A decorated college career doesn't always guarantee success. In fact, there are plenty of college stars who just don't find a way to translate their game to the NBA (see: Morrison, Adam).
At just 6'0", 185 pounds and with flaws in his jumper, it's easy to see why many analysts are a little down on Siva's draft stock. Although he was part of a successful program as a four-year contributor, it wasn't as though he was carrying the team on his back.
However, Siva did show in his college career that he has what it takes to break into an NBA rotation. Here's why Siva is going to make a team that takes a chance on him very happy.
There are issues with Siva's jumper, sure. He only shot 40 percent from the field in his senior season and an even worse 28 percent from beyond the arc. But where Siva really excelled, and could carve a niche in the NBA, is on defense.
Siva is a relentless on-ball defender who led a pressure Louisville defense that forced its opponents to turn the ball over on 27 percent of their possessions. Siva himself averaged 2.3 steals per game.
Head coach Rick Pitino told Kentucky.com that Siva's defense was the main reason for the Cardinals' success in the tournament:
He dominated the tournament at the defensive end and ran his team to success... Because you know the reason we won the thing — it was Peyton Siva who dominated the game at the defensive end. You very rarely see a point guard just in every crucial situation rotate for a steal and make the big play, and then he ran the team.
One key ingredient for success as an NBA bench player is energy. When Siva steps onto the floor, you know you are getting an athletic defender who will play with full effort as long as he's in.
Offensively, there are issues with Siva. Not only is his shooting stroke a concern, but his diminutive stature may allow him to be bullied by bigger, stronger point guards in the league. However, his athleticism will be something that helps him compensate for those issues.
What is Siva's greatest strength?
Siva erased any doubts that he may not be an NBA-type athlete at the combine. He registered a 41.5" max vertical and was the second-fastest point guard behind Miami's Shane Larkin. That speed not only helps him as a defender, but was what he relies on to make him an offensive threat.
Siva is an explosive athlete who can force defenders to move laterally to stay in front of him. Throw in his court vision and ability to dish (5.7 assists per game), and he is more than capable of keeping an offense going with his slashing ability.
Team success in the college ranks can't be taken too seriously when evaluating college prospects. Some players are just more suited for the college game and never make the leap. However, it at least plays a small role.
Evidenced by his four years and two Final Four appearances at Louisville, Siva is a proven leader. His consistency was a big reason for Louisville's success last season, and he has been part of a winning culture.
Siva isn't the flashiest player available in the draft. He'll never be an elite scorer, and questions about his shooting will likely be a career-long plague.
That being said, he's a fierce defender who knows what it takes to be part of a winning team. For a prospect who is likely to be assigned a much smaller role than he was in college, that's important. Siva has the mental makeup and skills to contribute as a high-energy, change-of-pace point guard off the bench.
For a player who isn't likely to have is name called until the end of Round 2, that's a great value pick.