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2013 NBA Draft Talent Grades: The Shooting Guards

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2013 NBA Draft Talent Grades: The Point Guards

Here are my talent grades for shooting guards in the 2013 draft. The shooting guards I felt comfortable ranking and worth it, are Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore, Archie Goodwin, Jamaal Franklin, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, B.J. Young, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glen Rice, Jr., Allen Crabbe, Alex Abrines, Seth Curry, Brandon Paul.

I give prospects grades from 1 to 11 in the categories of physical impact talent, skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent and feel for the game talent according to this rubric:

11: Transcendent, 10: Incredible 9: Elite, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Decent, 5: Average, 4: Lacking, 3: Weak, 2: Very poor, 1: Awful

What the overall grades mean:

25+: Perennial all-star talent, 23-24: Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent, 19-22: Blue Chip starter talent, 17-18: Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent, 14-16: Rotation player talent, 12-13: Deep bench to rotation player talent, 11 or lower: Deep bench player talent

Here are my grades in the 3 categories:

Physical impact talent grade:

Archie Goodwin – 10 / Incredible

Victor Oladipo – 8 / Great

Ben McLemore – 7 / Very good

Jamaal Franklin – 7 / Very good

B.J. Young – 7 / Very good

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – 4 / Lacking

Tim Hardaway, Jr. – 3 / Weak

Glen Rice, Jr. – 3 / Weak

Allen Crabbe – 2 / Very poor

Alex Abrines – 2 / Very poor

Brandon Paul – 2 / Very poor

Seth Curry – 1 / Awful

Goodwin is the class of this group with breathtaking speed and penetration ability, in a strong body. Oladipo, McLemore, Franklin are strong athletes who can get to the basket well, in addition to defensive length. Caldwell-Pope, Hardaway, Rice are respectable athletes with size, but perimeter jumpshot orientated talents. Crabbe, Abrines, Paul, Curry are very jumpshot orientated players, unable to attack the basket at enough of a level to avoid a low physical impact grade.

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade:

Ben McLemore – 8 / Great

Seth Curry – 8 / Great

Allen Crabbe – 7 / Very good

Glen Rice, Jr. – 6 / Decent

Alex Abrines – 6 / Decent

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – 6 / Decent

Victor Oladipo – 6 / Decent

Tim Hardaway, Jr. – 5 / Average

Jamaal Franklin – 5 / Average

B.J. Young – 4 / Lacking

Archie Goodwin – 4 / Lacking

Brandon Paul – 4 / Lacking

McLemore and Curry lead the way in this category for their elite shooting strokes. Crabbe is right behind them for his perimeter skill game. Oladipo, Rice, Abrines, Caldwell-Pope have shot the ball respectably enough to be graded as decent talents in the area, but not guarantees for it to translate. Hardaway and Franklin are also works in progress, though not broken in the area. Young, Goodwin, Paul need work to be respectable shooters in the NBA.

Feel for the Game talent grade:

Seth Curry – 9 / Elite

Victor Oladipo – 8 / Great

Tim Hardaway, Jr. – 8 / Great

Glen Rice, Jr. – 8 / Great

Jamaal Franklin – 7 / Very good

B.J. Young – 7 / Very good

Alex Abrines – 7 / Very good

Ben McLemore – 6 / Decent

Allen Crabbe – 6 / Decent

Brandon Paul – 4 / Lacking

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – 2 / Very poor

Archie Goodwin – 1 / Awful

Seth Curry’s smooth feel and control reminiscent of Steph leads the way here. Oladipo, Rice, Hardaway, Abrines have impressive smoothness and feel. Franklin and Young despite being shot happy, have fluid control and feel. McLemore and Crabbe appear to have above average feel as well. Paul, Caldwell-Pope have stiffer, more erratic feel for the game. Goodwin trails with a feel as bad and unnatural as it gets.

