This year’s class of shooting guards is as diverse a group as I can remember. Very few players are ready to make an impact right away at the NBA level, and overall, it is not a very deep group. There are good opportunities here though for teams who are willing to be patient and develop the talents of the players who are available. Here are the Top 5 Shooting Guards in this year’s NBA Draft.
Click here to see the Top 5 point guard prospects.
Ben McLemore, Freshman, Kansas – McLemore was arguably the most talented freshman this past season, with a strong perimeter game and top-level athleticism. He worked seamlessly into Coach Bill Self’s system at Kansas, but he received somewhat justified knocks for not stepping up in big situations. Still, McLemore is a top-level talent who is still maturing, and with the right coach he should flourish into a great NBA scorer.
Victor Oladipo, Junior, Indiana – For many, Oladipo’s lock-down defense is what vaulted him into National Player of the Year conversations, and deservedly so. Oladipo is a great athlete who uses his speed and long arms to wreak havoc on the defensive end. However, it was Oladipo’s improvement on offense which has him this high on the list. He is quick and aggressive to the basket, has excellent body control and can finish in a variety of ways. Add to that an improving mid-range jumper and Oladipo could find some playing time immediately next year.
Allen Crabbe, Junior, California – Crabbe is one of the top shooters in this draft, and he has the potential to be much better. He is excellent working without the ball, using screens and cuts to get open, and his shooting form looks almost effortless once he gets the ball. Crabbe has excellent range, and at 6’6, he should have little problem getting good looks at the basket. Crabbe could be a defensive liability, and teams will also want to see him attack the basket more, but in the right system Crabbe can step right in and be a knock-down shooter.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Sophomore, Georgia – Caldwell-Pope came to college 2 years ago with a reputation as a strong perimeter shooter. Though the numbers didn’t often show it due to a poor team around him, Caldwell-Pope lived up to that reputation. Long and athletic with a great shooting stroke, Caldwell-Pope could thrive with the greater spacing at the NBA level. Teams will want to see if he can do more than shoot a jumper once he catches the ball and if he can defend at the NBA level, but with the pressure of not being a primary option gone, he could adjust quickly to his role.
Jamaal Franklin, Junior, San Diego State – It is odd to list Franklin among the shooting guards since it was a position he rarely played in college, but at the NBA level this is where he will find his time. Franklin is an athletic, high-volume shooter, though he doesn’t have a particularly good perimeter shot. He is very good in transition and some of his finishes can easily be labeled “spectacular.” Franklin is versatile on the defensive end, and may be one of the tougher guards in the class. A lot of adjustments need to be made on his part, but in a year or two, Franklin can be a valuable role player.
3 more to watch: Archie Goodwin, Freshman, Kentucky; Ricky Ledo, Freshman, Providence; Tim Hardaway, Jr., Junior, Michigan;