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Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim says Wiggins, Parker, others not worth tanking for

Dec 13, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT

Davidson v Duke Getty Images

Yes, but what would Jim Boeheim have said if he was successful at recruiting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker?

There’s plenty of talk about teams tanking this season for the chance to draft Wiggins, Parker, Julius Randle, Joel Embiid and the other elite players expected in the upcoming draft. You need franchise changing players to win in the NBA and if you’re a mid-to-small market NBA team the draft is how you need to get those kinds of players. In short, Milwaukee is doing the right thing.

But legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim doesn’t see it that way and said so to Zagsblog on SNY.TV.

“There’s no player that’s out there on the horizon that’s a Tim Duncan or a LeBron James,” the Hall of Fame Syracuse coach told by phone Thursday.]

“I’ve seen all these guys play. I think they’re very talented players. They’re not that kind of player. They’re not transcendent players that are gonna make your franchise into a 10-12-15-year winning franchise because you’re there. I don’t see that.”

Did he feel that Paul George was going to be one? Boeheim is a guy that certainly knows the game and has impeccable credentials, let’s just say that most scouts (not all, but a strong majority) disagree with Boeheim here.

This class of freshmen also brings up the one-and-done rule debate again (one the NBA tabled in the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations then never picked up) and the relationship between the NBA and it’s free farm system.

If I were an NBA coach like Boeheim I’d hate one-and-done, too — the longer you can keep your elite talent around, the better for your program. Know that NBA owners would love to help out college coaches there and make it two-and-done because they think the more time to scout guys the fewer mistakes they make and the lower their risk (history has shown that not to be true, there were busts long before high school kids could commit).

Nobody is fond of the current system; it’s the ultimate compromise where nobody feels they really won. And because of that we may be stuck with it for a while.

  1. money2long - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    certainly better to tank than to be stuck middle of the road not get any of them.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Parker >>> Wiggins. They can’t really be compared at this point. Wiggins is not looking that great so far and reminds me of Rudy Gay.

      Parker is worth tanking for – Melo comparisons
      Randle is worth tanking for – Boozer/Zach Randolph IMO
      Smart is worth tanking for – Baron Davis IMO

      Hmm…I think at least these 3 are worth tanking for

      • sdlakerfan - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        Baron Davis is worth tanking for? A guy who made two all star teams averaged 16.5 pts while shooting 41% is worth tanking for?

        None of the guys worth tanking for every made it to an NBA finals?

        Randle does seem like a carbon copy of Randolph – maybe a better version. Also have been impressed with Parker.

        Unfortunately think Riggins is the most overhyped player ever. Great athlete but not the bball player Parker and Randle are. He’s a future NBA flameout and one of the biggest draft busts ever. Riggin for Wiggins…lol

      • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        Yes, these guys are no Lebron but they’re solid building blocks. Baron Davis in his prime was a beast but never had a solid team around him except for 07 when they upset Dallas.

        Even that team was very flawed because small ball wont win in the long run unless your smalls are legendary players like Lebron and Wade. Then you can get away with starting a center who gets you 5 rebounds a game – Bosh.

    • muhangis - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      “There’s no player great enough…” in Boeheim’s mind, because he was unable to get these same talents into his own program. Possibly?

  2. stadix093 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    There’s no such thing as a sure thing but these kids seem close to it. All I know is they’re all better than last years first pick.

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      I know! That’s an understatement.

  3. tomtravis76 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Parker just might be that next guy, he has gone up one level of competition and is completely dominating the game. He is not going to dominate in his rookie season, but given the right situation he will be leading a team to the playoffs by year 2.

    Wiggins needs more time to develop, right now he is just another slashing, athletic wing player.

    • antistratfordian - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      That’s funny. A month ago it was the opposite – here we are only 9 games later and everything has flipped.

      I don’t think Parker is a guy that is going to turn a franchise around by himself in his second year. Or third. Or fourth. You can say the same for all of these guys.

      • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Nice analysis. Now go back to watching NASCAR.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:02 PM

        You had me at “nice analysis.”

      • shanelsweet - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        Exactly right. In the NBA, men win championships, not youngsters. All of these players need to grow up for about 4 more years. Funny how that’s about the amount of time they used to be committed to the NCAA. But, I’m OK with the NBA owners figuring out a way to let us small market dreamers continue to dream, and it’s a good thing to pay these guys sooner than later.

