I am trying, reeeally trying, to avoid buying into the hype surrounding Mitch’s meteoric rise over the past few weeks and to look at him objectively. The media, reliably starving for new stories and always willing to beat story angles to death, would have you believe that Mitch is the second coming of Bill Walton. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but if I am an NBA GM with No. 1 pick in the draft, I am taking a long look at Mitch McGary with that selection.
Before I get into McGary’s potential, let’s talk about the one thing that what we know about the rest of the draft field: It stinks. Look at any updated mock drafts that are out the from the industry’s most reliable sources – it’s a prospect crop that isn’t wowing anybody in any way. Alex Len? Shabazz Muhammed? Glenn Robinson III? All projected lottery picks. Trey Burke? Love the guy, can’t think of a more entertaining college basketball player to watch this season, but if you’re a 6-0 scoring guard, unless you’re explosively gifted like Allen Iverson, it’s not happening at the NBA level. Otto Porter? I was in the arena when G’Town got slapped by FGCU a few weeks ago, and Otto looked like he’d rather be playing checkers than saving the Hoyas’ season. And the popular No. 1 overall pick, Kansas swingman Ben McLeMore? Yep, he’s clearly intriguing, like a shorter Rudy Gay clone, but I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable burning a No. 1 overall pick on a guy who is clearly rich with physical gifts, but who is also wildly inconsistent and disappears for long stretches of important games (you could argue that’s because he is still figuring out what he’s capable of doing on a basketball court, but that’s for another post).
So that brings us to Mitch, a 6-10, 260-pound, athletic big who is also still figuring out what he can do on a basketball court, but who is also dominating when the lights are on. In that game Final Four game Saturday night against Syracuse, McGary was the best player in the arena, basically going by himself against Jim Boeheim‘s trees (guards and bigs). Our guy Trey was clearly bothered by the length of the ‘Cuse guards, a collection of guys who happen to be of the same general size and speed of most NBA guards/forwards. McGary though was excelling, for at least the fifth game in a row. And if he could knock down a few more of those short j’s, his offensive numbers would jump. Size, strength and touch – at the very least we know that McGary will likely kill in pre-draft workouts.
The only guys you could legitimately even make an argument for ahead of Mitch would be McLemore, Cody Zeller (tough 6-11 centers who can put the ball on the floor and knock down mid-range jumpers do not grow on trees), Nerlens Noel (though I think he’s too much of a gamble), and maybe Victor Oladipo.
If McGary goes out tonight and does work against Louisville‘s front line, specifically 6-11 junior Gorgui Dieng, you can’t tell me that your favorite NBA team would be better off taking 99% of the players in the draft mix over Mitch McGary.
All of that being said, Watch Mitch sing Justin Bieber in this video and you will likely disregard everything I just wrote:
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