NBA Scouting Reports, Northwest Division (Part Two)

NBA Scouting Reports, Northwest Division (Part Two)
Aug 29, 2008, 10:02 pm
Continuing our series of articles filling out our database with scouting reports of every single NBA player, we look at the next team in the Northwest division, the Utah Jazz.

As a reminder, we are not currently profiling rookies or sophomores, but you should be able to find in-depth scouting reports on every player of note by clicking their profiles or using our search engine above.

Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers
Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat
Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards
Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets

Utah Jazz

Morris Almond

Carlos Boozer

Overview:A burly power forward with great fundamentals and a mean streak. Not tall for the power forward position. Incredibly strong in both the upper and lower body. Not a great athlete, but knows how to overpower players and is explosive around the basket. Looks faster than he is due to his incredible post footwork. One of the most polished low post players in the League today. Has a very impressive offensive repertoire. A force on the glass as well. Not as assertive defensively as he is offensively. Had a tremendous three year career at Duke, but landed in Cleveland as a second-round pick, partially due to weight problems that never became an issue in the NBA. Was a member of the Blue Devils’ 2001 NCAA Championship team. Performed well past expectations as a rookie, but a contract blunder allowed him to move to Utah after two productive years. Continued adding consistency to his already potent offensive game. Basketball IQ and knowledge of the game lets him overcome any physical shortcomings he might have. Becoming one of the League’s most daunting post matchups. A two time All-Star with many more appearances on the horizon.

Offense: A tough, efficient post scorer who is a beast inside and can also make tough shots outside of the paint. Gets his touches from a balanced mix of pick and rolls, post ups, cuts, spot ups, and offensive rebounds. Understanding of the game and ability to make decisions on the fly makes him a great asset. Has one of the most consistent mid-range jump shots in the league amongst power forwards. Form isn’t that pretty, but his release point is very high, his touch is soft, and his follow-through is always the same. Doesn’t function all that well in catch and shoot situations, preferring to read the defense and create his own shot. Can shoot off the dribble, but simply doesn’t drive all that often. Will only attack off the dribble to get his man in foul trouble or if his defender bites on a jab when he faces up. Almost exclusively drives left. Won’t go to his crossover often, opting to spin off his man for lay ups or jumpers. Does a great job using his strength to establish position deep in the paint, and has excellent hands inside. Will get stripped when he puts his back to the basket from time to time. Very comfortable with his ability to hit a turnaround with a hand in his face. Will use all kind of little head and shoulder fakes to create space for his turnaround over his right shoulder. Will take some turnarounds over his left shoulder as well. Great fallaway shooter. Can finish equally well with either hand on counter moves, making him extremely difficult to guard once he catches the ball in position to score. Good face up shooter. Takes what the defense gives him going towards the rim. Uses a hook periodically, but it’s not a go-to-move for him. Likes to bully his way inside and finish. Really knows how to use his body to create space and give himself room to finish. Will crash the glass, roll hard off of screens, and duck in whenever he can to get an open look. Strength makes him a load to keep away from the rim. Uses his body very effectively to shield the ball. Goes to the line at a solid rate and shoots a decent percentage. Very efficient in general. Very smart finisher at the rim. Gets a lot of looks by using leverage and getting position at the rim. An efficient option who is too strong and grounded in his fundamentals to not be productive. A very good passer on top of that. Understands his team’s offense and executes it very well. Can be limited at times by referees who do not allow him to be as physical as he’d like to. Not incredibly big or athletic, he can struggle matching up with long and tall power forwards who don’t allow him the space he needs to finish in traffic.

Defense: A solid, but unspectacular defensive player. Has the strength to hold position on the block, but lacks the length and quickness to contest shots and effectively defend the high post. Is prone to stay on his feet defensively, a sign of good fundamentals, but also a characteristic that makes the fact he is a bit undersized that much more pronounced. Offers little as a shot blocker, but does a great job grabbing loose balls in the paint. Has great hands, strength, and anticipation making him one of the League’s best rebounders on the defensive end. Boxes his man out every play and can rebound a pretty big area. Will close out hard when he has to recover to the ball, and while he gets beat of the dribble sometimes, he won’t take himself out of the play very often. A decent option defensively because of his ability to rebound the ball and not take risks, but limited by his quickness and size.

