More Fun With Comps OR A Cautionary Tale

So after comparing Gordon Hayward to a guy who can’t get any minutes in the NBA, I thought I oughta give it another shot with a couple other players.  Let’s dive right in, shall we?  Here are the NCAA career stat lines (here’s a hint: they’re both big men):

Ok, so Player 2 doubles up Player 1 on a lot of those counting stats; obviously he played a lot more minutes, although he only played for one more season.  Player 1 was obviously a more prolific rebounder and shotblocker.  But just because yer old pal Señor Sun-N-Gun is nothing if not fair, here are their career rate stats:

Now Player 2 had big advantages in minutes and points per game, and small bumps in field goal percentage and rebounds.  Player 1 had the advantage in free throw percentage, and almost doubled Player 2’s blocks per game.  As I pointed out earlier, Señor Sun-N-Gun is nothing if not fair.  So I feel that I must, in the interest of full disclosure, point out that I watched both of these players play in college, and I’m not sure if I enjoyed a single minute of either of their college careers.  You know why?  Because I do not appreciate watching big slow dudes play basketball.  And don’t worry; I’m an equal opportunity hater of big slow dudes.  White?  Black?  Asian?  Whatever.  Guys like this:

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 09: Danny Green #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels attempts to box out Kenny George #22 of the North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs during the second half at the Dean E. Smith Center on January 9, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina defeated North Carolina Asheville 93-81. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

or this:

Mar. 30, 2010 - Houston, United States - (100331) -- HOUSTON, March 31, 2010 (Xinhua) -- Yao Ming (L) and Shane Battier of Houston Rockets look on during the NBA game between Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards in Houston, south United States of America, March 30, 2010.

do not pique my interest whatsoever.  Seriously…watching them slog around the court like the mob has fitted them for cement shoes…praying that my further existence will never hinge on them winning a footrace with Dick Bavetta…no thanks.I guess what I’m saying is that I write this with the utmost prejudice.  Call me a hater if you like; in this instance it’s true.  I hate what these guys do to a basketball game and I hate that their only discernible “skill” is being tall (or “long,” as it’s now fashionable to say).

So who are these two fine specimens?  Well, Player 1 is Cole Aldrich.  And before I get to Player 2, I just want to say that the Cole Aldrich thing really bothers me.  Why?  Because Player 2 was drafted 15 years ago…and despite their similarities, it doesn’t seem that NBA GMs have learned a GODDAMN THING about the kinds of players that ought to go in the lottery.  Despite their statistical (and physical) similarities, Aldrich is being talked about as a lottery pick.  I’m not saying that Aldrich will be 100% useless in the NBA.  It would be disingenuous for me to do so since I have based this post on the comparison of their college careers.  Here are Player 2’s stats from his first three NBA seasons:

Hey, not too bad, right?  Especially those second and third seasons…149 starts, 35.5 minutes per game, 50.5% shooting, 70.5% from the line, 8 boards/game, 1 block/game, 16.3 points?  Not bad at all.  Totally useful.  I suppose, that while I might like to get more out of a lottery pick than “useful,” I would accept that as good enough.  A nice first three years for an NBA player.

However.  There are years that come after that.  Many, many years, if you pick well.  But our buddy Player 2?  Here are his next three seasons:

129 starts, about 26 minutes per, 44% shooting, 68% free throw shooting, 5.7 boards, half a block, 9.3 points.

Yeah, that’s not what I want out of my lottery pick for his second three years.  Those first three useful years do not begin to excuse the downfall afterwards, do they?

So what happened to our boy Big Country (that’s right, it was Big Country)?  Well, two things happened.  First, BC got a monster contract extension (6 yrs, $61MM).  Whoops.  Second, the NBA lockout happened.  And when the lockout happened, our boy Big Country took his downtime as an opportunity to EAT.  When the NBA finally decided to play that ’98-’99 season, BC showed up to training camp 40 pounds overweight…and somehow developed chronic knee and back pain.  Weird that that would happen to a 7-foot tall guy who weighs over 300 pounds.  Probably just a coincidence.  This is significant because there may be an impending lockout.

It’s also significant because Aldrich, to me, does not look like a guy who’s in NBA shape.  If you watched any of KU’s games against teams that did lots of running or had lots of super-athletic players, guess who spent a lot of time on the bench!  You think that gets any easier in the NBA?  Seriously, Aldrich is a guy who played pretty well against kids and amateurs.  What the hell makes anyone think he’s going to succeed against the best of the best?  I mean, I understand that guys like Chad Ford and The Sports Douche like him because he’s white; both of them immediately glom on to any quasi-talented white guy that comes down the pike.  But is there any right-thinking person who considers Cole Aldrich a viable lottery pick?

Learn the lesson of Big Country, people.  Unathletic white dudes who happen to be tall aren’t gonna cut it in the NBA…especially when you consider the possibilities for, um…body trouble down the road.

Tags: 2010 Draft Bad Lottery Picks Overrated

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