NBA Draft 2013: Sniper/Defenders

It’s still early in the draft process and rather than rank the players, I like to let things play out at least through December. Two months is enough time for hot streaks will fade and cold starts to heat up and we’ll just have a more accurate view of what exactly is here in the class of 2013. I’ll start with the rankings in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I wanted to stay somewhat engaged by looking at recent draft success stories and try to determine if there would be any similar stories in 2013. I’ve already looked at Kenneth Faried and Chandler Parsons. Next on the list is Spurs SG Danny Green.

Green has been averaging close to 30 minutes per game for a Spurs team that is currently among the best in the league. He’s hitting the 3-pointer at a 37% clip, averaging 10 PPG and providing stellar perimeter defense. Basically he’s successfully filling the Bruce Bowen role on the Spurs. The NBA is quite a leap for Green who spent his college career as the 4th option at North Carolina behind Hansbrough, Lawson and Ellington. It’s rare that players who are the 4th leading scorer on their college teams as seniors make any impact in the NBA. Green brought solid numbers to be sure. As a senior he shot .517 on 2-pointers and .418 on 3-pointers. He scored 17.6 P40 with an RSB40 of 10.5 and an A/TO of 1.7. He looked like a solid prospect, except for the 17.6 P40. Senior SGs who score below 20.0 P40 rarely make an impact in the NBA. This has been one of the most consistent rules for prospects over the past couple of decades. This has been the case regardless of how stellar the other numbers are.

Green was in a unique situation at North Carolina though. He was already playing the Bowen role on a college team of future 1st rounders. The problem there is most NBA role players, even Bruce Bowen, were stars in college. What should have been apparent with Green is that he was proficient at every skill necessary to become a Bowen-type of player. As his numbers suggested, his defense was stellar, he could hit the 3-pointer, and he didn’t commit many turnovers. Most important he showed a willingness to step back and play an important role on a great team rather than trying to become a star.

Few teams attract the mother lode of talent North Carolina does, so few teams would ever have such a talented player as the #4 option. It’s also extremely rare for a group as talented as the 2009 Tar Heels to have played together for 3 seasons like they did. Because Green’s situation was so rare, I doubt there will be too many similar situations to his. In looking for the next Danny Green, I looked for players who could both hit the 3-pointer and put up good defensive stats. The Sniper/Defenders I’ll call them. This is the type of player that works extremely well next to a superstar. Such a player does the heavy lifting on defense and stays out of the way on offense, except when he’s need to drain a 3-pointer. I found 11 such players who have been toiling somewhat anonymously and could become draft bargains as sniper/defenders.








Fuquan Edwin







Briante Weber







Bernard Thompson







DJ Seeley







Derrick Marks







Ramon Galloway







Austin Hollins







Jordan Swing







Kevin Foster







Robert Crawford







Charles Carmouche







Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall: This piece is meant to focus on somewhat anonymous players who might be bargains in 2013 or a future draft as sniper/defenders. Edwin would have fit that description coming into the 2013 season. If he continues to play like he has so far, Edwin won’t be anonymous for long. He’ll be a top 10 draftee. He has been scoring often and efficiently from inside and outside. He’s corrected his passing weakness and has continued to play solid defense. Definitely a player to watch once the conference schedules start.

Briante Weber, VCU: According to the team’s website, Weber recorded a steal in 7% of his team’s defensive possessions as a freshman in 2012, which was the highest figure since 2003. His steals are way up this year, to an eye-popping 6.4 S40 so he’s probably ahead of that pace. He’s also an extremely low turnover guy. That’s the good part. Weber doesn’t score much or attempt many shots, but has improved his efficiency a lot so far as a soph. His .389 on 3-pointers is for only 18 attempts. He hit only .250 last year, so he has a long ways to go as a scorer. Another negative is he’s very slight, at 6’2” 165. But a player this good on defense with such freakish athleticism is better called sinewy than skinny. VCU’s havoc style of play keeps minutes low and makes it difficult for any player to stand out, but Weber has the type of dominant stats that suggest he has an NBA future. It might take a little more time and development to figure out exactly what type of future that is. He is also flashing some serious potential as an NBA PG.

