Hi there, folks. We're going to look ahead quite a bit in this Orlando Pinstriped Post Mailbag. Reminder: you can send your Orlando Magic questions to Evan Dunlap and me at OPPMailbag@gmail.com or you can submit them to the OPP Facebook page.
Without further adieu, let's talk about point guards.
It's tough to watch high school seniors and decipher exactly how they will translate to the college level, much less the NBA. Just look at this year's Kentucky team: this was the highest rated recruiting class of all time. They were all highly touted NBA prospects and it translated to mostly disappointment in the regular season. They are flourishing in the tournament, but it took a lot of time for things, mostly effort, to click. Still, scouts know a ton about prospects by the time they are high school seniors, so it's important for us, the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, to also keep an eye on the future.
At this point, Emmanuel Mudiay, committed to SMU, is the highest point guard on the NBA radar. He's huge (6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan) and he's a tremendous athlete. He flies up and down the floor and doesn't lose speed with the ball in his hands. From what I've seen, aside from mixtape stuff that mostly everyone gawks over, he has pretty awesome passing vision, stemming from his size: He's bigger than most of the high-school athletes who guard him. He works off the ball a lot, though, mostly as a slashing guard.
Updated stats to find on these guys are nearly impossible to find, but he averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals in his junior season. We should note that five assists is a whole lot at the high school level.
Here's DraftExpress on his weaknesses:
- Lacks polish offensively, as both a facilitator and scorer
- Limited outside shooter. Made just 6/41 3-point attempts in 13 Nike EYBL games this spring
- Needs to work on shooting mechanics. Shoots the ball on the way down. Needs time and space to get shot off
- Much better in open floor than half-court game. Playmaking, decision making still a work in progress
ESPN's Recruiting Nation notes that he's better working off the ball though "he is highly productive as well playing the point guard position. He can score at a high rate and make teammates better..."
And here's a mixtape for your viewing pleasure. Take this video with a grain of salt, as mixtapes are made to make the athlete look as good as possible.
So, yeah, he's a reamarkable athlete with great size and handles. I know I'll be tuned into a ton of SMU games next season.
But even with his upside, Mudiay isn't the no. 1 point guard recruit. That honor goes to Tyus Jones, who will be joining Jahlil Okafor, the nation's top recruit, at Duke. Jones (6-foot-0 with a 6-foot-3 wingspan) doesn't have the physical tools of Mudiay, but he's much more comfortable running an offense at this stage in his development. He's a creative scorer and lead guard who can run pick and rolls and shoot from anywhere on the floor.
His weaknesses, again via DraftExpress:
- Does not possess great physical tools in terms of size, frame or length
- May struggle to draw fouls and finish as effectively around the basket against taller, longer, stronger competition at next level
- Average defender
ESPN's Recruiting Nation likens him to Jason Kidd and writes that "Jones is smooth and plays with no wasted motion. He makes the right play at the right time, be it a pass, a steal, a rebound or a basket."
Again, a mixtape for your viewing pleasure:
As you can see, Jones has much more polish than Mudiay. He can drive and finish with either hand and he has a number of dribble moves in his arsenal. He reads pick-and-rolls at such an advanced level for his age and he has nice mechanics on his jump shot.
These are the two guys I suspect will rise to the top of the 2015 point-guard class. We still have to wait to see if Kentucky's Andrew Harrison sticks around for a sophomore season, and there's always a chance that North Carolina's Marcus Paige rises to the lottery, but for now this is what we have. It's still such a long time from now--these kids are still months removed from arriving to their campuses--and so much can change. But Mudiay and Jones figure to be a large part of the 2015 Draft conversations.