Tag:Shooting Guard
Posted on: June 24, 2009 4:41 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SG Jermaine Taylor, UCF

Jermaine Taylor: 6-4, 207, SG, Sr. (University of Central Florida)

Draft rank: #40

SG rank: #8

Strengths:

Was one of the top scorers in college basketball this past year.  Has a great wing span.  Likes to get into the teeth of the defense where he can rise up and make mid-range jumpers.  Does a great job of helping on the boards.  Is very strong for a shooting guard.  Has great explosiveness and hang time in the air.  Does a good job of curling to the hoop so that he can attack the basket.  Is not afraid to go into the post and exploit a mismatch.  Has a 1 handed floater that he uses very well to get his shot over bigger players.  Has a very nice shooting stroke.  Is constantly moving on offense.   Has very soft hands which enable him to catch passes that may be low or high.  Doesn’t just settle for the outside shot and knows how to attack a defense.  Is very good in transition where he can get his speed and strength to really attack the basket.  Doesn’t give up and goes after loose balls.

Weaknesses:

Not a very good passer.  Really struggles when he is trapped or contested outside of catch and shoot opportunities.  Often decides to score before he is in a position to do so which leads to some bad decisions. Is not a great ball handler.  Doesn’t do a great job of crossing over or hesitating to beat his man.  Struggles on defense as he often doesn’t do a good job of keeping guards in front of him.  Defensively he has some work to do on his footwork and ability to slide.   

Mental:

Nobody had the green light in college basketball more than Taylor did.  While his teammates weren’t very good and as a result his team wasn’t very good, he often kept his team in games with his ability to score.  Despite Taylor’s star status at UCF he still fought for re-bounds and loose balls which speaks to his ability to find a role in the NBA. 

Extra info:

--Scored over 30 points 10 times last year
--Only scored in single digits once last year
--Third in the nation in scoring

Comparison:  Kirk Snyder, 6-6, 228, SG/SF

Would be a good fit for:  Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, or LA Clippers

Conclusion:

Other than Curry, Taylor was probably the second best pure scorer in college basketball this year.  He only played 32 minutes per game and averaged an astonishing 26 PPG.  The amazing part is that he shot for a solid percentage and didn’t just rely on his perimeter game to fill the stat sheet.  A knock against him is that he really doesn’t break down the defense for his teammates.  But, in his defense he was almost always their best option to score and if he did pass it to teammates they often couldn’t score like he could. 

The guy knows how to put the ball in the hoop and that can go along way when you are trying to make an NBA roster.  I can see him battling for a roster spot and becoming a better player due to his surroundings.  He has very good athleticism that he was rarely able to show at UCF because of the players around him.  In the NBA he should be able to help a team with transition scoring and provide a spark off the bench.  Look for someone to give him a serious look at the end of the 1st round, but he is most likely to be snatched up in the 2nd round.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 10:22 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 1:25 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SG Wayne Ellington, UNC

Wayne Ellington: 6-5, 202, SG., Jr. (University of North Carolina)

Draft rank: #33

SG Rank: #7

Strengths:

Very good scorer from the perimeter. Clutch player who wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Knows how to use the entire floor in order to get open. Is a very good catch and shoot player. Doesn't force his shot. A winner. Does a very good job of leaning his body towards the rim rather than fading away. Plays under control.  Has unbelievable touch, even when he enters the paint or from mid-range.  Has solid ball handling skills. Is very fast at getting to a spot where he can catch and shoot. Has a great understanding of where the three point line is and making himself available outside of it. Has great rotation and gets great arc on his shot. Is a dead eye shooter when he is left open. Gets his hands on a lot of balls and gets a lot of steals. Good free throw shooter. Has a very nice step back shot which he uses after he puts the ball behind his back or thru his legs to gain separation. Has good speed when running the break. Has some nice hesitation moves that he uses to elude the defender. Very calm and collected when shooting.

