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Chat: Bradford Doolittle (Basketball)

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday June 23, 2009 1:00 PM ET chat session with Bradford Doolittle (Basketball).

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With the NBA Draft coming up, Bradford Doolittle of BasketballProspectus.com pops by to take your questions on who's going to get tabbed and by whom.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Let's get started. Any questions about the draft, the offseason or really anything NBA are welcome. Just don't ask me about Dirk's "fiancee."

Brian (Boston): I keep reading that James Harden is the best fit in Oklahoma City. When I look at their roster, however, I see a team that has a center with a career average of 11 points and slightly over 5 rebounds, who performed under those numbers last year. They have a PF who relies on finesse, and a small forward who shoots a lot of jump shots. Obviously shooting guard is another weakness, but Sefolosha is still young and yet to receive any kind of substantial minutes for a full season. Don't the Thunder need a big man more than they need another perimeter player? And with signs coming out that Thabeet doesn't want to play for Memphis, if Memhpis didn't end up picking him, wouldn't he be a slam dunk for the Thunder?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Brian, I think they take Thabeet, no doubt, if he's there. But I just think Memphis will take him because of their need for another big guy. M.Gasol can slide over to the four. As for Thabeet not wanting to play there ... apparently no one does. Several of the top prospects refused to work out for the Grizz. Memphis has to take somebody, unless they deal the pick, which is certainly possible.

thewizzard (Chicago): Who will be drafted 3rd? HASHEEM THABEET +250 JAMES HARDEN +250 RICKY RUBIO +250 FIELD +150 What is the correct play??

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): A question from my new hometown ... I've got Harden going third to OKC but, again, that's only if Thabeet is off the board. It'll be one or the other.

sethostevens (colorado): i see you have OmriCasspi going to Portland (partly because they could stash him overseas) but do you see anything in his game that could turn into being a high usage player or will he simply be a hardnosed role player like MattHarpring? and if that is the case, couldn't JonasJerebko be a better option?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): If they are looking to stash a player, Jerebko probably would be the better choice. My translations also like him a little better than Casspi because he rates as a notch better athletically. Nate McMillan has jokingly threatened to assualt Kevin Pritchard if he adds another rookie to the roster. Portland has five picks, so Pritchard has his work cut out for him.

Alex (SF, CA): Do you agree with Hollinger, et al that Lawson is the most underrated player in this draft? What player do you think represents his upside?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I agree with him that Lawson is really underrated. Mike Bibby pops up first on the list of comparables in my system. To me, though, the most underrated player in the draft is DeJuan Blair.

Adam M (Pomona): What do you think of Ty Lawson? I saw you projected him to go 17th. Do you not buy into John Hollinger's statistical ranking of him, the one that ranked him the best collegiate prospect?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I don't know if even Hollinger would declare Lawson as the top prospect. His numbers translate well based on John's statistical model. That's good information to have, but if JH were picking for the Clips, he'd be taking Blake Griffin. But, again, I do like Lawson better some of the other 1s projected to go ahead of him.

Brian Doolittle (St. Louis, MO): Does the possibility of Shaquille O'Neal coming to Cleveland and re-signing Varejao (not cheap) impact the Cavs' pick? Is Cleveland's top priority simply taking the best player/prospect - or strictly finding another shooter? I think they can get an impact player at No. 30.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Yes -- this is my brother, who is the NBA guru of St. Louis. I think the Cavs are going to go for a four-man regardless of whether Shaq, Varejao or Big Z are around to man the middle. Ben Wallace's retirement talk is a big question mark and so is concern about the luxury tax. Chad Ford at ESPN thinks DeMarre Carroll is a real possibility in Cleveland, which would be cool for you.

T-Money (San Diego, CA): What do you think the Warriors biggest needs are, and how do they go about addressing those needs in this draft and offseason?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Financially, the Warriors have decided to build their roster around Monta Ellis, so finding a guy to pair with him is a top priority. They've got plenty of wing players and even a nice big guy rotation, even if Nellie doesn't use them enough. I love the idea of Stephen Curry to pair with Ellis. I have them taking Earl Clark if for no other reason than I can never guess what the Warriors are going to do. Capwise, don't look for the Warriors to do much in free agency.

Dexter Fishmore (LA): Brad, I have an excellent idea that any enterprising Internet writer should feel free to run with. Namely, someone should go through the first round of the NBA draft pick by pick, predicting which team will select which player. It would be like the draft itself, but simulated. A pretend draft, or "mock" draft, if you will. I feel like I'm onto something here.... are you aware of any basketball sites that have tried this before?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Come on Dexter, this is a basketball site. What did you expect? I did try to craft my "forecast" as more of an overall snapshot of each team.

