I watched almost no college basketball this year. As such I have almost no idea who the Blazers should draft. But I do know that any player that the Blazers should not draft a player who wore a t-shirt under their jersey in college. Why? Find out after the jump.
Last year in the build up to the draft I came to the conclusion that I didn't think that Johnny Flynn was a baller. Was it because he is 5'11? No. It was because of pictures similar to the one below:
I realized that because Johnny Flynn was wearing a t-shirt (or at least a t-shirt like undergarment) under his jersey, that my expectations for him as a professional player were lessened. Upon further review, I became convinced that players who wear t-shirts under their jersey in college generally have worse NBA careers than those that don't. Consider the following:
- 2007- JJ Redick and Adam Morrison were the darlings of the college basketball world during the 2006 season. They were on the cover SI together. They were both drafted in the first round. Since then JJ Redick has had a medicore career while Adam Morrison is seemingly on his way out of the league. Why? In their final college game, Morrison wore a t-shirt; Redick didn't.
- Prior to being drafted James Harden was thought by many to be similar to Brandon Roy. What they failed to consider is that Harden often wore t-shirts under his jersey in college while Roy never did. Roy was the Rookie of the Year and seems to be a lock for the All-Star game from here on out; Harden didn't even start a single game his rookie year.
- Hasheem Thabeet wore t-shirts in college. DeJuan Blair didn't. Blair's rookie year by any measure was superior.
- How many of the members of last year's All-NBA team (whether 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team) wore t-shirts in college (or high school if they didn't attend college)? As far as I can tell only Kobe Bryant, which seems to have been one of the first in a long history of fashion faux pas for him.
- Of the 3 players on the 2007 Florida Gators who were drafted in the top 10 in the draft, Al Horford was selected has been as an All-Star, Joakim Noah is playing at near an All-Star level and Corey Brewer has been, depending how you look at it, either a below average or an average player. Guess which one wore a t-shirt in college? You got it, Corey Brewer.
- And the list goes on.
Are there players that have beaten the Curse of the T-Shirt? Yes. Shaq and Jason Kidd were both part-time t-shirters in college while Larry Johnson and Marcus Camby both were full timers. Also notable are that both Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo beat the curse, although a case could be made that they were only wearing t-shirts due to the tradition of Georgetown centers wearing t-shirts that was started by Patrick Ewing (of whom, by the way, could be said to have had a disappointing career). More recently players such as Ben Gordon, Eric Gordon (the jury is still out on him), Rajon Rondo was a part-timer, and Delonte West could be said to have potentially beaten the curse as well. So while it isn't a perfect test, there seems to be great value. The value in the t-shirt test largely seems to be in deciding between players of roughly equal quality. In other words, if the Mavericks had for some reason decided to trade the draft rights to Jason Kidd to the Blazers in 1994 for the draft rights to Aaron McKie+filler, the Blazers would have been crazy to turn that down, despite Jason Kidd being a part-time t-shirt wearer.
Now you may be asking yourself "What constitutes wearing a t-shirt? Many players wear something under their jerseys." The rule of thumb that I use is that if a player were to raise his hand, if you can see their armpit then they aren't wearing a t-shirt.
What does this mean for the Blazers this year? Based on the current mock draft at NBADraft.net the players that are within the range of the Blazers seem to be:
- Daniel Orton
- Luke Babbitt
- Larry Sanders
- Gordon Hayward
- Armon Johnson
- Solomon Alabi
- Damion James
- Lance Stephenson
Based on this list, the Blazers should not draft Daniel Orton, Gordon Hayward or Damion James. While they may become fine professional players, the odds are not in their favor due to them failing the t-shirt test.
Agree or disagree? Lets hear it in the comments.