Top 5 Shooting Guards in the NBA Draft
*Photo via Getty Images
1. Mario Hezonja (20, 6’7, 200lbs, Croatia, Projected 5-7)
This 20 year old Croatian has been on NBA scouts’ radar for quite some time, and was projected to be a lottery pick last season at the age of 19. He has produced in the Euroleague and ACB, the top two leagues in Europe. Now he feels like he is ready to make the jump to the NBA, and he has the talent to be productive. His offensive game is what has scouts excited, he is a lethal shooter with great size for the position, and he can also run the floor in transition finishing breaks with nasty dunks. He can shoot the ball from anyway from anywhere, knocking down shots while spotting up, coming off screens or set plays in the half court, while shooting 39 percent from three. He predominately likes shooting threes, but has the handles and great athleticism to get to the rim. At 20 years old, he does lack consistency, as to be expected playing with the best professionals in Europe. Also being 20 years old, he lacks maturity, not playing with intensity all the time and a lack of defensive effort. The team drafting him will have to get through to him and help him to get better, but he has the potential to be a great NBA shooting guard.
2. Devin Booker (18, 6’6, 206lbs Freshman, Kentucky, Projected 13th)
Booker was one of the few Wildcats, who could stretch the floor and give them some outside shooting, with the large line-up they had. He was very effective in his role as the marksman off the bench shooting 53 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three. Booker is one of the youngest players in the draft, but is one of the more intelligent in this year’s class. He is not overly athletic, but has the ability to create his own shot and knows where to move on the court to get an open shot, which he knocks down more times than not. Defensively he doesn’t have great size and was not effective at times, but he has intensity and intelligence, knowing how to position himself and fight off screens. This kid has a great attitude on both sides of the ball and should be a solid shooter at the next level. There are concerns if he can get his own shot at the next level, something he will have to work on. The ideal situation for him would be a team that can find good looks for him. He is not a dominate scorer or defender, but he is young and can develop his game.
3. R.J. Hunter (21, 6’6, 185lbs, Junior, Georgia State, Projected 21-24)
Hunter definitely benefited from his outstanding play for his father in Georgia States magical tournament run. He is also coming off back to back Sun Belt Player of the Year honors and was First Team All-Conference every season in college. The Georgia State junior is running with that momentum declaring for the draft and then impressing scouts with his recent workouts. He has great size and length for a shooting guard but is not muscular or overly athletic. Hunter has excellent range and can knock down shots in multiple ways. His shooting ability is what has scouts most excited about him, but he is an above average passer for the position which will help him stay on the court longer at the next level. For being predominately a jump shooter Hunter gets to the line frequently. His defense is solid, his large wing span helps him stay in front of defenders. While he lacks strength he should be a solid contributor on the defensive end.
4.Rashad Vaughn (18, 6’5, 199lbs, Freshman, UNLV, Projected 23-27)
Vaughn was one of the most highly recruited high school players in the country, but his first year in college did not see the same success. UNLV was just 10-12 in games he played in, and he tore his meniscus in his left knee. He put up numbers, scoring 18 points per game, and showing range, shooting 38 percent from three, but he was not an efficient scorer. Vaughn took the majority of his team’s shots and would frequently hold the ball for too long and hoist up a contested jumper. He seems to want to take every shot and is not a willing passer. His biggest value to an NBA team will be his scoring. He is a natural scorer who can put the ball in the bucket from anywhere on the court. He can score by attacking the rim, coming off screens, on isolation, and off the pick and roll. His ability to score is not in question, but his shot selection needs to be corrected. When Vaughn put in effort on the defensive end he contributed well, but he lacked consistent defensive effort and intensity. He seems like a player who is just in there to shoot and will most likely be a scorer off the bench, unless a coach can bring out his full potential.
5. Michael Frazier II (21, 6’5, 199, Junior, Florida, Projected 36-47)
Frazier took a step back as a junior, not playing as productive as he did as a sophomore and as a result Florida missed the tournament. He was hampered by an ankle injury that made him miss seven games this year. He seems to have recovered from that injury after a couple of nice workouts. Scouts will want to see the Frazier, who was a lights out shooter his sophomore season, shooting 44 percent from three as opposed to 38 percent this year, which is decent. With his inconsistent junior year he will have to prove to teams he can consistently spread the floor and be a knock down shooter, that he has the potential to be. Despite being undersized Frazier is strong and possesses good athletic ability. He has the potential to be a solid spot up shooter and match up athletically with most guards in the NBA, but the consistency needs to be there for him to make an impact at the next level.