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  1. #1
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    An Early Look at 2015

    2014 was awful. We knew it would be awful, and it was still hard to stomach. The only thing that lessened the sting was the hope that Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins would be waiting at the end of our tunnel of misery. They were not (although I am cautiously optimistic about Dante Exum).

    We should be better in 2015, but in the much more competitive West, I still don't think we are anywhere near a playoff team. Some of our players should still show improvement, I think Trey Burke in particular should be better shooting with his finger more fully healed. Exum may take some time to develop as he is ultra-talented, but still only 19 years old. Bottom line we are more than likely going to spend the year in lottery position. There aren't any players with the media hype that Wiggins or Parker were getting, but there are some exciting players to keep an eye on.

    In particular, 2015 offers more potentially exciting centers and big men than we have seen in recent years. I have been keeping tabs on some of them for a few years and have been excited about their development. Here are a few players to keep an eye on, and get excited about.

    Note, I am including links to videos, but highlight videos against high school kids should obviously always be taken with a grain of salt. Watching 7 footers dunk on and swat the shots of kids half their size isn't particularly impressive, but some of their skill sets that can translate to the next levels is observable.

    1. Myles Turner - 6'11" 240 pounds, 7'4" wingspan. Will be playing for Texas. Turner can stretch defenses with legitimate 3 point range, and a deft touch around the basket for a seven footer. Can play inside and out, sometimes chooses to play too much on the perimeter for a big man. Length and timing could make him great defensively. Set USA u18 record for blocks in FIBA tournament with 18 in 5 games. Reportedly the only defender to give Jahlil Okafor problems in a competitive setting. Quick hands defensively. Early criticisms were that he was too slender, but has bulked up to 242 pounds in the summer, and could conceivably put on more strength and muscle weight with his collegiate and then professional strength and conditioning program. Early mocks have him all over the board, from as high as 4-5, to as low as 16 or not even in listed in some. Didn't always take over games scoring in high school, but questionable guard play and inability to get him the ball could have been one contributing factor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoX6y2PJeq4

    2. Karl Towns - 7'0" 245 pounds, 7'4" wingspan. Kentucky. Skilled big man. Can put the ball on the floor and take it to the hole. Moves very well for seven footer. Range out to nba 3. Great length could be a defensive force, but doesn't always assert himself as much on this end of the floor. Good rebounder in his area, average outside of his area, but could show improvement in this facet of his game. At times has a tendency to hang around the perimeter too much and doesn't impact the game as much as he could offensively around the rim. With his size, wingspan, mobility he could be a force down low if he asserted himself more. While he has decent weight for his size, 245-250 pounds, he does look a little soft. If he chisels out, he could be a scary player.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ5LtaMIttE

    (Kentucky also got 6'10" Trey Lyles, and return 7 footers Willie Cauley Stein and Dakari Johnson,and 6'10" Marcus Lee, all of which could potentially be first round draft picks. With so many guys in their front court, there may not be enough touches for all to show their potential, and some talented Wildcats could therefore see their stock take a hit)

    3. Jahlil Okafor 6'11" 270 pounds, 7'5" wingspan. Duke. Getting lots of early love in mock drafts. Was the McDonalds all-american game mvp. Not a personal fan from what I've seen in his career so far. Played with Jabari Parker AAU team in Chicago. Great size. Effective with spin moves in the paint. Slow, doesn't rebound out of his area, gets taken advantage of defensively, makes a lot of "ostertag-like" clumsy play, then turns around and shows a variety of post moves and soft touches. Will probably be a very effective scorer in college, and a double digit scorer in the pros, but he could struggle to be a dominant scorer, as so far in his career, he has been able to be bigger and stronger than everyone else. He is a solid 270 pounds, but doesn't look to be in great shape, and, at the nba level, will find defenders who are just as tall, and more solid and athletic. He could still be a legitimate candidate for the #1 overall pick, but until I watch him more in college, I'm not yet sold.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3YhUW2MGRE
    Last edited by ThaBoomer; 08-14-2014 at 12:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    4. Emmanuel Mudiay. 6'5" 200 pounds, 6'9" wingspan. Amid some controversy, decided not to attend SMU, and instead will be playing in China. How much court time he receives will be interesting. I think a year under Larry Brown would have really helped his game and his draft stock. A year in China probably won't really help. Hyper athletic point guard. Garnering comparisons to John Wall and Russell Westbrook for his explosive athleticism. Not a consistent outside shooter, but gets to the rim almost effortlessly, explosive first step, crossovers, good handle, has been a bit turnover prone. He was the player that impressed me the most at the McDonald's game.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wwPlw4Lmxs

