Unverified Voracity Is Rather Obvious

Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Hype video. Summing up the last two years in the tourney:

Paperwork. Michigan's three NBA draft candidates have submitted their paperwork for evaluation. This is a non-event, as they were always going to see what the NBA says. Unless they come back saying something different than expectation (yes Stauskas, maybe GRIII, probably not McGary). Which they probably won't.

SCOUR THE STREETS OF TIMBUKTU. Block/charge is broken but danged if Michigan wouldn't do well with one of those extreme defensive centers whose main job is to intimidate and throw down dunks. John Beilein may agree:

Oh really. The Penn State game will be at night, as anyone who had looked at the 2014 home schedule could have told you. Prediction: I mutter about pom-poms in the aftermath.

Oh really, but in a good way. Hockey has already named its captains for next year and I bet you can get the C and one A without even thinking a little and the other A after a brief pause.


Copp will join Jed Ortmeyer and Carl Hagelin as two-year captains since I've been aware of Michigan hockey, and if he drives Michigan back to the tournament with authority he'll end up on my personal Michigan hockey Mount Rushmore with those two gentlemen. (Shawn Hunwick is the fourth.) I don't mean for this to turn into another discussion of Mount Rushmores like twitter was inexplicably doing a month back. Just let it go. No Rushmores.

OHL draft update. It was not a dramatic year for Michigan in the OHL draft, as every one of their commitments was picked in the late flier range. With James Sanchez's commitment to the NTDP, three of their four commits will be on the U17s next year. The NTDP contract has a financial penalty for early departure, so the window OHL teams have will be very small. It's not impossible, but generally NTDP guys who defect are staring down top-ten draft picks and decided they don't have to play school or are terrified by the prospect of competing with Shawn Hunwick.

Michigan's three gentlemen are highly regarded, but not in that range. They're probably safe, except for the whole looming Berenson retirement thing. But there's nothing you can do about that.

Simple, but more complicated. Morris on the differences between Nussmeier and Borges:

"We have to know a lot more this year. We have to know what lineman do on every play, who the back blocks on every play so we know who our (hot routes) are; stuff like that. It's definitely helping us out and making us more aware of the defense."

Morris, who completed 5-of-11 passes for 73 yards on Saturday, summed up the changes as "having to study defenses more" and knowing "the ins and outs of every play."

As long as there is less stuff this can work out, and it sounds like there's less stuff. Hopefully more stuff than Morris claims, though:

What's hoped for is improvement via simplification. Under Borges, the Wolverines struggled in an intricate, extensive offense.

Nussmeier's offense is the converse.

"That's how every coach should be," Morris said. "The stuff we run, we want to be perfect. I think Vince Lombardi, when he was coaching the Packers, they ran about three plays, but they ran them perfectly. That's why they won. That's what we're trying to do this year."

I want my amount of stuff porridge to be just right. Last year was too hot, and that would be too cold. But after last year we might have to settle for dully banging face for uninspiring yardage.

/rolls eyes, makes wanking gesture. If that's bolded I must be talking about Jason Whitlock.

"I'm not a big Shane Morris guy, Devin Gardner struggles during adversity," Whitlock said. "Devin Gardner handles adversity worse than others, in my opinion. …

"I don't want to beat the kid up, but that play against Michigan State when he's one yard away from a first down and he fell down," Whitlock recalled. "When you're a competitor and the leader of the team, that doesn't happen."

…which is probably why he threw for 451 yards on a broken foot against Ohio State. We could extrapolate from one play on which he made a mental error, or we could look at a season in which he was massacred weekly and still came out until—in fact after—his body literally would not let him.

It's a miracle Whitlock's made it as far as he has in the world without ever being even on the same planet as correctness.

Okay? Jeff Goodman flings Caris LeVert on his Way Too Early First-Team All-American list($). There's not much content and Goodman claims LeVert is a "terrific defender," which he's not yet…

G Caris LeVert, 6-6, Jr., Michigan
12.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.9 apg
Nik Stauskas made the huge jump last season, and look for LeVert to do it next year. He's long, can score in a variety of ways and is also a terrific defender.

…but we have officially reached the point where people in the media point at a random Michigan player and expect him to morph into a beast because John Beilein. Michigan's actually got three candidates to make this morph—LeVert, Walton, and Irvin—who are sorta kinda making freshman to sophomore leaps. (LeVert is not but is very young for his grade.)

