Tag:UCLA
Posted on: May 29, 2009 2:06 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 3:36 pm
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NBA Draft Prospect: PG Darren Collison, UCLA

Darren Collison: 6-1, 165, PG, Jr. (University of California, Los Angeles)

Draft Rank: #21

PG Rank: #9

Strengths:

Great floor general. As good as any point guard in the nation defensively. Loves to pressure the other team's point guard. Gets a lot of steals and uses his long arms to harass defenders. Shoots the ball above his head, which allows him to make up for his lack of height. Extremely efficient point guard who doesn't force passes or take bad shots. Very steady and consistent. Likes to drive left and pull up at the left elbow for a jumper, which he makes with ease. Tough to defend because he is deceptively quick. Runs the pick and roll very well by rubbing off his picker's hip, leaving the defense scrambling. Puts passes right where they need to be for a shooter to be able to score. Doesn't pick up his dribble and knows how to be shifty to get separation from his opponent. Understands how to control the pace of the game. Uses the hesitation move to get the defender on his hip. Very good free-throw shooter. Great basketball IQ.

Weaknesses:

Not very strong. Has college range, but I don't think he will be able to consistently knock down the NBA three. Swings his right foot into his shot which makes him take longer to get his shot off. Struggles against bigger and more physical guards. Needs to get stronger or craftier so that he can finish when taking the ball to the hoop. Doesn't have great upside.

Mental:

A great leader on the floor. When things become erratic he understands how to push or slow the pace down to what's best for his team. Likes to be the "quarterback" and point people to the right direction on the floor. From an intangible and mental standpoint Collison is right where you want him to be. He is selfless enough that he won't mind backing someone up, but is confident enough that he can start. Is willing to sacrifice his statistics for the betterment of the team. Has a great understanding of the game and a terrific basketball IQ.  
Extra info:

Would be a good fit for: Utah Jazz, New Orleans Hornets or Sacramento Kings

Comparison: Anthony Carter, 6-1, 195, PG

Conclusion:

He is probably the least flashy top-tier point guard in the draft. He won't wow you with unbelievable quickness, passing ability or creativity, but he knows how to play the game. He will have a long career due to his smarts, his defensive abilities and his understanding of how precious the basketball is. As a result, I think Collison will make a very effective backup point guard.

He is extremely efficient with the ball and knows how to lead a team, which is exactly what teams look for in a backup point guard. He may be able to start in the prime of his career, but I see him as a backup in the beginning and a backup toward the end of his career. I envision him in a Brevin Knight/Anthony Carter role for most of his career.

Posted on: May 26, 2009 8:04 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 11:51 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PG Jrue Holiday, UCLA

Jrue Holiday: 6-3, 180 PG/SG, Fr. (University of California, Los Angeles)

Draft Rank: #12

PG Rank: #6

Strengths:

Has tremendous scoring ability. Can use either hand and a crossover dribble to create space for himself to score. Very quick. Combo guard who plays with a selfless mentality. Can pass with the left or the right. Has a very nice bounce pass that he uses with regularity when players are open. Plays very good defense and doesn't take plays off. Plays within a system and doesn't force his offense when others are open. Can break a player down one-on-one and get into the lane with ease. Finishes high above the rim. Has very good handles for a guard. Has a good release and mechanics on his jump shot. Is tremendous in transition where he can handle, rise up to the rim, or pass to his teammates. Often becomes a difference maker when the ball is in his hands.

Weaknesses:

Still makes poor decisions at times. Not a pure point guard. Doesn't do a great job off the ball in order to create for himself. Didn't take over for his team like they needed him to. Didn't improve his teammates' play when he was on the floor. Needs to show that he can consistently make shots from the perimeter. Needs to become more consistent in his overall game. Needs to become more assertive and show he has the ability to lead.

Mental:

Despite the fact he has star talent, he bought into the team mentality and didn't play a selfish brand of basketball. That was a testament to his character and how he puts the team before his own statistics. With that being said, I am worried he doesn't have the lead-guard mentality you need from a point guard. He didn't rise up and take over for UCLA and they really needed him to do so. There is a fine line between being selfless and not being assertive, which will come back to haunt you if you're not careful at the next level. His numbers obviously won't blow you away, and they are a concern as he will have to assert himself amongst NBA grown men.

Extra Info:
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2008 National High School player of the year

Comparison: Sleepy Floyd (right), 6-3, 170, PG

Would be a good fit for:  Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks or Indiana Pacers

Conclusion:

He should be a player in the league for many years to come. The question will be in what capacity? I think he will be a very effective combo guard who primarily brings up the ball for his team. However, he may fall into that backup guard role and be used as a sparkplug off the bench (a la Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry, or a Flip Murray type). I worry he won't assert himself enough to deserve starting minutes and that he will accept his role as a bench player.

I watched some film recently of an NBA classic game where Sleepy Floyd was playing for the Golden State Warriors. When watching the game it hit me that he really reminded me of Holiday. When watching Floyd he made getting to the rim and scoring look extremely easy. Holiday has a very similar build and scores in a similar fashion to the way Floyd did. Like Floyd, I see him as a scoring point guard.

I love Holiday's balance and ability to bring a variety of skills to the table. He is a top-10 talent, but his lack of production last year in college really scares me. I know he was in a defensive system and had to play the 2 because of Collison, but you still want to see more production from a lottery pick. His team also struggled a lot this year and he should've been able to take over games and lead them. He was at his best when he had the ball in his hands when Collison was out of the game and hopefully he will go to a team that needs him to carry the load for them. His talent is undeniable and his ability to not only score, but also to defend makes him a commodity as a guy with a very high ceiling.

I would love to see him go back to school this year and show what he can do as the lead guard for UCLA. He still has a ways to go to prove that he can be a true point guard. But with a weak draft I can understand why it would make sense for him to come out now. I also think that the NBA will cater to his style of play and the best is yet to come for Holiday.

Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
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