H: 6' 5"|
W: 185 lbs
(27 Years Old)
|RSCI: 12||Agent: Dan Fegan |
High School: Lake Howell
Hometown: Winter Park, FL
Drafted: Pick 45 in 2009 by Timberwolves
Best Case: Jose Calderon
Worst Case: Sarunas Jasikevicius
Nick Calathes was the second best finisher on our list, posting 1.26 PPP around the basket. For player who is often knocked for his lack of strength and athleticism, Calathes more than compensated for any shortcomings in this area last season. He did turn the ball over on 19% of his used possessions, but he was also one of the better spot up players on our list (1.17 PPP). That should help him in the NBA since he won’t be asked to do as much playmaking in the lane, but will be able to initiate the offense and still contribute.[Read Full Article]
From the end of last season to the beginning of this one, Nick Calathes spent about three months without Florida Gator basketball. After spending six weeks from June to August playing for the U-20 Greek national team, Calathes returned back to Gainesville only to be sidelined for 5 weeks because of a hip flexor. In addition to that, up and coming point guard Jai Lucas transferred to Texas and Florida welcomed five new freshman to their squad. Thus, Calathes was asked to shoulder the majority of the point guard responsibilities and become the team's leader.
What makes Calathes so effective is in his ability to control the pace of a game. He can play an up-tempo style or run an offense in the half-court and in either fashion he seems to make good decisions. He makes great passes at the right times and to go along with his 6.5 assists a game he makes countless passes that lead to assists - contributing to the team's ball movement.
Calathes' passing ability is far and beyond his greatest skill. He sees the court unlike any other player in the country relative to his size and repeatedly makes difficult passes with either hand, creating easy shots for his teammates. At 6-5, he has great size and therefore can see over the defense - making passes that most point guards in college cannot. His great strength is also a weakness however, as he can get into trouble, attempting unreasonably difficult passes at times, which is why he's averaging 3.3 turnovers a game, which is 20th worst in the country.
Perhaps Calathes' biggest improvement from a year ago is in his shooting efficiency, where his numbers are up across the board. He's making 57% of his shots inside the arc (up from 46%) and 42.3% from 3-point range (up from 36.2%). The biggest reason for this is in his shot selection, as he's forcing the action less and recognizing when he's open and what the defense is giving him more. He's doing a much better job finishing around the basket this season, going from converting just 49% of his shots around the rim last season to a far more impressive 64% this year. This is a big development considering that he's deemed to be severely lacking both strength and athleticism by NBA standards, yet spends quite a bit of time in the paint at the collegiate level.
Calathes plays a huge role for Florida, handling the ball a great deal and having almost their entire offense revolve around him. He could definitely stand to improve his free throw shooting—at just 71% - but he gets to the line at an extremely impressive rate of 7.1 times a game per 40 pace adjusted. While not overly quick or explosive by any means, Calathes uses his high basketball IQ to constantly find ways to get in the lane. He changes his speeds very well and uses deceptive moves to get his defenders off balance. At times, he tries to get a little too cute, though, by either splitting a double team or trying to beat a quicker opponent without a screen, which makes him somewhat turnover prone.
Defensively, there are plenty of question marks over whether he can guard his position at the next level, as lacks great lateral quickness and consistently struggles keeping quicker guards in front of him. He's also a bit of a gambler on this end of the court, often playing out of position trying to create big plays. The effort is always there however and his anticipation skills are stellar, making the gambling pay off at times – to the tune of 2.1 steals a game, which is amongst the NCAA leaders. His ability to rebound from the guard spot is also very impressive, as he pulls down over 5 a game. Calathes posted a triple double earlier this season against Georgia and has been close to another one on a couple of occasions.
It will be interesting to see how decision makers evaluate Calathes as a pro prospect, as he is clearly a very unique player who does not fit a prototype. His ideal position is likely at the point guard spot, but he may struggle to create shots as effectively for himself as others as he does in college, and also will have a very hard time defending opposing point guards on the other end of the floor. There are very few players in college basketball who bring his combination of production and basketball IQ to the table, though, and considering that he's just a sophomore, he probably still has room to improve as well. In the right system alongside the right type of players Calathes could likely be very effective, but whether or can find that is not a given.
