Ethan, I know John Wall and Kyrie Irving is no John Wall

The other day, friend/cohort Ethan Sherwood Strauss explored the idea that Kyrie Irving in all of his efficient splendor would end up being a better point guard than John Wall.

The arguments that Ethan made are compelling and hard to argue with. Kyrie Irving is a lot more athletic than anybody wants to give him credit for. Greg Anthony on NBATV put it brilliantly when he said that Irving doesn’t play like an athletic point guard, but it doesn’t mean he’s not athletic. It’s sort of how Chris Paul and Deron Williams play the game. I’m not saying Irving will be nearly as good as those guys, but they just don’t rely on their athleticism to dominate.

Also, Irving’s production in his short time at Duke was more efficient than John Wall’s one year at Kentucky. It’s easy to say that the sample size for Kyrie is just too small to know if he’s legitimately efficient, but it’s not like one college season is that much more telling. Both of these guys had extremely short college careers and I doubt we’d see a whole lot of change in the efficiency numbers if Irving played the full 30+ games this past year.

But there is one thing Ethan failed to mention about Wall when comparing Kyrie Irving to him…

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HoopSpeak Network

HoopSpeak Live Ep. 7

Today’s guests: Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe, ESPN TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz and Henry Abbott

To submit text questions: just sign in and ask away! To video chat with us and our guests: Find a spot without too much background noise, sign in, fire up the web cam, and be sure to have your headphones (to eliminate echo)!

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Will Irving be better than Wall?

Kyrie's game is this awesome, duh

Kyrie Irving and John Wall invite comparison, but so rarely is the offer accepted. In a universe where the public frames dissimilar basketball strangers like LeBron and Kobe as heated rivals–in the way a child narrates a fight between toys that have no real-world beef–I expected more “Irving vs. Wall” talk. But, the 10’ and 11’ number ones aren’t thought of as sharing cultural airspace despite sharing a draft position, playing position, NBA conference.

If you look for Irving vs. Wall comps, most of that stuff is from over a year ago. It was easier to think of Kyrie as the “next John Wall,” before the Jersey kid got on the national stage. When Irving started playing at Duke, two things happened: 1. He produced with greater efficiency than John Wall did at Kentucky 2. People were not so enthralled by his athletic promise, like they were with John Wall’s.

Then Kyrie got injured, retained his number one status, a status this is currently cited as an indictment of the 2011 draft. “The next John Wall” is now “the reason this draft sucks,” mostly on account of his smallish 11 game sample size. Also, Irving is not thought of as a franchise-morphing superstar in the John Wall mode. Unlike his number-one pick predecessor, Kyrie is a hype orphan. The stat-lovers who should be touting Irving’s metrics are scared by the sample-size. The scouts who should love his athletic, slashing play, prefer Wall’s combine-tangible physical prowess.

Kyrie Irving looked to be the much better college basketball player in his brief stint. As Beckley so often says, he played “a perfect 11 games.” I watched most of these, and was struck by the athleticism that many draftniks find lacking. Irving burned opponents on coast-to-coast

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Notes from Newark

Here are some scattered observations from my Draft wanderings:

My favorite thing I saw outside the stadium aside from the spirited games of 2-Ball was a middle-aged guy in a BYU polyester golf shirt and matching belt trying to find a friend. In describing where he was relative to the parking lot, he said “I can hit my driver to it from where I am.” Classic Newark. I was credentialed for the Draft late Wednesday, so when I went to check in to the draft they didn’t have my information and I had to get my picture taken and a pass printed on site. This was no big hassle, except I still have a black eye from an (assumedly) inadvertent elbow I took playing hoops last weekend. I had just gotten my stitches out Thursday morning, and the fading, light-purple circle around my eye now looks like artistically applied eyeshadow. Great first impression, and a great look on my press pass. The other “hiccup” was that, in part because no one has heard of me and in part because I have a goofy first name, the person printing my pass decided that my middle name, Andrew, made a lot more sense as a first name than Beckley. While I can’t argue with that logic, I had gotten all gussied up in a suit for my first Draft, and this reminder of my anonymity was a tad deflating. Everyone hates LeBron James and David Stern. But mostly LeBron. Through out the night, the NBA showed top ten lists on the jumbotron hanging above the floor: best drives, best passes, best dunks, etc. As you might imagine, LeBron was involved in a number of these plays, and any time he was on screen the entire stadium, as if by Pavlovian reflex,

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An amusing HoopSpeak Live moment

Sometimes Wizards fans fall out of the sky and onto our show…

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HoopSpeak Live Episode 6: Krolik & Pruiti

Highlights from two of our favorites:

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HoopSpeak Live: Episode 6

Today’s guests: The TrueHoop Network’s John Krolik and Sebastian Pruiti

To submit text questions: just sign in and ask away! To video chat with us and our guests: Find a spot without too much background noise, sign in, fire up the web cam, and be sure to have your headphones (to eliminate echo)!

