Improvement Inside Means Cliff At 30 MPG

  • Last season, I declared in November that I believed that Joel Embiid was the most important player to our national title hopes. This season, as we sit here on December 28, 2014, the most important player is undoubtedly Cliff Alexander. Cliff Alexander is the one player most tied to our national title hopes.

    Cliff Alexander needs to average 30 mpg the rest of the season. Here’s why.

    1. While we may become an outside-in team, the inside game must function. Inexorably, while we can emphasize our outside game, shoot threes, and let our athletes outside be the focus, we have to have talent inside in coach Self’s system. Outside-in includes the “in.” It is not simply gunning three pointers. We need to score inside effectively. This is a coach Self coached team. Focusing on the outside component is what I’ve suggested, but it is a tweak. Self won’t (and possibly can’t) change the system right now. We will play three out, two in. We’re not playing four out, one in. We can wish, hope, speculate, strategize all we want. We can imagine a fast paced game, with some full or 3/4 court presses, unfazed by working the shot clock. But we know Self will not do it. Thus, we need talent to score and rebound inside. This may not end up being the bread and butter, but it has to function competently.

    2. Cliff is our most talented big man. I say that with absolute certainty. He is not yet the most skilled – that honor falls to Ellis. But when you see Cliff excel, we see a guy who is physically imposing, a guy who has a nice touch from outside, and a guy who can have unmatched tenacity on this roster (or possibly matched by only Mason). Long arms. He’s a true post player. No discussion of Cliff being an NBA three.

    3. Cliff has the most rebounds per minute played of any Jayhawk at .321. He has virtually the same number of rebounds as Ellis in two-thirds of the minutes. That figure is comparable to Markieff Morris in his junior season (.341) and Embiid last season (.350), and exceeds Marcus (.264), Withey (.275) and Perry (.224). The gold standard was TRob at .373 per minute. Further, Cliff is third on the team in points scored per minute played at .439, behind Oubre (.453) and Ellis (.448 ).

    4. At 30 minutes a game, his numbers translate nearly to a double-double: 13.17 ppg, 9.63 rpg. The only players under Self to average a double-double were Simien (2005), TRob (2012), and Aldrich (2009). Aldrich was .2 rpg away from a double-double in 2010. No one else would be closer than Cliff at 30 minutes per game. Cliff has the best field goal percentage of everyone on the team except Mickelson, who has largely played mop up duty this season.

    5. We need Cliff in large part because Jamari Traylor is playing exactly to his non-ranking as a junior. He is not a starter. He is barely an adequate first big off the bench. I believe that Jamari has plateaued. We’re seeing the same Jamari we saw last season. Jamari is rebounding poorly at his normal rate of .214 per minute played (5th on the team), and scoring just .250 points per minute played (9th on the team). Traylor’s field goal % is just 39.5, where Cliff’s is 51.8%. We can’t rely on Traylor for anything, except a few nice blocks and a few peaks to go with the valleys. By comparison, Traylor trails Landen Lucas in both points per minute, and rebounds per minute. Cliff has also more blocks per minute played than Traylor.

    6. Another reason we need Cliff at 30 mpg is that our other backups, Lucas and Mickelson, are less than stellar. In other words, we have no other real answers. Nothing that has much real upside. In a normal year, you might not have a big average 30 mpg. This season is different. In 2011-12, TRob averaged over 30 mpg. We had a very tight rotation. We should view this season as the same. Cut down on Lucas, Traylor, and Mickelson. Go Cliff 30, Ellis 30, and let the others combine for 20 (assuming Self won’t play small at the four). Personally, I like the idea of favoring Mickelson a bit over Traylor in test run for a while – but that’s another topic.

    7. One obvious reason that we need Cliff to play 30 minutes per game is that Ellis is struggling without competent assistance. My personal belief is that Ellis would not be struggling near as much if Cliff was playing more. That is our best combo. The scoring and rebounding numbers support that. Cliff is only playing 18.6 minutes per game. By comparison, an inferior player, Jamari Traylor, is playing 19.6 minutes per game. But we need Cliff to play more, and play well. We need to get him there.

    8. Playing Cliff more will make it more likely that he is better in March. The more playing time, the more likely that he’ll be closer to his potential freshman peak. Does anyone think that we can function effectively in March, inside, as presently composed? I don’t. We need improvement. Cliff working through the kinks is imperative. Self has to stomach the growing pains if we are to get Cliff to his potential freshman peak.

