[00:00:00] Dustin: All right, everybody. Welcome to the 296th edition of the holy backward podcast. I am Dustin here in rip city and then got
[00:00:13] Dillon: my man. They chill and live and direct. And Medford, Oregon just got done with the car ride from hell. Normally Portland to a Medford is four hours long. Took me 10 hours because my car broke down a few times.
[00:00:29] So I’m here. Whoever put that aftermarket windshield on my car before I purchased it, you’re an asshole. It dripped rain dripped in from the second I owned it to the second I replaced it. So big F you to that person in predicting. Cost me a bunch of money I did not have. So yes, I am very excited to talk basketball instead of talking about mechanical failures of my electrical system because of rain.
[00:00:59] Dustin: I feel you [00:01:00] on the car trouble. I was in a car accident and I’ve spent the last month and a half trying to go through the process of beginning the settlement and then getting a lien off my title. Uh, and then going back to the DMV and now I need to reconstruct your title because I want to keep the car and then changing my insurance coverage.
[00:01:19] And I’m just like, This is too much like w what are we doing as a society? Like, we’re just wasting our time doing it. It should have been just so much, there needs to be a more streamlined process, but it is what it is. And hopefully it’s almost over. Um, and we’re getting EPR so close to the draft lottery, finding out where Portland’s actual position will be in the June draft.
[00:01:46] And we are going to discuss, uh, what I think we both are really, um, intrigued by, uh, and, uh, Uzman. And Boozman is a French man [00:02:00] who plays for, uh, the New Zealand breakers of the NBL. Uh, if that name sounds familiar, uh, I believe, uh, Lumelleau ball, uh, played, played for them as well. Um, he has a small Ford, uh, about 69 with a 71 wingspan, 185 pounds.
[00:02:19] Uh, 18 years of age, but we’ll be 19 by the time the draft rolls around. So he very young prospect. Um, currently he is number 14 on the ringers big board. And for some seasons stats going to give a little bit of a disclaimer, they’re not going to blow you away. Uh, he had a meteoric rise up the draft boards, kind of similar to that, of our last, uh, future Friday participant that we discussed in Malakai Branum, really slow start to the season.
[00:02:48] Started to click. And then you started to see, uh, what everyone was talking about. Uh, but for the sake of the podcast, here are the season stats for, for Mon Jang, [00:03:00] uh, 8.9 points, 3.1 boards and assist per game point 60. Point three blocks shot about 40% from the field 27, from 360 7 from the line in just over 20 minutes per game, played 23 games for the New Zealand breakers.
[00:03:19] But I don’t think the stats tell the true story, uh, when it comes to Uzman Jang, uh, I was really blown away Sage. Um, when I watched him play, have you ever in your years of scouting or just looking at a player, just kind of like watch the half a basketball and kind of just like dusted your hands together and said, yep.
[00:03:41] I’ve seen enough. I really like what this kid has to offer and like, let’s, let’s give him a promise right now. So no other teams find out about him. So he can’t go any higher in the draft because I saw half of the game and it was. Yeah, like top 10 easy.
[00:03:59] Dillon: [00:04:00] Yeah. I mean, you know, there are certain archetypes of players where you just get what they are relatively quick and then there’s some.
[00:04:11] You know, you need a few games to do, but with him, he’s so specialized that. And so skillful that you kind of see, oh, you’re watching the playoffs. And then you see what, you know, Brandon Ingram or any of these wings in the NBA can do. Wait, ooze Mon can do that as well. And I don’t think anyone outside of Paulo can do what those wings are doing in this draft class that automatically special makes some specialized compared to every other wing in this wing, heavy
[00:04:44] Dustin: drugs.
[00:04:44] Yeah, I would say, uh, the first thing I want to look at when I’m looking at a high-end prospect, like not every prospect is going to have a flash of brilliance there. We just are who they are and they get that can be a consistent rotational player. But if you’re talking about a player who you [00:05:00] think could be in the top five, top 10 of this draft, when it’s all said and done, you want to see flashes of brilliance and you want to see multiple versions of that.
[00:05:08] And I saw that right off the jump, uh, both authentically and defensively. Um, we watched a game against Southeast Melbourne. Uh, the breakers lost that game, but Zhang was easily the best player on the floor. Um, so a couple of instances that really blew me away. On the defensive end of the floor in the first time.