From what we've been told, there is a good chance that Calathes will decide to put his name in this year's draft.
While he wasn’t as publicly visible as his fellow McDonald’s All Americans in his freshman season, Nick Calathes quietly put together a very strong initial campaign, immediately stepping in as Florida’s most important player. The versatile and highly skilled Calathes filled up the box scores frequently, averaging over 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists per game, notching one triple double and a few near ones as well. He stood out in many areas up against the entire NCAA, ranking 3rd in assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted in our entire database, and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio.
On the offensive end, there are many things to like about Calathes’ game, starting with his point guard abilities. Calathes’ high skill level stands out in a lot of little ways: his low controlled dribble with both hands, his efficiency in pulling off advanced moves, his ability to throw all kinds of passes, one handed or two handed, with great precision, and his quickness transitioning from dribbles into passes. He uses all these tools along with his excellent court vision and decision-making abilities to distribute the ball around Florida’s offense, mostly getting the job done on quick entry passes or simple one/two dribble drive-and-dishes.
He’s not going to blow his defender away with a great first step (which he doesn’t have), weaving his way through the lane and making highlight reel plays, but he consistently finds seams in the defense and makes good reads to spread the ball around and create a lot of open shots. He also does a good job whether he’s the man bringing the ball up the court or playing off it from the wing, playing both roles well and not trying to do too much.
As a scorer, Calathes is definitely at his best with his set spot-up shot, which besides having a low release point in front of his face, doesn’t have any real issues. Unfortunately, while his shot works fine when he’s open with his feet set, he struggles more when he’s guarded or coming off a screen, as the low release point makes it easy to alter. According to stats logged by Synergy Sports Technology, Calathes netted 1.19 points per possession on catch-and-shoot situations when not guarded, but went all the way down to 0.77 when guarded. Slightly tweaking that issue with his shot could definitely help this out over time, and will be even more important against longer, more athletic opponents at the next level.
One area where Calathes really does struggle on the offensive end is scoring in the paint, as he lacks vertical explosiveness and isn’t the best creator around the rim, leading to a lot of tough shot attempts and blocked shots, especially when dealing with weakside help. While Calathes does a really great job pursuing his own misses and scoring on follow-ups, his efficiency around the basket could certainly still improve, and adding a floater or runner to his arsenal would definitely help, as it’s something he rarely goes to. Adding that dimension to his game to compensate for his lack of explosiveness around the hoop could really push his game to the next level, and it should be among his main priorities moving forward.
On the defensive end, while Calathes is smart, focused, and hard-working, he suffers against quicker foes due to below average lateral quickness. He compensates for this by having good reflexes, positioning, and a strong, fundamental stance, but it’s definitely something scouts will be concerned about projecting him to the next level as a point guard or combo guard.
Calathes should be able to pick up right where he left off last season, and if he’s made strides in any of his weaker areas, he could become one of college’s most versatile and effective players. While he was consistent in scoring output last season, rarely dipping below double digits, he could certainly help himself to be a bit more consistent, as his 43% FG% and 37% 3PT% are still improvable considering his skill-level. Looking ahead to the next level, Calathes would probably be best served spending a bit more time at the college level honing his skills, which his game is heavily reliant upon, but with a breakout sophomore season, the draft could certainly be in the picture this year.
A McDonald’s All-American out of high school, Nick Calathes has been Florida’s most important player already as a freshman, flirting with a triple double on a number of occasions this season and really showing a lot of potential playing all three perimeter positions for the Gators.