    9. On the improvement theme, no other big offers the upside potential. We might see Mickelson get an uptick. I don’t see it from Lucas right now. Traylor is most likely to be his normal self. Incredibly good sometimes – see EKU. But incredibly bad and a liability other times. Mostly, he will remain serviceable. We won’t win a national title with “serviceable” playing over Cliff, or playing the same minutes as Cliff.

    10. The final point I would offer in support of playing Cliff more minutes is that many of his mistakes are of the “just missed it” variety. A put back, a rebound out of his hands, and missed lob, and misplayed entry pass. But we have seen the flashes. And the flashes are dominating. We have no other big that has the potential to dominate.

    We’re heading into conference play in a few weeks. It’s time to rap up the minutes for Cliff. It’s why you bring in this kind of talent. Letting him sit the bench in favor of obviously inferior players makes little sense. This team is challenged offensively. Cliff provides the best opportunity to increase our offensive production inside. Cliff needs to play 30 mpg going forward. Let’s start with Kent St.

  • @HighEliteMajor Great post. His rebounding is there already, the offense and defense both are raw, with encouraging signs… On both ends of the court, I’ve been amazed at times seeing how Cliff can absorb contact, and still complete a play. Slammed into on defense by a KY big, he absorbed it and still went up and made the block immediately. Same thing against a Temple big. On offense, one of the early games, he had a beautifully soft baseline jumper after taking a big hit. He needs the minutes to feel comfortable with an expanded set of offensive moves and to learn body control on D so he can stay on the court.

    I completely expect that, barring foul trouble, Kent State is going to be the beginning of the Cliff show. Thanks for the scoop on next game’s theme.

  • Phenomonal post HEM, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I would think that Self has to realize this as well. He’s stated his worry of Cliff picking up a couple of cheap fouls early, which is why I wouldn’t mind Lucas or Mick starting. But you are absolutely correct, Cliff needs to be on the floor for 30 mpg. Oubre too, for that matter.

  • Self has indicated from the beginning that Cliff and Oubre were brought into start and go 30-35mpg by conference time.

    Its that time.

    Cliff playing 30-35 at 5 means Self can finally committee Ellis and Mickelson. With Cliff sitting for anyone, Ellis has to play all the time to keep some scoring and rebounding inside, but Ellis isn’t up to the challenge for more than 20mpg. Cliff means Mickelson gets to play as much as his defensive footwork permits against his match ups. Mickelson has not played because his defensive footwork at high post is not reliable. But with Cliff behind him to catch his mistakes and Oubre to help on the man Cliff has to leave to cover Mickelson, then Self can have Mickelson’s scoring and shot blocking in the game at least 20mpg. Mickelson is a necessary component to the team the rest of the way with or without Graham coming back.

    Oubre is the starting 3 now and will only come out for bursts of trey shooting by Greene. Greene’s defense is an utter mystery. Greene should be the starter, but he swings wildly between being able to guard and not being able to stay with his own shadow. Oubre is the three by default, because, while he cannot guard either, he can at least recover from his defensive mistakes, where as Greene tends not to. If Graham makes it back, Greene will be limited to 10 mpg.

    Where this team is headed is exactly where Self’s 2000 Tulsa team went. That team became a team in which lots of mediocre to bad shooters shot lots of treys with only one 40% trey baller in the bunch.

    The two questions with this team are:

    1.) will this team’s defense ever be able to disrupt enough to strip and turn the other team over enough to keep the opponent’s number of FGAs 5-8 under KUs; and

    2.) will the pieces of this team fit together into a recognizable, enduring identity?

    The chances of this happening without Graham and the glue and flexibility he brings seem slim.

    Unless KU can do both things, this KU team’s above average trey shooting probably cannot by definition beat either a super team like UK, or a good long and disruptive team like UL.

    One thing that is now clear: the more KU relies on Cliff and Oubre to score against second rate teams, the more certain beating those second rate teams will be. But the moreKU relies on Cliff and Oubre to score against the likes of UK and UL, the more certain it becomes they will lose.

    The ONLY path to the mountain top for this team is 20-30 3pta/game off action with faking minimum against good teams, and 60-70 3ptas would be ideal against UK.

    Combine the above with half court defense schemed to discourage trey shooting, strip and force TOs, rather than stop inside scoring, and lots of intermitent zone pressing to get TOs in transition zones, and KU could beat any team.

    Fail to do the above and KU is headed for 6-8 losses from here to the end with or without Graham.

  • We have to maximize play at all 5 positions because this team has no extra slack available in posting victories.

