1/19/09

The Top 3 Point Guard Prospects in the NCAA

Wake Forest is #1 and it has inspired me to write about the top point guard prospects in the country because that race seems to be the most interesting, and at the forefront of the NBA draft discussion. We will leave Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings out of the discussion because they are abroad and I am ignorant of the intricacies of their game and have had limited exposure to watch them play. If you think that my analysis is bias towards Wake Forest because of my affiliation with Wake, I can assure you that I am not. I have been a big skeptic of Wake Forest sports from my entire time I have attended Wake. I have tried to formulate my opinion from a purely objective standpoint. I am just one of many who has written on the subject. Take it for what it is worth.

#1 Jeff Teague: He was a very under the radar player until he helped lead the Deacons to a win over North Carolina. Everyone I have talked to until the last two days, even after the North Carolina win, told me they thought Teague needed 1 more year at Wake. The last two days have shown us how fast Teague has risen on draft boards. He is a mid lottery pick at this point, and if he has a good tournament, I think he can be a top 5 pick easily. Teague also has the luxury of being on a team with 2 other NBA-ready players and a couple other future potential NBA and professional players. Teague has received help from the SF Al-Farouq Aminu as well as the PF James Johnson. Both players will most likely enter the NBA draft this year. I think Teague's help has elevated his play. Wake also has incredible size for a college team with 6 players standing north of 6'9, and it has helped Teague's penetration in the lane and options offensively.

Teague has an incredible ability to find weaknesses in the defense and attack them. When Teague goes to the hoop he goes straight to the chest of the defender. Teague also has an outside jumpshot. When the defender sags off him to prevent Teague from driving into the lane, Teague can pull up and hit a shot, and he hits 3 pointers 52.3% of the time. It makes life incredibly difficult for any opposing defender. Teague is averaging 21.4 ppg, 4.1 assts, 4 rebs, and 2.1 stls this season. Those numbers will catch the eye of any NBA scout. Teague is not a bad on the ball defender. He has active hands and knows how to disrupt shots. Teague also has a negative side. NBA scouts have said that his decision making is questionable, and they don't think he is a pure point guard. I agree with both of those observations. As a fan, I can't complain about Teague's decision making because he makes shots. Outside of that, I can see how that is of concern for NBA scouts. Teague will have a much more difficult time driving to the basket in the NBA. The defenders are faster and stronger than those in college. Teague can overcome those shortcomings with his superior athleticism. When looking at Teague's numbers it isn't difficult to tell that he is a shoot-first point guard who uses passing as a secondary weapon. If Teague improves his passing and decision making in order to increase his assists and lessen the 3.7 TOs a game he has, he can climb to the top 5 in the NBA draft.

#2 Stephen Curry: America has fallen in love with Curry. It may be his boyish looks that make him look like he could have gone to your high school or he could be one of your friends, but as a basketball player, we have to respect what he has done for Davidson. Major conference coaches were also fooled by his looks, but he is proving a lot of doubters wrong. Like Teague, Curry has questions about his decision making, and Curry has admitted to that. Stephen Curry is without a doubt the best player on his team. He is averging 29.1ppg, 6.5 assists, and 3 stls this season. He doesn't have the help that Teague has, but I would still categorize Curry as a better passer than Teague. If teams are going to beat Davidson, they need to throw their best defender on him. Stephen Curry can shoot from virtually anywhere on the floor. Even if the genes came from his ex-NBAer father, Del Curry, there is no question that Curry is one of the best, if not the best, shooter in the country. I think that if Curry gets on the right team, he can be a Rip Hamilton type of player. If he can come off of screens and limit his game to a catch and shoot type of game, he can be successful. Curry has the skill to be a point guard in the NBA, but like I said, his decision making is questionable. Even if he does stay a PG in the league, he should still be a jump shooter, and limit his creativity. I say he should be a jump shooter because he is unconscious when he has a wide open shot. Even with a hand in his face, Curry has showed the world he can deliver a big shot, and make seemingly impossible shots.

I question his NBA ability because of his size. I understand that he is about 6'3, but he has a small frame. Being a ball handler in the NBA requires one to be strong to body up against defenders and protect the ball going to the basket. If we think of the best PG's in the league today, CP3, Deron Williams, Jameer Nelson, etc., they don't fit Curry's stature. Steve Nash may be an exception, but no one is comparing Curry to Nash. I say that Curry should be a secondary ball handler that comes off screens because of his size because that seems to be where most of his potential lies. Rip Hamilton is not known for being one of the strongest players, but has been extremely successful feeding off of screens. The classic example is Reggie Miller. His career did not end up too poorly. Curry will for sure be drafted in the lottery if he comes out this year based on potential and reputation, if he finds an identity, he will be able to use his skills to really help an NBA team. He just needs to find the right combination of all of that.

#3 Jrue Holiday: One of the most sought after recruits in the country and National High School Player of the year prior to coming into college, Holiday has not lived up to expectation. Despite his lack of performance this season, he is still projected as one of the top 5 PGs in this years draft, and still projected to be a better NBA prospect than fellow Bruin, Darren Collison. Holiday has only averaged 9.6 ppg and 2.9 assists, but all of this comes in about 26.5 minutes a game. That is pretty good production from a second string point guard. From what I have seen from Holiday, he is a bit raw. Having said all that, Holiday has a very high basketball iq. He has good court vision, and seems to make very smart decisions. Holiday is the best passer out of this crew, and has the least amount of TOs at 1.9 a game, but he also plays the least out of the other 2 players on this list.

Holiday can undoubtedly help an NBA team, but I don't seem him helping a team out in the next year. Holiday needs about 2-3 years to fully develop as a basketball player. Holiday, like Curry, also has a small frame. He is 6'3 180, but can make up for the lack of size with his basketball iq. Any team that is in need of a guard could draft Holiday and mold him into whatever player they want him to be, as opposed to Teague and Curry who have a very apparent skill set. Holiday is a very good shooter, as evidenced by his 49.2% fg percentage. People should not be worried about Holiday's lack of production this season because we have to remember that Coach Howland is trying to balance their senior guard Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday's minutes. With players like Holiday, we have not seen enough from him to accurately asses his productivity and success in the NBA. A team will take a chance on him because of what he can bring to the table. It is just a matter of if he will bring it to the table...ever.

4 comments:

Trilokesh said...

jrue sucks.
steph is undersized and weak.
teague is cry baby/ pouter.
Future NBA prospects look 'weak sauce.'

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