With this lull in games for the Bobcats my attention has been turning to college basketball and watching some of the upcoming draft prospects. Though we won't have a clear idea of what picks we will have until we are closer to the end of the season, I feel looking at players that would be picked from the 10-30 pick range are all fair game. I hear the Marcus Smarts, and the Aaron Gordons, but in all honesty I doubt those players fall to us. And if they do, is that exactly what this team needs? Do we take the best player available no questions asked? IMHO we need to take a serious look at swingmen, being that we still have no developing talent that can nail threes for us. Behind that I would say we could get ourselves a high quality back up PG, another PF.
So what are our options available at the 10-30 pick range that interest me? Quite a few actually. This post will mainly focus on swingmen. Depending on feedback I may give my 2 cents on the PGs and PFs as well.
TOP SWINGMEN (In order of my perceived value):
1. Rodney Hood, Duke, Soph, 6-8, 215lbs
With strength, size, athleticism, and sweet efficiency Hood would be my obvious first choice. His three point shooting alone is enough to sell most at 44% from beyond the arc making 2.1 a game. His game goes inside of the arc as well as he is a decent ball handler, passer, and slasher. While his main game is jump shooting his FG percentage is a very solid 48%, making 16.3 points a game. Hood is no slouch on the defense end either, as he uses his length and quickness to stop offensive players. Parker might be getting all the attention at Duke right now, but Hood was the one still scoring when Parker was having his off nights.
2. PJ Hairston, D-League (Jr.), 6-6, 230lbs
At the risk of sounding like an ACC homer, I am putting Hairston in here as the strong second. While there may be some plausible "red flags" to be concerned about here, I personally feel he hasn't done anything that could hurt a professional team's locker room and chemistry. He was a stud for UNC and has now become an excellent scorer in the D-League, scoring 22.7 points a game at a 44.6% clip. 3 point shooting for Hairston has been a strength as well as he is making 2.8 a game at 36%. Though not as long or tall as Rodney Hood, Hairston has a thick strong body that he is able to move quite well to attack and defend very adequately. Not known as an offensive playmaker, his presence on the defensive side of the floor is felt with 2 steals a game. Watching Hairston in the D-League and hoping he won't get jaded will be big things for me this season.
3. Sam Dekker, Wisconson, Soph, 6-8, 220lbs
Dekker is my favorite underrated swingman right now because he is a consummate glue guy with above average scoring ability. If you haven't watched this guy play yet you are going to be impressed with his high basketball IQ and positive impact he has on his team. Dekker scores 13.6 pts a game at 48%, which isn't on the high level that we see from other prospects, but that number has been trending upwards as Dekker gains confidence. He shoots the 3 pt ball fairly well at 1.3 makes per game at 34%, which has actually gone down from 39% last year. While this is slightly concerning, I have found that he is usually the last second clutch shot guy for their team. Another big thing to note is Dekker's rebounding ability, grabbing 6 rebounds a game. From what I have watched, many of those rebounds are offensive boards. He has great length that makes him an adept defender, and while a little on the lighter side, has a large frame that should fill out nicely. While not the flashy player some might be looking for with a high pick, he is certainly a gem for his highly positive game impact alone.
4.Gary Harris, Michigan State, Soph, 6-4, 210lbs
Gary is rated higher on a lot of draft boards than I have him here, and rightfully so as he has shown to be a solid three point shooter with above average athleticism that allows him to explode to the basket quickly. Skill sets that should no doubt translate to the professional level. He scores 17.9 points a game, making 2.5 threes, and a crafty 2 steals! His ability is certainly proven at the collegiate level. So why do I have him so low you may be asking? Two issues: height and efficiency. Kemba is our point guard. 6-1, 184lbs, volume scoring Kemba. Is the answer going to be another "shorter" guard that is also a volume scorer (making those 17.9 with 42% accuracy, 3 pt: 34%)? I am not too sure, so I have him here based on being a more poor fit for the team. On the flip side he could be an excellent 6th man option, but I don't see the long term fit.
5. Nik Stauskas, Michigan, Soph, 6-6, 205lbs
I actually really like Stauskas and really wish I could have ranked him higher in this ranking, but despite his killer offensive instincts there are some questionable flaws that can't be overlooked. Stauskas came out of nowhere this season to firmly take the reigns in Michigan as the leading scorer, filling a gaping hole left behind by previous leading scorers Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. He has been the driving force behind the Michigan offense as not only an extremely efficient shooter (scoring 17 points at 49% from the field, and 45% for 3 pointers!), but as a clever and reliable play maker (3.5 assists). In fact its his playmaking skills that have attracted me the most, as he could be an excellent compliment to our current rotation. What hurts a nearly perfect fitting player like Stauskas is his lack of length and defensive impact. While he has certainly put on some muscle this year compared to last, his frame is average, and his length at 6-7 is average. I may be over reacting, but I can see him being a weak link on a strong defensive team, and that is not something we need.
6. James Young, Kentucky, Fresh, 6-6, 216lbs
Another guy there has been a lot of hype about, and I can certainly see why. Ranked 5th best recruit by ESPN in his 2013 class, James Young comes in with a great body, a large wingspan, and a talent for scoring. As the wing for Kentucky Young scores 14.6 points, and makes 2.2 threes a game. He is not necessarily a glue guy, as he is counted on to do a lot of scoring for the Wildcats (the 2nd leading scorer after Julius Randle). His shooting is not always reliable though, as he is at 41% from the field, but if he is shooting behind the arc he makes a respectable 34%. As only a freshman, potential says the sky is the limit for this still quite raw athlete. As a more conservative scout and analyst I tend to shy away from such a young and questionable project. While it may seem that all of our current projects have turned out for good, I am wary to take on another when there is immediate help available.
There may be some more that I haven't mentioned, and I am always in the mood for a good debate so let me know what you really think about these guys. Take some time to give them a good look before commenting though, just like I did.