Time for part two our quick hits version of NBA draft profiles. Let’s get right to it.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, Shooting Guard
Strengths: Apart from winning the Michael Kidd Gilchrist award for the best name in the draft, KCP is a good offensive player. His jump shot is his strongest asset, especially coming off the dribble. KCP is also a very explosive player and he has great athleticism that will be able to compete in the NBA. For a guard, he rebounds his position extremely well, pulling down slightly over seven per game last year. He also plays the passing lanes smartly which helped him average two steals per game his sophomore year.
Weaknesses: Though he is adept at getting steals, Caldwell-Pope needs to get more sound defensively. He needs to focus on stopping the ball and stopping his man instead of gambling for steals all the time. As an overall player, he is still very raw and has a lot of developing left to do. A team drafting him hoping for instant help will be left disappointed.
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, Point Guard
Strengths: Great length for his size, a very long wingspan that allows him to disrupt his defenders and play the passing lanes without over committing himself. As a passer, he is very good at finding his man and he is completely unselfish. He plays looking to pass more than he looks to score. His assist to turnover ratio is also very good for his position which should help him in the NBA.
Weaknesses: Carter-Williams struggles to find his own shot and he is very inefficient as a scorer. Especially from beyond the three point line where he is pretty terrible. His inability to score will make it harder to open up passing lanes in the NBA because defenders will sag off him. He also needs to improve his decision making and ball security in clutch moments. Many games in his career at Syracuse where he committed a turnover or attempted a bad pass that led to a Syracuse loss. Athletically he is good but will not stand out in the NBA.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, Small Forward
Strengths: Knows how to find his shot and score points. He is a born scorer in the mold of a Rudy Gay. He is comfortable as a high usage player and that is what he will want to be in the NBA. He can also hit the long ball on a consistent basis which keeps his defenders on his toes. Has the potential to be one of the biggest steals in the draft if he becomes as good a scorer as he was projected coming out of high school.
Weaknesses: His stock is in a free fall. Revelations that he is a year older than he claimed he was and that his family has a lot of issues has a lot of teams pulling back. Questions about his motor and willingness to put in the work to get better have surfaced. On the court, he is very one dimensional as he is not a good rebounder for a forward and he averaged less than an assist per game, meaning he is pretty much a black hole on offense. Questions about his ability to score efficiently in the NBA have also been raised. Could be this year’s Chandler Parsons but he could also be this year’s Michael Beasley.
Shane Larkin, Miami, Point Guard
Strengths: Probably the best pick and roll guard in the 2013 draft meaning that a coach looking to run a system will be interested in Larkin. His shooting is impressive, both from beyond the three point line and inside it. He is also a terrific ball handler, shifty and quick with his decisions making it hard on defenders to keep up. He has shown in flashes the ability to be a great play maker, making him even more dangerous offensively as he becomes more versatile. For his size, he has superb athleticism.
Weaknesses: He has below average size for a NBA player. Standing below 6 feet tall, it will be hard for Larkin to produce points in the paint in the NBA facing off against gigantic big men. Defensively, he struggles with his lateral movement and that, combined with his lack of size might make it hard for the point guard to defend his position in the NBA. The point guards that rule the current NBA are all extremely quick, athletic beasts that can eat up defenders that can’t move side to side to stay in front of him. Larkin is good but will probably never be a starter which is not what you want out of a lottery pick.
Reggie Bullock, North Carolina, Small Forward
Strengths: Bullock is a player who understands his limits. He does a little bit of everything well, he scores efficiently, rebounds the ball, is a good passer for his position and doesn’t mind doing the dirty work on defense. He is the type of all around guy that teams win championships with because they allow the superstars to be superstars. His best area is probably his three point shooting that helps him spread the floor on offense.
Weaknesses: He has no clear superior skill. While he does a little bit of everything, he does not separate himself from his competition. He will never be a high scorer in the NBA and he is not the kind of player who is particularly adept at creating his own shot. Though he has great length and size, he is not a particularly athletic player and he might have a tough time keeping up with the faster small forwards in the league like Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay (Lebron is a power forward at this point, let’s not kid ourselves).