Here is Part Three of my
Final 2016 Boston Celtics
1st Round Mock Draft.
SV=Standing Vert, MV=Max Vert + SR-Standing Reach = MVR Max Vert Reach.
It is so odd to be doing a 3rd and even 4th pick for the Celtics in one Draft. They already have some of the best depth in the NBA. They have too many assets and not enough stars. "I don't think that any of us feel that this is our franchise," Ainge said. "This is the city of Boston's franchise with a great, rich tradition and history. We have a very, very loyal fan base. There's a lot of things to consider. When you bring players in and try and give them the best chance to win, it takes a toll on everybody." But this is an odd Draft.
The influx of talent by the Euros his changed everything in this Draft. Over half the Lottery picks are likely to be foreign players of some sort. From Simmons and Bender to Sabonis and Poeltl to Luwawu and Korkmaz. It has made picks 23 and 31 much more valuable. While the entire level of talent has change in the Lottery, it has also changed the depth of the latter 1st round picks. The depth in this Draft is from picks 20 to 40. You could see the Celtics get a better player at 35 than 23. You could see the Celtics take Zizic at 23, or they could take Maker at 23 and still have Zizic on the board at 31 or visa versa.
They could take a shooter here at 23, and then take a Big at 31 and 35. As much as they need a shooter, they could end up with three Bigs at 23, 31, and 35 if they are forced to use those picks. All this is good news for the Celtics. Sudden picks 31 and 35 have value. Veteran laden teams are likely to want some draft and stash Euro Bigs rather than the guaranteed money in the 1st round, like the Spurs used to do. The Spurs never want to use late 1st round picks. So picks 31 and 35 could be more valuable than 23. Especially when you consider that 31 and 35 are likely to turn into Maker, Zizic, Zubac, or even Zhou Qi. Bigs who can be stashed and forgotten for a few years if needed. I know it sounds crazy now, but there is still room for Bigs in the NBA.
It looks like more and more the Celtics are going to trade for a Veteran. They are shopping 3 and 23 like a crackhead looking to sell their XBox for a rock. But if they can't get the big deal done they will have to do some draft and stashing. So you better get used to some foreign sounding names.
Because they haven't been willing to tank they have have been able to acquire some interesting young talent. "We just haven't been willing to [tank], except when we were forced to do that with injuries and other circumstances in '06-07," Ainge said. "It doesn't mean that the way that we're doing it is the best, and it doesn't mean other teams aren't doing it the best way for them. We're all trying to figure this out in sort of a new era, and so I'm curious to see how it's all going to work out. I'm curious to see how much success we have and other teams as well." We have not seen a team in this situation before.
Where they are able to win and still have lottery picks. If Ainge can swing a deal or two for a big time veteran with this years Lottery pick and other assets, you could see a 15 year run as they add talent in the next two Drafts. This is clear intersection of paths to the Championship. Overpay for a big veteran, or stay too young and develop Bender, Korkmaz, and maybe Maker into players over the next five years.
It is clear that Ainge has decided that now is the time to make the big move. He has little birds all over the League whispering sweet nothings into GMs ears. The Pacers can't win crap in the next three to five year, so why hold onto to George? The Bulls are done as Playoff contenders, so why not start the rebuild with four 1st instead of one, especially in a year with so many interesting draft and stash guys. Philly is looking to blow anybody that will give them Dunn. Durant has to see the winds of change destroying what's left of Supersonics. Westbrook is gone next year, and he has to act now if he wants his bonanza deal on a championship team. He will never win it all in OK City.
They have so many assets that they can make any teams GM's wishes come true. "I think we're in a better position than we were [the last time they were in the Lottery]," Ainge said. "But you still have to have the good fortune of getting Ray and KG. You need some breaks, but you also need to create some breaks." They need that one big trade that changes everything. I'm not a Butler guy. But if he is the Ray Allen lure who makes coming to Boston palatable for the big fish than they have to get him.
