Tag:University of North Carolina
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 4, 2009 1:08 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2009 8:30 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

Tyler Hansbrough: 6-9, 234, PF, SR. (University of North Carolina)

Draft Rank: #24

PF Rank: #4

Strengths:

Has a great feel for the game. Really plays well when he faces up to the hoop and can either shoot the mid-range jumper or pump fake and take the ball to the hoop. Loves to be around the rim. Uses the rim to shield off opponents and score. Has very soft hands and a great touch on his shot. Plays with amazing energy and loves to be around the basketball. Understands positioning on rebounding and attacks the ball on the boards. High b-ball IQ. Has a great knack for getting to the foul line and knows how to use his body to take a blow and still get a shot off. Dives for balls on the floor and is constantly moving on the offensive end. Has good defensive position inside the paint and knows how to use his feet to draw offensive fouls. He has good speed getting up and down the court. Sets very solid screens. Is at his best when he is running down the floor ahead of his defenders and sealing the paint -- which he does often. Has good size to play the four in the NBA. Very good free-throw shooter for a big man.

Weaknesses:

His offensive game is very robotic. Struggles when playing against bigger and more athletic players. Not a good help defender or shot blocker. Doesn't have range on his shot to extend a defense. Plays below the basket. Is not a great passer. Lacks the foot speed or the quickness to defend outside of the post. Struggles defensively on pick and rolls. 

Mental:

Tyler is mentally extremely strong. He hits big shots and has leadership qualities. He doesn't take plays off and has an incredible motor. His high b-ball IQ will allow him to be in the NBA and be effective for many years. He is very tough and doesn't shy away from contact. He usually has his head up and isn't fazed by adversity. When he gets challenged physically he rises to the occasion and steps his play up. Mentally he is one of this draft class' most prepared for challenges of the next level.

Extra Info:

-- 2008 Naismith College Player of the Year

Comparison:

Kris Humphries: 6-9, 238, PF

Would be a good fit for: Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, or Chicago Bulls

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, the college and the NBA games are significantly different. The NBA game today relies on quickness, versatility and athleticism. Hansbrough struggles in those departments. It's hard to ignore his consistent production, but people have to remember the history of the NBA Draft and that great college players don't always make great pros. Do you remember J.J. Redick, Adam Morrison, Trajan Langdon, Mike Sweetney, Sean May, Gerry McNamara, Shelden Williams, Marcus Fizer, Christian Laettner and Joe Smith (Laettner and Smith both have/had decent careers), Juan Dixon, Bobby Hurley, Khalid El-Amin, Mateen Cleaves, and Lonny Baxter? They were all dominant in college, but didn't come close to having the same impact in the pros. Unfortunately, it happens. 

I do think he will be better than Kris Humphries in the NBA. But his game is pretty similar to what Humprhies' game is, and was, in his one year at Minnesota. The main difference is that Hansbrough has proven to be a winner and that he will do whatever it takes to help his team. Obviously, Hansbrough's four years of production at UNC compared to Humphries' one is a major difference, but if Humphries had stayed for four years what do you think his production would have been? I know that some will say, well if he had stayed then maybe he would've been more ready for the NBA like Hansbrough is now. But plenty of one-and-done or high school players have had success in the NBA. The top players in this season's NBA Finals never played any college ball.

Here are the freshman year numbers, and draft combine stats, for Hansbrough and Humphries, respectively.

Name MPG PPG RBP Assists Height w/o shoes Height w/ shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical Bench Press 3/4 Sprint Lane Agility
Kris Humphries (Minnesota freshman) 34.1 21.7 10.1 0.7 6' 8.25 6' 9.5" 238 7' 0.5" 36" 22 3.2 11.33
Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina freshman) 30.4 18.9 7.8 1.3 6' 8.25 6' 9.5" 234 6' 11.5" 34" 18 3.27 11.12


Do I think Hansbrough has a role at the next level? Yes. I just don't see him as a starter. I think he will be a guy who can come in and give a team some points and offensive boards. I see him as a hustle guy, which teams really do need and value. He does so many good things on the floor  he should be an asset for any team that he goes to. But I just don't see him being dominant in the low post or being a consistent starter at the next level. I know people don't want to hear it, but you do have to look at a guy's upside and try to figure out what he can become. I don't blame Hansbrough for being in college for four years or take anything away from his potential as a result of his time in college. I have seniors Sam Young and Terrance Williams ahead of him because I think their talents translate better. Look for Hansbrough to be a contributor off the bench for whatever team he goes to.



Posted on: May 29, 2009 12:06 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 5:53 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PG Ty Lawson, UNC

Ty Lawson: 6-0, 195, Jr., PG (University of North Carolina)

Draft Rank: #19

PG Rank: #8

Strengths:
Fastest player in the draft with the ball in his hands. Loves to get out and push the ball up the floor. Has a great first step that allows him to breakdown a defense and create for others, as well as himself. Has improved his shooting year after year. Has good ball-handling skills and doesn't slow up when he is dribbling. Knows how to get into the lane and jump-stop for a mid-range jumpshot. Has a variety of creative shots that he can use in order to finish when he gets into the lane. Has a very thick frame that helps make up for his lack of height. This past year he proved that he could knock down the college three at an amazing rate. Is a winner. Has very quick hands and good instincts to get steals. Has very quick feet that will allow him to stay in front of his man. His assist-to-turnover ratio is great.

Weaknesses:
While he showed his ability to knock down the college three, I am not sure he has the mechanics or the range to knock down the pro three. Undersized guard who will be a liability against bigger guards who can post up. Turns the ball over too much when getting into the paint, instead of dishing the ball off.  Doesn't have great athleticism. Will have trouble finishing at the next level. Favors his right hand and has a weak left when penetrating. Injury prone.

Mental:
Every season he has improved his shooting and the only way to do that is by practice and a strong work ethic. Really controls the flow of the game and sets up his teammates so that they can succeed. Lead his team this year even when he was hurt. When he was out of the lineup he still supported his teammates on the bench. 

Extra info:
-- 2009 ACC Player of the Year (first point guard to win that award since 1978)
-- 2009 Bob Cousy Award winner for the best point guard in the country
-- Set the record for the most steals in the NCAA title game (8)

Comparison: Mike James, 6-2, 188, PG

Would be a good fit for: New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, or Philadelphia 76ers

Conclusion:

I know I have Lawson lower than a lot of people do, but I have major concerns about how his game will translate in the NBA. First of all, he was in the ideal system and surrounded by exceptional talent for him to succeed. There is no doubt he is fast, but I worry about his creativity and shiftiness at the NBA level. I also don't think his shooting will be what it was this past year as the NBA three is a significantly different shot. When you are as short as he is you either have to be an elite athlete or an elite shooter.

Those are all the negatives, but the truth of the matter is that his stats, his team wins and his leadership are very hard to overlook. His foot speed is also tremendous and that is something that is very important in the NBA. The biggest key for Lawson will be the system he goes to. If he is given the keys to the car and allowed to go up and down then I think he could be a very effective point guard. If he gets stuck in a controlled system that values ball movement then I am not sure he will be nearly as effective. 

I also would like to point out that this year's draft has about 10 point guards who could go anywhere from seven to 30.  I like Lawson's game but I just have some of the other point guards a little bit higher (not much). The draft definitely lacks super star potential, but it does have a very deep point guard crop. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up better than Teague, Jennings or Flynn -- who I all have in my top 10.
 
 
 
 
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