Weaknesses:

Doesn't have great leaping ability. Relies on others to get him in a position to score. Is not a good finisher around the rim. Shoots more of a set shot rather than a traditional jump shot, which will be tougher to get off in the NBA. Doesn't get great elevation on his shot. Is not good at creating for himself or others. Struggles to score off the dribble. Doesn't have a good first step or blow by capabilities. Not a good slasher. Doesn't have great body control when driving to the hoop. Struggles when he is forced to shoot across his body rather than just catching and shooting in his comfort zone. Those struggles continue when he is forced to go left, and . Is not a good passer.  Doesn't have post up ability on smaller

Mental:

I love his mental makeup. The guy showed nerves of steel all throughout the tourney this year and that is really important for a shooter. His body language and his shot always remain the same no matter how he is shooting. That is a testament to his confidence in his stroke and his understanding that he has to be shooting to be useful.  He really goes out and plays his game no matter what the circumstances are. It will be important for him to remain confident in the NBA because he will be asked to come off of the bench cold and will be yanked if he's not making shots.
  
Comparison: Roger Mason Jr., 6-5, 200, SG

Would be a good fit for: Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, or Dallas Mavericks

Conclusion:

Ellington's shot really is as smooth as they come. Ultimately, if he can hit perimeter shots with the same consistency and regularity he did in college he will most likely be able to stick in the league. The problem for Ellington is his game is one-dimensional. He doesn't do a good job driving the basketball and isn't particularly good at creating for himself. He is at his best when others are getting double teamed, like when Tyler Hansbrough often was or other players are creating for him, like Ty Lawson often did. Ellington's inability to create for himself will ultimately be his greatest limitation.

I compared him to Roger Mason, a terrific shooter, but someone who doesn't have great playmaking skills. He has worked very hard to extend his range and has become a reliable and consistent bench player because of his shooting ability. Ellington will have to continue to work on his shot so that he can at a similar shooting level to Mason. I think he can do that. The major concern is that Mason has also improved his defense which, is something Ellington will most likely struggle with. Ellington will have to really cherish his time on both ends of the floor and understand what it takes to truly help a team off the bench.

At the end of the day Ellington proved he can be trusted to knock down the open shot. He also has shown he can play a role when he is surrounded by other great players. That team mentality should go a long way and allow him to find a niche as a shooter off the bench. He is very sturdy and understands how to play the game. He also has good enough handles to where he'll be able to help bring up the ball if need be and setup the offense -- something I think is very important for a backup shooting guard. The key for Ellington will be to continue to master his trade of shooting. If he can do that then he should have a long and solid NBA career.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 4:43 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2009 5:38 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SG Dionte Christmas, Temple

Dionte Christmas: 6-5, 211, SG, Sr. (Temple University)

Draft Rank: #31

SG Rank: #7

Strengths:

Christmas is a pure perimeter player who can really knock down the jump shot and three pointer. He can play within an offense or be a go-to scorer for his team, which is evident, as he can shoot from just about everywhere on the court. His shot, which has really good form and a quick release is particularly dangerous at the mid-range level. He can pull up off the dribble and score with ease. Is unfazed when there is a hand in his face during the shot, mostly because he gets good elevation and has a high arc on his ball. Apt at fading back when shooting, which makes it nearly impossible to block his shot. Doesn't need to be square when rising to shoot because he excels at adjusting his body mid-air to face the hoop. When he gets hot he can use a jab step to get by his man get into the paint -- where he'll often finish with a finger roll using both hands.

He constantly moves without the ball, often going side to side to get to an open shot. A good catch-and-shoot player. Rubs off of picks very well to give him separation. Good endurance, can long major minutes. He has good handles for a wing. Defensively he's solid, and uses his feet very well to jump into passing lanes causing deflections

Weaknesses:

He doesn't attack the rim enough and needs to get to the foul line more. Needs to become a better passer as he turns the ball over too much. Doesn't have elite wing-player athleticism. Very streaky and can really hurt his team when he isn't making shots. Has bad shot selection. Needs to get stronger, which is evident as he doesn't do a good job of finishing around the rim. Is often careless with his passes when he is double teamed or when he is attacking the rim and looking for his teammates. Has awkward shooting mechanics where he takes the ball almost down to his knee and then brings the ball close to his chest to shoot. Really struggles when he has to take the ball to the hoop. Doesn't shoot for a good percentage. Doesn't make enough plays for his teammates.

