After looking at wings and big men in the 2018 NBA Draft last week, it’s time to conclude my series on the draft with a look at the small but intriguing point guard class. My look into what college statistics have proven important for point guards in the NBA over the last decade can be found here, but to sum up: scoring efficiency, steals, and three-point makes are all of tremendous importance as positive factors, with high assist and point totals being of somewhat less value. That said, here are my quick thoughts on a couple of prospects who my model regards as being underrated or overrated by the current rankings (as taken from major draft/media sites).
2018 Point Guard Prospects
Shake is tall, lengthy, and a prolific outside shooter, and is at least a solid playmaker and passer as a lead guard. There are some concerns about strength (he’s thin and seems an unlikely candidate to really add much weight/muscle) and athleticism (he’s not an explosive finisher), which could limit his upside as a scorer and creator. However, his high shot release means he can shoot over most perimeter defenders, and his size should enable him to switch multiple positions defensively with ease. He was an efficient scorer at SMU, displaying a nice floater/runner when attacking closeouts, and really upping his free throw rate in his junior season. Even if he’s not the greatest lead ball-handler or playmaker, he seems an ideal fit in the NBA trend of a more free-flowing offense with multiple ball-handlers as a secondary or tertiary option. Milton seems like a safe pick to be at least a nice, versatile bench player in the NBA, and could become a truly potent force if he’s able to bulk up a bit and strengthen his ball-handling.
Carter is a beastly, beastly defensive player. He averaged a ridiculous 3 steals per game his senior year at West Virginia, and while some of that is due to scheme, the number is a testament to his quickness, smarts, and relentless attitude on that end. Carter is so devastating, in fact, that other prospects don’t even want to workout alongside him for NBA teams. He’s a bit small for a modern point guard and lacks the length that has made Pat Beverley (another small-ish point guard) such a terrific defensive player in the NBA. But the man can play defense, plain and simple, and is large enough to at least guard most other point guards. He’s also a good three-point shooter, working hard over his last two years to improve from outside. While not an astonishing passer, he boasted a solid assist to turnover ratio as well. Really, he seems like a safe bet to be a quality backup at the least, which is a nice pick at the end of the 1st round or start of the 2nd.
Sexton is a divisive prospect. On one hand he has all the intangibles in the world: tough, fiery competitor, leader. On the other, he doesn’t necessarily seem to fulfill the basic playmaking duties that are an essential part of being a point guard in the NBA. In my model, he doesn’t fare particularly well due a low steal rate, not being a high-volume (or accurate) three-point shooter, and just middling efficiency. There are extenuating circumstances—he was the leading scorer and best player for a not particularly good Alabama team as a freshman—but some of those stats are worrying nonetheless. Sexton can absolutely score. He’s relentless getting to the basket and has enough size and athleticism to finish at the rim, with enough handles to create his own shot fairly consistently. But he’s not a great outside shooter, nor is he a strong passer, and those are worries for any point guard in today’s NBA. I think he’s a good prospect, but underwhelming for the top 10, which is where he’s currently mocked to be drafted.
My Ranking for the Clippers’ Selection at 12/13:
1. Trae Young (incredibly unlikely he falls)
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
3. Collin Sexton
4. De’Anthony Melton (unlikely he gets selected this high)
My Ranking for Clippers’ Selection for Rest of 1st and 2nd Rounds:
1. De’Anthony Melton
2. Shake Milton
3. Jevon Carter
4. Aaron Holiday
5. Landry Shamet
6. Jerome Robinson
7. Donte DiVincenzo
8. Tony Carr
9. Devonte’ Graham
10. Jalen Brunson
11. Trevon Duval
What do you all think?