2019 NBA Draft Prospects: Shooting Guards

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2019 NBA Draft Prospects: Shooting Guards 

Post#1 » by RealGM Articles » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:19 pm

Jumbo shot creators are in vogue in the NBA right now and this group reflects that demand.


The top two players, RJ Barrett and Jarrett Culver, were responsible for generating offense in pick-and-roll and isolation in volume, while Kevin Porter, Jr. unleashed a barrage of those step-back pull-ups that the league is having such a hard time defending these days.


What this group lacks is above average shooting, however, with only Tyler Herro projecting as someone who can be moved around the floor and generate consistent gravity without having to touch the ball.


ESPN’s top 100 was used as the guide for the positions and rankings cited, for organization purposes.


The stats cited in this post were researched at our own stats’ database and hoop-math and the measurements cited were researched at NBA.com/stats/ and Draft Express’ database.


Let’s dive into the specifics.


- RJ Barrett (Ranked 3rd, Duke, 19 years old, 6’7, 202 LBS)


Barrett lost some shine over the course of his one year at Duke, as his iffy shot selection and erratic decision making rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.


But the remains a prospect with superstar potential in the eyes of many. The six-foot-seven slasher has proven himself able to create for himself and others against a set defense, while flashing enough of a three-point shot to be considered a reasonable floor spacer away from the ball.


His efficiency leaves a lot to be desired at this point of his development, as does the consistency of his effort on defense. But there aren’t all that many players with his combination of physical profile, skill level and experience at his age walking around available.


Besides his 1,341 minutes of NCAA experience at Duke, the 19-year-old [1] has accumulated 521 minutes in FIBA tournaments at the youth level dating back to 2016 and has already made his debut for the Canadian National Team at the senior level.


Barrett is a ball stopper who prefers operating in isolation out of ball reversals and catches on the elbow extended area jogging around pindown screens. He doesn’t have an explosive first step or particularly impressive shiftiness but has shown the ability to get by his man on change of speeds, hesitation moves and going to behind the back or between the legs crossovers.


He does a decent job of protecting the ball on the move and can unleash euro-steps to weave his way through traffic, though he is more likely to bulldoze his way forward through contact thanks to the strength in his chiseled 202-pound frame – taking 38.5% of his shots at the rim last season, at a pace of 8.1 such attempts per 40 minutes.


Barrett is an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic and can finish through contact as he is not shy of driving into the chest of shot blockers to try neutralizing them, while also mixing in some finesse finger-roll and extended finishes among the trees from time-to-time – converting 64.4% of his 270 shots at the rim, at a pace of 5.2 such makes per 40 minutes.


































































TABLE 1 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN FIELD GOAL MAKES PER 40 MINUTES AT THE RIM IN THE NCAA IN 2018-2019, AMONG SHOOTING GUARDS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



RIM FGA



RIM FGM



RIM FGA/40



RIM FGM/40



3



R.J. Barrett



Duke



270



174



8,1



5,2



66



John Konchar



Purdue Fort Wayne



196



139



6,9



4,9



6



Jarrett Culver



Texas Tech



219



147



7,1



4,8



26



Luguentz Dort



Arizona State



199



103



7,4



3,8



52



Miye Oni



Yale



138



80



6,1



3,6



Source: hoop-math



_


The Ontario native is a capable shot maker off the bounce when kept away from the basket, as he is able to rise in balance on two-dribble pull-ups and shoot over the top of most opponents in isolation, but his efficiency on these looks doesn’t match how often he takes them – nailing just 36.9% of his 195 two-point shots away from the basket last season, at a pace of 5.2 such attempts per 40 minutes.


His most promising work was done operating in middle pick-and-roll, where he flashed a patient approach playing with pace and some impressive court vision on the move on crosscourt passes to the opposite end and tossing up lobs off engaging the last line of defense – assisting on 23.5% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor.


But his decision making on the fly tends to be very questionable, as Barrett often missed open teammates off drawing two to the ball, drove into crowds an unsettling amount and is extremely charge prone.


Off the ball, he only offers so-so value at this point. He has a low release out in front but is pretty tall to begin with, gets decent elevation to shoot over contests more often than not and gets a good arc on his shot when his feet are well set. That said, he is a bit stiff with his mechanics at times and struggles when forced to rush through them – nailing just 30.8% of his 237 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 7.1 such attempts per 40 minutes.


On the other end, the Montverde Academy product has shown potential of decent individual defense when engaged but was generally disappointing for the most part.


