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Individual workouts

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  • Dean Oliver
    I just got back from vacation in Seattle where, among other adventures not involving basketball whatsoever, I got to see the Sonics working out some of their
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 21, 2003
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      I just got back from vacation in Seattle where, among other
      adventures not involving basketball whatsoever, I got to see the
      Sonics working out some of their potential draft picks. One of the
      comments that came up was that certain people in management don't
      care at all what happens in workouts -- they believe only in
      reviewing game tape. It's an old question in scouting -- game review
      against lesser competition or controlled individual workouts? After
      thinking about it a while, I realize that it's more a matter of using
      one to complement the other, though.

      Specifically, we all got to see a fair amount of guys like Luke
      Ridnour (mock drafts' favorite pick for the Sonics, it seems), Dwyane
      Wade, Carmelo Anthony, T.J. Ford (who fell to #11 in SI!),
      Hinrich/Collison. After having seen these guys in college what are
      the lingering questions about them? And, more importantly, could you
      answer them in an individual workout?

      LeBron James -- The basic question that remains from seeing him on TV
      is, What can this guy do against NBA quality defense? Running him
      through shooting drills as the Cavs did yesterday seems like a waste
      of time. It doesn't really answer significant questions unless they
      felt that his open long range shooting was in doubt, something I have
      heard a little about.

      Carmelo Anthony -- My question on this guy is quickness with and
      without the ball. Can he get by guys his size and quickness? How
      would he react? He's fundamentally sound.

      So I guess I'm curious in what people would do with these guys in
      individual workouts if you saw them:

      Chris Bosh
      Dwyane Wade
      Nick Collison
      Chris Kaman
      Kirk Hinrich
      T.J. Ford
      Luke Ridnour
      Jarvis Hayes
      Mike Sweetney
      Reece Gaines
      Josh Howard
      Marcus Banks
      Mario Austin
      Troy Bell
      Brian Cook
      Dahntay Jones


      Even if you think they're bums from watching them play in college,
      how would you look to confirm it? I didn't add any foreign players
      because I doubt many people saw much of them, but if you want to, go
      ahead and talk about 'em.

      DeanO
    • Kevin Pelton
      ... Keep rubbing it in, why don t you? ... Bosh s official weight of 210 pounds has me a bit worried about his ability to bang inside before gaining some
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 21, 2003
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        --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I just got back from vacation in Seattle where, among other
        > adventures not involving basketball whatsoever, I got to see the
        > Sonics working out some of their potential draft picks.

        Keep rubbing it in, why don't you?

        > Chris Bosh

        Bosh's official weight of 210 pounds has me a bit worried about his
        ability to bang inside before gaining some serious weight. I'd like
        to see him against the shorter heavyweights in the draft
        (Schortsanitis and Sweetney, in particular) to see how he handled
        them. He can shoot, based on his college three-point numbers . . .
        could he take them on the perimeter and beat them that way? Grab
        rebounds against them?

        > Dwyane Wade

        Any questions about Wade, naturally, would revolve around his
        ability to play the point. He handled the ball quite a bit in the
        halfcourt from what I recall, so my main concerns would be fast
        breaks and bringing the ball up against pressure. I'd love to match
        him up against a mighty mite like Banks to see how he handled his
        defense.

        > Nick Collison

        Hmm. Really, we saw so much of Collison, I'm not sure there are any
        obvious questions to me.

        > Chris Kaman

        Talented big guys of any sort. It's one thing to do it against
        Eastern Michigan, quite another against guys like Bosh etc.

        > Kirk Hinrich
        > T.J. Ford

        Find Reece Gaines. Have him back down Ford in the post. Repeat.
        Have 'double-teamed' power forward kick it out to Ford for a three-
        point attempt with a guy running out at him. Repeat.

        > Luke Ridnour

        I'd like to see Ridnour defend a couple of different styles of point
        guards. Ford, for his quickness, and Gaines, for his size. Not
        really many offensive questions here.

        > Jarvis Hayes

        One-on-one offensive drills, preferably against a defender like
        Dahntay Jones. Can Hayes create his own shot? If so, maybe the Allan
        Houston comparisons aren't so far off.

        > Mike Sweetney

        I'd like to see Sweetney against a taller player (Bosh is perfect
        here) to see if he can get a shot off over him and whether he's
        overmatched defensively. Really, I'd kill for tape of Sweetney and
        Bosh going one-on-one. I think it would tell you a great deal about
        both players.

