Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Diamonds in the Rough, Part 2

Let's try to get a little feedback going here. Who do you nominate as a 'Diamond in the Rough?' Someone in the league right now, who is not getting enough run, who has the potential to be a star. Extra credit will be awarded for guys who are special (not Chris Kaman, 'short bus' special... Boris Diaw, 'unique talent' special).

I have two nominees:

Shaun Livingston - OK, this one barely counts, because it is so obvious that everyone sees it. He was picked 4th in the draft, so he was never unappreciated, and his development is going well, despite his youth and set backs due to injuries. But talk about special.
The Sports Guy recently said "we need to adjust his ceiling from 'Penny Hardaway in the mid-'90s' to 'Magic without the charisma.' Not saying he'll get there ... just saying that's the new ceiling." The Magic comparison is apropos in that Livingston sees the floor incredibly well. But Magic was a lot bigger than Livingston, while Livingston is a lot faster than Magic. There's never been a player with his combination of length, speed, handle and vision. Never.

Dan Dickau - My WCC bias must now be disclosed. I grew up watching Pepperdine basketball games. I saw Dennis Johnson jump center for the Waves. I saw Kurt Rambis at Santa Clara when he was a scorer. I saw John Stockton long before the Zags were any good. I saw a freshman from Canada with a really bad haircut named Steve Nash single-handedly beat my Waves in the WCC tournament. And the best player I ever saw in the WCC was Dan Dickau. Nash and Stockton were better passers, that much is true. But Dickau is the best shooter I've ever seen at the point, and every bit the leader those other guys were, at least at the college level. Dickau has had a rough ride in the NBA so far. He's on his 6th team in 4 years. He started out backing up Jason Terry in Atlanta, and then got traded to Portland where he backed up Damon Stoudamire. (These are not guys you want ahead of you on the depth chart if you're an undersized scoring point guard.) He was property of the Warriors entering the 04-05 season, when they had Speedy Claxton and Derek Fisher manning the point, and it looked like it could be a good situation for him. And the day before the season started the traded him to Dallas, where he played behind Nash. His big break came when the Mavs traded him to New Orleans, and he started 46 games for the Hornets and played well. But the Hornets drafted Chris Paul, and traded Dickau to the Celtics for a 2nd rounder. In what should have been a good situation, he never really broke through in the rotation, and then blew out his Achilles in December. Here's hoping he recovers fully and finally gets a chance to play.