RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Josh SelbyPosted by rtmsf on June 7th, 2011
Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Josh Selby
Height/Weight: 6’3, 195 lbs.
NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Projected Draft Range: Late First Round
Overview: It was perhaps the most anticipated debut of the 2010-11 regular season. On December 18 against USC, Josh Selby made his long-awaited appearance in a Jayhawk uniform. The nation’s #1 recruit according to Rivals had spent the regular season to that point on the bench as a result of a nine-game “improper benefits” suspension meted out by the NCAA. In that first game, Selby immediately appeared to be the best player on the court, going for a game-high 21 points and five rebounds, including a couple of late-game treys (of five makes) that salted the game away. Those 27 minutes of action were the peak of Josh Selby’s collegiate career. Through a combination of nagging injuries and Bill Self losing confidence in his talented freshman guard, Selby’s minutes and production steadily declined to the point where he rarely logged 20+ minutes and never saw double-figure scoring in the last thirteen games after Valentine’s Day last season. His season averages of 7.9 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 2.2 APG on 37.3% shooting (36.2% from three) shouldn’t impress anyone interested in spending millions of dollars on a young player, but in the modern era of potential over production, Selby will still end up an NBA Draft selection later this month. His physical tools, athleticism and a sense that the free-flowing pace of the NBA will suit his game better than it did at Kansas ensures that, and it’s not unprecedented. Several players who had average freshman seasons and declared for the draft later become productive NBA players — Gerald Wallace and Jrue Holiday come immediately to mind — and it’s instructive that both of those guys, like Selby, had exceptional athleticism at their disposal.
Will Translate to the NBA: The reasons he’ll get drafted are these three numbers: 195, 42, and 3.20. Even though only one year removed from high school, Selby is a solidly-built 195 pounds. He’s muscular without being bulky, possessing exactly the kind of guard’s body built to withstand pounding in the lane en route to the hole. The second number is Selby’s ridiculous vertical jumping ability, best in this year’s draft class. He doesn’t have unbelievable length, but his hops more than make up for it (his jumping reach maxed out at 11’8, well above the rim). Finally, his 3.20 speed in the three-quarter court sprint was also among the best in the class — Selby can get up and down the court faster than just about anyone. Will these physical tools mean Selby becomes a good NBA player — nobody knows for certain, but someone will be willing to risk a pick on him.
Needs Work: Selby needs work in the area where many high school superstars need help — learning how to actually play the game in a team environment. If you’re a supposedly elite guard prospect and you’re not starting over Brady Morningstar or Tyshawn Taylor, then that’s a serious red flag. Did Bill Self give up on him for the sake of saving his team; or, did Selby simply not have the skills to play Division 1 basketball? We have to believe it was the former rather than the latter. Selby’s shot only 38.4% from the two-point area, an alarming number considering his athletic ability to get to the rim and drop the ball in the cup. This stat, along with his 1.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is highly suggestive that he doesn’t know what a good shot (or a pass) is yet. At the next level, he’ll have to learn how to play the game and not depend solely on his physical tools.
Comparison Players: We’ve heard everything ranging from Monta Ellis (yowza) to Willie Warren (gulp). His athleticism is the main component driving those comparisons, but the reality is that we just don’t know if potential will ever meet production with this player. While we’d agree that his upside as a guard prospect is as great as just about anyone’s in this draft class, we’re just convinced he’ll have the drive and proper orientation to meet a comparison like the near-All-Star Ellis.
Best Case Scenario: The best case scenario for Selby is that he loses some of the prima donna attitude that often accompanies elite recruits and realizes that if he wants to fulfill his dream to become a basketball superstar, he will have to work on his game. That means becoming more accepting of coaching and losing some of the me-first attitude that causes him to bail on his team’s post-season banquet in addition to improving his decision-making and his ability to finish rather than simply settling for jump shots. If all of these things happen, Selby could become an elite guard in the NBA five years from now. If not, he may not even be playing.
2014 Projection: In three years, we expect Selby to be coming into his own as a contributor at the NBA level. After several fits and starts, he’s finally harnessed his athleticism in such a way that allows him to stay on the court long enough to avoid game-changing bad decisions. He’s also improved his jump shot to reliability out to the three-point line, and has learned to share the ball or take his defender off the bounce depending on the situation. He’s still a few years away from stardom — if that’s in the cards — but he’s at least figured out how to play within a team environment by now.
Best NBA Fit: Selby did not perform well in the disciplined system utilized by Bill Self, but he was able to get away with it because he knew all along that Lawrence was a brief stopover on his way to the NBA. He needs to learn how to play basketball at the highest level, so rewarding bad habits with lots of playing time won’t serve him as well as finding a team that will force him to think the game as much as play it. Near the bottom of the first round, teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls can stash him on the bench behind elite guards who will force Selby to sink or swim every day in practice.
Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “really odd situation, not even a starter at Kansas… phenomenal body but years away from being a muti-minute guy in the NBA… needs to work on his stroke.”