TrueHoop: Jeremy Tyler

Friday Bullets

August, 7, 2009

Posted by Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell.

  •  I'm always more sympathetic to players who test positive for PEDs when the phrase "over the counter" is part of the story. If a substance is readily available to your local high school football team, why would we slap the hands of professional athletes for taking it? Well, as you might have guessed, that sort of reasoning is entirely too simplistic. Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is only available by way of a sad piece of legislative history. Jeff Passan details that episode in this article. Go read Passan's take, and when you're done join me in giving the NBA three cheers for having more integrity on this issue than MLB. The NBA has its warts, but I'm happy that looking the other way on DHEA is not one of them. (Thanks to Third Quarter Collapse for bringing our attention to the Passan piece.)
  • Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus frames the Rashard Lewis discussion differently than most: "Performance enhancers are a fact of life. Rather than pouring all of these resources into vilifying athletes that made choices no different than what 99% of us would have made, perhaps it would be better to legitimize the industry and work to make PEDs safe. After all, the reason that they have been declared illegal by the FDA isn't because they allow you to hit a baseball farther (if it's true that that is the case); they are illegal because they have unacceptable risks for potentially lethal side effects. Modern athletes are serving as guinea pigs for a developing arm of pharmacology that in 20 years, no one is likely to object to...if they have found ways for all of us to improve the quality of our lives."
  • Will the Rashard Lewis suspension dramatically impact the playoff race? One stat geek says not so much: "As far as I'm concerned, the only relevance this news has is this: The Magic will lose the services of an excellent player for 10 games. But Orlando projects to be a deep team this season and when I reduce Lewis' playing time projection by 10% and up that of players like Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes and Ryan Anderson, I see that the Magic's win projection drops from 52 to 51. That is all that really matters."
  • Marvin Williams is set to re-sign with the Hawks. Really, it's true this time.
  • Jon Nichols of Hardwood Paroxysm takes a smart look at shot selection in the final two minutes of games.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies fascinate me. Memphis GM Chris Wallace recently spoke to Chip Crain of 3 Shades of Blue and placed the size of his team's scouting staff in perspective. Michael Heisley takes a beating in the press, but Ronald Tillery makes an argument that Heisley does some things very well. And in a companion piece, Heisley paints himself as Clay Bennett's opposite. Who knew that the Grizzlies were so provocative?
  • Russell Westbrook tells Dime about all the hard work that has gone into his vertical leap. (Thanks to Royce Young of Daily Thunder for the alert.)
  • Someone else who thinks the Lakers lost in the Ariza/Artest exchange.
  • Ridiculous Upside reconsiders the question of whether to play in the D-League or Europe. And, don't look now, but they're out in full force defending the Grizzlies too
  • Neil Paine of Basketball Reference provides a bunch of data that adds up in this way: " appears that there's a very slight trend over the last decade that says teams who rely on their guards and smaller players tend to win a few more games over the course of a season. This makes sense, given that the league spent most of the Oughts trying to tip the advantage in favor of perimeter scorers with modifications to the rules on hand-checking and more liberal foul calls on drives in general."
  • Meet Dr. Foot.
  • You have to appreciate Tony Parker's candor. He tells L'Equipe that his recent return to San Antonio was upsetting and that he plans to gradually work himself back into his national team's rotation. They have a heavy schedule between now and training camp. (HT: Kace)
  • I spent the morning listening to a terrific Blazer's Edge podcast with Kevin Pelton. If you don't have time to listen to the entire podcast, skip to segment 4 where Benjamin Golliver and Pelton pick up the hot-button topic of Moneyball, scouting, and the changing face of player evaluation in the NBA. (Soft caution: PG-13 audio between clips.)
  • Jeremy Tyler will not be playing for Union Olympija Lubiana
  • Kurt Rambis is the leading candidate to become the T-Wolves next head coach. Shaquille O'Neal is not the GM in Minnesota
  • Most of the emails I received today were about the new Nike promotional featuring Kevin Durant, Mo Williams and Rashard Lewis.  
  • Save Our Sonics thinks James Donaldson has the best chance of restoring an NBA franchise to Seattle.
  • Bethlehem Shoals says meh to the much ballyhooed free agent race of 2010. Chad Ford says these nine teams are in that race.
  • Update: Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching learns that upon being drafted Terrence Williams was immediately enamored by New Jersey's market size. That Terrence Williams caught on quick.

Jeremy Tyler is the Talk

April, 28, 2009

Jeremy Tyler, the teenager who has announced he is skipping his senior year of high school to play professionally in Europe, is the person everyone is talking about. (Here's a good roundup of opinions.)

It's no secret that Tyler, like Brandon Jennings, is going to Europe in consultation with and under the guidance of baskerball power broker Sonny Vaccaro. 

It's also no secret that Vaccaro has an axe to grind with the NCAA -- he has toured the nation lecturing about it.

So, one school of thought is that Tyler is a pawn in Vaccaro's great game.

Which may be so! You'd have to spend a year digging in to get the whole truth of that story.

There are also people who are just up in arms about how terrible it is that poor Jeremy will not get to develop the kinds of relationships and things that are part of finishing high school.

I agree! It's a bummer he'll miss out on his prom, his friendships, and some aspects of being a kid.

But whoa whoa whoa. Let's not pretend everything's all perfect if he stays, and all terrible if he goes.

For one thing, how sure are we that players in American colleges aren't the exploited pawns of powerbrokers? Any number of people have written about how this works.

The bigger point, though, is that living in Europe is far from the worst thing that can happen to a kid. If his high school had some kind of semester in Europe program, most people would think Tyler would be lucky to go.

I once interviewed a couple who fostered a zillion children. Some of the most informed and experienced parents you could possibly imagine. The dad told me that he was convinced that the worst thing you could do to a child was keep them at home too much. The more they got out and saw things, in his view, the better their chances of succeeding in life.

It's no small thing to know in your bones that there are people out there who don't talk and think like you do. It's no small thing to have people and places you know in Barcelona, Rome, Paris or Berlin. It's no small thing to be able to order food in more than one language.

It's also no small thing to be in elite professional basketball development all day.

And it's not like the people who emerge from this system, who have missed all those formative school experiences, turn out to be victims. Walk around an NBA locker room. Those guys who spent their formative teen years in European professional basketball development -- are they at some kind of social disadvantage compared to their counterparts who got to go to American high schools and colleges?

My eyes are wide open here. I don't think Jeremy Tyler's path is optimized whether he stays or goes. The perfect model doesn't exist, and the reality is that very talented and valuable people who are very young always have a likelihood of being exploited.

But to pick one of these models as terrible, and another as perfect ... I don't see it.

To me the best part of all is having more than one system, which is new. There was not much pressure on the NCAA to prepare athletes better than anybody else (whether for basketball or life after basketball). They got all the athletes!

But now there is a competitive market for elite talent, and the pressure is on to establish programs that get the best possible long-term results. And if I were a player, I'd want to be in the program that best prepared me to succeed in my job as a player. The duties of that job including all the on-court stuff, and hiring an agent intelligently, working with coaches and GMs, understanding sponsorships and brands, post-basketball careers, relationships and everything else that goes into success.