I missed all of the early games due to, well, putting food on the table, but tonight I got a chance to watch a decent chunk of basketball. Some quick thoughts after the jump.
I wanted to see two players, in particular, Greg Monroe and Cole Aldrich. Mixed results from what I saw:
- Let's start with Monroe, this is the third game in a row of his that I've seen, and I have to say I hope he goes back for another year at Georgetown. Not because I think he needs more polish, but because I think there's an outside chance the Sixers could draft him and I want no part of that. I understand his exceptional skill level for a big man, but I truly believe he has the wrong skill set to be a dominant big in the pros. It's nice for a center to be able to pass and dribble, but it's not important. I should say, it's not important enough to overlook the crucial skills for the position in the NBA. To me, he doesn't look like much of an athlete, he doesn't impact the game on the defensive end, even at the collegiate level, and all of his production seems to come from the fact that he's got a handle and some moves in space. I don't see him dominating down low, which a legit big man should be doing at this level. Perhaps some of the offensive problems I've witnessed are a result of the offense Georgetown runs, but to me, he just doesn't have the all around game, nor the demeanor to be a dominant big in the pros.
- Aldrich, on the other hand, absolutely changed that Kansas game. He was a beast in the middle, and when he was on the floor North Texas simply had no chance. He was in foul trouble in the first half, and seemed winded after a couple times up and down the floor in the second, but overall, I liked what I saw from him on the defensive end, which is the most important thing, for me, out of a big. You can find minutes for a defensive big who rebounds no matter what. You can work to develop a dependable offensive move or two. If a big is going to be one-dimensional out of college, I think it's important that defense is that side. You just don't see too many guys developing defensive skills, and blocking shots is something that I consider almost genetic. Whatever it is, he's got it. Do I want the Sixers to draft him? Probably not. I still wonder how he'll compete when he isn't the biggest, strongest player on the floor, I also wonder how he'd hold up if the Sixers continue to run, but at the same time, I wouldn't be pissed if they drafted him.
My biggest takeaway on the night, though, was Avery Bradley's exceptional play. He only shot 4/15 from the floor, he's a tweener, he only shot 55% from the line this season, and I'd still absolutely love to have him on my team. He put more pressure on the ball than you could possibly imagine, picking up his man full court, harassing him into multiple turnovers. It was honestly a thing of beauty. Do I think he'll be a star at the next level? Not unless his offensive game improves by leaps and bounds. Would I use a lottery pick on him? Absolutely not. Could he step in and be a rotational, change-of-pace guard on a playoff team next season? Yes, I think so. Think of him as the anti-Lou Williams, a combo guard to come off the bench and harass the opposing team's PG. A guy to hawk the ball, and make it extremely difficult for the other team to get into their sets. Think of him as a cooler.
Chad Ford has Bradley going in the late lottery, which seems high to me based on what I saw and his numbers, but mark my words, he's going to be a pro for a long time, and that defense is going to make one team extremely happy.
It's funny that I'm raving about the defense of a guy whose man hit a game-winner to knock Texas out of the tourney, but don't overlook the fact that Bradley forced Ishmael Smith into 8 turnovers and very nearly put the game out of reach with a big steal early in overtime.
Leave your thoughts from the tourney in the comments.