[00:05:30] He had an insanely quick reaction on the help side defense, uh, to block a shot at the rim and on off offense, he got the ball in kind of like the coffin corner, so to speak. There was nowhere for him to go kind of probed around the defense dribbled under the basket, sized up his man into a dribble step back three, and just made it look effortless.
[00:05:52] And then you look. Also in that first half, when he was really controlling the game, like he doesn’t start for the breakers. [00:06:00] So he comes off the bench for them. And when he came in, they made their run and he was initiating the offense. So he had two plays where he was running high pick and roll. He had one, no look dime a too big man for a dunk.
[00:06:14] And then he had a. Another assist while, while navigating that
[00:06:20] Dillon: get past that he did
[00:06:21] Dustin: as well. You’re looking at three facets of the game defense offense, and play-making like, he’s able to score the ball. He’s able to play, make for others. And he’s able to defend at a high level, like checking every single box while being that prototypical, MBA size, where.
[00:06:40] That’s where the game’s going. I mean, we just saw yolk, which one? His second MVP Yonis had one, two Mbps prior, like the bigs are back in today’s NBA. Really? They never left, but now they’re coming back, uh, in. Uh, big, fast action. And you need players who are going to be able to [00:07:00] match up both on both sides of the ball.
[00:07:02] Like Portland really hasn’t been a strong two-way team since those 2000 blazers it’s really just been, been all gas, but they haven’t been able to stop anybody. You need players like, like Jang to start to build around. And, um, I just thought there was every, almost every play. I was just like kind of gasping.
[00:07:23] I was like this, this the kid’s only 18 years old and he’s playing professionally. Um, you, you absolutely loved what, what you saw from him.
[00:07:30] Dillon: Look what Miami did to Trey young and the Hawks. The size of those wings, neutralized trade to being like a 17 point per game score when in the regular season and in other playoffs, he was like a 30 point score wings and hype.
[00:07:50] You don’t need. Your wings to be amazing defenders. You need them to be able to play in a scheme, and then that [00:08:00] scheme will stop those Trae. Young’s those Damian Lillard, those smaller guards. I think, I mean, the play-making is great and it really diversifies him from every single player that’s in this class.
[00:08:13] That’s his size. And. He shown the ability to run, run that Playmaker role, but then you see him play off Peyton Silva for catching shoe corner shots. So it’s not like whoever drafts him immediately as to make him the focal point of the offense and make him run nothing, but pick and roll reps. He’s, he’s a good enough shooter and a smart enough player to be an off-ball score for Damian Lillard or for an Anthony Simons.
[00:08:44] So it’s not like it’s. Yeah, he dribbles well and needs the ball in his hands. He’s he’s smart enough and good enough to get those all fall reps and be, I mean, the skill sets going to pop off regardless, but being able to be [00:09:00] on the floor at all times, because he is a good defender, the real main issue with it.
[00:09:06] Right now is that he’s very, very skinny. So if, if the NBA programming and the, the, the body development teams of whatever team he gets drafted to can put it on. Safe muscle. I think a lot of the weaknesses in his game that like, he doesn’t go to the rim. He doesn’t draw fouls because he’s weak or that he gets bullied defensively because he’s weak.
[00:09:31] If a legitimate staff can make that, like if they can turn them into Brandon angry, Then all of the weaknesses that he has in his game based on strength, go out the window. Cause I feel like his body can put on, put on that weight safely.
[00:09:50] Dustin: Yeah. And I, I don’t, I don’t think he’s like scary skinny, like you’re really worried, like chat.
[00:09:54] I think chat, I think is like, you’re really concerned that he’s not going to be able to put on weight. [00:10:00] Like he only weighs, I think like 10 pounds, less than Chet and he’s, you know, three or four inches shorter. Um, The strength. I put areas of improvement, like strength and to finish at the rim. And that comes with strength.
[00:10:14] Like he can, he can get to the rim, but unless it’s a floater or he can do a pump fake, he doesn’t know what to do right now, but that’s nothing to be worried about as an 18 year old prospect. Uh, I am a big fan of growth. I’m a big fan of it. What I saw from Malik, I brand them. What would I saw from year one to year two?
