In pro basketball, it's not when you get drafted but by whom.
Sure, if you're Lebron James or Kevin Durant, "who" doesn't matter at all. But for everyone else, the guys who aren't once-in-a-generation talents, landing spots matter.
Get on the wrong team, in the wrong system, or stuck behind the wrong players and you might be headed for the D-League or Europe. Touch down in the perfect spot and it may be the beginning of a long and vibrant career.
That's what lies ahead for Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels, and (possibly) Niels Giffey. If you believe the "experts" when it comes to the draft, all three guys will be waiting quite a while to hear their names called. In fact, Napier is the only one who is projected as a first rounder and some (a minority, for sure) don't even have him going there. Almost everyone seems to believe Daniels is an early-to-mid second rounder, and Niels appears destined to go un-drafted.
So, where will the three of them end up? Who knows. They don't, the "experts" really don't, and perhaps neither do the teams.
Instead of asking where they will end up, let's take a minute and exam where they should end up. What's the best fit for these three guys? Which spots would offer them the ideal opportunity to succeed?
Of course, it's all guess work right now. No one knows for sure who is going where, but we do have some mock drafts and reports to go on to at least narrow the field. Again, anything can happen, but casually browsing a few websites reveals that each guy seems to be attracting attention from certain franchises.
I'll kick it off today with Niels Giffey and will cover the other two in the days leading up to the draft this Thursday.
SF- Niels Giffey
Niels Giffey was one of my favorite players the last four years. Something about sharp shooting three point specialists just make me all giddy. If you haven't seen our interview with him last week, you should check it out now. He is clearly a high character guy who truly understands the team dynamic required to succeed on the court.
That said, I get why Giffey is pretty low on the NBA's priority list. He's not someone who can create his own shot, he's not a great rebounder (good, but not great), and his three point shot is best when not challenged (Giffey was wayyy too reticent to shoot the rock when anyone was putting a hand up).
The "experts" are all but unanimous that Giffey will not have to wait by the phone on draft night. If they are right, the Berlin Bomber will essentially become a free agent, able to field offers and go to someone's summer camp looking to make a team.
Clearly, he'd be best suited on a squad that needs a terrific three point shooting specialist, which includes about every single team in the NBA. Obviously, teams like the Thunder, Clippers, Heat, and Pacers could use someone who can sink a big three, but all of those squads are looking to win a championship and usually give such jobs to veteran guys who have been around the block a while. You always feel more comfortable with the experienced player taking the game-clinching three than some un-drafted free agent.
Ideally, Giffey would do best, I believe, on a team looking to add depth. Would Kemba's Hornets team be a perfect spot for him? Decent team but has trouble scoring from the outside. Giffey might be a great fit for them. I also thought about the Timberwolves since they need a lot more offensive players to put around Kevin Love, but it looks like Love is on the first train outta town at some point this summer (probably before the draft). Perhaps the Spurs, with their penchant for taking international players with strong fundamentals, could stash him away for a few years before he is ready to contribute on the big stage.
Honestly, part of me believes that the best situation for Giffey might be a return home to Germany. He'd no doubt be a starter on some team there, play in front of his countrymen, and make a pretty damn good living doing it as well. After a successful run in Europe, he could see better opportunities in the NBA or in better European leagues.
In the NBA, Giffey might end up being a dime-a-dozen player who, if lucky, bops around from team to team for a few years before being dicarded by the league. In Europe, I'll wager he could end up putting together a very nice career.
One cannot understate how difficult it is to earn a spot in the NBA and hold onto it. Most late-first round picks are out of the league after few years. As much as I'd love to see Giffey defy the experts by ending up on a team like the Spurs and carving out a niche role in the NBA the way his head coach did, the odds are stacked against him.