June 23, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Enes Kanter is the safest European pick - Terry Pluto's Pre-Draft Scribbles

1. This draft is a major, major minefield. That makes me glad the Cavs are at No. 1 and No. 4. They could have been at No. 4 and No. 9 or worse if the pingpong balls went the wrong way -- and this could have been a bummer.
2. Here's a list of the six players that most mock drafts have in the top six:Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas and Jan Vesely.
3. Of that group, Williams has at least played two years of college ball at Arizona. He's 20 years old.
4. Four other players are 19: Irving, Kanter, Valanciunas, Knight.
5. The oldest is Jan Vesely at 21 . . . He has the most European experience.
6. Irving has played 11 college games. Knight played a full season at Kentucky. Kanter played at Stonebridge Academy two years ago, one game in the 2010 Hoops Summit and not any games this season. He did practice at Kentucky.
7. The supposed top six players are two college freshmen, one sophomore, one guy who played nowhere and two guys from Europe.
8. Group think at work: They are in love with the tall guys from overseas. They almost penalize a player who spends more than two years in college.
9. Four of these guys are 19! How good can they be right away in the NBA?
10. No matter how they spin it, there are real reasons for concern with Kanter, Vesely and Valanciunas. They are big men (who tend to develop slower and later), and they have so little experience. Vesely can run and dunk, but the lean 6-foot-11 forward shot 44 percent from the foul line at his last Euro stop. He's never shot higher than 58 percent at the foul line as a Euro pro. So he's not one of those long, tall Euros swishing 3-pointers.
11. I find it hard to believe that all three Euros should be ranked higher than the likes of Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson and some of the other college players.
12 I am CONVINCED that Cleveland State's Norris Cole will have a better career than at least one of these guys in the top six. This is not to make Cole a lottery pick, but to say that there will be some major flameouts in the top six, especially with the big guys. Jimmer Fredette will be better than one of these Euros because he is an incredible outside shooter.
13 I did watch tape of the 2010 Hoops Summit, where Kanter dominated in a game with the likes of Irving, Knight, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger. At 6-10, 260, he bulled his way to layups and rebounds. But it was an all-star game with little defense and not much physical play.
14. I can't believe I'm writing this because he didn't play a game this season -- but Kanter seems to be the safest pick of the three Euros. He was on the Kentucky scout team this season, so at least he practices against good players.
15. I bet there is a Carlos Boozer (in a good way) in this draft. In 2002, the Cavs grabbed Boozer at No. 35, despite his terrific career at Duke. Scouts underrated him because they saw so much of him. I think that guy could be Kenneth Faried of Morehead State, who averaged 14.5 rebounds. He doesn't have Boozer's jumper, but he is a rebounding machine. I hear little about him other than Portland make take him. Faried had 20 points and 18 rebounds against Florida. It was 15-12 against OSU. He had 17 rebounds in the NCAA tournament when his team upset Louisville. In his last three years, he averaged 13-13-14.5 rebounds. Yes, it's the Ohio Valley, but he'll rebound in the NBA.
Published: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 12:20 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 2:32 PM

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