[00:10:35] When, uh, in terms of, uh, Jayden Ivy, a Benedick Mather and Johnny Davis, I like seeing players that get better. It means there’s more room for them to grow. What you see now in today, isn’t the finished product. When, when you draft that player there, there’s still a ceiling to be reached. Um, and there are intangibles that Uzman has.
[00:10:55] That I think separate him from a lot of prospects in this draft and our really key [00:11:00] indicators for a player that can reach their ceiling. One of them, the basketball intelligence is through the roof. Um, he plays at such a smart pace that he doesn’t get sped up with the ball he’s leading fast breaks.
[00:11:13] He’s got fantastic grab and go potential. And you’re not concerned that he’s going to, you know, dribble off his knee or draw an offensive. Like he he’s in control of the game. He also, I was watching that game against Melbourne and he is on fire. Like he hasn’t missed a shot. I think he went seven for seven in that first half.
[00:11:33] Yeah. When he got the ball, he wasn’t just looking to score for himself every time he was making the, the hockey assist or just the right passenger in the middle of the zone. Um, decided to initiate offense or decided to call his own number, like players who have just a control over the game. You can’t teach that.
[00:11:51] Like, that’s something that can’t be taught you, you can bulk up, you can work on your shot too, to an extent you can’t teach feel for the game. He has [00:12:00] fantastic feel for the game. And I think you’re right. He doesn’t, he can be a primary Playmaker. He can be a secondary Playmaker. He can play off ball, like looking at his show.
[00:12:09] His mechanics from early in the season to now, uh, it looks night and day like the, the numbers again, 27% from three, but I did not see a 27% shooter when I watched him on tape later on the year, because he shooting with much more confidence and a much more purpose. And that comes with repetition that comes with rhythm that comes with, you know, just getting comfortable.
[00:12:32] Uh, in your own skin, in your own game. Uh, so I, I have no doubts that he can play anywhere on any team. Like we kind of talked about this with Jabari Smith. He’s the type of player you can fit him in, in any system he’s going to thrive because he’s so versatile on both ends of, of the floor. Um, I, I love his defensive potential.
[00:12:55] He moves his body really well laterally and his length [00:13:00] is the length of gives him the ability that if a quicker point guard, maybe a deer and Fox or a Jayden. If they’re able to get by him, he’s got that length that he can close a lot of gap, a lot of distance and erase that shot off, off the back porch.
[00:13:15] And I noticed that while defendant, he does a good job of not falling. That’s also really key for, for big defenders. Um, one other thing I want to touch on is. I am so like enamored with just how he stays engaged, even off ball. Like there, there are areas for improvement obviously, but for an 18 year old player playing overseas, professionally, like he’s engaged, he’s talking to his man.
[00:13:44] Who’s communicating. I’m gonna, I’m gonna stick with my man. No, I’m gonna drop them off. Pass them off to you. Like you can see there is a willing and engaged offender and. That’s half the battle right there. So to become an elite defender. So, um, I [00:14:00] hadn’t watched him until we did the scouting and I, I see what all the hype is about.
[00:14:04] Like he was in the thirties, uh, probably preseason and now he’s, you know, he’s up to 14 on the ringer. I think he’s going to, I think by the time the draft rolls around in June, it would be a major. Uh, upset if he doesn’t go in the top 10, like, I, I just, I think once teams get him into their pro days and the draft workouts, they’re going to be like, it’s going to be a situation where he’s going to get promise after promise after promise.
[00:14:28] So he doesn’t work out anymore. Like, I, I think he’s. Arguably the fastest riser in this draft class.
[00:14:34] Dillon: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I mean, the skills are just, just going to jump off the, off the screen at any evaluator for a team. You just see all of the things that he can do as an offensive and defensive player.
[00:14:50] Um, yeah, I mean, He rose up my board very, very fast with his performance. And [00:15:00] then I wanted to see more. And dude, as in this draft man, like last year was an old timer, right? Like you, you see so many good quality players. And you look at what they are and it’s like, they’re taller than their position group.
[00:15:18] And they still have guard skills. Look at Evan Mobley. Look at Kate Cunningham. Look at friends blogger. I mean, how do you be? Exactly. There’s rookie veer, Scotty B. So you look at what’s produced. And then you look at this draft and then it, for me, the people that do that are Paulo. Dang. So who’s mine. Sorry.
