"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, March 28, 2009

NBA futures for the 3 Amigos - An interview with Draft Express President Jonathan Givony

We had the pleasure of chatting yesterday with Jonathan Givony, the President of Draft Express, on the NBA prospects of the Three Amigos from Marquette. Jonathan was kind enough to to answer a few questions and give us his expert opinions on the topic.

Currently, Draft Express has Wesley Matthews, Dominic James, and Jerel McNeal projected in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft.

Question 1 - What goes into your evaluation process when looking at players and determining if they have a chance in the draft.

We attend a ton of games in person....we were just at the Big East tournament for example. After doing this for a number of years, we have a solid understanding of what the NBA is looking for, what type of talents, body profiles, athleticism, etc. that are needed to make an NBA team. We talk to the teams, to their scouts, we share information back and forth and factor all of this into our evaluations. Obviously different scouts have different opinions on the same players and their future prospects. At the end of the day, we use all of this information along with with what we see with our own eyes to make our evaluations.

Question 2 - What is your general opinion of the 2009 draft - weak or strong?

That's difficult to answer this far in advance of the draft. There are too many unknowns at this point in terms of who is coming out early or will stay for another year. However, there are 5 to 6 guys that if they come out could change the draft considerably, and it would have a potential effect on the three Marquette players because of where they are currently slotted in the second round.

Some others are down on this year's draft, but I think it's pretty strong and its deep if these additional players decide to declare. It's potentially missing a bit of star power at the top but there are quality players up and down. You might find an all-star in the group late in the first round. Ultimately you evaluate the draft after the players have played in the league.

Question 3 - Your 2009 mock draft has three Marquette players slotted for the second round. Who has the best chance to have a long term NBA career?

This may surprise some people, but I think it's Dominic James. He is a great athlete and has become a true point guard now. Certainly he is not a great shooter but I think that can be fixed with tweaking. His stroke needs to be dissected but I'm not as down on his shooting as others are because it can be fixed. He's a tremendous defender as well. Good point guards are hard to find and if he can stick, he can have a productive NBA career.

McNeal has a chance for a good NBA career and most experts would say of the three he has the best chance to stick the longest. I like his game a lot.

Wesley has good size but he does things that many other players do. He's at a disadvantage from that perspective because so many other players at his position have those same skill sets.

Question 4 - Do you think the Dominic James injury has hurt him at all with this draft prospects?

I don't think it will affect much. I wasn't able to see the game against Missouri but he will heal, he has time before the draft.

Question 5 - What is your opinion of players drafted in the 2nd round...are they better off being drafted or hoping for a free agency route?

GM's don't like to waste picks. Those are assets and GM's want the players they draft to make the team. It doesn't reflect well on them if they are drafting players that don't make it. So in my opinion it's better to be drafted then go the free agency route because you have a higher probability to make the team.

However, if you're not drafted it's not the end of the world for players because they can selectively target those teams that need their skill set. Of the three Marquette players, James might benefit the most if he's not drafted from the free agency route. James is a true point guard and teams need those skills.

Question 6 - In years past we have seen an influx of foreign players selected in the NBA draft. What are the foreign prospects this year?

This might be the first draft in a number of years where a true foreigner (Brandon Jennings excluded) isn't selected in the first round. It depends who from abroad decides to make themselves eligible. Overall, this draft appears that will skew more toward American players than in years past. The foreign crop isn't as strong.

Question 7 - Lazar Hayward will be a senior next year and should finish in the top 5 at Marquette in scoring and rebounds. What are his NBA prospects?

I like him as a player...he rebounds, he can post up and shoot with range, he defends adequately. We have a profile of him on Draft Express because he has possibilities. However, we do not have him the 2010 board right now. He needs to get better during the summer in some areas, especially putting the ball on the floor. His size dictates that he would be a small forward in the NBA and he doesn't have a high enough skill set right now in putting the ball on the floor (left hand is weak, dribbles in straight line), creating his own shot, etc. He has played the power forward spot at Marquette but his size dictates he would be a small forward in the NBA. He doesn't seem to have the quickness or ball handling ability to play that position in the NBA. We'll be monitoring him next year.

Jonathan has been scouting potential NBA players for years along with consulting for various professional teams. He is currently blogging through the NCAA tournament.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Jerel for 2nd Team All American Honors.