Dexter Fishmore (LA): Brad, I have an excellent idea that any enterprising Internet writer should feel free to run with. Namely, someone should go through the first round of the NBA draft pick by pick, predicting which team will select which player. It would be like the draft itself, but simulated. A pretend draft, or "mock" draft, if you will. I feel like I'm onto something here.... are you aware of any basketball sites that have tried this before?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Come on Dexter, this is a basketball site. What did you expect? I did try to craft my "forecast" as more of an overall snapshot of each team.

sethostevens (colorado): please excuse my loose comparisons but for speaking purposes, their seems to be 3-5 ShannonBrowns in the lower part of this draft. do like any of them to be NBA contributers? JermaineTaylor, MarcusThorton, JerelMcNeal, JodieMeeks, (way more EddieHouse here) JackMcClinton?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): McNeal, Thornton and Taylor all rate very highly in my system. McClinton, not as much, nor Meeks. Of those, I'd take Taylor because of his athleticism.

Ted Medalla (Philippines): Which lottery team is most likely to botch their pick or make a bad draft day deal?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): The easiest answer is whoever takes DeMar DeRozan and I've got him going to Toronto, so there you go.

Tom (New Orleans, LA): Bradford, I have to disagree with you on Demar DeRozan. To me, his situation eerily parallels that of Anthony Randolph from last year. They both struggled for approximately 2/3 of the season after entering as top recruits, then played like gangbusters in the last 10-15 games of the year..statistical projections (especially Hollinger's) had them being major busts while entering the draft. Thoughts?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Could be a very similar situation to Randolph and a lot of it could depend on the team he ends up on. Scheme and surrounding talent is awfully important. One thing that is different than Randolph: I try to rate a player's athleticism. Not in 'how high he jumps' sense, but in terms of how many rebounds he gets for his heighth, blocks, foul drawing, etc. In that regard, even though Randolph rated as very inefficient, he still scored very well on the athletic scale. That, to me, means room for a lot of growth and a higher probability that his positive attributes will translate to the next level. DeRozan does not rate well in that regard. He just makes me nervous.

Jon (SF): What do you think of the Spurs trade?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I think the Spurs shouldn't be making news while I'm chatting. From ESPN: "The Milwaukee Bucks agreed to trade Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto a Bucks source told ESPN.com."

First thought: Bucks are clearing future payroll and are ready to hand the three-position over to Joe Alexander. As for the Spurs, it's an obvious offensive upgrade, but I'd have to run it through my system to have an definitive thoughts.

Joshua (Austin, TX): If he'd stayed in the draft, how far would Damion James have fallen? Also, who would have been most likely to draft him?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): His feedback must of indicated that he wasn't going in the lottery and once you slide out of that, then it's a risk because teams are drafting on need. You don't want to be DeAndre Jordan or Mario Chalmers on draft night. He might have been a good fit for Dallas at No. 22.

Jay (Philly): What should the Sixers do at PG? Sign Miller? Draft a starting PG - at pick 17 may be tough? Option C? Side question, Maynor or Lawson?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I think we've seen their ceiling with Miller, so instead of blowing their cap space on bringing him back, I think they should take advantage of this deep point guard crop in this draft. I like Lawson over Maynor. Both scored well in my translations, but Lawson's numbers strike me as more reliable because of better quality of opposition.

Chad (NYC): Can you use your crystal ball and tell me who will be my Hawks' first 7 or 8 guys next year? Is Bibby in there? Marvin?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): The Hawks have to decide whether to make a qualifying offer to Marvin and, if I'm them, I don't do it. I'd save the dough and try to bring back Josh Childress. They have too many question marks to project their rotation, but I think they take a point guard if one of the top prospects fall to them. That would probably dictate how serious they get about bringing back Bibby.

Jay (Philly): Are there any compelling players that could drop enough to make the Sixers deviate from taking a point guard?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): A great shooter with upside like Austin Daye might get Ed Stefanski to pounce.

Dr. Wayne Pitcher (Castro Valley, CA): Any word on the Rondo trade rumors? I don't see how this deal makes sense for the C's unless there's something about Rondo we don't know...

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Just rumors, none of them with anything more than anonymous sources. If Danny Ainge is seeing something in Rondo that we don't, he needs glasses.

Raj (Cleveland, OH): Bradford, if the Cavs take a 4-man what happens with last year's first round pick JJ Hickson and 2nd round pick Darnell Jackson? I'm especially curious about Hickson, who struggled mightily on defense but showed some serious offensive potential.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I think Hickson is very much in the mix to be a rotation player. They could have really used a long, mobile four like him against Orlando. Jackson can contribute, too, but I don't see him becoming more than a 10-15 minute player.

JJ (Oakland): I don't see the Warriors taking Clark. I hope and pray they don't take Hill if there. This has to be a PG contrary to what GM Monte Ellis might think.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): You very well could be right. If I had to rate my confidence in my forecasts, the Warriors would be dead last. There a lot about that franchise that baffles me.

Jackson T (Mt Vernon, NY): With all due respect to Blake Griffin, I don't see "superstar" in him. Wouldn't the Clips be better off trying to trade down or look at Rubio?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I think Griffin has more a chance to be a superstar than any other player in the draft. But he's not a sure thing, at least not in the way that LeBron was. For one, I have concerns about his defense. The Clips should take him.

