How The Grinch Stole Draft Night
Follow the story of the Grinch, a grouchy, solitary creature who tries to cancel draft night by disparaging prospects from the hearts of the nearby town of Draftville on Christmas Eve.
Every staff member who lived in Draftville liked all the NBA draft prospects a lot.
But the Menace of Memes most certainly did NOT.
Backcourt Violation hated on draft prospects every draft season.
No one at No Ceilings quite knew the reason.
It could be because his head wasn’t screwed on too tight.
Personally, we at No Ceilings just don’t think he’s very bright.
But whatever the reason, his head or the process.
He stood there on Christmas Eve hating on draft prospects…
We try to be a happy positive bunch here at No Ceilings. We’ve adopted the great Jackie Moon’s “Everybody Love Everybody” mantra as we try to build the most wonderful draft community on earth. But on this fateful Christmas Eve, the Conductor of Chaos, Tyler Rucker, made the No Ceilings gang pick out one prospect each to hate on as hard as we possibly could. A real Grinch that Backcourt Violation is.
Alex (Draft Film School - Max Abmas | Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
I want to preface this by saying that I love watching Max Abmas play basketball. I also picked Oral Robers over Ohio State in my bracket last year and MAY HAVE bet some money on them in every game they played in the tournament. Having said that, I am still not sold on him as an NBA prospect. While the pull up shooting ability is amazing, he is not much of a playmaker, struggles to score inside the arc, and the defense is rough. Add on that he’s probably 6’0” at the most and is pretty skinny (listed at 165lbs), I think it’ll be tough for him to hold up from a physical standpoint. I do believe he has a chance to make an NBA roster at least on a 2-way just given the shooting ability and range, I would just dampen expectations of him being a long-term NBA player…BUT I HOPE I’M WRONG because Max Abmas is fun as hell.
Nick Agar-Johnson - JD Davison | Alabama Crimson Tide
JD Davison is touted in many circles as a lottery prospect. Some people, including our own Nathan Grubel, have touted him as the best point guard prospect in this class. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when it comes to Davison, because I just don’t see him as a lottery pick. He turns the ball over a ton, the shot is shaky overall and especially shaky off the bounce, and the defense leaves a lot to be desired given his crazy athletic tools. I think that Davison’s athletic ability and passing package are worthy of a first-round pick, but I don’t think of him in the same echelon as some of the other guards in this class. I could very well be wrong, and he could very well be the best point guard prospect in this class. However, right now I think that he is only the third-best freshman point guard in the SEC.
Albert Ghim: Keegan Murray | Iowa Hawkeyes
When it comes to Keegan Murray, it really comes down to what lens you’re looking at him through. If you’re looking at him as an alpha, perennial All-NBA guy someday, that’s where you lose me. I think he’s going to be a really good player that will contribute to a winning team someday. I love him as a defender. The guy has great instincts as a shot-blocker, does a great job in the passing lanes and I think has enough foot speed and length to guard 1-4 one day. It’s on the offensive side of the ball that I have some real questions. When he’s playing defense he always seems engaged, locked-in, and proactive about making something happen. Offensively, I think he has long stretches of floating. I also think he's more of a theoretical shooter, rather than an actually good shooter. He reminds me a lot of Aaron Gordon and Derrick Williams in that way. I think people are gonna project him to become a good shooter one day, but I’m not sure he ever gets that good. Not impossible by any stretch, but I’m not convinced yet. I like him a lot, just not in love yet.
Nathan Grubel - Tari Eason | LSU Tigers
If you solely look at the numbers behind Tari Eason’s second season at LSU, you’d start to talk yourself into him being a lottery pick. Matter of fact, that notion isn’t far-fetched depending on which area of “draft Twitter” you find yourself part of on any given day. Eason has more than doubled his PPG from 7.3 to 16.3, sits with a PER over 35, averages over a steal and block per game AND rates out in the 87th percentile offensively per Synergy. However, I have my concerns as to just how high I would take him in the draft. He hasn’t put together a semblance of an outside shot up to this point (30th percentile on jumpers, 18th percentile on catch-and-shoot looks) and seems to manufacture his points exclusively on transition finishes around the basket. While he’s no slouch athletically and possesses plus size and length on the wing, I’m skeptical of his role on a future NBA team. If he’s not even a third option on an NBA team, why am I taking him with a lottery pick? But if I ignore the insane efficiencies and production in certain areas, albeit limited, will I regret passing on one of the biggest sophomore leapers in the country? Eason deserves more of a deep dive from me, but I can’t get behind selecting him in the lottery without a clearer picture into who he is as a basketball player.
