Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Whiteboard: 5 most irresponsible 2022 NBA draft prospects compared

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Player comparisons are an unavoidable part of NBA draft conversations, and are a handy shorthand for conveying a wealth of information about a player’s physical tools, skills, possible NBA roles, and more.

The problem is that more often important information is left out, or certain specific connections are focused too closely at the expense of others that may be more important to fully understand the player. That doesn’t even include lazy comparisons that rely on meaningless factors like where players are from, their skin color, or what college they went to.

To illustrate how these comparisons fall short, I’ve rounded up some of the ones I think are the most problematic during this cycle. I don’t want to call anyone specifically, so I don’t link to the source. But if you’re curious, feel free to google them and they’ll all come up.

NBA draft prospect comparison: Paul Banchero is not Ben Simmons

This is ridiculous on every level. Even if your understanding of Simmons is limited to his status as a college player and ignores his development in the NBA, the only real connection here is passing ability and size. Both players can serve as primary creators with power forward size and length. But Banchero’s offensive skills are more suited to actually playing the 4 — pushing elbows, facing up, using pull-up jumpers and attacking the rim. While he may start from beyond the arc at times, he doesn’t masquerade as a point guard like Simmons and bring the ball to the floor on every possession.

Then there’s Banchero’s stellar performance as a scorer. In his lone collegiate season, he went 44-for-138 from 3-point range and Simmons went 1-for-3 from beyond the arc. A similar percentage of their college shooting attempts were 2-point jumpers, but Banchero shot 38.4 percent compared to Simmons’ 32.9 percent.

The last factor is of course defense. Considered a strong, versatile defender after college, Simmons eventually made two All-Defensive teams in the NBA. Banchero is considered a very passive defender with a ceiling closer to average than elite players. Again, two bigs who are good at passing, but would be a better fit for Banchero than Julius Randle or Blake Griffin.

Dyson Daniels is not Tyrese Haliburton

Its foundation is a big ball handler with versatile connecting offensive play and defensive potential. The difference is that Haliburton was a very good shooter in college, even if there were concerns about how his funky shooting form would take it to the next level. Haliburton shot 41.9 percent from 3-point range and 43.4 percent from 2-point jumper last season at Iowa State, and was particularly good at pull-ups. Between the G League Showcase and the G League Ignite Tour, Daniels is shooting 30 percent from 3-point range and 47.3 on 2-point jumpers, even though he has only attempted 19 in 29 games.

Daniels is a very talented player with huge upside. But he’s still a long way from being the multi-layered shooter that Haliburton has excelled in his first two NBA seasons.

Ousmane Dieng is not Brandon Ingram

This has to be based on their physical characteristics as there is no other work to do from here. As a freshman at Duke, Ingram shot 41.0 percent from three-point range on nearly 40 percent of his attempts. As a rookie, his main appeal is his size and shooting touch, and even comparing Kevin Durant is (arguably) more absurd than that to Dion.

Dieng, for his part, averaged more than four 3-pointers per game last season in Australia’s NBL with a 27.3 percent percentage. In his three seasons with the CFDU, Dion attempted 335 3-pointers and shot 30.1 percent from the field.Almost every aspect of him highlights his potential as a wide ball handler, but Big question about his jump shot. He’s not the next Brandon Ingram.

Johnny Davis is not Manu Ginobili

This is confusing on many levels. Is it on a par with Argentina’s young player Ginobili? A 30-something veteran of the San Antonio Spurs? I think I can see a connection between them because they have a similar frame and a tendency to similarly aggressive play, summoning aggressive play from chaos. Before entering the NBA, Ginobili wasn’t a dead-eye three-point shooter. But if anyone looks at Davis and expects to find a sixth man who shoots 36.9 percent from beyond the arc and can assist on nearly a quarter of his team’s rims while on the floor, And can act as the main creator on a large scale, I think they will be disappointed.

Chet Holmgren is not Dirk Nowitzki

On the surface, this looks very lazy — pairing two big white men who can shoot. But it’s worth remembering that in the early days of his career, Nowitzki was a more mobile offensive player who did more work on the open court. But that comparison still greatly underestimates Holmgren’s mobility, ball handling, fluidity and passing ability on the open court.

Oh, and also, Holmgren is an excellent shot-blocker, and his defensive edge is probably at least as high as his offensive ceiling. There are some shadows of Dirk in Holmgren’s game and vice versa, but this comparison ignores many of the most meaningful aspects of each player.

Other NBA stories:

The Boston Celtics may be at the start of a long Eastern Conference domination, or they may have missed the best chance of winning a championship in this era. The outcome could depend on how they approach the 2022 offseason.

Heading into the 2022 NBA Draft, Michael Sarnes explores seven bold predictions that could end up being a chaotic night.

A new series on the Over & Back Classic NBA Podcast looks at players who can truly call themselves the best player on every NBA championship team. Part 1 continued until 1974.

Kevin Durant’s future with the Brooklyn Nets looks bleak and Kyrie Irving could leave. If he wants to get out, what is the best deal?

The Blazers staged a coup that allowed Jerami Grant to trade with the Detroit Pistons without having to give up the No. 7 pick. That could mean another trade is brewing in tonight’s NBA draft.


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