Archive for Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stock up, stock down: Morris twins soaring in NBA draft projections; Selby plummeting

Brother Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris congratulate each other after grabbing a foul against Iowa State during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Brother Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris congratulate each other after grabbing a foul against Iowa State during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

June 22, 2011


No need to look beyond the local college basketball team to reach the conclusion that trying to figure out how the Egyptians built the pyramids presents no tougher a challenge than attempting to determine why NBA general managers make the draft choices they make.

Oh well, at least the talent evaluators finally appear to be getting in on the secret that the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, both shape up as safe picks worthy of the lottery. While they remain all over the place on mock drafts, they’re both moving up. Yet, the mock drafts might not reflect just how highly their stock is soaring, according to one man who earns his living influencing draft choices.

“I won’t be shocked if both of them end up being top 10 picks,” the man said. “Everybody loves them.”

Lot to love. Neither twin ever bobbles a ball. They’re both great passers. They’re Philly-tough, don’t have any whine-and-stew to their games and bring magna cum laude-worthy basketball IQs to the court.

As the twins’ stock appears to soar, former teammate Josh Selby’s looks to be headed in the opposite direction. The grapevine that had Selby has a possible lottery pick knocking teams dead with individual workouts appears to have soured on the guard whose lone season at Kansas was marred by NCAA suspension, injury and a prolonged shooting slump. Some mock drafts have him tumbling into the middle of the second round.

What’s up? Maybe scouts are a lot like Kansas fans. The more they saw of Selby, the less they liked him. Or could it be, as one NBA insider wonders, that one team desperately wants Selby to drop to them and has spread rumors that they think he’s a bust waiting to happen?

That sort of thing happens. I once had breakfast with a few baseball scouts and the youngest of them asked the oldest what he thought of a player. The veteran proceeded to list red flag after red flag: He puts way too much strain on his shoulder with that delivery. He grips the ball tighter in big spots and once a choker, always a choker. Etc. Once the other scouts left, the veteran shared that he loved the player and routinely throws competitors off the scent when he really likes a player.

Projecting a college cager to the NBA can be tough, but not as tough as NBA general managers have made it look in recent years when drafting Jayhawks.

Darrell Arthur runs faster, is quicker, more explosive and three inches taller than Xavier Henry and Arthur lasts until the 27th pick of the 2008 draft and two years later Henry gets chosen with the 12th pick? Arthur runs the floor far better than Cole Aldrich, has way more offensive skills and is light years quicker, yet Aldrich, chosen two years after Arthur, went 11th in the draft?

And then there’s the curious case of Mario Chalmers. The most ridiculous, often-uttered opinion regarding Chalmers holds that he made himself “a lot of money with that one three-pointer against Memphis.” Huh? A long-armed guard deft at finishing at the rim, shooting three-pointers and prowling the passing lanes, Chalmers lit up Texas with 30 points in the Big 12 conference tournament title game and he lasted all the way into the second round, the 34th pick?

Why Arthur and Chalmers lasted so long and Aldrich and Henry were swept up so early — sure, it was a weaker draft, but still — remains a mystery.

So does Brandon Rush. Nothing strange about where Rush was selected, 13th in the 2008 draft. That seemed about right. He’s an enigma in that he hasn’t established himself as a player capable of earning a permanent spot in the starting lineup. He moves his feet so well and has such long arms, he projected as a stellar NBA defender, but until he learns to use his hands to play more physical defense in the manner Brady Morningstar did at Kansas, he won’t reach his defensive potential. His jumper looks like those in instruction manuals and his touch is so pure. He shot .417 on threes this past season, but that translated to just 9.1 points in 26.2 minutes a game.

Mysteries abound in the pool of draft prospects, which makes it logical that the Morris twins keep soaring and Selby appears to be plummeting. The twins have proven so much, Selby so little.