Offensively, Calathes is most effective as a spot-up shooter and in pick-and-roll situations. His 3-point shooting has been streaky at times, but it shows great promise. Calathes has consistent shooting form with only minor flaws in his fundamentals. He leans to the left on most of his shots and releases out in front of his face, which lowers his release point. But he squares his body, has almost no wasted motion in his delivery, and every shot looks the same. Calathes does have a little trouble with his accuracy when defenders are closing out. He’s nearly automatic when given time to set, but when rushed his percentage drops substantially. He’s probably not used to the speed of the college game just yet and will have to continue to work on getting shots off faster, while improving his percentages. Not a bad scorer at all, his 15 points per game ranks 15th amongst freshmen, but his 36 percent 3-point shooting(17th) and 43 percent overall(35th) will have to improve.
Calathes isn’t a tremendous athlete and because of it he has trouble finishing inside. His ball-handling is very solid, but his first step is average on the NCAA level, so high pick-and-roll situations are his best bet to initiate the offense. Once he’s in the lane, Calathes makes smart decisions with the ball. Calathes ranks 1st amongst freshmen in assists and 1st in assist-to-turnover ratio. Overall, he is 9th in assists and 20th in assist-to-turnover ratio in the entire NCAA. His court awareness is high, which enables him to find his teammates with quick touch passes, kick-outs, and dump offs in the lane.
Off-ball, Calathes remains an active player. He moves continuously and with purpose when he’s not directing traffic, and provides excellent spacing by always seeming to find the right spot on the floor to get the open spot-up shot. He’s a player that keeps the ball moving and keeps his teammates aware and active because he doesn’t take much time to make a decision – he gets into his shot or drive quickly and will get rid of the ball hastily if he doesn’t see an opportunity to get a quality shot. Calathes is the leading scorer for his team as a freshmen, which puts him into pretty elite company for this freshmen class. His usage rate is top 10 amongst freshmen and his PER rating ranks ahead of O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, and Derrick Rose.
Calathes’ biggest problem is his slight build and lack of explosiveness. His mid-range shooting stroke is somewhat slow and the lowered angle makes it easier to defend and disrupt. He also lacks great core-strength, which hurts his ability to stop and rise quickly on pull-ups or drives to the basket. Body contact completely eliminates his ability to finish forward as he is easily bodied off his shot and forced off balance. He will need to get stronger and shoulder defenders off of him to free himself up for quality shots off the dribble. His size should allow him to be effective in these areas, but only if he can rid himself of defenders with a strong shoulder or a powerfully built base to rise up and re-align for a smooth shot.
Defensively, Calathes shows good awareness in the team defensive sets and doesn’t lack effort. But his lack of foot-speed and tendency to give his opponent space hurts his ability to defend on drives. Calathes most often goes underneath picks on the perimeter, which could be his way of compensating for his lack of upper body strength. It’s easier for him to avoid a pick than it is for him to battle through it. Thus far, he hasn’t been burned by any top-notch perimeter shooters, but the room is there for them to fire away.
Calathes has pretty good hands and doesn’t give up when an opponent gets going toward the basket. He gets his share of steals, but is easily ridden off of a play in the lane because he lacks the strength to force his man back out or into a difficult off-balance shot. The result is typically a drive in toward the basket or a foul. Again, better competition will ultimately expose this more tangibly than the weak non-conference schedule has thus far. It should be noted that neither Jamar Butler of OSU or Toney Douglas of FSU had particularly strong offensive showings against Florida. Calathes had some hand in that, but wasn’t matched up against either player for over half of their possessions.
The biggest area of development for Calathes defensively will be getting stronger and savvier as a defender. He is noted for his work ethic and has a good head for the game, so learning his opponents’ offensive tendencies, mastering his role in the team defense, and gaining the strength necessary to physically do his part will be his best weapons. He’ll most likely never be a great defender, but with his size he could become adequate with a better physique and more experience using it.
Overall, Calathes has a lot going for him as a prospect, but is going to have to stick around for a couple more years to mature physically, as he lacks the athletic upside of some of the more heralded members of this freshman class. As a combo-guard, Calathes has tremendous court-vision and passing ability to complement his outside shooting potential. His size will allow him to play both backcourt positions and a commitment to his strength and conditioning over the next two years should get him the muscle he needs. 185lbs isn’t going to be enough to play the physical style of offense and defense he’ll need to survive at the next level, but his frame can carry more weight, which should enhance his best attributes.
