What the Deuce: My Feeble Attempt to be a NBA Scout

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Feeble Attempt to be a NBA Scout

Texas down 5 to A&M at the half. I watched about 5 minutes of the first half, so no meaningful observations yet. I intended to focus solely on Kevin Durant, potentially the top prize in this June's NBA draft but after Saturday night, I'm going to also keep notes on Acie Law, A&M's senior point guard. Law took over down the stretch against the Jayhawks, helping the Aggies come from behind to win in Lawrence.

Kevin Durant: I've always hated the way basketball analysts compare current players to past players - Dwayne Wade is the next Jordan. Lebron is a modern day Magic. The problem is, that these comparisons are too general. It's like comparing X and X because they are both Y. I caught myself doing the same while watching Kevin Durant, but the truth is that he doesn't remind me of anyone. During the 15 game minutes I watched, Durant reminded me of KG, Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller. On one defense to offense transition, Durant blocked a shot to himself, turned, dribbled to the offensive 3 point line, hesitated, and when a defender came out to challege, Durant made an accurate chest pass to a man cutting to the basket for an easy layup.

Durant's ability to play like a guard is what's most impressive about his game. He dribbles well (multiple times he led the fast break), passes well (3 assists), and has a quick release which enables him to come off screen and shoot a la Rip Hamilton or Reggie Miller. On an inbounds play from under the Texas basket, Durant curled off a screen at the elbow, took a quick shot (missed but fouled). At least three times he caught the ball behind the 3 point line and went straight up and shot. This allows him to keep defenders off balance because he can either shoot or drive around them.

Defensively, I had trouble gauging his abilities because of Texas playing a zone. Things he did do well: close out on the perimeter and rebound. I like the way he hustles and crashes the boards. Also, his length allows him go deflect passes (3 steals) and creates a problem when he fronts the post. I think Durant may need to get a little stronger for the NBA game, but according to Dick Vitale, Durant is willing to work and accepts coaching openly. Personally, I think he should be the #1 ahead of Oden but I'll assess this statement again tonight after watching Oden against Michigan.

Acie Law

It was hard to get a read on Law because he's a point guard and I think its the hardest position to evaluate. He's very controlled when directing the offense. He is pretty consistent from 3 point range and being a left handed shooter, he creates problems for defenders. Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle and was out until the around the 5 minute mark...also the time I switched over to the Daily Show. Law's final line: 21 pts and 15 assists. The points are impressive but his assist number shows his willingness to pass and get his teammates good shots. I don't have a grade on his ability to penetrate because A&M, in the half court, played an inside-out offense which had Law stationed on the perimeter. On the fast break, Law does a great job of pushing the ball and finding the open man. He dribbles when needed but he'll make the pass when its there which is critical because a lot of point guards singlehandedly kill breaks because they dribble too much. Defensively, Law fights through screens well and does a great job of sticking with his man. As a Pistons fan, might be a good late 1st round pick.


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