    5. Stanley Johnson 6'8" 237 pounds 6'11" wingspan, sf, Arizona. Big, physical small forward. Already considered one of the best wing defender prospects in quite some time. Excellent on ball and off ball defender. Should be able to guard multiple positions effectively at the next level. Good, long wingspan, very physical, muscly, defender. Good but not great athlete, jump shot looks a little flat to me, not an explosive leaper. Type of guy you want on your team to d up an opposing team's best wing player. Will be a good scorer in college, probably not a number one or number two option guy in the nba. Elite competitor. Plays hard all the time, every single possession. Doesn't take any competition for granted. Will never see him coast. Played all five positions in high school, and should be able to guard 1-4 in college. Most successful player in California state history. 4 straight high school championships at Mater Dei, including two straight undefeated seasons his last year. Steps up and plays his best in the biggest games. Was able to take over on both ends of the floor when his team needed to. Uses quick cuts, decent handle, physicality to get to the rim. Not an extremely explosive leaper off of two feet, which could hurt him as a rebounder at the next level, but seems to have a tendency to be around the ball, and pulls in rebounds at a high rate, averaged 8.o per game.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDTVWw6zBXI

    6. Cliff Alexander 6'8.5" 254 pounds 7'3" wingspan, pf, Kansas. Also getting a lot of early mock draft love. Quick feet, powerful, difficult to guard. A little undersized, but has great wingspan. Very tough, physical player, finishes well and with power, plays well in the paint. Excellent rebounder as he uses strength well to seal players out and has the wingspan and mobility to rebound out of his area. Jump shot is not great at this point in time, exploded through and over defenders for dunks and high percentage shots in high school. Has the size and strength to be a terror in the post at the next level, but needs to develop a more reliable mid range jumper. Can be a good shot blocker with excellent wingspan, but will be giving up a few inches in height to most players at the next level.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89OcI_cDoD


    Several more guys I like I might post more later. Anybody else has prospects that they want to talk about throughout the year, do it here. For now, lets enjoy summer league and watching Exum and Hood dominate together!
    Last edited by ThaBoomer; 08-14-2014 at 01:20 AM.

  3. #3
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    fantastic idea! hopefully there's a lively discussion in this thread because it's never too early to learn about and pay attention to prospects.
    HAWKS 13 PREMIERS




    "We're under a level-5 quarantine, so I'm just gonna have to stripsearch you girls!"
    -Portman

  4. #4
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    I am not sure where we will be ranked next year. one key to how bad we will be is if we get hayward back. if we don't then we won't be very good at all. orlando won't be much better next year, philly will be just as bad as last year, the bucks could see an improvement in the win column, but not sure they are better then us yet. I think boston will be really bad. if New York doesn't get melo back they will be terrible as well

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhopisthename View Post
    I am not sure where we will be ranked next year. one key to how bad we will be is if we get hayward back. if we don't then we won't be very good at all. orlando won't be much better next year, philly will be just as bad as last year, the bucks could see an improvement in the win column, but not sure they are better then us yet. I think boston will be really bad. if New York doesn't get melo back they will be terrible as well
    I certainly agree with that. Without Hayward, even with improvement from the rest of our guys, we will be as bad, or worse than we were last year. Even with Hayward, I don't see us as a playoff team in the West. San Antonio, Oklahoma City, LA Clippers, Houston, Portland, Golden State, and Memphis probably are all better than the Jazz without any debate. The Lakers should be improved from last year just with the addition of Kobe, I don't know how high they will be in the Western Standings, but I would think that even an old Kobe, coming off injury keeps them better than the Jazz. Dallas is still probably better, although I see them slipping a little, I would think that New Orleans, with Asik and an improving Anthony Davis are better. I think Phoenix overachieved last year, but if they keep Bledsoe, they are still probably better than the Jazz. With Afflalo, and a little better health, Denver is probably still better than we are. Minnesota, if they lose Love will be fighting at the bottom of the league,but should be middle of the pack if he stays, and Sacramento still can't seem to put it together, despite some interesting, talented pieces. I don't really think Stauskas makes them much better, so I see Utah, Sacramento, possibly Minnesota, and who knows who else, depending on injuries, (New Orleans, Lakers, Dallas are one main injured player from having to scrap the season) imo.

    Of course, I am still excited and optimistic, but realistically, Hayward, as the number one option in a contract year, didn't show that he could carry the team, Burks and Burke could have statistically improved seasons, but unless Exum comes out more nba ready than I think, or free agency dramatically changes the landscape in the West, we are still well on the outside looking in.

  6. #6
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    Anything is possible. I think we have more talent than last year's Suns by a long shot. They went from awful to relevant pretty quickly. Its amazing what coaching and a new team focus can do.

