NBA Draft: Malik Monk fits new shooting guard mold, leads 2017 class
Kentucky's freshman star leads the rankings of the best shooting guards for the 2017 NBA Draft
The shooting guard position is in transition. Considering how routinely NBA point guards now shoot 3-pointers, not to mention stretch fours and fives, a shooting guard needs an extra bit of expertise in the area of scoring -- either next-level accuracy or an ability to get to the basket at will. The position also can be a place to stash a plus perimeter defender.
With that in mind, here’s how the current group of two-guards stacks up at the moment:
1. Malik Monk , Kentucky Wildcats : An excellent scorer, and notable that despite his athleticism, he actually rates higher by far in the country in points per possession utilizing half-court sets, per Synergy. Pure offense, the kind of two-guard that makes sense in the current NBA, and a terrific defender as well.
2. Allonzo Trier , Arizona Wildcats : Had a tough one against Cal recently, but Trier is still working off the rust from his absence. And he can get to the basket, hit the perimeter shot, defend opposing twos, precisely what you need out of the position.
3. Terrance Ferguson, Australia: Young and raw, but with length and a shot that looks like it should translate well as his body grows into its frame.
4. Josh Hart , Villanova Wildcats : Efficient, high basketball IQ, the Jay Wright guard pedigree and championship experience are all on the impressive Josh Hart résumé.
5. Donovan Mitchell , Louisville Cardinals : He showed he can play some point earlier this season, but what really makes him dangerous at the next level is the high-volume shot from distance is starting to fall, and there might not be a more versatile perimeter defender in the ACC.
6. Marcus Marshall , Nevada Wolf Pack : He gets his shot from anywhere, with a 38.1 percent mark on 3-pointers this season that might be artificially low given his free throw accuracy, and a handle that makes for almost no turnovers at all.
7. Luke Kennard , Duke Blue Devils : It is simply impossible to ignore Kennard’s 45.9 percent mark on 3s, his ability to get to the basket against the gauntlet of opponents Duke plays and the simple fact that among some legitimate NBA future stars, Kennard has been the best player on his team all season.
8. Peter Jok , Iowa Hawkeyes : He brings that master’s degree level shooting accuracy, near 40 percent from 3 despite focus from opposing scouting reports all season, and near 92 percent from the line when he gets fouled. Some nights, just unstoppable.
9. P.J. Dozier, South Carolina Gamecocks : The 3 arrived this season for Dozier. He uses his 6-foot-7 length to see over defenses and he can serve as a reliable second facilitator for whoever drafts him.
10. Isaiah Briscoe , Kentucky: He is a jack-of-all-trades on the still-developing offensive end and locks up opposing guards out of the pick-and-roll as well as anybody, with the possible exception of his teammate, De’Aaron Fox.
11. Bryce Alford , UCLA Bruins : It is just impossible to ignore how well he is taking advantage of all those open looks from Lonzo Ball , at 45.6 percent from 3, and not imagine him as a J.J. Redick in this draft.
12. Grayson Allen , Duke: And here’s the guy many people believe will be Redick as well. When he makes seven 3s against North Carolina Tar Heels , I’m a believer, too. When he disappears against Clemson Tigers , not so much.
13. Andrew White, Syracuse Orange : The basketball nomad has earned Jim Boeheim’s trust, with a multifaceted offensive game and size (6-foot-7 and built) that should get him a look at the next level.
14. Elijah Stewart , Southern California Trojans : Over his past seven games, he is shooting 58.1 percent overall and 44.9 percent from 3, a streak that started with a notable 20-point outburst against Arizona. He’s intriguing, and might be figuring it out.
15. Antonius Cleveland , Southeast Missouri State Redhawks : An Ohio Bobcats Valley Conference standout with Power 5 conference size and quickness, now hitting 39 percent of his 3s.
16. Rodney Pryor , Georgetown Hoyas : An elite shooter from distance who rebounds and defends well at the position, 6-5 with long reach and the ability to take over games.
17. Cameron Johnson , Pittsburgh Panthers : Michael Young and Jamel Artis get more publicity on this Pitt team, but Johnson is the one who looks most like a pro to me, between the transition pyrotechnics and the efficient half-court work (top 10 percent in the country in points per possession in both cases, per Synergy).
18. James Blackmon, Indiana Hoosiers : Tom Crean’s leading scorer does enough at the position -- 42 percent on 3-pointers, allowing opponents just 0.712 points per possession, per Synergy -- to make up for the limits in the running game and questions about tweener size.
19. Nick Masterson , Kennesaw State Owls : Don’t sleep on the best shooter in the Atlantic Sun, and the only two-guard in the country who’s a better than break-even proposition from beyond the arc.
20. Matt Thomas , Iowa State Cyclones : The other half of a Cyclones back court that will make them a tough out in the NCAAs if they get there, Thomas shoots it, defends, and never turns the ball over, seamlessly integrating with Monte Morris .
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