H: 6' 1"|
W: 190 lbs
(29 Years Old)
|RSCI: 10||Agent: Sam Goldfeder |
High School: Bartlett
Hometown: Anchorage, AK
Drafted: Pick 34 in 2008 by Timberwolves
Best Case: Jarrett Jack
Worst Case: Daniel Ewing
Mario Chalmers- Another very encouraging outing by Chalmers, who looks very comfortable in this setting thus far, and seems to be enjoying the newfound freedom to make mistakes and try new things—something he wasn’t able to do so much at Kansas. Chalmers was extremely aggressive offensively, blowing by poor Jaycee Carroll time after time and getting to the free throw line at will. He used the pick and roll nicely, both to get into the lane and find the open man spotting up from the perimeter, and was also extremely active in transition. Chalmers was able to use his terrific length and hands to pick up some loose change in the form of extra possessions for his team, which is what he’s done his entire career. Something that was a bit surprising was the fact his man to man defense was nothing special at all, as he repeatedly let both Jaycee Carroll and Will Conroy (neither known as speed demons) blow by him time after time.[Read Full Article]
Chalmers had the best game of his career here in the Big 12 tournament finals, scoring 30 points on 10-15 shooting (8-12 3P), while dishing out 6 assists to go along with 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers and 2 steals. Chalmers is in the midst of a breakout season this year and is actually well overdue for a write-up.
Chalmers has made notable strides in his game in every season he’s been at KU so far, which is exactly what you want to see from a former McDonald’s All-American. His shooting percentages are way up (an incredibly impressive 52% from the field and 48% for 3), as are his assists, while his turnovers are down. Chalmers’ role in KU’s offense has decreased this season (most of his offense comes from spot-up and transition situations), but he’s become a much more efficient player, which is clearly a testament to his willingness to set aside his ego and stick strictly to what he’s best at for the betterment of his team. For someone who projects as a role player and likely backup at the next level, that’s a very encouraging sign.
Chalmers shares ball-handling duties on this squad with two other point guards in Russell Robinson and Sherron Collins. That helps mask many of his weaknesses, but also probably doesn’t give him as much of an opportunity to improve on them as he would elsewhere. If not running the floor in transition, Kansas runs an incredible amount of half-court sets, and Chalmers looks smart enough and more than willing to executes those plays crisply and get the ball to where it needs to be on the floor. He gets most of his 4.6 assists per game in this fashion, and the extremely low 2 turnovers he averages per game tells you all you need to know about how well he does at minimizing mistakes. Although he’s clearly not a pure point guard (he just doesn’t seem to have those type of instincts at the moment), he still ranks 6th amongst all players in our database in John Hollinger’s pure point ratio. The fact that he’s extremely unselfish, relatively mistake free and plays in a high-octane offense with excellent players around him all contributes heavily to that.
As a shooter, Chalmers is nothing short of fantastic, as indicated by his phenomenal 66% true shooting percentage, which ranks him 9th in our entire database in that category. He doesn’t take many bad shots, as we saw in the Big 12 tournament, where he knocked down 8 3-pointers, almost all of which were wide open looks with his feet set. He is absolutely outstanding when left open, and can also knock down shots off the dribble, although his percentages drop when doing so.
Defensively, Chalmers is one of the peskiest guards you’ll find in the NCAA, with his phenomenal length and timing that helped him average a Big-12 best 2.4 steals per game. Although he’s undersized at 6-1, his length really helps him out in this area, as he plays much bigger than his height and manages to contest nearly everything in his area. His lateral quickness is good, but not great, something that D.J. Augustin seemed to take advantage of at times in this game, but this probably isn’t something to be overly concerned about.
Chalmers’ biggest weaknesses as an NBA prospect revolve around his average athleticism and ball-handling skills, which makes him fairly ineffective as a shot-creator at the point guard position. He struggles going right, doesn’t have much of a mid-range game, and often looks out of control on his way to the basket, not being much of a finisher at the hoop due to his clear lack of explosiveness at the rim. This, combined with his underdeveloped playmaking instincts are a pretty big knock against his pro potential, but he should still be able to overcome his deficiencies and develop into a quality backup considering how many other things he brings to the table.
