William Buford is the definition of a role player. At 6'5'', 205 pounds, Buford is an adequately sized shooting guard who knows how to score from almost anywhere on the court.
In his senior year at Ohio State, Buford proved that he's capable of doing whatever his team needs him to do. With 2011-12 averages of 14.5 points, five rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, Buford put on display his ability to be a "jack of all trades," and that's exactly what he'll be in the NBA.
What Buford Brings to the Team
Buford isn't the most complete player in the draft. He needs to work on being a consistent shooter from beyond the arc and he certainly needs to get a bit stronger. But the one thing that will help him excel in the NBA is his physicality on the defensive side of the ball.
Buford will be able to step right in and defend most shooting guards in the league, and he will also be able to come off screens and hit three-pointers with an impressive level of efficiency.
No one is expecting for Buford to come in and instantly compete a starting job, but that won't stop him from pushing his teammates in practice and bringing consistent production off the bench.
What Experts Are Saying About Buford
Kyle Nelson of NBA Draft Express has this to say regarding the talents of William Buford:
Measured at 6'5 with a 6'10 wingspan and a solid 209-pound frame, Buford definitely looks the part of a NBA wing player. He remains just an average athlete by NBA standards in terms of his first step, overall quickness and the explosiveness he displays around the basket.
In a lot of ways, Buford is a poor man's Kawhi Leonard, and that's quite an honor. Buford certainly has all the intangibles it takes to be a solid role player in the NBA.
The fact that he's one of the hardest workers coming out of the 2012 draft class bodes well for the chances that he'll have a productive NBA career.
Buford's Rookie Impact
The main impact that Buford will have during his rookie year will take place on the practice court and in the locker room. Buford will certainly see minutes during his rookie year, but he'll be utilized more as a practice player than as a productive bench player.
Buford will certainly make the players around him better by outworking them in the weight room and outplaying them during practice. Around the midway point of the 2012-13 season, Buford will certainly earn some minutes coming off the bench.
He'll prove that he's the kind of player who can be a productive member of an NBA roster for years to come.
Summer League Prediction
One of Buford's biggest strengths will be his intensity on the defensive side of the ball. Putting that on display will be his biggest focus during the summer league over the next two weeks.
Because of his strength on the defensive side of the ball and his ability to run on the wing, Buford could be an ideal target for the Timberwolves to fill out their roster. It doesn't hurt that Buford will be a very inexpensive.
Buford needs to show that he can be a capable offensive player in the NBA. If he does that, it's not a stretch to think that his NBA career will start during the 2012-'13 season.