Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 15, 2010

The conundrum that awaits the Kings if they get one of the top 2 picks (aka should they take John Wall or Evan Turner post)….

I got this string of words, and I haven’t been able to figure it out with my string of comments at StR so I figure I’ll dump them here.

The question: Do you take John Wall if you have the 1st pick and you’re the Kings?

So let me direct this at Section214 (and his point–because sometime this stuff, unfortunately, gets lost in the shuffle–also I didn’t have a proper rebuttal when I replied then; now I do) about superstar backcourts:

Who says they (Wall & Evans) both have to dominate the ball?

Evans works fine with Udrih, so why wouldn’t he work with Wall? Watch Kentucky. Bledsoe handles the ball, too.

Frazier/Monroe worked. Porter/Drexler worked. Thomas/Dumars worked

Now, I know that Reke isn’t the only ball handler on the Kings now. (Which brings me to another point later on.) But, that’s not what this is about.

Let me point out “some” things about the Frazier/Monroe combo. 1) Frazier was the top dog in NY already, and was not a rookie (for that matter neither was Black Jesus but I digress) and 2) the Knicks already had a won a title (in 1970) before Monroe was traded there in 1971. Both Frazier had Monroe had been in the NBA for 4 seasons at that point, and both were well aware of each other. It worked, yes, but it’s not like Earl Monroe was the same player in NY under Red Holtzman that he was under Gene Shue. (But I digress.) And it’s not like Monroe was a spring chicken when he arrived in New York either.

Thus, I think it’s difficult to compare Frazier/Monroe to any pairing that John Wall/Tyreke Evans would make up. Especially since Evans is only going to be a 2nd year player, and Wall would be a rookie.

As far as Porter/Drexler is concerned, Terry Porter was one heck of a player. Nothing should tell you otherwise. But superstar? That’s he not.

Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars is in a similar boat. I like Dumars as a player, and he brought a lot to the table in that respect. But, superstar? Huh? Sorry, not seeing that one. (All-Star and Superstar are 2 very different things.)

Then this was said in response by 214 to another point:

Your thought process is how teams draft Bowie over Jordan, and Milicic over Wade and Bosh.

Non-lottery picks are for need. Lottery picks are for the best talent.

Okay, I’m not sure I really disagree with either points, but let’s go with it anyway. I would have drafted Charles Barkley if I was Stu Inman, and I would have drafted Chris Bosh if I were Joe Dumars.

If I were the Blazers I wouldn’t have taken Michael Jordan and if I were the Pistons I wouldn’t have taken Carmelo Anthony/Dwyane Wade knowing full well how good either guy is (or MJ for that matter).

Only idiots ignore Michael Jordan in a draft. (Stu Inman, the King of idiots. I chuckle with amusement. Inman was the same guy who put together, for all intents and purposes, the ’77 Blazer team.) And, while Joe Dumars is not my favorite GM, he’s a guy who has hit & miss in everything he’s done. (Sort of like Geoff Petrie but I digress.) I mean, how do you ignore God MJ? Especially when he’s a selfish ballhog who never played on a team over 500 without Scottie Pippen on the roster? (But I digress….)

The question I have is this: You take John Wall and you get what. The best talent, right? Okay, let’s operate on that premise alone. You have John Wall and Tyreke Evans as your starting backcourt. Right?

So what do the Kings improve on? Ball movement, maybe, and you get the best “overall” talent. So what else do you improve on? Umm, defense? Not very likely even if Wall’s potential is high on that end. It certainly won’t help you next season. Just look at Wall’s stats for a moment. Impressive no doubt, and #1 pick worthy, no doubt. Question is: How does John Wall make the Kings better even if he’s the best talent on the board? Because, like Tyreke Evans coming out of Memphis, or Derrick Rose for that matter, the one area where Wall doesn’t set the world on fire is with his J.

So, how does a team with Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia win games? Especially when the team has problems rebounding defensively, and is one of the worst defensive teams (currently ranked 24th–a minor miracle if you’re asking me) in the NBA.

Thus comes the conundrum. Do you pass a once in a lifetime talent (or could be) in John Wall when you have Tyreke Evans (who smells very much like a once in a lifetime talent to me, but what do I know?)

Then this conundrum came up:

This is only an issue if the Kings get the #1 pick, because Wall is going #1, no matter who winds up with the pick.

The Kings are still lacking talent. They need to draft the best talent. If Wesley Johnson is the best talent available, you don’t pass on him to take Cole Aldrich, even though you need interior help. Draft the best talent and then sort it out.

Talent. Talent, talent, talent. Talent.

I then responded with: Well how good did that mentality work when the Kings had Kevin Martin? (It’s all in that string of comments btw. So, all you have to do is click on the link before the blockquote.)The response:

But you’re proving my point: Martin begat Carl Landry and cap space. Hence, talent wins out. Talent.

Which lent me to respond this way:

Oh I see. Yes, talent wins out. So, the Kings have to ignore a chance, especially if they get the opportunity to get a player who can make a significant impact, especially coupled with the Kings other players, on a team that absolutely needs it for a chance to draft a superstar and garner the Kings even more hype.

