Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Top 5 Shooting Guard Prospects

This year's crop of shooting guards is average at best. Only OJ Mayo, and potentially Eric Gordon, look like they have the chance to be stars in the league. But there are a good number of guys with the potential to be solid role players or big-time shooters off the bench. For the two-guards, I rated them more on the likelihood that they will have long, successful careers as opposed to the higher risk prospects with more upside. Click on the player's name for more in-depth analysis.

1. OJ Mayo, USC: A lot of people have Mayo listed as a point guard, but I think he is going to be more of a scoring guard in the NBA, even if he does end up bringing the ball up the court (think Gilbert Arenas). He doesn't quite have the quickness or explosiveness of Arenas, but he is as good of a shooter and maybe a better playmaker. He can come off of screens and knock down shots off of the catch just as well as he can off of the dribble. His handle is better than average, but could still use some improvement. He has shot up draft boards recently, to the point where it looks like he could even go third to the T'Wolves.

2. Eric Gordon, Indiana: Gordon had an up-and-down freshman year. He started off looking like a top 5 pick, but mailed in the end of the season after Kelvin Sampson lost his job. Still, Gordon's skill set is pretty impressive. He is strong and explosive, and has range well beyond the NBA three. He can hit just about any shot he wants. He is a little short for a prototypical NBA two, but his athleticism, strength, and range should make up for that. He probably will end up being a Ben Gordon type scorer.

3. Chase Budinger, Arizona: Budinger is an interesting case. His best asset is probably his intangibles - he has a great work ethic and is a smart player, especially on the offensive end. He makes good decisions, is a solid passer, and is excellent at reading screens. He also is a very good shooter, with excellent hops and a high release point. He still struggles when he's forced into an isolation situation, but his improving ball-handling means that this area could develop. He probably isn't going to be a star in the NBA, mainly because he is a bit passive, which is perfect for a third option. He projects as a Mike Dunleavy or Brent Barry type player.

4. Shan Foster, Vanderbilt: This ranking is a lot higher than other rankings I've seen, but I am very high on Foster. He is an unbelievable three-point shooter, and his awkward shot means he has a very high release point, especially when you consider his height (6'6") and long arms. He is also another one of those guys with a great work ethic. He is a little less skilled than Budinger, but is a better shooter with unbelievable range and a knack for being able to hit tough shots from beyond the NBA line, even with a hand in his face. He had a better senior year than either Jason Kapono and Kyle Korver, and is a better athlete than either of those two. Look for him to follow in the footsteps of those two.

5. Brandon Rush, Kansas: Rush is projects as a very good role player off the bench in the league. He is a good defender, a great athlete, and a dead-eye three-point shooter, especially when he gets his feet set and has a good look at the rim. He doesn't really have the make-up of a star, which is probably better for him because he is not talented enough to be one. He makes good decisions and seems to be the type of guy that could slide right into any system, play some defense and knock down open three's. What team couldn't use a guy like that?

Honorable Mention: Wayne Ellington, UNC; Danny Green, UNC; Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky.


Andy McKenzie said...

"He projects as a Mike Dunleavy or Brent Barry type player."

Lol, did you have to compare him to two white guys?

Rob Dauster said...

I hate doing it, but there games are so comparable. I did compare Shan Foster to two white guys though, that's got to count for something, right?