Mental:

Few players have a shorter memory than Christmas. Even when he is having a bad shooting day he continues to try to shoot his way out of it. His confidence almost never wavers and he truly believes every time he touches the ball that he can score from that spot. I love his willingness to put the game in his hands and his desire to take the big shot.

Comparison: Francisco Garcia, 6-7, 190, SG

Conclusion:

Christmas is used to being the offensive focal point. At Temple his teammates would constantly be looking for him and ran screens off the ball to get him going. In the NBA he is going to have to find a way to help without having the offense catering to him. When Christmas gets going he is as good a scorer as any. He is an extremely streaky player who can change the course of a game with his scoring. That is going to be his best asset.

I compared him to Garcia as I think he can be a similar scorer at the next level. When Garcia gets hot from the perimeter he can be very tough to guard and he has a confidence and a belief in his scoring ability that mirrors Christmas'. Both guys have legit shooting guard size and heavily rely on themselves to get the shot off.

I really like Christmas' game. He has the makings of a guy who can be used off the bench as a scoring spark plug. If given the green light he could be a very effective backup shooting guard and he may be able to work himself into a starting lineup. He has been one of the best scorers in the country the last three years and I think he will be able to score in the NBA as well.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 3:30 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2009 4:37 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SG Marcus Thornton, LSU

Marcus Thornton: 6-4, 201, SG, Sr. (Louisiana State University)

Draft Rank: #29

SG Rank: #6

Strengths:

He's a very good scorer with a toughness to his game that he needs due to his lack of size and athleticism. Does a good job of stepping into shots. Is constantly moving on offense. Has a good post-up and back-to-the-basket game. Has good strength for a shooting guard. Has great anticipation on defense, which allows him to get in passing lanes for steals. Really battles and helps on the boards. Understands positioning and spacing on the floor.

Does a good job dipping his shoulders down to get space, which allows him to attack the rim if he hasn't initiated contact to draw the foul. He knows how to get out in transition and score. Moves very well laterally. Does a good job coming off of picks and catching and shooting.
Has very good body control, and hands, that allow him to receive passes other players may not be able to catch. Has a nice fade-away jump shot that is helpful when he gets into the post. Has a high release on his shot, which is important due to his lack of size. Is very aggressive in every aspect of his game, whether it is on cuts, rebounding or attacking the rim he. He does it all with a ferociousness that you love to see. He doesn't wait for the ball to get to him; he instead goes toward the ball, which makes him a much better target. Very quick release on his shots.

Weaknesses:

Often falls short on long threes, which makes me question whether he has NBA three-point range. Is undersized for a shooting guard. Often forces bad shots. Doesn't have great athleticism for a shooting guard. Doesn't have the ability or the size to play multiple positions. Often settles for outside shots rather than taking the ball to the rim. Doesn't do a great job of creating for his teammates. Struggles on defense against bigger guards. Sometimes forces the issue when he has his mind set on scoring.

Mental:

I love his mental toughness. The guy never stops playing hard and is always working on both ends of the floor. He cherishes the possessions that he has and doesn't mess around when he gets the ball. He has a swagger and confidence that allows him to go against bigger players, or smaller and quicker players. The guy wants to win and literally throws himself into the fire in the hopes he can will his team. One of the things I don't like is he often gets into it with some of his teammates when he doesn't get the ball. In the NBA he is going to have to get used to fitting in, and there will be many times when he may not get the ball when open.

Would be a good fit for: Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Hornets or Indiana Pacers
 
Comparison: Willie Green, 6-3, SG, 201

Conclusion:  

Thornton's toughness is what allows him to compete at such a high level. The guy is relentless and really doesn't care about what the circumstances are. While he doesn't possess the ideal length to play the 2 in the NBA, he should be able to compete with most team's second units and be an added scorer off the bench. While Thornton is still young, he has a very mature game and as a scorer he doesn't have too many holes.

