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Terps, Hoyas, and Wizards

By: Willis

The NBA Draft Combine has begun, and with that, some answers about potential draft picks for the Washington Wizards will be answered. But before we look into what we learned on Day One, we should get one thing straight: The NBA Combine isn’t anywhere near as cool as the NFL version. Half of the players elect not to shoot, there’s a lot less sprinting for 4.2 40 times and a lot more measuring of body parts. Still, we do get to learn a little more about lottery picks, and get some interesting sound bites which can speak volumes about their personalities. Fans tend to read too much into particular quotes (oftentimes taken out of context), but who cares? That’s what this whole thing is about, damnit!

Bradley Beal

Age: 19

University of Florida, Freshman

Listed Height: 6’3

Listed Weight: 195 Lbs

Directly above this you’ll see Bradley Beal’s main flaw: He’s a munchkin by NBA shooting guard standards (in everyday life he’s huge). GMs and coaches like two guards who have length and fall within the 6’5 to 6’7 range. Before yesterday, Beal was considered 6’3, largely due to the fact that his player profile on Florida’s webpage said that. The good news for Wizards fans is that it isn’t true, as Beal measured out at 6’4 1/4. It’s one and a quarter inch, but an inch could be the difference between being picked third or fifth. To be honesty, it allayed some of my fears that he might be a bit too DaJuan Wagner-ish to hang in the NBA.

Not only was he taller than listed, he was also longer: Bradley’s wingspan measured out to be 6’8. So while he may not have great height, that wingspan means he could be more versatile than expected. It means Beal can become a very competent defender in the NBA (if he chooses to) and his rebounding ability might translate. Speaking of his rebounding ability, knowing now that he has a 6’8 wingspan, it makes sense why a guy his height could average 6.7 boards/game last year for the Gators. NBA scouts constantly preach that the one skill that almost directly translates to the NBA: rebounding. Beal clearly works hard to grab boards, and the Wizards could use a bit of that hard work.

Thomas Robinson

Age: 21

University of Kansas, Junior

Listed Height: 6’10

Listed Weight: 222 Lbs

District native Thomas Robinson was another guy who NBA scouts thought might be vertically challenged. Listed at 6’10 going into the draft, Robinson actually lost a bit over an inch when he measured out at 6’8 3/4. Power forwards come in lots of shapes and sizes, but nearly all of them are 6’9 and up. Robinson, without shoes, is darn close to that measurement, but I’m not sure it matters with this guy. Why? Because he also had a 7’3 wingspan. He’s not a pterodactyl, but he’s not Randy Moss catching balls midfield either. Chris Bosh manages with being a “listed 6’10″ guy just fine. With that wingspan, Robinson’s height disparity amongst other power forwards will be virtually negated. His rebounding skills at Kansas, where he averaged almost 12 per contest, should translate very well to the pros.

Perhaps the most striking part about this guy is the physical shape he’s in. Robinson is an absolute specimen; he looks like Michelangelo carved him right out of stone. Through the NBA Combine we have come to find out that Robinson only has 5% body fat. My body fat percentage in college was Natural Light, and I played sports! Thomas is a guy who is already about on par with Karl Malone (3%) and Dwight Howard (7.5%) in the elite athlete category. If there’s any doubts about him, it’s not going to be whether or not he’s going to blow up a la Eddie Curry at any point  during his career. That work ethic (notice a trend with these top 3 picks?) could be just what the doctor ordered for Washington.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Age: 18

University of Kentucky, Freshman

Listed Height: 6’7

Listed Weight: 228

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already has enough exposure and was one of the players who opted not to participate in any drills, so as not to hurt is draft stock. That’s completely understandable, because with MKG, it’s all about the intangibles. He may not jump higher than any of the small forwards in the draft (though he’s no slouch vertically), and he may not be the fastest or tallest (though he again is formidable), but MKG has plenty of intangibles to salivate over. A National Championship at 18, lock-down defense, and rave reviews from John Calipari always help a player’s cause. At the NBA Draft Combine Kidd-Gilchrist measured out to be 6’7.5 in shoes with a 7’0 wingspan and an 8’8.5 standing reach, which are fantastic measurements for him. However, when you talk about MKG it always goes back to the fact that (Cue the music) all he does is win.

Kidd-Gilchrist won a gold medal at  the FIBA U-17 games in 2010; and while he lost out on a state championship in high school, his college career says he could easily repeat performances at the professional level. He has a blue collar mentality, and he does and says all the things you want to hear from a prospect coming out of college. That being said, there were some sound clips I heard which were great, and some which were…well…not so great.

When asked about who he compares his game to:

“I like (Scottie) Pippen. I like Pippen’s game a lot. That’s old school. I’m only 18,” he added. “That’s old school to me. No offense.”

How he feels about losing:
“I just hate losing,” he said to a throng of reporters at the NBA Combine Thursday. Then Kidd-Gilchrist pointed to several familiar faces and added, “Why don’t you ask these guys? Ask those guys from Kentucky. They know.”
Good so far, right? Then…
When asked about going to a losing organization:

“I’ll make it work if I go there, I’ll make it happen.”

I might cry some nights,” he said. “But it is what it is at this point.”

(Cue record scratching and dead silence)……what?

My colleague pointed this one out, and in his words, “That’s sounds soft to me.” Yeah, it does. That sounds like a red flag to me, but again, I don’t want to look too much into one quote. Still, MKG is going to want to see if he can pick up an endorsement from Kleenex if he gets drafted by the Washington Wizards or the Charlotte Bobcats. If there’s one thing our organizations know, it’s how to lose! So if you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen because we’re going to drop games! What does he expect? It’s the lottery; losers play the lottery.

All in all, though, I can’t complain with most of what he said. He’s a nice kid who clearly shows up on the court better than off of it. He comes from winning programs and has been used to winning his entire career to this point. While I may not be too keen on him crying himself to sleep after an early season loss to the Pacers, I love the fact that he clearly hates losing. That in and of itself is a quality that needs to be instilled in this franchise. So give Kidd-Gilchrist a ball and some hardwood and watch him whirl. Unfortunately, unless he’s shooting for people off the court his jump shot concern isn’t going to get addressed anytime soon.

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Regardless of who we pick, Beal, Robinson, Or Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wizards are going to grab a hard worker. Despite their minor flaws, all of these guys bring it night in and night out on the basketball court. And unless Washington falls in love with Andre Drummond all of the sudden, it looks like they’re going to get a nice piece to the puzzle in this draft.

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