NBA Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available Guards

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

NBA Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available Guards

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    While the 2013 NBA draft class is undeniably weak, particularly at the top, the guards are far stronger than any other group of players. 

    There are point guards, shooting guards and combo guards galore, and many of them will have legitimate opportunities to make a name for themselves in the Association. 

    The guard prospects you see here were taken from the big board of Jonathan Wasserman, B/R's NBA lead writer. Thirty-five made it into the top 100, and you'll see them presented in the same order here. 

    If your team is looking for a 1-guard or 2-guard, you'll want to scan through this list and figure out which option you'd like them to draft. 

22. Myck Kabongo, Texas, 6'3", PG

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    Myck Kabongo probably shouldn't have decided to enter the NBA draft while his stock was depressed following an early NIT exit, but here we are. 

    The former lottery candidate never lived up to the expectations at Texas, both due to a mediocre freshman season and a lengthy suspension at the start of his sophomore campaign. Always known as a great facilitator, Kabongo didn't take many steps forward as a scorer.

    He may have upped his scoring average during his second season in Austin, but he couldn't shoot the ball with anything even resembling consistency. This must change if he hopes to become more than a middling prospect who's too unselfish for his own good. 

    Kabongo has the talent to be great. He just hasn't put it together yet. 

23. Vander Blue, Marquette, 6'5", SG

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    Vander Blue is a workout stud thanks to his improved jumper and knack for elevating out of the gym. 

    During his junior season, Blue showed off a noticeably better shot from the perimeter, making an extra three-pointer per game while simultaneously improving his percentages. He's still nowhere near being a marksman, but he's at least trending in the right direction. 

    Just as is the case with many players around this spot on the big board, Blue is an excellent athlete with a relatively raw game. Making the transition from "athlete" to "basketball player" is a crucial developmental step if he hopes to live up to his long-term upside. 

    Blue could be a nice second-round value pick, but only if he continues to hone his skills and isn't content just cashing in a paycheck. 

24. Michael Snaer, Florida State, 6'4", SG

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    It's all about preventing points for Michael Snaer, a shooting guard who loves nothing more than snaring opposing players with his suffocating defensive abilities. 

    Although his offense came a long way during his four years with the Florida State Seminoles, Snaer only has a shot at the NBA because he's able to lock down his man on the less glamorous end of the court. It may be less glamorous, but that doesn't mean contributions there are less valuable. 

    Snaer has long arms that help extend his 6'4" frame, and he has fantastic instincts that let him swipe the ball away from careless dribblers while maintaining the presence of mind to jump into passing lanes. 

    The shooting guard should be able to earn playing time as a rookie simply because his defense really is that good. 

25. Brandon Paul, Illinois, 6'4", SG

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    Don't be frightened off by the fact that Brandon Paul only shot 40.1 percent from the field during his final season in an Illinois uniform. 

    Paul wasn't just a part of the offense for the Fighting Illini. He was the offense, and he often had to create each and every one of his looks. Given the responsibility he had in this system, it's understandable that his shooting percentages were a bit depressed. 

    The 6'4" shooting guard has the physical tools conducive to making a two-way impact down the road, and he also has the explosiveness and instincts necessary to become a scoring spark plug off the pine. 

    Paul is a nice value pick late in the proceedings. 

26. Khalif Wyatt, Temple, 6'4", SG

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    The questions about Khalif Wyatt's mentality and willingness to put in work on his game are valid ones, but any inquiries about his strengths as a scorer are not. 

    The Temple Owls offense revolved around this shooting guard, and he often carried them to great success. Wyatt averaged 20.5 points per game during his final collegiate season, although that was asking a bit too much since it forced him into making a number of bad shooting choices. 

    The 2-guard has a great pull-up jumper from mid-range and can get to the rim for contact, but his consistency from the outside needs to be turned up a few notches. 

    Wyatt is another one of those instant-offense-off-the-bench guys. 

27. B.J. Young, Arkansas, 6'3", PG/SG

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    By the time B.J. Young starts to earn consistent playing time in the NBA, his jumper won't look anything like it does now. Then again, it varies from day to day already. 

    Young was a potent scorer at Arkansas even though he constantly fought a broken jumper and often lost the battle. He's that explosive and quick in the open court. 

    When sprinting in transition, Young is virtually unstoppable. He's typically the fastest player on the court, even when he's dribbling and other players are focused only on catching him. That said, he struggles in half-court sets because defenses have no reason to fear his jumper. 

