Motor vs. Potential
This morning, I went on a little rant about my distaste for the term "motor". In my haste, I called it "the most overused term in describing prospects". Well, someone quickly shot back, "I think potential is the most overused term". That is fair enough, probably true. But, when I thought about it, is "motor" now the term used to combat "potential".
The "motor" versus "potential" debate is on going with a few current draft prospects. The first prospect I will name is someone deemed as "high motor" by many. The second one is a player deemed as having a "low motor" by many (Or a lower "motor" than the first counterpart). I think you will find that the second name will be the one usually deemed as having a higher potential ceiling. It is not that the first name does not have potential as well and they more than likely are further developed skill wise. But, in many cases the second name will have physical or athletic characteristics that have many thinking they could be a superior prospect in due time.
Anthony Davis vs. Andre Drummond
Thomas Robinson vs. Perry Jones
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Harrison Barnes
Doron Lamb vs. Terrence Ross
Myck Kabongo vs. Marquis Teague
John Henson vs. Patric Young
Well, these just came to mind. The thing with me is, while I believe that the mental game and energy are crucial elements in evaluating prospects, I think choosing everyone in the first column over there counterpart is not at all as fool proof as one might think. Here are cases in which "motor" was out done by "potential":
Ekpe Udoh over Greg Monroe: Heard on and on about Monroe's lack of a motor and his being to passive. Well, for all that he may lack in athleticism and being assertive, he can hold his ground in the post. Can't say the same for Udoh, who may have been more energetic and was seen as the superior defender. When push comes to shove, Monroe was bigger and better, regardless of perceived lack of energy.
Tyrus Thomas over Rudy Gay: Tyrus was seen by many, including none other than "Screamin' A. Smith" as the creme de la creme of 2006 draft prospects after a huge NCAA tournament and solid season. He hopped over Rudy Gay, who had entered the season assumed by many to be the favorite for the first pick, due to his motor. Rudy was seen as lacksadaisical by many and slid to 8th. Believe it or not, I think many saw Tyrus as a 3/4 hybrid. Now, not so much. Rudy has done pretty well given his lack of ability to assert himself.
It is difficult to think of many more that stand out, because I find this term is generally new. But, I find "motor" to be an even more broad term than "potential". I think that if a player is indeed a bust, it is usually for basketball reasons more so than them lacking a "motor". It may be that they do not love the game, but sometimes it takes people a little longer to learn to do the little things or develop skills or abilities one would deem lacking from a player with a "low motor".
I find that saying one player is better than the other due to "motor" is just as dangerous and high risk as saying one is better than the other due to "potential". I dislike a few things I see when I have watched Andre Drummond play and see room for improvement. The thing is, he has physical characteristics that could make him one of the better post players in the league.
Anthony Davis seems to have more of a sense of what he is doing right now, but at the same time he could have a difficult time against the stronger competition he will go up against. To me, saying Anthony is the better player due to his motor is flat out overlooking crucial elements to both of these players. I think motor is kind of a cop out and that many prospects have different levels of understanding the game. If Davis is the better player, it might be his love for the game and overall skill set. But, to say that "Davis' motor is higher than Drummond" tells me very little about a 6'10 and 215 pound guy being a better prospect than an equivalent athlete who outweighs him by 40 pounds.
Would definitely like to know if people feel I am wrong saying that "motor" is becoming the term to combat "potential". Also, if someone can give me an actual definition of what makes up a players motor, would be appreciated. So far, the best one I have heard is from BTPH.
I never really noticed that. Although I don't think Barnes has a low motor at all, the rest are very good examples of motor vs. potential. As for how I define motor, it's basically just energy or tendency to hustle.
I think every team needs a few guys who have "motor" like a Kenneth Faried in last years draft. A workhorse who provides toughness, hustle, and defense. Conversely you cannot have a team consisting of all motor guys. Teams have done well pairing a motor guy with a more skilled guy like the Pistons a few years ago with the Wallace's or the Heat a few years ago with Haslem and Shaq.
I define "motor" as how much energy and commitment a player gives on the floor on both ends at a current rate, while "potential" is for players would could be quite impactful for the long term. I agree with the examples given (mainly Davis v. Drummond, Udoh v. Monroe), and in a way the term "motor" can be conflicting to "potential" at times, but I think they are two completely different terms. I believer you either have a good motor, good potential or a combination of both.
