Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part Three: #11-15)

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part Three: #11-15)
Oct 16, 2008, 12:04 am
Our second to last installment of ACC NBA Draft Prospects is here, starting with Miami combo guard Jack McClinton. He's followed by Wake Forest combo Jeff Teague, Clemson big man Trevor Booker, North Carolina swingman Danny Green, and Duke shooting guard Jon Scheyer.

-Top Prospects in the ACC: Part One, Two
-Top Prospects in the Pac-10: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 10: Part One, Part Two
-Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12: Part One, Part Two, Part Three

#11: Jack McClinton, 6-1, Senior, Shooting Guard, Miami

Jonathan Givony

Jack McClinton is one of those players that are extremely easy to rule out on first glance. A transfer from Siena in the Metro-Atlantic Conference, severely undersized at 6-1, skinny, not particularly athletic and clearly not a point guard, he really couldn’t be any further from what we typically look for in an NBA prospect. McClinton is not the type to take no for an answer, though, which is why we had to look back and double-check to make sure we’re not missing the boat.

A pure scorer would be a good way to start describing him. McClinton is the third-best returning scorer in the ACC after Tyler Hansbrough and Tyrese Rice, and brings to the table outstanding shooting percentages from both the free throw line (92%) and beyond the arc (43%). Sporting perfect mechanics, a quick, effortless release, and range that extends well beyond the NBA 3-point line, McClinton has a claim to be considered amongst the top shooters in college basketball. He is fantastic with his feet set, but also looks very comfortable pulling up off the dribble, bringing the added versatility of being able to run off screens, catch, square his shoulders and get his shot off, all in one fluid motion.

Even though 56% of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc last season, McClinton should be considered more than just a perimeter shooter. He has great all-around scoring instincts, being a fairly good ball-handler, with a quick first step, the ability to change speeds nicely, an excellent crossover, and the aggressiveness needed to get to the free throw line at a pretty solid rate.

Not big, strong or athletic enough to finish amongst the trees once inside the paint, McClinton would much rather pull-up off the dribble from mid-range (sometimes with a Chris Douglas-Roberts-esqe floater) than take the ball all the way inside. He has excellent lower body strength finding his balance and calibrating his shot on his pull-up, and seems to have that rare ability that most great scorers do to just throw the ball in the basket from the toughest of angles.

He’s also not afraid to take advantage of that fact, looking more than willing to step up and take responsibilities when the situation calls for it, as we saw in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season, where he reeled off an incredible 38 points in just 37 minutes in a win against St. Mary’s.

Fearless and unpredictable, like many “lightning in a bottle” type combo guards, McClinton has a tendency to go a little too far at times, though, displaying questionable shot-selection, dribbling with his head down, and forcing the issue a bit. Sporting a 1/1 assist to turnover ratio, and with a clear-cut shoot-first mentality, McClinton looks very far from being considered a point guard at the moment. Although that’s not as much of a deal-breaker as it used to be—ask two players he strongly resembles in Jannero Pargo (especially) and Eddie House—a lot of things will need to fall into place for McClinton to get drafted and/or make a team.

Like both House and Pargo, McClinton puts a very good effort in defensively, oftentimes being the one assigned to guard the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer, when his team can afford it. He is a tough, pesky player, very good in the passing lanes, with very nice timing and strong anticipation skills. Not particularly big, strong or athletic, his potential on the defensive end looks a bit limited at the next level, as he will likely struggle to guard his natural position (shooting guard).

Players like McClinton sometimes make an NBA team right away, and sometimes are forced to go overseas—timing and situation will play big factors here. A lot will depend on what kind of season he has both individually and collectively as a team with Miami. The Hurricanes have a strong roster and are getting some good hype early on to potentially make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Obviously McClinton will play a big role in that. Stay tuned.

#12: Jeff Teague, 6’2, Point Guard, Sophomore, Wake Forest

Joseph Treutlein

Combo guard Jeff Teague had a pretty promising freshman season for Wake Forest, being the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game, and raising that to a very impressive 18.5 points per game over the last 12 games of the season, possibly a sign of things to come. The 6’2 sophomore spent most of his time off the ball last season, and likely will do so this season as well, as junior point guard Ishmael Smith will continue to be their primary facilitator.