Yes please. The Northwestern union ruling is far from final but if things go like it looks like they're going to go—every time the NCAA runs up a judge these days the judge goes LOL NO—major changes are coming. If it does go the CAPA route, things will get interesting because public schools are going to be beholden to state law, not the NLRB. Ohio seeks to disadvantage itself:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — College athletes in Ohio would not be considered employees under state law, under changes to the state’s budget review made by a legislative committee on Monday.

Michigan, meanwhile, has what I'm pretty sure are strong grad student and lecturer unions. They are emphatically extant, at the least. It'll probably take Ohio one look at the stuff Michigan is handing their athletes to reverse course here, but never underestimate human stupidity.

Why bother with an early signing period? The entire concept of the "signing period" is uselessly anachronistic, but people keep trying to fix it by introducing early signing or late signing or whatever. Bylaw Blog's John Infante is the latest:

An early signing period should be in early December. It should be as close to the end of the regular season as possible to minimize the effect on bowl preparation. That means the Wednesday after conference championship games are played. This is one week earlier than the current initial signing date for midyear junior college transfers. The signing period would be open for one week; it would include prospects enrolling that January and the following fall.

There's no reason to have a signing day at all, but it's now a TV event so it will persist forever and ever amen. There is a way to both ease the burden on coaches and players who have come to an agreement: provide a non-binding letter of intent. Players can sign it at any time and withdraw it at any time. Once they sign it other coaches can't contact them and they can't take officials except to the school they signed with. They have to make it official on signing day.

That system would provide players a way to opt out of the recruiting process whenever they wanted without locking them in if their coach gets whacked. Importantly for its chances of passage, it reduces workload for coaches, who no longer have to babysit their commits so hard and have a more limited range of poaching options.

People are just in charge of things, part LXVII. You may remember Rutgers AD Julie Hermann from such events as "it is revealed that Rutgers, reeling from a scandal in which it was revealed that their basketball coach was a violent psychopath, hires person claimed to be violent psychopath by former players, then experiences mass football decommitment spree after football coach is claimed to be violent psychopath." And then nothing else because Rutgers.

Hermann is now back in the news, which can't be good.

“If they’re not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they’re not selling ads – and they die,” Hermann told the Media Ethics and Law class. “And the Ledger almost died in June, right?”

“They might die again next month,” a student said.

“That would be great,” she replied. “I’m going to do all I can to not give them a headline to keep them alive.”

Good job, good effort, Hermann.

I'd say the stink of Rutgers would harm the image of the Big Ten, but… hey, yeah we're a basketball conference now. The stink of Rutgers will harm the image of the Big Ten.

AND STAY OUT. The greatest collapse in NBA GM history is complete, as Joe Dumars will resign after creating the unlikeliest NBA champion in recent history, a team that was a bounce or two away from a second title. Then he traded Chauncey Billups for a broken-down Allen Iverson and spent the money saved on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, at which point it was over.

Eventually Dumars started making decisions seemingly to spite Pistons fans; aside from the fortune of having a franchise center slide to him in the draft there is literally no good thing Dumars has done since he broke bad with Iverson. The Pistons have been stuck in NBA purgatory, never any good but never bad enough to secure one of the top picks in the draft. This year's desperate attempt to get into the playoffs secured them the worst three point shooter in NBA history on a team with two promising young bigs. And of course, Trey Burke. Though Burke's not shooting well this year the difference made by his presence in Utah's lineup is obvious in their record. The guy Dumars picked over him picked up three consecutive trillions.

But you know what they always say: when you can draft a guy who dragged his team to a .500 SEC record you gotta do it.

Anyway, Dumars dug his own grave and I'm mad at him for… uh… being the dumbest person. But at one point he was a genius, so thanks for that.

Etc.: We're the saddest. Bacon on the Northwestern ruling. Wisconsin players have contempt for the NCAA. Josh Furman will spend his grad year at Oklahoma State.



April 9th, 2014 at 12:22 PM ^

Why is Dumars news?  Oh yeah, right.  We hate him because he didn't draft Burke...

This site is a joke.

Actually is a good example of hate trying to feed on hate...




April 9th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

The contracts were bad but, honestly, what FA's are going to Detroit without an economic incentive?  Here, the Knicks have to overpay guys.

Al for Chauncey was basically a swap of okay players, with Iverson getting the Pistons some cap room.  I have no problem with that trade because Billups wasn't leading this team to a title.

Darko was one of the most highly-touted international recruits at the time.  Dumars didn't get lucky, but had he picked, I don't know, Melo or Bosh at #2 then Denver would have jumped on him at #3.  This revisionist argument that everyone knew Darko was a bum drives me insane.