Ronnie Brewer

Jarron Collins

Overview:A third string center who provides size and six fouls, and doesn’t need (or want) to touch the ball offensively. Has good size for a center and an even better wingspan. Possesses average athleticism for a player his size. Not an option offensively. Isn’t the dynamic defender or rebounder that he needs to be to compensate for his shortcomings on the offensive end. Doesn’t take a lot of risks, making him a good spot player, but not one that warrants extended minutes. Smart and seems to understand his team’s offense. Had a nice four year career at Stanford, but didn’t stand out all that much. Selected by the Jazz in the second-round and has played there ever since. Had a couple semi-productive years as a backup, but has seen his production drop significantly to the point that his multi-year contract looks highly questionable. Will become a free agent in the summer of 2010.

Offense: A non-factor offensively who doesn’t have the skills to warrant any touches on this end of the floor. Gets the vast majority of his touches as a hustle player in the post, but will also get the chance to spot up and work with his back to the basket on occasion in garbage time. Doesn’t look to score. Has a relatively decent looking jump shot, but lacks ideal follow-through hurting his consistency badly. Gets some catch and shoot opportunities, but isn’t a threat at all outside of 12-14 feet and will be dared to shoot the ball by defenses if he catches it any further out. Not going to accomplish much when he puts the ball on the floor. Not assertive or comfortable when he’s operating with his back to the basket. Will fight for position, but always looks to face up. Gets very few opportunities going towards the rim when he posts up. Works relatively hard off the ball. Will give his man a big target and go up strong, but is a questionable finisher due to his poor leaping ability. Goes to the line at decent rate relative to the few touches he gets. Shoots a poor percentage when he gets there. Always a candidate to be fouled when he gets a chance to finish. Not going to do much with the ball in his hands unless he’s right at the rim. Won’t be asked to do much on the offensive end in the few minutes he plays. Is a relatively decent passer for his size.

Defense: An average defender that is good for six fouls, decent positional defense, and an occasional rebound. Doesn’t block many shots for a player his size. Lacks the quickness and anticipation to be a factor coming over from the weak side, although is very effective at drawing charges. Struggles in one-on-one situations, doing a great job moving his feet and getting a hand up, but often hacking his man at the rim. Will fight for position underneath, but lacks the lower body strength to maintain it. A poor rebounder who usually loses the battle on the glass to quicker players. Will box out and go after the ball off the rim, but lacks rebounding instincts. Lacks the footspeed to consistently get stops when his man faces up. Gets in a good stance and works hard, but is limited defensively by his instincts and athleticism.

Kyrylo Fesenko

Matt Harpring

Overview:A veteran forward who offers great intangibles, effort, and efficiency as a role player. A perfect fit for Jerry Sloan’s flex offense due to his ability to come off screens and knock down mid-range jumpers. Not quick or fast, but compensates with great strength for a small forward, solid size, and hustle. Plays extremely smart and is tough as nails. Has one of the highest basketball IQs around. Knows how to read the game and be in the right place at the right time. Great offensive rebounder. Does a little bit of everything on the offensive end. Gives great effort defensively, but isn’t athletic enough for that to be his calling card. Was a highly recruited quarterback in high school, but chose to play basketball full-time. Had a very impressive four year career at Georgia Tech, despite coming in with little fan-fare. Was an impact player from day one in the ACC, playing mostly the power forward position. Spent time with a few teams before landing in Utah. As tough as they come, but had a reputation for not being particularly durable. Seems to have put his injury history behind him. Not seeing as many minutes as he used to, but is still a nice asset. Offers great intangibles and leadership in the locker room, and was forced to step into a smaller role than he was used to in the past.

Offense: An very effective role-player on the offensive end. Gets the vast majority of his looks working off the ball, but will get some chances to spot up and use his size in the post. Has a good looking jump shot, but isn’t much of a 3-point threat these days. Takes most of his jumpers from the midrange, coming off short screens. Only a decent catch and shoot option from outside at this point in his career. Won’t drive to the rim all that often due to his lack of a good first step. Gets tons of open looks right at the rim by virtue of his basketball IQ and understanding of the flex offense. Incredibly good at moving without the ball and using screens to get himself open. Always knows when to duck into the paint for an easy basket. Sees the floor extremely well. Works hard on the offensive glass and gets great results there in turn. More than capable of finishing at the rim. Isn’t a great athlete or very tall, but uses the rim to shield off defenders and gets the ball on the rim as quickly as he can. Gets to the free throw line at a very good rate, and has done so his entire career. Knows how to force the refs the blow the whistle. Flails his arms and exaggerates contact with the best of them. Strong enough to hold position down low. Capable of posting up smaller players. Smart passer. Knows when to attack and when to reinitiate the offense. Will turn the ball over due to his lack of ball handling ability. Not someone who would fit into any offense, but is definitely a good fit in this one.

