RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Rodney HoodPosted by Bennet Hayes on June 17th, 2014
The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, in Brooklyn. As we have done for the last several years, RTC will provide comprehensive breakdowns of 20 collegians likely to hear their names called by Adam Silver at some point in the draft’s first round. We’ll start with prospects currently slated for the back half of the opening round, but as June progresses we will slowly work our way up and through the presumptive lottery selections. RTC National Columnist Bennet Hayes is tackling this series; you can find him on Twitter @HoopsTraveler.
Player Name: Rodney Hood
Height/Weight: 6’9”/210 lbs.
NBA Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Projected Draft Range: Mid First Round
Overview: It was Hood, not Jabari Parker, who was the Duke newcomer with the highest offensive rating last season (119.8 to Parker’s 111.7), and the Mississippi State transfer also doubled as the Blue Devils’ best perimeter defender to boot. The latter point may not be stating much on a team that finished 116th in defensive efficiency nationally, but Hood projects as a solid two-way player at the next level – something that may not necessarily be the case for his more-acclaimed former teammate. No, we aren’t starting a push for Hood to hear his name called before Parker’s on draft day, but the sophomore’s production to buzz ratio (the PTB?) clearly and quietly outdistanced that of Duke’s All-American. All year long, Hood showered in buckets from everywhere on the floor, shooting 49 percent from two-point range, 42 percent from three-point range, and 80 percent at the free throw stripe. He was also a capable ball-handler and passer for Coach K’s team (more assists than turnovers), and used his plus athleticism well enough on defense to earn Duke’s “Best Defensive Player Award” at the team banquet. His shooting touch may have eluded him at the most untimely of moments last season — he went just 2-of-10 from the field against Mercer in the Blue Devils’ shocking second round NCAA Tournament ouster — but Hood made quite the impression in his one and only season in Durham. He will almost surely be overshadowed by Parker one final time on draft night, but green room attendants should make room for two Dukies, because the 2014 lottery could very likely house both Hood and Parker.
Will Translate to the NBA: Hood is one of the best shooters in this draft. He shot 36 percent from three-point range as a freshman at Mississippi State before absolutely torching nets last season in Durham, where he shot 42 percent from long-range. At 6’9”, he also has exceptional size for a shooting guard (and should be able to log plenty of minutes at the three, as well) and has no trouble raising up over smaller players to get his shot off. Even at the next level, Hood should be a premier floor-spacing option on the wing.
Needs Work: Hood could stand to bulk up a bit, as a stronger upper body would make him tougher defensively and also a more viable option as a small forward in the league. Expanding his offensive repertoire should also be a point of emphasis for the former Blue Devil. There is no question that Hood can shoot the NBA three-ball, but he must prove capable of creating his own shot if he’s ever to become a primary scoring option in the NBA. He is a solid athlete and was far from just a catch-and-shoot option at Duke (anyone remember this controversial moment?), but in the NBA, finding ways to score inside the arc may prove initially challenging for the Mississippi native.
Best Case Scenario: Hood should find immediate traction in the league as a three-point specialist, but does he have the potential to grow into more than that? To some extent the answer has to be yes, even if he lacks the elite athleticism to become a star in the NBA. If we mix plausibility with optimism in equal doses, envisioning Hood in a Luol Deng/Trevor Ariza role on a championship contender is not difficult. He may never be a 20+ PPG scorer, but could easily grow into a solid secondary or tertiary scorer – and at no expense to a high functioning defensive unit on the other end.
Best NBA Fit: Hood is the type of 3-and-D wing that NBA GMs covet; you’d be hard-pressed to name a team that couldn’t use a guy like him in their rotation. However, not all landing spots are created equally. Comparisons to Deng may not be perfect (OMG they both went to Duke!), but Hood is a similar player and could be a welcome addition to a Chicago Bulls team (selecting at #16 and #19) that really missed Deng’s outside shooting during the last half of the season. Other teams that could be in play for this high-character marksman? The Charlotte Bobcats (picks at #9 and #24) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (#13) both need an influx of young offensive talent on the wing.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Solid athlete and left handed wing scorer that can score from all three levels… Really strong shooter from both the outside and mid-range, stretches the floor… Has versatility to maybe play wing guard as well as showing some perimeter defensive ability… Will finish with either hand and is a threat near the basket… Lets the game come to him, rarely forces the issue and plays under control… Will take advantage of height advantage to post smaller wings… Vast majority of offense comes as a shooter, definitely affected by lack of girth in his hesitation to drive… Not a great rebounder, which again points to strength.”
NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza
In 140 Characters Or Less, The Case For Hood: