So I am constantly becoming more and more excited about the prospect of adding Kevin Seraphin with our 23rd pick this year so I figured i would make this fanpost to see who agrees and disagrees and see what kind of information we can figure out about him. I know we are in the middle of a fanpost flood, but hopefully this is a little different than the usual posts lately. So I obviously am no professional scout and I have very little exposure to European games. I just wanted to throw together a fanpost to kind of test out Seraphin and his listed strengths and see how he might fit with our team in a year or two. If anyone has a good idea about him and can add to this, I'd appreciate comments or links! So let's begin:
First of all, Seraphin has stated that, depending on the situation of the team that drafts him, he is willing to either wait for a year or come over right away. After dealing with Rubio's contract headache, that's sounds amazing.
Seraphin has the flexibility of coming to the NBA immediately or staying for another year in France. He’s supposedly open to either option. He signed a three-year contract with Cholet last summer, but he has a clearly-stated NBA out clause with a buyout sum that escalates depending on how high he’s picked. The buyout cannot exceed $750,000.
For starters, here is a recap of the Nike Hoop Summit (Seraphin is #11, but you can see quite a few other potential draft targets as well. Apologies in advance, but these were really the only videos of Seraphin available):
Nike Hoop Summit: Game Recap (via dubsackhustla)
In this video, Seraphin is #13, he is the focus of this one so it shouldn't be difficult to find him:
basketball players Seraphin Kevin France vsGreece ECU20 final (via sepkgr)
Inexperience v. Development/Upside:
As you can see in this second video, he looks extremely raw in terms of his post game, but he is an incredible athlete with an already strong defensive presence. In the first video, you can actually see him stuffing John Wall. This can easily be explained by the fact that he only started playing basketball at 15. This is obviously a bit of a red flag as many guys who do this never get much better, but Seraphin has been constantly improving and, according to DX, has been making up the ground between himself and prospects his age who have been playing for years at quite the rapid pace.
I don't want to keep quoting DX, so I'd recommend that you read over his profile if you haven't already. But they also say that he is a very smart and humble player with a high upside. Also relating to his development as a prospect and to hopefully quell some worries about his ability to keep improving from raw to refined, he became a starter on his French team part of the way through this past season.
Anyways, if we take him I'd be extremely happy with keeping him in France for one more season and then bringing him over next season. This way, we keep the number of rookies on our roster at a manageable level and we also provide ourselves with another infusion of talent (along with Rubio) around the time that we will be losing our pick to the Clippers. One more thing of note according to DX (really you should read the profile, very informative), his agent has tried to place his players in situations where they have the best chance of developing. It might make MN easier to sell as a location if we allow him to develop in France for another year so he can see where we are in our development and hopefully we can sell Rambis and Co. as good teachers by then. Plus, we could become quite the international draw in the next couple of years (Darko, Pekovic, Rubio, Seraphin, Fernandez(Trade?!), Vesley (In next years draft!!!!), Pavlovic (boy do I hope we bring him back!), and Oily (can never have enough plodding big men)).
Anyways, back to what he brings and away from what he could bring in the future (which to repeat, his upside rivals that of Whiteside, Favors (eerily similar build, 6'9'' 258 with a 7'3'' wingspan compared to 6'9'' 245 with a 7'4'' wingspan for Favors), and Motiejunas). For starters, he is already built like a 5 year veteran and has the size and athleticism to cover up the weaknesses of our current frontcourt. He's listed as 6'9'', but it really looks like he has quite a nice wingspan to add to that. He's listed as a PF/C in the NBA, but I really don't think we need to worry about it as he will always just draw the more athletic player assignment with Love, Darko, and Cousins playing alongside him (as a reasonable possibility).
Seraphin is extremely athletic, as you can see him running the court quite well in both of the videos, not to mention some of his finishes. Again, he looks like Derrick Favors, maybe even with a physical advantage... and while I have no way of proving this without combine results (not that they are the be all end all of defining athleticism), just the fact that they are close enough to compare should tell you something about his agility, hops, and size combination. They are also both very good defenders already, projecting to be solid defenders at the next level.