Of course this team needs more talent. The question is this team completely talent depraved or do the real gaps and issue’s need to be filled.

The things that make you go hmmm.

I’ll admit much of my response was sarcastic, and 214’s response included the MJ over Bowie barb that I already talked about. (Sarcasm begats sarcasmz.)

I agree that talent means something, but, if you look at it from a number of angles, it’s not like the Kings spent a lottery pick on Kevin Martin either. It’s also not like Kevin Martin was filling the most critical hole the Kings have (and have had for some years now), and it’s not also like the talent the Kings absolutely need isn’t the highest in demand. I mean, big men are the hardest to find of all things in the NBA (which is why so few teams ultimately contend), and the quality big man that fits in well with your overall team is the hardest thing to find. Even with teams that have successful bigs, they’re not always as good as the other teams best bigs. Hence, how teams separate themselves come championship time.

This isn’t about a popularity contest, or who is the best talent ultimately. Whether John Wall or Evan Turner are clearly the best talents on the board come June is not the debate. It’s the problem the Kings have. Do you take Wall or Turner and sort it out later knowing that what you need is still a problem you don’t have a ready solution to solve? Sure, on paper Wall or Turner/Evans sounds good. But, so didn’t Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans sound good too? I’m not blaming everything on Martin, Evans, or PW and the organization, but sometimes things just don’t work. Evan Turner is a guy who plays with the ball in his hands. John Wall too. Tyreke Evans 3. Kevin Martin wanted the ball in his hands MORE. Sorry if I don’t share in the enthusiasm of the best player available argument in this particular case.

Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins is a different argument. Cousins is pretty much an offensive guy who can rebound. Defense is not his forte. (Sound a bit like Carl Landry anyone?) Here is a reasonable example that somewhat illustrates why I like Derrick Favors (and much thanks to the reader at Nets Daily who provided the following quotes–the piece is worth reading):

Derrick checks out background wise as one of the nicest guys in college basketball, a guy unaffected by stardom, who prefers rebounding and playing defense rather than scoring – if that is what it takes to win. On paper this clearly seems like a guy who would be a good fit on any team, particularly a young team like the Nets where the majority of the offense is going to revolve around Brook Lopez and Devin Harris. While this seems like a minor thing, you do not want to use a high draft pick on a big man who NEEDS the ball in the paint and NEEDS to score to keep him interested and competitive.

Yuh. Favors rebounding numbers look worse than Cousins, but that’s also because Favors plays alongside a guy in Gani Lawal who pretty much is what he is, only not as talented or good. (Lawal is currently 29th on DX’s mock.)

One other thing about Favors:

Watching Georgia Tech last night against UNC in the first round of the ACC Tournament, two significant differences immediately stand out:

1) Georgia Tech does not have very good guard play. Their backcourt has trouble consistently hitting the open man in the paint and are slow in recognizing when their bigs get position. The GT guards are also not major threats offensively, so it allows defenses to sag in the paint – further limiting the area that Favors has to operate. Contrast this with the guard play at Kentucky – where they are led by the great John Wall and another lottery pick in Eric Bledsoe. Both of these guys are advanced passers, who are very good at quickly locating the open man and delivering him the ball. One of Wall’s greatest strengths is as a passer at this stage of his career. And Wall and Bledsoe are both threats to score either from the perimeter or by penetrating, causing the defense to constantly play them tight on the perimeter.

Awhile ago, a profile on Favors came out on the AJC and this is the thing that made me go whoa:

Raised by his mother, with an older sister and grandmother pitching in, Favors never knew his father. As he got serious about basketball, he quit letting it bother him. He quit waiting for his father to show up.

“I just didn’t care anymore,” Favors said. “I got a chance to be around coaches, and they sort of took [his] place. They taught me how to tie a tie, how to be a man, how to take responsibilities and make the right decisions.”

Before then, Favors said, he had to learn a lot by making mistakes. He remembers a brush with one, walking with friends to an apartment complex, where men were smoking marijuana.

“I didn’t want to be around that,” Favors said. “I knew if the police came, I was going to get in trouble with my mama. … I’ve always been scared to go to jail.”

Let me get this straight. A kid who doesn’t want to go to jail, and is afraid of pot? I almost wondered if Favors was A) poor and B) black growing up. Makes me wonder where so many of us go wrong being reefer addicts…..but I digress.

Anyway, here is the quote I really loved about Favors game (as opposed to maturity):

Reddick knew to be surprised by Favors since he was an eighth grader and Reddick asked him what position he wanted to play in high school. Favors said center.

“Every kid wants to be shooting 3’s and [dribbling] between the legs,” Reddick said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever got that answer. Ever.”

When Favors arrived at Tech, projected as a one-and-done into the NBA, assistant coach John O’Conner asked him what he did best.

“Rebound,” he said.

“I was thinking ‘All right, I’ll take that,’ ” O’Conner said. “And he was serious.”

Rebounding, Favors said, is how he always got to keep playing against older guys.

“Everybody always talks about scoring points,” Favors said. “I don’t really care about scoring points that much.”