Barrett can bend his knees to get down in a stance, slide laterally to stay in front, contain dribble penetration through toughness and guards with his arms up to discourage pull-ups. In those good days, he also put in the effort to contest catch-and-shoot jumpers on closeouts, rotated in to help crowd the area near the basket and even challenged shots at the rim via verticality.


But his effort comes and goes in isolation defense, as he is at times too spaced out and prone to biting on head fakes meant to get him out of position. Most of the time, Barrett doesn’t leverage his athleticism into making an impact on this end. He doesn’t run shooters off their shots, is a tentative help defender who doesn’t use his length to clog driving lanes, gets lost off the ball sometimes, gets back-cut an unpleasant amount and doesn’t help the helper by boxing out whoever is close by.


- Jarrett Culver (Ranked 6th, Texas Tech, 20 years old, 6’6’’, 194 LBS)


Culver was the 312th ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class [2].


Two years later, he is likely to end up drafted in the top five on Thursday night.


The 20-year-old [3] profiles as a secondary shot creator who offers good on-ball defense but his leadership of Texas Tech to the national championship game has many people projecting superstar potential onto him. Culver acted as the primary option on offense and proved himself capable of creating for himself or others against a set defense at that level.


His most promising work was done in middle high pick-and-roll where Culver impressed with his ability to play with pace, see over the top against hedges or traps, hit the roll man off freezing the drop defender, make crosscourt passes to the opposite end in traffic and deliver wraparound passes among the trees – assisting on 26.1% of Texas Tech’s scores when he was on the floor last season.








































































TABLE 2 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN ASSIST PERCENTAGE IN 2018-2019, AMONG SHOOTING GUARDS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



MIN



AST



AST/TO



AST/40



AST%



76



Justin James



Wyoming



1221



141



1,1



4,6



33



25



Ty Jerome



Virginia



1257



202



3,3



6,4



32,5



66



John Konchar



Purdue Fort Wayne



1131



179



2,0



6,3



29,3



6



Jarrett Culver



Texas Tech



1234



142



1,4



4,6



26,1



22



Nickeil Alexander-Walker



Virginia Tech



1167



135



1,4



4,6



24,7



Source: our stats' database



_


As a scoring threat, he has a bag of tricks to get to his preferred spots around the elbow off hesitation moves, hang dribbles, crossovers and step-backs. Culver is a bit too in love with the midrange jumper at times – taking them at a pace of 5.5 such attempts per 40 minutes, while hitting just a third of such looks.


He’s shown more of a preference for operating in isolation, though. Culver does quite a bit of catching-and-holding and loves to jab step before attacking his man but does look very smooth putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position.


He doesn’t have a tight handle or an explosive first step but can get to the basket on straight line drives by maintaining his balance through contact or shaking his defender off balance with in-and-out dribbles, behind the back change of directions and euro-stepping or pivoting into a well-coordinated spin move to weave his way through traffic – taking 39.7% of his live-ball attempts at the rim and averaging 6.7 foul shots per 40 minutes.


The Lubbock native is an explosive leaper off one foot off momentum, can hang or adjust his body in the air and can finish through contact, though his touch on lefty finishes is a bit iffy – converting 67.1% of 219 shots at the rim, at a pace of 4.8 such makes per 40 minutes.


Culver can post up smaller players on switches and softer wings in a pinch, showing a patient approach operating with his back to the basket and proving himself as a triple threat option from that spot as well. He can create separation for turnaround fadeaway jumpers or righty hooks over the top, has shown good court vision on crosscourt passes to the opposite side and attack stiffer types off a rip-through move on face-ups.


The only big limitation in his offense at this point of his development regards his spot-up shooting. Culver has improved his release in terms of fluidity in comparison to his freshman year but still struggles with launching the ball from a consistent point every time and remains a somewhat mechanical shooter with a pronounced dip for rhythm – nailing just 30.4% of his 161 three-point attempts last season, at a pace of 5.2 such attempts per 40 minutes.


On the other end, Culver bends his knees to get down in a stance, slides laterally to stay in front out in space and does a good job of leveraging his length contesting pull-ups or enveloping smaller types in isolation defense, as he’s shown he is suited to switch or crossmatch onto them credibly.


Culver can not only hang with guards on straight line drives but also impressed with his side-to-side quickness staying attached to shiftier types and directing them towards the proper help.


He hasn’t shown to be as suited to guard bigger players, even bigger wings, lacking bulk in his lean 194-frame in the context of his six-foot-six height.