Defense: A gritty defender that gets more out of his physical skills than most players. Lacks the lateral quickness to keep up with the League’s elite wing players, but will play tough and pesky defense regardless. Gets underneath his matchup’s skin and can take him out of the game mentally if he isn’t careful. Shows very active hands and feet on the defensive end. Will get in a low stance and won’t give his man a clear path to the rim when he gets a step. Gets beat to the rim by some players, but not because he isn’t trying. Will get his hands on a lot of loose balls. Rebounds the ball at an excellent rate for a wing, but not quite as prolifically as he used to. Closes out under control and always gets a hand up. Always draws the toughest matchup on the floor, and while he does a good job defensively, he’s seldom put in position to succeed. Fouls at a pretty high rate.

Andrei Kirilenko

Overview: A versatile forward who is trying to regain the form that made him one of the game’s most unique young players. Possesses good size for either forward spot, but it is his huge wingspan that allows him to effectively player both. Doesn’t carry a lot of weight, but is wiry-strong. Shows great footspeed and leaping ability for a player his size. Very fluid. Brings a lot to the table on the offensive end, but is more of a complementary player than a feature player offensively. Ones of the game’s most productive defensive players. Had a very impressive career at the Junior level before seeing great domestic and international success with CSKA Moscow. Didn’t come over to the NBA immediately after he was drafted. Proved himself on Europe’s highest level before making the jump. Saw immediate success in the NBA, but really hit his stride as a statistical juggernaut in his third season. Earned an All-Star appearance during that season. Has made a few appearances on the NBA All-Defensive Team. Saw his production dip when Utah began to focus on Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mehmet Okur. Saw his usage rate drop substantially in turn. Wasn’t enamored to taking a backseat to his teammates when the Jazz shifted the focus off of him, but seems to be more content now. Probably the best role player in the NBA is he can be considered as such due to his ability to contribute efficiently in so many different ways. Playing under a huge contract for a player that isn’t a top option. Effort stats--rebounding, shot-blocking and free throw attempts have all declined significantly over the past few years. May be better suited exploiting mismatches as a Shawn Marion type role as a face-up power forward, but hasn’t been able to that much next to Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur.

Offense: Gets about one-third of his touches as a spot up shooter with other significant portions of his shots coming off of cuts, fast breaks, offensive rebounds, and screens. Pretty versatile scorer. Extremely efficient as well at his position. Has a decent jump shot with decent touch, but has his ups and downs in terms of consistency. Elevates and flicks the ball at the rim without great followthrough. Can function as a catch and shoot player, but that isn’t one of his strengths. Can hit the NBA three when he’s open. Not a great shooter off the dribble. Has had some awful shooting slumps over the course of his career. Seems to have improved that part of his game as of late, scoring career highs in both FG% and 3P% in 07-08. Won’t drive to the rim all that often. Not a bad ball handler, but not a good one either. Not someone who can consistently create his own off the dribble. Finds other ways to get shots around the basket. Wingspan allows him to present a huge target for teammates. Picks and chooses his spots when cutting to the rim. Gets quite a few open looks by virtue of his activity level off the ball. An ideal option in transition due to his end to end speed. Shows great touch at the rim, and his length allows him to get up shots that most other players wouldn’t be able to. Doesn’t hesitate to draw contact. Goes to the line at a good rate and shoots a solid percentage. Ridiculous length makes him a threat to pull down an offensive rebound or tip the ball out to a teammate for a second shot opportunity. Has excellent court vision. Can make passes that other player can’t due to his wingspan. Will turn the ball over when he gets too aggressive. Decision making isn’t always as good as you might hope, shot-selection can be questionable--doesn’t always seem to know his limitations. Very turnover prone for his position relative to the amount of possessions he garners. Has flourished since accepting his role as a complementary player and not a feature option.

