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Saturday, June 25, 2011

NBA Draft talent 

The Clarion Content can't comment on the Europeans leaguers and other global b-ballers who were drafted by NBA franchises the other night in what Bill Simmons says will be remembered as the "Foreigner Draft."

The Clarion Content does have some strong opinions on the players that got drafted, starting with Kyrie Irving. Word out of Duke is that he is a strong character kid, hope so, because it is very tough to get drafted number one overall by the franchise that lost LeBron when you have played less than twenty college basketball games and don't have the body of NFL defensive end. We think Irving becomes a successful pro, with a reasonable NBA career, never quite an all-star, but a nice blend of some of the skills of say Mo Cheeks and Vinny, "Microwave" Johnson. Good distributor, streaky hot shooter, small defender who has to play the point or is a sixth man, a 3rd guard.

We would rate him a the fourth best NBA career arc coming out of this draft. Number one we like Nolan Smith of Duke and now the Portland Trail Blazers. A leader with guts and heart, Smith is a tenacious battler who will win off the dribble and be able to get his own shot, even against much bigger players. He is unselfish to a fault and this will lead him to even greater heights in the NBA than he reached in college.

Number two we like, Derrick Williams. The guy can score. He can play the three or the four in today's NBA. He is the anti-Michael Beasley, who the Clarion Content warned about before he was drafted, Williams is level-headed and a diligent worker. Unfortunately, he got drafted by a team that is schizophrenic. They have Beasley, are run by Kahn, are dangling their coach Kurt Rambis from a meat hook, haven't integrated Ricky Rubio... etc. We do like Kevin Love.

We agree with the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, whom we rate as the number three NBA career in this draft. Guys who have little help in college don't look as good as they are because of the focus the other team's defense and coaching put into stopping them individually. This same issue applies to another guy who will definitely have a long NBA career, Jimmer Fredette. Other teams keyed on him constantly, built their defensive game plans around stopping him, and the guy still scored with minimal quality help around him. These kind of guys succeed in the pros. Steph Curry anyone? The difficulty is identifying them.

We rate Leonard above Kyrie Irving, Fredette below. Time will tell how good our eyes was.

Top College Draft Prospects 20111

1) Nolan Smith, Duke
2) Derrick Williams, Arizona
3) Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
4) Kyrie Irving, Duke

Kawhi Leonard

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I think Clarion has let homerism get the best of them. Smith is a battler but didn't play as well without the ball in his hands and struggled to get to the rim against more athletic players. I think he could be a solid pro but number one out of this draft? He's not a great shooter and guys are going to lay off him.
Albeit this was a historically weak draft...
AC- You know the Clarion Content's sports editor is a homer for sure, but who do you think is going to better than Nolan Smith out of the college players in this draft?

Smith is an excellent dribbler and off-balance shotmaker in traffic. Agreed, he is not a super pure shooter, but he does not force his shot. He is a great teammate, beloved and a leader, in the Derek Jeter mold.

Totally comfortable standing by the prediction of Nolan Smith as the best NBA career of the college players coming out of this draft, only Derrick Williams, Ariz, seems like a threat to that claim from here.
Taking some heat, and willing to concede that Kyrie Irving might surpass Nolan Smith, but overall mighty proud of our 2011 NBA Draft predictions. Called three of the top four performers. See here http://clarioncontent.blogspot.com/2011/06/nba-draft-talent.html
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