I’ve already spent time digging through the point guard spot, now its time to shift over one spot to the shooting guard. The two spot has been pretty beneficial the past few years in the draft – the last five years alone has seen the likes of Evan Turner, James Harden , DeMar DeRozan, OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon, Courtney Lee, Aaron Afflalo and Brandon Roy. This year – like the other spots in this draft – people have said its not exactly brimming with top tier talent. To an extent, I agree. I don’t think there’s a Kobe Bryant in amongst them, but there are definitely a few guys in there who’ll help and contribute straight away.
Photo credit: Fox Sports
This year we’ve had our issues (to say the least) with our shooting guard position. We’ve tried using two point guards, we’ve tried going large there with guys like Graham and Eyenga, but in general it’s been a pretty poor spot in terms of production. Anthony Parker (the guy who almost always started there) averaged 8 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists a game. Boobie finished with averages of 12, 3 and 2 while Manny Harris just isn’t the answer there, I’m sorry. Ramon Sessions did quite well there when called upon to fill in, but I’d rather have him with the ball in his hands and making the pass, as opposed to running around screens to collect the pass. Let’s stop talking about what we have though, and get into the guys we potentially could have, starting with the clear-cut choice as the number one shooting guard available.
1) Alec Burks, Colorado. His biggest asset? He can create his own shot – and does it regularly too. Put him in an isolation situation, he’ll fly right by his man due to his great first step and rapid acceleration. I saw him play quite a few times this year, and what struck me was how polished he seemed to appear. He looked mature; he looked like he was in total control of all things he was doing all the time, a great thing for a young man (and he is young – still 19) to show. He gets to the free throw line 8 times a game, and shoots 83% when there. He’s quite slim (that’s being generous) but when he adds bulk to that frame he’ll be a very dangerous player. I don’t know if he’s worth a top two pick, but if we get lucky enough that the pick we own from the Clippers is in the top ten I’d gladly snap him up with that. As an overall prospect, for me he just might be top 5. I can’t fairly evaluate international players as I’ve seen limited footage of them, I’ve seen all the prospects form college play, and this kid can play.
2) Klay Thompson, Washington State. Without question here’s a guy who can score the heck out a basketball. He topped the 30 point plateau five times in the season just gone, topped off by a 43 point, 15-29 (including 8-14 3pt FG) shooting effort against Washington. In Washington. Yikes. He’s an above average ball handler, is pretty affective attacking the basket and is good coming off screens and using a quick release. He’s more a half-court player in the fact that he’s not exactly the quickest guy out there, which may limit him defensively against the likes of Wade and other elite two guards. But the kid has shown growth – his points per game have increased year by year (12.5, 19.9, 21.6) as have his rebounds and FG%. How much better can he get? I’m not too sure – but in a professional environment with professional point guards, you never know.
3) Malcolm Lee, UCLA. I’ve liked this kids game ever since he set foot on campus, even if he hasn’t exactly had the best college career. He’s got terrific size and length for his position, and is extremely quick. He kinda reminds me of JR Smith in a way, in that he can frustrate the life outta you for 90% of the game, then he’ll go and do two or three things that blow your mind and you forgive him. The one thing he has going for him now though is that he’s already a great defender. He can defend either guard spot, and will only get better at doing so. I feel that he’ll get drafted on his defensive potential more than his offensive potential, but some team somewhere will take a chance on this kid. Just remember, Jrue Holiday and Russell Westbrook didn’t set the world alight while at UCLA.
Photo Credit: gregoden.org
4) David Lighty, Ohio State. Coming in at number four is the guy who’s been at OSU as long as Thad Matta, or so it seems. The five-year senior is summed up in one word – solid. He’s never going to be a star, but he’ll be an NBA player for the next ten years and he’ll be a solid one. He’ll score if you need him to – and he will never ever hide form the big moment. He has the heart of a lion – just look at all the injuries he’s come back from. He’s so long and so tenacious on the defensive side of things that he is very Tony Allen-like, to me anyways. His numbers across the board have improved year after year – and that’s when you consider he’s played alongside guys who demand the ball in Conley, Oden and Evan Turner. Lighty will be a second round pick, and what better story could there be then the hometown kid getting drafted by his Cavaliers? Yes, I know you’ve read that story before…
5) E’Twuan Moore, Purdue. Like Lighty, he’s never going to make an All Star team or be the go to guy on a championship team – but he’ll do the job from day one. He’s the ideal back up two guard because he does a little bit of everything for you. He scores, he rebounds he dishes and he always leaves it all out there. Took on a leadership role in the (extended) absence of Robbie Hummel, and didn’t disappoint. He scored more than twenty points in a game eleven times this year, grabbed 6 or more rebounds fifteen times and dished out five or more assists nine times. He’s an extremely talented catch and shoot scorer, but can also score in isolation situations. I don’t know will he make any GM fall in love with him, but you won’t find many better four year college careers around the place. Ultimately, I think he’ll be an NBA player next year.
Shelvin Mack, Butler.
LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor.
Brad Wannamaker, Pittsburgh.
Travis Leslie, Georgia.
Around the NBA
Blake Griffin won the Rookie of the Year award. Shocked I am. I’m not going to give you a rundown of his numbers, highlights or achievements, we’ve all seen and read them. I would just like to congratulate him, and hope he continues his meteoric rise.
Landry Fields finishing fourth is complete nonsense; even I could see he was better from start to finish than Wall and Cousins.
Pat Riley has been selected as NBA Executive of the year. Feel free to comment below.
What shocks you more right now – that Dallas is 2-0 up on the Lakers, that Miami is 2-0 on the Celtics or that through two games Pau Gasol has scored just 28 points.
His counterpart, Dirk Nowitzki, had that in Game One alone.
The Fakers shot 2-20 on three point field goals in game two. Which makes you angrier Phil Jackson, that your guys couldn’t hit from deep if the nest was triples in size, or that they continued to shoot form there even though you got closer to making a three than most of them? You need to start coaching your guys pretty darn soon Phil.
Before I go, I want to know your opinion. Did you honestly believe that the Mavs would beat the Fakers before the series started? (I know there’s a long way to go, but humour me) Me neither. Now answer me this, would you pick Dallas over Memphis or Oklahoma?
I’m on Twitter @DOL17. If you like witty remarks or half decent opinions on the NAB and NCAA, don’t follow me.