Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Point Guard Prospects

Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Point Guard Prospects
Jul 01, 2015, 09:17 am
Scouting reports on four of the most intriguing college point guard prospects seen at the Nike Academy in Santa Monica this past weekend, including Kris Dunn, Tyrone Wallace, Gary Payton II and Isaiah Taylor.
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Kris Dunn, Point Guard, 6' 4”, 6' 9” wingspan, 205 lbs

Mike Schmitz

Despite sitting out nearly half of the sessions, Dunn still proved to be one of the best players and prospects at Nike Academy. The Providence guard showed why he was considered a potential lottery pick in the 2015 NBA Draft (before electing to return to school) with his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor.

Dunn's handle still looked a bit sloppy at times, but he got wherever he wanted on the court thanks to his elite burst, ability to change speeds and directions on a dime, and excellent size and strength for his position. Once he got a piece of the paint the 21-year-old soon-to-be senior did a nice job finding a balance between scoring and distributing in traffic. Dunn proved to be a maestro in the pick and roll, keeping defenders on his back and dropping it off to the roll man or bouncing out of the paint and knocking down a mid-range jump. Dunn wasn't immune to avoidable turnovers, however, as he left his feet to pass and tried to thread the needle in traffic on a couple of different occasions – things we saw a bit too much of during his junior season at Providence.

Dunn also didn't appear to have added much range on his jumper, evident by his insistence on playing exclusively inside of 18 feet in the half court. Defensively, Dunn had flashes of brilliance as an on ball stopper, using his size and strength to fight over screens and contain penetration.

Sporting a tremendous 6' 4” frame with a 6' 9” wingspan, Dunn has outstanding potential on the defensive end, and he showed flashes of that in front of a handful of NBA scouts and executives. Dunn didn't appear to have changed much as a prospect since last season, but given his physical profile, explosiveness, court vision and defensive potential, it would be surprising to see him fall out of the 2016 NBA Draft lottery even if he'll be 22 by the time the draft rolls around next season.

Tyrone Wallace, Point Guard, 6' 6”, 6' 9.5” wingspan, 198 lbs

Mike Schmitz

The Cal floor general didn't wow scouts with athletic plays or torch the nets with his outside jumper, but still gave a sneak preview of what he'll be able to do as a primary playmaker with some talent around him next year in Berkeley, CA. Wallace, who measured an impressive 6' 6” in shoes with a 6' 9.5” wingspan, played with very good poise and pace on the offensive end, moving the ball ahead in transition and picking apart the defense out of pick and roll sets in the half court.

Wallace's ambidexterity and length allow him to be extremely creative with the ball, using different angles and wrap-around passes to hit the roll man in stride. The Bakersfield, CA native does a nice job playing at different speeds and forcing the big defender to stay in front of the ball until he can calculate the perfect bounce pass to hit the big in stride. Wallace also proved very capable of finding the strong or weakside corner shooter out of ball screens.

While most of his highlights came as a distributor, Wallace did some damage in the paint with his patented floater – right and left hand – that helps him overcome his lack of vertical explosiveness. The Cal senior also played with intensity on the defensive end as he proved capable of fighting over ball screens and sliding with point guards on the perimeter thanks to his ability to cover ground with lateral slides.

The biggest questions revolving Wallace as a prospect, however, still revolve around his jump shot and athleticism. While Wallace did knock down a handful of jumpers over the course of the camp, the big dip before his shooting motion and the inconsistent release point and rotation on the ball doesn't give him a ton of hope to develop into a reliable NBA 3-point shooter unless he makes some significant changes to his mechanics.

Wallace isn't expected to add another gear of quickness from age 21 to 22, making becoming a consistent shooter that much more important for the Cal prospect. The Golden Bears will be loaded with talent (and shooting) during the 2015-16 season, which could lead to a big year for Wallace, who will have the opportunity to play to his strengths as a distributor and secondary scorer.

Isaiah Taylor, Point Guard, 6' 3”, 6' 3.5” wingspan, 168 lbs

Mike Schmitz

During his first two seasons at Texas, Isaiah Taylor made a name for himself with his blistering speed and quickness, both of which were consistently on display at Nike Academy. In a camp with a handful of explosive athletes, Taylor's game-changing speed still stood out both in the half court and transition. His ability to beat his man off the bounce without a ball screen is very valuable at the next level – it's what Taylor does with the ball once he beats his man that will play a big role in determining his ceiling as a pro.

Taylor displayed more than adequate vision while on the move, but still proved prone to getting too deep into the teeth of the defense without a plan. Jump passes came a bit too often for the 6' 3” point guard as he exploded into a lane full of bigs. Although he had his ups and downs as a distributor, Taylor most certainly helped himself in an area that's arguably more important for his stock than any other – shooting.

Albeit without great range, Taylor shot the ball surprisingly well all camp long, a great sign for the lightning-quick point guard who shot under 30% both of his first two seasons as a Longhorn. Taylor still sports somewhat of a low release point but the ball comes out of his hand nicely, evident by the fact that he shot over 84% from the line as a sophomore. Taylor may never be considered an elite prospect because of his lack of elite size and length to go along with his somewhat limited range (and overall scoring ability in the half court), but he certainly helped himself in a very crucial area, and it will be very interesting to see how he builds on this strong performance as a junior, this time under a new head coach in Shaka Smart.

Gary Payton II., Point Guard/Shooting Guard, 6' 2.5”, 6' 6.5” wingspan, 186 lbs

Mike Schmitz

Payton II more or less excelled playing the same role that he thrived in last year at Oregon State – play lockdown defense, finish above the rim in transition and get to the bucket in a straight line and finish. Payton II made one or two athletic plays a day that made you wonder how good he could be if his skills ever develop down the road.

For the time being, however, Payton II is not a great shot creator, jump shooter or distributor. His feel for the game was a bit behind the other point guard prospects as his natural ability to read the floor and make quick decisions on the move is a couple of notches below that of an NBA-caliber point guard. Payton II continuously drove baseline with nowhere to go and would be forced to throw a desperation jump pass to try and save the possession. Payton II also still has to fine-tune his jump shot both off the catch and the dribble. He displays loose and somewhat unnatural mechanics that, if improved, could really help elevate his offensive game.

On the flip side, Payton II was one of the best on ball defenders at the camp, applying relentless ball pressure, containing penetration with his quickness and strength, and making plays in the passing lanes with his length and anticipation. Payton II is still a bit raw as a point guard and shooter, but based on his physical tools, explosiveness and defensive prowess he could very well get drafted and look to continue to develop as a pro.

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