Heading into his junior year at Kansas, Mario Chalmers
has yet to prove he can consistently run an offense, and with teammate point guards Russell Robinson
and Sherron Collins
both returning, its unlikely hell prove it this year either. Chalmers certainly has a little bit of point guard in his game, but at this stage, hes clearly more of a shooting guard, playing his best off the ball. At 61, Chalmers is undersized for an off-guard, but his length, athleticism, and tenacious defense help make up for his size disadvantage.
Chalmers offensive game keys around his outside shot, which has great form, a very high arc, a pretty quick release, and great body control getting it off. After shooting 37.5% his freshman year, Chalmers raised his percentage to 40.4% as a sophomore, and has the potential to improve into an even more deadly shooter in the future. He doesnt pull-up from behind the arc often, but his form still looks good when he does, usually when coming around a screen.
Chalmers dribble-drive game isnt as effective as his outside game, but hes still formidable in that regard. Hes at his best going to the hoop coming off cuts or screens, putting the ball down for just a few dribbles, but he can take his man in Iso situations as well, albeit with inconsistent success. Chalmers can get into trouble trying to do too much with his ball-handling, usually when splitting double teams. Also, even though he has a quick first step, Chalmers doesnt use changes of speed enough in getting his man off balance, which would definitely help in more consistently getting past opponents. Once in the lane, Chalmers doesnt change directions enough either, leading to a lot of charges and tough shot attempts at the basket. When he has a route to the basket, Chalmers finishes well, showing good touch off the rim and the ability to finish with both hands. Chalmers also has an effective right-handed floater that he uses fairly often, though he could stand to improve it more, as hell have to rely on it much more in the lane at the next level.
As a point guard, Chalmers shows flashes penetrating into the lane and kicking out to teammates for open jumpers, also pushing the ball ahead in transition, but he doesnt seem to have a true floor generals mentality, and hes not going to be put into a situation where hed have to develop one. He can run an offense adequately in a pinch, but he just hasnt proven he can consistently do it over time.
Chalmers best skill is perhaps on the defensive end, where he puts his full athletic ability to use. He plays menacing, in-your-face defense, constantly fighting through screens and staying with his man without the ball, then not letting up when his man has the ball, showing great fundamentals, instincts, and lateral quickness. Chalmers long arms also help him when running out to contest perimeter jumpers, while his excellent hands help at constantly picking balls away from opponents, in straight-up man-to-man defense or by sneaking up from the weak-side.
Chalmers isnt a sure thing for the NBA, but barring any major changes on his current development path, he stands a good chance at being drafted at some point once he decides to declare. Depending on what strides he makes with his game this season, he will likely have to strongly consider coming back for his senior year as well. The pre-draft camps will be very important for Chalmers, where players of his defensive ilk usually excel, and he can try to show that hes more of a point guard than many believe. Even if he cant develop his point guard game until later in his career, he could still find himself a niche similar to Daniel Gibson
s on the Cavaliers, he will just have to fall into an ideal situation, which isnt always easy.