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, it’s unlikely he’ll prove it this year either. Chalmers certainly has a little bit of point guard in his game, but at this stage, he’s clearly more of a shooting guard, playing his best off the ball. At 6’1, 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 doesn’t 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 isn’t as effective as his outside game, but he’s still formidable in that regard. He’s 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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 he’ll 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 doesn’t seem to have a true floor general’s mentality, and he’s not going to be put into a situation where he’d have to develop one. He can run an offense adequately in a pinch, but he just hasn’t 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 isn’t 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 he’s more of a point guard than many believe. Even if he can’t 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 isn’t always easy.
Chalmers really stood out with the phenomenal on and off-ball defense he played throughout the camp, smothering with his excellent combination of lateral quickness, tenacity and length, constantly getting in the passing lanes, finishing craftily in transition with a layup or emphatic dunk, showing a great attitude throughout, and also coming up with some excellent passes in on the fast break and in half-court sets. He has NBA potential for sure, it’s just a matter of polishing his skills and decision making and becoming a viable defensive oriented combo guard who can shoot and handle the ball well enough to make himself useful as a pro. He’s not a prototypical NBA point guard prospect, but he does have some very appealing attributes that should make him a solid draft pick either this year or next.[Read Full Article]
Chalmers and the rest of the Jayhawks saw their season come to an end at the hands of the UCLA Bruins in the Elite Eight, amidst a flurry of turnovers and missed lay ups. A three-pointer as time expired in the first half from Josh Shipp put UCLA up by four, and things fell apart for Kansas from that point on.
After a poor scoring performance in the Sweet 16 against Southern Illinois, things got even worse for Chalmers who only connected on one field goal attempt, finishing with 2 points. He never got into any kind of rhythm from the outside thanks to UCLA’s tight defense, and saw everyone one of his driving lay ups contested as well, finishing just 1 of 4 on easy looks inside. Having Chalmers, a 50% shooter on the season, taken out of commission offensively was a big part of the Bruin’s ability to slow the Jayhawk offense.
A criticism of Chalmers thus far in his career has been his ability as a pure point guard; he certainly showed those abilities in Kansas’s loss. He doubled his assist average, setting up teammates with great looks all game long. He had a few nice looks in transition, but was at his best when he was able to penetrate the lane and kick out to teammates setting up in the corners. In particular he gave Brandon Rush some nice looks on the perimeter and set up Darnell Jackson with a beautiful alley-oop, in picking up 6 assists. If Chalmers can show this same mentality in the future, there’s no reason to think he won’t average totals like this regularly. He got into trouble, though, with protecting the basketball. Kansas had a team total 19 turnovers, and Chalmers had over a quarter of them with 5. This severely hurt his production as well as Kansas’s chances for winning the game.
Defensively, Chalmers had a stellar game. His on ball pressure was fantastic all game long, hounding his opponents and forcing turnovers. His 4 steals was one of his highest totals of the season, and he got them in a variety of ways relying on his quick hands and great anticipation. He picked off two passes and was able to pick up another one by trailing a play and knocking the ball loose.
Despite his great defensive efforts and solid passing, this was a down game for Chalmers. As Kansas’s second leading scorer, he has been an offensive threat all season long, but put up his lowest point total of the season in a disappointing loss. Only a sophomore though, Chalmers should certainly be back for his junior campaign at Kansas, where he has a chance to be a first round pick if he puts together another strong season.
The Kansas Jayhawks did the absolute minimum to escape with a win over Southern Illinois and advance to the Elite Eight. They missed a lot of easy shots, shot poorly from the free throw line, turned the ball over, and were severely outworked on the glass at points by the Salukis. At the heart of Kansas’ struggles was their talented point guard Mario Chalmers, who really seemed to tighten up as the game came down the stretch.
Chalmers did a solid jump breaking his man down off the dribble and using his superior speed to get into the lane, something he has excelled at all season. That was where the solid play ended though. The sophomore has had a tendency at points this season to throw up wild shots in the paint, playing out of control basketball. This Jekyll side of Chalmers’ game was on display tonight, and the speedster missed a couple of very good looks around the basket. This inconsistency in his game has been an issue at points this year, and is something he needs to improve on immediately for the sake of Kansas’s title hopes this year.