The question is does Durant like this scrappy little team as much as we do. "I love watching our team play," Ainge said. "I love the young kids and the character of our team. It's been a joy and it hasn't been drudgery. As we try and go forward, whether we are or are not a championship contender, it's still a fun, entertaining, gritty team to watch." It is the type of team that you would think smart team players would like to watch.
If Durant sees the players, coach, and culture of the Celtics as a positive he could be here. "I know how important this time is," Durant said. "Like I've been saying all season, I have people I trust. I have all the trust in the world with them that we'll sit down and figure this thing out, figure out what's best for me." Adding a second All-Star for him to play with could be the final piece for him to decide he wants to win in Boston, like Ray Allen did for KG.
After his 300-Mil sneaker contract, and the 267-Mil contract he will sign after next season, money no longer figures into the equation for him. "You tend to hear about the market and the opportunities you can get off the basketball court," Durant said. "But Iím blessed, man, to be making what I make as a basketball player." So it is all about being happy in his basketball environment.
We do know that he is thinking about it. "Itís all about who Iím gonna play with," Durant said. "What type of people Iím going to be around every single day and Iíll go from there." Which is a good sign. But he has to act this off season, or he has to resign with OK City next year. So what is and what will be is still hidden behind the curtain, and left too uncomfortably in hands and mind of Durant, and other decision makers.
17. Memphis- Domantas Sabonis- Gonzaga, PF 6-10, 238, WS 6-10.5,
11.8 RPG, 17.3 PPG, 1.8 APG, 2.6 TO-PG! 0.9 BPG! 31.8 MPG, 61,1 FG%, 35.7 3PT%, 76.9 FT%
The Team: They will be looking for a more NBA ready player who can hopefully help them immediately. "Sabonis is so skilled," Seton Hall HC Willard said. "He's a tough guy to double because he passes the ball so quickly out of the post. Most big guys don't do a good job of passing it. He does a great job of passing it." He is not going to be a star in the NBA, he is too stuck to the floor. But he could be a very nice complimentary player, and maybe a starter some da
The Player: Domantas Sabonis: Daddy's Boy.
The Reason: They are looking to win now, and want some one who can play right away. Sabonis can come ff the bench as a rookie and rebound.
18. Detroit- Ivica Zubac, C Mega Leks, 19 years old, 7-1, 265, 7-4 WS,
10 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.3 BPG, 22 Min
had a great visit with the Pistons, and they really like the kid.
"One of the things we said in sort of framing what we want to do in the draft was that position wouldnít have any bearing,"
coach Van Gundy said after working Zubac out. "We're simply looking for the guy that we think has got the chance to be the best player inside of that rookie contract. You hope a guy becomes
[one of] your core [players], and you go beyond, but you have those guys for up to four years and possibly a fifth as a restricted."
Zubac has the talent to do that.
There are just not a lot of guys with his size and skillset in the world. "You want a guy whoís going to contribute to your team in that time and thatís all weíre looking at," Van Gundy said. "We think weíve got a pretty young core. Our team is balanced so we could really use help just about anywhere and so position will not be a factor in where we pick." Teams always need Bigs who can shoot threes and rebound.
He actually wants to play for Detroit. "My agent called me when we were talking before I came to the States," Zubac said in the Piston's facility. "He told me we are going to select only three or four teams who are most interested. Who are calling the most, asking for you, who are watching me the most in Europe and scouting me. So Pistons were one of them." It is not often a guy wants to go to Detroit.
The Player: Ivica Zubac: Length and Leap.
The Reason: Detroit is another team that seems to have the pieces and just needs experience. Zubac should be able to come in off the bench and block shots, rebound, and score a little. They need rebounding to help them progress towards the Playoffs.
Second Choice: Malchi Richardson SG/SF
19. Denver- Ante Zizic Center Cibona Zagreb,
6-11.5, 249, 19 years, WS 7-2.5, ST 9-3, 13.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.3 BLK,†
The Player: Ante Zizic: Pure Explosion.