Don Whiteley 6 years, 9 months ago

As young people, we all did stupid things we later regretted. With the exception of Josh himself, everyone knew it was a mistake for him to enter the draft after a troubled season. He has the potential, but like others, may now not be given the chance to prove himself.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 9 months ago

The problem with Selby is the whole system. He didn't want to come to K.U. and I'm not even sure we wanted him as much as we didn't want someone else to get him. He wanted to go to the NBA and those experts projected him as a high first rounder if he had that option. He didn't, so we got stuck with him and he got stuck with us.
Sure, I wish things had worked out better for him here. But I don't blame an 18 year old kid anywhere near as much as I blame the system.

Vinny1 6 years, 9 months ago

Keegan, how stupid are you?

You try to compare X with Arthur, even though they play completely different positions. You try and compare them with Aldrich, who is a 7-footer and a center rather than a 4.

You prove yourself ignorant once again.

xfitter 6 years, 9 months ago

You realize that Aldrich is NOT a 7-footer and really about 6'8 to 6'9, right? So the comparison to Arthur is right. Not sticking up for Keegan BUT you need to get it straight as well.

Scott Perlmutter 6 years, 9 months ago

I guarded Aldrich for a few hours of pick-up games at the rec 2 weeks after the National Title. He is about 6'10-6'11.

Robert Holmes 6 years, 9 months ago

He's actually somewhere between 6' 5" and 7' 5". Hard to tell by the camera angles.

lvlndhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

So the twins are philly tough - Keegan must have missed their first year in Lawrence! The twins are Kansas tough & D-Manning taught.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 9 months ago

I 100% agree with this! They were embarrassing that first year. Utterly horrid. I'm glad they both listened and learned and worked hard, and are now both lottery picks. Too bad Josh Selby couldn't have followed their example. #49 indeed. What does that pay? $35,000 a year...not guaranteed?

Jim Williamson 6 years, 9 months ago

Selby had to bail. Aside from not wanting to be here (or at any other college, for that matter), he couldn't afford another year like this past season. Another one like that and he can't find a roster spot in Turkey. He needed to move when he could offset his disappointing 2010-11 season by pointing to his injury and the mean old NCAA while reminding us of all his high school hype from just 12 months prior.

Him leaving KU was good for him, KU and Bill Self's blood pressure.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 9 months ago

Keegan, you need to go back to English 101. Your ponderous long sentences and complicated inferences and suppositions are very difficult to read and understand. And your topic, college age childern running around and tossing a ball in a hoop trying to make millions of dollars in the national scam known as the "NBA" is an equally distressing. You would have failed in my college Freshman English class. Run-on and babbling sentences were a reason to get your term paper flunked and returned to you from your English professor.

readit 6 years, 9 months ago

Agree. Can't read him. TORTURED sentence structure.

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

childern??? evidently your freshmen English class didn't help you either.

Pitt_Mackeson 6 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, but I'm not very impressed with your writing skills, least as evidenced by this post.

Errors of your own such as "And your topic, an equally distressing." Hmmm.

(And you don't think that "And your topic, college age childern running around and tossing a ball in a hoop trying to make millions of dollars in the national scam known as the "NBA" is an equally distressing." -- even if it were properly worded and punctuated -- isn't a "ponderous long sentence" of your own?)

I like Keegan's columns. You don't. To each his (or her) own.

number1jayhawker 6 years, 9 months ago

Gee people. Give Mr Keegan a break. Does he stop and look at your work and critique every little thing?

He was just saying that there is no rhyme or reason sometimes, for the way the NBA drafts players.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, "number one" for your translation!. I do not see why Mr. Keegan, who is a professional journalist could not have said it the way you did and make his report crystal clear. You get an "A" in Freshman English!!!!!!! Maybe you should become a sports reporter, I would appreciate that.

mom_of_three 6 years, 9 months ago

See, now I don't know whether it's Keegan as the writer who has the problem or you as the reader. I think his article and his point was perfectly understandable.

