After causing quite a bit of buzz with his play during the first few weeks of the season, Charles Garcia tossed his name into the NBA draft earlier this week despite struggling to match his hot start down the stretch. Raising questions about both his play on the court and intangibles off it, Garcia has seen his stock decline considerably in recent months, but remains a highly intriguing talent that is worth keeping an eye on during draft season.
Last time we checked in Garcia, he was fresh off a three game stretch during which he averaged a double-double and a shade under 30 points. Standing 6-10 with a great frame, good length, impressive mobility, and solid explosiveness, Garcia’s versatility quickly placed him amongst the nation’s fastest rising prospects. His athletic tools are certainly intriguing from an NBA perspective, but his season has taken downward spiral since our last report.
Much of Garcia’s recent struggles, at least statistically can be attributed to two specific factors: his lack of playing time, his inability to adjust to the additional attention he’s received from opposing defenses. Garcia averaged 31.3 minutes through the first nine games of the season, but only 23.8 during Seattle’s last 22 games. After being relegated to the bench by Head Coach Cameron Dollar for a supposed lack of effort, Garcia’s teammates seemed to play better –the RedHawks went 5-1 in games when he played less than 22 minutes.
Seattle’s success with Garcia playing a smaller role seems indicative of the type of player he’s been all season. Extremely aggressive and never shy about pulling the ball out of the offense and looking for his own shot, Garcia’s weak supporting cast has allowed defenses to key in on the 21-year old forward and exploit his often overly assertive shot selection.
Though Garcia has taken a similar amount of shots per-40 minutes during each third of the season, his free throw attempts have declined precipitously as teams have adjusted their help side defenses to force him into jump shots and challenge the shots that he does take at the rim more effectively. Garcia has shot less than half as many free throws in the last third of the season than he did during the first third, but still manages to rank first in our database in free throw attempts per-40 minutes pace adjusted.
Always in attack mode, Garcia is not terribly discerning when defenses key in on him, leading to a great deal of inconsistency and some problematic habits. Still apt to take a contested jumper with multiple defenders around him, he makes himself a difficult player to play alongside. Creating little within the framework of Seattle’s half court sets, doing the majority of his damage operating one-on-one or in transition, and turning the ball over as often as any player in our database per-40 minute pace adjusted,Garcia will need to improve his ability to function as a roleplayer on the next level. In order to do that, he’ll need to polish his jump shot, be more active moving without the ball, and cut down on his turnovers to be more efficient as a slashes or face-up post player.
Most importantly, he must improve his recognition of things that are happening on the floor, and not just barrel his way into the lane the way he all too often does at the moment. Garcia’s basketball IQ is simply not up to par with his talent-level, something that became more and more obvious as the season moved on.
One thing that Garcia did consistently well this season was rebound the ball. His per-40 numbers have remained largely consistent, and his length and athleticism made him a productive rebounder against the competition he was facing. With a frame that could still get even stronger, Garcia will need to improve his effort level on the glass to have a comparable impact on the next level.
The same can be said about his impact defensively. Garcia already lost ground because of his lack of defensive effort, and while he shows lateral quickness on occasion and appeared to be a working marginally harder after he was benched, Garcia will need to improve defensively to compensate for the challenges he’ll face finding a niche offensively. He shows more than adequate lateral quickness, but his tendency not to get in a stance, lack of discipline when closing out shooters, and lack of effort limit his ability to effectively use his tools.
Moving into draft season, Garcia’s stock will be dependent on what NBA teams uncover when they research his background and how he performs in workouts. After bouncing around considerably before joining Cameron Dollar in Seattle, Garcia’s background may be the limiting factor on his draft position as his intangibles already limited his minutes down the stretch this season. His performance early in the season was impressive to say the least, as is his overall talent-level, but to compensate for his struggles late, he’ll need to show off his versatility and athleticism against his peers in closed workout settings, something that is more than possible. [Read Full Article] NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Charles Garcia December 9, 2009 Every year seemingly, a new NBA draft prospect comes out of the woodwork playing for a school that is hardly known for producing lottery picks. Our best candidate this year so far might be Charles Garcia at Seattle University.
Never heard of Seattle U? That’s not a shock, considering that this is only their second season playing Division I basketball. Although this is the alma mater of Elgin Baylor, the school is stuck in limbo as they make the transition from Division II, meaning not having any conference affiliation and being ineligible for the NCAA tournament until 2013.
Chris Joseph Taylor / Seattle University
Helping ease the transition significantly is the presence of one Charles Garcia, a junior college transfer from South Central LA who was denied entrance to the University of Washington for academic reasons, and instead decided to follow outgoing assistant coach Cameron Dollar across town to his new gig as head coach of Seattle. Garcia was initially slated to play at Sacramento State out of high school, but again was set back by academic issues that forced him to take the JC route.