        > Reece Gaines
        > Josh Howard

        I'd like to see how Howard does in a catch-and-shoot role, since
        that's probably what he'll have to do a lot of in the NBA. Feed him
        the ball on the perimeter out of the post.

        > Marcus Banks

        Similar to Ford. I want to see if he's really as strong as
        advertised defensively, and whether he can make the stand-still
        three.

        > Mario Austin
        > Troy Bell

        Can he find the open man and get him the ball in the correct spot?
        Does he dribble . . . and dribble . . . and dribble like other
        undersized shooting guards I know?

        > Brian Cook

        My main fear with Cook is his work ethic, which is tough to test in
        a workout, I imagine. Other than that, it's his softness . . . I'd
        throw him in against the heavyweights too, tell them to get
        physical. See how he responds. Try to do a lot of competitive stuff
        to see how much he burns to win.

        > Dahntay Jones

        Catch-and-shoot, catch-and-shoot, catch-and-shoot.
      • bchaikin@aol.com
        LeBron James -- The basic question that remains from seeing him on TV is, What can this guy do against NBA quality defense? Running him through shooting
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 21, 2003
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          LeBron James -- The basic question that remains from seeing him on TV is, What can this guy do against NBA quality defense?  Running him through shooting drills as the Cavs did yesterday seems like a waste of time.  It doesn't really answer significant questions unless they felt that his open long range shooting was in doubt, something I have heard a little about.

          again, the big key as to why everyone up here in NE Ohio has such high hopes for lebron is not that he dominated high school competition - but that he's played plenty against top level competition (good college and pro players) in a number of venues - summer leagues, pick up games, etc, such that everyone who has seen him play - from casual fans to pro scouts - believes him to be the "real" deal. and with the espn's of the world out there, pretty much everyone has seen him play...

          you don't have to play against a guy that much to know just how good he is - once you know that its the other questions, like is he a good person, can he stay out of trouble, will he do drugs, who does he hang out with (who his friends are), that are important - anything that could possibly take away from his efforts on the floor need to be addressed. plus does he have the dedication to be a star...

          no player is going to come into the nba at age 19 and be a star shooter. christ even michael jordan was criticized early about his shooting, even when he was scoring 28 pts/g as a rookie and 30+pts/g just 2-3 years later (again who cares if you're not the games best shooter when you are scoring like that). the best example for a lebron analogy would have to be kobe. everyone who saw him as a 19 year old knew he had the tools to be a star, the only question was dediction and staying out of trouble. but those who knew him personally knew he had the dedication and now after 6-7 years in the league, with playing major minutes and having avoided major injury (i.e. career threatening injury), he's one of the game's very best, an all-pro, a great defender, a winner, etc....

          i certainly don't expect much from lebron in his first year or two - again he's very young. but if he stays healthy and gets the minutes, like kobe did, i don't think there is any question in anyone's mind that in 3-4 years he'll be a star, barring unforseen circumstances (injury, drugs, etc). the only question is just how good or great he will be. plus he'll be - again barring injury - playing on a team with a bonafide nba center (ilgauskas), a decent young power forward (boozer), and a gunning sg with a long term contract (r.davis). so there won't be as much pressure on him (there will still be alot i'm sure) as if he really was the only decent playing on a losing team that had no good players...

          bob chaikin
          bchaikin@...







        • Dean Oliver
          ... TV is, ... through shooting ... doesn t really ... range ... high hopes ... that he s ... players) in a ... everyone who ... to be the ... much everyone
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 21, 2003
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            --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, bchaikin@a... wrote:
            > LeBron James -- The basic question that remains from seeing him on
            TV is,
            > What can this guy do against NBA quality defense? Running him
            through shooting
            > drills as the Cavs did yesterday seems like a waste of time. It
            doesn't really
            > answer significant questions unless they felt that his open long
            range
            > shooting was in doubt, something I have heard a little about.
            >
            > again, the big key as to why everyone up here in NE Ohio has such
            high hopes
            > for lebron is not that he dominated high school competition - but
            that he's
            > played plenty against top level competition (good college and pro
            players) in a
            > number of venues - summer leagues, pick up games, etc, such that
            everyone who
            > has seen him play - from casual fans to pro scouts - believes him
            to be the
            > "real" deal. and with the espn's of the world out there, pretty
            much everyone
            > has seen him play...

