Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2010 Top 5 PGs

The following is a list of the top 5 point guard prospects in the 2010 NBA Draft, along with their current NBA comparison, their main strength, biggest weakness, career outlook, and ideal situation.
  1. John Wall (Kentucky) - Russell Westbrook

Strength: Athletic ability. There are several choices here, but what separates Wall from your run-of-the-mill collegiate point guard is his ability to do everything on the floor at full speed while remaining under control.

Weakness: Decision-making. Wall was somewhat turnover prone at Kentucky, and his shot selection was less than ideal at times. Decision-making is a biggie at the next level, but Wall has adequate basketball IQ, so his inconsistencies in decision-making should iron themselves out as he matures.

Verdict: Wall is hands down the best prospect in this class. Aside from his undeniable physical tools, he has also shown real maturity during the lead-up to the lottery and combine. He will almost certainly be a franchise player and a perennial All-Star sooner rather than later.

Best Fit: Anywhere. Consider yourselves lucky Wizards' fans.

  1. Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky) - Kyle Lowry

Strength: Physicality. Bledsoe has arguably the best frame of any point guard prospect in this class, which is the basis for much of his perceived upside. He uses his strength and quickness effectively in getting to and finishing at the rim.

Weakness: Polish. Bledsoe showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman, but he was forced off of the ball so much because of Wall that he never truly demonstrated his point guard skills. At this point, Bledsoe's ability to play on the ball in a pro-style half-court set is very much in question.

Verdict: Another year at Kentucky could have sent him into the stratosphere, but at this point, I see Bledsoe more as a backup than a starter. He is a promising player, who could flourish nicely into a larger role if he receives the type of nurturing and individual attention he requires to reach his potential.

Best Fit: Backing up a veteran point guard who is willing and able to teach him the tricks of the trade.

  1. Armon Johnson (Nevada) - Carlos Arroyo

Strength: Size. At 6'3" Johnson has ideal size to play point guard at the next level. He has the size to see over smaller defenders, along with the quickness to put a defense on its heels.

Weakness: Versatility. Johnson has great size and adequate speed, but his jump shot is very much a work in progress. Some players, such as Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, have been able to work a jump shot into their repertoire. Others, such as Raymond Felton and Mike Conley, have been hamstrung by their inability to capitalize on perimeter openings.

Verdict: The development of Johnson's jump shot will be the defining factor in his career. If he can hone his J, he'll be a serviceable NBA backup. If he can't he'll probably find himself somewhere in Europe.

Best Fit: A team with a traditional four guard rotation, where Johnson fills the role of the backup point guard.

  1. Willie Warren (Oklahoma) - Jerry Bayless

Strength: Scoring ability. Warren will never be confused with a traditional pass-first point guard. His effectiveness centers on his ability to get to the hole and score in the paint. Like Johnson, however, Warren struggles to shoot from distance, which makes life very difficult for a score-first player.

Weakness: Lack of a natural position. It actually puts me in physical distress to simply list Warren as a point guard for the purposes of this list. However, that is the position he will be asked to play at the next level, so I will include him anyway. The problem with Warren lies in his unwillingness (not just his inability) to get his teammates involved, and mental hurdles are much more difficult to overcome than those of the physical nature.

Verdict: I'm struck by Warren's overt immaturity. He seemed to butt heads with Jeff Capel this past season, with reports surfacing at one point that Capel didn't want his star player to return for his junior season. Warren clearly faces an uphill battle at the next level, both from a physical and mental standpoint. I would be very surprised to see any tangible impact from him as a rookie, with future returns murky as well.

Best Fit: A team with a more contemporary three guard rotation, where Warren can come off the bench to play with either starting guard.

  1. Sherron Collins (Kansas) – Jameer Nelson

Strength: Ball handling. Collins may have the best crossover the NBA has seen since Allen Iverson. That may seem like hyperbole, but Collins is without a doubt the best ball handler in this class. He possesses a very quick first step, which makes him very hard to stay in front of, and he is an adequate outside shooter, which forces defenders to stay close.

Weakness: Humility. Collins gained a lot from his four years at Kansas, but I think that assuming and maintaining the role of team leader may have gone to his head. Collins was so valuable at the college level because of his killer instinct, but in the NBA, where everyone has that killer instinct, you have to learn to pick your spots. Collins showed in the Jayhawks' tournament exit to Northern Iowa that he has yet to learn such discretion.

Verdict: Collins has as much to gain from finding the right fit as any player in this draft. He could mature into a vocal leader, capable of making an impact off the dribble or from the perimeter, or he could toil in self-destructive behavior (See: Nate Robinson) and flame out before reaching his potential.

Best Fit: There are two options here- either a team completely devoid of point guard talent (Hello, Knicks!) where Collins can be the man running the offense, or a team with an established, vocal, veteran leader and a need at backup point guard.

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