Evan Wheeler - Peyton Watson | UCLA Bruins
I really hate selecting Peyton Watson as my choice for this piece. He’s a prospect I want to still believe in, but his play so far this season for the Bruins has done little to quell some of the preseason concerns I had about the hype he was receiving. That’s not Watson’s fault either in terms of people putting lofty expectations on him, but the poor film matched with the underwhelming production he’s put out in his freshman year, have shown a player that is far from NBA ready. His averages of 3.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.7 BPG through nine games for UCLA while shooting 30% from the field and 10% from beyond the arc just topple onto the fear I have of buying into his draft stock for 2022. He’s a player I would love to see have a big second half of the year, or just simply return for his sophomore season in Los Angeles where he can develop his skills and body more. I still love his defensive versatility, but ultimately his entire offensive repertoire, primarily his shot-making and creation ability, needs to take massive leaps for me to be convinced of him being a first round talent in this draft class.
Tyler Metcalf - Wendell Moore | Duke Blue Devils
I’m not denying that Wendell Moore has shown immense improvement over his time at Duke, but when I see him start getting top-30 and even some top-20 grades I lose all interest. Moore is an interesting second round flyer because of his physical profile and improved pick-and-roll game, but the opportunities he’s getting at Duke I struggle to see him getting in the NBA. When used as an ancillary role player, it becomes too easy to imagine his impact plummeting. Moore’s improved playmaking and jumper (even though I’m hesitant to fully buy in on that) are encouraging signs for his overall development, but if an NBA team doesn’t let him run a second unit because the threshold to do that is so immensely high, then how does he break through in a rotation?
Corey Tulaba - Nikola Jovic | Mega Basket
Nikola Jovic is an immensely popular name in internet draft circles. It’s not hard to understand the reasoning. Jovic is a 6’10” wing with a pretty smooth stroke and a highlight reel full of tough step backs that flash shades of the footwork that some of the NBA’s best tough shot makers possess. Sounds like a prospect I’d sign up for. But my small Grinch heart gets weary when I start seeing his name pop up in top 10, even lottery conversations. When I move past the Swish mixtapes and dig a little deeper into the film, I’ve seen many things that concern me. Jovic makes me feel eerily similar to how I felt about Killian Hayes, in that I understood what he represented but I just didn’t quite think he’d get there. The step back combo moves look fantastic when they go in, but when they don’t? Woof. I fear that Jovic has to settle for these shots because he doesn’t have the burst to consistently take his man off the bounce. He also lacks an in between game and while I don’t have the numbers, my eyes tell me to worry about his at the rim finishing against NBA length and athleticism. He’s just a little too predictable getting downhill, as he struggles using his left hand and I think teams will force him into really tough situations early on. The Adriatic League ain’t the Euroleague ya know? Jovic has shown fun playmaking flashes and I even think there’s some P&R intrigue with Jovic in a more tertiary role, but he’s not a reliable decision maker just yet and I wouldn’t trust him to be thrust into that kind of role right away. If the selling point is first option buckets, well I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him in that role either. I’m not saying he won’t be a good NBA player or that he won’t outperform his draft spot. There’s a path for that. I just think he’s more of a high end role player than he is the next Jayson Tatum type of wing prospect. I’ve seen that type of comp get thrown around more than once. This isn’t the end of his story for me, he’s been picking it up lately, I’d love to be wrong. Even the Grinch grew to love Christmas.
Tyler Rucker: TyTy Washington | Kentucky Wildcats
You know in the Grinch Movie (Jim Carrey edition) when he’s basically asking the oversized Monkey toy to repeatedly hit his head over and over again with a pair of symbols? That’s how I feel when I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not in love with another Kentucky point guard. TyTy Washington looks like a smooth operator on the floor. He’s got some quick wiggle and he can show some flashes of burst and hesitation to create a window. The problem is that I keep wanting more. He has some great touch around the lane, especially when it comes to his floaters and he can hit the outside shot, but I keep wondering what all of the tools are going to add up to. Are we talking about a potential franchise starting point guard moving forward? Or are we talking about a valued selection near the late teens with some upside to become a great addition? I’m not saying I think TyTy is going to be bad at all, I’m just finding myself staring in the abyss like the Grinch figuring out his schedule and a way to watch more Draft Film (I can’t cancel that again…). In reality I’ll probably continue to puzzle myself with the depths of TyTy Washington’s film and wonder if I’m just sitting around eating because I’m bored. “DOUBT? Another unmistakable sign of the heebie-jeebies!” When it comes down to it this point guard class is going to continue to puzzle a number of us. When you watch TyTy Washington on tape, he doesn’t wow you with explosiveness or his strength but he continues to play the game with some poise and shows flashes on the court. I want to be wrong here and I’ll be fascinated to continue to dive deeper into Washington’s film. As of right now, I’m basically just at the top of a mountain reading off former Kentucky point guards that I struggled to evaluate and shouting down at Draftville like The Grinch.