For a potential point guard, Teague has nice size at 6’2, with some good length to boot. At just a slight 175 pounds, though, Teague definitely could fill out his frame a bit more, and adding lower and upper body strengths should be among his priorities. He has excellent quickness and overall athleticism, but his body could still improve to take more of a beating in the lane. Reports we've heard suggest that Teague indeed did add some upper body bulk this summer, so it'll be interesting to get a look at him when Wake's season starts.

On the offensive end, Teague has a terrific first step, frequently getting past his man either in isolation situations or by using high screens. He changes speeds very well and has a good handle as well, using crossovers and the occasional spin move to get past his man, while he’s also capable of splitting double teams. In the lane, he has a nice mid-range game, relying on an assortment of floaters and runner in the 5-10 foot range, being able to hit lots of these shots from off balanced positions or with a hand in his face. At the rim, he has nice touch and has good creativity, being able to score on tough up-and-under moves and finger rolls on occasion. Despite his slight build, he also gets to the line at a pretty good rate.

While Teague is clearly a very talented player taking his man off the dribble and scoring in the lane, he still has many areas he can improve in. For all his ability, he is prone to a lot of bad decisions, be it forcing tough shots in the lane, running into defenders, or forcing fancy dribble moves, all of which lead to both bad turnovers and bad misses. At the rim, while he definitely has a penchant for drawing contact, he’d be a more able finisher if he had more upper body strength to power through contact and still get off high percentage shot attempts, or if he had the lower body strength to power up over the defense more often.

Teague complements his dribble-drive game with a pretty good jump shot, possessing a solid, compact form, which has a high and quick release. He’s very effective with this in space, either spotting up or pulling up, though he’s hesitant to shoot with a hand in his face, and his effectiveness falls off considerably in these situations. Getting more comfortable with his shot in close spaces should be a priority. It’s also worth noting that at times, Teague has looked extremely comfortable shooting from beyond NBA three-point range, hitting on quite a few of those on the year.

In terms of point guard skills, Teague shows little flashes here and there, mostly on simple pick-and-rolls, transition opportunities, or dump offs in the lane, but he’s still clearly a work in progress in this area, and with Ishmael Smith on the team, he’s probably not going to get much chance to play full-time point guard unless he stays until he’s a Senior. Developing his point guard game will be critical to his future success, though. To be considered as a real point guard, he’s going to need to vastly improve his decision-making, as it leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. His court vision and overall recognition are also question marks at this point.

On the defensive end, Teague uses his length and hands very well, leading to 1.8 steals per game, and he also shows nice foot speed and a decent defensive stance. He overplays passing lanes at times, and is prone to biting for ball fakes, but for a freshman guard, his man and team defense are both fairly solid.

Teague definitely has the physical tools, scoring ability and overall talent to make it in the NBA in some capacity, but his game is still very rough around the edges, specifically with his point guard skills. If he worked hard in the offseason, given the way he finished off last season, he could definitely be on his way to a breakout season, which would certainly open up some eyes. There is still much NBA teams will want to see from him, though, namely becoming a better shooter off the dribble, hitting the weight room a little bit more, and showing better decision-making and floor general traits.

#13 Trevor Booker, 6’7, PF/C, Clemson

Kyle Nelson

Trevor Booker is one of most feared presences on both sides of the ball in the ACC. His numbers don’t exactly support such a statement, but his combination of strength, hustle, and athleticism make him a tremendous factor on the low block. Last season did not look spectacular by the numbers, as Booker’s 11.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 1.9 bpg were not significant improvements from his freshman year. He did, however, increase his versatility on the offensive end. If he wants to get a shot playing at the next level, as he is very undersized for the NBA post, he must continue to improve his offensive skill set and work on optimizing his awareness on both sides of the ball.

Even though Booker is undersized for an NBA power forward, he brings a lot to the table physically and athletically. He is 6’7, yes, but at 240 pounds with a 7-foot plus wingspan and very good leaping ability, he is a top-tier athlete at this level.

Thus, it should not be very surprising to learn that Booker’s offensive game very much relies on power and physicality. Nothing he does is particularly creative or good-looking, but he gets the job done, most of the time with his back to the basket. He is good at getting position in the post and has the instincts to kick it out or turn around and take it to the basket. His best weapon at this point is his jump-hook, which he sometimes has trouble getting over taller competition due to his lack of height, but its his go to move, if he has one, in the post.

