SML and Posting & Toasting are going to take turns over the next couple of weeks evaluating some of the players that might be available to the Knicks should they stay put at #23 in the NBA Draft. Because when Isiah pulls a shocker and drafts someone nobody ever heard off, and the "experts" go off on who he should have drafted, I want to at least know who he passed up. Today I'm taking a look at Derrick Byars, a 6'7, 230 pound SG/SF from Vanderbilt.
First off, note that Byars did not participate in the NBA predraft combine, which makes him a little incomplete. I have no info on his quickness, vertical leap, or wingspan. Damn, that makes it hard! On the other hand, he is a 23 year old 5-year senior, so there is plenty of data from his NCAA career out there. He transferred to Vanderbilt from Virginia as a junior, so he's a pretty old rookie, not unlike Mardy Collins last year.
Byars was high school Player of the Year in Tennessee as a senior in high school. He wears the #4, so either Nate Robinson gets trade, or he'll have to fight little Scrappy Doo for the jersey. I think that would be a great way to create a roster spot for him, actually.
As a senior last season he averaged 17.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.4 apg. He was the SEC Player of the Year, not a bad achievement. Derrick Byars was also an Honorable Mention All-American.
He averaged 19.1 ppg during conference play.
He led Vandy in scoring in 14 of the last 20 games.
In his 10 games senior year against ranked opponents, he averaged 20.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and shoot 51.4% (40.6 3PT%).
He dropped 25 against Tennessee (then #16). In Vanderbilt's big win against Florida he had 24 points. Check out the highlights... bonus fun play: Joe Kim Noah trying to snatch the ball from the Vandy coach, who doesn't want to give it to him. Check that highlight out, along with Byars' great pass in the paint while drawing the double team:
Vanderbilt made it to the NCAA Tourney. In the 2nd round game against Washington State Byars started off poorly in the first half, but then hit four three-pointers in a 5-minute stretch. He had some big steals, the big block below (you have to go to YouTube) and kept hitting shots (at least 5 points in OT). He scored 19 of his 27 points after halftime in the double-OT victory against Washington State in the NCAA 2nd round. To see the big block in OT vs. Washington state click here.
And here is some more footage of Byar's threes against the Washington State Cougars - click here.
Derrick Byars played well in the Sweet 16 against Georgetown, fouling out Roy Hibbert after hitting a big three on him earlier. He also drew a foul on Jeff Green on a big play late in the game. He had good defense against Jonathan Wallace. Vandy ended up losing the game 66-65 to Georgetown. Byars had a game-high 17 points and 5 assists (also a game-high amount), versus 1 turnover. He was the player of the game, no doubt (even though Jeff Green's big shot won the game).
Draft Express' Mock Draft has him at #30.
He is ranked 5th among seniors.
He is ranked 7th among SG.
His nickname is DeeBee (which makes me think he must have a wicked falsetto singing voice. You can tell by the way he uses his walk that he's a woman's man).
He is not very athletic, though we didn't see his combine numbers. He is also not a good ball-handling. He needs to work on his jump shot mechanics. His form is awkward.
Bottom line: Fundamentally sound guy, not an athletic type.
I don't know if the Knicks need a outside shooter who is okay... if they go that route, they should seek an absolute dead-eye SG. But I do think he will be a solid role player in the league. While other guys with much higher ceilings will be drafted ahead of him, Byars will, in my opinion, make it in the league based on his strong fundamentals (especially on defense).
Here (found via Posting and Toasting) is a some You Tube footage of Derrick Byars highlights:
Editor's Update (I love calling myself "Editor"): Check out Posting and Toasting's post on Brooklyn's own Curtis Sumpter.
Also, the NY Post has this article on Derrick Byars, whom the Knicks and Nets worked out jointly yesterday. Money line:
"Scouts consider Byars to be solid, athletic and smart, but does nothing spectacular. As such, the Nets may have more interest."
I'm not sure which team should be more insulted.
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