Since he watches so much college basketball, you’ll be pressed to find someone besides Doug Gottlieb with a better handle on which NBA Draft prospects will succeed and which ones will become busts. With that, we give you an exclusive conversation we recently had with the ESPN analyst. In part one of this conversation that we ran Sunday afternoon, Gottlieb broke down the tournament and college basketball in general, speaking on parity and the notion that recruiting has drastically changed in the past few years.
The former college hoops star at Oklahoma State, Gottlieb will be all over the NCAA Tournament, and spilled the beans with us recently on everything from Twitter to all of the best draft prospects to even who needs to start using Rogaine.
Here is part two of the conversation…
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Anthony Davis is the top NBA prospect, would you argue with that?
What makes him so special?
“He is just scratching the surface offensively. I’ll tell you what I’m amazed by, I’m amazed by he was a guard his whole life till he grew as of late and yet he has great timing as a shot-blocker. I would have thought you have to be big your whole life to have great timing as a shot-blocker and he has debunked any of that, completely. I’m amazed by it. He doesn’t seem to require getting the basketball. He is not hungry offensively, I like to use the term ‘hungry for the basketball.’ He is not hungry for the basketball. He just plays. He is a good teammate, passes the ball, great plays defense, erases mistakes, and makes plays. He is basically a better offensive version at this point in his career than Tim Duncan when he was a freshman at Wake Forest. Less clumsy, moves better, great athlete, great hands, good feel. If he keeps working sky is the limit. He can be a potential superstar in the NBA.”
Who are the top prospects in the upcoming Draft to you?
“I do the draft for ESPN Radio, for SportCenter, and ESPN.com.
“It starts and ends with Anthony Davis.
“I do think (Andre) Drummond is a top 2-3 pick. I think he has a ton of potential. I don’t think he has the same fell or timing, but he is very young. You can see that he can really defend, has pretty good hands, but is a non-offensive player right now. I take a chance on him at two or three.”
“People are down on Harrison Barnes because he is not Kobe Bryant. I think he is Sean Elliott. I think he is a heck of a player, he may not ever be an All-Star, but he can guard, he can shoot, he can post, and he can move. He is a little selfish when he drives, not too selfish. I like him.”
“I like Jeremy Lamb, he is a prototype NBA wing. He is somewhere between a two and a three, probably becomes a two. I don’t love the fact that that sometimes he looks like he is asleep out there, but when he moves without the basketball he has a little Rip Hamilton to him. He has great length and great touch.”
“I like Meyers Leonard. In the ‘what should happen,’ he should come back to school and become a dominate post. But what is more likely to happen is he comes out early because his mom has some medical issues, some medical bills and he is going to get taken in the top 5, top 10.”
“Another guy that should be in school for two more years, the NFL is smart, they make them stay in school and develop. Why not? Look at what Ricky Rubio did when he developed for two years and then came to the NBA. I think college basketball should do the same thing.”
“I think Tyler Zeller is a top 5, top 10 prospect. Now he does not have the ceiling as Davis or Drummond, but he is 7-0 feet and he might even be taller than that at 7-1. He can shoot, he can definitely run, and he is decent enough as a defender in the post a really good help-side defender in the post in terms of blocking shots. I do not think he would be an elite starting center, but he can be a starting center in the NBA and those guys are hard to come by.”
What about the point guards?
“I believe that the top two point guards in the draft are Damian Lillard of Weber State who is a scoring one and is tremendous off the high ball screen. It’s amazing, all the teams in the Pac-12 could have had him, he is from Oakland and he slipped. He has had a tremendous year scoring (second in the Nation).
“The other one is Scott Machado who is a little bit of a work in progress; on the offensive end he has become a better shooter. I am coming around a little on Kendall Marshall even though Marshall is not the athlete that either of those two guys are. I think Machado can run a team. Some people think he is more mid-to-late first, but I think if you value point guards, if you look at how point guards have blown up he is a guy who has a very high ceiling as he learns to play ball-screens and half-court. The NBA rules really favor athletic point guards especially ones who can make plays for themselves or others and can really pass. I think he is one of those guys.”
“I do not know what position he is, but he is an animal. He probably has to be an NBA three, which is fine, but he does not have much offensive game. He just competes. I will take a competitor over a guy with a lot of “skill” any day. Kidd-Gilchrist plays really hard on both ends and I think he has the chance to develop into a better perimeter shooter, more of a mid-range guy and a driver.
“Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is 6-6 and he is not a two, he doesn’t really have a mid-range game. He is more of a driver. Maybe a mid-range 15-foot shooter. There is a guy I respect the most as a scout, a Director of Player Personnel for an NBA team. Last year he and I discussed Derrick Williams. I said look, I know everyone is in love with Derrick Williams, but he has got to be a three in the NBA and he is not a three, he is a four. That is a hard transition. The hardest transition is from two to a one and the second hardest is from a four to three. And he is really struggling. That doesn’t mean he will not be a three and be a good pro, but look at his minutes and the No. 2 pick is struggling to get minutes despite the fact that he is a good kid, a hard worker, and had an incredible year last year with Arizona.
Kidd-Gilchrist is a four that has to learn how to play the two/three. He makes up for it with the fact that he plays his tail off, and he is young, and he is long, but I think he will be drafted above his actual potential because of how he competes and that they (Kentucky) play at such a high level.”
“I didn’t like his motor before, but boy is he skilled and long. He can go to his left and his right hand as well. Talented, talented kid.”
“I think Perry Jones is kind of an enigma out there, but he played great yesterday. I know people are hoping off the bandwagon because he has been so up-and-down. He is a lot like Meyers Leonard and needs another year in school to develop and mature, but boy does he have a skill-set that is awesome.”
“Another guy who is creeping in that discussion, which I don’t think he has a position, I don’t think he is a point or a two, but I do think he is an NBA guard. The kid from Syracuse, Dion Waiters. I really like Dion Waiters.
People on blogs like Austin Rivers, I don’t (as a prospect). He is not a one or a two. I don’t think he is as big as listed and he can be tough to play with by all accounts. There are a lot of NBA people are turned off by it. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value probably in the mid-to-late first round. He would be in that Dion Waiters category. Somewhere between a one and a two, the difference is Waiters is bigger, thicker, stronger, but not as good or consistent as a shooter. Waiters is a much better athlete and has the potential to be a better defender, although he plays in a zone. That would be my general analysis as of right now.”
You have the “Funniest Movie Tournament” on the Doug Gottlieb Page. Where did that come from?
“Everybody likes a bracket and everybody likes to argue.
“Every year ESPN Radio.com we all do a bracket, like an office competition to have the cleverest bracket. They said what do you like and I said I really like comedies and I have a strong opinion of comedies. I don’t think Friday should be a four seed, it should be a one seed. That is the most quotable movie of my college time.
Who is your Final Four?
“My Final Four was Fletch against Friday and Anchorman against Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with Monty Python winning against Friday. So the favorite won it.”
Who do you think will be the best players from this draft class? Do you think he’s right about Kidd-Gilchrist and Waiters?
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