Defense: One of the best defensive players in the NBA. Able to guard essentially every position depending on the matchup. Has the lateral quickness of a much smaller player and the wingspan of a much taller one. Not the greatest option in the post due to his length of physical strength, but makes up for it with unreal timing, quickness, and leaping ability. Fights for position on the block, making him that much harder to score on. Blocks shots in one-on-one situations at a good rate, although his production here has dropped off substantially in the last two years. Able to contest an amazing number of shots due to his wingspan and leaping ability. Will come down from the perimeter to block shots in the paint. Does most of his damage guarding the perimeter. Has the lateral quickness and length to defend almost anyone. Very tough to drive around. Shows the ability to change directions surprisingly quickly when his man crosses over. Will get his share of pass deflections, blocks, and strips. Has great anticipation and awareness. Rebounds the ball at a respectable rate, but focuses more on boxing out than pursuing misses. Is a huge asset because of his length. Makes a big difference on the defensive end.

Brevin Knight

Overview: A veteran distributor who doesn’t score but can still be an asset to many teams. Extremely undersized for an NBA point guard. Has good quickness, even at this point in his career, but doesn’t use it to get by defenders as much as he once did. Doesn’t have great vertical explosiveness. Lacks durability. Runs a team as well as any player in the League. Has a high basketball IQ, Knows how to make him teammates better. Can create offense for others. Doesn’t do much scoring, but can hit some shots inside the arc. Not efficient at all, though. The ultimate facilitator. Plays great defense. Has been essentially the same type of player since his days at Stanford. Capable of providing steady minutes off the bench, but is still a limited player due to his shortcomings. Puts a lot of pressure on his teammates with how little a threat he is to score the ball. Teams regularly double off him, and go underneath every screen, daring him to shoot. Has been on the decline for the past few seasons now, but still makes a good mentor. Provides a nice locker room presence. Brother of Brandin Knight who currently acts as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Pittsburgh University Panthers men’s basketball team.

Offense: Gets two fifths of his offense in pick and roll situations with fast breaks and spot ups accounting for another fifth each. Does most of his damage as a distributor, not a scorer. Really knows how to set the table for his teammates. Tremendous passer. Can thread the needle on post entry passes and drive and dishes alike. Runs the pick and roll extremely well. Far from turnover prone. Will only lose the ball if he dribbles into trouble, which he seldom does. Reads the game extremely well. Great ball handler. Not flashy, but he gets the job done. Poor shooter. Not a threat from three point range. Almost never gets to the free throw line. Won’t finish at the rim at a high rate due to his lack of size and vertical explosiveness.

Defense: A savvy veteran point guard with a penchant for pressuring the ball. Limited due to his lack of size, but tries to make up for it with his effort. Hawks the ball as well as any player his age in the League. Still displays great lateral quickness and end to end speed. Knows how to defend players who handle the ball well. Great on the ball. Very fast hands. Reacts to mistakes well. Will create turnovers by being in the right place at the right time. Will chase down long rebounds. Will get posted up from time to time. May not have the size to defend taller point guards, but will make them work to bring the ball up the floor to compensate. Good in help side as well.

Kyle Korver

Overview:One of the game’s top spot up shooters. Pretty average in terms of strength, athleticism and wingspan for his position, but has good size for a shooting specialist. Has proven himself to be one of the most efficient spot up shooters in the NBA. Saw his minutes drop after being traded in 2008, but became much more efficient under Jerry Sloan. Possesses one of the purest strokes in the game. Not a factor in many other ways, but gives a better effort defensive and shows more hustle than most other specialists. Had a very nice four year career at Creighton. Improved his numbers in each of his collegiate seasons. Garnered the Missouri Valley Conference Most Valuable Player Award as a junior and senior. Has always been a dominant shooter, but was able to showcase some other skills on the collegiate level. Garnered a spot late in the second round as a shooting specialist and turned out to be a steal. Had a tremendously productive four year stint with the 76ers before being traded in his fifth year to the Jazz. Regarded as one of the game’s best specialists. Younger brothers Klayton, Kaleb, and Kirk have, are, or will be Division I basketball players.