    So that means starters and guys coming in off the bench will ALL have to perform to their utmost potential for this team to win another conference title.

    I’m sure someone will help us this year, but I’m not counting on the kind of help we have been receiving most of the time over the past 10 years.

    The biggest part of winning another B12 title will fall on the kids listening to Self. We can all criticize Bill for various aspects of his coaching… but one thing is certain… the guy knows how to win B12 titles.

    Even though we are a young team, most of the teams seen as the biggest threats are also dealing with youth performing to a high level. A lot of that will be the kids reflecting from their coach. This is where Kansas has an advantage, because Bill knows how to win away from home and really none of the other coaches in this league have that figured out yet.

    So we have the entire league focused on… “the road to the title goes through Lawrence.” When these teams should first focus on holding serve in their own court.

  • I’m expecting to see a different team come conference play. I’m expecting to see a team that has shored up it’s defense and is running a smoother, high-energy motion offense.

    I’m expecting to see a team that can handle a 1-3-1.

    I’m expecting to see Wayne step up.

    I’m expecting to see Cliff learn a few basic strength moves to the basket where he has to negotiate around a man.

    I’m expecting to see Kelly make the biggest elevation in his game, more than the rest.

    I’m expecting to see BamBam start to play like a junior instead of a sophomore.

    I’m expecting to see Frank play more like a natural PG instead of a scoring guard converted into a PG.

    I’m expecting to see Svi start to find consistent ways to help this team.

    I’m expecting to see Perry come ready for every game, regardless of the opponent.

    I’m expecting to see Brannen continue to improve his game, continue to bend his knees more and play with a lower center of gravity so he is fully engaged in the game.

    I’m expecting to see all our guys realize that getting a rebound is rarely about who jumps the highest, and mostly about who hustles to get it!

    I’m expecting to see all our guys do a better job at guarding possessions. Fewer bad ball screens turning into an offensive foul, hence another TO. Fewer drives going past the baseline out of bounds and then trying to be rescued with a recovery pass. Fewer misses from the FT line.


    It’s time to tighten up the ship. Pump out the bilge and seal up the hull. It’s time to sail this ship through the perils of a tough B12 schedule!

  • These are very good observations by all.

    If Cliff is playing 30 min a game and producing at his potential (13 pts and 9 boards and 2 blocks /game), then he will be our best player by March and we will have a chance to win another conf title and (with luck) make it to the Final Four. If not, then we will finish behind TX (maybe OU as well), and be a second tier top 20 team (round of 16 or 8 would be the limit, similar to last year sans JoJo). Conf play will be brutal and physical.

    Cliff will have to stay out of foul trouble and stay focused (he fades out sometimes like when he missed the long 2 on O and then came sprinting out to double team at the top of the key on D and his man got a very easy basket resulting in a four point swing against Temple in 10 seconds - a key turning point in the game in the second half).

    Chalk it up to youth, but more minutes requires more concentration for longer periods of time. We need Cliff to do it now, in (almost) every game, and get better each passing week, just like JoJo did last year until he got hurt.

    Alexander the Great has the most (NBA OAD) potential on this team and must carry the load inside this year for KU. Tall order for a freshman to do all the heavy lifting inside against quality bigs game in, game out. Good news is that he can and will do it if he stays healthy and can stay on the court and stay focused 25-30 min/game. Cliff has more talent than T-Rob on O and can become the beast on D if he plays with reckless abandon. He will improve especially on the O glass and get more easy put backs in Feb and March.

    Concerning 3 point shooting, agreed that if we do not average 18-20 threes a game, then we will have no chance against elite competition. As HEM pointed out in an earlier post, we have averaged 14-17 max under Coach Self over the years. Can this change in Jan-March 2015? Probably not, but it probably should. Self is loosening the reins (a little).

    We must penetrate more and pitch back out (dribble drive) rather than pass the ball around the perimeter, then inside and back out, to get the open three look (hi-lo offense). Can we do this? Probably not, but we should try it more. It is not our standard offense and not standard Self ball. Watch the way The Mayor or Kruger or Cal coach the offense…

    Oubre is a true slasher and his increased min will help if he can learn when to drive & shoot, and when to drive & pitch. Mason is getting better at this. We need Graham back soon. Seldon can do this better too. But again, it is not our standard offense - we need to learn to penetrate better, even if it is just a couple of dribbles forward, towards the basket

    But the really disheartening news from the Temple game was our D. We already knew that we were exposed against Length & Athletic high caliber physical type teams, and just do not have the horses in the front court to compete straight up (man-to-man) on the O or the D side against big, long teams (re KY and TX).