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The Draft is Always “Weak”

It’s a putrid excuse for a draft, avert your rods and cones. There are no superstars, no sure things, no clarity. It’s like trying to find a needle in a landfill that’s enveloped in puke-green fog. Just start the lockout already and let’s be done with this national embarrassment. 

Except, it’s always a weak draft. Every year. Ever notice that? 2008 was supposed to be mediocre after the first two picks. Turns out Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Eric Gordon were much better than people thought (R.I.P Anthony Randolph). Gallinari and the Lopez twins have also had moments.

2009 was supposed to be a miserable affront to pro basketball–after Blake Griffin at No. 1. The draft was thought to be so rancid, that pundits burbled praise when the Wizards foolishly swapped their 5th pick for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. The “bad draft” trope also likely helped justify a miserable Hasheem Thabeet selection, as so many shrugged and muttered, “Might as well.” But in the 09’-10’ season, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, and Tyreke Evans impressed early. Lately, James Harden and Jrue Holiday surged. If this draft was “weak,” then our standards are unrealistic.

2010 was again, another “weak draft.” It very well could be, but we’ll have to wait and see. John Wall is as promised and Greg Monroe lapped all expectations. Cousins remains an apoplectic enigma and Evan Turner sputtered. These careers are embryonic and the trajectories are subject to constant reevaluation. But it seems clear that at least Wall, Cousins, and Monroe have All Star talent.

And here we are again, carping over yet another awful, no-hope draft. Why does this keep happening, why do our expectations keep losing?

Theory 1: We have more information

In the past, you could dream on a flawed player based

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Draft Banter Round-up

Two guys who’ve watched a ton of film and have a great understanding of scouting, Joey Whelan and Brett Koremenos, have highlighted seven NBA teams in especially intriguing situations heading into tonight’s draft. For each franchise profiled, they explain what the team currently has, needs, and could do with their picks.

Here’s a digest of links to these excellent profiles, check them out!

Washington Wizards (#6) Sacramento Kings (#7) Detroit Pistons (#8) Charlotte Bobcats (#9) Houston Rockets (#14) Portland Trail Blazers (#21) Boston Celtics (#25)

Also be sure to check out Koremenos and Sebastian Pruiti’s (from NBA Playbook) Infallible Mock Draft!

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Draft Banter: Washington Wizards

Team: Washington Wizards

2011 Draft Assets: 1st (#6 & #19), 2nd (#34)

2012 Draft Assets: 1st, 2nd

DraftExpress Mock Selection(s):

#6 – Jan Vesely (SF) – KK Partizan Belgrade (Profile)

#18 – Donatas Motiejunas (PF/C) – Benetton Treviso (Profile)

#34 – Charles Jenkins (PG/SG) – Hofstra (Profile)

Chad Ford’s Mock Selection(s):

#6 – Kawhi Leonard (SF) – San Diego State (Profile)

#18 – Markieff Morris (PF/C) – Kansas (Profile)

#34 – Travis Leslie (SG) – Georgia (Profile)

Roster Analysis:

UFA’s of Significance: Yi Jianlian,

RFA’s of Significance: Nick Young

Outside of paying 45 million to Rashard Lewis through 2013, the Wizards roster is set up nicely to put pieces around franchise cornerstone, John Wall. The most intriguing piece of the Washington roster is Andray Blatche. The talented big man is signed through 2015 but his inconsistency on the court and questionable decisions off it may cause the Wiz to consider trying to cut ties with him during their rebuilding process. However, young prospects JaVale McGee, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, and Jordan Crawford also offer glimmers of hope for a Wizards franchise that hasn’t made a deep playoff run in quite some time.

Needs: Shooting, wing talent.

–BK

“Safe” scenario: Pairing an athletic player like Leonard on the wing with Wall seems like a no-brainer for Washington should the San Diego State product still be hanging around at #6. The real mystery will be what the Wizards do if Leonard is off the board. The only true “fit” for them at that point might be the sharp-shooting Klay Thompson, but that is a little high for the former Cougar. Despite the presence of McGee, if Jonas Valanciunas slides to them at #6, the Wizards may have no choice but to select him.

If not for the ongoing search for any

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