Here are the player talents one by one:

Victor Oladipo

Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Oladipo’s combination of physical talents and feel for the game is impressive. With an explosive first step, respectable ballhandling and the strength and wingspan to finish, Oladipo attacked the basket at an elite level in the NCAA. The length should also help him make a physical impact defensively. Oladipo’s feel for the game is evidently strong, showing control and fluidity when driving to the basket, moving economically. His instincts also shined defensively.

The category that’s a question mark for me, is skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent. Although Oladipo made a large leap as a 3pt shooter his final year in college, shooting the ball shakily as a freshman and sophomore and average free throw shooting across the board, put his true shooting future into doubt. Oladipo may be a player who hits open 3s, but struggles to create his own jumpshot off the dribble. He shot well enough his last year, for me to give him a decent grade in skill impact. With his slashing and feel, this gives him a very likely chance of starting. Oladipo’s shooting falling apart in the pros, proving my skill impact grade too high, would push him farther towards role player and fringe starter status. On the other hand, if he could become a dynamic perimeter scorer and prove my skill impact grade too low, it may push him into true star territory. Oladipo is likely a valuable supporting player at worst and a star at best. That’s enough to make him a valuable pick near the top of the draft.

Ben McLemore

Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

McLemore may be the best shooter in the class. More impressive than just shooting 42% from 3pt, is an 87% FT clip, freakishly high for a college freshman and showing elite mechanics. This is enough for a high skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade, the only reason my grade isn’t higher is questioning whether he’s strictly an off ball shooter, or if he can shoot as well off the bounce. McLemore’s feel for the game is above average, showing respectable fluidity and natural smoothness to his game. He is slightly more out of control when driving to the rim, an important indicator that prevents a higher grade in feel for the game.

Grading McLemore in physical impact talent is tricky. McLemore is an elite athlete, however he didn’t slash at an elite level in college. Seemingly this is due to ballhandling issues, but Kansas’ system may have held back his abilities as well. Since attacking the basket is key to my physical impact grade, McLemore may not play to his athletic talents in the area. My grade for McLemore in physical impact talent is a good, not great score. It’s conceivable he ends up strictly a perimeter shooter instead of slasher, in which case the grade would prove too high by my rating. It’s also conceivable he improves his ballhandling learns to attack the basket at a level matching his athleticism, making my present grade too low. Because of his shooting and feel for the game, McLemore is a likely starter even if as a role player if it’s just the former. If the latter, he could be a star. If McLemore’s slashing and ballhandling game doesn’t develop, what he may turn into is an elite defender, due to have extra athletic energy to burn on defense that his skills prevents him from using offensively. This would allow him to still use his athletic tools to physically impact the game at a respectable level.

Jamaal Franklin

Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Franklin is a little lesser version of Oladipo. Like him, his athleticism, length and solid ballhandling, make him a very good physical impact talent by allowing him to attack the basket off the dribble and impose himself physically defensively. Franklin’s shooting is also a huge question mark, with poor percentages from 3 in college. More encouraging is a solid FT% hovering just under 80% for his NCAA career, perhaps showing mechanics that can be developed into a solid shooting stroke.

What makes Franklin unique – and tricky, is whether he has an above average feel for the game. Franklin had a poor shot selection in college, giving him the reputation of a “low IQ” player. However outside of his shot selection, Franklin otherwise seems a candidate for a good feel for the game. He has smooth fluidity and control on his drives, sees teammates well when passing and has strong defensive anticipation. The hope for Franklin thus is his shot selection isn’t related to talent, but contextual areas like immaturity or coaches not getting through to him, or trying to. These areas indicate Franklin’s game can be fixed if an NBA team can get through to him, if he doesn’t come into the league immediately embracing a supporting, low FGA volume game. Franklin’s shot selection is a concern, but I’ve seen enough to rate his talent as up to par. With the ability to attack the basket, great defensive tools, passing, instincts and a jumpshot that can be improved, Jamaal may end up a starting wing player. The relationship between Oladipo and Franklin reminds me of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Moe Harkless last draft. While MKG is the better prospect, the similarities were enough that Harkless at 15th better value as a pick than Kidd-Gilchrist at 2nd.