The Player: They have had some great luck with Euros lately. When you are on a streak you keep going.
Second Choice: Demetrius Jackson PG
20. Pacers- Demetrius Jackson- Fighting Irish, Jr, PG 6-1, 194, 6-5 WS,
4.7 APG, 45% FG, 81.3% FT, 15.8 PP, 3.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG. 21.7 Min.
The Player: Jackson does nice job using his legs to go straight up on his jumper. You shoot with your legs and wrist, and he has that. He can set up for a second and then just go straight up and shoot, and still go over bigger players because of how mush he uses his legs in his jumper. Nice high release point for a small PG. His money is going to be made with his legs. His fall away is all but untouchable.
Great wrist snap on his jumper. He has NBA range. He can bounce pass it inside to the big off the dribble. I think he might be more of a shooting guard playing the point, but he can pass. He can attack right past his defender, draw the big man to him for a split second, and jab a pass to his Big underneath. Knows how to split the defenders with a bounce pass on the pick and roll. Knows when he is being watched, and is terrific hitting the cutter going to the hole. Terrific look away passer in transition. He can side step to the left with the lefty dribble, and zip a bounce pass inside with his left hand for a layup. His offense tends to be over the top, but his passing tends to be underneath with a lot of bounce passes. He will hop up sometimes and high lob the ball to his Big. He also likes to go to the backdoor pass beyond the arc.
He has developed into a great leader, which you have to be to play PG in the NBA. "Demetrius and Steve were fabulous," the ND HC Brey said. "But mainly Demetrius. He called a great game. Heís grown so much as a quarterback and a guard and a leader." He was the quarterback of the team last season. He also has a great story of great character, and has developed himself into a true citizen of this Country.
He has great quick hands and feet on defense. "I told [coach] that defense wins championships and it shows true leadership when you're able to step up and make key plays on defense,'' Jackson said. "My teammates look to me for that leadership. When I bring intensity and energy, they usually follow behind me." Great in straight up man and gets so low and wide and moves his great feet so well he makes PG look awkward.
He has nice long arms, and can get right up in the the gut of an offensive player and slap ball out with his great quick and hands and feet. When he wants to, he has the quickest feet on defense in this Draft. It is amazing how low and wide his gets and keep his hands and feet moving while he dances backwards and side to side. He can be a gnat in the press. Short but very strong, and it shows on defense. He can cover NBA PGs. Terrific aggression on double teams. He is at his best on defense when he get ultra aggressive in the Press. He does a nice job watching the ball, and staying with his man. Sees the floor like a point guard on defense as well. He has great hands karate chopping the ball out of the PG's hands.
He can more than two dribble to his left and has some handle in his lefty dribble as well. "When you have someone like him, he should handle the ball," Krzyzewski said. "He is a pro. He is a big-time player." He can also go nuts and do some "and one" dribbling sometimes. He might have to best handle in the Draft. When he gets defenders moving backwards with his dribble he has a great step back jumper.
When he has space in the open court he will often dribble lefty, which shows how much he had to work on his lefty handle. With Jackson the first thing you have to talk about is his explosion off the floor. He has some serious Vert. "I don't know why he isn't mentioned for player of the year in our league more," Brey said. "He didn't make the Wooden. I know I already vented about that, but he's a player of the year candidate. He is in the position to chase down a regular season championship, especially with what he has done for our team." He knows how to use his legs to score.
He can attack the hop with his elite handle and dunk over bigger guys with amazing aplomb. "Heís tough as nails, really hard to keep out of the paint," V-Tech HC Williams said. "He plays with great leverage, and his strength allows him to do that. Heís really good on shot fakes and drawing the and-ones. Very efficient at the free throw line. Heís a hard guard for anybody, any team, anywhere. He knows when itís time to get one for somebody else and knows when itís time to get one for himself." He is one of those guys that can get wherever he wants to the floor.
