By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The week before the NBA draft is when I fit a year’s worth of college basketball viewing into seven days.
Actually, this is the week when instead of doing that, I just talk to Derek Bodner, who is actually doing that.
Bodner, who writes for Draft Express and Liberty Ballers, is doing now with the draft what accountants do for the week prior to the tax-deadline. Preparing and cramming for Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
I asked him some key questions about this year’s draft, and what the Sixers might do.
The Draft Overall
What about people who think there isn’t as much talent in current drafts as past?
DB: Where do you think these players are coming from? Where do you think NBA players are coming from? Are they just transported on to a team? They have to come from the draft. But what you’re seeing is a whole lot of international prospects which we don’t really get a whole lot of video footage from, and younger players who might not be household college names yet. I think it’s more familiarity, it’s certainly not [a lack of] talent.”
Is the draft as terrible as people say?
Is the draft as bad as people say?: It depends a lot on how you define terrible. I guess if you’re looking at the three, four, five, six pick in the first round, even the first and second pick, and you’re looking for a franchise player, I would be disappointed to get a top five pick in this draft. I would still prefer a top five pick than the eleventh pick, but it’s certainly not the type of draft where you think “we’re getting a Lebron James, we’re getting a Dywane Wade. We’re set for a decade.” I do like some of the talent from let’s say 15-25, I think that might be stronger than some years. But certainly not in terms of front-end talent.
Who should be the #1 pick?
I’ll readily admit, I probably overrate shot blockers a little bit, and defensive big men a little bit. Certainly not in terms of readiness, because he’s probably not going to be back until December, I would probably go Nerlens Noel. I really want a defensive big man, especially if you’re the Sixers, I want a guy who alters shots at the rim.
LISTEN: Matt Leon talks to Derek Bodner about the NBA Draft:
Maryland’s Alex Len:
I’m not sure he’s going to be dominant on both ends of the floor, or even one end of the floor.
I’m not a big Ben McLemore fan, in fact if I was drafting for the Sixers I would probably have him five or six. But if I was Cleveland I’d probably take a very hard look at him, because Cleveland is in kind of a unique situation, where they have they’re franchise guy, they have their #1 option offensively.
UNLV’s Anthony Bennett:
He’s a developed scorer at this point, and also a very diverse scorer. He’s the kind of guy that can step out and shoot from the college three-point line, maybe even extend that to the NBA three-point line. And he has legitimate post skill. And that kind of comination, there’s not really all that many options like that in the draft. The concern with him is that he’s 6’7″, and he’s a legitimate 6’7″. He’s not a tremendous leaper. The concern with him is finishing over length.
Georgetown’s Otto Porter:
Love Otto Porter, the big question with him is whether he’s going to be able to create enough offense to be a second option. A wonderfully deversified player, he’s the kind of guy who’s capable of running your offense through. Now whether or not he’s going to be able to fulfill that role in the NBA, I’m not sure he can create to the level he did at Georgetown. He’s probably a two or a three option offensively, but contributes in a lot of areas.
Indiana’s Victor Oladipo:
I think he’ll be the best perimeter defender, probably the best perimeter defender in this class, at least in terms of a lottery pick. He’s a very good pressure defender, and I love that on the perimeter. And what’s really separated himself this year from years past, people realize how much he’s improved his shooting.
Most Underrated Players in the draft:
I like Sergei Karasev from Moscow. He’s not a guy who’s really going to blow you away with his athleticism. He’s a jump shooting small forward who really has a feel for the game. If you’re picking a guy 18-mid-20’s. he’s probably got more upside than a lot of the guys available there.
I like Alan Crab out of California, he got kind of a bad rap this year because he was asked to be a #1 option and that doesn’t fit his skill set.
Most Overrated players in the draft:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, he was a guy who when he was going to be drafted at 20, or teens I liked a lot. But I don’t think he’s a top seven, eight, nine player in this draft.
Steven Adams, I’m not in love with. Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee. Basically you’re getting a bench big man. I’d shoot a little higher in this draft.
Sixers Draft Prospects
Will the Sixers trade the pick?
I think there’s a 50/50 chance the Sixers don’t draft at #11.
What’s The Deal With Indiana’s Cody Zeller?
I think the fascination is the combination of the Sixers need for a big man… I don’t really look at the Sixers situation like that. I think they’re in need of a shooting guard, a small forward and a center. So I’m not going to pigeon-hole myself into a big man. I don’t think Hinkie is going to do that either.
He has a pretty diverse offensive skillset. He has some moves in the post. He has, or at least looks like he will have a jump shot down the line. And he’s really insanely athletic, but you certainly don’t see that on the defensive end. He really doesn’t rebound on the defensive end all that well.
I don’t think he’s going to be a bust, I think that the minimum he’ll be a solid bench player.
Rudy Gobert out of France:
He’s somebody to look at. My cocnern with him is that he can never expand his offensive game enough that he can be on the court that much. He has the length to be a shot-blocking force. His lack of general feel offensively, his lack of a jump shot, and his inability to finish through contact are a real concern.
Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams:
I think the Sixers are interested in him. I’m not sure he’s necessarily a great fit next to Jrue. I know ESPN said he’s at the top of all the advanced analytics rating systems. I’m not entirely sure what that means. And I think when you start to talk about analytics like a black box, it’s really hard to quantify, especially when you’re talking about college stats.
With Michael Carter-Williams, I really worry about a) he’s going to need the ball to be effective and really utilize his strengths. And He’s not a great shooter, with his feet set or off the dribble.
He is a fairly unique player, and if he improves his shooting he can do some damage.
Lehigh’s CJ McCollum:
I don’t think he’s going to be there at 11. If you’re ok with him being a sixth man, probably a very good sixth man, I think he’s a very good pick. I’m not sure he could start with Jrue Holiday. A lot of times you look at the gaudy stats he put up, the competition was obviously not all that great. He has a very diverse skill set. He can drive, he can finish around the hoop. He has a lot to like, but I can’t see him starting next to Jrue Holiday.
UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad:
Probably the most polarizing player in the draft. I think the Sixers could use someone of his skill set. He’s got a lot of question marks. He’s not your prototypical scoring wing player. How he scores is a combination of shooting off the ball, and scoring around the rim. He’s a high usage player that doesn’t create off the bounce that much.
Would you trade the #11 pick for Thomas Robinson:
Who should we look for in the second round?
Bojan Dublijevic, Glen Rice, Mike Muscala, Tony Snell, Pierre Jackson.