As many of you may have noticed (or participated in), I made a post a couple days ago about the Charlotte pick to see what people wanted to happen with that. With the amount of talent on this team and the amount of talent that should be available at the pick, we really can't afford to get this wrong. If you want to read some more in depth analysis of why I think things turned out the way they did, keep on reading after the break. If you don't want to, then here are the results:
1. Xavier Henry with 36.6%
2. Greg Monroe with 23.2%
3. James Anderson with 19.6%
4. Donatas Motiejunas with 9.8%
More after the jump!
I'd love to hear some input as I am sure I will miss quite a few points and not do justice to others, but this is why I think things turned out the way that they did.
Xavier Henry: Henry was a top 10 consensus pick a short time ago as he started the season with guns ablazin' but has since cooled down during conference play. It's possible that he is still riding that wave into his current standing amongst Canis faithfuls, but I'd also have to wager that we here know our team better than the national media does (5 PGS?!?!?!). According to DraftExpress.com, Xavier is currently going 19 to Miami. We here know how painful it is to watch a team woefully bereft of talent from beyond the arc. And Xavier's opponents know how painful it is to watch him sink another shot from the perimeter. The man's shooting form is an absolute thing of beauty and I'd love to watch it on a more regular basis.
Starting the season off really hot from the perimeter, he has now cooled down to a more modest 41% (1.23 ppp). Considering he is taking almost 5 attempts per game, that's not a bad number. Compare that to his 50.6% from the rest of the field (.922 ppp) and you'd hope he could get maybe a little higher, but it's not like you are settling for his production at this rate. To make him even a little more efficient, he shoots 77.7% from the line at about 3.5 attempts per game. You'd have to think he will improve as a free throw shooter pretty quickly with his form. Stranger things have(n't) happened though. To cap things off, Xavier is 18 years old and stands a cool 6'6'' 210 and should come in with a good pedigree and willingness to be coached coming from Kansas. Not bad size for a SG.
The only issue if we grabbed him is if we already took Turner. Then we have to fiddle the lineup around Turner, Brewer, Henry, and Ellington. Kind of makes you wonder how we would guard the bigger SFs. Brewer would probably have to play 6th man off the bench first in for Turner or Henry. Ellington would have to be 9th-ish (not a bad spot for what he has shown, I guess). You'd almost think we would package one of these guys for something else. Good problem to have though. I'd recommend taking a look at his DraftExpress page to get a feel of what they say about his game (summary: Not a good shooter off the dribble, good team player and willing passer, average athlete at next level, good control, good effort and instincts with slower lateral ability projects him as a defender of SFs in the NBA).
Greg Monroe: Often criticized for his on-court intensity before this year, he seems to have proven his doubters wrong. He has a very nice NBA frame and a lot of potential to add to that, which he'll need to do if he wants to become a more efficient post scorer in this league. He is currently 19 years old and 6'11'' 240lbs. He was a lot more efficient last year (and had fewer TOs) when he wasn't the primary option in the offense, so it's possible that he will get a little of that back when teams have to respect a guy like Jefferson with Monroe's passing ability. He definitely follows the GeorgeTown mold for bigs (skilled big, good scorer, great passing big). It'd be nice to have a guy who can pass from the post and is listed as "mobile", "fluid", and "versatile" by DraftExpress.
I don't know if he would be a great solution to guarding the perimeter bigs of the league, but he should definitely be more successful than Love or Jefferson. If a coach could get him to buy into a good team defensive rotation (DX lists him as "coachable"), I think a lot of his man defense issues could magically disappear (or at least be forgotten until he starts to get rocked during the playoffs). IMO, he projects a Darko-type effect. Left-handed, mobile, high BBIQ, good instincts, and a good passer. If he gets the rotations down, that's exactly what Darko brings to the table (minus man defense, I guess). So even if he isn't the best defender of the mobile bigs, he will hopefully rotate like Darko does. Like Henry, you'd hope and think (decent shooter for his size) he could improve his FT% as it is currently at 65.5% and he takes 6.2 FTA/game.