Offense: A shooting specialist that isn’t asked to do much else. Gets the vast majority of his shots spotting up, coming off of screens, and spreading the floor in transition. Has a tremendous outside shot. Textbook form. Great touch. Loves to shoot the three ball. Capable of knocking it down with a hand in his face, but is simply lights out when he’s unguarded. One of the game’s best catch and shoot players. Has been running off of screens and floating to the open spot on the perimeter his whole career. Instinctively gets open as the play develops. Very good at coming off screens, but has trouble being effective against quicker guards who can close him out quickly and get a hand in his face. Has become a great midrange shooter in the flex offense now too. Will knock down jump shots from all over the place with consistency. Doesn’t even try to get shots up at the rim. Will get an occasional wide open look off a cut, but that just isn’t his game. 91% of his shots come off jumpers, as opposed to 9% at the rim. Always pulls up when he attacks off the dribble, and won’t drive all the way. Usually only puts the ball on the floor when his man closes out recklessly. Will really struggle when he’s asked to finish at the rim or isn’t surrounded by players who can draw help defenders. Makes smart passes and doesn’t turn the ball over often for obvious reasons. Has gone through some surprising slumps, but remains a very good option as a shooter off the bench. One of the best free throw shooters in the NBA at over 91%.

Defense: A well below average defender who makes an effort, but lacks the physical tools to be effective. Doesn’t have the lateral quickness to stay in front of most players at his position. Gets beaten to the rim regularly. Will work hard to close out shooters, but isn’t quick enough to always contest the shot. Will dig down into the post to try to get strips and try to blow through screens. Tends to work himself out of position by being too aggressive with the way he helps over the course of a play, compounding his problems. Gets an occasional steal because of how hard he works. Doesn’t contribute much in the rebounding department. Does his best to be effective, and has improved somewhat playing in Utah, but is very limited by his athleticism.

Kosta Koufos

C.J. Miles

Overview:An extremely young shooting guard who is still trying to solidify himself as an NBA player, but now has a contract that should afford him the opportunity to do so. Possesses nice size, but only decent physical strength for a shooting guard. Has very good overall athleticism. Pretty quick and explosive. Shows nice range on his jump shot. Capable of putting points on the board. Pretty pesky on the defensive end, but lacks experience. Was a highly touted recruit coming out of Skyline (TX), but failed to solidify his stock as a first round pick with his All-Star game performances. Earned a selection early in the second round based on his potential. Has spent time in the NBADL. Not very productive in his time in the NBA. Needed minutes to be able to work through his mistakes, and was never afforded that opportunity in Utah. Becoming more efficient, but still has a ton of room to grow. Showed enough sparks of potential to get Oklahoma City to offer him a 4-year, 15 million contract that was eventually matched by the Jazz. Could be a nice role-player down the road.

Offense: A surprisingly efficient offensive player for his relative experience level, but not very productive. Gets about one-third of his offense as a spot up shooter with another sizeable portion coming from fast breaks and shots coming in the flow of the offense. Has a nice looking left handed stroke that he gets great arc and good elevation on, but seems to shoot on the way down at times. Still refining his jump shot. Shoots the three with respectable consistency. Comes up short on a lot of his jumpers. Not a bad catch and shoot option. Doesn’t get many chances to shoot of the dribble, but does so pretty effectively. Doesn’t do a lot of driving and could definitely stand to improve his ball-handling skills. Likes to go right when he does put the ball on the floor. Has the quickness to get to the rim, but isn’t going to turn the corner on everyone. Uses his athleticism very effectively at the rim. Gets up the floor in a hurry in transition, makes quick cuts to the basket, and loves attack the rim when he receives a pass with a head of steam. Not afraid to go right at the defense. Goes to the line at a decent rate and shoots a decent percentage. Will throw down some impressive dunks. Decent passer. Not as turnover prone as he once was. Still trying to find his identity in Utah. The fact that he is doing so efficiently is a nice bonus. Not really proven as a rotation player in critical moments yet, and has yet to really discover what his niche is as a player.

Defense: Not a bad defender for a player of his experience level. Has the lateral quickness to keep up with most wings and the size and wingspan to contest shots on the perimeter. Will get in a stance and work to keep the ball out of the lane. Relatively capable in one-on-one settings. Doesn’t always close out under control. Sells out to try and block shots when he can’t get to the ball in time. Displays very active hands, and knows how to force turnovers. Tends to get a little too aggressive when he’s trying to come up with a steal. Commits a lot of fouls for a wing. Still very inexperienced. Improving as a rebounder. Needs more NBA experience to begin to utilize his defensive potential, and isn’t really trusted enough by the coaching staff to get that yet.