[00:15:42] Sorry, Guzman. So you look at like, there aren’t that many archetypes of Playmaker that six, eight in this draft, the Playmakers outside of dang and Benchero six foot and you’re [00:16:00] looking at. You know, Jalen Brunson struggle to stay on the floor defensively against in the playoffs. So really the only Playmakers that could play in playoffs is Paulo and dang.
[00:16:16] So it’s, if you’re looking to the future of playing in playoff basketball and you you’re looking for an initiator, it’s one of those two. So there’s only two real tall. Uh, initiators, of course you can say IVs, but he’s not at the level of dang as a passer yet.
[00:16:37] Dustin: Where’s he out in your big board?
[00:16:40] Dillon: So I, my big four is pretty, uh, static with, uh, Jabari Chet Paulo and, uh, Ivy.
[00:16:49] But dang is. He beats Shaden sharp because of the, the, the size and the skill level now. [00:17:00] And you can just project him to be, I think, a little bit more special than Shaden. So right now he he’s
[00:17:07] Dustin: five. Yeah. He’s five on my board as well. He really rose, um, up the top of the list. I mean, I’m at the point now where I’m hoping he’ll be available when, when Portland picks, if they don’t move up in the draft, but I’m pretty solid.
[00:17:21] Like keeping a Portland falls a spot. I think they need to keep this pick at all costs. I really like the top seven prospects that I have. I’ve got a at the moment Jabari. Uh, Jayden Ivy chat, home grin, uh, Shaden sharp. Uh, I believe in that hype, just the growth that he’s able to make. Uh, I have a number of.
[00:17:43] Um, Benetech matter and it’s six and then bank kero at seven. So if you’re able to get a top seven pick, I think you’re going to be very happy with where you’re at in this draft. And so I know there’s a lot of talk about, you know, you could target the Hornets or the spurs and tray down. There’s no more [00:18:00] getting, um, like the more I have let the time.
[00:18:04] Cause we’ve, we’ve been doing this since January. The more I’ve really crafted the big board and spoken with you and just watch a lot of tape. There’s a, I think a pretty good, like a gap between that seven and then the rest, like that’s where the tears are starting to break apart. For me, Portland needs as much elite, top level talent as possible.
[00:18:26] Yes, they need multiple players, but. If you could guarantee that that, that it Mon Jang would be there at 13. Sure. Make that trip to Charlotte. But I think projecting now May 9th, 20, 22. There’s no way he’s going to be available at 13. Like don’t, don’t try to do what you did in 2005 when you said, oh, we, we moved up to the third spot in the draft.
[00:18:48] Well, we really could use a shooting guard, so let’s trade back. Let’s get Martell Webster and another draft pick like you basically traded in. You know, two nickels for a dime. You’d [00:19:00] rather have that. Darren Williams, Chris Paul looking back, obviously like take the top end town, even in trades. More times than not.
[00:19:09] I would say like, even, even as high as eight or nine times out of 10, the team acquiring the best player in the trade wins that trade. You want to get the best, take quantity over or take quality, excuse me, over quantity. And I think Portland needs to be really smart and that they need not overthink this.
[00:19:30] Even if you drop down, stay in that top seven. Pick a difference maker and move forward. Don’t don’t don’t, don’t junk this up here.
[00:19:39] Dillon: I feel like people say that this draft is either deep in wing talent or there’s a huge drop-off after you get to your top eight huge drop-off 10 through 22 and then 22 through 40 is kind of the same.[00:20:00]
[00:20:00] If there’s a chance for you to get into the top seven or eight talented players, the drop between dang and Johnny Davis is pretty humongous. And, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, there’s an old adage that small market need teams need to go for that nuclear talent like Yonis or in this case.
[00:20:23] Dang, but honestly, How many teams in this version of the MBA can rely on team building through just free agency, Brooklyn and Los Angeles, but Los Angeles sucks. So like every team Chicago should look for this nuclear talent. It can’t just be us looking for it. If everybody’s looking for the ooze Mon dangs or the Shaden sharps of the world.
[00:20:48] So if we’re in position to take it, we have to take it because if. If we go with Keegan Murray, who we both agree is going to be an [00:21:00] NBA player and somebody else gets shaded sharp, or dang, we lost this draft, even though we got the guy that. Some pre people want, we have to go for that nuclear talent. And if it fails, it fails.
