Thursday, May 20, 2010

2010 Top 5 SGs (Plus 1)

The following is a list of the top 6 shooting guard prospects in the 2010 NBA Draft, along with their current NBA comparison, their main strength, biggest weakness, career outlook, and ideal situation.
  1. Evan Turner (Ohio State) – Brandon Roy

Strength: Versatility. Turner can play and defend all three perimeter positions. He has the vision and passing ability of a point guard with the size of a small forward. He may need to add a little bulk, but that shouldn't be a problem when basketball becomes his full-time job.

Weakness: 3-point shooting. Turner is an absolute beast in the mid-range, but he struggles to shoot consistently from distance. Adding an outside shot would make him an absolute nightmare to defend.

Verdict: Turner's commitment to the game (as displayed by his remarkably quick return from two broken vertebrae) will help him iron out the issues with his outside jump shot, but I'm not sure his game lends itself well to being a franchise cornerstone. I just think Turner is too unselfish to ever become a 20 point scorer, which makes him more valuable as a second or third option, but never as a franchise player.

Best Fit: Turner would be a great fit alongside a shoot-first point guard or on a roster with an established first offensive option.

  1. Xavier Henry (Kansas) – Corey Maggette

Strength: Body. Henry is the type of guy who looks like an NBA player. He was worked very hard to maintain his physique, which should help him in attacking the basket at the next level.

Weakness: Athleticism. Henry is a very adequate long-range shooter and a very efficient scorer, but he failed to really wow scouts with his athleticism. In today's NBA, explosiveness is at a premium, and Henry's perceived lack thereof will likely see him fall out of the lottery.

Verdict: I've been extremely high on Henry all along. At various points during the season I've had him as high as #6 in my mock draft, and I truly believe he'll end up as one of the five best players from this draft.

Best Fit: Henry would be the most productive playing along with an effective drive-and-kick point guard like Derrick Rose or Brandon Jennings.

  1. James Anderson (Oklahoma State) – Michael Redd

Strength: Scoring. Anderson is a volume shooter and a big time scorer. His best asset is his deadly outside shot, which is by far the best of any prospect in this draft class.

Weakness: Creating space. As adept as Anderson is at scoring the basketball, the biggest knock on him is his inability to create his own shot. He is athletic and able to finish at the basket, but his first step is below average by NBA standards.

Verdict: Like I mentioned with Sherron Collins yesterday, Anderson's outcome will be largely determined by his situation. If he has the benefit of playing with one or more true creators, he'll be a dangerous shooter, who can't be left open anywhere on the floor. However, if he's pressed with creating for himself or teammates, he'll struggle to find his rhythm and maintain his confidence.

Best Fit: Like Henry, Anderson needs to find a fit with a team with a drive-and-kick point guard.

  1. Jordan Crawford (Xavier) – JR Smith

Strength: Athleticism. Everyone knows about Crawford's dunk over LeBron James, but the real value of his athleticism is in his ability to get to a spot. His first step is very quick, and even NBA defenders will have a tough time staying in front of him.

Weakness: Maturity. Crawford has always had the reputation of a hot-head and he did little to change that perception this season. Granted, Xavier had a good year and a great tournament run, but even in his team's NCAA tournament games, Crawford was obviously disinterested at times.

Verdict: Crawford has all the physical tools to be a lottery pick, but I still question his motor and his commitment to his teammates. After all, if a guy is dogging it in a Sweet 16 game (probably the biggest of his life to that point), how much can he really care? I would love to see Crawford blossom into an All-Star at the next level, but I think it's far more likely that his discontent over his limited early role becomes a distraction.

Best Fit: Crawford would be a great fit on a team like the Celtics, where his Alpha Dog mentality would be forcibly replaced.

  1. Avery Bradley (Texas) – Randy Foye

Strength: Defense. Bradley is an intriguing prospect because his defensive acumen isn't typical from a player of his size. Bradley is only 6'1.5" in socks, but showed a remarkable ability to defend both guard spots in his only season at Texas.

Weakness: Lack of natural position. Bradley doesn't have the pedigree or experience to be a traditional point guard at the next level. He also doesn't have the prototypical size to play the off-guard in the NBA.

Verdict: Bradley is far from a "can't miss" prospect, but his mix of skills is very intriguing. He is an electric scorer, capable of going off at any moment, and he is likely the best perimeter defender in this draft. If Bradley were three inches taller, he would be a sure-fire top 10 pick. As is, he'll likely land somewhere in the late teens. If he can develop a point guard mentality, he'll be a great NBA player, but if he's destined to be a combo-guard, he's a career rotation player.

Best Fit: Bradley is very raw, so I think finding the right head coach is the most important factor in finding his ideal situation. A grizzled former point guard like Avery Johnson or Scott Skiles would do Bradley a world of good.

  1. Dominique Jones (South Florida) – Tony Allen

Strength: Versatility. Jones showed his ability to be a high volume scorer in his time at South Florida, but he also showed the ability to defend and even handle the point guard responsibilities from time to time.

Weakness: 3-point shooting. Jones scored 21 points per game, but only shot 31% from the college 3-point line. If he wants to stick in the NBA, he'll need to work on his perimeter jumper.

Verdict: I love Jones's versatility. He offers a very diverse skill set, but he's not really excellent at any one thing. That makes him a poor fit as a starter, but a huge asset as a reserve. Jones will never be a huge name, but he'll have a productive career as a middle-of-the-rotation player.

Best Fit: I'd like to see Jones in a three guard rotation, where he gets a chance to handle and run the point at times, and can play alongside a point guard in other instances.

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