    Now we saw again that we cannot stay in front of ultra quick penetrating guards (re Temple game, and first half of FL game, and second half of Utah game). With Frank and Devonte in the game together, we do much better on D against these types of teams, but they are small guards and Graham is out for at least a few more weeks, maybe more.

    Kent State will not be a problem or tell us anything, but UNLV and the first trip to Baylor will give us an early indication if our hopes for another great season is in the making…Happy New Year! Rock Chalk!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Good post and good points. I have been saying for a while that a lack of a decent supporting cast has affected Ellis. TRob had had a great junior season because he had Withey; every time he got beaten by the player he was guarding he could depend on Withey to have his back and guard the rim. Ellis does not have any thing close to that right now.

    The only fly in the ointment is…can Cliff play 30 mpg without fouling out? and more importantly…does Cliff have the endurance and stamina to play consistently 30 mpg at a high level? IMHO, at this time the answer is maybe and probably not. At this point, Cliff is till a work in progress in both fronts and hopefully, by the end of the season, he can get to the point where can do both things consistently.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I’m running pretty hard at work today, so quick response - appreciate you pointing out the foul issue. I dropped the ball. I had meant to include that. It seems favorable for Cliff.

    Cliff fouls at only .102 per minute played, which is 3.06 fouls for 30 minutes. Compare to the worst on the team, Lucas, at .172 per minute (5.16 for 30 minutes, for example), and the best (Svi) at .039.

    By comparison, the foul master, Tarik Black, was at .208 per minute played last season, and Embiid was at .145 per minute played, both substantially higher than Cliff.

    Of course his good foul rate could be due, in part, to Self’s management of that issue thus far, by not starting him. I think certainly he could end up fouling out a few games, but I think it’s well worth the risk.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Oubre has lightning quick hands too. He pokes that ball out from behind or in front of his man bout as fast as Chalmers used to but add I dont know. 5 - 6 inches of length?

  • @jaybate-1.0 Dude, seriously I thought KU was going to have 6-8 losses before the season started. I hope Im wrong. I also hope Graham comes back sooner than we expect him to.

  • @HighEliteMajor Question. Is the reason Ellis was a complete no show the last game and half a show the game prior due to Cliff not getting his minutes? Im probly being too hard on the guy but Ive completely lost faith in Ellis. He is not PF in college and he is not an NBA 3. He is a tweener. He hurt our team the last two games. Unfortunately we dont have a replacement for him that is suitable.

  • @HighEliteMajor Great Points, HEM. Especially regarding Ellis struggling due to, most of the time, there being no other inside scoring threat. I don’t know if it will start tomorrow or not, but I have said all along that, one way or the other, Self will have Oubre and Alexander in the starting lineup and playing most of the time. 1) They are talented and will rise to the top and 2) It is hard not to let McDonald’s All Americans play through their mistakes.

  • @HighEliteMajor I also fear that your comments on Traylor are more accurate than I’d like. A lot of us debated his upside last year. I was more in the camp that he would continue to improve and be more consistent by now than what we have seen. You summed it up very well…peaks and valleys.

  • @Lulufulu

    I predicted 10+ losses this season. Right now your prediction of 8 looks better, despite the Temple game.

    Self always squirts out of the blocks in January to steal a few Ws on the road, while the other teams that didn’t hold anything in reserve for the conference season are stumbling trying to adjust to the new level of intensity of conference on the road. If he can go 7-2 the front half, then I think you are on the money down the stretch.

    But I am not sure he can go 7-2 the front half.

    I think the team could go 6-3 or 5-4 without Graham, unless Svi suddenly finds the range.

    Svi is the wild card in this entire team.

    Oubre and Cliff are behind schedule, but it is clear that they keep getting better.

    Selden is a pop-less plateau. He gives the defense the team needs and if his matchup is just right, he can have a good scoring night.

    But Svi is the car the wheels came completely off.

    Svi turning his season around can turn KU’s season around.

    Graham out is only half the problem.

    Svi is the other half.

    We need both to be good.

    The team had a bright future, when Svi’s defense had not been exposed.

    But without Svi, Self is really short-handed.

    So if Self goes 5-4 the front half, it would mean that things were going to get very ugly on the back half; that would point to my preseason prediction of a 10+ loss season.

    An injury to any scorer this point and the team turns into a ship without a rudder.