Terrific using the Bigs pick to go left or right and hit the jumper. "Him on the court gives you a chance to beat anybody because he understands his weaponry and he doesnít get tired,Ē Krzyzewski said. "He is an old, strong guy and he is perfect mentally. He is just really poised. He is a terrific player." He likes to spin away from guys and has enough quicks to get some space when he does. He is so much fun to watch when he dunks. Elite Vert and explosion off the floor. He loves to head left, and then stop and snap the ball back to his right hand and hit a teammate slashing to the hoop. He can use his great Vert to tip the ball back in the hoop off the offensive glass.
JUNIOR SEASON (2015-16): Played perhaps his finest game in an Irish uniform in his final game at Notre Dame, scoring 26 points on 10-16 shooting with four assists vs. eventual national-runner up North Carolina ... dominated the final 20 seconds of Notre Dame's victory over Wisconsin to push the Irish to their second straight NCAA Elite Eight, scoring a lay up with :19 remaining, stealing a pass and scoring another lay up with :13 remaining, then stealing the ball at midcourt on Wisconsin's final possession (with :03 left), getting fouled and hitting two free throw shots to seal the game ... finished 5-11 from the field with 14 points, two assists and two steals in the second half vs. Wisconsin ... named to the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team, scoring 17.8 ppg with 3.5 apg in four tourney games ... stepped up with 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half of the victory NCAA second round victory over Stephen F. Austin ... with the Irish down five points with 2:05 remaining, scored on a driving lay up, then hit two clutch free throws to set up Rex Pflueger's game-winning tip in with 1.5 seconds remaining ... 2016 Second Team All-ACC Selection (media and coaches) after averaging 15.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.2 rpg and 1.4 spg in conference play ... named ACC Player of the Week on Monday, Feb. 15, after averaging 22.0 points and shooting .444 from three point range in wins over Clemson and Louisville ... keyed Notre Dame's come-from-behind win over #2/1 North Carolina, scoring 12 points in the second half, going 9-9 at the FT line and grabbing six rebounds ... scored a career-best 27 points vs. Louisville, hitting a career-high six three pointers ... sidelined for the Syracuse game after suffering a hamstring injury in first two minutes of the Boston College game on Jan. 23 ... first career double-double in Notre Dame's win over Stony Brook on Dec. 8 with 19 points and a career-high 10 assists ... played all 40 minutes vs. Pittsburgh, finishing with 26 points on 9-18 shooting, including 5-10 from three point range ... flirted with a triple-double vs. Georgia Tech with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists ... started the season off with a career-best 27-point effort vs. St. Francis ... scored 20 or more points eight times in 2015-16 ... dished off five or more assists in 16 games ... scored in double figures 29 of 35 games played ... one of five Indiana natives on the Irish roster ... attended Stephen Curry Select camp in July 2015 ... won the camp's leadership award ... declared his eligibility for the 2015 NBA Draft on March 29, 2016 and announced his plans to sign with an agent, forgoing his final year of eligibility ... invited to take part in the 2016 NBA Draft Combine.
The Reason: They will be looking for a point guard in this Draft. George led them in assist last season, and he could use a guy who could take a little pressure off of him.
Second Choice: Malachi Richardson SF
21. Atlanta- Cheik Diallo- Kansas, 19-years old, 6-9, 218, 7-4 WS, 8-11 SR, 35" MV,
7-4.5 WS! 6-9, 2.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 56.9 FG%, FT% 55.6%
The Team: They have to gear up for the loss of Horford and/or Teague this off season. So they likely are looking at a power forward or point guard.
The Player: Diallo is a smooth 6-9 athlete who was a great high school player, but not very good at all at Kansas last season. "Cheick is as good a kid as weíve ever had in our program," coach Self said. "He works hard and he tries hard, and he has been a 10 as far as adjusting to a role that he obviously did not anticipate. And to be candid with you, we didnít anticipate it either." He only played 7.5 minutes per game.
