I mentioned in a previous blog entry that I am not big on predicting things. I’m continually reminded I’m odd in this way.
For instance, I took one of my nephews to see the movie of his choice on Wednesday, also known as “The Day after the Season When I Don’t Really Know What To Do With Myself.”
His choice was, “Knowing,” and about 5 minutes into the movie, he said, “What do you think all those numbers are about?”
“I don’t know.”
“But if you had to guess, what are they are about?”
“I don’t know.”
“But if you HAD to guess?
“I don’t know … code?”
About 5 minutes later, he said, “Do you think that guy is an alien, ghost or something else?”
“I don’t know.”
“But if you had to guess, what would you say?”
“I don’t know.”
“But if you HAD to guess?”
“I’d guess an alien. Or ghost. Or something else.”
This went on with a few other questions – you might gather there weren’t a lot of people in the theater to be bothered by our chatter – including, “Is this going to have a good ending or a stupid ending?”
For that I did manage somewhat of a prediction, mentioning it got a 14 percent approval rating from the “Rotten Tomatoes” top critics.
“But sometimes the critics don’t like stuff everybody else likes,” I said. “Then again, this is a Nicolas Cage movie.”
“It’s going to have a stupid ending,” my nephew said.
Anyway, I think once I did a WNBA mock draft for ESPN.com – I say “think” because I truly don’t remember if I did it or weaseled out of it, and I don’t really want to remember – but if I did it, I’m sure it was a disaster.
I’m not cut out to do mock drafts. First because, as we’ve established, I’m not into predicting things. Second, because I think it requires me to have to weigh too many potentially speculative things at once. And third, because it forces me to have to judge players.
As for the second part, what I mean by that is even if you talk to GMs and coaches, etc., you’re still often not sure exactly what they want. Because they’re not always sure. It’s also hard to always accurately gauge what all the veterans coming back to a team will bring, and how that will impact who is picked in the draft.
But in regard to the third part, in spite of all the basketball I watch, I don’t think I’m very qualified to evaluate players’ pro potential in any great detail. Some people are quite skilled at that, and I’m never going to pretend to be one of them.
Part of it is that I’m eternally optimistic – somebody can be a 19-percent shooter from 3-point range for her whole college career, and I’ll still think that maybe things are going to click for her. And part of it is that I don’t want to be someone who writes something that tells any kid with a pro dream, “Oh, I don’t think you can do it.” I’m by nature an encourager and not a discourager.
So that’s why I avoid mock drafts, and you’re sure not missing anything by me not doing one.
But as far as evaluating the draft right after it’s done, that’s hard, too. Some players take to the pro game and some don’t. It isn’t always based on on their talent level, either. Some of them are talented but find they don’t have the burning desire to play that others have in abundance. They are ready to do something else with their lives, and they may not even know that until they go through the process of trying to make a pro team … and then don’t make it.
Other people just do not land in the right situation and never get the chance they deserve. Others may take a few years to blossom at that level. There are players who I was sure would make it big but didn’t, and others I thought I’d never see play a WNBA game but they found their spot.
I offered some thoughts on the Atlanta situation, specifically, on ESPN.com. And while I don’t want to be a discourager, the realist in me says most of the second- and third-round round picks are going to have a very tough time making rosters. Hey, even the first-rounders are not guaranteed to make it. There are only 11 spots.
My general thoughts on the first-round picks draft are, indeed, pretty general, but here goes:
1. I believe Angel McCoughtry is a good No. 1 pick because she’s at the top tier defensively, she is quite athletically talented and very much wants to prove herself on the pro level. I wrote a lot more about her on ESPN.com.
2. Marissa Coleman is sort of the basketball Kate Winslet to me: I like everything she does and think she can do anything. Lots of women’s hoops followers feel the same way.
3. I am fascinated on how polarized some observers are on Kristi Toliver. They say she is a potentially lethal scorer who also distributes the ball very well and does what she needs to on defense … or she is too self-absorbed and can’t defend anybody. I swear the opinions are that far apart. I think anybody who can score like Toliver will find her place in the WNBA, and she sure didn’t rack up all those assists because she was just “lucky” that Coleman, Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper scored a lot.
4. Renee Montgomery is going to be yet another UConn player who succeeds in the pros. I don’t know if she’ll win a WNBA title with the Lynx, but I bet she’ll win one with somebody eventually.
5. I know there’s no such thing as “nearly unique” but that’s the way I always want to describe DeWanna Bonner because of her combination of body type and skills. Maybe I just need to let go of the unacceptable qualifier and settle on “unique.” Certainly, she’s a smart fit for Phoenix.
6. Arizona State’s Briann January didn’t necessarily need to prove herself with the Sun Devils’ Elite Eight run this season, but that certainly made it easy for Indiana to pick her. Right choice.
7. And Sacramento seems like the right place for Courtney Paris. She’ll have teammates who’ll challenge her but also support and respect her. Nobody in the history of women’s college basketball has rebounded like Paris, and I believe she’ll do that every bit as well at the pro level. She’s a steal with the seventh pick.
8. When Kia Vaughn feels like she’s being well-utilized in the offense, she plays her tail off. But will she get the touches she wants with so many post players in New York? I really wonder about that.
9. Speaking of unique again… Quanitra Hollingsworth was so academically advanced that it left her somewhat behind in terms of basketball. She graduated from high school early, so right now, though she’s finished with college, she is only the age of the average sophomore. Is she a risk for the Lynx? Sure. I think I’d feel better for her sake if she had more older post players there to learn from.
10. Love this combo: Chante Black and Connecticut. She’s got a great personality for that team – a quiet, mature player who just does what she’s supposed to – and she should be able to step in right away and contribute. The Sun had to be thrilled she was still available at the 10th pick.
11. Shavonte Zellous makes sense in Detroit because she can do the things that Bill Laimbeer wants from his guards. And she can be eased in because this is such a veteran team.
12. Ashley Walker was once the more underestimated of Cal’s post duo, but that changed and she became the more highly regarded. Her role could vary, of course, depending on whether Lauren Jackson returns to Seattle.
13. After the Elite Eight matchup between Purdue and Oklahoma, I didn’t write as much as I wanted to about how great I thought Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton was in that game and the whole NCAA tournament. She was so tenacious that she nearly disappointed the whole state of Oklahoma. She will be a joy to coach for either Michael Cooper or someone else if Los Angeles opts to trade her in hopes of getting a point guard.