Turnovers, which plagued the entire Jayhawk team, were a problem for Chalmers in particular, committing 4 during his 27 minutes of play. The Saluki defense did a fantastic job hounding the Kansas backcourt, and Chalmers in particular seemed to feel the pressure. At many points during the second half he looked like he was barely hanging on to the basketball, and was more than happy to give it off to a teammate. Chalmers is such a talented player, it can be easy to forget sometimes that he is only a sophomore and he is still gaining valuable postseason experience with this run through the NCAA Tournament.
Usually a great catalyst on the offensive end, Chalmers struggled to get the Kansas offense clicking, in part because his teammates struggled as well, but also because of his own struggles. He is a great drive and kick player, weaving his way into the lane against slower defenders, but he again struggled with turnovers and wild shots, which left him at a sub-par 3 assists on the night.
Up until this game, Chalmers had been playing extremely well, stepping up his scoring and assist averages from the regular season in the first two rounds of the tournament. He shot very well from the outside, going 6-9 in two games, and suddenly stopped shooting the long ball, going 0 for 1 against Southern Illinois. Chalmers took a step back with his performance in the Sweet 16, but was lucky in that Kansas advanced, and now he has a chance to erase this game from memory with a good showing in the Elite Eight. After struggling against the stingy defense of Southern Illinois, and a match up awaiting with UCLA, things will not get any easier for Chalmers, though.
There are real improvements that need to be made in Chalmers’ game before he can move on to the NBA, particularly in his consistency and his confidence in late game situations. Only a sophomore though, he still has time to fix these weaknesses. With the likely chance that Brandon Rush and Julian Wright will leave after this season, Chalmers will be looked upon to lead Kansas next year. If he continues to grow as a player there is no reason to think that he won’t be at least a first round pick in the 2008 draft.
Mario Chalmers put together a fantastic all around performance in helping top seeded Kansas get past Kentucky and into the Sweet 16. The sophomore showed his full array of talents on both ends of the floor, and most importantly for him, was very efficient with the basketball on offense.
Things got started almost immediately for Chalmers by hitting a pair of threes in the games first two minutes. The first one was a bomb from the left wing with a hand in his face, a shot that he has shown he is not afraid to take. Chalmers picked up a couple of other baskets thanks to his tireless work on the defensive side of the floor. The speedster did a fantastic job anticipating passes, picking off two and taking them the other way for easy points. The ball hawk would finish with 4 total steals, another great performance from the Jayhawks’ top thief. He does a fantastic job sticking with his man and not getting beat off the dribble. His hands are extremely quick, which makes him one of the top players in the Big 12 in picking up steals.
With 6 assists, this was one of Chalmers’ better games distributing the ball. He spread the ball in every way manageable: driving and kicking, skipping over the top to open teammates and the perimeter, and two particularly flashy alley-oops to Julian Wright. With so many talented teammates around him, Chalmers should have more performances of this kind, even if he has to share the ball-handling duties with Russell Robinson.
Chalmers really impressed with his overall contribution to Kansas’s win on Sunday. He didn’t overwhelm on the offensive end, but he didn’t have to with big games coming from Brandon Rush and Julian Wright. He moved the ball well, and played great defense. Games like this are what make Chalmers so appealing to NBA scouts. He still needs to work on shot selection a little, and should start having assist numbers like he did against Kentucky, rather than the 3 he averaged per game this season. Only a sophomore though, Chalmers still has plenty of time to develop on improve his point guard abilities.
For stretches, Mario looked the heralded prospect that he was hailed as coming out of high school, doing absolutely whatever he pleased on the floor. He was able to free himself up for any shot he wanted, broke down Gator defenders at will, played fantastic pressure defense, and made very sound decisions with the basketball. There were times however where he was the same old Chalmers we saw last year, playing out of control and looking like a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body.
It was clear Saturday night that Chalmers is the most talented of KU’s three point guards (himself, Russell Robinson, and Sherron Collins), but like most young players, consistency is the key with him. He will have to show the ability to involve everyone else on a regular basis if he hopes to log the majority of the minutes at PG for the remainder of the year, which Russell Robinson currently holds. Mario’s NBA stock is also being affected by this drastically, as we are forced to view him as a shooting guard for large portions of the game. It is pretty clear that for his sake, he needs to take a few less shots and do what he did against Florida and both he and the Jayhawks should be fine for the rest of the season.
