Now that my Azithromycin is finally kicking and my strep throat isn’t nearly strangling me to death, I feel up to writing a column on what’s been going down. So, without further ado, here is some much needed NBA Playoff insight from ya boy Chris Kattan. #HitEm
1.) How is Being The Only Player in the NBA to Where New Balance NOT Cool?
Awkward Boner for Bonner, anyone? Well, considering the Warriors have pulled a Memphis of two years prior and are now switching every pick and pop scenario involving Red Mamba then no. No sling shot jumper from Bonner equals no Boner
As you might already know, two of the bigger names in college basketball declared for the NBA draft yesterday. And rightfully so. To go along with top five consideration, Oladipo is straight with credits and on pace to graduate in May. Benny M? Well, we all know that man doesn’t need a college degree to become a self-made millionaire. Being able to competently micromanage your own money is “cool.” But I guess there are hundreds of financial advisors out there he can entrust his career earnings with if the young Ray-Allen comparisons don’t pan out, right? But enough with the god damn cynicism, here’ a quick evaluation of what each prospect brings to the A and how they more or less compare/contrast by…Chris Kattan? #HitEm
Ben McLemore—NBA Comparison: Hay-day Ray Allen, Projected Pick: #2 to the Orlando Magic, Favorite Movie: Lean On Me Because the Principal “Crazy Joe” aka Morgan Freeman Was THAT Dude
The lasting impression of McLemore is a kid with elite, fluid athleticism, great size for an NBA two guard and a stroke with nearly flawless mechanics/range for days. Not to mention he’s explosive as all hell in transition and can finish at the rim with power. But as we all know, this class is as loaded with star-studded talent as 2002′s draft (so not really at all). With that in mind, I try to not get too excited by the young Ray Allen comparisons and thus have felt the need to meticulously breakdown his game to a T. And as a result, I’ve came across some legitimate holes in dude’s game that force me to assess him as a longstanding pro with borderline all-star potential as opposed to straight up bonafide All-Star. Then again, he was at one point considered a power forward during his high school career. So its not like he’s played the wing his entire life. Couple that with the fact that Mac is technically only a sophomore in college just now emerging as a definitive lottery prospect and we might all be eventually wowed out of our skulls. Nevertheless, I’m sticking with my assessment.
Throughout the regular season, particularly in the NCAA tournament, the trend with McLemore was as his jump shot goes, he goes. To begin with, his ball-handling skills are no where near superb. He’s weak with the left and if you crowd him he’s prone to being moved East/West (side-to-side as opposed to down “field” for the noobs). Thus, when unable to find his stroke from deep, he struggled in using the bounce to get to his midrange and take over in the half-court. Combine that with his noticeable lack of motor when things aren’t flowing like they should and you’ve got the ‘Ol infuriating Jeff Green early season on floor disappearing act (not that he’s anywhere close to being in the vicinity of a Jeffrey comparison but hopefully you get my drift. If not, then fuck you). Sure, such an observation may in fact be a product of his playing within a system and feeling the need to defer to veteran Elijah Johnson instead of attacking closeouts and taking over himself. Nonetheless, that’s what I saw and that’s what’s on scouts minds.
Believe me, I’m as high on McLemore as anyone. And while I wished he showed both a better feel for the post and for the glass, the bottom line is the current skill set combined with his ceiling for improvement makes him every bit worthy of #2 overall pick considerations over Marcus Smart. If you need offense, go with Benny.
Victor Oladipo—NBA Comparison: Avery Bradley, But a Better Ballhandler, Projected Pick: #5 to the Detroit Pistons, Favorite Dish: Korean BBQ Because That Shit is Both Delicious and SPICY!
So friggin high on this kid. He’s that somewhat undersized, CRAZY athletic swingman who dabbles in a little bit of everything; makes unbelievable reads without the ball, plays the baseline to perfection, is as good as anyone in transition, fights for garbage buckets. Dude’s motor never falls below 100 mph (not in the out of control, “what in the fuck are you doing” type of way) and he sacrifices his body like he’s under-recruited and still gunning for a scholarship offer out of Dematha Catholic. Ultimately, its his motor that makes him an elite rebounder from the guard spot, a hound in the passing lane that preys on deflections, and an impact guy when his offense can’t get going. LOVE him.
While Benny M might reign supreme with the stroke, Victor undoubtedly has a leg up in the ball-handling department; Many a time have I seen him get beat to the spot, immediately change directions with a fluid cross and find extra space needed for that next bounce to get to the rim. Scouts have indeed been hounding him about his being prone to straight line drives, which in turn get him caught up with turnovers via charges. But I’d rather have a kid who’s overly aggressive and wants to plow through you as opposed to the Austin Rivers type who looks to shimmy and go weave around (that really worked out for New Orleans). Oh, and how could I forget: he’s without a doubt the BEST on ball defender this class has to offer.
What truly separates both prospects is Victor is just a tad bit under 6’5 and is no where near the NBA three point shooter that McLemore will prove to be. He was MUCH improved this year from beyond the arc (33%). But his needing time to adjust to the A’s arc and extend his range is what, in my opinion, truly separates the value between the two at this point. All in all, I see an undersized two guard with good enough mechanics to extend his game to beyond the arc that can wreak havoc on the defensive end for 97 feet, score off the dribble/off the ball and BOUNCE with the best of them. Not to mention he’ll be in Slam Dunk Contest within the next three years. Consider that a guarantee. I’m sure Lawrence Frank is salivating because that description and his highlight tapes (above) just SCREAM an Avery Bradley with better ball handling skills in the making. He’ll be a great compliment to Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe.
So after AB added ferocious bite to his pitbull bark and locked Golden State’s Baby faced Assassin into the quietest 25 points these eyes have ever seen (let us also not forget that he heavily contributed to Jarrett Jack’s 1 for 9 performance), Boston sports writers have been sucking his defensive oriented teet without rest. And I ain’t hatin’, because we are undoubtedly watching the best on ball defender since The Glove Gary Payton. Bold assessment to compare the former #1 player in the class of 2009 (wow, that makes me feel like shit) and once upon a time next Monta Ellis to the consensus choice as the best defensive guard in league history? I’ll gladly tell that noise to go royally fuck itself. But for now, let us not get lost in the comparisons, bask in the glory of this near 8 minute highlight reel of defensive prowess that I could watch for hours on end, and acknowledge that he’s allowing a league second best 0.678 points per play. Bravo, Avery.