Big men expect to be drafted, because there is so often so few of them.
So Gonzaga's Robert Sacre might want to leave his phone line open come draft day because there is always a chance that someone is going to take the Bulldogs' big man.
But there are concerns over Sacre's skill in the post, and outside of about five feet. Plus he didn't exactly exert his will in the West Coast Conference, despite weighing in at 7-0, 250.
What will happen to Sacre come draft day? We take a look at the possibilities, and the reasons why as we continue our look at the mid-major draft prospects.BIO BLAST
School: Gonzaga (Spokane, Wash. | West Coast Conference)
Hometown: North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Weight: 247 (Some places list him OVER 260)
Accolades: 2x First Team All-WCC, WCC Defender of the Year as a senior.
Team Record: 103-32 (Missed most of 2008-9 with broken foot)
There seems to be a rash of 7-footers this season, and among them are two mid-major prospects: Robert Sacre and Wichita State's Garrett Stutz.
It is unfortunate for these two that so many guys with size are in the draft this season, because in lean years, both would be ranked highly. That isn't the case this year though, and the deficiencies in Sacre's game have him a fringe choice at best in the draft.
There are concerns about his general ability despite his overwhelming size in the block. This is a man (he is 23 after all, after red-shirting for dreaded stress fractures in his feet during his sophomore year) who should be better, who should dominate. He has the size and weight of Shaq in his prime.
But instead, Sacre shies away and that has NBA scouts befuddled.
Final Season Averages:
11.6 pts... 0.7 asts...6.3 rebs...1.4 blocks...1.8 turnovers...26.3 mins...51.1% FG...76.1% FT
The 1.4 blocks per game are nice. Sacre leaves school as the No. 2 shot blocker for the Zags all-time. But beyond the swatting ability, what is there to hang your hat on.
He shoots just 51.1 percent from the floor, not what you would expect from a guy who is working inside most of the time.
And working inside should lead to more impact on the glass. Not only is the 6.3 boards per game disappointing, that is a career high, so you can't even say it was an off year. Add in that a guy on his team that gave up five inches to Sacre (Elias Harris) outrebounded the big man this season.
All of this starts to add up pretty fast to make you doubt Sacre ability in the NBA when he won't be playing against WCC teams and big men that he should dominate.
Despite the lack of rebounds, Sacre still prevented 14.2 points per 100 minutes according to HOOPWAR, good enough for second best on his team (after Harris). He also finished with a HOOPWAR per 30 games of 4.14, again second to Harris.
A mark of 4.14 is not a bad number, but the guys he is competing with in this draft class turned in better numbers against better competition that Gonzaga saw. Sacre isn't exactly going to turn heads with this line.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Sacre's size isn't in doubt. At 7 feet, and close to 2 and a half bills, he has the size to be a potent post player in the NBA. He post presence is impressive and he can swat the ball.
He has a great ability to draw the foul, and unlike most big men, he shoots pretty well at the free throw line.
There are doubts about his ability to play in the post in the league, just based on the effectiveness of his offensive game at the college level. While he should have dominated in the WCC, there was a lack of scoring that has a lot of people scratching their heads. A lot of this is attributed to his lack of "moves".
One NBA scout told David Aldridge:
"That guy should be so much better," one scout said of Sacre. "He looks so big and strong, but he doesn't play that way. That guy should be much better. He's big. Every now and then he'll tease you and do something, but it doesn't add up to me."
His lack of rebounding is also a big question mark, especially because his own teammate outworked him on the glass.
Sacre will also need to develop an offensive game outside the paint at the next level.
With big men, you never know what will happen in the draft. Teams just can't resist getting the size on their bench, so even though Sacre is not projected to be drafted right now, he could be a surprise selection come draft day.
If you look at teams that could go for big men in the second round, you have the Sixers, Pistons, Blazers, Nets, Spurs and Lakers. It seems impossible for him to go in the first half of the second round, because some of the bigger names might still be on the board (not that everyone should be drooling over guys like Fab Melo -- even he has his flaws). The end of the round could be more promising.
The Spurs could be looking for some bench help in their ever evolving cast of characters (or a rebuilding effort). The Lakers might want some cheap bench help. And the Nets, well, they are just looking for whatever help they can get in their new digs.
If I were Sacre, I wouldn't be betting on anything, but even if not drafted, he will get some camp invites, because, again, teams love the big guys.
Stay Thirsty, Mr. Sacre.
NBA Combine: June 7-8