Seth Curry

Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Curry has my highest rated feel for the game of this SG group. His fluidity, control and craftiness is excellent for a perimeter player, only narrowly behind his brother Steph in the area if he is. Unsurprisingly with his family’s history, Curry is a great shooter, albeit he’s not his brother in the area. Curry’s good but not great FT% is a sign of less spectacular mechanics and he has less ability to create his own jumpshot off the bounce. As a result my skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade for Seth is well above average, but not transcendent.

Seth is likely to struggle in the physical impact category. He is short for a SG and has weak explosiveness and ballhandling ability. At either PG or SG Curry is likely to create little of his offense attacking the basket off the dribble, instead pushed to a perimeter jumpshot dominated game. Defensively his physical tools may also make him a liability.

With his feel and jumpshot, I see Curry as likely finding a foothold as useful offensive player in the NBA, either as a role playing, shooting starter at PG or SG, or a sparkplug 6th man off the bench. Curry’s offensive ability shouldn’t be underestimated.

B.J. Young

Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Young might be the best ballhandler of this draft class. In addition to great quickness, he  excels at blowing by defenders and getting to the basket. Short size for a 2 guard doesn’t help him finish or defend, but a long wingspan makes up for it. Because of his slashing, I give Young an above average physical impact talent grade. Young’s feel for the game also appears decent, showing shiftiness, fluidity and craftiness.

Where his career goes will depend on his shooting. While he can create jumpshots off the bounce well, after average marks in 3pt and FT his freshman year, he collapsed in both categories as a sophomore. Giving Young the benefit of the doubt I’ve given him a ‘lacking’ grade in skill impact (shoot, post, pass) instead of poor – But if his shooting ended up poor instead of average in the NBA he’d likely fall from my solid overall grade, to a more irrelevant career. However likewise, if he develops a strong perimeter shooting game, when added to his ability to attack the basket and feel he may end up a starting 2 guard, or a blue chip 6th man. There’s a chance Young can play PG, albeit the shooting is as big a requirement at that position, along with running an offense.

With a valued skill in getting to the basket and creating offense, Young is a nice sleeper in this draft and it wouldn’t surprise me if he had one of its 10-15 best careers.

Glen Rice, Jr.

Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Tim Hardaway, Jr.

Physical impact talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

The NBA player offsprings rate similarly for me. Both players have an impressive feel for the game with smooth, controlled games. I rate their physical impact talent as below average as despite strong size for the position, they don’t have great speed or ballhandling. This will likely make them perimeter orientated shooters, rather than great threats attacking the basket.

The big hinging point for Hardaway and Rice’s careers is their shooting and skill impact (shoot, post, pass) Hardaway’s shooting splits at Michigan are solid, but not great. Rice at Georgia Tech shot awfully, however has had strong numbers in the D League. Thus for both players it appears their shooting could go either way. I give more credit to Rice in the area for what he’s shown in the D League. With either player, a decent 3pt shot will likely make them valuable role player talent, due to the size and feel added to it. If their 3pt shot falls apart, it’d prove my skill impact grade too high and they’d struggle to get past journeyman irrelevance talent. However likewise if more dynamic perimeter skill players than I’ve given them credit for, they have a shot at pushing themselves up to true starter status. Hardaway and Rice can be rock solid players in the NBA, though there’s also a risk they disappoint if taken too high if the shooting doesn’t come through.

Alex Abrines

Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Abrines most impresses in my feel for the game category. He is a fluid, crafty and controlled player. His weakness is physical impact. Abrines is a subaverage athlete for a 2 guard, which when added to less than impressive ballhandling, makes his game reliant on perimeter jumpshots. Therefore his physical impact talent grade rates lowly.

