NBA prospect primer: Top 10 point guards

NBA prospect primer: Top 10 point guards
April 22, 2014, 11:00 am
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BOSTON — When it comes to the point guard position, the Boston Celtics are anything but settled at the moment.

Rajon Rondo will be entering the final year of his five-year, $55 million deal, but there's no telling if both sides will get a new contract worked out prior to the start of the season - or if that's something they truly want to do.

Rondo has made no secret about his love for Boston, but admits he is "intrigued" by the idea of being a free agent in the summer of 2015.

And the Celtics have maintained they are not looking to trade him, but at the same time are open to making any deal that they believe will greatly benefit the franchise - which includes trading Rondo.

And while Rondo's backup Phil Pressey is signed through next season,  that's contingent on him making the team which should not be an issue.

But that could all change on draft night with a handful of talented point guards well within the range of both of Boston's first round picks.

Here's a list of CSNNE.com's top 10 point guards in this draft:

SCOUTING REPORT

NAME, HEIGHT, WEIGHT, TEAM (OR COUNTRY):

1. Dante Exum, 6-6, 185, Australia:

STRENGTHS:

* Has great size for an NBA point guard

*  A 6-9 wingspan + better-than-average lateral quickness = elite defender potential.

* Part of the "High Basketball IQ" family

* Moves well on the floor even when he doesn't have the ball.

WEAKNESSES:

* Perimeter shooting inconsistent; has little to no arc on his shot.

* Shot selection not great, too often takes forced shots.

* Physical strength needs work.

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2. Marcus Smart, 6-4, 200, Oklahoma State

STRENGTHS:

* Strong upper body, finishes well after drawing contact

* Aggressive attacking the rim off the dribble

* Great at getting to the free throw line

* Has NBA-body, defensive mentality

WEAKNESSES

* Inconsistent perimeter shooter

* Shot selection questionable

* Highly competitive, but has the reputation of being a "hot head."

* Turnover prone

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3. Tyler Ennis, 6-2,  180, Syracuse University

STRENGTHS:

* Great court vision, pass-first playmaker

* Plays with great poise under all circumstances.

* Equally adept at drive-and-kick or drive-and-dish.

* Clutch shooter, unafraid of taking the big shot.

WEAKNESSES

* Man-to-man defense, something he did little of at Syracuse in their zone coverage.

* Lack of athleticism will challenge him in getting his own shot off in iso situations.

* Doesn't have much of a mid-range game.

* Lithe frame + so-so jumper = lots of off-balance floaters trying to avoid contact.

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4. Shabazz Napier, 6-1, 182, University of Connecticut

STRENGTHS:

* True floor leader

* Clutch shooter who is at his best when it matters most.

* NBA range and beyond.

* Better than average rebounder for his size.

WEAKNESSES

* Playmaking skills improved, but still a work in progress.

* Only 6-3 wingspan, will limit his effectiveness as a defender.

* Has a tendency to over-dribble at times.

* Four-year guy which sadly, isn't looked upon favorably by NBA teams.

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5. Elfrid Payton, 6-3, 180, Louisiana-Lafayette

STRENGTHS:

* Great lateral quickness and 6-7 wingspan, he has the physical tools to be a very good NBA defender.

* A pass-first point guard, but finds time to get his points, too.

* Played some of his best basketball against the best (Creighton, Michigan State, Team USA under-19 tryouts).

* Gets to the free throw line often.

WEAKNESSES

* Range doesn't extend to the 3-point line, allowing defenses to sag off him a bit.

* Almost exclusively looks to finish with his right (dominant) hand.

* A poor free throw shooter for the point guard position.

* Turns the ball over too much relative to the competition he faces.

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6.Vasilije Micic, 6-5, 188, Serbia

STRENGTHS:

* Extremely confident playmaker

* Pass-first playmaker

* At 6-5, great size for the position

* Excellent court vision

WEAKNESSES:

* Needs to add strength

* Passes up too many good looks, teammates often forced to take tougher shots.

*Inconsistent jump shooter

* Lateral quickness so-so, may limit his impact for a team defensively.

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7. Russ Smith, 6-0, 160, Louisville

STRENGTHS

* Explosive scorer

* Only 160 pounds, but can finish in the paint after drawing contact.

* Great ball instincts

* Has next-level lateral quickness, shiftiness off the dribble.

WEAKNESSES

*  Undersized shooting  guard.

* Defense a concern because of size.

* Decision-making questionable.

* Has limited shooting range.

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8. Nick Johnson, 6-3, 200, Arizona

STRENGTHS:

* Exceptional athlete

* Explosive scorer off the dribble

*Can play above the rim for his size

* Defense reminds many of a young Avery Bradley

WEAKNESSES

* Tweener (Not really a PG, too small for SG)

* Ball-handling skills average, at best

* Decision-making skills questionable at times

* Poor assists-to-turnover ratio

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9. Keith Appling, 6-2, 170, Michigan State

STRENGTHS

* Good foot speed

* Can play above the rim.

* Good at pressuring ball-handlers defensively

* Improved as a senior in terms of being a ball facilitator

WEAKNESSES

* Inconsistent in most phases of the game.

* Needs to become better shooter, especially in pick-and-roll sets

* Doesn't break down defenders well enough in iso situations

* Needs to develop better in-between game.

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10. Deonte Burton, 6-1, 185, Nevada

STRENGTHS

* Has 6-6 wingspan

* One of the most athletic guards in the draft

* Killer first step, can play (well) above the rim

* Has good shooting touch from all the key spots on the floor

WEAKNESSES

* Weak talent around him, numbers inflated perhaps?

* Streaky shooter

* Never left the floor in college. Can he adjust to a more complimentary role?

* Looks to score and not set teammates up, too often.