A Dallas Mavericks Draft Preview on Point Guards
By Marvin Jerome Hanke
With the NBA draft only two weeks away, the second preview on players the Dallas Mavericks could target on draft night covers point guards that could end up in the Mavs draft range in the second round.
Deron Williams is set to become a free agent and J.J. Barea and Devin Harris are essentially penciled in for the back up spots, but the Dallas Mavericks have a clear need for a point guard. What will Donnie Nelson and the front office do to address the problem?
Even though the market is weak point guard-wise, they will probably attempt to fill that roster hole via free agency, but they could also look towards the draft and use their second round pick to select a point guard that can study under Barea and Harris.
While a player selected with the 46th pick can hardly be expected to become a starter right away there might be some interesting prospects available for the Mavericks come draft night. After looking at wing players last week, this preview features the point guards that Dallas could target on the 23rd of June:
Khalil Felder: The 5-foot-9 guard out of Oakland is one of the smallest player in the draft, but he makes up for his lack of size with a tremendous motor on both sides of the court. The twenty-one year old from Detroit very much undersized but could potentially play a role of the bench. Largely due to his quickness and his competitive spirit Felder has shown that he can be a terrific defender.
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24 points per game and more than 9 assist per outing also attest to his ability to set up his teammates and underline his scoring prowess. While his outside shot is respectable, it is not elite by any means (36 percent during the 2015-2016 season) and the junior will have to work on his mark to get consistent playing time in the NBA. Penetrating on the other hand, is one of Felder’s strong suits. The 177-pound point guard understands how to use his quickness and strength to get to the basket.
Gary Payton II: As the son of a former NBA player, Gary Payton II certainly has the pedigree, but does he have the skills to rival his father? Like his old man (nickname ‘the glove’) Payton II could potentially end up as an elite defender.
While his 6-foot-3 frame is about average for the point guard position and the 6-8 wingspan is not out of this world, the athletic twenty-three year old was still able to rack up plenty of steals (2.5 steals per game last season) and blocks (0.5) in college. High numbers in both categories have proven to be a good measurement for defensive impact at the next level. The same goes for crashing the glass, another skill where Payton has shown potential as an elite rebounder (7.9 boards per game during the 2015-16 season) for his position.
Concerns surround his age as GP II is a year older than the rest of his class and will already turn twenty-four in December. Additionally his outside shot is not consistent yet, the percentages hovered around the 30-percent mark during Payton’s time at Oregon state.
Fred VanVleet: The twenty-two year old is not a flashy player but a solid playmaker on the field. VanVleet knows how to manage an offense and possesses a high basketball IQ. At Whichita State the 5-foot-11 floor general rarely turned the ball over and dished out 5.5 assist in outing during the last season.
There are concerns about his lack of size for the position and even more so about his lack of explosive ability. While some of that can be remedied with NBA-level conditioning – VanVleet would probably benefit from the Kyle Lowry treatment – the 194-pound guard will probably never dazzle with sheer athletic ability.
Instead, VanVleet should continue to focus on his outside shot, which is already excellent and should be his calling card in the league. At Wichita State he connected on 38-percent on 3.6 attempts per game during his last season and showed a deep range that should help him gain a role in the NBA.
Anthony Barber: The twenty-two year old Junior from the North Carolina State University had a terrific season as a junior and averaged 24.3 points per game. Clearly, Barber is more of a scoring point guard but he has also shown flashes as a solid passer who can distribute for his teammates.
Mostly referred to as Cat Barber, the Virginia native is one of the quickest players in the draft. Thanks to his speed and impressive handles Barber has no trouble getting into the lane.
Once he is in the restricted area, Barber knows how to finish around the basket. While his shot has slowly improved it remains streaky so far. At around 175-pounds Barber also needs to add some muscle to his frame in order to be able to compete on the defensive end of the floor.
Next: Dallas Mavericks: Revisiting the 2014 NBA Draft
Stay tuned in with The Smoking Cuban for more draft coverage, projections, previews, and revisits over the next few weeks.