Eagles no match for pigeon
Season Cancelled: Duke Basketball

Breaking Down The Rookies With Super-Scout Ryan Blake

By 10.19.09

Ryan Blake

Judging NBA talent is in Ryan Blake’s blood. The NBA Assistant Director of Scouting is the son of legendary scouting guru, Marty Blake. On top of overseeing scouting reports for the NBA, Ryan can also be found on NBA TV around draft time, analyzing college and international prospects. Blake sat down with Dime recently and gave his two cents on which rookies you need to keep an eye on for the 2009-10 season.

On Blake Griffin…
“You look at our first pick in Blake Griffin, I think he’ll make an impact. We already know what he does. I think he’ll get the opportunity to play, they made some room for him. He’s going to set an example on and off the court. I think if he stays healthy. There’s a lot of things you’re going to see that he’s going to do, that he wasn’t able to do at Oklahoma. And you see that a lot with go to guys in college. Where they may have some concerns about their ability to play defense and their coach tells them, ‘hey you need to back up we need you on the floor. We don’t want you to take it off the dribble, we don’t want you to create offensive fouls.’ You’re going to see some of those things. He’s one of those guys who has a full basketball package and with the upside to do more.”

On James Harden…
“Another guy I see making a major impact is James Harden. I’m really high on this kid. I think he’s going to be able to not only put numbers up on the board, but he makes other players better. I think he’ll be that combo guard as well. He’s going to be able to get the ball to the right people’s hands, he’s going to D up. He’s going to get inside and really be versatile and command a lot of attention and hopefully open up it up for other players on that young talented team.”

On Stephen Curry…
“In the scouting report, you have strings of concern. The first concern is always going to be about his size. When you get a shooter like Reggie Miller, who was extremely thin but was also one of the best players around when he played. You’re going to find Curry to be a better ball handler than you think. And he is a distributor and a playmaker. When I was in Serbia a couple of years ago, we were watching the world championships and he was playing both the point and the off guard. You had Jonny Flynn there, who was also outstanding there. But when you saw Curry play point, you saw him running pick and rolls very well. And that’s what you’re going to see a lot at this NBA level. He’s going to get his shot off, but he’s also got that first step where he can break a defense and kick it out. He’s got a lot of attributes I think are positive that I hope he’s going to be able to show them.”

On Brandon Jennings…
“He went overseas and he didn’t play a hell of a lot. First off, I’m glad he got a first round deal. Do I think he slipped? Who knows where he was going to go? He’s got a lot of talent. He’s one of the first people to go over there to Europe out of high school. I think it’s a high risk move to do something like that – especially if you’re not going to play much. If he doesn’t get picked up at 10 with Milwaukee, where does he go after that? Here’s a guy whose 19 years old, who’s never run a professional team. But again loads of talent and he did great at the Vegas Summer League. But you got a guy who has to run a team and tell veterans where to go and what to do in an NBA system that he has not run, you still don’t know how that’s going to translate. He’ll get his minutes, I just don’t know what’s going to happen though. I hope for the best first off for himself and then Milwaukee. But for a team that has to take that risk, it’s a high one.”

On Omri Casspi…
“I don’t know if he’s going to have an impact. I think he has the ability to be a Toni Kukuc type. He’s a guard/forward and a perimeter player. I used to watch him Germany and he’d play on the wing. He played some point guard when he was 17-18 years old when he played for Maccabi. Will he be able to that on this level? The game is obviously faster and a little different. I do like him, I think he still has the ability to improve on his outside shot, he’s going to release it a little bit quicker and work on his handle a little bit more, although I think it’s good.”

On Rodrigue Beaubois…
“Beaubois is kind of like a Rondo type, although he gets hurt quite a bit. But he’s quick and he’ll run the floor. He needs to improve his shot, but the guy can play.”

On Victor Claver…
“He’s a guy I got to hang out with a bit. Good kid. One of those guys who has a lot of intangibles. He’s a guy whose very unselfish, who knows the game at such a young age. He’s going to be that hybrid power forward guy who can play on the perimeter. Kind of like Matt Barnes. He can shoot, drive and take it to the hoop. He’ll defend, he loves to run and a very intelligent player. But I don’t think he’s playing this year.”

“Won’t be Rick Rubio that’s for sure (laughs). Some of the obvious ones who will make an impact but not become stars, like a Tyler Hansbrough. He’s going to get his minutes, he’s going to work hard. But I think he’s going to be better than the naysayers said in college, because he just got that attitude. Can he be a Paul Millsap? Yeah. Can he be a Carlos Boozer? Maybe not. But that’s not necessarily his game. I think Ty Lawson, I don’t know if he’ll get that opportunity, but coming off the bench and they’re going to start running, you’re going to find out he’s going to be great on the defensive end. He’s going to push, he’s going to have an uptempo game, he’s going to be one of those sixth men that are going to be really important.

If you are going to go further in the draft, one of the guys I thought had a chance at the first round is Jon Brockman. Again you are looking at blue collar worker. You remember when Carlos Boozer came out and left a year early, he chose not to go to the predraft camp and got the wrong advice from agents. But what happened out there in Cleveland, people stared getting hurt and he got the opportunity to play and he proved himself. And we got Chase Budinger also up there that I think has a chance to make some sort of impact. Here’s another guy, Toney Douglas – thank goodness the kid didn’t declare as a freshman. He’s a good kid and did all the right things and played defense and is a combo point. Listen if you’re a Knicks fan, you want a defender like that who can come off the bench.”

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