Thornton's energy makes him an interesting prospect. You can tell he really cares about winning and he wants to have the ball in his hands so that he can make a difference. Thornton's ability to find ways to put the ball in the hoop will surely be an asset for whichever team drafts him.

Thornton reminds me of Willie Green. While Green went to Detroit, and their numbers are very similar in two years in college. Their builds are also very similar. Green is a backup combo guard, which is where I see Thornton. While Thornton doesn't provide as much flexibility to shift over to the point, his game at the 2 is more complete than Green's.
Thornton is a solid prospect. In a draft that lacks starting shooting guards, Thronton should be able to creep into the first round to a team in need of backcourt help. Ultimately I see him as a backup shooting guard who might be able to crack into a starting lineup. His upside isn't enormous but he is a solid player with a good motor who should be able to crack an NBA rotation.

Posted on: June 16, 2009 8:25 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2009 4:04 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SG Jodie Meeks, UK

Jodie Meeks: 6-4, 208 SG, Jr. (Kentucky)

Draft Rank: #24

SG Rank: #5

Strengths:

One of the best scorers in college. Shoots a tremendous percentage from both two- and three-point range despite the fact he is a  high-volume shooter. Has improved more than any other player from last year. A tremendous shooter who understands how to get open without the ball. Once he gets the ball he has a quick release and good balance to allow him to shoot the ball from just about anywhere on the court. Has good elevation, strength and arc on his jump shot that will allow him to extend his range to the NBA three. Gets to the foul line by initiating contact and then moving to the left or the right to get his shot off.  Shot three pointers as well as anyone in college basketball. Has good-enough handles that he can give a team spot minutes at the point guard. Has good strength for a shooting guard. Has great pull-up ability from just about anywhere on the floor. Does a really good job of rubbing off of screens and rising up for jump shots. Is constantly moving on offense. Can drive to the left just as well as the right. Understands how to use the entire floor to get open looks. Uses the pass fake to make extra space and get his shot off. Does a good job of using the rim to shield defenders and finish on the reverse side of the hoop. Isn't out of control when he attacks the rim or prone to charges. Has solid form and position on defense. Is a very good one-on-one isolation scorer. A terrific free-throw shooter.

Weaknesses:

Was hurt for most of his sophomore year. Doesn't have good post-up ability. Is a bit undersized to play the 2 in the NBA. Is a very compact player with a short wingspan. He has the build of a point guard (but the skills of a 2 guard). Very turnover prone. Doesn't penetrate and look to find his teammates. Not a great passer. Often gets trapped when he is in the lane due to his lack of athleticism and playmaking ability. Plays too much on the perimeter and too often settles for the outside shot. Needs to get more elevation when attacking the rim.  Doesn't have elite athleticism for an NBA wing. Needs to do a better job of closing out on shooters on defense. Can be a liability defensively against bigger guards in the post. He often loses his man on picks on defense and as a result sometimes gets caught in no man's land.

Mental:

Meeks appears to be solid in this department. He has a shooter's mentality and doesn't get bothered when his shot may not be falling. His improvement this year was so significant that you have to give him credit in the work-ethic department. Coming back from an injury and two sub-par seasons, it is truly impressive to see how effective he was putting the ball in the basket. However, the losing is a major concern. The elite players always seem to make their teammates better and I am concerned about how Kentucky did while Meeks was putting up 20-plus points a night. In the NBA he will have a short leash and he will have to find multiple ways in which he can help the team. Mentally, he will have to continue to contribute even when his shot isn't falling, and even when the team isn't running plays for him. He may have to adjust his mindset if he wants to be a consistent contributor in the NBA.

Extra info:
--Scored over 45 points three times last year.
--Scored under double digits only once all of last year.
--Scored 54 points against Tennessee last year.

