Arguably the most dynamic scorer in the ACC last season, Malcolm Delaney withdrew his name from the NBA Draft after discovering that he wasn't a likely first round pick. A known commodity with clearly defined weaknesses, the senior could improve his stock if he can show progress in some key areas and lead his team deep in the NCAA Tournament.
Delaney's weaknesses as a prospect are rooted in the ambiguity regarding his position at the next level. Standing just 6'3, Delaney is undersized for a NBA shooting guard, and while he has great quickness, he isn't a great leaper and needs to get stronger. Couple his physical profile with the fact that he uses his quickness to score more frequently than he does to pass and his sometimes questionable shot selection, and it is safe to say that anything Delaney shows as a floor general this season on top of what we've seen from him in the past will improve his stock.
Though Delaney is known on the national scene for his scoring prowess, he flashes some playmaking ability. He can get into the lane and draw addition defenders seamlessly off the dribble with his excellent first step. However, needs to do improve his left hand and do a better job of identifying when to give the ball up and when to keep it a tall order for a player who is naturally looking to score . Any time Delaney spends orchestrating Virginia Tech's offense this coming season will bode well for his future, as the experience he gains should aid him when he attempts to prove the he can assume the role of primary ball-handler on the next level.
In addition to his passing ability, it would be nice to see Delaney improve his offensive efficiency on the whole. Though it is his aggressive nature that allows him to light up the scoreboard against the NCAA's best, he's prone to force a few guarded jumpers from the perimeter every game and doesn't finish at the rim at a very good rate. He dones compensate for both of those limitations by getting to the line as much as anyone, but according to Synergy Sports Technology, he made just 35.3% of his jump shots last season and only finished 35.9% of his chances at the rim.
Virginia Tech's heavy reliance on Delaney to create for himself and carry his team through one of the toughest conferences in college basketball certainly plays into his lack of efficiency, but the guard does make some questionable decisions at times especially in the half court. A polarizing figure in the Hokie offense, Delaney's is asked to do a lot for his team, and ability to improve his consistency as a jump shooter and strike a balance between shot selection and passing will be a big part of his team's success.
Defensively, Delaney's quickness is an asset to him, as it gives him the ability to be a disruption in the passing lanes and deny penetration with some consistency. Displaying excellent anticipation when going for steals, Delaney is a solid on ball defender when he focused, but takes a few too many risks in pressuring the ball up near half court and reaching for steals. He'll need to add some muscle to his frame to improve his defensive potential at the next level and struggles to recover when he's beat, but has some useful tools should he get the chance to defend point guards at the next level.
Though Delaney may never be one to make the extra pass out on the perimeter, he'll need to become a more proficient floor general and perimeter shooter to compensate for the athletic shortcomings that will make it difficult for him to finish around the basket at the next level. There's no questioning Delaney's slashing ability and knack for getting to the line, but the rest of his game will be under the microscope this season.