2019 NBA Draft Prospects: Point Guards

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2019 NBA Draft Prospects: Point Guards 

Post#1 » by RealGM Articles » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:47 pm

The NBA seems to want two things out of its point guards right now: the ability to hit pull-up three-pointers out of the pick-and-roll in high leverage situations, and that they are capable floor spacers to operate away from the ball when a jumbo shot creator is running offense.


The top ranked player Ja Morant is only a so-so shooter at this point of his development, but he is a high-quality shot creation machine with off the charts athleticism. He is a dot outside the curve.


But the other four players reflect the evolution of the position, with Darius Garland, Coby White and Carsen Edwards far more capable gunners than passers as of now, while Ty Jerome is a great passer but whose ability to hit spot-ups will probably be more leveraged than his high level operation in pick-and-roll.


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.


- Ja Morant (Ranked 2nd, Murray State, 19 years old, 6’3’’, 170 LBS)


Morant is the best shot creator in this draft class. The six-foot-three ball handler has a very advanced set of skills to generate offense on an every-possession basis in transition, pick-and-roll and isolation.


He has a very tight handle, an explosive first step to blow by his man on speed and a ton of shiftiness to shake his defender side-to-side out in space or manipulate him into the ball screen in the two-man game.


Morant can split double teams at the point of attack, snake the pick-and-roll, unleash in-and-out dribbles and go between the legs in the blink of an eye get into the lane at will – taking 53.1% of his live-ball attempts at the rim and earning nine foul shots per 40 minutes last season.


The 19-year-old [1] is an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic and doesn’t shy away from contact. Despite his lean 170-pound frame, Morant has shown some ability to finish through contact. He’s also a resourceful finisher in a crowd, showcasing a versatile bag of tricks to score among the trees; right-handed scoop finishes, reverses, wrong foot finishes – converting 61% of his 282 attempts at the rim, at a pace of 5.7 such makes per 40 minutes.


His best work is done as a passer, though. Morant can play with pace in the pick-and-roll waiting for slower developing passing lanes to come open and deliver crosscourt passes to the opposite end against the momentum off his body – assisting on 51.8% of Murray State’s scores when he was on the floor last season.


































































TABLE 1 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN ASSIST PERCENTAGE IN 2018-2019, AMONG PLAYERS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



AST



AST/TO



AST/40



AST%



2



Ja Morant



Murray State



331



1,9



11



51,8



87



Jaylen Hands



UCLA



201



1,9



7,8



36,5



48



Tremont Waters



LSU



192



1,7



7,2



33,5



76



Justin James



Wyoming



141



1,1



4,6



33



25



Ty Jerome



Virginia



202



3,3



6,4



32,5



Source: our stats' database



_


That said, it’s worth mentioning his risk-taking approach, often looking to squeeze jaw-dropping passes into tight windows, has a cost, as Morant averaged 5.6 turnovers per 40 minutes last season.


The Dalzell, South Carolina native is not as much of a killer outside the lane. Morant has flashed the ability to hit the occasional step-back pull-up in isolation and hit enough wide-open dribble-in pull-up three-pointers in pick-and-roll to discourage opponents from going under picks every time but hasn’t yet developed a stop-and-pop pull-up rising in traffic from midrange or a floater to score over length from the in-between area.


Morant has shown to be a capable floor spacer at this point of his development – nailing 36.3% of his 157 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 5.2 attempts per 40 minutes.


He has a low release out in front, getting little elevation off the ground to boot. But his 81.2% foul shooting on 272 free throws suggests he has the touch for his outside shooting ability to translate on spot-ups.


Morant was an uneven defender this past year.


When fully locked in, he can bend his knees to get down in a stance and has as many lateral slides in him as needed to stay in front one-on-one. He is unable to contain penetration due to his thin frame but put in the effort to contest shots.


As a weak-side defender, Morant can leverage his instincts and quickness to make plays in the passing lanes and getting his hands in the driving lanes – averaging 1.9 steals per 40 minutes.


However, it was more common to find him too spaced out, flat footed off the ball, crashing into screens at the point of attack and not hustling in pursuit to bother from behind or running shooters off the line on closeouts.


- Darius Garland (Ranked 4th, Vanderbilt, 19 years old, 6’3’’, 173 LBS)


A torn meniscus in his left knee limited Garland to just 139 minutes in college.


That’s not only won't prevent him from being picked in the lottery, but there are now late-minute rumors that the six-foot-three sniper might get drafted in the top five.


The biggest appeal is his shooting. Garland is a very versatile shooter with a quick trigger not just on catch-and-shoot jumpers but on pull-ups from deep range as well, despite his low release out in front.


He is very shifty and can create enough separation to rise in balance on a number of dribble moves operating in pick-and-roll; off side-steps, step-backs, in-and-out dribbles, hang dribbles and crossovers.