      • brianjoates - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        I did not like Wiggins game after seeing him play live a couple of times last year. Very athletic, but he was not dominating. He is going to make it to the league just because of the hype he has received. Maybe he turns out to be an excellent NBA player( heck I hope he does, why not), but he doesn’t have the game that so many guys in the league already have developed.

        Wiggins will most likely play the 2 or 3 in the league…look at what he will go up against every game. That kid is not ready for that, but somebody will draft him and he will make millions trying.

        Parker is a guy who is ready for League action. He has the game to compete with NBA players each night. It all depends where he gets drafted, but he could be leading a team to the playoffs very early in his career. A championship takes vets and knowledge. Everyone can ball in the league, so it takes more than ability.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:39 PM

        It may very well be that Wiggins rare athleticism is what allows him to be a more productive rookie, while Parker – struggling to get separation at the next level – has difficulty creating optimal conditions under which he can take advantage of his shooting ability.

        In any case, neither of them are worth tanking for. If you combined Wiggins and Parker into the same player – that guy might be worth it.

  4. deavn - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I disagree with Boeheim. Parker and Randle are absolutely dominating the NCAA. Wiggins may need some work but he’s going to most definitely going to be a franchise player.

  5. henryjones20 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    stupidest rule in sports while hockey and baseball draft kids right out of together is the mafia at its finest!

    • dinofrank60 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      And they go to the minor leagues, where these kids need to be.

      • mikerome64 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        And some of them never leave the minors but you never hear about them. I wonder why?

      • dinofrank60 - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:05 PM

        Because clubs find out that they can’t play. Not every young guy is destined for the majors. If the NBA would get serious about the D-League, it would be better for all.

    • mikerome64 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      One and done rule is an NBA rule not an NCAA rule.

  6. davidly - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Tanking doesn’t guarantee getting best pick. Getting the best pick doesn’t guarantee that you’ll pick the best player. Picking the best player doesn’t guarantee that he’ll stay healthy. Your best player staying healthy doesn’t guarantee his not skipping town. That’s the small market blues–and the CBA don’t change none of it.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Skipping town doesn’t guarantee the CBA will get changed. CBA not getting changed wont guarantee players coming to small markets in free agency. Not coming to small markets in free agency won’t guarantee the CBA getting changed. CBA not getting changed won’t guarantee teams stopping tanking.

      There, I ended your story.

    • muhangis - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      I agree, there is no guarantee. But at the same time, you are saying there is no point in having high draft picks?? There are so MANY organizations who have had their entire fate changed due to having that high pick and using it well! [compared to if they had a lower pick and would have lost out on that same player.]

      • davidly - Dec 15, 2013 at 3:34 AM

        I don’t disagree; but my rant begins with the word “tanking” for a reason. How many of the teams, who have had their fate changed, tanked in order to do it? And in doing so, did they create a culture of winning? Or losing?

        Here are some game changers for the last several champions and when they were drafted:

        Dwyane Wade: 5th–behind LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. So the 5th pick in the draft is the first to the title, and it wasn’t until another first pick who didn’t win a title until he left the team that drafted him. And we know what happened with the first pick from this draft. All this goes to bolster my point about tanking for the number one. Talk to Orlando and Cleveland.

        Michael Jordan: 3rd–behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. Did Houston tank for this one? I dunno for sure, but they didn’t have the worst record that year–and if I recall correctly, they tanked for Ralph Sampson the previous season, and that pairing didn’t pay off as they’d wanted.

        Magic Johnson: 1st–one of the most storied number ones of all time, but let’s not kid ourselves–the Lakers built this franchise on trades and didn’t lose on purpose to get the first pick.

        Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce: 9th and 10th–behind Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Robert Traylor, Jason Williams, and Larry Hughes.

        Duncan: 1st–the Spurs tank? Not a chance.

        Kobe: 13th–after Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Antoine Walker, Lorenzen Wright, Kerry Kittles, Samaki Walker, Erick Dampier, Todd Fuller, and Vitaly Potapenko. Didn’t win a title until they stole another team’s number one, and even then not until Phil Jackson arrived. They didn’t tank for any of that.

        Bird: 6th–after Mychal Thompson, Phil Ford, Rick Robey, Micheal Ray Richardson, and Purvis Short. Red Auerbach won 11 titles and tanked for no one.

        That averages to between the 5th and 6th pick. Are teams tanking to get the 5th or 6th pick? No, they are tanking in hopes to grab the best player before anyone else. Most assume it’ll be a a Magic- or Duncan-type pick.

        Dennis Rodman went 28th. Ben Wallace went undrafted. And how about one of the most renowned tandems the league has seen–John Stockton & Karl Malone went 16th & 13th.