10 coaches are absolutely true, but let's not ignore that a good deal of these issues took place during Davidson's illness and death.  That instability can screw with anyone.

matty blue

April 9th, 2014 at 1:36 PM ^

...the "darko was a blown pick" narrative drives me nuts, too.  it was pretty universally regarded as the right pick at the time.



http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1028885/inde… (this one is a personal favorite)

saying that the pistons blew the pick because dwyane wade is revisionist history, pure and simple.  nobody - and i mean nobody - said that until it was clear that darko just wasn't going to happen.

i also wonder why larry brown doesn't ever seem to get part of the blame for darko...i get it, developing young talent wasn't as important as trying to win a championship, but he also didn't seem to give a shit about his development, either.  i guess larry...uh...was never too concerned with long-term solutions, right?  not to excuse flip saunders.


April 9th, 2014 at 1:42 PM ^

I saw Darko play many times over the years and not once did he look like anything more than a decent backup center. Just because someone else might have done the same thing doesn't make it any less stupid.

Anyone who thought Darko would be a better NBA player than Wade or Carmelo is a bad talent evaluator.


April 9th, 2014 at 1:50 PM ^

You're missing the point.  It wasn't that "someone else" would've done the same thing.  It's that everyone would have done the same thing.  We can all dig up glowing reviews on him from before the draft til the cows come home.  What you will never find from that time is someone claiming he's overrated.  This was absolute consensus, not just a pundit here and there.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

And remind me again, who was the consensus winner of the NCAA tournament this year, among all pundits and not just "a pundit here and there" -- that's right, a team that didn't make the Final Four.  How many of the pundits at the time had even seen Darko play?  Because once you saw him, you knew immediately that he was a project, at best, who had height and maybe some skill but lacked the heft to play inside and had no idea what he was doing on a basketball court.  It was the job of Dumars and his scouts to evaluate Darko and the alternatives, and history shows they failed.  A "consensus" of folks who have yet to demonstrate they know what they're talking about doesn't prove otherwise.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:43 PM ^

And guess what, in a different world and a different game, maybe MSU makes a run to the title.  This is a false equivalency.  One is a player analyzed by lots of people in different contexts; the other is a single game played once.  

And guess what - GMs take projects all the time.  Drummond was a "project" and he worked out fine.  But oh yeah, that was just "luck" by Dumars.  Darko was proof that he was an idiot and should be drawn and quartered.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:53 PM ^

I give Dumars full credit for the Drummond pick.  Also, I agree with you that, short of maybe LeBron, most of the really young guys (and especially the tall ones) are projects to a significant extent.  But guess what -- several of those supposedly wise and all-knowing GMs passed on Drummond so that he fell to the Pistons, and I give Dumars credit for knowing better.  But if he gets credit for that, he surely gets the blame for Darko -- as Dumars himself has admitted (see below).  I'm not in the camp that says Dumars is totally incompetent -- he's made some good moves and he was handcuffed by a ownership change, but he's also made some bad moves (including Darko) and it's time to move on (as he apparently recognizes).


April 9th, 2014 at 4:14 PM ^

Was everyone temporarily blind? I recall all the hype but I never saw any videos until he was actually drafted and my first thought was, "what the hell does anyone see in him?"

I find it hard to believe that any professional talent evaluator saw those highlights and thought he was better than melo or wade.


April 10th, 2014 at 10:57 AM ^


What I recall was that there was a 50/50 split between Darko and Carmelo as to who should be #2.  Even so, I agree that you can't bash Dumars based on what pundits were saying.

GMs should not rely on pundits, though.  I don't remember anyone saying Darko was overrated, but I do remember people noting what a big unknown he was.  Simmons' prognostications in the article posted above were thankfully incorrect, but his point holds true that when you have a chance for a very good or better player who is a known quantity, you go with that over the Great Unknown (Jordan, Durant, Melo, etc.).      


April 9th, 2014 at 3:08 PM ^

I presume we can read about your thoughts on Darko back in 2003 somewhere?  Because otherwise, you are apparently smarter than EVERY GM and talent evaluator at that time.  There were people arguing Melo was better; I don't know of anyone who seriously thought Wade was going to be a much better player.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:16 PM ^

Why is everyone stating as "fact" that "EVERY GM and talent evaluator at that time" would have taken Darko over the other alternatives?  Just looking, for example, at the sources cited by Matty Blue above, we see, for instance, quotes from "experts" like Chad Ford, a couple of random scouts, one or two anonymous GMs (who say vaguely positive things about Darko but don't say where they'd pick him), and -- my favorite -- Will Robinson (of the Pistons) and Darko himself.  Wow, sounds pretty conclusive . . . .


