The recipient of a lengthy writeup after a strong showing in the first day of competitive action, Kay Felder had another solid outing in the second and last day of the NBA Combine as well, doing many of the same things we previously reported.
Felder continued to play strong defense, which is notable as we previously mentioned due to his lack of size and the often average intensity level he displayed on that end in college. He did a nice job of harassing Melo Trimble this time, doing a great job of keeping the ball contained while using his body well to not get overpowered, and finishing the Combine with six steals in just 47 minutes.
He showed his prowess on the pick and roll today, hitting pull-up mid-range jumpers and finding teammates nicely in a variety of ways. His 3-point shot was again not really present as it was during the season, as he didn't really look to showcase that part of his game and may still be adjusting to the length of the NBA line. It was interesting to see how little issue he had creating offense inside the arc all Combine long, though, looking to attack relentlessly in transition or the half-court, and finishing creatively around the basket, while making 10 of his 15 two point attempts in two days.
Felder did a great job of showcasing his strengths in Chicago and likely won himself some fans with the way he played. He's probably in a better position to get drafted now, and should at the very least have a strong chance to earn a NBA roster spot.
Felder had a strong game, outplaying a point guard he's battling for draft position with in Cat Barber, although that wasn't enough to help his team get the victory. He showed he can play intense pressure defense on any of the bigger point guards he was matched up, shadowing Barber up the court and not giving him an inch to breathe, while also causing a number of turnovers. More importantly, he played with great effort, which wasn't always the case with the huge offensive burden he was expected to shoulder at Oakland, which may answer some questions NBA teams may have about him on that tend of the floor. The 6'2 1/2 wingspan he measured here in Chicago could help make up for his lack of size.
Offensively, Felder was up and down, but also had some strong moments. He's a scorer first and foremost, but showed impressive burst getting to wherever he wanted on the court, and lived at the front of the rim the entire game, finishing nicely off the glass at times. He can split ball screens with his strong first step and excellent ball-handling skills, and had some nice moments creating for teammates off the bounce, even if his vision wasn't quite as impressive in this setting as it was at times for Oakland. Felder didn't make any 3-pointers, preferring to do most of his damage in the mid-range area, but showed tremendous range all season long and is clearly an excellent shooter.
There aren't too many players who are more entertaining to watch than Felder in this draft, and he once again showed today that he could have played at any level of college basketball, as he did throughout the months of November and December. He certainly helped his stock here so far, but still has more work to do.
Scouting Report by Jonathan Givony. Video Analysis by Mike Schmitz
After finishing up a difficult out of conference schedule, which included matchups with the likes of Michigan State, Virginia, Washington and Georgia, now is likely an appropriate time to dissect the merits of Oakland junior point guard Kay Felder as a NBA Draft prospect.
Felder (then called Kahlil Felder rather than Kay) was considered a very important signing for Oakland, but only ended up there due to the lack of interest he garnered from high major conference head coaches. He was a decorated player out of Pershing high school, which produced numerous division one players (such as Michigan State point guard Keith Appling), but was deemed a low-major caliber recruit due to his lack of size, standing just 5'9 with a then very streaky jump-shot.
Felder has since developed into one of the best point guards in college basketball, averaging an outrageous 26.7 points and 8.7 assists per-40 minutes so far this season. Only one other college player (Jose Juan Barea) in the last 15+ seasons has managed to post similar numbers (26+ points, 8+ assists per-40).
While Felder clearly lacks adequate size for an NBA point guard prospect, he helps compensate for that in a number of different ways, as he sports a chiseled frame, possesses a long wingspan, and is a very good athlete to boot. He's capable of playing above the rim, sometimes in impressive fashion, has an impressive ability to operate at different speeds, including a notable extra gear, and makes it very difficult for defenses to stay in front of him due to his herky-jerky style of play, particularly in the open floor.
The key to Felder's success relies heavily on his perimeter shooting ability, which wasn't always the case earlier in his career. He is extremely proficient at shooting off the dribble in particular, creating excellent separation on his pull-ups, boasting a quick release to go along with excellent balance and footwork. Felder is the type of player who needs to be smothered at all times on the perimeter, as he is both incredibly aggressive looking for and making off the dribble 3-pointers, which puts incredible pressure on the defense, particularly early in the shot clock. Oakland plays at a very fast pace and Felder has the green light to operate as he sees fit, which makes them very entertaining to watch.
The threat of Felder's jump-shot opens up the rest of his offensive arsenal nicely. He is a tremendous ball-handler who can blow by opponents using purely his first step, but also has a knack for knowing when to slow down and speed up, sporting a very low center of gravity to complement his ability to handle the ball on a string. He is outstanding at rejecting ball-screens, splitting the pick and roll and keeping his dribble alive and continuing to probe with the defender wrapped around him. He regularly forces defenses to shift and rotate, and then is fairly unselfish about finding teammates spotting up on the perimeter or cutting to the basket.
What separates Felder from most undersized small-conference gunners is his ability to create for others, in addition to his prolific scoring repertoire. His 47% assist percentage ranks second in the country only behind Kris Dunn, and he only turns the ball over on a minuscule 13.6% of his possessions to complement that. He is both a willing and creative passer who doesn't hesitate to move the ball ahead in transition, and can also execute plays nicely in the half-court. He'll often dish off bounce passes in impressive fashion on the move for easy baskets, and will regularly punish defenses for keying in too heavily on his scoring ability.
Felder shows nice toughness and is not afraid to drive into the teeth of the defense to draw fouls (which he does prolifically, and with extreme savvy) or finish around the rim, even through contact. He has a floater he can utilize if things are overly congested, even if he struggles at times against bigger and longer defenders as you might expect at his size, particularly when forced to finish with his off (right) hand. Continuing to improve his ability to finish what he creates around the rim could make him an even more dangerous scorer with off-hand and same-foot finishes as he continues to progress moving forward.
The biggest question mark NBA teams might have about Felder lies with his potential on the other end of the floor. He clearly has all the tools to be a very pesky defender with his strong frame, quick feet, solid length, excellent toughness and strong instincts, but his height is a clear draw-back that he'll have to show he can overcome against bigger, longer and more athletic opponents in the NBA.
Felder's outrageously large role offensively and the fact that he almost never comes off the court causes him to expend very little energy on that side of the floor currently. He stands around on and off the ball, shows poor effort getting around screens, and will give up on plays fairly frequently. Playing a smaller role at the professional level, it's not out of the question that he could offer some value defensively as a pesky waterbug type who hounds opposing ball-handlers for the length of the court.
Felder has accumulated an impressive reel of game-film showing he can compete against the highest levels of competition in college basketball, but it probably wouldn't hurt to make the NCAA Tournament and continue to prove his mettle as of the best point guards in America. Whether he decides to enter this year's draft or wait for 2017 when he's a senior, Felder has shown NBA scouts that he is a prospect that needs to be taken very seriously.