            Hadn't heard he'd played against such quality. But there really is
            no doubt in anyone's mind (that I've talked to) that he will be
            outstanding. The question is when and I'd like to understand that a
            bit to know what to do with guys like Davis and Wagner. Is he going
            to dominate 1 on 1 right now? What about 1 on 2?

            >
            > you don't have to play against a guy that much to know just how
            good he is -

            Another discussion I had in Seattle was that how "good" a guy is --
            that's not everything. It was good to hear from someone else
            official because I've been seeing this for a while. Unless you're
            awesome, you have a role to fit into and if you're "good" but don't
            fit the role you need to play, it's hard to play you. LeBron
            is "awesome", so this isn't a big deal. If he somehow turns out to
            be less than awesome (Isaiah Rider), then he's left without a role he
            knows how to fill.

            > once you know that its the other questions, like is he a good
            person, can he
            > stay out of trouble, will he do drugs, who does he hang out with
            (who his
            > friends are), that are important - anything that could possibly
            take away from his
            > efforts on the floor need to be addressed. plus does he have the
            dedication to
            > be a star...

            I think dedication is a big one. The others -- can we point to
            specific players where they really mattered? Iverson gets in tons of
            trouble, hangs out with the so-called wrong people, and I ain't
            bettin' anything on the drug thing. Has this hurt AI or is this just
            a culture clash?

            >
            > no player is going to come into the nba at age 19 and be a star
            shooter.
            > christ even michael jordan was criticized early about his shooting,
            even when he
            > was scoring 28 pts/g as a rookie and 30+pts/g just 2-3 years later
            (again who
            > cares if you're not the games best shooter when you are scoring
            like that). the
            > best example for a lebron analogy would have to be kobe. everyone
            who saw him
            > as a 19 year old knew he had the tools to be a star, the only
            question was
            > dediction and staying out of trouble.

            There were questions of strength and whether he would ever be able to
            hit that jumper. He had small hands and still does. He's clearly
            overcome it. LeBron has big hands.


            > i certainly don't expect much from lebron in his first year or two -
            again
            > he's very young. but if he stays healthy and gets the minutes, like
            kobe did, i
            > don't think there is any question in anyone's mind that in 3-4
            years he'll be
            > a star, barring unforseen circumstances (injury, drugs, etc). the
            only
            > question is just how good or great he will be. plus he'll be -
            again barring injury -
            > playing on a team with a bonafide nba center (ilgauskas), a decent
            young
            > power forward (boozer), and a gunning sg with a long term contract
            (r.davis). so
            > there won't be as much pressure on him (there will still be alot
            i'm sure) as
            > if he really was the only decent playing on a losing team that had
            no good
            > players...

            I actually do expect a lot from LeBron this year. More precisely, I
            expect more from the Cavs. In the weak East, playoffs are a
            possibility. They should have been better this year. There are a
            couple statistical signs that they tanked this year to get LeBron.
            Kinda pissed me off that they got him over Denver, which definitely
            did play pretty hard but had no talent. (You could say that Denver
            started tanking the year before by trading away their talent, but
            Bzdelik had them working hard this year.)

            DeanO
          • harlanzo
            ... I ... LeBron. The thing is with Lebron is he will be 18/19 next year and there have not really been any great 18 yr olds and only a few great 19 yr olds.
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 21, 2003
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              --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "Dean Oliver" <deano@r...>
              wrote:

              > I actually do expect a lot from LeBron this year. More precisely,
              I
              > expect more from the Cavs. In the weak East, playoffs are a
              > possibility. They should have been better this year. There are a
              > couple statistical signs that they tanked this year to get
              LeBron.