As for fit, he wouldn't be perfect next to Love or Jefferson, but he is a solid prospect and could really turn into a good team player. He grabs a decent amount of rebounds, but still is nothing special in this regard. Basically he wouldn't be a liability on the boards like Hollins, but he wouldn't be a fiend either. He's less of a project than Whiteside projects to be, but he is a worse fit for what we need. Not a bad fit, just not perfect. And I think that summarizes what type of pick he would be. Good, but not perfect.
James Anderson: I've honestly never seen this guy play, so I will be basing it hugely (even more than the rest) off of what DX has to say. If anyone who has seen him more wants to do a write up in the comments that I could post here in addition to what the numbers say, that'd be great (UPDATE: For better information, read Casperkid's first comment in the replies. Thanks again, Casperkid!). Basically he is the same height (6'6'') as Xavier, but 15lbs lighter. He looks like he has an NBA-ready body none the less. He shoots worse from range (36.2%) than Henry as well, but he is also the primary option on a much worse team. He attempts 8.1 free throws a game and shoots a decent 80.9%, which makes him a terrificaly efficient scorer. He's better from within the arc than Henry (54%) and it sounds like he does so using screens a la Richard Hamilton. Last comparison to Henry: He is a LOT better at getting his own shot and being able to score off the drible and with a guy in his face. Synergy says he goes to his left 86% of the time so that is a big red flag to me. A lot of teams will exploit that information at the next level compared to how many do now. Then again, maybe he is just as effective and he just gets open on that side more often.. who knows. Apparently he is an atrocious defender? I don't want to post this as fact as I haven't seen him, but DraftExpress is not a fan of his defense. This alone might be what moved Xavier ahead in the voting.
As for fit, it seems as if we would have the same issues as with Xavier as we would have 3 wings at the 2/3 and one who can only play the 2, but no real 3s to at least give the Melos and the Lebrons a bit of trouble on their way to 50. Though Turner could potentially be that man, we'll see.
Donatas Motiejunas: Ahh Motiejunas. The great unknown of the draft. You never know how a college player will project to the NBA. More so, you never know how a big will project in the NBA (there is plenty of evidence for this). Even more so, you don't know how a guy averaging 20mpg will project to the NBA. Even more more so, you don't know how Euros project to the NBA. So how in the hell are we supposed to know how a 19 year old, 7'0'' 215lb, Euro big with no defense who only plays 20mpg will project in the NBA?!?!?! We don't. With the offensive upside of a superstar and the defensive upside of a rock... no... a feather... how do we draft this guy? Well it's because he could project as a superstar on one side of the floor. That's why.
As long as you have a great defensive rotation 1-4, he can come in and light up the scoreboard while doing just enough on the defensive end... ok... while his teammates do more than enough on the defensive end to make that an asset. I guess if we had another pick, Motiejunas and his constant headaches for at least the next 2 years would be a good guy to go with, but we have a lot of holes to fill and, rookie or not, this is not the right way to fill them. I am so curious about the guy, but what it comes down to for me is that I would rather pass on Bargnani for a solid role player than to draft Mavrokefalidis (Spelling? We'll just go with "Alphabet") and pass on a solid role player. In the poll, there were 11 people who would take the risk that Motiejunas will be closer to Bargnani than Alphabet. But I just don't think his upside is quite at a high enough level (maybe if his upside was Dirk?) and I think the chances he reaches his upside are not high enough to pass on the first three guys considering their actual production AND upside.
If you want anything more, in-the-game had a nice writeup of international players in Casperkid's draft board. I'd recommend reading that instead of this. Though I hope this was still at least moderately interesting and accurate for why he ended up in fourth.
That's all. Thanks for reading and please comment about how far off base you think I am or how you think we should use the pick (draft someone else entirely or give us a realistic trade). For the record, I would be pretty happy if we were able to trade this pick for a higher one or for a proven player to fit our team.