CBS Sports Top 50 Point Guards: Who in the Pac-12 Was Snubbed?

Posted by KDanna on October 24th, 2012

Earlier in the week, CBS Sports released a list of its top 50 point guards in the nation. Three Pac-12 players made the list with UCLA’s Kyle Anderson checking in at No. 6, Arizona’s Mark Lyons at No. 11, and Stanford’s Chasson Randle at No. 29. While this writer can’t claim to have watched all of the other 47 guys enough to discredit their merits, a case can be made for a few other Pac-12 guys, in particular Cal’s Justin Cobbs and Washington’s Abdul Gaddy, as addenda to this list.

Abdul Gaddy (# 10) has come a long way from his freshman year.

Statistics aren’t the only indicator of how good a player is, nor are they the most reliable factor to make such determinations, but arguably the most important one to look at with respect to point guards is assist-to-turnover ratio. Neither Cobbs nor Gaddy were the sole ball-handlers for the Golden Bears or Huskies last year, but they were the top two in the conference (Cobbs first, Gaddy second) in that statistic and 25th and 26th nationally, well within that top-50 range. And, not that this is the best way of going about things, but for one comparison, Jake Odum (No. 49 on the list) finished last year at 179th in assist-to-turnover ratio with a lower assist average than either Cobbs or Gaddy and a scoring average that split the two (though Odum had more steals than the two combined).

Cobbs might not be the most explosive player you’ll ever see, but he is a guy who provides a collected presence, good court vision and the ability to spread out defenses with his three-point and mid-range shooting ability. As his assist-to-turnover ratio would tell you, he rarely made bad decisions with the basketball and thrived in his transfer from Minnesota to Mike Montgomery’s system. He’s not as flashy as former Pac-12 colleague Momo Jones (who checks in at No. 47); he just gets the job done. Read the rest of this entry »

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Handicapping Lillard’s NBA Chances: How Have Prospects From Mid-Majors Fared in the Pros?

Posted by EJacoby on June 28th, 2012

Looking at the upcoming NBA Draft’s projected lottery picks, most of the players represent the big boys around the nation – Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Connecticut. But smack in the middle between guys that played in a Final Four is a kid from Weber State. Anybody who follows college hoops or draft scouting surely knows about Damian Lillard, but it’s still surprising to see a player ranked so highly who most fans have never seen play a minute of college basketball. Will Lillard, who is projected to go in the top 10 as the draft’s top point guard, struggle to adapt to the massive increase in competition from the Big Sky Conference to the NBA? We researched lottery picks over the past 15 years from mid-major conferences to judge how successful they were in their transition to the league, grading success based on extended NBA productivity in the form of minutes played and value added. We considered all conferences outside of the top six power leagues as ‘mid-majors,’ so even the Atlantic 10, Conference USA and Mountain West qualify for our criteria.

Will Damian Lillard struggle in his transition from the Big Sky to the NBA? (US Presswire/K. Terada)

Taking a look at recent history, names like Jimmer Fredette and Stephen Curry came from smaller schools yet were still some of the most popular collegiate players in the nation. Just because a player hails from a mid-major school doesn’t necessarily mean he was an unheralded prospect. Nonetheless, the point of our analysis is to determine what, if any, crutch comes along with stepping up from such a wide gap in competition for lottery picks. Even though Fredette was a National Player of the Year winner, he still faced relatively weaker competition on a nightly basis at BYU. Is it more difficult to scout and project success for a mid-major prospect? Let’s take a look at how these players have fared historically. You’ll notice a trend that suggests Lillard should have a great chance at NBA success.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Marquis Teague

Posted by EJacoby on June 15th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Marquis Teague

School: Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6’2” / 180 lbs.

NBA Position: Point Guard

Projected Draft Range: Mid- to Late First Round

Marquis Teague excels at getting to the rim with his elite speed (AP Photo/J. Crisp)

Overview: Marquis Teague struggled with his decision-making for some of his freshman season, but he came on strong during the latter stage of the year to lead Kentucky to a National Championship as the team’s steady point guard. His greatest attribute is his blazing speed with the ball and an overall impressive set of physical tools for a point guard. The Wildcats really had no backup at the point, so Teague led UK in minutes played (32.6 MPG) while admirably handling the many responsibilities given to him on a team with several stars. Though turnovers were his biggest issue (2.7 TO per game), he also averaged 4.8 APG and made obvious improvements throughout the season in terms of his decisions. He had five or more turnovers in five of his first 25 games, but not once in any of his final (and more important) 15. Teague was really the Wildcats’ fifth offensive option on the floor, though he still contributed a solid 10.0 PPG through an array of drives and jumpers. He thrives in the open floor and also does well in isolation situations, which he displayed in the National Title game against Kansas by getting to the basket for several layups in the half court. His shot is a work in progress, proven by his shooting percentages — 41.2% from the field, 32.5% from three, and 71.4% from the line. He wasn’t a game-changing defender as a rookie and only averaged 0.9 steals, but his physical traits suggest he should become a solid perimeter defender. Though very raw in many aspects, Teague appears to be in a dead heat with Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten as the second point guard to come off the board on draft night.

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