    We might have 7 good NBA players on this team (Burke, Exum, Burks, Hayward, Hood, Kanter and Favors). That's a lot more than many teams have. A lot of teams rely on 1 or 2 great players, 1 or 2 good players and a bunch of solid supporters. Do we have a great star player? To be determined, but not many teams can boast the young, quality depth we have that covers every position.

    It all comes down to coaching. Can Coach Q and his staff get from these players what many think is there? It all comes down to coaching.

  7. #7
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    Excellent posts boomer and lo. I agree. We can't go into the season assuming Hayward will be the player he hasn't been yet. At the same time, we should expect benchwarmers for those who get in foul trouble all the time. This year is development year and whoever doesn't develop should be as good as gone. Potential means nothing any more for Hayward Favors and Burks.

  8. #8
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    Im always optimistic about our season. But this year more than ever, I feel like we could be really on to something. If our rise is similar to how the Thunder rose to power, then I'll be happy. We're not like the Bucks, 76ers, Kings. I think we got a solid direction and I see us winning anywhere between 35-45 games this year.
    FWITHMEYOUKNOWIGOTIT

  9. #9
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    The goals for every season should be the following from top to bottom:

    - Win Championship (maybe possible in three years)
    - Win the West (possible in 3 years)
    - Win Division (possible next year and beyond)
    - Make playoffs (possible this year)
    - .500 Record (possible this year)
    - Better than last year (better happen this year)

    Let this young team know what the goals are

  10. #10
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    7. Kelly Oubre, 6'7", 207 pounds, 7'2" wingspan, sg, Kansas. The next athletic, slender wing from Kansas. Given his position and similar build will probably endure comparisons to Andrew Wiggins all year long, beginning here. Doesn't shoot it as well as Ben McLemore, not quite as athletic as Andrew Wiggins, but no one is, really. Oubre, is still a terrific athlete that plays well above the rim. Changes directions better than Wiggins, quick first leap, and finishes well at the rim, draws fouls, can finish through contact, decent mid range shot, three point ball is inconsistent at this point. Doesn't work as hard on the defensive side of the ball, which can be said about a lot of young prospects, but has good length (actually 2" longer than Wiggins) lateral quickness. Probably not a #1 option at the next level.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYrO1DV1q8A

    8. Rondae-Hollis-Jefferson, 6'6" 220 pounds 7'0" wingspan, sf,Arizona. Another excellent, athletic Wildcat defender. Played a lot of minutes as a fourth or fifth option for Arizona last year, should be featured more this year. Combined with Stanley Johnson, Arizona will be very difficult to score against from the perimeter. RHJ is a hard worker, and hustler, scrappy defender who is able to keep in front of his man and prohibit players from even catching the ball when he efforts. Offensively, good mid range game, good vertical leaper, and actually seems to have a good second leap, which helps him with offensive rebounds. Good court awareness, ability to find open teammates when he drives. Not a #1, or #2 option offensively at the next level, but will get a lot of attention for an Arizona team this year that figures to play a prominent role in the national title race.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl1-V3ngYKs
    Last edited by ThaBoomer; 07-12-2014 at 12:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    With the 1st pick (from the Golden State Warriors) in the 2017 NBA draft the Utah Jazz select... Thon Maker from the Univeristy of (probably Kentucky)!

    http://youtu.be/BDZaJFd4aSk

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_russ View Post
    With the 1st pick (from the Golden State Warriors) in the 2017 NBA draft the Utah Jazz select... Thon Maker from the Univeristy of (probably Kentucky)!

    http://youtu.be/BDZaJFd4aSk
    Holy moly he looks like the next coming of KG. Yes please.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_russ View Post
    With the 1st pick (from the Golden State Warriors) in the 2017 NBA draft the Utah Jazz select... Thon Maker from the Univeristy of (probably Kentucky)!

    http://youtu.be/BDZaJFd4aSk
    Thon has amazing control and potential. There is talk that he might reclassify and be available for the 2016 draft. needs to put on strength, but he's still a growing kid! If the jazz get him I'm changing Hayward's nickname from g-time to G-String, so we can have thon and g string in the starting lineup. Not quite as good as when Memphis drafted Kevin love, then traded him when they realized with Rudy as the sf the front court would be Gay-Love.

    I think I'm going to call Hayward g string from now on anyways.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaBoomer View Post
    Thon has amazing control and potential. There is talk that he might reclassify and be available for the 2016 draft. needs to put on strength, but he's still a growing kid! If the jazz get him I'm changing Hayward's nickname from g-time to G-String, so we can have thon and g string in the starting lineup. Not quite as good as when Memphis drafted Kevin love, then traded him when they realized with Rudy as the sf the front court would be Gay-Love.

    I think I'm going to call Hayward g string from now on anyways.
    Only if they come out to Sisq

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_russ View Post
    Only if they come out to Sisq
    Nice

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