As it stands now he doesn’t have the ability to finish in the lane or to defend it. He’s going to have to transition his game from pure finesse to one that incorporates power, which is tough to project until he’s got the physical attributes to work with. But a solid overall skill-set, a good basketball IQ, and a terrific work ethic is a good starting point for the freshmen guard. It will be fun to watch his development over the next few seasons.
Nick Calathes put his versatility on display in this all-star game, handling and passing the ball a good share, and also scoring a bit himself. He did most of his damage in transition, finishing on easy lay-ups or making dump-offs to teammates near the rim for assists, also hitting one spot-up three on the break. This is where he got into some trouble as well, though, as he made quite a few turnovers trying to be too creative with the ball, which may just be a reflection of the style of game that was played here. Calathes brings a lot of skills to the table with his passing, ball-handling, shooting, ability to finish at the rim, and ability to play multiple positions, which should make him a fast contributor at Florida next season.[Read Full Article]
Nick Calathes was definitely the best player on his team today, doing a bit of everything to lead his team to victory, including playing a few possessions at the point. He missed all three of his three-point attempts in the game, but hit from mid-range and drew some fouls going to the basket. Calathes looked his best in transition, where he dished out multiple nice assists, including a behind-the-back pass to his future Florida teammate, Chandler Parsons. Calathes also had another nice hook-up with Parsons, throwing an inbound assist to a cutting Parsons, who scored the ball at the rim. In the half-court, Calathes made a nice behind-his-head drop-off on a right-handed drive, and threw a nice, perfectly placed bounce pass to the low post from the top of the key.[Read Full Article]
Calathes had a solid showing here, showing off his nice complementary skillset, hitting an assortment of three-pointers both in transition and in the halfcourt, exhibiting what was one of the quickest shot releases here, even though he doesn’t have the greatest form. He didn’t miss from outside for the portion of the Blue Team’s scrimmage I saw. Calathes showed off his passing ability as well, showing good control with the ball in transition and excellent court vision, finding seams to dish out bounce passes and behind-the-back passes with good precision. He tried to get a bit fancy with the ball at one point, making back-to-back turnovers when driving into the lane, but for the most part played under control and did a good job hitting shots and making passes.[Read Full Article]
Nick Calathes doesn’t exactly look like an elite basketball prospect. He’s painfully thin, and doesn’t move up and down the court like a D1 floor general. But it doesn’t take long to realize that there is plenty of reason for all the hype surrounding the next Gator point guard. After a few forced passes early on, Calathes settled down and played an excellent game. His court vision is clearly special, and his feel for the game makes up for a lot of what is lacking in the athleticism department. He is a threat to pull up from just about anywhere, is crafty enough with his dribble to get to the basket, and - most dangerous of all – he is a constant threat to create easy looks for his teammates via the pass. There was an assortment of highlight reel passes on the night, the kind that you don’t expect a 6’6 18 year old to make.
Of course, there are those physical deficiencies. Calathes has continued to grow well into his high school career, and it is going to take some time and a significant amount of work in the weight room before he is up to par in terms of athleticism and strength. All in all, this was an impressive performance. He will immediately step into a big role at Florida, and it should be interesting to see how Donovan chooses to utilize him. Donovan already received a committment from 5’8 standout Erving Walker from the 2008 class, and should have a few other ballhandling options returning from this year’s roster. Donovan going to more of a multiple lead guard lineup would give Calathes time to develop physically and help him against more athletic defenders. It is fairly clear that he will emerge as a star over the course of his college career. As far as his professional future goes, it all depends on just how much he can improve as an athlete.
While Calathes struggled guarding Mayo (like everyone else did), he played remarkable off the ball defense. He was outstanding rotating defensively and got a ton of steals via his quick hands and ability to know when and when not to gamble on the defensive end. The Florida commit was great running the show, throwing ridiculous no look passes on the fast break all throughout. His high basketball IQ continued to make up his lack of super athleticism, allowing him to be one of the top performers in the practice sessions yet again.[Read Full Article]
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DraftExpress: Do you prefer the current atmosphere of the McDonald’s game this year with NBA scouts not being allowed to attend? Do you think it makes things more laid back, or would you prefer if there were scouts here so it would give you more of an opportunity to showcase yourself?
