Know The Prospect: Mikhail Torrance

Torrance, to me, is perhaps the most intriguing of all the guard prospects. I like what I've seen. -Seth



I figured since this cat started things off with his anonymous picture in Seth's Know The Prospect precursor, I had to do a write-up on the man.  I was going to do a write-up on mysterious French big man Kevin Seraphin, but he just tore a ligament in his knee and will likely pull out of the draft.  He was a late first round talent, and that would involve purchasing a pick.  Mikhail Torrance, however, is a second round prospect, and this kid is intriguing.  Take a leap with me, P&T'ers.

In their most recent mocks, Mikhail Torrance is slotted by both Draft Express and to be in the Knicks' wheelhouse come draft time.  Torrance hails from the University of Alabama, where he started full-time last year as a senior.  Here are his stats:

PPG: 15.6 -  APG: 5.1 - RPG: 3.7 - TO: 2.7 - SPG: 0.8 - A/T: 1.8 - FG%: 47 - 3P FG%: 36 - FT%: 86.5 - PPS: 1.44

  • I like a lot of those stats, especially the assists and A/T.  He only had five games last season with a negative A/T ratio.  I know I harp on that stat a lot in my write-ups, but I feel that a point guard's most valuable skill is his ability to distribute and take care of the ball.  It seems like Torrance can do that.  He was also a very good free throw shooter at Alabama, with his percentage never dipping below 77%, which is still pretty good.
  • The thing that jumps out about Torrance is his size.  At 6'5", he has great size for the point.  Here is a quote from a Draft Express article about the Portsmouth Invitational measurements:

 Mikhail Torrance has fantastic size for a point guard, coming out at 6-4 without shoes with a near 6-7 wingspan. His measurements are nearly identical to Rodney Stuckey and are slightly superior to O.J. Mayo and Jrue Holiday

Speaking of the Porstmouth Invitational, Torrance apparently tore it up there against the top seniors in the nation.  Draft Express called him "the best long-term prospect  with the most upside" of any of the players there.  Here is a ClifNotes version of that review:

  1. He is a great slasher, and can get to the rim with a variety of dribble moves.  He also got into the lane well on pick and rolls, a staple of the D'Antoni offense.
  2. He is apparently undecided about which hand is his dominant hand.  He shoots right handed, but drives to the left more than 75% of the time.  When he was asked which hand was dominant, he replied, "It depends on the day."  Maybe Gallo could help him work on a lefty jumper to go with his strong lefty drives.
  3. He distributed the ball very well in the scrimmages, where the style of play was a wide open and fast paced.  It seemed like he thrived in an offense very similar to Coach Pringles'.  
  4. He apparently likes to make amazing plays, which will sometimes result in more turnovers than usual.  I don't mind a player that does that, but at some point you would like him to mature and make easy, safer plays.  But you gotta put meat in the seats, though!
  5. Defensively, he has great potential because of his size and length, but his defense is nothing more than average.  He could grow into a great defender, and because his physical tools will help him defensively right away.

Some miscellaneous notes:

  • He was born in Eight Mile.  No joke.  
  • NBA Draft's player page compares him to Shaun Livingston, who I liked before his knees exploded.
  • He has also been compared to a poor man's Russell Westbrook.  No one can call the Knicks poor, but I do like to own nice things.
  • No matter what he does, he will inevitably have to be compared with Mikhail Prokhorov in the battle of the greatest Mikhails in history, and will always come up just short.
  • Clyde would go absolutely bananas with a first name like this.  I imaging something like "Mike-hail Tore-ants."  The last name could also lead to some phrase with the word "torrent" which could lead to sponsorship deals with the Pontiac Torrent or even bit torrent illegal downloading.  
  • Let's go to the video:

Michigan v. Alabama - 2009 Nov. 29 - Last 6 Minutes (via Blarghman1)

Sorry for the length, it was really all that was there.  

Mikhail also appreciates history...

Jarvis Varnado breaks NCAA block record (via michaelcasagrande)

... by getting swatted by Jarvis Varnado to break the NCAA blocks record.

Things to take away: pretty much everything that's already been said.  He can penetrate the lane with ease and seemingly at will.  He has a strong handle for a guard of his size, and he showed a decent shooting stroke on that step-back three.  A knock on him is that he can't finish well at the rim, and that he looks more to draw contact and get to the line.  He will have to work on his finishing at the next level.

I like Mikhail Torrance.  He seems like a kid who wasn't always motivated, maybe didn't have the greatest environment to play in, and certainly that is no excuse.  He looks like a guy who could have done way more with his tools and talent.  I think under the right guidance, he could develop into a really nice player, and he looks like a perfect fit for the Knicks offense.  I mean if he is drawing comparisons to Russell Westbrook, he has to be doing something right.  If he is still available, I think the Knicks brass should give him a good hard look.  What do you guys think?

P.S. Lance Stephenson is creeping around our picks on all these mock drafts, and I do not like it one bit.  This is what I have to say to that:

swiper no swipping (via katyricci)

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