Comparison: Quentin Richardson, 6-6, 235, SG

Would be a good fit for: Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks or New Orleans Hornets

Conclusion:

One of the best scorers last season, the guy is just a flat-out basketball player. He excels at one thing -- scoring. There will always be a need for a guy like that on an NBA roster. His size should allow him to defend against shooting guards and his skill set will allow for him to come off the bench and play the point if need be. I really see him as a sparkplug who comes off the bench and makes things happen with a second unit. However, he may struggle in the beginning as he surely needs to have the green light to be successful.

As far as the comparison to Richardson, I think they are very similar. Richardson has pretty much settled in as a backup shooter in the NBA. I think Meeks will have a similar game in the NBA -- without the post-up capabilities of Richardson. They have similar compact builds and both rely on their perimeter game to score. Richardson has more size, which is something that is a bit of a concern for Meeks.

One of the big issues for Meeks is that I don't see him as a consistent starting shooting guard in the NBA. I really think he will be relegated as a combo guard off the bench. I also worry about his previous health issues. But the improvement he showed this year is a testament to his will and his desire to contribute. I think his ability to get hot and put the ball in the hoop will allow him to crack a rotation almost immediately, however the upside once he cracks a rotation may be limited.





Posted on: May 13, 2009 5:41 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2009 4:10 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospects: SG Tyreke Evans, Memphis

Tyreke Evans: 6-6, 195, PG/SG, Fr. (University of Memphis)

Draft Rank: #7

SG Rank: #3

Strengths:

Good versatility as he can play the 1 or the 2 on both ends of the floor. Has tremendous court vision. Great athleticism. Very good handles and passing ability for a guy his size. Has proven that he can really run a team and be a go-to guy. Has the size that you look for at both guard positions. Can get after it by using his athleticism and wingspan to be a defensive force. Gets his hand on a lot of balls and creates deflections. Good rebounder on both ends of the floor. He makes his teammates better. Can get to the rim whenever he wants but seems to like to get his teammates the ball rather than scoring by himself. I think he will be an even better player when he is surrounded by great talent. Has unusually effective handles for a player of his size. Very crisp and effective passer. Does a good job of getting into transition and either taking the ball to the rim or finding his teammates. Has a very nice stop-and-go hesitation move, which helps him get to the rim.

Weaknesses:

Has played his best basketball at the 1, but I don't think he has the intangibles and may lack the overall foot speed to be a steady force at that position in the NBA. Needs to be a steady and more consistent shooter from the perimeter. I think he will fit in at the 2 in the NBA, but he really lacks the incredible athleticism that most great 2 guards have in the NBA. Shot 27.4 percent from three. His shooting mechanics are not ideal as he brings the ball over his head and doesn't follow through properly. Turns the ball over too much. Needs to get to the foul line more often. If he is going to be a point guard he needs to get his assists numbers up. He needs to learn how to jump into his shot rather than fading away.

Mental:

As a freshman, he showed the ability to lead his team. Despite a rocky start, he bounced back and showed toughness as he led his team to a tremendous season while changing positions in the process. His team fell apart in the tournament and wasn't really tested much throughout the year so he still has a way to go to show that he has the mental fortitude needed at the next level. Evans was probably the most talented freshman in college basketball, but he will go up against players who have similar abilities at the next level. His success will largely hinge on his willingness to improve his game. I think he showed he had the competitiveness and the ability to adapt midseason, which will do him a lot of good at the next level. In the beginning of the year he faced adversity and had to adjust and he evolved into a very successful and at times, actually dominant player by the end of the year.

Extra Info:
-- His three older brothers handle his basketball "business." They started teaching him the fundamentals of the game when he was four years old.
-- As a high school senior he was in the car when his 16-year old cousin killed someone in what was described as a "gang related shooting."

Comparison: Larry Hughes, 6-5, 184, SG

Would be a good fit for:  Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, or Toronto Raptors.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that Evans is extremely talented. However, he did have a rocky beginning of the season when he was being used as a shooting guard. He was at his best and his team was at its best when he was handling the basketball at the point position. I think he showed tremendous maturity in transitioning back to the point guard and helping to lead his team. When he is playing the point he really is at an advantage because he can see over the defense to find his teammates or to create for himself. 

