Saturday, June 18, 2011

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume IV, Issue XXIV

Welcome to our 137th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available at

This week, we serialize some features from our forthcoming draft guide PRO HOOPS DRAFTOLOGY 2011.

Jason Jones Euro Player Analysis

NOTE: After the recent NBA Draft lottery, had a chat on the site examining the state of European players and the NBA Draft process. Here are the thoughts expressed on various aspects of the subject by FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones.

^ Not one of these Euros belongs in the top ten. Not one. There has never been a Euro worth top ten projection, ever. Dirk, Manu, Pau, may be good players, but [they] weren't worth a top ten pick. Furthermore, there has not been a non-American collegiate worth a top ten pick in the last decade. Look it up again. Euro upside is not worth the risk. [The Cavs need] two absolute starters in these first two picks, not projects with upside. To believe the contrary is short-sighted and irresponsible. That includes any GM that would take one in the top ten, let alone the top five.

^ Scouts that cover these Euros do so for ten years, in some cases. That's all they do. In some regard, there is a clear understanding of the pulse of the game over there. Any scout doing his job has seen ridiculous amounts of game action; they've done their homework. The apples-to-apples thing may be the most important part. Maybe they've sincerely considered that in the evaluation. All of their efforts are there and calculated, which leaves one major factor left to consider...NONE OF THAT IS NEW. This has been the process. Every year, we hear about narrowing the gap in talent and every year these scouts and GMs are wrong. Someday that might be the case. It might even be this year. This issue is one of draft strategy. Are there really 5-10 NBA teams that are willing to throw their lottery pick on the roulette wheel in the hopes that this is the year that their scouts are right? There is a physically missing. There is a mental aptitude missing. There is a speed element missing. There are too many variables to consider when one takes the final evaluation out of the Euro fishtank and moves it to the NBA fishtank. And we are really starting to lose track of the expectations when I'm trying to be convinced that a Euro who can give 10 and 7 immediately means a damn thing. 10 and 7 is a mid-second rounder. That's [a] fourth-tier free agent signing. That's "let the other guy draft him and if he pans out, then we'll consider pursuing him as a free agent.” In the lottery, whether he can start or not is not very high on the evaluation scale. Take any of the guys over 6'10. I bet most of them could start in Golden State or some team desperate for a big. The question becomes: is an adequate Euro big man better than a dynamic NCAA guard who could be a cornerstone? Yeah, they could start tomorrow but so what, that doesn't carry as much weight with me.

^ NO ONE is grading Derrick Williams on his tournament performance. Williams is and has been the number one guy dating back to the preseason camps of last year. In most cases, tournament or not, Williams has never not been out of the top two. There is an apples-to-apples [element] with him, physically and mentally. Teams know exactly what they will get from him. He may be built like Lebron, but no one is making the mistake [of thinking] that he is [as good as him]. However, he is athletic, powerful, tenacious, has a high ceiling and has the type of measurables on offense that fit the type of player he is. He's not going to shoot well from outside of 17', but that's not his game. Scouts didn't like Griffin because he has a good sky book or shoots the three well. They liked him because he gets after it physically, which is why every scout in the world has Williams in the top three and most in the top two. "[The criticism of] passing out of the double team?” Are you serious? That's like criticizing Kyrie Irving because he doesn't register many blocked shots, or [saying] Kemba Walker won't be able to box out seven-footers. Skill, strength, intelligence, tenacity, NBA IQ, the ability to make the transition: these Euros may possess some of those things, but they lack the physical ability. They can shoot and pass and rebound (in a relative vacuum), but it’s everything else that [causes concern]. Remember, during these extensive evaluations, everyone on the planet who knew anything said Darko was that guy. He was Dirk, if Dirk actually played center. They said Darko could take guys off the dribble, post up, defend swingmen, hit threes like a SG and even win the opening tipoff. I saw the footage and agreed. I saw what he did over there and sincerely believed he, Melo and LeBron were on a tier by themselves. As it turned out, Darko was so physically inadequate that we would never get to see the rest unfold. If Yao was 6'10, he'd be a bust. Does anyone really believe that Rubio isn't here because he'll only play in a large market? One last thought. American players own European players unconditionally...until they change the rules. In Olympic play, they adopted some European aspects, rules, and nuances and the American players suffered. The NBA is not going to change the rules to suit the non American players yet people still expect them to perform on the same level with the American players when they make [the] move to playing the NBA game. Make no mistake about it, there is a basket and a ball, but the European game and the NBA game are significantly different games.

Rick Morris Euro Player Analysis

NOTE: After the recent NBA Draft lottery, had a chat on the site examining the state of European players and the NBA Draft process. Here are the thoughts expressed on various aspects of the subject by FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris.

^ With the possible exception of Kantor, I'm not sold on these guys [at the fourth pick]. They seem like risks to me based on the body of work. [Some] see [lots of] upside, I see troubling question marks on a pick that, if it yields a player who can be a legit third or fourth offensive option, could keep [the Cavs] out of lotteries after next year.

^ One of the things that scares me about some of these guys is that there has barely been ANY overseas presence in the lottery for several years now. I was actually taken aback when I looked up the specifics; it was worse than I thought. While I have a lot of trust in the Cavs' organization (my favorite team) and would like nothing better than to believe [the] assertion that they may have an inside track on figuring out who can be worth what, I keep coming back to the difficulty that ALL teams face in calculating the worth of these players given the confusion about so many aspects of Euro play, from what to make of play against the caliber of competition on down. Why are we on track to have possibly more Euros taken in the lottery this year than the last half-decade combined (with Euros for these purposes being defined as those without US college experience)? Is it because talent evaluators are so discounting the college kids that they are figuring the Euros are a better risk? I hope not, because at least a few of the college kids look like good bets for the same alleged upside as the internationals (i.e. Klay Thompson and Marcus Morris). In short, the fact that we have little to go on aside from the physical skills of these players measured in isolation troubles me.

^ The one thing that is inescapable … is that overseas players do not have the apples-to-apples point of comparison with collegiate competition (not that all lottery picks come from power conferences, but they have infinitely more in common with each other regardless of where they played over here in that respect). Even with my heinously sub-par hops, I'm sure there are guys I could still posterize in weak leagues. Now, I'm sure the scouts take these things into consideration when they compose the profiles -- and I'm sure the science of normalizing levels of competition for evaluation's sake is improving all the time. The crux of this issue appears to come down to the historical trends. Again, Euro impact in the lottery has been pretty invisible for years now after receiving a bit of a bump post-Dirk. There are indeed exceptions to every rule. But looking at the law of averages, as I do with most sports topics, I'm left to question whether there are this many exceptions to the law of averages in this draft. I'm not prepared to state categorically right now that there are not. I certainly question that, though.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home