Thursday, June 21, 2007

First-Round Shooting Guards

Previously: Oden v. Durant, First-Round Point Guards, Second-Round Point Guards

Differentiating between shooting guards and small forwards is equal parts difficult and foolish. I'm including Corey Brewer with the small forwards primarily because that puts him amongst the players whom NBA front offices will be comparing Brewer when considering who to take early in the draft. If you, dear reader, consider Brewer to be a shooting guard, know this: he's a far better basketball player than anyone discussed in this post.

One further note: I am not qualified to discuss the relative merits of Marco Belinelli or Rudy Fernandez and thus, will not.

In alphabetical order, the 2006-07 seasons of Morris Almond, Daequan Cook, Rodney Stuckey, Marcus Williams, and Nick Young:

Points, assists, turnovers, blocks, and steals listed per 100 individual possessions

stats glossary


Nick Young is the best of this lot all of whom are helped (in terms of draft position) by Brandon Rush blowing out his ACL and returning to Kansas. Young had an outstanding season at USC, a season so much better than the two that preceded it that I suspect it was the result of a hot stretch as much as it was the result of improvement.


Young improved his two-point field goal percentage by 17.5%, his three-point field goal percentage by 32%, and his FT Rate by 30.9%. His true talent is almost certainly closer to his career averages, so my guess is that if he improves he could put up another season like last year's. That would make him a hell of a player and one sure to appreciated by his organiztion and its fans, assuming of course that they aren't expecting him to improve upon his (to date) career year.

Almond and Stuckey have both demonstrated the ability to score against lesser competition. I think both have the ability to be useful complementary players. Almond is the far better shooter and rebounder but Stuckey can (probably) play some point guard. Depending on team need, either would good use of a mid-to-late first-round pick.

Daequan Cook has tremendous potential. Despite being largely useless throughout the final month of the season he posted extremely impressive numbers for a college freshman. (Compare his freshman season with Nick Young's sophomore year. Then compare their ages and extrapolate relative development. Unless he's a real asshole there are reasons to be very optimistic about Cook relative to the other draft options at this position.) He could very good very soon. His combination of scoring ability and rebounding ability puts me in mind of the young, healthy Quentin Richardson.

Marcus Williams looks like he should be better than his performances have been through two years of college basketball. I wouldn't be surprised if he turned into a good player, but, as of right now, he's a guy who doesn't quite make enough shots or take good enough care of the ball to be a good offensive player and was part of a hugely disappointing college team last year. The likelihood that contributes immediately at the NBA level is fairly slight. His four worst games last year were against Louisville, Memphis, UNC, and @UCLA.

Shooting guard rankings:

1. Daequan Cook
2. Nick Young
3. Morris Almond
4. Rodney Stuckey
5. Marcus Williams

UPDATE: There aren't enough interesting candidates to do an entire post on second-round shooting guards. Russell Carter and DJ Strawberry are awfully generic. Again, I'll cover them should they get drafted.

So here's Arron Afflalo's 06-07 numbers:


If someone wanted to take him ahead of Marcus Williams I wouldn't be surprised. In the right situation, Afflalo could come in and contribute some decent bench minutes immediately. The one concern I have w/r/t Afflalo stems from the difficulty he had getting open looks against Brandon Rush in the Regional Final. If he struggles to get open he won't continue to make difficult shots with the frequency he did that afternoon.

Complete shooting guard rankings:

1. Daequan Cook
2. Nick Young
3. Morris Almond
4. Rodney Stuckey
5. Marcus Williams
6. Arron Aflalo

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