"As for how I define motor, it's basically just energy or tendency to hustle."
That is about as good and simple of a definition for "motor" as you will find. When someone uses the term, or if I do but it's not really my cup of tea, that is exactly what I think of.
(Or a lower "motor" than the first counterpart).
I do not think that Barnes has a low "motor" either, but I think people would tend to say that his was lower than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. I mean, is Kidd-Gilchrist also not the faster and more fluid athlete? I think there is a flat out reason he is a better defender and probably the more complete All-Around player. He does seem to get more hustle plays.
But, does he have Barnes "potential" as an offensive weapon? Barnes may not be the slasher Mike is, but he is a much better shooter and I think has a higher offensive skill set. I feel that "motor" is being used as a term that is used to describe effort and hustle, but is that what makes you take prospect A over prospect B? I tend to think that it doesn't and that it is just a term that gets thrown around much too often that leaves a lot out of the equation.
"(Or a lower "motor" than the first counterpart)."
My bad, I missed that part. Honestly I don't know who I would take between MKG and Barnes and I don't know who has the higher potential, MKG isn't nearly as polished but he's a better athlete and he still gets his without having a consistent jumper.
It depends on what team scout are searching for in a player. If they are looking to boost up their offense, they would most likely take Barnes over MKG. But if they are looking for a high energy player who does the intagibles, defends well and can score without plays being written up for him, then MKG over Barnes (Utilizing the two as examples). A pretty deep topic to get into MikeyV....Making me think (an excuse idiots use to not listen to consience music).
i hate this debate because it doesn't really make any sense to me. udoh and thomas did have high motors, but they were definitely picked on potential. they both only had one good season before getting drafted. as far as the current list, these guys are all underclassmen, so "potential" should be what they are drafted on. it's hard to compare whether they have a high motor or if they are just unselfish. i can say in the example of rudy gay. the guy was on a team with 7 other guys that got drafted after college. there was not enough shots for the guy to be a superstar. the same goes for most (unc, ku, uconn) on the both sides of the list. i do question the kabongo v. teague. kabongo is a pass-first guard on a team that needs scoring. teague is a shoot-first guard on a team that needs a facilitator. if those two were traded, i guarentee both teams and prospects would be better. neither are able to show their true talents on their respective teams.
My defination of each
Potential- prediction of what a player can become if he is properly coached and if he maximizes his talent as well as continues to expand it.
My favorite quote about potential and life in general is "the greatest waste in the world is the difference of what you are and what you could become" that has taught me alot as well as helped me write english papers haha
Motor-amount of focus,energy,effort, and hard work a player is willing to put into his game, and adapt to his role on his respectful team.
I was mad when Indiana drafted Tyler Hansborough because I wanted a player who had high potential. Basically, I wanted the next Jordan/Bird/Duncan/etc. Looking back on it, I'm glad they drafted him. He plays hard and works at his game even harder. He doesn't take any crap from anyone, and he wants nothing more than to help his team win. I'd take that over a talented-but-extremely-selfish player any day.
Jordan Hill over Tyler Hansbrough as picking a guy with potential over a high motor guy. It definitely works both ways, but I think people are overusing "motor" as a reason to choose one player over another.
aren't mutually exclusive. MKG is an example of a player who has both.
"Motor" is often applied to a less athletic player to describe why he succeedes vs more athletic players.
"Potential" is often applied to a player who has obvious physical gifts, but may lack the desire or nature to become dominant.
A 'motor' guy will often have a lower ceiling than a 'potential' guy, but a higher floor. Meaning you dont expect him to get much better physically, but he will continue to get better mentally. Potential guys are 'right there' physically, but need to improve their skill, bb IQ, toughness, killer instinct, etc.
I think this thread is way off. It's true that many people misuse and mischaracterize "motor" and "potential" when describing players. But at the end of the day both terms have a legitimate meaning when describing players, as some posters on this threat had defined. These two terms are probably misassigned more than most, but even simple/obvious terms like "raw" and "polished" are frequently misapplied.