The Florida Gators are a good college basketball team. They may even be a great one. As the season has moves forward, we’ve learned what the current team can do and some of what they can’t. All told, it looks to be another successful season for the Gators. This may not be a team that wins a national championship, but it’s one we could envision making a run in the tournament.
While there are a bevy of differences between this Florida squad and the one that won back-to-back titles only a few years ago, there is a similar amount of NBA talent. The 2007 NBA Draft saw Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah all selected within the first nine picks. While there may not be a trifecta like that entering the 2012 NBA Draft (or even one; it’s obviously a long time before any of these players declare their intentions), there are a couple of top-10 prospects – Bradley Beal and Patric Young.
Jonathan Tjarks of SB Nation did a wonderful job of detailing the abilities of both Beal and Young, but I can’t help but wonder about the comparisons between them and a few specific NBA players.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MAY HAVE BEEN WRITTEN WHILE DRINKING ORANGE AND BLUE KOOL-AID. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK, BUT BE AWARE THAT HAVE HIGHER HOPES FOR THESE TWO THAN OTHERS MAY.
Bradley Beal, G, 6’3”, 207 lbs. – Beal compares to Andre Iguodala favorably, but has a worst-case scenario comparison of Tony Allen.
Iguodala carries a 15.7 points per game career mark and has only missed 21 games over his first seven seasons. Slightly taller than Beal, he carries the same weight. As a shooting guard, he puts up good rebounding numbers – something Beal does as well – but distributes the ball much better than the Gators’ freshman. The two have similar shooting percentages, although Iguodala makes more free throws than Beal. Becoming the next Iguodala would hardly be a bad thing, but Beal’s ability at both ends of the court may give him a higher upside. While Beal will likely never be the primary scoring option on an NBA team, he does have the ability to push his scoring average closer to 20 points per game. Again, the Iguodala comparison is a good one, but Beal may be able to hold closer to the 19.9 points per game that Iguodala averaged in 2007-2008 longer.
While the size comparison is spot on when it comes to Allen, little else resonates. It’s hard to imagine Beal having a career in which he averages less than 20 minutes per game, only 7.5 points and only a couple of rebounds. Yes, the NBA will be a giant leap for Beal, but he would have to flop massively to end up the next Allen. While Allen’s defensive talents are comparable, Beal’s offensive upside is much higher.
Patric Young, F/C, 6’9”, 247 lbs. – On the high end, Young compares to Ronny Turiaf; on the low end it’s Joel Anthony.
Beyond size, it’s hard to see the comparison between Young and Turiaf at first glance. Turiaf is far from a bad player and this isn’t mean to come across as saying his is one, but the comparison is hardly a high watermark. While it’s hard to see whether Young will be a starter or come off the bench in the NBA, he plays with an intensity that should translate to the next level. Turiaf has never averaged more than 5.9 points per game and 4.6 rebounds during his career and is largely seen as a fill-in. While Young could very well go down a similar path, it seems he has more potential than Turiaf had when he came out.
Again a good comparison on size, it’s hard to see what else compares between Anthony’s game and Young’s. This is a worst-case scenario pick, so it actually does make sense, but in nearly 18 minutes per game, I would like to think Young’s ability around the rim would net him more than Anthony’s 2.5 points. To go through his NBA career with Anthony’s numbers, Young would likely be further down the roster averaging closer to 12-14 minutes per game. Again, this is worst-case though. However, if a team did take Young high in the first round, ending up with Anthony’s game would mean he was a gigantic miss. When giving 100%, Young is a better rebounder and blocker than Anthony has ever been.