Now imagine playing this guy next to Rubio. I don't see a downside to this. He'd be a perfect PnR partner, especially with Love or Cousins as well. He supposedly sets some pretty good screens and obviously has the ability to roll to the basket pretty quickly and even finish an alley oop from Rubio if his man shows too hard. He's also a perfect fast break partner for Rubio, Brewer, and Love (DX even mentions his potential as a target for outlet passes, not to mention whoever else we might pick up between now and then. Rubio would probably also help cover up his current weaknesses (which are things that should probably be fixed with more experience) because he can create the offense for Seraphin (even though he is already supposedly developing a nice hook shot with both hands) and Seraphin can be more of a finisher than a creater.
So in terms of fit, he's about as good of a fit as we could find to mesh with a) our current front court b) our uptempo style of play and c) with Rubio being a PnR player, alley oop finisher, and fast-break player.
Back to that defense that I mentioned, he's already a competent defender and projects to only get better with more experience. He bites on too many pumpfakes (which as I've mentioned before, should not be a tough issue to fix if you just tell him to never try to block a pump fake and just make sure you have a hand in the guys face at all times so you don't lose momentum or end up in the air blocking just that, air), but he puts forth a strong effort on this end of the floor (both ends, actually). Another defensive weakness is that he often gets caught napping on defensive rebounds, but he makes up for it with his strong work on the offensive glass (he's still a pretty solid rebounder, netting about 11 per 40).
His strengths are his timing on rotations (sounds like that makes up for another current TWolves weakness), hedging PnRs, lateral quickness and ability to recover, and a strong frame that makes him tough to back down in the post.
Do we take him:
Obviously I am of the opinion that we take him. This is of course assuming that no one obvious drops that far (I'd still consider him over Whiteside). But our other options look something like this: Larry Sanders, Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Crawford, and Lance Stephenson (if we don't draft George at 16, there are slight chances he could drop... he's the only one of this group I would consider over Seraphin).
I know SnP has been making a slight push for Stephenson over the past few days, but I respectfully disagree. Considering SnP's usual strong push for statistical evidence, there really isn't much to back up Stephenson in the first round (decent rebounder, good length/strength, average athleticism, bit too much weight, and decent passer albeit with a moderately high TO rate). By all accounts his character issues have been put to bed, so I don't find this as an issue, but I do want Cousins, so I don't know if I would add Stephenson unless he comes off as a good role model from having learned from his past. Otherwise the risk is too high once we continue to add bad character guys to the team (1 is fine, 2 is ok, 3 is pushing it, 4 is a $%@# no, IMO... so we would be adding 2 from one draft and unless we do our due diligence and prove that he would be a benefit rather than a risk, I wouldn't be ok with adding Stephenson AND Cousins as rookies probably spend most of their time with each other). The lack of dominance in college, moderately inefficient scoring, and character question marks make me shy away from Stephenson, especially as a moderately ball dominant wing (with a bad 3pt shot) who wouldn't be the best fit on our roster anyways. Yes, these things can be fixed or overlooked in certain situations, but not when they are all together in the same package. But hey, I look forward to a post from SnP about Stephenson and why he thinks he is worth the 23. Maybe I am just not familiar enough with the player or what he has changed over the course of the year or in workouts.
So my answer, in 9 scenarios out of 10, we draft Seraphin and let him stay in France for a year (I put my reasoning earlier on). That 1 out of 10, maybe less, is just in case someone falls or we hear bad things about Seraphin or he gets injured in the next couple weeks. But yes, I am completely for Seraphin and I really hope we save the 23rd pick (and hopefully he doesn't get snatched up before then... Portland in front of us scares me) and use it on him. I would even be ok moving up a pick or two if someone ahead of us grabs him but isn't convinced that he is their guy.