As a weak-side defender, Culver is attentive and proactive to his responsibilities crashing inside to crowd the area near the basket or help the helper. He only leverages his athletic ability into blocking some shots on occasion but is was a major asset in rebounding – collecting 17.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.


- Tyler Herro (Ranked 18th, Kentucky, 19 years old, 6’6’’, 192 LBS)


Herro did work on the ball prior to arriving at Kentucky but was converted to a second side specialist during his time in Lexington. The team that drafts him will probably do so hoping he pops into a star once given some more shot creation responsibility, in the mold of predecessors Devin Booker and Jamal Murray. He didn’t have many opportunities to operate against a set defense in middle pick-and-roll in college, so that’s tough to foresee.


But Herro flashed tough shot making ability and decent passing off touches on handoffs and coming off pindown screens. He has a quick trigger and fluid mechanics, catching on the hop, dipping very quickly for rhythm, getting a good deal elevation and fully extending himself for a high release to get his shot off comfortably off the catch prior to or over closeouts.


The six-foot-six gunner also nailed shots off roll-and-replace and is expected to become the sort of shooter whose movement can be leveraged into creating gravity. He nailed just 35.5% of his 169 three-point attempts last season, at a pace of 5.3 such attempts per 40 minutes, but 46.9% shooting on 147 mid-range jumpers and 93.5% foul shooting on 93 free throws suggest he is likely to become a very good long range shooter in the pros.


Putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position, Herro showed a somewhat versatile collection of dribble moves to get decent shots one-on-one and off side pick-and-roll – fake spinning and going back the other way for step-back jumpers, crossing over and in-and-out dribbling into his pull-up, rising in balance on stop-and-pop jump-shots from the elbow and unleashing a floater off a jump-stop.


He is not much of a threat to get to the basket, though. Herro can mix in some hesitation moves and looks to high step his way through traffic but doesn’t have an explosive first step and can’t maintain his balance or his momentum forward through contact – taking just 21.6% of his live-ball attempts at the rim and averaging just 3.1 foul shots per 40 minutes.


But he impressed some with his passing on the fly; showcasing passes over the top to the big man slipping to the rim off handoffs, tossing up lobs off curling around pindown screens, making jump-passes on side pick-and-rolls and flashing a hammer pass off a rare deep dribble drive – assisting on 15.2% of Kentucky’s scores when he was on the floor and posting a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.


The 19-year-old [4] plays harder than he is given credit for on defense. He hustles back in transition, bends his knees to get down in a stance, puts in the effort to slide laterally and stay attached, works go over picks at the point of attack and hustles in pursuit to bother the ball handler from behind, is attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly and puts up a fight to front the post when he finds himself matched up with a bigger player.


But Herro simply lacks the physical profile and the athletic ability to be any sort of a special presence on that end. His short six-foot-three wingspan limits him from being able to envelop smaller players and he doesn’t have the physicality to contain dribble penetration or pick up bigger players on switches.


- Kevin Porter Jr. (Ranked 20th, USC, 19 years old, 6’5’’, 212 LBS)


Porter, Jr. is a walking hesitation move.


He is not explosive or all that quick with the ball, so he developed the ability to play in his own pace. However, that mostly translated into a number of step-back pull-ups and a bunch of turnovers in college.


71.5% of his live-ball attempts were taken away from the basket, with just 10 of his 57 makes from such a range assisted, and he turned the ball over on 17.9% of his possessions last season.








































































TABLE 3BOTTOM FIVE PLAYERS IN TURNOVER PERCENTATE IN 2018-2019, AMONG SHOOTING GUARDS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



MIN



USG%



TOV



TOV/40



TOV%



74



Adam Mokoka



Mega Bemax



908



20,4



90



4



20,8



78



Josh Reaves



Penn State



1055



19,2



79



3



19,6



20



Kevin Porter, Jr.



USC



464



23,5



39



3,4



17,9



81



Jaylen Nowell



Washington



1240



25,3



106



3,4



17,7



22



Nickeil Alexander-Walker



Virginia Tech



1167



26,4



97



3,3



17,1



Source: our stats' database



_


Porter, Jr. is quite left hand dominant and likes to reject screens too much in pick-and-roll. He has proven himself capable of creating separation for his step-back pull-ups off head fakes and crossovers but his efficiency off the bounce was mixed, as he hit just 28.5% of his 35 mid-range shots but did nail 13 unassisted three-pointers in 21 appearances.