He has shown some face-up ability in the past by either taking a spot-up jumpshot or using a fake to get his man in the air and then take it to the basket, usually with his left hand. Neither is particularly effective at this point because of his lack of ball handling ability as well as his poor shooting form. He has a very exaggerated hitch in his jumpshot, so much so that he often shoots the ball on the way down, which hinders his ability to shoot over taller defenders. His release doesn’t help either as it is fairly deliberate. If he wants a shot at the next level, he should look to players like Jason Maxiell, Udonis Haslem or even Othello Hunter as inspiration as he must get a consistent set shot and continue to work on expanding his low post offensive repertoire. Put-backs and set-shots won’t cut it at the next level. At this point, he is still raw, but seems like he has a good deal more to learn and is still quite young.

Defensively, Booker shows potential, but has a lot of improvements to make before he can say that he is ready for the next level. He is an outstanding shotblocker, possessing the athleticism and timing to be a menace around the rim. He sometimes can be a tad overzealous, leading to fouls and balls hurtling towards the crowd rather than into the hands of teammates, but the tools are certainly there for him be one of the nation’s best. He shows solid lateral quickness, too, and can guard face-up power forwards out on the perimeter.

He needs to maintain focus, though, and watch out for spot shooters such as Kyle Singler, who was able to get his shot off whenever he wanted because of Booker’s lack of focus and lapses in awareness. He is going to have trouble staying in front of quicker and bigger NBA power forwards in the post because of his lack of size and poor technique. As a rebounder, though, he is very good, as he grabbed 7.3 boards per 26.6 minutes last season, most of the time relying on his quickness and athleticism under the basket, rather than on consistent fundamentals.

Booker is a tough player to evaluate. He plays with high intensity most of the minutes he is on the floor, and despite his lack of skill in some areas, makes up for it in energy, hustle, and tenacity. The problem is that he is only 6’7 and projects as a full-time post player at the next level. The odds are sufficiently stacked against Booker and he is most definitely a four year player, but with guys like Carl Landry, Paul Millsap, and Leon Powe braving the odds to get significant minutes on winning teams, there is always hope. The key is really for Booker to increase his versatility and show scouts that he has the skill, and not just the hustle, to play at the next level.

#14 Danny Green, 6’6, Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Senior, North Carolina

Rodger Bohn

After a breakout junior season last year, Green made the decision to test the waters and give the NBA Draft a shot. Unfortunately for him, he was hampered by injuries at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp and appeared to have hurt his stock more than he helped it from what he did show, to the point that he likely would not have been drafted had he decided to stay in. He now returns to Chapel Hill for what will be his final collegiate season, where he will look to secure himself a selection in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Much has been written about Green’s physical tools, so there is no need to go into much depth here. He is a wing with legit size at 6’6 and a nice wingspan, with a sturdy body that has the potential to grow in the future. The Long Island native isn’t going to blow you away with explosive leaping ability or a great first step, though.

Green brings a pretty vast array of skills in terms of scoring the basketball. He is a nice catch and shoot player, seemingly putting himself in the open area all of the time. It is clear that we’re looking at a player with a high basketball IQ and who understands the concept of floor spacing. Though his form isn’t what you would call picture perfect, Green has no problem getting the ball off in a hurry and has shown the ability to shoot from NBA three point range.

Off of the dribble, there has been much improvement in Green’s game over his tenure at UNC, clearly an example of the nice work ethic that he is said to have. Perfectly comfortable going both left and right, he usually opts to finish his drives with a floater or a pull-up jumper, rather than going to all the way to the rim.

The senior has also proven to be an average ball handler, showing off some pretty crafty moves when moving towards the basket, but unable to create his own shot from the perimeter with any type of advanced moves. There have even been a few times in which Green was at the top of the key initiating UNC’s offense. As a playmaker, Danny has also shown nice court vision both in transition and in the half court set in terms of finding the open man, even if he clearly has a tendency to force the issue at times.

The main problem with Green’s offensive repertoire is his lack of explosiveness off of the dribble. He tries to bait defenders (and usually does a good job) with a series of jab steps and shot fakes, but if the defenders don’t bite, he struggles quite a bit creating space off of the dribble. With advanced scouting at the NBA level, this could be a problematic issue for this swingman next season. He’s already a fairly turnover prone player considering his somewhat limited role in North Carolina’s offense, a testament to his improvable ball-handling skills.