Then he went to the Combine and played like he was expected to play at Kansas. He made himself a 1st round pick at the Combine, which is always a risky proposition. He had a terrible year last year. Needs to work harder on his game. Lacks fundamentals, and any offensive prowess. Terrible free throw shooter. He shot better form the floor than at the free throw line. "I was really impressed with him," coach Smith said. "Heís very active and very athletic. He's long and can rebound the ball. He obviously needs to work on his free throws, but he's a pretty good player for a freshman." He is another Euro player in this Draft, and is from Kayes, Mali.
He boxes out well on the boards. He can get from the box out on the defensive end to the offense rim as fast as any big in this Draft. He is one of the best pure size-speed athletes in this Draft. He is a good defender, but played a lot of zone at Kansas. He is excellent at moving to block shots, but not a lot of experience play one on one post defense. He will get low on post defense. Puts one hand on the back and keeps the other hand up to be ready to try and block the shot. Very nice job moving his feet when the other big tries to dribble past him. Plays low and wide. He can use his hips and elbows to box out.
He is a little gawky, but not uncoordinated. Great agility in the air. Great body control in the air. Anything you can do in the air he can do. His potential is all in his body. Great length and explosion off the floor. Great defensive instincts. Oddly, he is close friends with Skal Labissiere. "Every time I texted him, I'd say, 'Bro, what is your plan?'" Diallo said. "He'd say, 'I'm going to the gym.' Well, I would say I'm going to the gym too and go work on my post moves. He'd work on his pick an' pop." They're both Euros, which certainly means foreign born players in both their cases. They both are from very poor countries where there's little opportunity. "Even not a basketball standpoint, in life, you can do a lot of stuff here," Diallo said. "Because back home, you don't have many opportunities like that, so that's why I say you're here for some reason, you're not here to play around." So he is here to succeed.
He has some quick attacks right with a one dribble and shooting a little shot inside. He over relies on his great Vert. He has a bit of a winded up on his jumper, but otherwise has nice form. He can make the slick pass inside. You can really see the potential that got him to Kansas sometimes. He can catch the ball ahead of the crowd, one dribble to regain his balance, and hit the baseline jumper. Plays mostly in the post and doesn't have a jump hook. He really needs a hook shot or three in the post.
He did not get the minutes last year that a 5-star recruit usually gets. "Cheick will get the last laugh on everybody, and I think he knows that," Self said. "He knows he's young in the game, and he's got a lot to learn. But certainly his enthusiasm and his want-to hasn't been dampened at all by not playing as much as I know he wants to play." He showed how hard he worked behind the scenes when he went to Combine and dominated.
Defensively, he has an NBA body. He can block a shot, grab the rebound, and take it all the way down court for a dunk, but only if he can run and dribble in a straight line past everyone. He really flashes some top basketball skills sometimes. He is terrific in transition defense. He has great timing on his leaps and uses his great long arms to to take away easy baskets. He played a lot in the middle of the zone and gets up high. He has the knack for the spectacular. But too often didn't look like he knew what was going on at Kansas.
Second Choice: Demetrius Jackson PG
22. Charlotte- Brice Johnson PF, UNC, 6-10.5, 208, SR
8-10.5, WS 7', 38" Vert, 12' MVR,
17 PPG, 10.5 RPG,1.5 BPG 45 FG%, 35.4 3-P%, 2.5 SPG,
The Player: He can struggle with motivation sometimes. "I'll say this, I've been on his case for four years, I've pushed him, pushed him and pushed him," coach Williams said. "In the locker room [at FLA ST] was one of those really good moments because I stopped everybody and went over and told him I was really proud of him because that was a big-time game." When he plays hard his great athleticism really shows. He can dominate the boards inside. He can box out and leap up and grab the rebound with a bigger guy on his back. Great explosive quick leaps on the Boards.
He gained some great fundamentals at UNC. Great picker. He sets picks and holds them to the smaller guard is forced to work over him. Then he cuts the hole nicely, and can take the pass and score in a multitude of ways. Love his pick and roll game. I love how he traps the little guard, and doesn't just take off to the hoop once his teammate is past him. He pins him outside.
