Summer league exposure hurt some lottery picks

BY foxsports • July 22, 2009

Any NBA player-evaluation exercise that's connected to summer league performance should be accompanied by a disclaimer.

And here's that disclaimer: Some player may look tremendous in a summer league game because he really is tremendous, but probably just appears to be tremendous relative to the competition. Especially if he's a rookie.

Or, as one of four NBA personnel employees contacted for this column explains, "You can't always use the summer league to be certain which players can play, but it does give you a nice head start on deciding who can't."

With that in the air, we're here to review last month's NBA Draft, consider this month's summer league results and offer up a draft lottery do-over provided by the collective reconsiderations of the aforementioned personnel quartet.

It should be noted that the altered lottery lineup may not represent an evaluation change for the teams making the picks. For example, if Hasheem Thabeet's reality-based spot at No. 2 in the draft has been claimed on our list by another player, it doesn't necessarily mean the fab four believe the Memphis Grizzlies should have selected that player.

We're only using summer-ball-related fickleness to potentially alter how four personnel guys rank the best 14.

Away we go.

1.Blake Griffin, power forward, Oklahoma (Reality is No. 1 by the Los Angeles Clippers): So Griffin stays firm at No. 1 based on looking like a Stealth jet among propeller planes during the Las Vegas Summer League .

"He has a chance to be an All-Star ... and not too far down the road," said one of our panel members. "But I have to say I'm not wild about what seems to be his belief that he should grab a rebound and lead the fast break. Whoa ... not good."

2. Tyreke Evans, combo guard, Memphis (Reality is No. 4 by the Sacramento Kings): Three of our four panel members believe Evans is only masquerading as a point guard, but the consensus is that if the Kings may have something here.

"He'll be a turnover machine early in his career," one panel member said, "but, man, that kid can get to the cup and he's strong as a bull."

3. James Harden, shooting guard, Arizona State (Reality is No. 3 by the Oklahoma City Thunder): The consensus is that while he's no threat to revolutionize the sport, Harden also seems immune from wrecking the Thunder while assimilating in the league.

"He's really, really solid," a panel member said. "That's what we've come to ... being thrilled when the No. 3 overall pick is solid enough to not screw a team up."

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