Let me get this straight. The Kings don’t need, and should ignore, a kid who has athleticism, is long, can play PF in any situation and C in some situations (this might be not be a POV shared by the Kings FO though), has willingness and desire to play defense, has the body to do it, is young as hell (won’t even turn 19 until July), and wants to be in the NBA.

Gee, those guys are awful. I wish the Kings didn’t have a player who fits almost every need (not to mention a player who could greatly impact games) for the Kings on the front line.

As far as what position Favors plays? Who gives a shit really? I mean, Chris Webber was a PF most of the time, but he defended Shaquille O’Neal in the post (and was more effective than folks remember) when it counted quite often when the Kings matched up with the Lakers. What position did Webber play again when he was defending Shaq?

I’m not saying the BPA argument isn’t a worthy argument, or shouldn’t be had in this particular case. I’m saying, does Evan Turner or John Wall make you that much better with Tyreke Evans? If not, why not? And if you make a trade, what are you getting that helps make you better (since you’d be passing up the best likely opportunity in several years to get that big man help the Kings need)?

I have a hard time believing that any team would just give up a big man of defensive quality and offensive substance to get Tyreke Evans as good as he is. There are a lot of teams that don’t like him because they consider him to be Allen Iverson Jr. Or that he isn’t a traditional PG he isn’t worth the risk of dealing with. (It’s one area where GP & Co. excels at: They find players who don’t fit into a box and just look to ways to find players who complement the unique set of skills.)

It’s not clear cut, nor is there a simple answer. Whose right? It depends on what you mean by right, or how things break down.

I know where I stand on this issue. It’s Derrick Favors (if the Kings are lucky enough to pick that high) and for all the right reasons as far as I can see.

What I can’t see is how the Kings take John Wall or Evan Turner, and then end up with a player that helps them in the long run. As far as I can see, Derrick Favors is the type of player the Kings absolutely need, has enough upside that justifies taking him with a high pick (or trading Wall and Nocioni in a package to get Favors and possibly a draft pick) more so than John Wall or Evan Turner. I like talented players, and superstar one’s at that. Wall or Turner seem to have all the makings of that player.

On the other hand, you not only have the problem of taking Wall or Turner and making either fit with Evans (assuming you’re not trading the rights to Wall or Turner on draft day) and you probably have to find a spot for Garcia and Udrih in the rotation. Some of that is including Garcia at SF where he is not nearly as effective.

You still need better rebounding, interior defense, and interior athleticism too. Best player or not, you still have to solve your problems by finding a way to integrate 5 players on 2 ends together. I think that Derrick Favors is that ideal fit. Sue me if I’m wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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Responses

  1. I’m wondering how you justify Favors’ low number across the board. You mention that he plays alongside a similar player in Lawal, who averages a smidge more rebounds than Favors (8.5 vs 8.7) and provides a tad more scoring(12.5 vs 13.1). Favors also averages a little more than 2 blocks per game.

    To be honest, the numbers do worry me a bit. I have read often that rebounding numbers in college translate into more similar numbers in the NBA than other stats. His rebounding numbers don’t thrill me.

    For such a dominant physical presence, I’d expect him to average more than 12.5 points as well. Watching highlights, I can see the potential in his athleticism, but to be honest, I saw the same from BJ Mullens…I did. Highlight reels are smoke and mirrors. This is the reason that everyone on STR wanted to make out with Ricky Rubio this summer and thought it was neat that the President liked the on guy from Memphis who doesn’t jump that high.

    I cannot argue with you about Favors’ attitude because he guy seems like a real gentlemen. We need guys like that.

    BTW- I have recorded two GT games to see this guy and he got into early foul trouble in one and had a sub-par game in the other. And when your “par” is 12 pts 8 rebs, sub-par sure is hard to watch.

    I’m not trying to say he would be a bad pick…I just want to know what makes you so sure he is better than his numbers show.

    • Sorry about the last response. Typing on my phone doesn’t always work out well. Ill delete it tomorrow.

      Favors & Lawal are similar players. The difference is that Favors is big where Lawal is tall.

      Numbers don’t concern me. Russell Westbrook played SG @ UCLA next to Darren Collison. Who would you rather have in the NBA?

      To finish the point about Mullens he had 4.7 boards in about 20 mins. Favors has 8.5 boards in 26 mins. That’s a huge difference.

      I know Demarcus Cousins is the sexy idea. Favors is the guy that I would take.

      As far as Reke goes, the concern was that he didn’t facilitate enough. Before the draft I also was skeptical he could defend small PGs too. I knew he was good even when I was mad at the pick.

  2. Forgot all about the blocks.

    College blocks stats can easily be inflated by zone defenses allowing bigs to park in the lane ( I admit I have no idea how often GT plays zone), inferior opposing talent and size. Spencer averaged 1.7 blocks as a Husky, and 1.0 on his NBA career and 1.1 for this year.

    On it’s face, that evidence doesn’t show that Favors’ defensive presence would make up for his relative lack of offensive production.

    What say you?

    • The Blocks doesn’t really worry me. Shot blocks are nice but they don’t really represent interior defense completely. Again Lawal has really hurt Favors a good deal here. Favors has the body, strength, long arms and is so young.

      I just hope the Kings can get him.


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