2016 NBA Draft Prospects: Breaking Down Pro Future of UNLV's Patrick McCaw

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMay 24, 2016

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 27:  Patrick McCaw #22 of the UNLV Rebels reacts after hitting a 3-pointer against the Boise State Broncos during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center on January 27, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 87-77.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

UNLV didn't make many national headlines in 2015-16. And for that reason, neither did Patrick McCaw despite his unique production and profile that's expected to generate NBA interest.

There was ultimately no testing the waters for the Runnin' Rebels sophomore wing, who quickly hired an agent in preparation for the 2016 draft.

McCaw had a strong final day at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and should be a candidate to rise up boards during workouts over the next four weeks.

Relevant Stats

Patrick McCaw 2015-16 Numbers
PPGRPGAPGSPGFG%3PT%ORtgUsage
14.75.13.92.5.465.366117.220.3
Sports-Reference.com

McCaw's 17.5 points per 40 minutes aren't eye-opening, but the 4.6 assists per 40 differentiate him. It's certainly an above-average number for a 2-guard or wing.

He also shot at least 36 percent from three-point range in each of his two seasons at UNLV. This past one, he knocked down 2.1 threes per game.

McCaw's 2.5 steals per game also ranked No. 6 in the country during 2015-16.

Strengths

Jan 9, 2016; Laramie, WY, USA; UNLV Runnin' Rebels guard Patrick McCaw (22) brings the ball up court against the Wyoming Cowboys during the first half at Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys beat the Runnin' Rebels 59-57. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

At 6'6 ¾", with a 6'10" wingspan, McCaw has excellent size for a shooting guard and should be able to log minutes at small forward as well. Though not overly explosive, he's a smooth, agile athlete.

Defense may ultimately be McCaw's NBA calling card, as he could possibly guard up to three positions. He slides effortlessly side to side and has some of the quickest hands and reaction time in the class. He's not a defender opposing ball-handlers can casually operate against given his knack for forcing turnovers with pressure and deflections.

Offensively, he's far from a finished product, but his potential versatility is an obvious selling point. With the size of a 2 or a 3, McCaw operates as a secondary ball-handler from the wing. He can stop and start or change direction in traffic, and he uses ball screens and hesitation to attack the rim in straight lines.

McCaw has strong passing instincts and a natural feel for setting up teammates as a pick-and-roll facilitator. His ability to find shooters, cutters and finishers helps compensate for the fact he isn't going to generate much half-court scoring.

He has flashed soft touch in the runner-and-floater game around the foul line. Still, McCaw will be most effective in transition given his handle and fluidity in the open floor.

Weakness

You won't find many wings skinnier than McCaw, who weighed just 180.8 pounds at the combine. He'll also be turning 21 years old right before the start of his rookie year. Even if he bulks up, we'll still be talking about one of the lighter players at the position. Unlike Zach LaVine, he doesn't have the explosiveness to make up for a glaring lack of strength either.

McCaw also doesn't project as a major scorer in the Association. He's missing a pull-up game off two feet and isn't a particularly advanced one-on-one shot-creator.

Becoming a knockdown shooter will ultimately be key for his NBA value. His percentages have been decent, but decent won't cut it moving forward. It wouldn't be surprising if he struggles getting buckets inside the arc without a refined mid-range game or muscle/explosion for finishing.

Pro Comparisons

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Doug Christie #13 of the Sacramento Kings is defended by Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game on December 16, 2004 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. The Lakers won 115-99. NOTE TO USER: User expres
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Doug Christie

If McCaw finds a way to stick long term, he's likely to put up similar numbers as former wing Doug Christie, who averaged 11.2 points, 3.6 assists, 1.9 steals and one three-pointer per game across his 15-year career.

Much like Christie, McCaw has the chance to develop into a key rotational guard or forward without needing to light up the scoreboard.

They're defenders, passers and open shot-makers, not primary offensive weapons.

Best-Case Scenario

Between his defense, shooting potential and playmaking, McCaw touts enough upside to eventually crack a starting lineup, especially if he lands on a strong roster looking for a utility man in its supporting cast. A best-case scenario envisions a role-playing McCaw averaging 10-15 points and over three assists.

Worst-Case Scenario

Given his incredibly skinny frame and limited scoring ability, McCaw isn't an NBA lock. No matter what, we'll likely be talking about a NBA D-League player in 2016-17.

Though he covers a lot of ground, he isn't a star in any one area of the game, particularly on offense. He'll likely have to shoot at least 35 percent from three to justify regular minutes.

Dec 4, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UNLV Rebels guard Patrick McCaw (22) dribbles the ball against the Oregon Ducks during the first half at MGM Grand. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction

McCaw looks like a fringe first-rounder, and I'm not sold he'll end up falling on the right side of the fence. Unless he sells a particular team during workouts, look for him to go somewhere in the 31-40 range.

Fit and opportunity will ultimately be huge for his development. He'll must land on a team that has weapons who can allow him to focus on passing, spot-up shooting and getting out on the break. Assuming McCaw's jumper can become an everyday threat to opposing defenses, there should be enough value tied to his two-way versatility for him to stick.

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