Brian Patrick

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Draft Shooting Guard Rankings

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


The shooting guard position may not be as deep as last season, but there is a lot of potential here, especially with the rise of more and more potential combo guards that would thrive in the current NBA. While we may only see three or four shooting guards go in the first round, the second round is filled with a lot of senior leaders who could have a Malcolm Brogdon-type effect in the right situation next year.  

 

The players are listed in order of how I see these players ranked in ability and long-term NBA potential, though much of it will end up mirroring my next mock draft coming soon.  

 

Malik Monk, Freshman, Kentucky, 6’3, 197 – Like his predecessor at the position last season, Jamal Murray, there may not have been a player in college basketball who could score in bunches like Monk. The SEC Player of the Year, Monk scored almost 20 points per game for a team with at least three other NBA players. Though undersized for the shooting guard position at 6’3, Monk has a quick release on his jumper, and a willingness to shoot with defenders in his face. This could lead to a maddening shot selection, at times, but his 40-percent from three was impressive, especially as teams planned more and more to stop them. Coming into college, Monk had a reputation as an elite athlete, whether it is his 40-inch-plus vertical leap, or his agility. While a huge threat as a spot shooter, Monk was also very good at drawing out defenders and using a quick dribble or two to get his shot off the bounce. There has always been talk of putting the ball in Monk’s hands more, and making him more of a combo guard, though his decision-making will certainly need work. Defensively, Monk was average on his best nights, though with his athletic ability, he can certainly improve, but his size could come into play against opposing twos. There is a lot to like about Monk’s scoring ability, certainly worth the risk in the top ten, though whether he can eventually become a top two option for a team is far from certain.   

 

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Donovan Mitchell, Sophomore, Louisville, 6’3, 210 – Mitchell is another in a long line of undersized twos who have become college stars under Rick Pitino. Just 6’3, Mitchell relies on top-level speed, agility, and leaping ability to play much bigger than his size. His speed and ballhandling ability allow him to beat defenders off the dribble, with little need for screens, and a solid build which allows him to create space on his way to the basket. While Mitchell has good body control, he can force things to try and get to the basket, or he will often instead just settle for jumpers. His shooting numbers were average, though just 35-percent from three, but more important, he has little difficulty in creating his own shots. Where Mitchell can really make his mark quickly at the NBA level, due to his speed, is in transition and on defense. On top of this, he has a ridiculous 6’10 wingspan for his size, allowing him to contain on the perimeter and shut down passing lanes. Like Monk, Mitchell is another player who may be destined to be more of a combo guard at the NBA level, though I am more confident in Mitchell’s ability to create for teammates and break down defenses consistently. In my mind, Mitchell is worth a top ten pick in this draft.

 

Luke Kennard, Sophomore, Duke, 6’6, 196 – Heading into last season, the talk around Duke was mostly about Grayson Allen, but after some difficulties during the season, Kennard stepped up and became the team’s go-to scorer. The sophomore scored almost 20 points per game, hitting 44-percent from three-point range, and 49-percent from the field.  While Duke eventually moved him on the ball due to point guard issues, Kennard is also very effective off the ball, using screens and multiple moves to get open, and showing a smooth, consistent motion and release. With the ball in his hands, the lefty Kennard was more about skill than athleticism, but he found ways to get into the defense and either get an open look, or find one of his teammates. Even when faced with help defenders in the lane, Kennard used a variety of tricks to get his shot off, though he still had problems finishing at the rim against even average shot-blockers. Defensively, Kennard put in good effort, even if overmatched athletically, but he will need to put in a lot more work to be ready for the NBA level. The question marks surrounding his athleticism will likely divide teams when it comes time to make a choice, but there is a little doubt he could still provide some scoring pop with his long-range shooting ability.

 

Terrance Ferguson, Adelaide, 6’7, 184 – A former high school star in the United States, Ferguson chose to spend the past season in Australia playing pro basketball rather than going to college. While his season was nothing to get excited about, a pro season under his belt should only help him going forward. Ferguson has good size, 6’7, for the shooting guard spot, He is a strong long-range shooter, especially when he has time to get set, and with his size and quick motion/release, he should have little problem getting good shots at the NBA level. Putting the ball on the ground, or creating his own shots, is a different story, and though skilled, he has had trouble putting it all together. Defensively is much of the same; Ferguson seems to have much of what you want out of a decent defender, but he hasn’t figured out what he should really be doing yet, especially when it comes to his role in a team defensive scheme. Looking for a mid-first round guy with a lot of upside; Ferguson is your guy, but he’s probably best off going to a team where he gets a few seasons under strong veterans at his position for him to learn.

   

Josh Hart, Senior, Villanova, 6’5, 209 – Hart has been a do-it-all guy for a Villanova team which has been among college basketball’s best the past few seasons, winning a national title two seasons ago. Though considered a shooting guard, Hart played various roles and positions the past few seasons, often defending two or three different positions every game. Hart is a strong long-range shooter, hitting 40-percent this past season, but he is capable of scoring consistently from anywhere on the floor. Hart is also comfortable with the ball in his hands, especially in the pick-and-roll, creating space for himself, or using his strong vision and passing ability to find open teammates. Hart is also very strong for his size, allowing him to finish around the basket against much bigger players. Defensively, Hart is as fundamentally sound as they come in this list, and he should be able to guard either backcourt spot at the next level. While you usually don’t find many seniors going in the first round, don’t be surprised if Hart sneaks in the at the end of the first round, and starts to make an impact quickly next year.

 

Derrick White, Senior, Colorado, 6’4 1/2, 200 – White made an impact in his one season at Colorado after playing at the Division II level, putting up strong numbers almost across the board. A clear combo guard, White is at his best with the ball in his hands, using his size and skill to create scoring chances for himself inside and out, or finding open teammates all over the floor. White is a good perimeter shooter, with the ability to hit off the bounce, and he uses his size well to get into the lane and finish against rim protectors. White shows good effort on the defensive end, even if his methods are a bit unorthodox. He looks to make plays, and as the season progressed, he did a good job reigning this in to try and contain on the perimeter. White is an interesting player, and different teams will look at his skill set in different ways, but there should be an eventual role for him as a versatile third or fourth guard at the NBA level.

     

P.J. Dozier, Sophomore, South Carolina, 6’7, 200 – A former McDonald’s All-American, Dozier had a strong sophomore season in helping South Carolina to the Final Four. Dozier doesn’t exactly fit either the point guard or shooting guard spot, but he doesn’t seem to have the natural scoring or shooting ability that many combo guards have. What you have though is a 6’7 guard who can be a playmaker, finish at the rim, and guard multiple positions. If he could be even an average long-range shooter, he may be a first round pick, but even if he goes in the mid-to-late second, he will be a good value pick with a lot of potential in the right hands.

 

Wesley Iwundu, Senior, Kansas State, 6’7, 193 – Iwundu is a unique player, showing a lot of different skills, even if he isn’t elite at anyone of them. Thought that may usually be a problem, you get the sense watching Iwundu that he was just starting to scratch the surface of his abilities as a senior. He has very good size, can guard multiple positions, create off the dribble, and has even improved as a long-range shooter. With a 7’1 wingspan, Iwundu has the potential to be a menace to opposing wings, and he has a toughness to his game that doesn’t allow him to back down. Another great potential value pick in the second round, Iwundu has the maturity and versatility to carve out a role early on his career.

  

Others to Watch: L.J. Peak, Georgetown; Tyler Dorsey, Oregon; Sterling Brown, SMU; Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina




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