Saturday, July 17, 2010

Still learning. Vegas lends clarity?

I am still learning basketball. ...Yes, I  said it. I do not know it all. 

I never thought that I did - although I'm quite sure my blogs come off very cocky to many who are actually employed by NBA clubs. My passion for basketball coupled with an obsessive personality can be easily confused for over-confidence in basketball knowledge. 

I am a FREAK. I study numbers - even on vacation. I've been doing this all of my adult life from the day I stumbled onto the TENDEX Efficiency Rating system. 

But I am still learning.

In recent years - I've accepted that efficiency isn't everything. I've looked closer at personalities, and body-types. I've come to have a better respect for defensive minded players. 

I know that Summer League is just that; a setting where the majority of players are in their first or second year.  That said, it was good to be reminded yesterday by Geoff Petrie, Sacramento Kings President of Basketball Operations that, "it's just summer league".

True. 

Teams ARE experimenting. I guess I just feel strongly that some teams are wasting time (which is not efficient) trying to see if player X can play position Y.  NBA executives at the highest levels often have not had the time to examine non-NBA players closely. They are too consumed with the grind of their own NBA team.
It is understandable.

My wish is for a team to have enough trust in a guy like me who can tell them, with a high degree of accuracy, that player X is not capable of playing position Y in the Association. I know this because I've watched the player and have meticulously scoured his career numbers.

Is the past always a predictor of the future? No. But if a guy had more turnovers than assists on a good team in his Senior year in the Big 12, I'll safely advise that the cat is not a Point Guard. It matters not what his size is or if he can dribble like Curly Neal. 

That is just one simple example.

I've been obsessing over the NBA since 1985. Twenty-five years later, as a married man with no children and a limited work schedule (TV - auto racing), I'm at a point where basketball player efficiency/evaluation is second nature to me. I simply do not have distractions that the average man my age does.

I've often wondered if I could hang with NBA personnel when it comes to evaluating talent. I'm confident now - even more so - after attending this Summer League that I can. I overheard some seriously questionable sentences uttered from the mouths of NBA coaches, and front office types while I was here. There are players playing way out of position. There are players with skill, and talent that are not playing while scrubbier guys are getting minutes.

This is the problem.

In my mind - I already KNOW certain things about players that some NBA teams are still trying to figure out. Because I'm just some Joe Blogger in the view of Mr. NBA Guy, I am dismissed as nothing more than a weird fan.

Maybe someday someone other than (one unnamed NBA executive) will recognize that I actually know more about domestic talent aged 18-35 than a fair percentage of those employed. 

I would be cheaper than the wasted money on high picks that I knew would be busts. Not to mention that every time a team screws up a pick or a free agent signing they are just agonizingly prolonging their ineptitude. I'm not hard to get along with. I listen. And I would only speak up when I was overly confident that the team was about to do something really dumb (like draft Reece Gaines, or Antoine Wright, or Mardy Collins).

There are guys here in Vegas that could be on NBA teams right now.  Kyle Hines (the best offensive rebounding forward here), Richard Hendrix, Pooh Jeter, and Marqus Blakely are guys that most likely will join the long list of players that we have said would succeed in the NBA while others thought we were wrong, or sometimes even crazy.

Anyone can spot the obvious talents. My specialty is finding that guy that can help a team and at the same time be a bargain relative to the NBA pay scale. Our latest successes reflect how much better we've become at talent evaluation. We were ahead of the game by leaps and bounds on Steph Curry, Ty Lawson, Joakim Noah, Danny Granger, Rajon Rondo, Carl Landry, Wes Matthews, and Marc Gasol to name a few.

As my wife reminded me - no one else is going to do my "public relations". So forgive me for for patting myself on the back and cheerleading in this blog tonight.

I just want a paying gig for my basketball jones. That is all. As James Brown said, "I don't want nobody to give me nothin'. Open up the door. I'll take it myself."



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