Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shooting Guards to watch in the 2015 NCAA Tournament

Harden is the TWO guard to emulate.
The best shooting guards in the NBA come with various subtle differences in their game. Ideally, the best "Two Guards" are guys that can score. The scoring can come in a variety of ways. Dwyane Wade, for example, does not shoot a bunch of three-point shots but he can draw fouls with dribble penetration. Manu Ginobili uses a mixture of the deep shot and driving ability. Klay Thompson has seen a huge upgrade in his efficiency now that he has added more "rim-attacking" to his game, and the current standard for Shooting Guards, James Harden, is a blueprint to emulate. 

The perfect shooting guard should be able to make at least a third of his three-point attempts, (Harden is better than that at 37%), have the ability to create his own shot off the dribble, and get to the foul line. While at the line, a good shooting guard will convert at least 80% of his free throws (Harden hits 86% this season). While being a scorer, a good shooting guard is also a good decision maker. A positive assist-to-turnover ratio is a sign of good decision making. Harden, this season, has 465 assists, with only 265 turnovers. Finally, a good shooting guard HAS to be able to play defense well enough to slow down or at least hold to average, the opposing SG. This season, Harden is running at a career best defensive rating of 102 (which is solid, not great.)

The attributes listed above are just some of the ingredients we are seeking when evaluating the potential NBA shooting guards that are playing in the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Who are we watching closely?

Justise Winslow - Duke 6'6" 229 lbs. - freshman. ...Winslow is a problem for opponents with his size, and ability to finish in transition. He shoots the deep-ball at 39%, and he helps on the glass, getting nearly six rebounds per game. A positive assist-to-turnover ratio from a freshman scoring guard is also nice to see. 

Jae'Sean Tate - Ohio St. 6'4" 190 lbs. - freshman. ...Tate's offensive game today is more like a power forward than a guard. But from an NBA standpoint, he will have to play SG at 6'4". He is a monster in transition and he is very good around the basket. 

Get to know Jordan Barham.
Jordan Barham - Davidson 6'4" 190 lbs. - junior. ...Barham is another athletic player that will need to tighten up his shooting and decision making to thrive in the NBA at 6'4". Barham's 60% FG shooting is a testament to his fantastic finishing ability and strength. He helps as a rebounder as well. 

Josh Hart - Villanova 6'5" 202 lbs. - sophomore. ...Hart is a kid that plays defense, and makes good decisions with the ball. He is shooting 40% from beyond the college arc for his career. He averages 10.4 points, and 4.4 rebounds per game. 

Treveon Graham - VCU 6'6" 220 lbs. - Senior. ...Graham projects as a utility type pro that is not afraid to mix it up. He averages 16 points and seven rebounds per game this season. Graham's basketball hero is Paul Pierce and he tries to do Pierce-like things on the court. 

Dustin Hogue - Iowa St. 6'6" 220 lbs. - Senior. ...Hogue has career averages of 10.6 points, and 6.7 rebounds per game. He shoots 39% 3-pt. 

Melo Trimble - Maryland 6'2" 175 lbs. - freshman. ...Trimble shows signs of excellence with 40% 3-pt. shooting and a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. As a freshman, he led the Big Ten in free throws made and in free throw percentage (86%). 

Elgin Cook - Oregon 6'6" 206 lbs. - sophomore. ...Cook is the son of NBA great Alvin Robertson. Cook is tremendous in the open-court, and he has an advanced mid-post game. 

James Blackmon Jr. - Indiana 6'3" 190 lbs. freshman. ...He can shoot it and he has (slightly) more assists than turnovers. Blackmon is small for a TWO guard but he has a scorer's mentality and skill to manufacture points. 

Royce O'Neale - Baylor 6'6" 220 lbs. Senior. ...You don't hear much hype about Royce O'Neale but he is a player that has compiled impressive numbers in his NCAA career (he played his first two seasons at Denver). He is shooting 47% FG, and he owns a 1.57-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

Buddy Hield - Oklahoma 6'4" 208 lbs. junior. ...The Big 12's leading scorer at 17.5 points per game. 

LaDontae Henton - Providence 6'6" 215 lbs. Senior. ...Henton plays forward but we project him as a TWO if he cracks the next level. 

Sir Dominic Pointer - St John's 6'6" 205 lbs. Senior. ...Pointer is all over the court, playing with boundless energy!

Bryce De-Jean Jones - Iowa St. 6'5" 200 lbs. Senior. ...Played at three schools in five years (USC, UNLV, and Iowa St.). 

Small forwards to watch in the Tourney. 

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