In the previous piece on passing PGs, I mentioned the overall weakness of the 2012 PG class. This is the weakest group in years and seems likely to be the weakest for years to come. That leads to us analysts looking hard in an attempt to find something where there is nothing. Since I do like to weigh in on as many players as possible, here are what I would call the best of the rest of the 2012 PG field. All are players whose numbers didn’t quite measure up, but might be worth a late 2nd round draft pick or a free agent look-see in the summer league.
If you’re looking for Damian Lillard and Tony Wroten, a couple of prospects listed as PGs in some of the mocks, they’ll be covered with the combo guards. Propsects are listed in order of how I would draft them all other things being equal. The numbers listed after the names are in order, 2-point pct, 3-point pct, points per 40 minutes, assists per 40 minutes, steals per 40 minutes, RSB per 40 minutes and assist-turnover ratio.
Marquis Teague, Kentucky: .438, .325, 12.1, 5.8, 1.1, 4.5, 1.4. Teague is just a freshman, so he has the upside thing going for him that the others don’t. That makes him the top guy here, as upside is something of an unknown. Considering he was a top 10 player nationally coming in, the idea that he’s a NBA talent whose numbers were supressed by all the talent in Kentucky isn’t completely out of the realm. It’s also worth noting that a couple of recent PGs who played under Calipari in college, Derrick Rose and Brandon Knight, have outperformed their college numbers. Considering his age and a small shred of anecdotal evidence, there is a decent likelihood that Teague will be a better NBA player than his freshman numbers suggest.
Teague still has a long way to go and has to be considered a longshot to get there. His efficiency and defensive numbers are dangerously low. It would be easier to buy into the idea that his numbers were suppressed if his percentages were higher. The only real skill he has shown is passing and it’s a good bet those numbers were actually boosted by the talent on the UK roster. He’s worth a 2nd-round pick, because of that upside thing but he’s a project who seems unlikely to make much of an impact.
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas: .522, .382, 19.5, 5.6, 1.6, 4.5, 1.4. Taylor actually played the best ball of his career the last couple of months and helped lead Kansas to the championship game in the process. That’s good, but that it took him this long to get there is a problem. The most troubling thing about Taylor to me is his low RSB40. He’s below 4.5 and that’s too low to ignore. It’s extremely rare for a player with such a low number to make much of an impact. Subjectively I like him better. When I watch him play, he looks much more athletic than the low RSB40 number suggests. He offers the most impressive passing/scoring combination of any player here. If there is a player who could buck my system and succeed in the pros after posting a low college RSB40, Taylor seems like a good candidate. History is a tough thing to go up against though, so success seems unlikely for Taylor.
Scoop Jardine, Syracuse, .534, .379, 14.1, 7.8, 2.1, 6.0, 2.1: Jardine is the best bet of this group to stick around the league in a reserve role. He lacks the upside of Teague and Taylor, so I dropped him to 3rd. As a pass-first, low-mistake PG he can run an offense, distribute the ball and score efficiently enough when needed. He looks like a player who has what it takes to become a decent backup/emergency starter. He might even be able to offer some help immediately, as he’s been a 3-year starter in the Big East.
Lazeric Jones, UCLA, .460, .378, 16.5, 5.0, 2.3, 6.8, 1.6: I think we’ve all read or heard about how UCLA guards have outperformed their college numbers in recent years. Farmar, Westbrook, Collison and Afflalo have all done well as pros at some level, despite mediocre prospect numbers in college. While this doesn’t make Jones a lock for an NBA roster spot it’s enough of a trend that, combined with his decent numbers, he’s worth a mention.
Reggie Hamilton, Oakland, .467, .420, 28.8, 5.7, 2.2, 6.4, 1.4: A small college mad bomber. Hamilton put himself on the map as a prospect with a great season as a 5th-year senior. While that’s better than a 5th year of mediocrity, it doesn’t make him a prospect. Dominating small college players as a 23 year-old just isn’t as impressive as coming in and dominating as a freshman. In addition, Hamilton’s numbers are best described as good, but not great. He scores a lot of points, but is more of a streaky, inefficient shooter. He’s also turnover-prone. I give him an outside chance of making it, because he can fill it up.
Jorge Gutierrez, California, .475, .329, 16.2, 5.1, 1.5, 8.3, 1.8: I felt Gutierrez was worth a mention because he has the 8+ RSB40 and his other numbers are decent enough. I’m admittedly reaching here, but such is the lot of the 2012 PG class.
Tu Holloway, Xavier, .471, .346. 18.7, 5.2, 1.6, 5.6, 1.6: Tu’s best asset is his ability to get to the line. He leads this group in number of points from the line per attempts, which is a great skill for any PG to have on his resume. This makes him a candidate to knock around the league for a few years as a reserve. Overall his numbers are too weak to think he can accomplish much more than that.
Zach Rosen, Penn, .489, .399, 20.1, 5.8, 1.5, 5.1, 1.9
Dee Bost, Mississippi St, .444, .346, 17.6, 6.2, 2.2, 6.2, 1.8
Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin, .426, .356, 17.6, 4.9, 1.2, 5.8, 2.6
Casper Ware, Long Beach State, .459, .356, 20.6, 4.0, 1.6, 4.6, 1.4
J’Covan Brown, Texas, .450, .369, 22.3, 4.2, 1.3, 5.1, 1.4: Five players I have seen pop up in 2nd rounds in some of the mocks. All were good college players. There honestly isn’t much to like about any one of them as a pro prospect. While the players listed above this last group have something in their numbers that make them semi-intriguing, these five come up short in every stat. Any one of them could stick as a 3rd-stringer somewhere provided they get themselves in the right situation, work hard and impress the right people. That’s the ceiling of this group.