    Young is a project player, but the reward for the work put in could be well worth it. 

29. Phil Pressey, Missouri, 5'11", PG

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    Phil Pressey was the preseason SEC Player of the Year, but he wilted under the lofty expectations and struggled to connect on his looks for the Missouri Tigers. In fact, Pressey shot only 37.6 percent from the floor, and he was too prone to taking ill-advised attempts from the perimeter.

    The diminutive point guard was just too aggressive, and that tended to negate his skills in pick-and-roll sets as he would call his own number with an inordinate frequency. He's fully capable of becoming an impressive facilitator, but he ultimately needs to accept that role.

    Pressey has a shot to succeed in the NBA; he just needs to decide in what capacity he'll do so.

    Focusing on his playmaking, but cutting down on the turnovers and making more passes, presents the 5'11" floor general with his No. 1 option. 

30. Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary's, 6'4", PG

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    I can only hope that Matthew Dellavedova is allowed to wear a two-toned, non-symmetrical mouthpiece once he lands on an NBA roster. After all, that was obviously the secret to his superpowers at Saint Mary's. 

    Dellavedova is one of the smartest point guards in this draft class, but he's ultimately held back by his lack of physical profile. Defensively, the Australian isn't able to make much of an impact, and his scoring talents will be virtually negated by the taller players in the NBA. 

    He's a true floor general, though, and that's what will allow him to get a shot at the sport's highest level. A very cerebral player, Dellavedova knows when to pass and when to shoot, and he rarely fails to stick to that role. 

    Self-awareness is a beautiful thing in the NBA, and every team could use a player who knows exactly what his role is. 

31. Durand Scott, Miami, 6'3", PG/SG

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    Durand Scott doesn't have the size necessary to play shooting guard in the NBA, so he'll have to fully transition over to the 1 if he hopes to have any staying power on a professional roster in the States.

    There are two primary areas in which the Miami product needs improvement: facilitating and scoring around the basket. 

    Given his quick first step, the latter shouldn't be a problem, but Scott routinely fails to finish plays around the rim. He has hope in that area, even if it hasn't manifested itself in his play quite yet. 

    As a distributor, Scott took a step backward during the 2012-13 season. Perhaps it was because Shane Larkin dominated the ball, but this combo guard was incapable of creating plays for others. He had tunnel vision and often telegraphed what he was doing. 

    Scott has potential as a three-and-D player, but he could become so much more. 

32. Seth Curry, Duke, 6'3", SG

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    Seth Curry's game revolves almost completely around his shooting ability. 

    As you might expect from someone with his last name, Seth thrives on the perimeter. He can knock down three-pointers even with a hand in his face, and he's nearly automatic if he's given even the tiniest bit of space. 

    Don't mistake Seth for Steph, though. 

    While the Golden State Warriors standout is quite adept at shooting off the dribble and creating his own looks, the incoming rookie relies on his teammates to set him up. He's also purely a shooting guard instead of a point guard or combo guard with creative passing and ball-handling abilities. 

    There's always a market for the best shooters, and that's the category into which this particular Curry falls. 

34. Ramon Galloway, La Salle, 6'1", PG

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    Ramon Galloway broke out at La Salle after transferring from South Carolina, but he received most of his playing time at both point guard and shooting guard. Seeing as he's only 6'1", the latter position is out of the question in the NBA. 

    The 22-year-old is a scorer above all else. 

    He never developed tremendous passing skills, often calling his own number at the expense of everyone else. While he was a potent scorer in college, this hurt his long-term chances in the NBA because he never developed the set of talents you typically expect from a prospect at the 1. 

    Galloway may have a chance to become a bench scorer, one who produces in bunches during garbage time, but that's the extent of his potential until he can become more of a typical point guard. 

35. Elijah Johnson, Kansas, 6'2", PG

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    Inconsistency is the name of the game for Elijah Johnson. And while that sounds like it's exclusively a negative, it also gives some hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. 

    The former Kansas point guard has athletic ability and offensive skill galore, particularly when running pick-and-roll sets or attacking the basket in transition, but he's an awful decision-maker who displays a frightening lack of care for the ball. 

    If you ask Jayhawks fans about Johnson, they'll sigh and point out one of his many inopportune turnovers, but then they'll remember some of the many positive plays he made as well. 

    Figuring out how to stay under control is a must for this 6'2" point guard, and he'll have to do so quickly if he hopes to make it from a summer league roster into the NBA.