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January 5 - Applying Common Sense To The NBA Draft (Part 3)

“The two sides are, on the one hand, the old scouts and, on the other, Billy Beane. The old scouts are
like a Greek chorus, it is their job to underscore the eternal themes of baseball. The eternal themes
are precisely what Billy Beane wants to exploit for profit - by ignoring them."
-Michael Lewis in “Moneyball”

With college basketball season in full swing and with the NBA draft five months away; it is time to take
up the cause of another overlooked college player.  Last season we pointed out the insanity of taking
Andrea Bargnani over Adam Morrison.  While Bargnani has performed admirably, let the record show
that Adam Morrison just recorded his first thirty-point game and is trouncing him statistically (14, 3
and 2 versus 10, 4 and 1).  The point we made in our first two installments of “Applying Common
Sense to the NBA Draft” was that the system being used is completely broken.  Like the old scouts in
“Moneyball”, you have NBA scouting departments going on their instincts and eyes.  People forget that
there is a reason why the elderly need to sometimes get their Driver’s Licenses yanked.  

For some time, NBA General Managers and scouting departments have made an almost concerted
effort to disregard statistics when making decisions on what basketball players should be drafted.  
This idiocy has not only been enabled but also furthered by empty NBA Draft analysts like ESPN’s
Chad Ford.  This is how college stars ranging from Tayshaun Prince to Josh Howard to Jameer
Nelson fell to the lower half of the first round.  This is how Darko Milicic got drafted ahead of Carmelo
Anthony, Dwyane Wade, T.J. Ford and Kirk Hinrich.  This has always puzzled me due to the place
college basketball occupies in the American sports atmosphere.  There are two events each year,
which captivate an entire nation and rope in people who normally could not care less about sports.  
They are the Super Bowl and the NCAA Tournament.  You can make an outstanding argument that
when basketball players graduate from college they actually move down a level in terms of stage.

As I was surfing a few NBA draft sites, I looked for one name that I knew would be undervalued and
sure enough it was.  On the two major draft sites (www.nbadraft.net and www.draftexpress.com) he
was ranked in the low first round and in the high second round.  Let me tell you that if he does in fact
slip this far, it will be the ultimate in terms of mindlessness.  The player I am referring to is Nick
Fazekas and all he has been is a star since the moment he started playing college basketball for the
University of Nevada.

“If Billy had the first pick in the entire draft he'd take Swisher with it.”

If Nick Fazekas’ name was Nick Fazekovich and he was 20 years old from Croatia, is there any doubt
that he would be ranked in the top five of every single mock draft.  When you watch Nick Fazekas play
the game there is an ease to it.  He just dominates the opposition.  This domination is reflected in the
gaudy statistics he has put up over his four years of college.  

2003-2004  12.6 pts   7.6 rebs.  52.8% FG percentage
2004-2005  20.7 pts   9.4 rebs.  50.2% FG percentage
2005-2006  21.8 pts 10.4 rebs.  52.9% FG percentage
2006-2007        20.9 pts 12.4 rebs.  57.7% FG percentage

Those numbers alone do not reflect the development of Fazekas or the fact that he will be an
extremely good NBA player.  Fazekas shoots 42.9% from three-point range!  And he’s 6’11” 240
pounds!  So in summary, we have a guy who is a walking double-double that can also step out and
shoot the ball at an extremely proficient rate.

“The idea had led Billy Beane to take action, and his actions had consequences. He had changed the
lives of ballplayers whose hidden virtues otherwise might never have been seen.”

There is one last set of statistics that cannot be quantified but should be entered in as an exhibit for
the prosecution.  Nevada is currently ranked fifteenth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.  Nevada
has also qualified for the NCAA Tournament every season Nick Fazekas has been in school.  Not
only will they qualify again this year, but Nevada is a real Final Four sleeper.  There is no one man
more important to this team’s success over the past four years than Mr. Fazekas.  

Foolish is Britney Spears showing off her “cameltoe” to the paparazzi or CBS greenlighting “Armed
and Famous”.  Stupidity is Tank Johnson owning more weaponry than Luxembourg.  The overlooking
of Nick Fazekas should be categorized as blindness.  Let’s just hope that there is a basketball
version of Billy Beane out there who can capitalize on a system that needs to be repaired.  

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Draft Sites Noted

#24.  Nick Fazekas

http://www.nbadraft.net

#34.  Nick Fazekas

http://www.draftexpress.com/mock.php?y=2007

Previous

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Applying Common Sense To The NBA Draft-Part I

http://www.themirl.com/writers_freeman052906.html

Applying Common Sense To The NBA Draft-Part II

http://www.themirl.com/writers_freeman061106.html




If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at
trevor.freeman@realityfanforum.com.