Nine games into the season, Garcia ranks as the 3rd leading scorer amongst all NCAA prospects per-40 minutes pace adjusted, and has already helped his team notch solid wins over Fresno State, U.C. Davis and Utah, with the latter two coming on the road.
More impressive is the wide array of skills he’s flashed along the way, looking like a real prototype for what the NBA covets from a modern day power forward. The wow factor when watching him play is extremely high—think of somewhat of a cross between Andray Blatche and Lamar Odom. Garcia plays facing the basket almost exclusively, despite standing 6-10, and is often asked to bring the ball up the floor and act as a pseudo point guard for his team, as we saw on film in the Utah game. He’s an outstanding ball-handler who can create his own shot with ease in isolation situations and is incredibly difficult to stop off the dribble, which is something you can hardly about any other big man in this draft class.
Garcia was reportedly a guard until his junior year of high school, at which point he shot up 7 inches, which helps explain the unusual versatility he displays. It’s not difficult to see how this manifests itself, as Garcia currently ranks #1 amongst all NCAA prospects in free throw attempts by a large margin, at a ridiculous 14.1 per game.
It’s very common to see Garcia snatch a rebound off the defensive glass and bring the ball up the court (quickly) himself, often weaving his way in and out of traffic impressively. He gets extremely low to the ground when the ball is in his possession, oddly preferring to operate with his left hand despite being a natural right-hander—something that Kevin Pelton pointed out already at the beginning of this season. His first step is very solid and he shows impressive footwork and dexterity spinning and pivoting his way through the lane, although he is quite turnover at this stage.
More than just a slasher, Garcia also shows legit 3-point range on his jumper, having already connected seven times (in 23 attempts) on the season in nine games from beyond the arc. He can make spot-up and even pull-up jumpers off the dribble with deep range, showing excellent touch and mechanics along the way, although his shot-selection often leaves a lot to be desired. He hasn’t shown a great deal of a back to the basket game in the film we’ve watched, but appears to have a nice little jump-hook in his arsenal he can go to to complement his soft touch. He also appears to have an above average feel for making passes, even if there is work to do in this area as well, particularly when double-teamed in the post.
Garcia’s decision making skills aren’t up to par with his overall talent level, as evidenced by the fact that he ranks 3rd amongst all draft prospects in turnovers per-40 pace adjusted. He’s extremely aggressive looking to make things happen offensively, which can at times get him into all kinds of trouble. He tends to make lackadaisical passes and overdribble excessively in the open court, as well as force the issue running into brick walls in the half-court. He clearly favors driving left when attacking his man off the dribble, something that defenses will surely pick up on in time, especially in the NBA.
Seattle plays at a very fast pace and Coach Dollar seemingly gives Garcia unlimited freedom to do as he pleases on the court, which he sometimes takes to an extreme. It would be nice to see him take better advantage of his size against smaller matchups in the post—as he hangs out around the perimeter pretty much all game--or at least try to use his face-up game more in the 12-15 foot area rather than by pounding the ball behind the 3-point line while the rest of his teammates stand around and watch.
Although his frame is quite solid, he could still stand to get stronger and improve his balance, something that would help him finishing around the basket in traffic. While he’s an extremely agile and fluid overall athlete, he’s not what you would call a freakishly explosive leaper, which could become more of an issue down the road.
Defensively, Garcia is mostly a mixed bag, as on one hand he shows great length and instincts getting in the passing lanes (particularly on post-entry feeds) and coming up with deflections. On the other hand, his focus and intensity level seems to waver quite a bit, often looking lackadaisical defending off the ball, not really putting much effort into boxing out his man, and generally showing poor awareness.
He’s not as much of a presence as you would expect as a weakside shot-blocker considering his size, length and athleticism—especially at this admittedly poor level of competition-- although it’s possible that he might be under orders from coaching staff to save energy and not risk getting into foul trouble considering how heavily they rely on him offensively. He shows a lot of potential as a rebounder, but the fact that he hangs outside the 3-point line almost exclusively limits his effectiveness on the offensive glass.
Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times
As many NBA scouts are quietly beginning to realize, Garcia is a prospect that needs to be taken seriously. There may not be another player his size in college basketball with quite the same skill-level, which makes him extremely unique. NBA teams will want to research his background, particularly the academic issues, the less than stellar impact he made on the Junior College level, and the notion that he’s not always quite dialed in. We’ll also need to see if he can continue to play as well as the season moves on, but it’s safe to say that Garcia has established himself as a legit first round prospect, if not much more than that. Some NBA types we talked to and trust already swear by him.
He's already rocketed up our draft board, and we're sure the same will happen with the other draft outlets once they get the word. [Read Full Article]