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Eye of the Beholder

With the Lakers and Celtics ready to renew their Finals rivalry, 28 other fan bases are in draft season.  The Orlando pre-draft camp just ended, individual workouts can start next Wednesday, and the draft itself is less than four weeks away.

Any self-respecting blogger is going to try to keep up with the information out there.  But I gotta tell you, it's frustrating.  I watched some of the scrimmages from Orlando on ESPNU, but the overall play is pretty sloppy and it's hard to get a feel for much.  Obviously I'm trying to follow the things that are churning through the rumor mill, but most of those seem baseless, and it's so early at any rate that it doesn't much matter what the rumor mill says today.

Reading the so-called experts is perhaps the most frustrating process of all.  Consider the recaps from yesterday's workouts of the physical-only players.  Here's what Chad Ford of ESPN said about Michael Beasley:

Beasley was the first player on the floor but the last to go through the workout. While other workouts were going on, we all watched in awe as Beasley drained NBA 3-pointer after NBA 3-pointer. That continued in the workouts, in which Beasley shot as well as any prospect here. Deep or midrange, Beasley can shoot the lights out.

And here's what Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress said after watching Beasley go through the EXACT SAME WORKOUT:

Michael Beasley looked super fluid and athletic getting up and down the court, finishing with either hand and looking to be in pretty good shape. He attacked the drills with a lot of competitive fire, but most definitely was clowning around way too much throughout the day right underneath the noses of the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.  There were a few people that expressed concern with some of his antics over the past few days. He shot the ball just decently.

Wow.  Were these guys watching the same player?  It's certainly understandable that one might focus on the 'clowning around' while the other could choose to ignore that.  But you would think that two experts could agree on what constitutes a good shooting performance.  According to Ford, he 'shot as well as any prospect' while Givony says 'he shot the ball just decently.'  That's a huge difference.

Here's another example.  Ford on Anthony Randolph:

I thought Randolph really helped himself in this workout. He moves incredibly well for a big man, showed great quickness and leaping ability, and shot the ball much better than expected. Randolph also looked as if he has gained some weight, which should really help his cause. I think Randolph is one of the five top prospects in this draft.

Givony  on Randolph:

The same [lukewarm impression] can be said about Anthony Randolph, who showed up with a long undershirt intended to hide just how incredibly skinny he still is at the moment. He looked great dunking the ball in the transition drills and handling the ball fluidly in the open floor, but was completely unable to hit a mid-range or long-range jumper in any of the drills, not even coming up close on many of his attempts.

It's understandable to come away with different impressions - but it seems almost impossible that they could be this opposite.  Was Ford so fooled by Randolph's 'long undershirt' that he thought he had 'gained some weight' while Givony thought he was 'still incredibly skinny'?  Of course, these observations aren't even mutually exclusive, as he could have gained weight yet still be incredibly skinny.  But each one choose to focus on one thing that ends up giving a completely opposite impression in the final analysis.  As for the shoooting:  Ford's expectations must have been incredibly low if 'completely unable to hit a mid-range or long-range jumper' qualified as 'much better than expected'.  The bottom line: if you trust Chad Ford, you think Anthony Randolph has bulked up and is shooting well.  If you trust Jonathon Givony, you think he's as skinny as ever, and can't shoot at all.  BASED ON THE SAME WORKOUT!

It's a crap shoot people.