Although his development curve could still lead him in any direction—either up or down—on this list over the next few years, its tough to ignore the impressive 11.5 points, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals Mario Chalmers averaged as a freshman in 26 minutes. Chalmers started off the season quite slow but really hit his stride in the Big 12 conference slate, hitting double-figure points in all but 3 of his last 20 games of the season. Coach Bill Self didn’t seem to trust the somewhat wild freshman too much early on—at times preferring to go with a walk-on in his place--but Chalmers quickly showed him that the good parts to his game far outnumber the bad when he gets a chance to show what he can do.
Chalmers joins the likes of Julian Wright, Brandon Rush, CJ Giles and others in a long line of Kansas players that can be called long-armed freaks. He has average size at 6-1, and isn’t terribly explosive off the bounce, but his sheer length and stubbornness makes him a force to be reckoned with on either end of the court.
Playing almost exclusively off the ball due to his unpredictable nature, Chalmers loves to come off screens for mid-range or 3-point jumpers. He has good shooting mechanics that could be even better if he could quicken up the speed of his release and possibly get a tad bit more elevation off the floor with his bunny hop attempts. Nevertheless, Chalmers has fantastic touch and it’s only a matter of time before he’s considered absolutely deadly from behind the arc. He’s already extremely confident in it.
Generally speaking, Chalmers is a player who wants the ball, will call for it, and knows what to do once he gets it. He wants the responsibility of being his team’s go-to guy, and will probably become just that at Kansas down the road if he doesn’t leave for the NBA prematurely. As a freshman he wasn’t quite up to the task even though he did his best at times to show that he was. This littered his highlight reels with all kinds of plays he will surely want to forget—unforced errors, bad shots, offensive fouls, wild lobs, plenty of turnovers and the usual stuff you’d expect from a freshman—but just a lot more of them.
As a slasher, Chalmers needs to improve his strength and savvy and get much better at finishing around the rim. Not having great size, his floater needs to gain some polish, as do most of the offensive moves in his arsenal. He showed some flashes of shot-creating skills—a nice hesitation move here, a crafty ball-handling move there—but he’s got plenty of room to develop in this area, as he does with his mid-range game.
The biggest question mark about Chalmers’ NBA potential though has to revolve around the position he’ll play at the next level. Standing 6-1, he’s already undersized for the point guard position. The problem is that he plays the 2 almost exclusively, and really didn’t show anything resembling a point guard’s mentality when he had the chance. Fortunately he has plenty of time to continue to work on this part of his game, but he’ll have to start playing the point guard position at some point to really be evaluated as one.
Something that absolutely must be discussed before we conclude is Chalmers’ defense. Based off what his tapes show, it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to put him in the same league as some of the best ball-hawks in the country. His hands are unbelievably quick, and that coupled with his superb length and fantastic anticipation skills make him an absolute terror when it comes to getting in the passing lanes. Regularly you’ll see him hound his defender in the backcourt to sneak his paw in at just the right moment and come up with a fast-break igniting steal. In fact, from the tapes we evaluated (the large majority of his season), over 17% of his shots come in transition (where he’s a not so great 54/84 or 64%), second only to his spot-up shooting (phenomenal at 102/204 or 50%). Bill Self’s Jayhawks looked like an awesome defensive unit to watch on tape with the way they help each other out, and Chalmers was possibly the most important cog with the work he did at the top of the zone.
After being considered a shoot first point guard by most, Chalmers did a great job trying to shed that label by handing out 10 assists tonight. Even though Mario posted very impressive assist numbers, it was still evident that he was looking to score first, then get the ball to his teammates. He showed his three point range and did a pretty good job breaking his defender down to get into the lane. Defensively, Paulus gave him a few problems, but then again, who doesn't Paulus give problems to. Mario will definitely have to work on his physique at Kansas, as I already see him being posted by stronger point guards. It is a bit early to talk about the NBA for Chalmers, but I do see him contributing right away next year for the Jayhawks.[Read Full Article]