    Finally, Temple and Dunphy were very kind to KU. They did not try to rough up Mason. Every B12 will go for the exposed jugular that is Mason. Teams are just going to try to crucify him, because he is the only thing standing between any B12 team beating KU. Frank might as well be fitted for a kevlar cup.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Inexperienced players such as Alexander tend to commit quick fouls at the start of games. So Coach Self not starting him could be helping him.

    Also, when players get tired they tend to commit more fouls when they cannot keep up with the player they are guarding; this wold be even more pronounced once conference play starts and competition becomes tougher with many experience centers. It is not a reach to surmise that starting and playing more minutes would result in a greater chance of fouling out.

  • Just read cliff has been hobbled by a shin and ankle injury. Could be slowing his progression some. The missed time during the summer didn’t benefit him either not being able to zero in on position skills that he definitely needed.

    Cliff is important to this team, to this team’s future, to this teams chances of any championship conference, national.

    What about Devonte? We’ve clearly seen a team that is relying on its point guard for too much right now. Without him we can’t have 2 ball handler’s on the court. We can’t spell Frank for a few minutes What if Mason gets in foul trouble? Not having another option at PG is just as deadly as expecting or needing Cliff to score in the paint.

    What about Selden? Too inconsistent from game to game especially scoring wise to expect him to put up Florida #'s more than a few games this year.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t play Cliff the 30 mpg I suggest because he might foul out sometimes?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I would like to hear that over the holiday extra practice sessions someone is specifically working with Cliff, teaching him some offense beyond the dunk.

    Until that happens, he’s nothing more than a potential rebounder on the floor. We need offense on the floor.

    I was expecting him to bring some offense with him. I thought he would be a bit more like Okafor, since those two were always compared against each other. He’s nothing like Okafor. Okafor has plenty of offense, is well-rounded, and is definitely a OAD because he’ll be able to start contributing to a NBA team next year. I’m not even certain when Cliff will be able to contribute real offense. That kind of development happens at different speeds for post players. I can only think he will be a slow developer since he really brought no offense with him to college.

    There is no way he’s OAD material. We will have him back. I’m thinking he’ll be a 3 year Jayhawk. Similar to a TRob development project. TRob was just a 4-star recruit out of HS.

  • @drgnslayr If you look at the offensive efficiency numbers that Newell had posted back in early December, he compared quite well to Okafor. That has changed over the past few weeks – as you note, Okafer is more skilled right now. But don’t get discouraged. He has a nice jumper and I really believe that more time on the floor is the cure for him. I’m betting that we’ll see some real progress when we discuss this topic in 30 days. I wouldn’t doubt that between now and then, Cliff will average double figure points – if he gets his minutes. I agree that right now, he doesn’t look like an OAD. We have a lot of season left for that to change – a double edged sword, of course.

    You are absolutely correct. Guys develop at different rates. That’s the key for us all to remember.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Good optimism, HEM. Thanks. I’ll try to be more hopeful for Cliff’s rate of advancement!

    BTW: I want Cliff back! So I hope he doesn’t get so developed he leaves.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    There is no way he’s OAD material.

    All Cliff needs is to not embarrass himself too badly from here on out, and have a couple of breakout games and he is a done deal. I don’t think he’s coming back at all… Same for Oubre.

  • @Jyhwk_InTigrtwn Thing is - you’re both right. Neither one of them is NBA ready. Not even close.

    That don’t mean they won’t give it a whirl.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Interesting, the 2 games cliff has played the most, Michigan St and Georgetown he’s scored 6 & 7 pts.

    Would he really score in double figures with 30 minutes a game?

    So far Cliff hasn’t shown much of a post up game and hasn’t been that skilled around the basket in general. We haven’t really seen the jump hook, or power moves to the basket. He hasn’t really been given the green light on offense. . Now is really the only time he’s going to get the chance to work on his game, and if we don’t start seeing more of the beast we expect, we probably won’t see it this season.

    Okafor has been better because he’s playing more minutes, is getting the ball in the right position, gets set up well by the multiple point guards Duke has, and knows what he’s doing once he gets it down low. He can also score over length which is Cliff’s biggest weakness.

