There were a few tiny technical errors with the broadcast (mostly involving sound levels) but overall what we saw broadcast last night was head and shoulders above anything else the minor leagues have done with a draft, and I included the NBA-DL in that category.
But how did the Rainmen actualy fare when it comes to using their three picks effectively?
Anyone who has followed the US minor league circuit knows that it’s still too early to make any firm judgements about players for one simple reason: between signing/being drafted and opening day there’s a good chance players will get bigger offers overseas, have passport problems, decide to pursue a more lucrative career doing something else, choose not to leave their families or decide not to report to the team for any variety of reasons. However, waiting until November to toss out opinions is no fun, so let’s talk draft grades:
Round 1 (6th overall pick) Grade: B
Danny Friend is an unknown property. Unheralded out of a small DII school (Limestone college) with no video online, no previous pro-experience but he seems like a sweet kid and his mom was with him and was absolutely stoked that her kid got drafted. From the video they showed on the broadcast he looks like he’s long with really good size and they don’t need a ton out of that position since they will at least have Crookshank there playing 28+ minutes a game. You can’t fault a team at this level for taking size and length but it is surprising that the team took a pass on Tristan Martin who was probably the Canadian with the biggest reputation in the draft and who fell to the Quebec Kebs at 8th overall. I’d say this is a solid pick that may or may not pan out. At the very least it looks like they got a kid who wants to play for Halifax and who is a legit basketball player. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Round 2 (13th overall) Grade: A-
Papa Oppong! Mavs Gillis is going to lose his goddamn mind doing play-by-play everytime Big Papa shoots the basketball. Papa has swagger. Papa went to Eastern Commerce where Andre Levingston was once an assistant coach. Papa is a Canadian. Papa played DI ball for Eastern Kentucky where he knocked down 45% of his three point shots. Papa is going to make the team and give quality minutes as a shooting guard with decent size and a sweet stroke. Papa is young and is going to become a legit pro. I for one am stoked on the Papa Oppong era in Halifax.
Round 3 (20th overall) Grade: F
Dude isn’t even a Canadian? Wasted pick. Jerell Thompson is tabbed to play a backup role and he played DI ball, although it was in a weak conference (NEC). He’ll be in camp, but he could have been a camp invite without being drafted. Boooooo.
Overall grade: C
I really like the pick of Oppong. I don’t know much about Friend but the fact that he doesn’t jump out as being awful which is actually a plus. The third pick was a messy screw up. I just can’t get excited about a three round draft for Halifax when they only emerge with two players and only one canuck. They’re behind the rest of the league when it comes to finding a quality second Canadian and the team has generally struggled to sign top Canadian talent in the past. I’d expect the Rainmen to either pursue another Toronto guy with some connection to Andre or an AUS player like Simon Farine. In terms of needs I think Papa gives them a potential bench scorer and you can never have too many shooters, Friend has size and a good attitude on his side and they got one of two required Canadians. A solid “meh” draft deserves a solid C level grade.
So how do you think Halifax did? Would you have picked someone else instead? Did they mess up passing on Tristan Martin? Who are you hoping gets a camp invite?
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