Posted by: Danny-Hansen on June 9th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
In the upcoming NBA Draft, there has been a lot of talk that the Jazz should take the best player available. In most cases I agree with that, except if it is Nevada forward Luke Babbitt. Perhaps if there is another player close to Babbitt as an overall player, the Jazz should take him instead. Now don’t get me wrong, Babbitt is a very good shooter and extremely athletic. However, play real close attention to this highlight reel of Babbitt, and then tell me if the Jazz have a similar player to Babbitt on their roster. After watching that video, if Babbitt didn’t somewhat remind you of CJ Miles, then watch it again. CJ is a good player and really came through in the playoffs, but I don’t think we need another player with the same skill set as CJ on the roster.
How are they similar?
First, they are similar in size. Luke Babbitt measured at about 6′7″ and 215 lbs. CJ this last season measured about 6′6″ and 227 lbs after putting on that extra muscle this last offseason. When CJ came into the league he only weighed 195 lbs. They both have long arms with Babbitt having a wingspan of 6′11″.
Second, they are both left-handed. Whether you believe it or not, it seems that left-handers have a slight advantage in the league. There are so few of them in the league that players instinctively think that they should guard them as a right-hander. Getting jumpers off in a crowd is an advantage, since players look for a right-handed shot. Think of Michael Redd getting off a contested three-pointer. When shooting and dribbling Babbitt and Miles look the same.
Third, they are both deadly from the outside. CJ took a few years to finally get his outside shots to drop, and perhaps Babbitt will require the same kind of experience. Babbitt is only 20 years old. He, against college competition, had a killer shot that took the air out of teams. And he seemed to have limitless range. As does CJ. Also, like CJ, Babbitt can score in a variety of ways. He can score in the post, off a curl, or with a floater. On his profile on DraftExpress.com, it says this about Babbitt’s shot,
“Babbitt’s shot has consistent mechanics and a high release point, while he also has NBA three-point range. His ability to hit shots in a variety of situations i(s) very impressive for a player his age.”
Next, Babbitt and CJ are very good athletes with the ability to finish at the rim. Babbitt is an impressive athlete. At the NBA Draft combine Babbitt had a maximum vertical jump of 37.5 inches. We all know that CJ can sky. Both players like to finish off a dunk with two-hands.
Finally, they both are surprisingly good passers off of the dribble. They both have the ability to lead a fast break down the court and find the open man. This is an underrated skill for an NBA player and you would be surprised at the number of NBA players that can’t, or maybe just won’t, do it.
How are they different?
Finding differences between the two is a little tough. Read another description of Babbitt’s game from DraftExpress.com to see if you can find a strength that CJ is still working on.
“On the offensive end, Babbitt possesses an extremely high skill level to go along with an outstanding feel for the game, assets which allow him to score easily and efficiently from all over the floor. The smooth left-handed shooter is hitting with deadeye accuracy from the free-throw (89%) and three-point lines (41%), while also showing strong ability off the dribble, namely with his mid-range jumper.”
Babbitt is extremely good at shooting off the dribble. He has a good crossover and pull up jumper, which helps him create his own shot. Some scouts are not confident in his ability to do the same in the NBA. CJ is a better shooter when he is set, and his pull up game still needs some work.
Finally, read this last description of Babbitt’s game to see what he can work on, that CJ has definitely improved on.
“Attacking off the dribble, Babbitt has an underwhelming first step and not much of a second gear, but he makes up for it at this level with craftiness, long strides, and a good understanding of angles and floor spacing, knowing when to pick his spots.”
You have to wonder if a lack of quickness will hurt Babbitt in the pros. Scouts have their doubts whether he has the quickness to guard perimeter NBA players. CJ seems to have the quickness to last in the NBA. And CJ’s defense has definitely improved. Babbitt at this point is unproven in that area.
Come draft night, if you are a huge CJ Miles fan, you may be glad to hear Babbitt’s name on draft night, or not depending how you look at it. That will depend on your perspective. I feel that the Jazz should look for a player that will bring something new to the team, much like Wesley Matthews brought a needed toughness to our perimeter defense last year. However, I wouldn’t be completely disappointed in Babbitt. I know what kind of player he can become.
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