Point Guard Talent Runs Deep In NBA Draft
Conley Jr., Law IV lead talented point guard class in 2007 NBA Draft
- Mock Drafts: May 4 | May 23 | June 5 | June 19
- Features: Top Ten Seniors | Freshmen Decisions | Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | The Bust Ratio
- Player Profiles: Arron Afflalo | The Florida Four | Glen Davis | Rodney Stuckey
- Position Breakdown: Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Small Fowards | Power Forwards | Centers
- Questions for the Analysts: Week 1 - Oden or Durant | Green and Hibbert | Nick Young
Week 2 - Brady Quinn Scenario | Second Round Stars | Hurt By Staying
Week 3 - Top Sleepers | Most Overrated | Picks Three Through Five
- Look Back: 2006 NBA Draft | 2002 NBA Draft | 1997 NBA Draft | 1992 NBA Draft | 1987 NBA Draft
- Look Ahead: Making a Mockery of the 2008 NBA Draft
- Draft Night: NBA Draft Superlatives
June 6, 2007
By Steve Aschburner
Special to CSTV.com from The Sports Xchange
Height makes right in the NBA, based on the old Economics 101 laws of supply and demand.
As former Boston Celtics great turned Minnesota Timberwolves vice president Kevin McHale often says, "I can go to any street corner in the city and find five guys who are 6-foot-1. Show me the street corner where the 7-footers are."
The 2007 NBA Draft, though, likely will turn McHale's view a little topsy-turvy. General Managers and personnel evaluators haven't been overly impressed with the crop of available point guards this spring, and it's possible that fewer than a dozen will be selected among the 60 picks of the first and second rounds.
That doesn't necessarily mean they're scarce. And it doesn't suggest the NBA soon will be shifting from its current trend of small ball. The number of power forwards playing center, shooting guards moving to small forward and shorties bringing up the ball still is driven by necessity, not any conspiracy against the unusually tall.
But there's evenness to the point guard class after the first four or five prospects, which makes teams confident they can find players among the undrafted invitees to summer leagues and training camps. Here is a glimpse of the Top 10 point guard prospects:
1. Mike Conley Jr., Ohio State, Freshman, 6'1'', 180
Conley is the consensus choice as the draft's top point guard after his quarterbacking of the Buckeyes to the Final Four. He is a super-quick ball-handler with great ability to penetrate, and he has a pass-first outlook that's not easy to find these days. Playing with Greg Oden helped him learn to navigate and pass to a big man. His outside shooting needs work, but the biggest question on Conley concerns his single year of college experience. Point guards usually need more seasoning, as shown by the likes of Sebastian Telfair and Monta Ellis (until this season). An instant impact would be asking a lot.
2. Acie Law IV, Texas A&M, Senior, 6'3'', 195
Scouts like his size and strength at this position and the way he takes care of the ball. Law made 50 percent of his field goal attempts as a senior, reflecting his ability to slash and the confidence he has in his mid-range shot. Athletically, Law isn't as fast or quick as others, and that shows up at times in his defense.
Crittenton's size is his greatest asset. His height opens up his view and passing angles over rival point guards. There's value in that, though many NBA teams have gone away from big points. Crittenton shot better at George Tech than many expected (45 percent from the field and 36 percent from the arc), has good quickness and takes charge on offense. He can get reckless with the ball and defensively gets caught reaching.
4. Gabe Pruitt, USC, Junior, 6'4'', 270
Pruitt is raw as a playmaker, much more developed as a scorer, leading to questions about whether he's a true point guard. But he has the quickness and the knack for getting to the basket, and he should be fine from the NBA three-point line. With the necessary confidence and athletic ability, Pruitt just needs more work, coaching and game experience to learn his craft.
5. Taurean Green,
Green has tremendous confidence, boosted by the Gators' success the past two seasons. He's a bold and competent outside shooter and aggressive at heading into the paint and taking punishment. Playing with NBA-quality big men has helped him but might have caused some carelessness, too, in the form of turnovers. His size is borderline, and he didn't have to carry the leadership load for the
6. Jared Jordan, Marist, Senior, 6'2'', 190
Sessions impressed folks in
Size and strength are his biggest (and smallest?) issues, given the physical demands he'd face in the NBA. He has the quickness you'd expect and he keeps opponents close enough, setting up the drive with a pretty reliable mid-range game. As speedy as you'd expect, Brooks is strong in transition, finishing and dishing, and he's solid at the foul line. He shows poise but doesn't always have the game on a leash, and he'll neglect his playmaking chores for stretches.
Singletary didn't fare so well at the
10. Dominic James, Marquette, Sophomore, 5'11'', 180
Leaping ability is what makes James stand out to fans, but that doesn't figure to be enough for the scouts. He is compact and strong, a decent finisher and a surprising rebounder. His quickness is an asset at both ends, and he works hard defensively. But opposing point guards will be able to back him down. James' shooting range isn't great, another reason why he's at his best in an open-court game.
Steve Aschburner is a senior NBA reporter and columnist, covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for 13 seasons and serving as president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association from 2005-07.