Finally, we have reached the end of the first round of the At The Hive 9th Pick Tournament. In today's final first round bout, Gary Harris and James Young face off for your vote.
As always, I am joined by James Plowright of TheLotteryMafia.com to discuss these prospects.
Due to a change in schedule for today (rushed), I will only be asking questions, not responding. - Evan
Evan: What's your overall thoughts on Gary Harris, and his possible fit in Charlotte?
James: Harris seems to be viewed as a very "steady" player. Some see him as a three-and-D guy who will struggle to defend some twos with his limited size (6'4.5" in shoes). Personally, I love Harris and think he would bring a lot to the team, even with his height deficiencies. He plays bigger than that.
Harris is very agile for his size -- he is able to stay in front of almost any guard (similar to Jeff Taylor). Stopping dribble penetration has become crucial in the modern NBA. Defensively, Harris is the best player in the draft. He has great instinct and phenomenal hands. Harris is the kind of guy you would enjoy watching play defense, similar to Avery Bradley. Some people believe Harris can play some time at the point, but I personally don't see that being a realistic long-term option.
On the offensive end, Harris projects to be a good spot up shooter. He has underrated ballhandling skills and used these to slash to the rim in the half-court and transition. Harris isn't an exceptional passer, like Nik Stauskas, but he is still a good passer and has a relatively good basketball IQ.
Harris looks to be a little inconsistent. His three point percentage dipped from 42 to 35 percent during his sophomore season. The Phoenix Suns' GM, Ryan McDonough, referenced Harris's numerous injuries for his inconsistency last year: "That's the intel we had - he was banged up," said McDonough.
So how does he fit in Charlotte? Well I think he would be a long-term upgrade over Gerald Henderson. He would be a better perimeter defender and fit better into Steve Clifford's offense helping with Al Jefferson's spacing.
For me, right now, I have Stauskas number one on my big board with Harris and Doug McDermott neck-and-neck in second.
Evan: Lets change things up: how about a overview of James Young next. What's his overall game like, and his possible fit in Charlotte?
James: James Young has been sliding in many mock drafts. A lot of the teams at the end of the lottery are wanting to be in the playoffs next year, and there are a number of other wing prospects who look to be a lot more polished and NBA ready. I see Young emerging in 2-3 years, but I do believe it will take that time for him to really even start to scratch his potential.
Young has tremendous size for a shooting guard, which projects to be his position at the next level, he only played small forward at Kentucky due to the Harrison twins attending Lexington.
On the offensive side of the ball, there is a lot to like. Young has a nice feel for the game: when to shoot, when to drive, when to pass -- for such a young player he has pretty good basketball IQ. Young is already a dynamite scorer, if not slightly inefficient (41 percent from the field), but that can be forgiven to some extent. Teams are not taking Young for what he is right now, but what he could be.
His shooting form looks smooth and reliable. Many scouts and GMs think he is a lot better than his shooting percentages suggest, similar to how scouts viewed Bradley Beal in 2012. Personally, I think Young is an underrated athlete, I think his style of game is more "finesse," but I saw him go up and try and dunk over big men two or three times this year showing impressive hops.
One added quality Young does appear to have is the ability to step up for the big moments. Young hit a number of big shots during Kentucky's run in this years NCAA Tournament.
I would categorize Young's personality on the defensive end as lazy. I never really saw him locked in, and this seriously worries me. Young has good size for the position, but he doesn't have a great understanding of where to be or what to do. I think this could really limit his playing time in his early NBA career.
In terms of Young's fit in Charlotte, it is pretty good, but there will be better players available at nine. Clifford is sure to like Young, as he has great size for an NBA two. If Clifford could improve his defense (which he will likely believe he can) then he has all the tools to guard one through three. The three big knocks on Young's fit in Charlotte is 1) He is not the most NBA ready prospect who will be available 2) His defensive liabilities and 3) An inability to create for others.
The biggest question for me is his defense. Without knowing Young personally, I have no idea if he is the kind of guy who will really buy in. If Young does improve like many think he can, I could see him projecting to be a similar player to Michael Redd.
Evan: Back to Harris, how does his small stature possibly affect his stock and possible fit in Charlotte?
James: I think fans think it affects his stock more than front office personnel.
Clifford said in an interview the other day that it isn't just about how tall you are, but how long are your arms, how wide your hands are and how quick can you move your feet. However, Clifford also contradicts himself as he always talks about how important size is at the next level. So, what are we supposed to believe?
I don't think his "stock" will be affected at all. Most NBA teams knew he was on the small side -- he was measured at the LeBron James camp in 2011 and 2012 -- so they were fully aware. At this time of year fans look at holes in each prospect. Harris' size is a really easy one to pick out.
In terms of his fit in Charlotte? I do actually think it will have some effect, due to Clifford's philosophy and Charlotte already having a small point guard in Kemba Walker in the backcourt.
Evan: Here's the following questions I would want you to answer on both Harris and Young: 3-and-D potential, defensive issues a problem in Clifford's system, fit with Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
James: Harris can be a 3 and D guy for sure, but personally I see him having the potential to be so much more than that. Harris' ability to put the ball on the floor and create for others separates him from some of those Bruce Bowen-type players.
He will have no defensive problems with Clifford, in fact I think Clifford will love his intensity -- nose for the ball and his quick hands. The only knock on him is his size, but I really feel like he plays bigger than that and he has the ability to defend a lot bigger defenders. He is just an absolute all-around competitor. I honestly see him thriving in Clifford's defensive system, rather than struggling to settle in.
The fit isn't great, as that certainly wouldn't be the most skilled set of wings. If you look at the San Antonio Spurs, their wing options are a lot more dynamic. However, Harris could take on the role as the three-point shooter out of those three. He would likely be on towards the end of games when Clifford is trying to help Al's spacing.
James Young information: Despite Young having better tools to be a "3 and D" guy, I just don't see his game progressing that way. I feel he is much more expressive on the offensive end, so having him sit in a corner for 24 seconds of the shot clock would be a waste. His defense, like I previously mentioned, leaves a lot to be desired. There are a lot of other "grind" guys like DeMarre Carroll in the league who are tougher and better suited to that role.
Young's defensive issues will follow him wherever he goes, but it does seem Clifford plays to his team's strengths. He would certainly like Young's size for the shooting guard position. Being able to play behind MKG and learn first hand what elite NBA defense looks like would benefit him. If he were to play alongside MKG, that could be a good fit due to their ability to switch on the perimeter. But, again, none of this matters unless he can increase his focus on the defensive end and become more engaged.
Young is a little more electric than either of Henderson or MKG. He is the kind of guy who can go for 9 points in 2 minutes. This offensive spark would work well with Charlotte's current starting wings who are both better known for the play on the defensive end. One worrying trend is none of those three are great ball handlers and would enable Kemba to play off the ball, if you look at San Antonio this year Diaw, Ginobili and Bellinelli all took some responsibility next to Parker handling the ball.