What makes Abrines’ skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent category hard to judge, is that his jumpshot is aesthetically beautiful, but his percentages has hardly impressed. This year he shot a combined 30.6% from 3pt in the Euroleague and ACB after struggling from 3 in previous years, albeit his 80.6% from the FT line this season is more impressive. I give Abrines an above average skill impact grade of 6. If his form turns into a deadly jumpshot, Abrines could be a valuable role player. However if his jumpshot falls off, he may find himself out of the NBA and back in Europe quickly since with his physical tools he is unlikely to attack the basket or defend well in the NBA. Becoming a reliable spot-up shooter is essential for Abrines to make it.

Allen Crabbe

Physical impact talent grade: 2

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7

Feel for the Game talent grade: 6

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Crabbe has a nice shooting game. Although he only shot 34.8% from 3 this season, he shot 40.0% and 39.9% his freshman and sophomore season. Furthermore impressive is his FT% consistently high all 3 years at 80.4%, 84.3%, and 81.3% his 3 college seasons. Crabbe’s perimeter skill is enough for a handily above average skill impact (shoot, post pass) talent grade.

Crabbe’s weakness is he is a weak physical impact. He lacks either the athleticism or ballhandling to attack the basket anything more than poorly and a skinny frame hurts his ability to finish. He does have length which should help him defensively.

Crabbe is also a relatively smooth and feel for the game friendly player. Not exceptional in the area, but noticeably solid.

For Crabbe to stand out in the NBA, he likely needs to be one of the best perimeter shooters in the game, as every team can use a sharpshooter even if they don’t attack the basket. If average from the outside, he’s likely headed towards irrelevance and barely holding on to minutes.

Archie Goodwin

Physical impact talent grade: 10 / Incredible

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade: 1 / Awful

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Goodwin is a physical specimen. He has explosiveness and first step that may come once every few years if that for his position, with a strong frame and wingspan. When added to his ballhandling, Goodwin is a near unstoppable force blowing by defenses and attacking the basket. Along with the strength and length to stand out defensively, Goodwin’s physical impact talent for his position is top of the line.

However, it’s all downhill from there for Goodwin. His feel for the game is as bad as it gets for a wing player, out of control, robotic and unable to make adjustments when driving. Goodwin has little sense of the court. Furthermore Goodwin’s jumpshot is near broken at this point. My skill impact grade isn’t lower, because I give young players the benefit of the doubt they can improve to average levels in the category. If Goodwin’s shooting remained broken it’d prove my present skill impact grade too high, enough to push him down to irrelevant bench status. However with a stronger shooting game and skill impact, despite his lack of feel for the game, when added to his slashing it may be enough to approach starting status. Because of his immense physical talents allowing him to attack the basket, play in transition and defend, Goodwin’s long term career in the NBA is likely ensured. However he is at risk of non-impact, journeyman status.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade: 2 / Very poor

Total talent grade: 12 (Deep bench to rotation player talent grade)

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is known for his 3 point shooting. Although shooting well his sophomore season at 37.3% from 3, he shot poorly from 3 his freshman season at 30.4%. In addition his FT shooting was poor his freshman season at 65.4% and average his sophomore season at 79.9%. He proved enough as a shooter to get a decent grade in skill impact from me, but I could see my present grade in the category proving too high if his shooting falls apart again, along with the possibility he proves a deadlier shooter than I’ve given him credit for.

I am unimpressed by the rest of Caldwell-Pope’s skillset. Although KCP is a strong athlete, due to ballhandling problems he struggled attacking the basket, instead relying on a jumpshooting game. His size, athleticism, length and rebounding, gives him some potential physically impacting the game defensively.

A bigger problem is a poor feel for the game. Caldwell-Pope has a stiff, unnatural game. If this holds in the NBA, it may lead to a shot selection problem.

Caldwell-Pope is the type of prospect teams should avoid in the top 20. He needs to be an excellent shooter to be a decent “3s and defense” role player. Whereas because of a lack of slashing and feel, he’s a poor to average shooting away from irrelevant status, if not falling out of the NBA. With the unpredictably of shooters with his history, I see him as a high risk, but low reward 2 guard.

