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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Five Biggest Myths of the 2013 NBA Draft

Statement #1: Otto Porter only just started shooting well this year.

A lot of people think Otto Porter's shooting is a fluke because only shot 22% from 3-pt range his freshman season. While that is reasonable, people are missing how great Porter was shooting mid-range jumpers his first season. Porter didn't play AAU and the 3-pt ball wasn't stressed to him as much as most kids. Instead, shooting mechanics were a priority and his are very consistent. According to hoop-math.com, Porter shot an outstanding 51% on 2-pt jumpers last season. This season he worked to extend his range back a few feet which resulted him him taking twice as many threes while making 42.2% of them. Porter will have to adjust even farther to the NBA line, but make no mistake that he can shoot the ball. His situation from year one to two is a lot like a young power hitter who didn't hit a lot of homers his first season, but had a lot of doubles. You know the power is there, it was just shown in a different way.

Statement #2: Cody Zeller will be a major reliability on defense

News flash: Today's NBA is different from the NBA from a decade or two ago. Being a big, strong post defender isn't priority number one for your defensive bigs. NBA bigs mobility and basketball IQ are tested more than ever now and Zeller measures strongly in both facets of the game. Zeller was very good defending in space at Indiana and did a great job hedging on screens. He beats players to spots on the floor to pick up charges, doesn't foul a lot, and has a good motor. While he isn't a big shot blocking deterrent at the rim, he will be great guarding finesse bigs and power forwards. He's not a center and should be paired with a defender who can compliment him with shotblocking ability.

Statement #3: Anthony Bennett has a polished offensive game

This is also false. Anthony Bennett has all the tools to have a very diverse and polished offensive game, but he didn't show it in college. His play in the halfcourt mainly consistent of him drifting around the perimeter and hitting jump shots - which he is very good at. Bennett showed glimpses of his offensive gifts in transition by taking the ball the length of the court, but he was much less aggressive in the halfcourt. Bennett didn't score often from the post nor did he ever show the ability to take defenders off the perimeter. Both of these things that Bennett has the tools to do, but he still has to show it on the court. His offensive game has a lot of potential, but let's not anoint him great at anything yet.

Statement #4: CJ McCollum is the next Damian Lillard

The success of Damian Lillard and the timely rise to stardom of Steph Curry has created a perfect storm for CJ McCollum. While I have always had him in the top ten, he doesn't have the same potential as either of the aforementioned players. However, the success of both players will have a positive effect on his draft stock and it should. You can't ignore how well the last two high scoring lottery picks from small schools has fared and McCollum has a pretty high floor. He's a cerebral kid on and off the court and can flat out score the ball. He's a very hard worker and seems destined to carve out a scoring role off the bench at the very least.

Statement #5: Jamaal Franklin has the potential to be an All-Star

The role that Jamaal Franklin will play at the next level seems to be far from a consensus. People see athleticism and creativeness on offense and automatically relate it to a high upside. Truth is, Franklin is a streaky shooter who possesses average ball handling ability and decision making. That severely limits his upside on offense. He's not a guy you want making plays for you in the NBA. However, Franklin is a tough player who gets after it on defense with great instincts. A coach will need to be able to tone down his offensive game, but if Franklin is willing, he can become a good NBA defender. He'll be able to spark the offensive at times too, but that won't be his game. Franklin's character has both been questioned and praised by onlookers, but it sounds like he's just a guy whose competitiveness has been directed the wrong way at times. Early word out of workouts is that Franklin has been a big time positive presence cheering on fellow prospects. Thats a great sign.

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