Comparing 2020 NBA Draft Prospects to Current Players: Point Guards
Dalton Pence will be conducting a five-part series that compares certain NBA draft prospects to current players, grouped by position. Note: The order of the prospects is random and does not reflect the rankings of said prospects. The first in the series will be point guards.
Ball is an intriguing prospect; the offensive upside is through the roof, but there are defensive concerns. He reminds me of Trae Young in a handful of ways. I don’t think he’ll ever be as bad of a defender or as great of a shooter as Young, but Ball’s vision, shot-creation, ball-handling, and facilitating will lead him to become a dynamic point guard on the offensive end of the court.
Hayes’ skill set is very similar to that of Jrue Holiday’s; both are switchable on-ball defenders with active hands. They are exceptional in reading and jumping into passing lanes. While I see Hayes as a better distributor, he can also play as the primary ball-handler or off-ball. In 10 seasons, Holiday has averaged 15.9 PPG and 6.4 APG. It could be viewed as a bit rich, but Hayes projects to have a higher upside; I believe that he’ll eventually become a distinguished three-level scorer like Jrue, at some point in his career.
Anthony will likely be a score-first lead guard in the NBA due to his three-level scoring. Although he shows flashes of good vision, it’s hard to see him being anything more than a serviceable facilitator. Coby White comes to mind when discussing Anthony’s skillset. Both have to work on improving their shot selection, but there is no doubt that they can be microwave scorers. Anthony is more athletic, but neither have any problems creating separation or getting to the rim.
Haliburton is not an easy prospect to find a comparison for; I don’t feel too good about it, but I’m going with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Haliburton is a premier facilitator with exceptional vision, but that’s the only difference. Both have a tremendous feel for the game coupled with size and defensive upside. Their respective high basketball IQ’s allow them to make winning plays on both ends of the court.
I’m higher on Lewis than almost anyone due to his Russell Westbrook-esque speed and scoring upside. Another player whose speed is comparable is De’Aaron Fox; like Fox, Lewis will likely be a serviceable facilitator and perimeter threat, but will excel in blowing by defenders, getting to the rim, and disrupting backcourts on defense. Both are only just scratching the surface of their ceilings.
Dotson is one of the most underrated prospects in the class; he receives too much criticism for size limitations and perimeter shooting. The 6-foot-2 Kansas product can score anywhere in the halfcourt due to elite quickness and vision. His 83% free throw percentage bodes well for his perimeter shooting down the road. However, he stays engaged on defense with active hands, making life tough for opposing guards. Dennis Schroder also perfectly fits the description above.
Even though I’m listing him as a point guard, I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays more as an undersized shooting guard like Terry Rozier. Like the latter, Riller doesn’t project as a significant distributor, but carve out a role as an advanced scorer. In 2019-20, Rozier posted 18.0 PPG on 42/41/87 and I could see Riller following down that same statistical road.
Admittedly, I’m not tremendously high on Jones as a prospect due to lack of perimeter scoring and athleticism. I see him as a second-unit role player that specializes in ball-handling and on-ball defense. Kris Dunn comes to mind when it comes to comparisons because of their defense and lack of ceiling. I don't see Tre Jones being any type of scoring option, but 7-8 points per game would be a realistic prediction.
One thing is for certain: Terry will need to add on substantial weight, as he is only in the 160 lb range. On top of that, he doesn’t project as more than a serviceable facilitator or defender either. However, he has the ability to become a sharpshooter at the next level, similar to Seth Curry. Like Curry, Terry is able to create his own shot and excel in catch-and-shoot situations, which are extremely valuable skills in today’s NBA.