Shooting guards take aim at the pros
June 16th, 2010 By Kristopher Wells
Common sense dictates that NBA execs in desperate need of a SG in the 2010 draft were hoping for the second pick. That way they could have taken the consensus college player of the year, Ohio State’s versatile Evan Turner. But only one team can have that pick. The rest have to choose from a variety of two spot talent in somewhat of a down year for guards. Below are a handful of SGs available in the draft that could make an impact.
A year after transferring from Duke to Memphis to be closer to his ailing mother, Elliot Williams opted for greener pastures. He was a sparkplug and spot-on role player for Duke after being inserted into the starting lineup midway through his freshman year. The 6’5” Williams then became the top choice for the Tigers, averaging 17.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists during his sophomore year. That, along with his 1.28 assist-to-turnover ratio, caught the attention of the pros. Williams is an excellent defender, slasher, and long-range shooter. His mid-range game, though, leaves much to be desired.
Talking about number one weapons, James Anderson was involved in the execution of nearly every play that the Oklahoma State Cowboys ran this past year. The 6’6” junior is not a passer or a ball handler, evidenced by his 2.4 assists per game. What he is, though, is a pure outside shooter and a very good scorer, averaging 22.3 points on 45.7 percent shooting. He added 5.8 rebounds and stepped up is driving ability just for good measure. His perimeter defense needs work, which could cause him to slide down some draft boards.
The youngest of three Kansas starters entering this year’s draft is freshman Xavier Henry. His strong build helps his effectiveness at getting to the basket and scoring (13.4 points per game on a loaded Jayhawks team). The 6’6” Henry also hits free throws at a very respectable 78 percent. He shows proficiency beyond the arc, hitting nearly 42 percent of his three-point shots. Though he has great talent, he still needs work on developing the fundamentals. He seemed open to Bill Self’s coaching, which is a definite plus. He also shows great potential for improvement, should he continue to hone his craft.
From a kid named Xavier, we go to the third team All-American SG on the Xavier Musketeers. The 6’4” Jordan Crawford—a redshirt sophomore—averaged 20.5 points (first in the Atlantic 10), 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists this past season. Crawford garnered much attention when he dunked on LeBron James during a pickup game at his skills academy. Almost immediately, Nike confiscated the tapes, sending the basketball world into a tizzy, trying to find footage somewhere online. Crawford is an effective scorer from nearly anywhere on the floor. While he is explosive enough to drive the lane, he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc. He also converts on a decent 77 percent from the charity stripe. He won’t be the number one option at the next level; he will instead need to show deference to his teammates, which will surely be a huge adjustment for him.
Dominique Jones’ versatility will, undoubtedly, cause his stock to rise as the draft approaches. At 6’4”, the South Florida junior is a scoring (21.4 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) machine that has enough ball handling and passing ability to spell an NBA point guard on occasion (3.6 apg and 1.24 a/t). He can easily create shots for himself and his teammates, but he doesn’t have the most consistent long-range jumper. Jones has leadership skills, hustle, and performs well in the clutch, but he can tend to take ill-advised shots from time to time. That being said, he shows flashes of brilliance—such as his 46-10-8 performance in an overtime win at Providence—that tend to make his flaws a little more forgivable.
So even though experts consider the guard talent in this year’s class to pale in comparison to last year, teams in search of a backcourt sidekick have some options that prove Turner isn’t the only player who could be immediately effective in the two spot.
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