Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Top 5 Point Guard Prospects

his year's crop of point guard's is pretty good, with as many as eight guys with a shot at being a first round pick, depending on how you classify guys like OJ Mayo (SG on my list) and Jerryd Bayless (PG). Five of them are potential lottery picks. So without further ado, here is the first of my position-by-position prospect rankings. Click on the player's name for more in-depth analysis of each player.

1. Derrick Rose, Memphis: Not only is Rose the top point guard prospect in the draft, he may be the best overall prospect. It is rare to find a player with his size (6'3"), strength, and athleticism that is as skilled as he is. He also has great point guard instincts in that he is able and wants to get his teammates involved, but in the tournament showed that he can take over a game and wants to take and make the big shot. I've said it before and I'll say it again - he is Deron Williams with Dwayne Wade's athleticism.

2. DJ Augustin, Texas: Augustin drew a lot of comparisons to Steve Nash throughout the season. He is an excellent shooter and a good distributor, who plays a very similar style to Nash (keeps the ball in his hands a lot, shoots three's off the dribble well, decent athleticism, crafty finisher in the paint). But Augustin's size (5'11", 170 lbs) is still a bit worrisome, as is his relative lack of explosiveness, but he has a strong build and is a very smart player.

3. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona: Bayless is an explosive athlete and a very talented scorer, able to get his shot off from just about anywhere on the court. But he seems to be more of a shoot-first point guard. He has shown the ability to take over games, but has a fairly poor assist to turnover ratio (1.33:1) and only averaged 4.0 apg. He will be the most successful if he lands on a team where he can be the lead scorer (i.e. a Gilbert Arenas in Golden State), otherwise he will need to develop the ability to consistently get his teammates involved.

4. Russell Westbrook, UCLA: Westbrook is another guy who is kind of stuck between positions. His skills are more in line with that of an off-guard, but he has a point guard's size. He is a very athletic player, with a lot of the same tools as a Leandro Barbosa - he is an explosive athlete that can get up and down the floor very quickly. Defense is by far is best skill as he can defend either of the guard positions, and is a terror in the passing lanes.

5. Ty Lawson, UNC: Lawson is a lightning quick point guard that was probably the fastest guy in the country baseline-to-baseline. He can weave through traffic with the best of them, and has excellent court vision. He has three-point range, but needs time to get it off. He also can lose focus defensively at times. More than any other point guard, and maybe anyone else in the draft, Lawson needs to be put into the right system. If he ends up with a team like the Warriors that like to get out and run, he can be a very good player.

Honorable Mention: Mario Chalmers, Kansas; Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin; Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga.

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