Brandon Paul

Physical impact talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact talent grade- 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Total talent grade: 10 (Deep bench player talent grade)

Paul is a perimeter orientated player, relying on his jumpshot rather than having the speed and ballhandling tools to attack the basket well. With small size for a 2 guard, he should struggle to finish and defend in the NBA as well. My physical impact grade for Paul is well below average. Paul also has a lacking feel for the game, at times playing out of control and without a great sense of teammates. Paul shoots a lot, but with career shooting marks of 32.4% from 3 and 72.3% from the FT line that category over 4 years he’d not a great bet to stand out as an accurate one. Paul has a chance to get minutes in the NBA only if his shooting improves and otherwise I expect is more likely to land in Europe.

Factors outside of talent grades: Jamaal Franklin may be a loose cannon mentally. Seth Curry had surgery on his shin, which had been bothering him enough to sit out most practices this year. Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) generally less predictable than other categories.

If ranking pure upside, I would rank these shooting guards: 1. Victor Oladipo, 2. Ben McLemore, 3. Jamaal Franklin 4. B.J. Young 5. Seth Curry 6. Archie Goodwin 7. Tim Hardaway, Jr 8. Glen Rice, Jr. 9. Alex Abrines 10. Allen Crabbe 11. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 12. Brandon Paul. Franklin, Young are beneficiary of upsidse, if their shooting can come through at a respectable level. If ranking by floor (a high ranking is better): 1. Ben McLemore 2. Victor Oladipo 3. Glen Rice, Jr. 4. Tim Hardaway, Jr. 5. B.J. Young 6. Jamaal Franklin 6. Seth Curry 7. Archie Goodwin 8. Allen Crabbe 9. Alex Abrines 11. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 12. Brandon Paul. The weak shooters like Young, Franklin, Goodwin drop here, Franklin mentally flaming out being taken into account here as well. Curry’s shin problems also drop him. Most of these players will struggle if they don’t shoot as well as expected.

There is another prospect in the 1st round mix named Ricardo Ledo who was ruled ineligible this year by the NCAA. He appears to have solid length, questionable athleticism and a strong feel for the game. I haven’t seen enough trustworthy footage to give him a real talent grade, but would take a chance on him over a few of the above prospects on apparent talent alone.

Final SG rankings, with where I’d consider picking them:

1. SG Victor Oladipo (top 5)
2. SG Ben McLemore (top 10)
3. SG B.J. Young (top 20)
4. SG Jamaal Franklin (top 20)
5. SG Seth Curry (top 20)
6. SG Glen Rice, Jr. (top 30)
7. SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. (top 30)
8. SG Ricardo Ledo (top 30)
9. SG Archie Goodwin (top 40)
10. SG Allen Crabbe (top 40)
11. SG Alex Abrines (top 40)
12. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (top 60)
13. SG Brandon Paul (undrafted)

Cumulative rankings (I have done PGs and SGs so far), with where I’d consider picking them:

1. SG Victor Oladipo (top 5)
2. SG Ben McLemore (top 10)
3. PG C.J. McCollum (top 10)
4. PG Trey Burke (top 10)
5. PG Lorenzo Brown (top 14)
6. PG Matthew Dellavedova (top 14)
7. PG Myck Kabongo (top 20)
8. SG B.J. Young (top 20)
9. SG Jamaal Franklin (top 20)
10. SG Seth Curry (top 20)
11. PG Erick Green (top 20)
12. PG Shane Larkin (top 20)
13. PG Nate Wolters (top 20)
14. PG Isaiah Canaan (top 20)
15. PG Pierre Jackson (top 20)
16. SG Glen Rice, Jr. (top 30)
17. SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. (top 30)
18. PG Dennis Schroeder (top 30)
19. SG Ricardo Ledo (top 30)
20. PG Michael Carter-Williams (top 30)
21. SG Archie Goodwin (top 40)
22. SG Allen Crabbe (top 40)
23. SG Alex Abrines (top 40)
24. PG Phil Pressey (top 40)
25. PG Ray McCallum (top 40)
26. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (top 60)
27. SG Brandon Paul (undrafted)