Paul Millsap

Mehmet Okur

Overview:A skilled post player that can create mismatch problems with his mixture of size and shooting touch. Has very good size and strength for the power forward or center position. Not a true center by virtue of his skill set. Adequately mobile for a player his size, but not overly quick or explosive. Doesn’t change directions well. Used to show better athleticism. Shoots the ball like a guard. Knows where to set up to get open. Above average rebounder. Not much of a defensive player. Won a few Turkish League Championships with Tofas Bursa and Efes Pilsen. Was drafted in the second round and spent a year overseas before making the jump to the NBA. Showed some signs during his two years with the Pistons, but made major strides after signing a big deal with the Jazz. Was part of the Pistons team the won the NBA Championship in 2004. Earned a spot in the 2007 All-Star Game. Won’t get as many touches as he used to with Utah continuing to build around Deron Williams. Very inconsistent, especially in big games when he’s needed the most. Still an effective player.

Offense: A nice option offensively who is not as productive as he used to be, but remains relatively effective over the course of a season. Gets almost half of his shots up from spot up opportunities, but will also venture down low and be the roll man on the pick and roll and go one-on-one with his back to the basket. Has a great shooting stroke for a player his size, and displays absolutely no hesitation hoisting shots up. Possesses a very smooth release and soft touch. Takes a lot of 3-pointers, and makes them at a very good rate. Great pick and pop option. Hits a ton of shots from a step inside the arc as well. A great catch and shoot option out on the perimeter. Spreads the floor and makes space for other players to post up. Not a huge factor off the dribble, but is surprisingly efficient with the way he puts the ball on the floor. Able to get his shot off over defenders without a lot of effort. Not a bad ball handler for a player his size, which makes him even tougher to defend out on the perimeter. Will drive to the rim every now and again, but that’s not his game, as he lacks the quickness to always get separation. Pushes to the rim more than he drives. Will finish at the rim, but isn’t smooth or explosive enough to be consistent at the basket. Goes to the line at a good rate and shoots a good percentage. Nowhere near as good with his back to the basket as he is facing it. Doesn’t fight that hard for position on the block, and thus his looks down there are few and far between. Posts up on the left block way more than the right. Has some nice counter-moves and a solid turnaround. Struggles with contact at times—obviously not as tough as his post-mate Carlos Boozer. Not always explosive enough to finish around the rim. Won’t face up all that often. Pulls down offensive rebounds at a very good rate. Not a great passer, but not turnover prone either. Has improved in that regard since he first entered the league. Shot-selection can still be lacking at times. A nice asset for his ability to open up the floor for his teammates, but not an ideal first option since he is most efficient when his teammates set him up.

Defense: A limited defender whose lack of lateral quickness hurts his ability to make a consistent impact. Has the bulk to fight for position on the block, but is often unable to keep smaller player from getting position due to his inability to use leverage.. More focused on staying in front of his man than contesting shots. Isn’t quick enough to keep up with the more explosive centers in the League. Lacks the leaping ability to make an impact as a shot blocker. Not going to hedge many screens due to his lack of recovery speed. Commits a lot of fouls by virtue of the way he often simply leans on his man in the post. Rebounds the ball at a decent rate due to his great hands, but isn’t overly active on the glass. Not a very attractive option defensively, but shows some effort.

Ronnie Price

Overview:A young point guard who is learning his role on the NBA level after being a prolific college scorer. Has decent height for a point guard and a solid build. Extremely fast and agile. Incredibly explosive around the basket. Attacks the rim with no regard for his well-being. Shows a passable shooting stroke. Takes a lot of scoops and floaters. Plays with great defensive intensity. Walked on at Nicholls State standing a little over 5’7”. Earned significant time as a freshman proving to be one of NSU’s best players. Showed enough ability to earn a scholarship from then Junior College Utah Valley State. Proceeded to grow roughly seven inches and became one of the best scorers on the Division I level when UVSU made the jump from the NJCAA ranks to the NCAA. Tireless work ethic earned him a shot in the NBA after he went undrafted. Showed a ton of heart at the various pre-draft venues to the point that he earned a guaranteed deal. Now on his second team, but is beginning to adapt to the point guard position and level of competition he’s facing. Will be a free agent next summer, and will probably be looking for a long-term home as a backup.