              The thing is with Lebron is he will be 18/19 next year and there
              have not really been any great 18 yr olds and only a few great 19 yr
              olds. Lebron has a man's body so he might do better than most but
              look at the list of teenaged nbaers:



              Player Season Age MPG PPG RPG APG FG%
              Darryl Dawkins 75-76 18 4.5 2.4 1.3 0.1 0.501
              Bill Willoughby 75-76 18 14.1 4.7 4.6 0.5 0.398
              Moses Malone 74-75(A) 19 38.6 18.8 14.6 1.1 0.571
              Shawn Kemp 89-90 20 13.8 6.5 4.3 0.3 0.479
              Kevin Garnett 95-96 19 28.7 10.4 6.3 1.8 0.491
              Kobe Bryant 96-97 18 15.5 7.6 1.9 1.3 0.417
              Jermaine O'Neal 96-97 18 10.2 4.1 2.8 0.2 0.451
              Tracy McGrady 97-98 18 18.4 7.1 4.2 1.5 0.451
              Rashard Lewis 98-99 19 7.3 2.4 1.3 0.2 0.365
              Al Harrington 98-99 18 7.6 2.1 1.9 0.2 0.321
              Jon Bender 99-00 18 5.4 2.7 0.9 0.1 0.329
              Darius Miles 00-01 19 26.3 9.4 5.9 1.2 0.505
              Deshawn Stevenson 00-01 19 7.3 2.2 0.7 0.5 0.341
              Kwame Brown 01-o2 19 14.3 4.5 3.5 0.8 0.387
              Tyson Chandler 01-o2 19 19.6 6.1 4.8 0.8 0.497
              Eddy Curry 01-o2 19 16.1 6.7 3.8 0.3 0.501
              Desagana Diop 01-o2 19 6.1 1.4 0.9 0.3 0.414
              Amare Stoudemire 02-o3 20 31.5 13.4 8.9 0.9 0.471

              I know the list is a bit hard to read so you can link to an article
              I wrote on the subject with a legible table:

              http://www.hoopsanalyst.com/amare.htm
              (not meant to be as shameless a plug at it seems)

              anyway, the upshot is outside of Moses in the ABA, no teenager has
              been great his first year. Lebron may be force-fed the ball so he
              may buck the trend but past precedent is not in his favor.
            • bchaikin@aol.com
              talking about lebron james: If he somehow turns out to be less than awesome (Isaiah Rider).... if you read lenny wilkens autobiography ( Unguarded ,
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 21, 2003
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                talking about lebron james:

                If he somehow turns out to be less than awesome (Isaiah Rider)....

                if you read lenny wilkens' autobiography ("Unguarded", copyright2000), you'll get a 1st hand perspective of what it was like to have to coach j.r. rider. in a word - unpleasant. selfish, certainly not team oriented, no defense. a hard worker, but strictly for his own personal goals and not those of the team, and not one to take instruction let alone direction from a coach. everything i have seen and/or heard about lebron to date is just the opposite. lets hope (at least from the cavaliers' perspective) that's the case...

                There were questions of strength and whether he would ever be able to hit that jumper.

                i remember this being said about kobe bryant. but if you've seen lebron james play, you'd know he has what appears to be classic form on his J. plus he appears to be a good shooter for a 6'8" player, and i don't mean glen rice form. i mean a player who can shoot a jumper but also create his own shot and get to the basket like he was a guard. if this kid was to get four years of seasoning in a good college program, he'd be the envy of the whole planet. as it is he'll get that seasoning in the nba, and 2-3 years should be enough....

                I actually do expect a lot from LeBron this year.  More precisely, I expect more from the Cavs.

                i sure hope you're right but in all honesty i think you're dreaming. we're talking about a team that won all of 17 games last year and got outscored by a huge 9.6 points per game, by far the worst point differential in the league last year and also the worst point differential in the league by a team in six seasons (since the 97-98 nuggets). add to that the fact that the cavs haven't won more than 32 games in the last 4 years, and have consecutively lost more games each season in these past four seasons (32, 30, 29, and 17). if they won 30 games in 03-04 i'd be happy, 35 and i'd be ecstatic. anything better than that would be gravy. i don't think there's any chance a 19 year old kid could have the same effect on a pro team like a larry bird or david robinson - someone who could turn a team completely around. those two had far more seasoning under their respective belts...

                i'm guessing they'll slip james right into the small forward spot and just plain leave him there, alongside ilgauskas, boozer, ricky davis, and god know who at pg, maybe wagner (the rumor here is they are looking to acquire a veteran pg for 25-30 min/g to ease any ball-handling responsibilities to james slowly). with ilgauskas and davis being looked upon for scoring, boozer for defense and rebounding, and hopefully a point guard no worse than henry bibby in his prime, james should be able to progress on his own and not be looked upon to take over games in his rookie year. hopefully he'll have his moments though...

                bob chaikin
                bchaikin@...










