Through NBA Eyes: Round 4 of the NCAA Tourney - John Wall = Monta Ellis?

I just don't think GSW needs two of these.

Three first-round picks got bounced in the last 48 hours: Evan Turner, Wes Johnson, and Quincy Pondexter. Not good for the guy who watches the NCAA through NBA eyes. :-(

To add to the disappointment, the Bay Area's Omar Samhan came crashing back down to earth, while the blowout of his St. Mary's squad gave us a rather un-evaluable opportunity to catch up on Ekpe Udoh's game.

Here's what's in store for today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday), in the Elite Eight...

SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2010

More entertaining than the game itself?
  • 1:30pm PDT: #5 Butler vs #2 Kansas State

    I'm going to piss off NCAA fans here, but I don't know, if you're planning to watch the Kentucky and Warriors-Mavericks games tonight and would rather watch 5-6 hours straight of hoops instead of 7-8, skip this one. Yeah, Butler and KSU are nice well-coached teams and "good team basketball" but we NBA types, we need a little more flair than that -- how else can you explain the sellouts at Oracle? That's the same reason we don't go watch high school state championship games. All NCAA fans who say they prefer to watch the NCAA over the NBA ought to be forced to watch high school state championship games. You can't tell me high school state championships don't have good team basketball, right?

    We introduced you to Gordon Hayward of Butler, who's in that pile of hopeful Baby Dirks, but I haven't seen a whole lot to be blown away. Again, I'd much rather pick Luke Babbitt of Nevada. If you're just dying to see a Baby Dirk in this next round, tune into Duke (mentioned below). Both Hayward and Babbitt are only sophomores, but Babbitt's got nothing left to prove at the NCAA level. Hayward does, unless his draft stock soars as a result of Butler making the Final Four. Really, it shouldn't make a difference since NBA GMs and scouts will tend to look at the whole body of work. Hayward needs to stay in school one more year, unless next year's crop of Butler recruits is crap and his best opportunity is now. But with the impending 2011 lockout, Hayward might just come out.
  • 4:05pm PDT: #2 West Virginia vs #1 Kentucky -- FUTURE WARRIOR(S) ALERT!

    Here's your moment, Devin.
    Make the most of it.
    Thank goodness CBS put this one early today. This is really the only can't-miss game for NBA eyes in the Elite Eight. The height and athleticism of West Virginia's perimeter will be a good test for Kentucky's backcourt talent. But if Kentucky's guards can get the ball down low to DeMarcus Cousins, it could be a long day for WVU, which has no starter taller than 6'8".

    I think Warrior fans really ought to be thinking about Cousins right about now. If there's any summer in which you maybe sorta didn't want the #1 pick, a la Greg Oden vs Kevin Durant, this is it. I actually wrote about this three years ago.

    Cousins demolished the Cornell zone, which featured a fairly decent 7-footer, and has a reported 7'6" wingspan. I'll say it: he's better than Chris Webber was when the Warriors made C-Webb the #1 pick.

    If the Warriors came away with the #1 pick, they'd almost be peer-pressured into picking John Wall, which would cause a myriad of conflict in the Warrior fan base, because no one can envision the Dubs (and this almost has nothing to do with ownership) trading away golden boy Stephen Curry. But what could most definitely be envisioned is Monta Ellis being shipped out.

    The problem is, I think John Wall = Monta Ellis. Watch the game. See what you think. You talk about crazy athleticism? That's Monta. Ability to dish to an open man? You can't knock Monta on his assists. Able to do extraordinary things at any moment of the game? Monta.

    I can think of many other guys
    I'd rather pick in the 1st round.
    I'd even say that Monta Ellis is, with 5 more years of NBA experience (wow, time flies!), a more polished version of John Wall. Monta is what Wall is supposed to be in the NBA.

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope the Warriors don't get the #1 pick.

    If the Warriors came away with the #1 pick, there would be so much talk of who's going to share the ball in a Monta/Steph/Wall backcourt, that everything would become chaos and bound to implode. That's the last thing we need after Baron Davis and Moped-gate, then the rash of injuries this season. We need some stability.

    Anyways, today, Wall (6'4") will probably go up against Da'Sean Butler (6'7") head-to-head, since the smaller Eric Bledsoe (6'1") would probably get checked by the smaller Casey Mitchell (6'4"). Great matchups through NBA eyes.

    I must also say, based on the versus-total-fundamental-basketball (i.e., Cornell) game, I came away completely underwhelmed by Bledsoe. He couldn't dribble, couldn't shoot, couldn't pass, couldn't do much of anything against a defense that carefully studied tape on him. Plus, he's 6'1"! Btw, Wall was a bit of a caged tiger, too, with Cornell's zone, although I knew that was going to happen, being so intimately familiar with the Ivy League style of play. So, Bledsoe is clearly riding the Kentucky hype. NBAdraft.net has him at #12 and he's unlisted on DraftExpress.

SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

  • 11:20am PDT: #6 Tennessee vs #5 Michigan State -- FUTURE WARRIOR ALERT!

    Wayne Chism's draft stock improved in Tennessee's upset of Ohio State. At 6'9" 246, he can run the floor, he can catch a post-up and make his move without hesitation (soooo many college players are too indecisive when they catch the ball inside the paint), and he can run the floor. He just might be available for the Warriors' #33 pick. NBAdraft.net has him at #50 and DraftExpress has him unlisted.

    But yeah, it's a bit of an early tipoff for us West Coast partiers. CBS: so dumb.
  • 2:05pm PDT: #3 Baylor at #1 Duke

    Here's your moment, LaceDarius.
    Make the most of it.
    Down low, it's Ekpe Udoh versus the blue collar Plumlee brothers on Duke. It's still a bit difficult to evaluate Udoh because he has help down low with 7'0" Josh Lomers and 6'10" Anthony Jones -- can you believe Baylor has a bigger team than the Warriors will put on the floor tonight?!

    I think this is the true test for Kyle Singler, Duke's Baby Dirk hopeful who now seems like a better NBA prospect than Jon Scheyer (wouldn't have thought that mid-season). Can he get his shot off on Jones? Btw, I think Singler has to stay another year. He's just been inconsistent all year. But, again, Duke's run and the impending 2011 NBA lockout could cause Singler to come out. If he stays, Scheyer (senior) will be gone next year, so there will be more shots to go around for him and Nolan Smith, and maybe he can edge closer to 20 ppg.

    The other intriguing matchup is Scheyer versus Baylor's gunner, LaceDarius Dunn (junior 6'4" 205, 19.5 ppg, 42.4% treys, 4.8 rpg, 1.9 apg). Dunn is not listed on either the NBAdraft.net or DraftExpress boards and you have to figure, Dunn's going to make some serious considerations for coming out if Baylor advances to the Final Four and he continues to put up the numbers he's been putting up, especially in the points-per-shot category.

Well, that about does it. If you're an NBA GM, you're hoping it's Kentucky vs Baylor on one side of the bracket. The other side? I don't know, maybe Tennessee (Chism) vs Butler (Hayward)? As is often the case with the tournament -- and because I run leagues and tournaments for a living -- I can tell you that this happens in any tournament format, the semifinals could be the real championship: Kentucky vs Baylor.

Eh, I got things to do Monday nights, anyways! Hey CBS/NCAA, wouldn't it be better to go Friday-Sunday for the Final Four and Championship? Again, I don't get the logic, although they've been doing Saturday-Monday since the beginning of time.Still, NCAA, please renew with ESPN. Pretty please?

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