NBA Draft: Ranking The Point Guards
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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With the 2011-2012 NCAA season in the books and the deadline for underclassmen to declare approaching, the 2012 NBA Draft class is quickly starting to form. Over the next few weeks we’ll be breaking down the field by position, focusing on the top five but also looking at everyone who has a chance to get drafted. We start at point guard, which is being widely regarded as having the shallowest talent pool.
The Top Five
Damian Lillard (Weber State, Jr.) – 6’3, 195 lbs.
As the predraft process begins, the top point guard spot is Lillard’s to lose. He’s at the top of most team’s list right now thanks to a big junior campaign in which he averaged 24 points, five rebounds and four assists. Lillard is not a natural point guard who looks to pass first. He’s an assertive scorer capable of scoring from anywhere on the floor.
While he won’t have the bright green light in the NBA like he did at Weber State, expect Lillard to still be aggressive in getting his own offense. He won’t have to force the issue, though, since his supporting cast will be of a different caliber than what he had in college.
Scouts have voiced very little concern about the lack of competition he faced playing in the Big Sky. They’re confident that his skills will translate very well and that he’ll be an impact player almost immediately.
Kendall Marshall (North Carolina, So.) – 6’4, 195 lbs.
A complete contrast to Lillard, Marshall does fit the definition of a true floor general. He doesn’t just look to pass first, he also looked to dish it off second, third and fourth. He was second in the nation in assists this year with 9.7 a contest. His 3.4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is almost unheard of at any level of play.
Marshall is the kind of guy who everyone loves to play with. Any doubts about how important he was to the Tar Heels were dismissed after he went down with a broken bone in his right wrist in the tournament. They looked like a mess without him, needing overtime to get past Ohio in the Sweet 16 before getting eliminated by Kansas in the Elite Eight.
Marshall’s injury could prevent him from working out extensively, but he’s not in danger of slipping drastically because of it. His tape speaks for itself, especially the footage from late in the year when he showed that he could score when needed.
Marquis Teague (Kentucky, Fr.) – 6’2, 189 lbs.
We’ve still yet to hear any official word as to whether or not Teague is going to stay in school or go pro. There’s a case to be made either way; Teague really can’t go wrong. If he leaves, he’s going in the first round. If he stays, he’s going to have the chance to really move up the draft boards more so than he could this year. He’d have a much bigger role on next year’s Wildcats team, which would allow him to do some things that he couldn’t do consistently this year.
This year’s Wildcats team was all about unselfishness. The opposition never knew who was going to lead them in scoring and that was a strength that helped them win it all. If Teague returned, he’d have a featured role that would give him the opportunity to try and match the production of his incredible predecessors.
In the NBA Teague would be looking at a reserve role early on his career. Depending on how he develops, he could eventually become a starter.
Tony Wroten (Washington, Fr.) – 6’5, 205 lbs.
From a physical standpoint, Wroten is the most impressive point guard in the field. At 6’5 he’s going to have a size advantage just about every single night. He has the ability to make teams change their defensive approach because of his size alone.
Wroten has to prove that he can handle playing the point in the NBA, though. He struggled doing so at times in the Pac 12, which was as weak as it’s ever been. He averaged more turnovers (3.8) than assists (3.7), which is a major concern.
Still, Wroten remains intriguing because of his physical abilities. He’s left handed and a bit unorthodox, but the potential is there for him to be a major game changer. It’s going to be interesting to see how he develops in a setting with more structure than Washington had this year.
Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas, Sr.) – 6’3, 185 lbs.
After a tumultuous first three years to his career, Taylor did exactly what he needed to do as a senior to get back in the first-round discussion. Taylor averaged 16 points and four assists for the surprising Kansas Jayhawks, who made it all the way to the national championship in what was supposed to be a down year for them.
While Taylor could not buy a three in the tourney until the final game, on the season as a whole he actually shot it better than he ever has from distance.
Taylor has always struggled with consistency. When he’s on top of his game, he belongs with the best players in the world. He has the ability to have a lengthy career in the NBA.
Rest Of The Field
C.J. McCollum (Lehigh, Jr.) – 6’3, 190 lbs.: Another score-first point guard who is still thinking about returning to school. Stock may be peaked after leading Lehigh to first-round upset of Duke. Some look at him as an undersized shooting guard.
Trey Burke (Michigan, Fr.) – 5’11, 180 lbs.: Firmly on the fence. He’s a bit undersized, but very gifted with the ball in his hands. Should stay in school for at least one more year since Michigan has the chance to be really good next season.
Scott Machado (Iona, Sr.) – 6’1, 180 lbs.: Led the nation in assists this year with 9.9. Thrives in an up-tempo system where he can push the pace at will. Struggles in the halfcourt.
Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin, Sr.) – 6’1, 195 lbs.: A really solid four-year player who could end up being one of the best point guards in this class. He’s certainly one of the top defenders and he has the ability to score in bunches.
Tu Holloway (Xavier, Sr.) – 6’0, 190 lbs.: A strong showing in the tournament helped make up for an otherwise disappointing senior year. Holloway was still very good, but didn’t build on his big junior year.
J’Covan Brown (Texas, Jr.) – 6’1, 197 lbs.: Decided to hire an agent despite looking like a longshot to get drafted. He’s a shooting guard in a point guard’s body.
Jordan Theodore (Seton Hall, Sr.) – 6’0, 174 lbs.: Possesses blinding speed. He has to prove that he can efficiently run a team to make it in the league.
Dee Boost (Mississippi State, Sr.) – 6’2, 176 lbs.: Produced at a high rate in a tough situation. Defense will have to be good leading up to the draft in order to get drafted or signed afterwards.
Maalik Waayns (Villanova, Jr.) – 6’2, 185 lbs.: A volume shooter who is still working on extending his range. Lethal with the ball in his hands.