While he was at his best at the point in college, I think he will struggle with the quickness that his peers will have at that same position. I also worry that he won't be able to knock down the open three, which would allow the defense to pack in the paint. S, I really do see him at the 2 or even the 3 in the NBA. Either way, he will provide value to a team because of his flexibility to play both guard spots. No matter what position he lands at, he will need to cut down on the turnovers.

I would love to see him in Minnesota or Golden State where he would be next to a guy like Randy Foye or a guy like Monta Ellis, respectively. I could see Nellie using him as a point-forward type of player. Like Larry Hughes I think he will be too talented to keep out of a starting lineup, at either the point or the 2-guard position. His game is very similar to Hughes'. Everything from his handles, rebounding, theft capabilities and his lack of outside shooting reminds me of Hughes. He also was a one-and-done at a Conference USA school.

In the right situation Evans could really be an effective guard in the NBA. If he improves his perimeter game then he could even become a dynamic player and possibly an All Star. I expect Evans to provide a little bit of everything to pretty much any backcourt, but I would love to see him with a small shooting guard who would allow him to be a decision maker.

 

 




Posted on: May 11, 2009 3:47 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2009 4:44 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospects: SG James Harden, ASU

James Harden : 6-5, 216, So,   SG (Arizona State University)

Draft Rank: #4

SG Rank: #1

Strengths:

Very good scorer. Can get to the rim with ease once he establishes a jab step. Uses the entire floor to get to where he wants. Understands spacing. Has a great floater and in-between game. Uses the glass  well when he needs to. Uses the shot fake to get his man up in the air and then attacks. Very quick decision maker which allows him to find the open man and be a good distributor with the ball in his hands. Does a good job of getting his defender on his hip and drawing fouls once he has his man beat. Really understands angles and how to shield the defender from the ball. Has good arc on his shot. Quick release. Does a great job of waiting for a pick and then using it to become a scoring threat in the paint. Good catch-and-shoot player. Does a great job of cutting without the ball.  Good rebounder for a guard. Very good defensive player. Gets a lot of steals, which lead to easy buckets on the other end. Plays with calmness and relaxed temperament that allows him to use all of his energy doing what he is best at doing -- scoring. High basketball IQ. Does a great job of getting to the rim and putting his body into the opponent to draw contact and get to the line. Very efficient basketball player.

Weaknesses:

Doesn't have great length for a two guard. Doesn't have great quickness or playmaking ability to separate from the defender. Doesn't have elite athleticism. Is used to the offense going through him and needs touches in order to be effective. Is careless at times with the ball, which leads to bad turnovers. Sometimes takes plays off and hurts his team. Turns the ball over at a high level. Doesn't do a gr eat job of creating for himself on the perimeter.

Mental:

Is unfazed by his surroundings and who he is playing against. He plays his game no matter what is happening. However, he doesn't appear to have the killer instinct that would allow a team to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He really struggled in the NCAA tourney and I worry that he will have some similar struggles when he gets to the rigors of the NBA game. His shooting percentages actually went down this year, which isn't the steady improvement you would like to see from a top-five player.

Extra info:
-- Won an AAU tournament championship. Led his team to victory against a team made up of Michael Beasley, Nolan Smith and Austin Freeman.
-- 2009 Pac 10 Player of the Year.

Comparison: Michael Redd, 6-6, 220, SG

Would be a good fit for: LA Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, or Minnesota Timberwolves

Conclusion:

Harden knows how to play the game. He is a prototypical shooting guard and he has a lot of the characteristics that you look for in a go to scorer. He makes his teammates better and can carry the load, and I think he is capable of being a secondary scorer at the next level. His ability to play the game the right way is clear, but I worry that some of his skills will not translate in the NBA. The athleticism is a concern as he will be playing every day against the best athletes in the game. I also am worried about his performance in the tourney this past year. He really seemed frustrated and content with not competing at the highest level. The very best players step up when the lights are shining on them and Harden didn't do so. While that was disappointing, I did see him take over games numerous times this year. 