[00:21:14] But if it doesn’t and it succeeds, it changes our franchise for awhile. Like right now, I don’t believe that we can win a championship with the team that we have. But if we can find that nuclear talent like, uh, uh, dang or shading sharp, it changes from 0% to 5% or something like that. And that change is huge.
[00:21:36] There’s no way we can win now, but if we got dang, Sustainably and well around him, we have a chance. So,
[00:21:47] Dustin: and I also think you’re looking at a two way talent as well. I think as great as Damian Lillard is, and he is more than worth that top 75, uh, all time ranking that he was, um, awarded earlier this [00:22:00] season Dame, Dame’s a one way player and you have to go, you have to take extra steps to build around one way before.
[00:22:08] The warriors were able to do that, but they had a generational defender and Draymond green and a generational tall shooter who also defended and clay Thompson. So they were able to do that with Steph Curry, like Steph would not be staffed without clay and Dre and all of the supporting cast. So when you’re thinking of generational two-way players, You, you look at the of, of the world.
[00:22:32] Like you need those players that you can count on, on both ends of the floor. It just makes team building and roster construction, uh, so much easier. Uh, we’ve talked a lot about Uzman. Do you have any NBA comps for him?
[00:22:46] Dillon: Sage? I see. Uh, so when I first saw Brandon Ingram, you know, he was a skinny guy who avoided contact.
[00:22:58] But as he’s developed into his [00:23:00] body, it unlocked everything about Brandon Ingram. I kind of think that dang is going to be just like that. Once he unlocks the strength factor, a lot of those weaknesses with his frame and strength go away. So I think the, the, the top end talent for dang would be Brandon Ingram.
[00:23:20] And just think about all the people that we talked about. I feel like dang has the best chance out of like the people that aren’t the top four to absolutely hit his, his, uh, his ceiling. And a lot of players do not have the ceiling of Brandon Ingram. So. W he has to rise up to the board just because of his potential and the high, the high probability chance that he becomes at high end potential.
[00:23:50] So I, I really want them to be efficient with his body. And once he’s okay with taking on the punishment of [00:24:00] driving in the lane and getting fouled, I think it unlocked everything about his game.
[00:24:05] Dustin: Yeah. I see. A lot of Nicholas platoon in his game as well. Uh, both, both French, both that, that six, nine, uh, both that ball handler can hit the jump shot, like, but tomb’s problem was, was inconsistency.
[00:24:22] And if you get consistent, Nick Mattoon, that is that’s in bold tie. All-star like he, he had everything you wanted. He could really guard one through five. Um, he was a linchpin of, of those blazer teams went when he was locked in. So I, I see. A ton of bitumen in his game. I think his ceiling is clearly higher than Nick.
[00:24:42] It was really hard to even think of a player who could be the ceiling, because I was like, you don’t see many, six, 10 Playmakers, um, who can also play off the ball. Who can also like th they’re willing to play both, both ends of, for like Ben Simmons as a Playmaker who plays defense, but he [00:25:00] can’t be counted on to be a willing score on offense.
[00:25:03] Um, I think, uh, James sealing, our defense is higher than what will Ingram gives you. So I think you’re almost looking at. I’m not going to say Yonis, but in terms of like, when people say I want the next XYZ player, like the ceiling could be like, I want the next Guzman Jang. Like he could be that next player.
[00:25:21] So I don’t, I don’t even want to pigeonhole him into a player comp because I think his ceiling really could be that, that high if he does hit it. But I think. Regardless if you’re, you’re looking at consistent Nick Mattoon, I think w what the Jang and I think any team that gets him, you’re going to look back 10 years in the redraft and maybe see, like, why, why didn’t he go hire, do you have
[00:25:42] Dillon: any issues with him being like, forget the, the ceiling, but do you have any issues with them being like an average rotation player?
[00:25:52] Like, are you worried? He won’t hit
[00:25:53] Dustin: that, so like his floor? Yeah. Um, [00:26:00] I’m I honestly am not worried about his floor. And my one indicator with that is the growth. Like I love players. I have made tangible, like you can look at with your eyes where they were to start the season to where they were to, to end the season.