On the defensive side of things, Green has proven to be one of the finest perimeter defenders that the ACC has to offer. He completely utilizes his size to body opposing players up, all while using his length to block a nice number of shots and gather over a steal game. Green’s understanding of his physical limitations allow him to defend players with his length and fundamentals, rather than completely relying on athleticism like so many players today do.

Green is a player who is all over the draft board at the time being. Currently projected as a potential second round pick, he surely has the potential to move up with a strong senior year, both for himself and for UNC as a whole. For the most part content with being a role player, Green could easily step in as a Keith Bogans/Maurice Evans-esqe perimeter defender who has a good work ethic and is capable of hitting the three. His senior season and pre-draft workouts will ultimately determine his final destination, but he is a player who has firmly supplanted his name in the minds of NBA scouts and will receive plenty of exposure this year with the Tar Heels, particularly now that he will move into the starting lineup following Marcus Ginyard’s injury.

#15 Jon Scheyer, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Junior, Duke

Joey Whelan

We wrote about Scheyer at this point last year in our preseason look at the ACC, and not a tremendous amount of his game has changed since that time. His numbers took a superficial dip due to the fact that he was removed from the starting lineup, but looking at his per-minute averages and seeing how much he increased his shooting efficiency (39.8% to 44.4%) and assist to turnover ratio (1.17/1 to 2.24/1), one could even make the case for him as being the top 6th man in the country.

The biggest knock against Scheyer will always be his underwhelming physical tools. He has average size, strength and length for the shooting guard position, so the development of his point guard skills is a positive sign for him. Scheyer is an average athlete by college standards, not particularly quick or explosive. He lacks a good deal of bulk, really needing to get stronger in his upper body. What he lacks in physical ability though, he more than makes up for with basketball IQ and craftiness with the ball.

The spot up jumper is still Scheyer’s bread and butter. According to Synergy Sports Technology, over 20% of his shots last season were of the catch and shoot variety and primarily when he was spotting up with his feet set. While he isn’t strictly a perimeter shooter, nearly half of Scheyer’s attempts last season were from beyond the arc. He possesses excellent shooting form, with nice touch and a quick release. This release comes in very handy as he doesn’t elevate very well on his shots; it is this lack of elevation that probably kept him from shooting higher than he did (still a solid 38.8% on 3.6 attempts per game).

When Scheyer does opt to put the ball on the floor, some of his weaknesses as an offensive player become apparent. He doesn’t have a great first step and his ball handling skills are really no better than adequate. He shows an excellent ability to get defenders in the air though and to draw contact, averaging four free throw attempts per game, impressive considering how perimeter oriented his game is. Scheyer also does a nice job of getting position on his defenders as he drives to the basket, this usually allows him to use his solid body control to get a good look at the hoop. He has continually improved his ability to hit the little 10-foot runner off the glass.

Scheyer’s mid-range jumper has to be the most intriguing part of his game that he is continuing to develop. While he isn’t the quickest player by any means, he surprisingly can stop on a dime and rise up for a shot. Even against particularly good defenders he is able to keep his feet under him and stay square to the basket while getting off the shot with his quick release.

On the defensive side of the floor, the same things we have harped on him for in the past still ring true; Scheyer’s lack of quickness and strength hurt him. He gets beat off the dribble on a regular basis by quicker guards and he continues to get bumped off his man too easily by screens. While his lateral quickness may not improve drastically, getting stronger would allow him to body up opponents a little better to help mask the fact that he is sometimes a half a step too slow.

A major key for Scheyer this season will be consistency. He is a very good college player as we have seen (27 points vs. Miami, 21 points vs. NC State) but can just as easily disappear in games (0-8 in 27 minutes vs. Wake Forest). Even coming off the bench, Scheyer is going to get plenty of touches, he is probably the biggest perimeter threat the Blue Devils have this year. As far as his prospects of cracking an NBA roster are concerned, he is a likely 4-year player at the college level, there is probably no way around that. The next two years will be crucial as far as his development is concerned—if he remains stagnant then his chances will likely look slim, but if he continues to diversify his offense and improves defensively, he could earn himself a spot through the pre-draft camps and private workouts.

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