The comparison to Redd does have flaws, as I see Harden as more of a mid-range player than a three-point threat. But they do have very similar numbers when you break down each player's production on the college level. Redd averages 4.6 three-point attempts in the NBA and has shot 38.6 percent career from long distance. He also averages about 5.1 free-throw attempts and about 29 percent of his shots are from long range. In his sophomore year Redd averaged the exact same amount of rebounds, 1.8 less assists, .6 less points and .3 less steals than Harden.  Surprisingly, Harden also shot a better percentage from three-point land at 35.6 percent to Redd's 34.1 percent. Also, surprisingly Harden averaged almost one more three pointer per game than Redd did his sophomore year.  As for free-throw shooting, Harden has a career average of 75.5 percent to Redd's college numbers of 65 percent. Furthermore, Harden got to the line 1.6 more times than Redd did in college. I don't always put that much value in statistics, but I was shocked to see how similar their production was and to see how Harden's college numbers were better than Redd's nearly across the board. Then again, Redd is a perfect example of a guy who improved his game and worked at becoming a better shooter once he got into the NBA.

Harden has such a good feel for the game and he understands his strengths. In the NBA guys are really limited on the perimeter as to how physical they can play and I think Harden will be able to take advantage of this. The best players in the NBA know that getting to the line is key and I think Harden will really do a good job of penetrating and getting to the foul line.  His ability to put the ball in the basket and be a handful for his opponents is unquestioned, but he will have to improve his drive and will to win if he wants to be a consistent go-to guy in the NBA. 



Posted on: May 11, 2009 1:46 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2009 4:44 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospects: SG Gerald Henderson, Duke

Gerald Henderson : 6-4, 215, SG/SF, Jr. (Duke University)

Draft Rank:  #5

SG Rank: #2

Strengths:

Athletic to the point his head gets so high on dunks that he almost hits it on the rim. He has developed a nice mid-range game. Understands the game.  Has great quickness and athleticism that makes it very hard to stop him when he is taking the ball to the rim. Has great strength for a wing player. Takes good shots and doesn't force his game into the offense. Uses the shot fake to go by his man and attack the rim. Has improved his shooting every year. Really gets after it on the defensive end and can lock down most wing players in college basketball. Plays with a good motor and aggressiveness. Versatile player who does a lot of positive things on the floor and will be able to play within an offensive system. Gets into the passing lane and causes steals.

Weaknesses:

Doesn't 't have good handles like you'd want for a wing player. Not sure he has NBA three-point range. Needs to improve his playmaking ability. When driving he looks for his shot rather than breaking down the defense to create for others. Sometimes fades away on his jumper rather than going straight up. Was inconsistent and sometimes disappeared in big games.

Mental:

He has improved his confidence year after year. However, I don't think he is a go-to player yet.  He needs to become more of a "give me the ball" type of guy, but I appreciate the way that he embraces being a complementary player. Often likes the ball in his hand at the end of games, but doesn't demand it. Mentally he should be a stable player at the next level, but I really don't see him as a guy who will go off and take over games. If he ever did get some of that "eye of the tiger" then he would become a much more dangerous player.

Extra info:
-- Father, Gerald played in the NBA. 

Comparison:  Michael Finley, 6-7, 214, SG    

Would be a good fit for:  Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors, or New Jersey Nets 

Conclusion:

I know people will call me crazy for having him this high, but the bottom line is that this is a really weak draft class and I really like Henderson's game. He has most of the important skills  you want from a shooting guard. Even if he isn't a star he will certainly be able to adjust to a role at the next level, which is rare for a guy with his skills. He can really do a little bit of everything and does so many positive things on the floor that I would rather take a chance on him rather than some of the other guys in this year 's draft.

I know that he may be a bit undersized and needs to work on his perimeter game, but ask yourself this: Would he get significant minutes on your favorite NBA team? I think the answer is yes for almost any team. Once again this is a weak draft and he normally wouldn't be in the top five on my board, but I do think Henderson will have a long and solid career. Whether he will be a stud or not remains a major question mark, but I am very confident that he will be a contributor.

 
 
 
 
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