Friday, June 24, 2011

Honeycutt, Malcolm and the Jimmer in the NBA

- Honeycutt was drafted 35th overall by my Sacramento Kings.  Malcolm Lee went 8 picks later at number 43 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Now we know that both should've stayed in school one more year.

Tyler Honeycutt's drop to the 2nd round after just about every expert had him in the early 20s of the 1st round was surprising to say the least.  Perhaps his inability to lift the 185lb bar even once at the combine (while Malcolm lifted it a manly 17 times - just 2 short of Derrick's Williams' combine high) just reinforced the sense that he didn't have the drive to be as good as he could.  Since we all knew before last season that he was planning to leave early, its surprising that he never worked out to get stronger - at least strong enough to lift the standard 185lb bar that he knew he'd face at the combine.  Honeycutt only weighs about 185lbs - any athlete should be able to lift at least their body weight.  In addition to that, his nonchalant attitude all season (evidenced by repeated lackadaisical turnovers) was probably noticed by NBA GMs who didn't want to invest 1st round money on him.  Could he have improved his draft stock by returning to UCLA?  Only if he got noticeably stronger and showed an greater inner fire to win.

Malcolm Lee is probably the opposite case.  To me, it seemed that he actually did as well as he could in efforts to raise his draft stock and his defensive prowess may have been close to elevate him to last 1st round status.  However, his inconsistent jump shot and offensive game held him back.  There is no question in my mind that had he returned to school to hone those skills as well as elevate his national exposure, he may have been able to go 1st round next year.

Now, embarrassingly, UCLA does not have a 1st round draft pick while a non-basketball school like Texas had 3.  I guess it is indicative to the state of our program.  I wish those guys the best and I hope they do not water down the awesome contributions of UCLA to the NBA, which is easily the best of any college.

- The Kings traded away Udrih's contract for Salmon's and traded down from #7 to #10 in order to draft Jimmer Fredette.  A strange deal to begin with, but I've never been a big fan of Beno or his ridiculous contract.  Anyway, true Kings fans had to be kicking themselves when Knight dropped down to the 7th pick and we didn't have it anymore.  Personally, I wanted the explosively quick Kemba Walker instead but of course he was nabbed by Charlotte the pick before at #9.  But the truth of the matter is, Fredette will probably sell a lot of tickets and increasing the Kings' financial situation and city interest in building a new stadium in Sacramento takes priority over winning on the court right now.

At least, we have brought in a hard-working, high character guy to balance out the headache that is DeMarcus Cousins.  Also, it helps that he's a great shooter who can spread the floor.  The problems I see are that Jimmer needs a lot of shots and he isn't a pure point guard distributor that we may need with guys like Thornton, Salmons, Evans and Counsins in rotation.  Oh well, at the very least, perhaps we can become a high-tempo, high-scoring team.  As for real future playoff success, we'll need a MVP-type all-star which I do not believe we currently have.  And believe me, we're not getting one through free agency.

- I haven't mentioned the NBA playoffs even though I started watching almost every night after the Lakers were embarrassingly swept out by the Mavs.  The 4th game beatdown along with Odom and Bynum's embarrassing petulance made it the best game I've seen in years.  No Kobe 3 peat of his own means he's clearly inferior to Jordan.

As for the Finals, I was actually initially rooting for Lebron to finally win and take over the mantle of best player in the NBA from Kobe.  What did we learn starting in game 4?  Lebron's maddening lack of desire to even try in the 4th quarter showed that last year's Boston series meltdown was not an aberration.  He doesn't have the Jordan killer-instinct to win at all costs.  He doesn't even have Kobe's desire to have the ball in his hands when it counts.  That playoff game vs the Pistons a few years ago when he scored 25 of Cleveland's last 27 points - that was the aberration.  There is really something strange going on in his head.

Nobody can guard him when he wants to get to the hoop.  Nobody.  He will almost always either get a good shot or get fouled.  Why was he so passive?  Why was he playing hot potato in crunchtime?  For him to become the champion that he was physically gifted to be, he will have to transform himself and string together 4th quarter playoff performances over the rest of his career to shake the doubt we now all have about him.  It is thus far such a waste to see someone with unsurpassed talent and potential just not produce as he should.

On the other hand, how can you not be happy for Dirk?  The way he performed in the clutch is simply a result of all that repetition in practice of his shot and his offensive moves.  He had practiced them so much that he was able to comfortably execute them when everything was on the line.  Lebron hadn't and therefore couldn't.

- Ron Artest has filed to change his name to 'Metta World Peace'.

I've got nothing else to say.

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