Greivis working out at Minnesota. Image via farm4.static.flickr.com
I figured with how much we'll be talking about Greivis, we might as well have a name for when we talk about him. So, on short notice: the VazTracker. Anyway:
I love the NBA draft as much as the next guy, but sometimes the picks don't make sense. Look at Daniel Orton. Widely considered to be a lottery selection due to his ceiling, Orton was the third or fourth best big man for Kentucky last year and averaged 3 and 3 a game. And he's a lottery pick.
But that's just the method of the NBA: youth and potential almost always trump production and experience. Unfortunately, some of our favorite players - like, oh, I don't know, Greivis Vasquez - get left out in the cold in the process. To rectify that, Eamonn Brennan ran through an NBA mock draft based on college productivity and nothing else. Unfortunately, he did it more of a power rankings than an actual mock, but Vasquez cracked the top 15, officially checking in at #12.
Vasquez was a lot of things in his college career -- a Duke antagonist, a poised leader, a fiery trash-talker -- but most of all he was just really good. Few players are as capable on the secondary break as Vasquez. He did a little of everything in his senior season; it wasn't uncommon to see Greivis grab a rebound on the defensive end, push the ball up the floor, find an open shooter, get an offensive rebound and calmly direct Maryland's offense from the top of the key. He's not everybody's cup of tea, but admit it: If he was on your team, you'd love him forever.
That's a good description of Vasquez. But Brennan ridiculously put Jon Scheyer at #8 in his draft; I believe it was Vasquez, not Scheyer that won the ACC Player of the Year. Regardless, it's good to see some recognition for the less heralded yet more productive guys in the draft.
Andy Katz continue the trend of looking past the hype, highlighting three players that are flying under the radar for whatever reason despite proving that they belong in the league. Vasquez, unsurprisingly, is one. Thankfully, Katz assures us that NBA execs can see past the hype screen.
Vasquez was the ACC player of the year, so he was hardly a non-factor during the conference season. But he has been poorly tossed to the back of the line because he's a senior, and he wasn't billed as the quickest or the hotest name among point guards. He's behind John Wall, Evan Turner (yes, he has to have the ball in his hands to be effective, so put him in with the point guards), Avery Bradley and Eric Bledsoe.
But the numbers don't lie (19.6 points a game, 6.3 assists). The basketball IQ hasn't diminished, and his passion to play and to work is high among potential picks. "He's calmed down personality-wise and was terrific in the interviews,'' said one general manager. "How is he not the third-best point guard in the first round?''
You can easily make the case that if you take Vasquez behind Wall and Turner, you're getting an experienced, reliable playmaker.
A year ago [Darren] Collison was pushed as a possible second-round pick, but he was selected late first and ended up being a valuable player for New Orleans after Chris Paul was injured. Vasquez could end up serving a similar role to a potential playoff team looking for another experienced point.
As for the requisite mock draft updates: nothing new on that front for now except one new mock that has one new destination: RealGM has Vasquez going to the Lakers in the second round, pick #43. I don't think anyone would argue that a chance to play with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol while backing up either Derek Fisher or whoever they bring in for Derek Fisher would be an amazing opportunity for Vaz. I'm not sure if I'd like him to go to the Lake Show, which I despise, but whatever's best for Vasquez is best for us.