Porter, Jr. needs to work on guide hand discipline in his follow through but shot the ball well on spot-ups. He has a low release out in front and doesn’t yet have a quick trigger but gets a good deal of elevation and proved himself capable of shooting over closeouts more often than not in college – nailing 41.2% of his 68 three-point attempts, at a pace of 5.9 such attempts per 40 minutes.


When he took it all the way to the rim on straight line drives attacking closeouts or getting his man out of position with his head fake, Porter, Jr. was a decent, if unimpressive finisher. He is not explosive enough to go up with power off one foot in traffic and often tries to set up two-foot leaps off a jump-stop but can hang and adjust his body in the air for reverses among the trees.


He is yet to show much of anything in terms of being able to create for others, though, with most of his assists coming on extra passes around the horn.


The 19-year-old [5] is a reasonably good defender on the ball when engaged. He works to go over picks at the point of attack in pick-and-roll defense and has a couple of lateral slides in him and can contain dribble penetration some with his well-distributed 212-pound frame, though he is prone to biting on shot fakes.


Off the ball, he is more of a mixed bag.


The Seattle native is attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly or helping the helper with boxouts and gets his hand into the driving lanes from time-to-time.


But he is often flat footed on the weak-side side, doesn’t always pick up the roll man, isn’t an asset to help protect the rim and his hustle on closeouts leave a lot to be desired.


- Nickeil Alexander-Walker (RANKED 22ND, Virginia Tech, 20 years old, 6’5’’, 203 LBS)


Alexander-Walker profiles as a wing who offers the versatility to crossmatch onto smaller point guards on the ball for entire possessions.


He bends his knees to get down in a stance, works to go over picks at the point of attack and, though he gets disrupted some, hustles in pursuit to bother from the side with his six-foot-nine wingspan.


Alexander-Walker has also proven himself able to chase shooters around staggered screens by negotiating picks well and hustling on hard closeouts to contest catch-and-shoot jumpers effectively with his eight-foot-seven standing reach.


He is not as well suited to pick up bigger players on switches, even bigger wings, lacking the strength and the physicality to play stout post defense.


As a weak-side defender, the Toronto native isn’t as quick to consistently run shooters off their shots on stunt-and-recover’s from the elbow to the corner but can force run them off the line on shorter closeouts and has proven he is able to do so while staying in balance to stay attached off the dribble.


Alexander-Walker does well leveraging his length by making plays in the passing lanes and clogging driving lanes, besides using his active hands to go for strips on the ball – averaging 2.2 steals per 40 minutes last season.


































































TABLE 4 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN STEAL PERCENTAGE IN 2018-2019, AMONG SHOOTING GUARDS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



MIN



STL



STL/40



STL%



78



Josh Reaves



Penn State



1055



80



3



4,5



22



Nickeil Alexander-Walker



Virginia Tech



1167



64



2,2



3,4



66



John Konchar



Purdue Fort Wayne



1131



65



2,3



3,1



40



Terence Davis



Mississippi



1024



54



2,1



3



25



Ty Jerome



Virginia



1257



57



1,8



3



Source: our stats' database



_


He is attentive to his responsibilities stepping in to help crowd the area near the basket but isn’t an asset to help protect the rim and his contributions on the defensive glass are average.


On the other end, Alexander-Walker figures to be a standstill floor spacer in the pros. He has an odd release, launching the ball from the side, but gets good elevation to let it go from a high point and managed to get his shot off over closeouts and get a good arc under it in college – nailing 37.4% of his 155 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 5.3 such attempts per 40 minutes.


That said, the 20-year-old [6] ran some middle high pick-and-roll at Virginia Tech and impressed with some of his craft and his reads on the move; flashing some ability to play with pace while mixing in a hesitation move, engaging the help to free up the strongside corner at times and proving himself able to make the skip pass back to the screener in the pick-and-pop – assisting on 24.7% of Virginia Tech’s scores when he was on the floor.


Alexander-Walker doesn’t yet have a quick first step or a tight handle and sometimes drives into crowds but has shown a somewhat balanced scoring approach operating off the ball screen. He can take it all the way to the basket on straight line drives by maintaining his balance through contact, taking 38.7% of his live-ball attempts at the rim, and proved himself a functional pull-up shooter off creating enough space on step-backs, nailing 40.7% of his midrange attempts.





[1] DOB: 6/14/2000




[2] According to 247 Sports




[3] DOB: 2/20/1999




[4] DOB: 1/20/2000




[5] DOB: 5/4/2000




[6] DOB: 9/2/1998



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