Wednesday, June 09, 2010

2010 NBA Draft: Collegiate Point Guard Prospects

Disclosure: Previous draft analysis, both insightful and woeful: 2009 NBA Draft, 2008 NBA Draft, 2007 NBA Draft preview, 2007 NBA Draft analysis, 2006 NBA Draft preview, 2006 NBA Draft analysis/live blog, 2005 NBA Draft preview, 2005 NBA Draft grades

See also: 2010 Collegiate Draft Prospects Spreadsheet

1. John Wall
2. Eric Bledsoe
3. Elliot Williams
-----1st ROUND-----
4. Mikhail Torrance
5. Jerome Randle
6. Greivis Vasquez
7. Ben Uzoh
8. Sherron Collins
9. Scottie Reynolds
10. Devan Downey
-----2nd ROUND-----

John Wall is as good a prospect as everyone says, a no-brainer first pick. He only scratched the surface of his talents in his season at Kentucky. The best point at that level at the age of 18 he can still reasonably be expected to improve in any or all of the following areas: jump shooting, taking care of the ball, and defense. No one will be able to stay in front of him and it was his ability to finish and/or get to the foul line that most impressed last season.

Elliot Williams would be a clear #2 were his health a certainty. He can score and he can shoot. His ball-handling is acceptable for a point guard and his size is acceptable for a shooting guard. I think this makes him less a risky tweener and more of a more efficient Rodney Stuckey. Assuming his knee is sound, of course.

Eric Bledsoe will be drafted purely on promise. He simply wasn't a very good college player last season. One poor season as the third option (Had he been the fourth option by virtue of getting Patrick Patterson the ball more often, he'd likely rank higher in my estimation.) on a college team is not a good reason to write Bledsoe off but he's one of the riskiest (along with Aminu, Willie Warren, Luke Babbitt, and Gordon Hayward) likely first-round picks.

From here on out we see several good reasons as to why Bledsoe turned pro after a poor season. Teams that didn't take advantage of last year's deep point guard class will be grasping at straws.

Mikhail Torrance
appears to the best of this uninspiring lot. He was very productive for a poor Alabama team and his size gives him advantage over Randle, Collins, Reynolds, and Downey when projecting him as an offensive contributor though it's a fair question as to whether he'll be able to stay in front of point guards in the NBA.

There's essentially no difference (beyond personal preference of the teams drafting) between the next five guards: Jerome Randle is arguably both the quickest and best shooter in this group but, like Sherron Collins, he's 23 and had comically low rebound rates last season. Greivis Vasquez, also 23, is a big true point guard who was able to score at a good clip against college competition but I have doubts about his athleticism in an NBA context. Ben Uzoh looks (and measures as) a sound defender at the point. He'll have to be because he lacks three-point range at this stage of his development. Collins, Scottie Reynolds, and Devan Downey are all fairly generic shoot-first college point guards. If Collins has an edge on the other two (and I'm not convinced he does) it's due to his athleticism and more demonstrable willingness to share the basketball. But we're talking about a guy that, if you squint, you can see Will Bynum. Maybe.


Eliot said...

Armon Johnson should probably be slotted between Randle and Vazquez on that list. Everything I've read has him predicted to be somewhere between the 5th and 7th point guard taken.

Having seen him in person a couple times, I think he might be more of a 2 than a point in the pros. Were you thinking along those lines?

Bret LaGree said...

Johnson was 11th on my list. Other than being a year younger, I don't see anything to put him ahead of Uzoh. Johnson's smaller, a worse shooter, and didn't demonstrate good shot selection at Nevada.

It's great for him that he looks athletic and has reportedly shot the ball well in workouts but he's 70-252 from the college three-point line and every collegiate player in this draft class with a lower steal rate is a power forward or center.

If Johnson turns out to be a good player, the scouts will deserve a tip of the hat.

Eliot said...

I misinterpreted your post as a consensus as opposed to your evaluation.

And a fair evaluation it was. I have my doubts about Armon as well. In addition to the faults you mentioned, he was repeatedly shut down by the best defenders he faced. I don't know if he'll be able to drive on NBA players.

That said, if Scottie Reynolds is a better pro than Armon Johnson, I will be positively shocked. Though that's more of a point on Reynolds than Armon.

Bret LaGree said...

I don't like the NBA chances of anybody on that list after Williams, but I suspect Scottie Reynolds could score at any level of basketball (not that it would be valuable given his other limitations) whereas I don't see Johnson having a particular skill that will get his foot in the door with regard to playing time even though he's more likely to be drafted than Reynolds (or Uzoh, who I like as a defender).