Pleasant Sunday, valued readers! With the NBA Draft looming so quickly, I feel any time is a good time to discuss possibilities, probabilities, and potential. For every day this week I will break down one position, analyzing the strength and depth of talent available for that particular spot by, obviously, looking at the players likely to be chosen. We'll start with those who stand tall as midgets to their peers, yet would still appear quite large to most of us. The point guards!
This draft is often heralded as being an exceptionally strong one. Yet one of its few weaknesses lies in the lack of truly good quarterbacks available. Mike Conley Jr. tops the list, but the son of the renowned track and field star has many questions surrounding him. He's very quick, a good passer, and relentless. He's shown nothing to dissuade anyone from handing him the ball with a game on the line. Nevertheless, he is thought to be very raw, and most experts suggest that he should have waited several more years before declaring eligibility for the draft. His shooting leaves much to be desired, and at 6'1 he could be physically dominated by larger guards such as Baron Davis and Deron Williams. But he's the best there is this time around, and look for him to get taken in the top 10.
Comparison: Devin Harris, Higher Upside.
He didn't take his team to the final four, much less the finals. But Acie Law showed enough this past season to cement himself as a top college point guard. Law doesn't possess the terrific speed or passing skill of Conley, but he does everything well. His weaknesses are few, far between, and not exactly glaring. He can shoot, he can drive, he can pass, he can D up, and perhaps most importantly, he wants the ball when it matters and has the ability to force it into the hole. A&M's Star will slide because he's lacks Conley's ability to take over a game, but there's no way he gets past Miami at 20 (and could be selected as early as 10).
Comparison: Chauncey Billups/Jason Terry.
He's big. He's fast. He's got heart and ability. He's Javaris Crittenton of Georgia Tech, and follows in the Conley mode of game-changing athletes with a high risk factor due to their lack of experience. While not quite the speedster that Conley is, Crittenton makes up for it by being a full 4 inches taller. He possesses similar passing abilities, and is solid, although inconsistent, on the defensive end. His spot up shot leaves much to be desired, and he could have used a few more years at GT. Regardless, Crittenton will cause teams to twist and turn as they dwell on their point guard selection: The 6'5 pointguard with the physical tools, or the sure thing in Acie Law? It's too close to call at this point. In trying to find a fit for Javaris, I encountered a problem. Because while he could very well be...
Comparison: Steve Francis, he could also become
Just another toolsy athlete who fades into anonymity.
I'm in no way knocking him, but that's the plain fact of the matter. There's a large bust factor here, which is why I ranked Law higher.
While most believe Messrs. Crittenton and Law to be in a higher class, some would point out the talents of Rodney Stuckey. He's another in a crop of large point guards, and draws on his strength to push around his peers. Stuckey's a talented slasher and a good shooter, but his passing has been labeled as merely mediocre. His defensive talents are widely heralded, but there is doubt about his ability to keep up with NBA point guards on both ends of the floor.
It's tough to draw similarities to a player with only one year of NBA experience, but...
Comparison: Randy Foye
Oregon's Aaron Brooks shares a name with the NFL journeyman. Unfortunately for himself, that is what he may become in his own league. He's a shooting guard in the body of a very undersized 1(5'11,160), which automatically dismisses any consideration as a starter. What he could very well become is a team's sparkplug, what with his Earl Boykins-like quickness and shooting ability. He won't be able to guard very many players at the top level but should retain the ability to run around disrupting everything in his vicinity. But hey, those players can be valuable as well. Never underestimate a firestarter.
Comparison: Nate Robinson
Maverick Factor: Gabe Pruitt Apologies to my interstate (or hopefully international!) readers, but the Mavs remain my primary focus. So I'll do a little piece on a player from that day's particular slot who may be a possibility. While some would look at Pruitt and scoff at me, saying that he's just a lesser Devin Harris, I think he's a different player. Harris is a slasher whose primary detriment is his shooting, Pruitt an unpolished but talented 3 point heaver.I wouldn't condone the pick, as I feel the future of the position lies in Devin Harris. But I think It's possible that Mavs management has mistakenly lose confidence in his development.
That's all for today, folks. Tomorrow we'll cover the shooting guard position.