[00:26:17] And you’re like, okay, there’s more to come by now. Clearly you can’t project injuries or any of the such, but just strictly from a basketball perspective, I would be surprised if he’s not at least that 75. Like I w I would be, you know, if we look back, I’d be like Jang busted. I would be like, how, like, what, what went wrong?
[00:26:37] Because from everything that you’ve read about him, he just continues to improve. And. He has all of the, the physical tools. So like, again, what went wrong? What was this body not able to put on the weight? Like was th the, the shot just break down. Did he have a confidence? Like, did, did the Ben Simmons situation happened with him?
[00:26:58] That’s something that you, [00:27:00] yeah, that’s something, yeah. Markel, Markel. It’s like you can’t project that. So like taking that out of the realm of possibilities, like, I think he, I’m very confident. He is at least a rotational player. Yeah.
[00:27:13] Dillon: I, I I’m as well. Like the skinniness, I don’t know. I don’t know many NBA players that when basketball becomes their full-time job and they have all the resources in the world to, uh, develop themselves, like they, they just cannot put on weight.
[00:27:36] So I’m going with the school skillset. The high, the high care skillset is going to. Reign Supreme with him in terms of his development. So, yeah, I think he has some of the highest floors and the highest ceiling out of, I mean, chat might my [00:28:00] pro if, if they both hit their 99th percentile chat probably beats them, but I can’t really think of anybody else that if we’re just talking ceilings beats is Bonnie.
[00:28:12] So. Irene, if the blazers are there and he is on the board, I think it would be a humongous mistake to take anybody else other than him, unless, unless they just love Shaden sharp. If those two are available, I can, I can get the idea that they like shading more. But for me, the height, the skillset, he’s, he’s kind of that, uh, He just screams trailblazer, STEMI.
[00:28:43] Like he, he, he fit everything that we like. We need taller players. We need skilled players. We need smart players that, that that’s dang. I think that, I think that he, if he’s available, he should be our pick because he has the best chance of hitting that, that, [00:29:00] that Brandon Ingram with plus plus.
[00:29:05] But I think of the team that drafts them needs to have a fucking plan. They need to have the plan available for them if they, if they just are, if they don’t have the plan, that’s when I worry. But if they concentrate on what this player is and what he can become, then I think. It can work out for him, but they just can’t come off half cocked ready to, uh, draft them and then play them.
[00:29:30] You need to have that plan and he needs to develop, like he, he stayed away from contact in a very aggressive Australian league. He’s going to need to put on strength before you, you try and have him do what he’s doing in Australia. So as long as there is a plan ready and awaiting. The sky is the absolute limit.
[00:29:55] Dustin: All right. That was our breakdown of, uh, Uzma and Jang. [00:30:00] We will be back either with a, another future Friday of Nicola Djokovic or our post mock draft lottery edition because in eight days we will know exactly where the trailblazers will be selecting. Uh, it’ll be fun to actually have the order and take team needs into account.
[00:30:18] We’ve also. Had additional prospects that we’ve been scouting. So, um, I know that if we had done the mock draft after scouting, uh, Uzma on our last one, he definitely would have made. The top 14. Uh, so yeah, be on the lookout for those two episodes upcoming, and then we will have a couple of gems to discuss for the second round.
[00:30:41] And before you know, it there’ll be draft time. So thank you for always rocking with us. If you enjoyed our content, please like, and subscribe on iTunes, give us a five star review, um, or even a nice comment like that. That really goes. Oh, the long way Sage you shared with [00:31:00] me. Uh, comment. I’m trying to bring it, bring it up right now.
[00:31:06] Uh, it was from, uh, Brendan and Kelis. So thank you, Brandon. Like you sent a really wonderful comment. Uh, he’s not on Twitter, but like enjoys listening to the holy back board for a couple of years now. Um, so I appreciate just hearing that, even if it’s just one person that’s listening, that that makes it a worth worthwhile for me.
[00:31:26] It’s fun. So again, If you have anything to say positive or negative, uh, send it our way. Um, we always like hearing what, what our listeners are thinking. And if you have any questions leading up to the draft, who are your top prospects that you want to pick? Is there anybody else you think that we should, should break down maybe, um, that could be built a leader in a draft because those steals, uh, exist as well.
[00:31:48] Um, let us know, but I think for the time being that that’s a wrap for our future Friday on Uzman Jang.