Phil (Jacksonville, FL): Memphis Grizzlies: Where Mayo + Gay + Conley + Darko + Harden = 5 players taken within the top 8 picks, and only 30 wins in 2009-2010 happens

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): They're young. Hang in there.

blaseta (Calgary): Any thoughts on what the Spurs can do to boost their chances? Am I off-base in thinking that they need another big man to go alongside Timmy? Any way they can get Marcus Camby?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I don't think Camby helps them. They need to get younger and more athletic around their core trio. I'm not sure Jefferson qualifies.

sethostevens (colorado): 2 highly skilled college players don't make your first round and both player's NBA potential have been questioned, so i'd love to hear your thots on DannyGreen and/or NickCalathes ability to play in the NBA.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I really like Danny Green a lot. He'll be a steal for whoever takes him, especially since it'll likely be in the second round. He's athletic, can defend and can shoot the rock. Calathes is more of a wildcard, but if he can hold up defensively, he could solve the point guard position for a team that features an undersized shooting guard. Very versatile, box-score stuffing type.

Rob (Riverside): With the stats guys all of the belief that Lawson should be at the top of the draft, yet none of the teams in the lottery apparently agreeing, what is causing the disconnect in your opinion?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): He's undersized, measuring shorter than the 6'1" he's listed at and there are concerns that some of his numbers where a product of Carolina's frenetic style. Perhaps so, but there are NBA teams that play that way and he'd be a great fit with an up-and-down team.

Matt (Chicago): Bradford: Any idea of where Marcus Thornton might end up or where he would be a good fit? I saw in the Times Picayune that he had impressed Byron Scott in workouts and have seen him going to the Hornets in the first round in some mocks, but that strikes me (a) as lazy conjecture based on the fact that he is in-state talent, (b) not likely as it does not address the Hornets' needs, and (c) a bit of a reach for a late first round pick.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): One of the reasons he rates highly in my system is because of his athletic ability, but some that is because of the production per size component of the translations. He's undersized for an NBA two-guard, but really doesn't have any point guard skills. I could see Washington or Detroit taking a shot at him early in the second round.

Jacob (Amsterdam): I'm a big believer in stats. You are a big believer in stats. Can we agree that in 2015, Ty Lawson will turn out to be this crop's most succesful PG?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I don't know if by 2015 Tyreke Evans will be considered a point guard, but I love his game. I think it'll come down to Evans, Lawson or Ricky Rubio.

Jay (Philly): Please stop taking any of Seth Stevens questions until he starts putting a space between players' first and last names. You have the power to affect change.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Seth? Any response?

Rivers McCown (Houston): Who are Thabeet's optimistic/realistic comparables? Mutombo on the high end and Sam Dalembert on the other? Is his presence in the top 3 more about him or more about the quality of big men in the draft this year?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): He's way more polished than Dalembert at a similar age. Mutombo? Maybe back Dikembe could score a little. I am really curious to see what happens with Thabeet's development. Teams just seem to find so many ways to exploit ultra big guys with the pick and roll nowadays, unless they are athletic freaks like Dwight Howard. The days of the Chuck Nevitt-type experiment are behind us.

tballgame (Boston): Blair and Lawson are the two most underrated players in the draft and, I assume, you 'mocked' their spots accordingly. If those two were fairly rated by NBA GMs, how early do they go in the draft?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Recent buzz on Lawson has been picking, so I could see a team that had previously been high on Jrue Holiday or Jonny Flynn may taking him higher than the 20ish spot I have him going. Blair, everything still seems to poing towards mid-first round. He's a 6-6 power forward with a 7-3 wingspan. Teams just don't know what to do with that. I think he's going to be an outstanding pro.

Alex (SF, CA): Ariza? Odom? Both?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I say both. Why in the world couldn't the Lakers afford to pay a mint in luxury tax?

Jim (Chicago): Which of Marquette's three guards get drafted? Any chance Jerel McNeal sneaks into the first round?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I think McNeal is clearly a tier or two above Matthews or James. I doubt he goes in the first round, but I think he could end up as a first-round type producer.

Devin (NYC): Is Curry 4th on the Knicks board (behind Griffin, Rubio, Thabeet)? What are the odds of Curry falling to number 8? Does Lawson make more sense than Jennings, Holliday, or Flynn if Curry is gone?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I think whether or not Curry becomes a Knick depends on what the Warriors do. If he's gone, then Lawson is a great fit for D'Antoni's system.

sethostevens (colorado): i see you have OmriCasspi going to Portland (partly because they could stash him overseas) but do you see anything in his game that could turn into being a high usage player or will he simply be a hardnosed role player like MattHarpring? and if that is the case, couldn't JonasJerebko be a better option?

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Well the queue is empty and the we're 70 minutes in, so I'm going to call it quits. Lots of great questions -- thanks to all. Enjoy the draft. This should be one of the more dramatic drafts of recent memory. Lots of trade buzz going around.

Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Well the queue is empty and the we're 70 minutes in, so I'm going to call it quits. Lots of great questions -- thanks to all. Enjoy the draft. This should be one of the more dramatic drafts of recent memory. Lots of trade buzz going around.


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