April 9th, 2014 at 5:00 PM ^

Well, Chad Ford is one of the better talent evaluators out there when it comes to the draft, so "expert" is probably a bit of an undersell on his qualifications.

Regardless, there aren't millions of articles from back then, but if you look at that timeframe you find people noting he is a young kid with huge potential.  The Pistons were coming off a great season and were primed to compete for a title.  Drafting a 7-footer with range and a huge upside seemed like a good bet, especially since they had a pretty good player at SF (in Prince) and a veteran squad.  Melo wasn't going to fit in, and Wade wasn't going to play over Rip and wouldn't see much time.  I guess you could argue Bosh, but he had some questions given an ok one year in college at GT.

My point is that you are looking for a reason to show Dumars was an idiot and ignoring the fact that he made a bad decision that lots of people would have made.  And yes, the consensus is sometimes wrong, but just as often it is right.  Dumars has made a large number of mistakes as a GM, but he has also been a victim of bad luck and circumstances outside of his control.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:30 PM ^

we can let Dumars himself critique the Darko pick:

"I could give a dissertation on that," Dumars said shortly after selecting Drummond. "After I drafted Darko, from that point on, the amount of background we do on every single player that you see us draft is ridiculous. We do as much or more background than any other team in the NBA because of that.


"The background on (Milicic) was about 20 percent of what we do now. I look back on it now and realize you didn't know half of the stuff you needed to know."


"It's not just the questions you ask to (the player)," Dumars said. "It's the amount of people. With Darko, we may have had two sources of information. That was it. With this kid (Drummond), 10 (or) 12. We talked to literally everybody. "George David (the Pistons' director of player personnel) talked to his sixth-grade teacher. That wasn't long ago. We talked to everybody. That's what we didn't do with Darko. We may have talked to a couple of guys over in Europe. That was it.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:51 PM ^

And that is absolutely true, but you are ignoring the differences in time and situation.  Drummond was kid at a major college program 10 years after the Darko pick.  In those 10 years, so much has changed technologically and access to information has increased so dramatically that acting like the two situations are equal is like blaming the Chicago Tribune headline writer for picking Dewey because now we have 538.com.  

Yes, Dumars didn't make a great pick.  But lots of GMs were in the same situation would have made the same pick.  And listen, I wasn't a huge fan of the pick because I really liked Melo coming out of college.  But at worst, Darko was going top-5 in that draft, and most likely top-3.  People with CYA after the fact, but if you replay that draft a million times Darko is off the board very early in all of them.


April 9th, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

The fact that others would have made the same bad pick doesn't make it a good one.  I'm guessing that when Portland picked Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in 1984, other GMs might have done the same.  Though you're talking about what has changed in the draft, that's what has remained the same -- guys with size get picked too high and GMs don't do their homework with those picks.  Again, in one of the articles cited by Matty Blue, one of the "experts" says (at the time) that picking Darko that high in the draft is putting a lot of (and maybe too much) stock in the European league he was playing in.  It turns out that expert was right (and there was a lot of similar talk at the time), so it wouldn't have been completely ridiculous for Dumars to have reached the same conclusion.


April 9th, 2014 at 3:24 PM ^

From the Sports Illustrated/CNN article:

"Milicic plays sparingly with his club team, since it operates on a seniority system -- reportedly, his teammates do not pass him the ball enough and restrict what he can do on offense.

NEGATIVES: At this stage in his career, Milicic has proved little. While he looks great in an open gym, he is still learning how to use his talent in 5-on-5 situations. In this season's FIBA Final Four, which was heavily attended by NBA personnel, Milicic was outplayed by Americans not good enough to be in the NBA."

So you you've got an 18 year old kid who plays sparingly on a Serbian club team to begin with, who in his only pre-draft competition with Americans was outplayed by non-NBA-caliber kids. Yep, a can't-miss prospect.

I think this just highlights the shortcomings of the NBA's fixation on "potential" instead of "achievement against solid competition." This fixation is especially pronounced when a 7-footer is involved.

