Tag: 2011 NBA Draft


Timberwolves may get to keep 26-year-old draft pick


This will likely be the last time Tanguy Ngombo will ever be mentioned on this blog.

Because the No. 57 pick (third from last) in the NBA Draft will never suit up for the Minnesota Timberwolves. But Ngombo made some headlines the day after because some records showed that the player out of the league in Qatar (yes, apparently they have a league there) was 26 years old, not 21 as the Timberwolves had believed.

If he was 26 he was ineligible for the draft. The league investigated and it was possible the Wolves could be punished, but that may not happen, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports (via Ball Don’t Lie and TBJ).

While we’re on the topic, sources say the Wolves expect a favorable ruling from the NBA office that they will be able to keep No. 57 pick Tanguy Ngombo despite a dispute over his age. Though information has come to light that Ngombo is 26 – and thus ineligible for the draft – sources say the Wolves have government documentation from multiple entities that Ngombo is, in fact, 21. The belief among some executives is that a team should not be punished if government documentation is inaccurate.

If the Wolves have government documents showing the native of the Congo is 21, then they should not be fined. That said, the fact the rest of the world figured this out within 24 hours of the draft but the Timberwolves were surprised calls into question the quality of research that was done here. At the end of the second round the Timberwolves took a crazy shot in the dark rather than drafting a guy who might actually make the league out of college. If one were cynical, one would say the Wolves intentionally drafted a guy they would never have to pay.

This is a 26-year-old nobody else had seen, not on anyone else’s draft boards, and now he is the Timberwolves property. This is the last we will hear of him. Good luck in Qatar, Ngombo.

Rockets draftee Motiejunas sees lockout, will stay in Europe

USA v Lithuania - 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship
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This was one of the reasons you saw a lot of teams drafting international players in this year’s draft.

Rockets first round pick Donatas Motiejunas has gotten a look at the NBA lockout situation and decided to stay and develop for another year in Italy, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Motiejunas expects to accept an offer from Benetton Treviso to resume his career there for the duration of the NBA lockout and perhaps through next season….

“I still have a contract with Benetton,” said Motiejunas, the 20th player taken in the NBA draft. “They told me if I want to leave in the middle of the season when the team that took me, Houston, wants me, they would let me go. That will be no problem.

“That’s why I’m happy, and a little bit sad. The situation is very tough right now. I don’t really want to go away from the team. I’m not happy about that. That was one of the greatest things that happened in my life, that this team picked me.”

A lot of European clubs are expected to offer similar contracts to guys drafted this season, and the guys will take them. Better to play and develop in a quality league than to sit around and play Halo 3 while eating Doritos. Don’t be shocked if Motiejunas and others actually are asked to teams to spend the entire season in Europe and then come over if it is a shortened NBA season.

Motiejunas is a 7’0” center out of Lithuania who is right out of central casting for stereotypical European big man — good outside shot with three point range but not going to play much in the paint for you. He could develop into a valuable stretch four in the NBA. But for now he will do that developing in Italy.

Bobcats’ Biyombo still facing serious buyout issues

Bismack Biyombo

When introduced to the fans and media recently, Bobcats draft pick Bismack Biyombo essentially blew off concerns about a buyout with his Spanish club.

It isn’t quite that simple, reports the Associated Press. The two sides are expected to sit down Friday and see if they can reach a deal.

Jorge Sanz, spokesman for the Madrid-based team Fuenlabrada, said Biyombo has two seasons left on his deal and his buyout clause is more than $1.4 million. NBA rules say the Bobcats can’t pay more than $500,000 toward a buyout.

While Sanz said the team has accepted and won’t fight the 18-year-old Congo native’s desire to leave, it expects to receive the buyout.

“We have to reach an agreement over the compensation for the club,” Sanz said. “On July 1 there is a mediation session. We are asking for the million euros that is stated in his contract. If we don’t reach an agreement, it will go to court and a judge will decide.”

The Bobcats have expected this to get resolved, but it’s hard to fault Fuenlabrada for wanting to get paid what the contract says.

The pending NBA lockout could impact these negotiations and where Biyombo plays next season, as well.

Biyombo, a native of the Congo, was taken No. 7 overall by the Bobcats. He is maybe the most athletic guy in this draft and has proven to be a good shot blocker and rebounder in the Spanish league. But his offense is painfully raw and he has a lot of developing to do.

Did Hamilton slide down draft due to Texas coach Barnes?

Jordan Hamilton

Jordan Hamilton is a lottery-level athlete who slid all the way down the NBA draft board to No. 26, where Dallas took him, traded him and he is now the property of the Denver Nuggets.

Why did he fall down the board? In part because teams had concerns about his attitude.

Hamilton thinks those concerns came from his coach at Texas Rick Barnes, according to Chris Tomasson on Twitter.

Just talked to Jordan Hamilton. He said believes reason he slipped in draft was because coach Rick Barnes told teams he wasn’t ‘coachable’.

J. Hamilton: “(Barnes) called some teams and said that I probably wasn’t coachable and things like that. But I feel like I can be coachable’

Asked Jordan Hamilton how knows Rick Barnes allegedly called teams and said not coachable. Wouldn’t give names, said “got some feedback.”

Hamilton then went on to say really nice things about Texas.

College coaches walk a line between hyping their players and being honest with NBA teams and scouts (they have to be honest about the problems or nobody believes the hype). But for recruiting purposes, badmouthing is done in private and everything has a positive spin — if you’re a high school player with NBA dreams you want a coach who will help sell teams on you when it’s time. This is pretty much the opposite of that.

How much of a factor Hamilton’s attitude was in his fall versus his questionable college shot selection and his nice but not thrilling workouts we will never know. It was a factor, one of many.

But it’s all moot now, Hamilton is in Denver and George Karl is going to play him or sit him based on performance. It’s tabula rasa. Hamilton is the one filling it in now, not his college coach.

Three biggest surprises of the NBA Draft

Tristan Thompson

There are always a few surprises, like that guy you drafted you thought was 21 turns out to be 26. Funny, but really that mistake by the Timberwolves was moot because Tanguy Ngombo was never going to play in the NBA.

But there were some surprises when the picks still mattered. Here are the three things that caught me off guard the most.

San Antonio Spurs take Corey Joseph at No. 29. Corey Joseph was going to get drafted, although probably in the second half of the second round, when all the guys considered more risky get taken. He is quick, he has a good shot, but he was an undersized combo guard and scouts were not that high on him. The Spurs were. In a lot of cases this is where I would say “what are they thinking?” but with the Spurs everybody suddenly asks, “what did I miss that they saw?” We’ll see how it pans out, but nobody saw this coming.

Cleveland Cavaliers take Tristan Thompson at No. 4. Make no mistake, Tristan Thompson can play. And you don’t want to put too much stock in his struggles in a couple games of the NCAA Tournament. He can block shots, rebound and you can’t teach length. But they passed over Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesley and other guys many teams had rated higher. This was a surprise because if you are Cleveland right now you need to take the best player, you need the talent, and nobody else had Thompson rated this highly.

New York Knicks take Iman Shumpert at No. 17. Knicks fans hate this pick. I don’t hate it, the guy is one of the best athletes in this draft so they took a calculated risk with him. Not a bad plan in a draft full of risks. But with a good wing defender like Chris Singleton and a rebounding machine like Kenneth Faried on the books, was this the best choice? Did raw athletic guy really address a need? It’s not that this pick was bad that makes it surprising, it’s who the Knicks had Shumpert ahead of on their draft board that shocks. They need defense and Singleton provides it for sure, can Shumpert?