  • @nuleafjhawk Agreed. Neither guy is ready but who knows. Last years draft was really deep…deeper than this year but look at some of the guys who were drafted after the lottery that were far superior college players than Alexander or Oubre. James Young, Gary Harris, Shabazz Napier, Rodney Hood, Cleanthony Early, etc. These guys were all studs last year and still did not make it into the lottery. Most of these guys were not OAD but I think it makes a point. Even if you are a huge asset to your team it does not mean that you will go in the lottery. Would Cliff or Oubre be making the right decision to go this year if they are not for sure lottery picks? It certainly worked out well for T Rob, BMac, Morris Twins and Cole to leave when they were 100% going to be lottery picks. At this point I feel both guys could use another year of college ball to help get that guaranteed contract. That is honestly not me speaking as a KU fan it is just my feeling on the matter. Unless there is a drastic change during conference play I don’t see either guy being a lock as a top 14 pick in next years draft.

  • Just wondered if any of you have read the article about Cliff having a shin bone bruise and a sprained ankle? He has been playing w/both injuries. Not a 100%.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yeah, just saw that on that other site. Not surprised. A Bill Self team is not complete without at least one guy playing through an injury.

  • Coach Self - • “Graham can’t do anything in terms of physical activity right now, until doctors re-examine his injured toe.” That will happen this week. Got my fingers crossed.

  • @joeloveshawks It DID work out well for T-Rob, BMac, Morrii and Cole, but every one of them were (in my opinion) light years ahead of anyone we have on this years team. If you want a good laugh, I believe Perry is more NBA ready than anyone else on our team. If nothing else, he’s consistent - you know what you’re going to get day in and day out. Not a roller coaster like some of the others.

  • @nuleafjhawk Exactly. That is what I am saying. Those guys waited until they were legitimately ready for the NBA and were basically 100% going in the lottery. Oubre and Alexander are lottery picks…but not this year.

  • @HighEliteMajor It will be hard for Self to reward Cliff with minutes if he doesn’t perform during practice like we’ve seen he can perform during games. My interpretation from what I’ve read is he has a bit of an Allen Iverson approach to practice. I could be wrong, but isn’t that why he got pulled from the starting lineup last game, because of his effort during practice? It’s a conundrum.

  • @Jyhwk_InTigrtwn

    “All Cliff needs is to not embarrass himself too badly from here on out, and have a couple of breakout games and he is a done deal. I don’t think he’s coming back at all… Same for Oubre.”

    I guess he can leave, even if he’s a second round pick…

    What does he currently have that NBA teams want?

    I can’t even say “potential” yet. I haven’t even seen NBA potential yet. I think it will definitely come to him, but I’m doubtful for this year. I hope he develops something this year, but if he doesn’t do a lot more and then leaves for the NBA he will be a big-time Kansas bust.

    A player like Okafor is already making gigantic contributions to Duke. They wouldn’t be half the team without him. He seems to be years ahead in development, on both sides of the floor. He is a guy that has a valid reason for leaving after 1 year.

    A bunch of Kentucky talent will be leaving this year, and a bunch of big-time talent from around college basketball. I have a hard time seeing Cliff drafted in the first round, even if he develops a few small moves. The NBA is not a school, it’s a league with guys ready to play.

    I see a better chance for Kelly leaving. He’s rough, too, but his potential is higher and I believe his game will come along faster than Cliff’s.

    The NBA is not exactly clamoring for thick (relatively short) post players who can’t handle the ball and shoot the 3 and don’t have Jordanesque athleticism. Cliff has so far to go before he’s a legit pro. I hope he gets there.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    What does he currently have that NBA teams want?

    Totally agree with you, neither Cliff or Oubre are close to being NBA ready, and I would be very, very happy if they came back next year to polish their skills.

    Yet I still stand by my earlier opinion - if they don’t get embarrassed, and they have a couple of quality games they can put on their highlight reel, I think they’re gone. Because it seems the draft is not just about talent and contribution (unfortunately) but also about PR and hype.

    Have you seen Cliff’s wikipedia page?

    I sure hope I’m wrong though! 🙂

  • @Jyhwk_InTigrtwn

    I think these kids are capable of deciding anything.

    But the smarter ones get some advice, and I don’t think there is any sound advice for kids leaving that won’t be picked in the first round.

    Come March, we will all start paying attention to the draft talk and projections. We’ll all know more then.

    I think you are right, and hype plays too big a role in this!

    I hope you are wrong, too!

  • @drgnslayr Yeah, Im not sold on Oubre being OAD either.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    What I was saying is that if you play him when he is tired it will not help his development as players tend to play sloppier and foul when they get tired. I am not sure Cliff is in shape to play hard for 30 minutes a game and pacing him and gradually improving his playing time might be the better option.

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