Garland has also shown to be a good shooter on the move; catching on the hop and nailing jumpers off relocating on offensive rebounds, sprinting to the ball on handoffs and coming off staggered screens.








































































TABLE 2 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN THREE-POINT SHOOTING IN 2018-2019, AMONG PLAYERS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



3PM



3PA



3P%



3P RATE



3PA/40



84



Donta Hall



Alabama



1



1



100,0%



0,5%



0



15



Bol Bol



Oregon



13



25



52,0%



18,9%



3,7



4



Darius Garland



Vanderbilt



11



23



47,8%



42,6%



6,6



21



Cameron Johnson



North Carolina



96



210



45,7%



50,4%



7,8



81



Jaylen Nowell



Washington



51



116



44,0%



26,7%



3,7



Source: our stats' database



_


The Nashville native is only a capable scorer within the arc at this point of his development but has flashed a number of resources that might pop if His body continues to develop; euro-steps and spin moves into scoop finishes, floaters off a jump-stop and stop-and-pop pull-ups getting to his spots around the elbow.


But for now, the 19-year-old [2] struggles in traffic due to a lack of explosiveness elevating off one foot, physicality to finish through contact and a running floater to score over length from the in-between area.


He’s shown flashes of capable shot creation for others as well on drop-offs off engaging the last line of defense, wraparound passes in traffic and crosscourt passes against the momentum of his body to the opposite end.


But Garland has a weak handle against ball pressure and is a poor decision maker against tenacious defense – turning the ball over on 19.6% of his possessions and posting a 0.9 assist-to-turnover ratio over the course of his short time at Vanderbilt.


He struggles even more on the other end. Garland hunches rather than bends his knees to get down in a stance, doesn’t play with a lot of intensity trying to stay in front in isolation or go over picks at the point of attack and can’t contain dribble penetration due to his small 173-pound frame.


- Coby White (Ranked 8th, North Carolina, 19 years old, 6’5’’, 191 LBS)


White profiles as a microwave scorer who can shoot you in and out of games.


The six-foot-five gunner is an aggressive shot taker off the dribble who is constantly looking for the smallest opening to get up a long bomb.


52.3% of his live-ball attempts were from three-point range and 27% of his makes from such a distance were unassisted.


































































TABLE 3 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN THREE-POINT RATE IN 2018-2019, AMONG POINT GUARDS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



3PM



3PA



3P%



3P RATE



100



Lamar Peters



Mississippi State



86



223



38,6%



64,8%



95



Kyle Guy



Virginia



120



282



42,6%



63,9%



61



Jared Harper



Auburn



98



265



37,0%



57,7%



35



Carsen Edwards



Purdue



135



380



35,5%



54,1%



8



Coby White



North Carolina



82



232



35,3%



52,3%



Source: our stats' database



_


White can elevate in balance off step-backs, side-steps, stop-and-pop’s snaking the pick-and-roll, hang dribbles and going behind the back into his pull-up. He is shown to be a capable shooter on the move as well, as North Carolina had him coming off pindown screens from time-to-time.


White has a low release out in front but catches it on the hop and gets a good deal of elevation to shoot over contests reasonably comfortably.


That said, his shot selection is extremely suspect at this point of his development. As a result, he finished the season shooting 35.3% on 232 three-point attempts, at a pace of 9.3 such attempts per 40 minutes, while also nailing just 34.8% of his 112 mid-range jumpers.


That’s even more frustrating when you consider White is a good dribble penetrator and capable passer on the move.


He’s the textbook definition of instant offense – passing ahead to speed up the pace of the game and pushing the ball up the court off makes.


In the half-court, White is shifty and can change directions in the blink of an eye. He can split double teams at the point of attack, turn the corner with speed, mix in a hesitation move to lose his guy on craft and even bulldoze smaller guards from time-to-time.


The 19-year-old [3] is not a particularly impressive shot creator for others but does show some potential in this area; flashing the ability to make the pass over the top in pick-and-roll, keep his dribble alive to probe around the lane and a patient approach waiting for slower-developing passing lanes to open up – assisting on 24.6% of North Carolina’s scores when he was on the floor.


That said, his decision making is underdeveloped, as he is prone to driving into crowds and making erratic deliveries – averaging 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.


White is a decent finisher attacking all the way to the basket – converting 67% of his 100 shots at the rim. Though more of a two-foot leaper, he’s shown explosiveness going up off the ground with power, can hang or adjust his body in the air and can finish through contact, despite his so-so 191-pound frame.


On the other end, his heart is clearly in the right place.


White hunches more than bends his knees getting down in a stance but works to go over picks at the point of attack a fair amount and hustles in pursuit to try bother than ball handler from behind.


He has a couple of lateral slides in him out in space and has flashed some ability to contain smaller players through contact.


Off the ball, White is attentive to his responsibilities picking up the roll man and leverages his instincts into making plays in the passing lanes.