He has a nice hook that he can shot a floater off of going down the lane. Great alley-ooper off the pick and roll going down the lane on either side. Great alley-ooper period. Doesn't have a lot of range, and is best in the paint. But he can hit a jumper from 16 and in. He doesn't use his legs like he should on his jumper, and that is why he has no range. But he does snap his wrist nicely. He uses his legs better when he has time to step into the jumper. When he uses his legs, he can fall away a little from 16.
But sometimes gets too passive on the court. "I pushed him harder than any player I've ever pushed over a four-year period," coach Williams said. "Strongly criticized him, maybe more than any player I've ever coached. I still want him to work harder. The day I die, I'll probably send a message to Brice, 'You can do more.'" Might too nice a guy for basketball. You have have some mean to dominate in basketball. Look at LaBron, he was being bitch slapped, and even called a "bitch" on the court. Then he finally turned mean in the last three games, and became to best player in the world again. Like Brice, LaBron was always too nice on the court.
like his little jump hook. He can also hit a turnaround from either
block. He really goes up high and falls away, and makes it very difficult
to block. He can also spin to the middle for a little fall away as
well. Nice fall away jump hook when he gets bumped. He has a great
quick spin dribble to the hole that he can combo off the hook shot
from the block.
When he is playing hard he is a great rebounder. When he is hustling he can be the best rebounder in this Draft. When he is hustling he can beat all the other Bigs down court and score. Nice turn around jump hook. He also has a nice step though that he can combo off the jump hook as well. He has a great variety of hooks in the paint.
Doesn't always work hard on defense. Needs to get lower and wider in the paint defense. Needs to give consistent effort on defense, like he is going to the hole to dunk. When he plays with his head up he can see the driver and step over to rise up and block the shot. Nice timing coming across the lane to block shots. Amazing Vert in the open court, and can block shots over the square, which is just so impressive to me.
He also has some nice instincts on the floor on defense. "He's really a good shot blocker," coach Williams said. "He's a fantastic defensive rebounder, and at times he's okay as a defender. Other types he loses his concentration. Doesn't get out on the screen on the ball as effectively and consistently as we want. He's got a habit as a rebounder of going to get the basketball. That's a good habit. But I'm one of those guys that thinks you can do that and maybe get a few more if you go box out first. But he's come leaps and bounds as a defensive player." He can see the pass coming and get into the passing lane. Nice speed in the open court. He can take it to the hole lefty and score.
The Reason: He is the top rated guy from UNC, LOL.
Second Choice: Dejounte Murray SG/PG
23. Boston- Denzel Valentine- Mich ST, Sr, PG/SG 6-5.75, 210, MVR 11-2, SR 8-6,
32" MV, SV 27", 7.8 APG,7.5 RPG, 2.7 TO-PG, 19.2 PPG, 33 MPG, 46.2 FG%, 44.4 3PT%, 85.3 FT%,
The Team: One of the picks that haunts Danny was Draymond Green. Scalabrine claimed that Mike Zarren showed him the Celts 2012 Board. Danny had Draymond top 3. He also had Sullinger in the top three, and took him at 21. They also had 22, and for some reason took Fab "friggin'" Melo. That was a disaster. He had soccer hands, and was never able to overcome them. That seems to be the pick that wakes him up at night. Here is his chance to atone for that mistake with another 6-6 Izzo's product who is a better basketball player than his body would indicate.
He has some issues with his knee. We don't know what it is, but he could slip into the 2nd Round like Draymond Green, unless Danny stops him this time. He missed four games because of an injury to his left knee, but he hurt his right knee last season. He played through it but now there are some concerns. But if he is still on the board here than they cannot pass on him. He is as good a prospect as Green. They are different players who play different position, but he has as much upside as Green. Now that doesn't mean he is going to score 32-point in a Game Seven. What Green did in that series was a complete fulfillment of his vast potential. But I saying there's a chance.
