Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chad Ford Gives the Bucks an "F" for Drafting a Basketball Version of Mike Mamula

If there's one thing Bucks Forest hates, it's NBA media kiss-asses.

ESPN's soon-to-be-former NBA Draft guru Chad Ford is far from the worst of these creatures.  In fact, just about all of his colleagues are just as bad, if not worse.

That said, it is good to know that the 2017 NBA Draft will be the last Draft that Chad Ford will grade for ESPN.  It is doubly good to know because The Hawaiian Nightmare gave our beloved Bucks an F.

I should be clear: Chad Ford did not officially give the Bucks' Draft an F.  He gave it a C-.  But that C- is bullshit because the NBA is a competitive league.  When competition is involved, grades must be given on a curve.

You can't have one NBA Champion one year and three the next.  And, just like the NBA Playoffs has a winner and losers, the NBA Draft also has winners and losers.  The goal of the Draft is not to be the best you can be.  It is to do better than the other twenty-nine teams.

If we apply a standard 10/20/40/20/10 curve to Chad Ford's 2017 NBA Draft grades, here's what we get:

A
-Kings
-Sixers
-Suns

B
-Warriors
-Raptors
-Jazz
-Magic
-Hornets
-T-Wolves

C
-Wizards
-Cavs
-Lakers
-Knicks
-Trailblazers
-Spurs
-P-Cans
-Hawks
-Pacers
-Pistons
-Mavs
-Celtics

D
-Bulls
-Thunder
-Grizzlies
-Rockets
-Clips
-Heat

F
-Nets
-Nugs
-Bucks

You can argue the placement of some of the teams.  For example, the T-Wolves were bumped up and the Bulls were bumped down because a different ESPN NBA guy graded the Jimmy Butler trade heavily in favor of the T-Wolves.

There is no disputing the Bucks' placement, however.  They were the only team to receive a C-.  No team received a grade in the D or F range.

An odd part about Chad Ford's grade for the Bucks was that Ford seemed to like the Sterling Brown pick.  The Bucks need Wings who can shoot and that's Brown in a nutshell (assuming he's good enough to play in the League).

Where the Bucks felt Chad Ford's wrath was in the selection of DJ Wilson in the first round.  And I think know why Ford felt that way: Wilson is a basketball version of Mike Mamula.

Wilson has all the signs of being a Mike Mamula-esque workout warrior.  While Wilson didn't do drills at the combine, he still hit all of the Mamula checkpoints.  He had a so-so career, he finished with an epic postseason that showed his pro potential and then he wow'd scouts at the combine (with measurables, in Wilson's case).  

I am only hanging the Mamula tag on Wilson to this point in his career.  Wilson was over-drafted based on measurables and a hot stretch at the end of his time in college, just as Mamula was.  Whether Wilson turns out to be a maddening bust for a team that wears green uniforms is an unanswered question.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Bucks Forest Solution for One & Done

NBA Commissioner/Occasional Bucks Forest Archenemy Adam Silver mentioned recently that the League's 'one & done' rule for Draft eligibility is, "not working for anyone".  We agree!  (for once)  A ton of talented athletes enter the League unprepared, a ton of fans have little-to-no familiarity with their team's incoming rookie(s) and college folks (coaches, University administrators, etc.) are probably annoyed by the Semester At Basketball players that breeze through campus.

The initial assumption was that Silver was touting a system that would force incoming draftees to spend at least two years in college, but apparently it is not that cut and dried.  During an NBA Finals telecast a few days ago, commentators Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were openly advocating for removing any and all waiting time between high school graduation and Draft eligibility.  Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com wrote an article about the topic recently, and several college coaches went on record as being supportive of reinstating high-school-to-the-pros -- which has been banned since 2005 -- as well.

So, which is it?  Let talented athletes get some quick cash straight out of high school, or force guys who want to make a career out of basketball to get some real instruction and seasoning (because, let's be honest, there's very little at the high school/AAU level anymore) before entering the League?

How about they do both?  Bucks Forest's solution is a system that allows for high-school-to-the-pros, but gives a financial incentive to players who go to college.

The idea is to give players a higher salary if they wait to go pro.  So, for example, a player drafted #1 straight out of high school may get a $6 million starting salary, but a player who stayed one season could get $6.5 million.  Maybe make it $7 million for players who stay in school for two years, $7.5 million (25% higher than the 'one & done' baseline) for three years and end it there.

An important aspect of the system would be to continue to reward ex-college stars throughout their NBA careers.  Mid-level exceptions, max contracts and veteran's minimums could all be set 25% higher for players who play college basketball for 3 or 4 years than players who enter the League straight out of high school.

As with any rule change, there could be negative side effects.  If experienced college players were eligible for larger contracts, it could result in some teams lowering their draft value.  The Salary Cap might also need to be adjusted so that teams packed with one & done'ers wouldn't get an unfair advantage.

Whatever happens with the Bucks Forest draft eligibility solution, it was refreshing to this blog's ears to hear Commissioner Silver identify a real problem.  Now, if he would only do something about the officiating.