Offense: A somewhat effective spot player who works too hard not to make some impact offensively. Gets his offense from a balanced mix of pick and rolls, spot ups, fast breaks, and one-on-ones. Possesses a decent jump shot with good range and nice elevation. Respectable from three point range. Not a bad catch and shoot option off the end of the bench. Can’t always get his shot off over bigger players. Not as consistent off the dribble as he is from a stand still. Prefers to use his short-range game rather than pull up for midrange jumpers. Attacks the rim aggressively, showing a nice array of floaters and scoops. Won’t hesitate to go right at a defender and go to the line. Not a great foul shooter. Not a bad finisher for a player his size, but has to get creative which hurts his consistency. Shows nice passing ability off the pick and roll and in transition, but is still developing his point guard mentality. Handles the ball well and is always in attack mode, but needs to learn to control tempo and show better shot selection. Plays too fast at times and doesn’t always do a good enough job getting his team into their offense. Has a lot of room for improvement, but isn’t a bad third point guard on the offensive end.

Defense: A very talented defender who has great lateral quickness and gives a very nice effort. Lack of size hurts his ability to contest the shots of taller players. Works very hard not to give up an open look. Almost too quick for his own good at times, closing out too fast at times and biting too hard on crossovers. Will get beaten to the rim by being too aggressive. Does a great job fighting through screens despite his stature. Always gets a hand up when his man puts up a shot, using his leaping ability to maximize his length. Will struggle to defend most shooting guards. Brings a lot to the table as a full-court defender that can wear his man down in limited minutes off the bench.

Deron Williams

Overview:An incredibly talented young point guard that is already amongst the League’s best as his position. Very tall and strong for his position. Will surprise people with his athleticism. Not incredibly explosive, but knows how to get to spots on the floor and make the most of his natural tools. Shows good agility and explosiveness at the rim. Can score in all kinds of situations, and has become extremely efficient offensively. Shoots it well from the outside. Knows how to run a team. Very savvy for a player his age. Not a great defender, but will force some turnovers. Had a tremendous three year career at Illinois, despite not being the most highly touted prep recruit. Proved himself to be an elite floor general, finishing his career by leading the Illini to the National Championship Game. Solidified his stock as an elite prospect despite not scoring at a high level. Was an impact player in the NBA from day one and has become one of the most productive players in the game in only three years. Will always be compared to the player selected one-spot behind him in the 2005 draft: Chris Paul.

Offense: One of the best offensive point guards in the NBA already. Can score and distribute productively. Gets more than half of his touches in pick and roll situations and as the ball handler in fast break situations. Also gets some shots up by spotting up, going one-on-one, and working without the ball. Has a reliable shooting stroke that he’s developed from a potential weakness to a clear strength since leaving Illinois. Hits the three at a great rate, but doesn’t take all that many per game. A very good catch and shoot option, but that isn’t how he gets most of his shots up. Extremely effective shooter off the dribble, particularly from mid-range. Will knock down shots driving in either direction with good accuracy. Able to get his shot off over smaller point guards with little trouble. Change of speeds helps him create separation. Very crafty ball handler. Gets as many shots off at the rim as he does as a jump shooter. Finishes at a great rate thanks to his size, smarts and strength. Fearless when he attacks the rim. Will surprise some defenders with his leaping ability. Shows some nice spin moves and will get creative to get the ball up on the rim. Very good touch from in close. Will make some extremely tough short-range shots showing fantastic touch. Has improved his free throw shooting to a solid rate. One of the game’s best passers. Runs the pick and roll as well as any player in the NBA. Makes great decisions with the ball. Sneaks passes in between defenders regularly. Will get a little loose with his passes in transition, and could stand to be a little more disciplined when he’s looking to pass at full speed. Does a great job faking passes and using his strength to create angles for assists. Gets a little too creative at times and thus is fairly turnover prone. Becoming the total package on the offensive end, as a perfect mix between being a scorer and distributor, but still has even more room to improve, which is scary.

Defense: An average defensive player whose size allows him to be effective against many starting point guards. Would probably be more effective (like he was in college) if he wasn’t relied upon so heavily on the other end of the floor. Big and strong enough to push around most of the players he is matched up with. Is one of the league’s best at taking charges. Will get down in a stance and work to stay in front of his man, but lacks the lateral quickness and consistent focus to do so consistently. Gets beat of the dribble when he’s forced to close out. Does a solid job fighting through screens. Will keep his man from blowing by him when he’s playing one-on-one, but will give up a lot of midrange looks. Rebounds the ball at a solid rate for a point guard. Comes up with some steals due to his quick hands. Won’t deflect a lot of passes, forcing most of his turnovers on the ball. Commits quite a few fouls for a point guard, using his size too aggressively. Will play great defense in spurts, but is forced to play too many minutes to be able to put in the type of effort needed to maintain that same level of intensity for an entire game.

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