Calathes: It’s both. You don’t have to be that nervous if the NBA scouts aren’t here. If they’re here though, it gives you an opportunity to get looked at for the next level, so it works both ways.
DraftExpress: What are your personal thoughts on the NBA’s age limit?
Calathes: I wish you could have went out of high school still. I don’t know if I would have went straight to the NBA out of high school, but it still would have given us high schoolers the opportunity to go to the league.
DraftExpress: Now there have been some pretty strong rumors out there that Billy Donovan is considering leaving Florida and taking the job at Kentucky at the end of the season. If Coach Donovan does go to UK, have you decided what you’re going to do?
Calathes: If he takes the Kentucky job, I’m going to follow him probably…Most likely. He’s the one who I want to play for and he’s the reason that I committed to Florida.
DraftExpress: Is it the same case with your teammate Chandler Parsons?
Calathes: I haven’t talked to Chandler yet about it, but he’d probably do the same thing.
DraftExpress: What are your thoughts on the way that the summer camp circuit has changed, with there now only being the LeBron James All America Camp? How do you think things would have been had there only been one camp when you were still on the circuit?
Calathes: It would have been real different because everyone would have went to that one camp. It would have probably been a lot more competition because a bunch of players in the nation were going either way (Nike, Reebok, or Adidas) to camp, so there would have been much more competition.
DraftExpress: Would you have preferred it that way with only one camp, or did you like it better with the three camps?
Calathes: Well it gives other kids a chance who aren’t top 25 players in the nation, so for the other ones, all three would be better for them. For the All Americans though, I’d say the one would be best.
DraftExpress: With all of the different shoe companies coming at you and asking you to play in their games, how did you personally choose what other game to play in besides the McDonald’s game?
Calathes: Nike has been loyal to me the whole time to me and I was going to show love to them. They have been following me since I was 15, giving me some gear and sponsoring my AAU and high school team. I am loyal, so I’m staying with them.
DraftExpress: Is there any particular player that you pattern your game after?
Calathes: I think I’m kind of a mix between Steve Nash and Mike Miller. Steve Nash has a really high basketball IQ and Mike Miller can really shoot, so I think I’m a mix of those two.
DraftExpress: Have you spoken with Coach Donovan about what position you’ll be playing at Florida? Will you be playing both guard positions, or strictly point guard?
Calathes: I’ll be playing the one, the two, and the three. I’m going to be a combo.
DraftExpress: Are you ready to take on more of a scoring role if Corey Brewer, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah enter the NBA Draft, as many expect they will?
Calathes: I think that I just have to go with the flow and see if they need me to be a scorer, or whatever they need me to do.
DraftExpress: Well what areas of your game are you looking to improve upon the most by the time you reach Florida?
Calathes: Definitely getting stronger. I think if I get stronger, then I’ll be able to play right away when I get there.
DraftExpress: Now it has to be tough on you being a taller point guard, going up against these smaller guys who are a little more quicker and athletic then you are. What do you do to try to make up for the fact that you aren’t quite as quick as a lot of these smaller guys?
Calathes: They’ve got speed on me, but I can see the floor over them. I am able to protect the basketball against them, and like I said, I can see over them. It really works both ways.
Calathes was solid Sunday with his heady and crafty play, doing all of the things that coaches love on the floor to make up for his lack of outstanding athleticism. He did a good job handling the ball, despite the immense ball pressure that was put on him by Mayo on the day. The basketball IQ and intangibles that he possesses are truly special, and it is clear that he was taught the fundamentals of the game at a very young age. Nick struggled a bit defensively on the day against more athletic guards and was a bit shaky from beyond the three point arc, but was able to consistently lead his team to victory through his cerebral play.[Read Full Article]