For Michigan’s vaunted backcourt of Naismith-winner Trey Burke and son-of-a-legend Tim Hardaway Jr., this year’s NBA Draft is looking shakier than a one-legged man slinging marijuana residue on a moped while rolling dice.
The controversially debated fates of two of college’s dopest players is an example of how differently NBA scouts evaluate talent at the pro level.
The NBA has seen enough killer college cats – such as Harold Miner, Mateen Cleaves and Adam Morrison – become busts to know that when it comes to drafting pro prospects, college stats don’t add up to a ball of wax.
Burke – the baddest baller in blue and yellow since C. Webb – and Hardaway Jr. answered many of the doubts that critics had entering the season by improving and finding a dope balance between individual and team success, while leading Michigan to a National Championship Game.
Despite Hardaway Jr.’s inconsistency, his 6´6 size, talent and solid college numbers should make him a hotter commodity than a cat struggling to sneak into the first round. He’s reportedly rising up the board, but doubts still linger. You’d think his multi-faced game fits today’s NBA like an arm sleeve. He doesn’t handle rock like father Tim, who had the wickedest crossover hit since La Bamba, but Junior is most def a capable one-on-one rim ripper.
Most draft experts project him going somewhere in the late first round. That usually isn’t superstar pickings, but it sure isn’t NBA-bust status, either. Hardaway’s biggest setback is the shadow boxing he does with his father’s Hall of Fame legacy. His dad’s been hard enough on him; we know that.
In a March Shadow League article entitled “The NCAA Tournament Is About To Make These Guys Famous,” we were dead-on about the fate of one Hardaway Jr. and his Michigan team’s post-season tourney potential.
He did his part in helping Michigan regain its elite status, and if he can ever be judged separately from his dad, folks may see that he can be more than an upgraded Kareem Rush. Who knows what he can do when not having to acquiesce to a POY ball controller?
Is he NBA ready?? The way he talks shows that he’s been drilled and tortured on NBA etiquette. Trust.
While Hardaway chases legends, Burke tries to shake typical draft-day prejudices about his 6´1 height and lack of speed and athleticism. Some experts say he’s the third-best guard in the draft and falling out of the lottery.
For many well-known players, the road to draft day becomes a forensic-type search for their deficiencies.
We heard the same jabber about Nate Robinson, Jameer Nelson (20th pick), Ty Lawson (18th pick), Darren Collison (21st pick), and all of these dudes turned out to be ballers.
Perception is a death trap for NBA prospective draftees and teams that get caught up in it. After two years of bitch-slapping Big 10 defenses, NBA scouts still wonder if Burke is D.J. Augustin, or, at best, another Nelson.
Gaining total respect for these cats is like trying to jog through quick sand with live grenades in your backpack. But once they touchdown in the NBA, they’ll see that ballers get paid and frauds get sprayed. All they gotta do is show and prove.