Overview:An incredibly talented young point guard that is already amongst the Leagues 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 hes developed from a potential weakness to a clear strength since leaving Illinois. Hits the three at a great rate, but doesnt take all that many per game. A very good catch and shoot option, but that isnt 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 games 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 hes 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 wasnt 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 leagues 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 hes forced to close out. Does a solid job fighting through screens. Will keep his man from blowing by him when hes 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. Wont 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.