Mark Giannotto analyzes Vernon Macklin

I went to school with Mark Giannotto, who wrote this excellent feature on Vernon Macklin. I highly suggest you read it.

In addition to covering Macklin at the NCAA Tournament, Mark covered the Pistons’ most recent draft pick at the Portsmouth Invitational. And although Macklin didn’t play much behind Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert at Georgetown, Mark, a Washington D.C. native had his eye on him there, too.

So, Mark has been following Macklin for some time. I spoke with Mark a bit about the big man. Here’s a paraphrased version of Mark’s thoughts on Macklin:

  • He’s super athletic and can jump out of the gym and dunk with the best of them.
  • He gets solid defensive positioning, but he doesn’t take advantage of his height by protecting the rim or altering shots. (Ed: Mark was surprised when I pointed out Macklin’s 7-foot-3.5 wingspan, saying he played defense like someone with below-average length.)
  • He has one post move – a couple dribbles to his left followed by a right-handed jump hook. It’s effective, but he has no counter.
  • He went to Georgetown with a lot of hype, a nickname of “Big Ticket” and a one-and-done mentality, but he dominated high school competition because he was so big and athletic.
  • He had a poor attitude at Georgetown and got stuck in John Thompson III’s doghouse. Macklin thought the Princeton offense was a major problem.
  • When he transferred to Florida, Billy Donovan made him learn to set screens, move without the ball and use actual post moves.
  • His free-throw stroke is extremely ugly, and it shows in his 45.1 percent shooting from the line last year.
  • In the five games Mark watched Macklin play in person – two in the NCAA Tournament, three at the Portsmouth Invitational – he doesn’t remember him making a single jumper.
  • At Florida, he learned how to be a role player and lost his diva mentality.
  • Because he spent a year at prep school and redshirted, Macklin is old for a rookie. He’ll be 25 in September.
  • Macklin finishes well at the rim and has an NBA body. Otherwise, he needs work to become NBA-ready.
  • He can dominate when he has a height advantage. For example, see Florida’s Elite Eight loss to Butler, when Macklin scored 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting. But even then, he disappeared when got into foul trouble late in the game. More importantly, he won’t have matchup advantages like that many nights in the NBA.
  • To compensate for his lost size advantage, Macklin must fully commit to the energy role he partially committed to at Florida.
  • If Macklin has his head on straight, he could be a bigger, less-skilled version of Jason Maxiell.

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Tags: Jason Maxiell Vernon Macklin

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