His discipline comes and goes in individual defense, though. He is also prone to being overaggressive on rotations and losing his man as the opponent relocates.


Despite his height, White is not an asset to pick up wings on switches or crossmatch onto them for entire possessions due to his lack of strength. His contributions on glass were only marginal as well.


- Ty Jerome (Ranked 25th, Virginia, 21 years old, 6’5’’, 194 LBS)


Jerome offers positional versatility with his six-foot-five, 194-pound frame and his spot-up shooting ability. But he operated as a lead guard most of the time last season, generally triggering Virginia’s motion offense but also operating in middle pick-and-roll out of ball reversals or off a live dribble quite a bit.


Jerome is a very good passer off dribble penetration. He isn’t very decisive trying to turn the corner and his handle is only OK, but he is a threat to score on stop-and-pop pull-ups, which forces opponents to go over picks consistently and helps him get to the foul line area.


From there, the 21-year-old [4] can see over the top of the defense and has proven himself able to deliver crosscourt passes to the opposite end, even with his left hand against the momentum of his body – assisting on 32.5% of Virginia’s scores when he was on the floor and posting a 3.31 assist-to-turnover ratio last season.


He often keeps his dribble alive if a passing lane isn’t immediately available and does a good job of probing around the lane to try destabilizing a scrambling defense as well.








































































TABLE 4 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN ASSIST-TO-TURNOVER RATIO IN 2018-2019, AMONG PLAYERS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



MIN



TOV



AST



AST/TO



AST%



25



Ty Jerome



Virginia



1257



61



202



3,31



32,5



56



Jordan Bone



Tennessee



1219



74



215



2,91



30,3



67



Cody Martin



Nevada



1171



64



167



2,61



25,9



46



Shamorie Ponds



Saint John's



1159



65



169



2,60



29,3



61



Jared Harper



Auburn



1317



95



230



2,42



32,3



Source: RealGM



_


He is not athletic enough to get to the rim in volume but uses his craft to create separation as a consistent scoring threat from midrange, showing impressive body control on jumpers off step-backs, crossovers and pull-backs – hitting his 134 two-point shots away from the basket at a 38.1% clip, at a pace of 1.6 such makes per 40 minutes.


Jerome is a very effective player off the ball as well. He is not only a threat to make long-range attempts on spot-ups but has also shown enough versatility in his release to work sprinting off pindown screens and relocating around the wing off ball movement sequences that start with a pass of his.


The Iona Prep product has a bit of a low release out in front but goes through compact mechanics for a quick trigger and gets decent elevation to get his shot off comfortably – nailing 39.9% of his 198 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 6.3 such attempts per 40 minutes.


On the other end, he can’t be counted on to play ace defense on the ball – lacking the combination of physical profile, athletic ability and intensity needed to stay in front, contain dribble penetration and contest shots effectively.


But Jerome can execute the scheme, make some plays in the passing lanes and help some in the hidden areas of the game (clog up driving lanes, guard two guys on the weak-side and helping the helper on boxouts).


- Carsen Edwards (Ranked 35th, Vanderbilt, 21 years old, 6’0’’, 190 LBS)


Edwards is probably the most remarkable proven shooter in this draft class and figures to fit perfectly alongside one of the many jumbo shot creators that dominate the league right now, while offering tough shot making ability when needed to operate on the ball.


In his three years at Purdue, the six-foot sharpshooter nailed 36.8% of his 763 three-point shots, at a pace of 9.6 such attempts per 40 minutes.








































































TABLE 5 - TOP FIVE PLAYERS IN THREE-POINT ATTEMPTS PER 40 MINUTES IN 2018-2019, AMONG PLAYERS RANKED ON ESPN'S TOP 100



ESPN RANK



PROSPECT



TEAM



MIN



3PA



3P RATE



3PA/40



3P%



35



Carsen Edwards



Purdue



1275



380



54,1%



11,9



35,5%



7



Cameron Reddish



Duke



1069



267



61,8%



10



33,3%



8



Coby White



North Carolina



999



232



52,3%



9,3



35,3%



63



Zach Norvell, Jr.



Gonzaga



1135



261



62,4%



9,2



37,2%



43



Deividas Sirvydis



Lietuvos Rytas



898



195



70,9%



8,7



36,4%



Source: hoop-math



_


Edwards has a very quick trigger and fully extends himself for a high release. He’s proven himself able to take shots from deep range on the move, as Purdue had him sprinting off staggered screens and to the ball on handoffs.


The 21-year-old [5] is a versatile shooter off the dribble as well, showcasing the ability to hit pull-ups off step-backs, crossovers, hang dribbles, leaning in off the ball screen, stop-and-pop’s and going behind the back. 52.6% of his three-point makes were unassisted last season.





[1] DOB: 8/10/1999




[2] DOB: 1/26/2000




[3] DOB: 2/16/2000




[4] DOB: 7/7/1997




[5] DOB: 3/12/1998



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