill will towards him and wish him nothing but success — and good on Kris. Obviously Kris’ stock dropped dramatically over the course of this season, but I think a lot of that was due to him not really stepping into a starring role. Well, on some occasions he did, but he was not ready to be the focal point of the offense. But as an NBA reserve, he should be able to make enough contributions to earn a roster spot. There are parts of his game that are definitely pro-ready. We saw him at times this year hitting unguardable step-back jumpers. And he’s got the prototypical NBA wing size and athleticism. And Boston is a good place for him to go, as they have only eight guys under contract for next year (counting Fab and Sullinger who get guaranteed deals). You have to expect that they will re-sign Garnett, and probably Ray Allen, but there is definitely room for Kris to compete for a spot behind Paul Pierce. Fab is in a great situation, as he can spend his time in Boston doing what he did at SU: taking up space on defense, hitting the boards, setting massive picks to free up shooters and drivers, finishing alley-oops from Scoop Jardine Rajon Rondo, and occasionally dropping in a jump shot when nobody expects it. Boston is clearly in need of a guy with his skill set. (Which is why everyone projected him to be picked by them, and why they did pick him. Duh.)

I feel bad for Scoop and his broken foot that will keep him out of summer league. He wasn’t going to be drafted but he would have had a shot to make an impression in someone’s rookie camp. Looks like he’ll have to go the D-League route this fall and try to impress some scouts. It’s a tough road for anyone, particularly a pass-first guy like him, but I won’t count him out yet.

One Comment

  1. Posted July 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Damn, I got my spot blown up a week ago and just found out now. Blame a crazy travel schedule that kept me off the grid over most of the weekend.

    Still though, my spot deserved to be blown up, much more than your own self-exploded spot. All you did was underestimate his draft stock; I’m the idiot who said he shouldn’t have gone pro _at all_. That may have been the most wrong call I have ever made in a long and illustrious history of wrong calls (right up there with “At least with Andrew Robinson we can say for sure that SU has found its quarterback”).

    I’m still in shock though. I feel like I’m the only person who remembers the entire month of February when Dion looked like he had less game than Ethan Cole. How could someone who was that bad, for that long, that recently, seriously be the #4 pick? It’s not that I don’t think he’s a legit pro, I just never would have thought a team would project him to blow up as quickly as Cleveland thinks he’s going to blow up. I still think he’s three years away. But given my track record, he’ll probably start the all-star game next year.

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