Valentine can not only shoot, he got better as a shooter every season. In a year or two he could be a 40% shooter from NBA Three, if he fulfills his vast positional. He can step in and play right away, if his knee is sound. Plus, I just love the idea of Valentine and Smart playing together in the backcourt. Maybe neither is a true one or two, but both look to me like they can be great 1 and 1/2s. Both are winners and clutch shooters. Both could also play with Thomas, and Valentine would be a great knock down shooter when Thomas drives and kicks. The Celtics are desperate for shooters, and Valentine shoot 44% from the college arc.
He could also play with Bradley. He was one of the top passing point guards in the NCAA last season. I'm not sure he can cover NBA PGs, but Bradley can. Valentine could play the point and cover the shooting guard, while Bradley gets into position to shoot and covers the PG. He is one of the most ready players in this Draft to step in and help the Celtics next season. Plus, when they go small ball Smart can cover power forwards and rebound, and Valentine can cover small forwards and rebound. He averaged over 7 RPG last season, as a point guard. They could go Thomas, Bradley, Valentine, Smart, and Okafor, and play better than average defense on the Bigs, and certainly rebound. And if they want to go big, Valentine and Smart and play smothering defense against guards.
The Player: Denzel Valentine: Most Versatile Player In The Draft
The Reason: He is the best and most versatile Basketball player on the Board. If they want a player who could come in and contribute this season than Valentine is their man here. He is a great leader. "Obviously heís received a great number of accolades for his on-court performance, and heíll graduate this May," coach Izzo said. "But what makes him truly special is his leadership and his service. He felt an obligation to his teammates, his basketball program, his university and even his community. And every day that he stepped in the gym, he worked to get better and accomplish great things for others. He became the face of this team, and he handled it with class." Great team player. Great defender. Great point guard.
Statistically he was the best point guard in college basketball when he took over the point this season. "Valentine just took over," Kansas HC Self said after Valentine had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. "He was great tonight. I've always thought he was a good player. But tonight I think he proved to everybody he's an exceptional player. He totally controlled the game when they were coming back." He started garnering triple doubles like they were burps at a pig roast. He can come off the bench for Orlando, and give some minutes at multiple positions. As a rookie he could back up at: PG, SG, SF, and stretch-4.
In order to play for this Orlando team a rookie is going to have to find multiple ways to help them to get on the court. Orlando is like the Celtics. They have a lot of very good players, but no superstar or two. They really want to trade multiple assets for a star as well. The latest Michigan State prospect is not an undersized power forward, but he can cover the PF position a little and hit threes. Against Wisconsin in last year's Big Ten Champ game he was covering the 6-10 Decker most of the game. In Izzo's defense they had him covering different guys sometimes every possession. He started the game off covering Kaminski. Then switch off to Decker.
Then covered the PG and SG in the first half as well. He mainly cover Decker, but he is as versatile defender as there is in college basketball. He is as tough a defender as Smart in the post. He is not as physical as Smart, but has more length and is a better box out rebounder than Smart. If you want to go small ball you have to have guards who can cover PF and C in the post and still rebound like Smart and Valentine.
He led the NCAA in triple doubles last season. He was taught defense by Tom Izzo. Like Draymond Green, he is endless energy on the court, minus the crazy. It doesn't matter where you play him he impacts winning everywhere. He made clutch shot after clutch pass. Then made clutch rebound after clutch score. Yes, he is a Senior so the dreaded upside is not necessarily there. But he is still only 22, and Larry Legend himself said that players don't come into their prime until they are 28 years old. So he has six more years of potential to grow into.
Valentine will go lower than he should. He is a senior. He played with sore knees last season. He also is a little goofy, so he should drop. He is an ultra versatile player like Green. He covered PFs and Centers in college. You can see him on Tape covering all five positions at Michigan State. He mainly played SG, SF, and PG.
Second Choice: Ante Zizic C