Bernard Thompson, Florida Gulf Coast: Another sinewy soph who has stepped up his game nicely. Thompson is a more accomplished scorer than Weber. He has good defensive numbers so far, but because they’re up so much from his freshman year, I’d like to see him maintain this level for a while before I call him a solid defender. Same goes for his early proficiency with the 2-pointer. He also needs to get to turnovers down. Right now he’s a young player with some work to do who has flashed enough that he merits watching.

DJ Seeley, Cal State-Fullerton: Like a lot of players that follow, Seeley seems to have found a groove after an up-and-down career that included a transfer. After two seasons of minimal impact at Cal, he ended up at Fullerton and became their top scorer. He was something of a mad bomber last year and that has continued in his senior year. But he’s also upped his steals a lot, improved his 2-point pct. and is passing the ball better. At this point he might be better considered a combo than a SG. He’s a 23 year-old 5th-year senior and those guys should always be analyzed with caution.

Derrick Marks, Boise State: Marks has led the Broncos to a surprising start in his sophomore year. His offense is erratic, but he does get a lot of steals and has some potential as a gunner. He has shown some good skills, but has a ways to go. Right now he’s nothing more than a name to keep in mind for the draft of ’14 or ’15.

Ramon Galloway, LaSalle: A senior with a transfer (South Carolina) in his past, Galloway is having his best year. He’s a terrific shooter, hitting .435 this year after a .442 mark in 2012. His defensive numbers have improved also. Right now he’s a player who followed up 3 ordinary seasons with a great start to his final year. As is the case with Seeley, I’m leery of any player who breaks out as a senior. But such players can’t be ignored.

Austin Hollins, Minnesota: Hollins is in a situation that’s somewhat similar to Danny Green’s. He’s on one of the top teams in the country and is playing a Bowen-type of role. Now the Gophers of 2013 are just a team that has the potential to land a top 2 or 3 seed, but are only a marginal championship contender and nowhere near the team the ’09 Tar Heels were. What I like about Hollins is he’s a strong defense/low turnover player. His offense has been too inefficient to consider him much of a pro prospect. If he can get back to last year from behind the arc, when he hit 37%, he’ll look much better as a potential NBA sniper/defender.

Jordan Swing, UAB: A 4th-year junior who is a year away from dreaded 5th-year senior status. He has posted across the board improvement so far this year. He doesn’t have the dominant S40 number most of the others have, but 1.9 is still pretty solid. Like the other listed here, his future depends on whether he can maintain and build on what has been a great start.

Kevin Foster, Santa Clara: Another mad bomber, who is also a 5th-year senior. This is the first year Foster has posted an S40 anywhere near this dominant, so it should be taken with a grain of sea salt until he maintains it into February. His biggest issue has been inefficient scoring from all over the court. His 3-point percentage is down to .333 after a career high of .386 last year. He’ll need a repeat of the .386 and to maintain the high S40 to get a call on draft day.

Robert Crawford, Central Arkansas: A 5th-year senior, Crawford missed a couple seasons along the way and only logged 499 minutes total of NCAA court time coming into this season. I’m having trouble finding out what his story is, because Google searches are muddled by some annoying Australian poet with the same name. I did find that he played some JUCO ball. He’s off to a great start in his final season. That’s good, but he has a lot to prove and a short time to do it.

Charles Carmouche, LSU: A 5th-year senior playing at his 3rd school. He’s never been a high volume scorer and this year is no different. He isn’t a case like Danny Green, whose skills were obscured by a talented roster. Carmouche has struggled to stand out on ordinary teams while attending New Orleans, Memphis and now LSU. For that reason he’s beyond a long shot to make the NBA. What he has going for him is a career of solid defensive numbers and a decent ability to hit a 3-pointer.

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