If you want someone to write short and sweet sports articles, I suggest you begin reading twitter sports

Pitt_Mackeson 6 years, 9 months ago

All these people have nothing better to do than cry about a sports article. More pathetic than Selby's season.

hbjayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

This article is garbage.

Let's get to the point--maybe the NBA scouts see what every die-hard KU fan like myself saw in Selby. . . .We saw a young man with great potential who has proved absolutely nothing. If you are also a die-hard NBA fan like myself, you will realize that Selby is about 3 years away from having a true opportunity to be the lottery pick they make him about to be.

Selby is going to go in the late 3rd round or worse. I wouldn't be surprised if he was undrafted. Any NBA team would be foolish to spend significant money on him.

On the other hands, I beileve Marcus is going in the top 7. I think Markieff is going in the top 25. GOOD JOB BOYS!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"Selby is going to go in the late 3rd round or worse."

There have only been two rounds for several years now.

The only ones who can accurately predict when he'll get drafted are the NBA execs and coaches who make those decisions, and they'll let us know what they're thinking tomorrow.

My guess is that he'll get drafted tomorrow. Maybe late first round, but more likely sometime in the second round.

Matthew Herbert 6 years, 9 months ago

"this article is garbage" says the guy who then proceeds to reference a round in the draft that doesn't exist.

Mike Ford 6 years, 9 months ago

I almost called Mr. Keegan's LJW voicemail and left him this message. Mr. Keegan, do you remember the player hating tongue lashing Jay Bilas gave both Josh Smith and Monta Ellis on NBA Draft night when they went from High School to NBA? I do....both are productive players with playoff experience and one was recently an NBA All Star. I'll go even further. Who did Monta Ellis beat out as a second rounder from Lanier High School in Jackson, MS with the Golden State Warriors? a four year KU player named Aaron Miles. Keep hating. Do you remember the hating a high school player who played one year in Europe took and then became a productive guard with the Milwaukee Bucks named Brandon Jennings? This town, this college, and some sportswriters create such a mythological entity known as KU basketball. As a avid basketball fan I've followed KU since the Kellogg and Thompson days. I saw Danny Manning play high school ball. I go to three OKC Thunder games a season and I've followed the NBA since Dr. J. With the exception of 1988 and 2008, how many times has this mythology failed to deliver? I was on Jayhawk Blvd in 1988 and Mass St in 2003 and 2008. What does the NBA draft on? potential, production, and team needs. If Mr. Selby doesn't have to battle four other guards for playing time on a team that should've been in contention for an NCAA title and again underachieved at the highest level, he will probably be a productive NBA player off of the bench. Let's see Jeff Teague, Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Darren Collison, Marcus Thornton, Jrue Holliday, Rajon Rondo, and Eric Maynor. Any or them stars? maybe Rondo. All of them are contributors on NBA teams. Josh Selby is comparable if not more talented than some of the people I've listed. Quit hating. Go outside the bubble of KU Lawrence mythology.

Mike Ford 6 years, 9 months ago

better yet, have you heard of Deshawn Stevenson who won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks. He forsake KU for the Utah Jazz and has had a career with the Jazz, Wizards, and now Mavericks. he may not be able to control his celebratory drinking but he's won an NBA title and Lebron hasn't.

vuduchyld 6 years, 9 months ago

While I tend to agree more with what I'm reading here, I read some stuff this evening on Grantland and ESPN that says exactly the opposite...that Selby's stock is rising and the Morris twins are slipping.

Personally, I wish for the best possible situations for all of them and would love to see NBA success for everybody who has ever put on the Jayhawk uni. It's pretty incredible when you think about the INSANE amount of talent we've been priveleged to see that there hasn't been even more success by KU alums in the NBA over the last 25 years. Just goes to show how incredibly difficult that league is.

jonas_opines 6 years, 9 months ago

Every team but one chokes every year, so it's generally a safe bet to make.

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