        Sure you want to have your choice of picks. But the teams who have made the best of it know how to create a culture of winning basketball while their making them.

      • mackcarrington - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        You mention Magic Johnson.
        He was drafted with a pick the lakers got from the New Orleans Jazz for Gail Goodrich
        3 or 4 years earlier I think. At the time of that trade no one outside of lansing Mich. had even heard of Magic.
        They really lucked into that one.

  7. zerole00 - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    So I’m not going to debate Boeheim’s talent assessment, but what he needs to understand is this – what choice do these teams have? What, are they suppose to overpay for free agents like the Nets or Knicks? Even if these new players aren’t game changers like LBJ, Durant, or Duncan – if they’re talented players that can be had for cheap rookie contracts then why not?

  8. antistratfordian - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    So scouts disagree with Boeheim… but that’s why they’re still scouts and not yet coaches like they’re all trying to be. I’d say Boeheim is absolutely right – there aren’t any Duncans or LeBrons in this draft. But it’s a safe bet to say that most years, so that’s not really a controversial statement.

  9. brotherlove2012 - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    They hype players so much these days it’s ridiculous. All those mixtape of AAU play make them seem better than they really are, I agree completely with Boeheim on this one.

    • mikerome64 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      These days? Players were hyped when i played in college and that was over 30 years ago.

  10. blueintown - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    These discussions always seem to overlook Marcus Smart. They shouldn’t.

    • dinofrank60 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Because Smart is a sophomore and therefore “too old”, not confident in his abilities and selfish.
      (Really, he’s not too old, he is confident in his abilities and is not selfish. But this is the way some think, unfortunately.)

      • blueintown - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Is that really the rub on him, dino? I haven’t taken a look at any of his “official” scouting reports, but if those are considered legitimate flaws, then that is a travesty. The thing I like best about him is he busts his back-side on the defensive end, a rarity in the college game.

      • dinofrank60 - Dec 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        What I said should not harm Smart in the least; I was being somewhat playful. But it seems that if you have great talent and stay in school more than a year, there’s something wrong with you.
        You might like school, but everyone wants you to take the money; it’s the natural thing and what you should be in college to do.
        The younger you are, the more potential you have and you are attractive to the NBA.
        You also are denying everyone to live vicariously through you as well taking up a spot on your college team you don’t need.

        I think this is crazy…

  11. hildezero - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Who knows? He may be right. He IS after all a Hall Of Famer. But these guys seem very good and better than he thinks.

  12. JHathwell - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Let’s just say all the hype has gone a little far with this class. The fact that Exum and Embiid are being called potential franchise players is evidence of that. As of now, Parker, Smart and Randle have played very well in college but that’s a far cry from saying any of them are franchise saviors. And man, Wiggins looks nothing like all that hype he’s been getting for the least tw0 years.

  13. d57fan - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    People keep discounting WHERE you get drafted. Getting drafted by a lousy team with a lousy GM and weak coaching isn’t going to help someone like Wiggins who clearly is not a dominant player yet. Teams that are bad every year are bad for a reason and it ain’t because they never get high draft picks.
    Paul George without West, Hibbert, Vogel and Larry Bird may well not be the Paul George you see now.
    LeBron James is a real exception. He has been dominant at every level and even with terrible Cavs rosters.

  14. chefjon81 - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Any of these top guys that ends up going to the likes of Utah or Milwaukee is gonna leave anyway.

  15. kavika6 - Dec 14, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    “If I were an NBA coach like Boeheim I’d hate one-and-done, too”

    Which NBA team did Boeheim coach?

  16. sasquash20 - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    I disagree with coach. Its better to tank it then be stuck in the middle forever. Wiggins is getting better and when he fills out some he will be even better. Parker and Randle look like men playing with boys. And Smart will be a stud as well. This dtaft is loaded. Time for my Sixers to trade ET, Young, and Hawes so we dont win to many games in a god awful East this year

  17. 1historian - Dec 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    It’s easier to grow up out of the spotlight rather than have the whole world watching your every move when you’re still a teenager. I’m well aware of the fact that this year’s crop of freshmen is one of the most ballyhooed in years, but I would look past them and look for someone who has been playing in college for more than a year and is more mature.

    Remember MJ – no one really had a clue about how good he would be when he was just a freshman. Dean Smith brought him along slowly and he stayed @ NC for 3 years, and we all know how that turned out.

    There’s still about 6 months to go until the draft – let’s not go overboard.

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