The NBA Draft will be televised on ESPN tonight, and the network’s partner website — Grantland — gave former Oregon big man Arsalan Kazemi a nice endorsement.
Author Brett Koremenos describes Kazemi as “a player who is a nightmare to keep off the glass,” a characterization any Ducks basketball fan would wholeheartedly agree with. Kazemi isn’t even rated as a second-round pick by ESPN.com or DraftExpress, which Koremenos thinks is ridiculous. According to him, even if Kazemi never develops an above-average offensive game, maintaining his role as an energy guy off the bench who rebounds and plays solid defense would be much more valuable as a second-round pick than a player simply selected for his potential.
“It’s not the eye-popping choice,” Koremenos writes, ”but drafting a player virtually guaranteed to excel in that role would offer a much better return than most teams typically receive from those spots in the draft.”
Koremenos also compared Kazemi to two current NBA players, Brooklyn’s Reggie Evans and Denver’s Kenneth Faried. Like Kazemi, both players are known for being exceptional rebounders with a ton of energy, and these traits often make up for a lack of offensive game. But Koremenos notes that neither Evans nor Faried is a very good defender. Kazemi is.
“The Oregon forward was such a devastating pick-and-roll defender at the college level that he could single-handedly disrupt an opposing offense,” writes Koremenos.
The FishDuck staff has expressed a ton of confidence that Kazemi will make a good pro, so it’s nice to see an analyst from a major website share the same sentiments. Tonight, we’ll find out if an NBA team buys into the Kazemi hype.