              • Dean Oliver
                ... copyright2000), you ll ... j.r. rider. ... defense. a ... of the team, ... everything i ... lets hope ... Let s hope from everyone s perspective that s the
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 22, 2003
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                  --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, bchaikin@a... wrote:
                  >
                  > talking about lebron james:
                  >
                  > If he somehow turns out to be less than awesome (Isaiah Rider)....
                  >
                  > if you read lenny wilkens' autobiography ("Unguarded",
                  copyright2000), you'll
                  > get a 1st hand perspective of what it was like to have to coach
                  j.r. rider.
                  > in a word - unpleasant. selfish, certainly not team oriented, no
                  defense. a
                  > hard worker, but strictly for his own personal goals and not those
                  of the team,
                  > and not one to take instruction let alone direction from a coach.
                  everything i
                  > have seen and/or heard about lebron to date is just the opposite.
                  lets hope
                  > (at least from the cavaliers' perspective) that's the case...
                  >

                  Let's hope from everyone's perspective that's the case. Paul Silas
                  was probably a good hire there, but I dunno for sure.

                  >
                  > i sure hope you're right but in all honesty i think you're
                  dreaming.

                  As you pointed out, they have some good talent there.

                  What also appears to have happened is that they tanked a lot of the
                  season.

                  They have several prominent young players who are likely to get
                  better, including Boozer, Davis, Miles (whose season was a HUGE
                  dropoff from his Clipper days), and (maybe) Wagner.

                  > we're
                  > talking about a team that won all of 17 games last year and got
                  outscored by a
                  > huge 9.6 points per game, by far the worst point differential in
                  the league
                  > last year and also the worst point differential in the league by a
                  team in six
                  > seasons (since the 97-98 nuggets). add to that the fact that the
                  cavs haven't
                  > won more than 32 games in the last 4 years, and have consecutively
                  lost more
                  > games each season in these past four seasons (32, 30, 29, and 17).

                  Not a sustainable pattern.

                  > if they won 30
                  > games in 03-04 i'd be happy, 35 and i'd be ecstatic. anything
                  better than
                  > that would be gravy.

                  Dumb luck gets them to a 25 win season. Not sure what the over/under
                  will be on the Cavs this coming year, but if it's 25, I take the over.

                  > i don't think there's any chance a 19 year old kid could
                  > have the same effect on a pro team like a larry bird or david
                  robinson - someone
                  > who could turn a team completely around. those two had far more
                  seasoning
                  > under their respective belts...

                  Look at the comparisons, though, between Bird's Boston team and
                  Robinson's Spurs team. You've pointed them out yourself. A series
                  of ever worsening years, some decent young and old talent. I'll note
                  also that the teams also got new coaches around that time (not a
                  surprise with ever worsening teams). I'll note that the defenses on
                  those teams before the arrival of the saviors were horrible, at their
                  peak worst right before the arrival (Cleveland was pretty equally bad
                  in '02 and '03, however). I also wouldn't doubt that the Cavs trade
                  one of their young guys with potential to get an older guy who helps
                  right away.

                  >
                  > i'm guessing they'll slip james right into the small forward spot
                  and just
                  > plain leave him there, alongside ilgauskas, boozer, ricky davis,
                  and god know
                  > who at pg, maybe wagner (the rumor here is they are looking to
                  acquire a veteran
                  > pg for 25-30 min/g to ease any ball-handling responsibilities to
                  james
                  > slowly).

                  ...like I said...

                  > with ilgauskas and davis being looked upon for scoring, boozer for
                  defense
                  > and rebounding, and hopefully a point guard no worse than henry
                  bibby in his
                  > prime, james should be able to progress on his own and not be
                  looked upon to
                  > take over games in his rookie year. hopefully he'll have his
                  moments though...

                  I don't know James all that well. I didn't see him as much on TV as
                  others. What I saw was exceptional. But, more relevantly for the
                  Cavs, what I see in their numbers, in the pattern of the season, is a
                  team that should not have been so bad last year and is primed to get
                  better with a small infusion of talent. They are getting a big
                  infusion of talent.

                  So who in the East is going to take the dive as a result? Haven't
                  thought through that yet. If it's New Orleans, though, look for
                  Silas to get a few votes for Coach of the Year even though he has
                  King James.

                  DeanO
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