Unless you're trying to tell us that the competition he faced in Serbia was equivalent to or better than what he would have faced playing at the big-time level in the NCAA.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:35 PM ^

Darko do anything that made it look like he could have even been a good COLLEGE player let alone an NBA star.   I have no idea how he hoodwinked NBA talent evaluators so unbelievably badly.  He supposedly wowed Dumars with his shooting too, yet he hasn't hit a single 3-pointer in his entire career.   The whole thing is a giant mystery.

matty blue

April 9th, 2014 at 4:54 PM ^

calling out weaknesses is not the same as saying someone blew a pick.

the same cnn/si draft profiles wondered:

  • whether lebron might be limited by his lack of a reliable jump shot (yes, they really said that).
  • whether carmelo anthony's game would be "limited at the next level by neither being ultra-big or ultra-athletic."
  • whether chris bosh would "ever be able to add the strength needed to become a star."
  • if the "athletic guards of the nba would be able to contain the penetration" of dwyane wade, and whether he would add a jump shot.

i'm obviously not defending the pick.  obviously.  just saying that dumars wasn't alone on that island.  just like just about everyone else in the league.  you can say that the herd mentality is dumb, and that a smart gm should have been able to see it as clearly, and you'd probably be right.  doesn't change the fact - and it is indeed a fact - that nobody called it a dumb pick at the time.


April 9th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

because he's been a very large part of the sports landscape in this state for damn near 30 years.  "We" all hate him for various reasons, one of which may or may not be the Burke thing, depending on personal feelings.  Jury's still out on that move, in my opinion, but that's just my opinion and Brian's entitled to his.  Doesn't make the site a joke.


April 9th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

To eulogize Dumars in such a negative way without even mentioning the shitty hand he was dealt with the Pistons' ownership situation is disingenuous.  Dumars made several bad moves - as have every GM in the history of GM'ing.  He also didn't work in a vacuum.

I think it was his time to go, but Dumars did bring Detroit one of only a couple "non-superstar" NBA titles in the last three decades (not counting the 2 he won as a player).


April 9th, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

Also, arguing that while Dumars "lucked" into a franchise center (even though he was the one who actually drafted him #10 while many people were letting him drop on their boards) is just lazy writing.  Dumars also drafted Monroe late, and he has been a pleasant player so far.  Luigi looks like a decent player, as does Singler. 

Also, can we stop with the idea that Chauncey was still an elite player when he was traded for Iverson?  He had slightly better stats playing on a much better team, but he was a mediocre defender and not a great shooter anymore.  Iverson was a bad player but did allow them to cut some salary, and nothing Chauncey has done since makes me believe the Pistons were going to remain elite with him at the helm.


April 9th, 2014 at 1:34 PM ^

He looked like a decent player when he came over, but he's had zero meaningful performances as a Piston.  17.1% from three should say it all for a guy they signed to add shooting.  Could make the argument Dumars lucked into Monroe too, seeing as the Warriors mysteriously took Udoh over him before Detroit picked.


April 9th, 2014 at 5:46 PM ^

They have Drummond, Monroe, and Smith for three front-court positions.  Yes, they can sit those guys at times, but show me the minutes that are even available for the guy.

But whatever.  I'm just going to admit to agree to disagree on stuff like this.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:23 PM ^

Well karen davidson was around for like a year or two (if I'm remebering correctly) so that's not a lot of time to develop a negative opinion.  Gores has only been around for 2 seasons and posters here do talk smack about him.  Personally, I think Gores has made a few bad decisions (keeping dumars) but he's definitely trying and willing to spend.  I think he'll get .things going as long as he picks a decent GM.

Neither of them compares to the Fords' 50 years of ineptitude.


April 9th, 2014 at 1:03 PM ^

The site isn't a joke.

Brian has a very specific view of how things should be when it comes to Michigan athletes, and his distaste for Dumars seems to have festered ever since Horry hit a late-three over Rasheed and became full-blown when they gave big contracts to Gordon and Charlie V. 

As for the Trey Burke love, whatever.  People around here want to believe the narrative that Burke is great and that KCP will never succeed in the NBA, and no matter how much evidence you bring forward that KCP isn't that bad and Burke isn't that amazing, it won't change.


April 9th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Not officially a Michigan commit, but Max Jones seems to basically be between Michigan and the OHL, and he went 18th overall(which is a significant drop) but was picked by London, and is taking a visit there soon. That's the big one for Michigan fans to watch.


April 9th, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^

Brian, because it's his site

Misopogon, but not Seth

TomVH, because he held us

That fourth spot is up for grabs, but I'm going with Magnus as the representative of all the MGoUsers. Had Heiko spurned the medical millions, he would have been a no-brainer.


April 9th, 2014 at 4:48 PM ^

Magnus has more MGoPoints than Ace. He's third among active users, and first among non-site affiliated people (Brian, Seth, Ace, Brandon.) I have love for Ace, but Mount Rushmore is for Presidents, not Vice Presidents, or something like that.