Tyler Lashbrook takes a look at some point guard prospects who may be available when the Orlando Magic select in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft. As a result of Tuesday's lottery, Orlando will have the second overall pick in the first round. - Ed.
McCollum has become an interesting prospect for the Magic. He's already interviewed with Orlando and it's pretty obvious that interest is there from fans here at OPP. He's drawn comparisons to NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, and their numbers from college highlight those comparisons:
Their numbers are similar and so are the questions each face as they transition from small colleges to the NBA. Lillard never played in an NCAA tournament game and many wondered whether or not he'd be able to play against the competition in professional basketball. They also speculated whether a guy who looked to mostly score could take over the point guard position. McCollum's critics are asking the same thing, though McCollum had the benefit of performing on the NCAA tournament stage.
McCollum is the most complete scorer in the draft. He's a deadly shooter with deep range: as a senior, before injuring his left foot, he was shooting 51.6 percent from three-point range on 5.3 attempts a game. With the ball in his hands, McCollum can break down defenders and get to the basket or pull up in a defender's face. His step-back jumper is deadly and he's extremely comfortable shooting around high ball screens. He understands the pace of the game and he's explosive enough to quickly change that pace with the ball in hands.
Off the ball, McCollum is money. He's patient when coming off screens and understands the spacing and how to utilize screens to evade defenders to get his shot off.
Questions about his game linger, specifically regarding whether he has the instincts to become a point guard at the NBA level. He was great scoring off the pick-and-roll but he didn't really seem to utilize it for his teammates. He would often settle for a tough shot rather than swinging the ball for open shots, which seems to explain his 2.9 assists per game. But there's always the argument that his teammates will be much better at the next level and he'll be able to trust them much more than he did at Lehigh.
McCollum addressed questions about his position and the Lillard comparisons in this interview.
What I like about McCollum is his maturity which you can sense in every interview he has. It's no coincidence that he chose to stay in college for four years to earn a degree. I also appreciate his loyalty. He stuck with Lehigh for four years and led it past Xavier and Duke in its 2012 NCAA tournament run.
Rob Hennigan has shown no resistance in drafting four-year college players having selected Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O`Quinn in 2012. If McCollum becomes the guy for Orlando, then Hennigan will have the luxury in trading back and acquiring more assets or dumping contracts to get the point guard out of Lehigh.
At one point in his career, Kabongo was looked at as a potential lottery pick. A NCAA suspension cut 23 games out of his 2012-13 season and his stock has since taken a hit. But the Magic have expressed interest in the Texas point guard and right now he's projected to be taken somewhere around Orlando's No. 51 overall pick.
As a collegiate athlete, the biggest knock against Kabongo was always his jump shot. And though he's been working on it, it still hasn't reached a level that makes him a full-time starter in the NBA. He looked rusty coming off his suspension this season but his performance against Oklahoma was eye-opening and he really looked like the potential top-10 guy whom scouts came to know in high school. In that game, he scored 31 points on 13 shots, grabbed eight boards, dished six assists and recored four steals.
But just a month later, his 0-for-12 performance against Texas Tech raised more red flags. In the first day of the Combine, he ended as the worst jump shooter, shooting just 32 percent from the floor.
Some have speculated that his suspension in the 2012-13 season forced him to leave school this year, but he addressed those questions maturely and professionally in this interview. He may not be worth a first-round draft pick but if the Magic choose to go with another area of need, then he could be available at No. 51.
Canaan really showed off at the Combine, which may cause his draft stock to spike, but he still has a chance to drop due to questions of whether or not he's tall enough to provide the scoring in the NBA that he did at Murray St..
He registered a 40.5-inch max vertical jump at the Combine and showed explosive in all of the agility drills. At Murray St. he was asked to be a primary scorer with the ball in hands and that's what he did. He averaged 21.8 points per game in his senior season, though his shooting numbers took a dip. That probably had to do more-so with how much he was asked to provide.
Canaan never showed superior court vision and most of his assists came off simple drive-and-dishes. Put that with the fact that he measured 5-foot-11 at the Combine and it's easy to see why some teams may back off come Draft time. Canaan has said that he's absolutely a willing passer and was only scoring as much as he did because that's what the coaches at Murray St. asked him to do. Watch a Racer game and it's easy to see that the team really did need him to score to compete at the highest level.
The point guard of the national championship Louisville Cardinals is super athletic but will have to overcome a number of challenges to find a spot in the NBA. He's about the same height as Canaan but not as strong; Canaan's built like a bully and knows how and when to use strength to his advantage.
However, Siva is more athletic than Canaan in almost every sense. He wowed scouts with a 41.5-inch max vertical and his 3.16 time in the three-quarters court sprint. At Louisville he utilized that athleticism to make a name for himself as one of the nation's best on-ball defenders. He was quick enough to take chances to steal the ball and recover to get in front of his man with ease.
He averaged 2.3 steals per game and hounded opponents full-court as the focal point of Louisville's attacking trap defense. His woes come at the offensive end, where he never developed a reliable jump shot--as a starter, he never shot better than 28.8 percent from three. He's a pretty good passer, though, and he uses his athleticism to attack the bucket hard.
He's not a huge offensive threat but he's a willing passer who will hound players with his on-ball defense. And he could definitely be available when the Magic are on the clock at No. 51.
Pressey is a small, quick guard who loves collecting assists. On December 28th, he recorded 19 assists against the UCLA Bruins. His 38.5-inch max vertical is just below Canaan's and Siva's but full steam ahead he's probably faster than either. He might have been the faster player running straight.
But his poor shooting, lack of size (5-foot-11.5 in shoes), alarming turnover rate, and late-game woes will keep him from being selected in the first round. It's also unknown how long he can stay on the floor, as he'll most likely have a hard time defending taller guards.
He shot the three-pointer at a 34.7-percent clip for his career. It's not great, but it's better than Siva's mark of 29.1 percent. Then again, Siva is a significantly better defender than the Missouri product. It's very likely that Pressey will be available at No. 51, and he could develop into a backup point guard who can get his team going with the easy buckets he can create for teammates.
I need to note that these prospects aren't the best ones available. McCollum and Kabongo have talked to the Magic and the others could be available when Orlando is on the clock in the second round.