Phoenix Suns 2014 NBA Pre-Combine Draft Preview: Point Guards

Ronald Martinez

Here's a look at some of the point guard prospects, prior to the NBA Draft Combine later this week, whom the Suns may be able to choose from in the coming draft.

With Goran Dragic still under contract, and Eric Bledsoe almost certain to be re-signed as a restricted free agent, the point guard position is one of the least likely for the Phoenix Suns to consider on draft night.  However, with as many as three first round picks to choose from, they may still choose to spend one of them on the right player if the opportunity presents itself.

Here are some of the point guards the Suns could be keeping a close eye on in the NBA combine starting on May 15th.

Tyler Ennis, PG

6'2", 180lbs, 19 years old, Syracuse

Tylr_ennis_medium

(Click to Enlarge, Stats courtesy of ESPN)

Strengths: Excellent Passer with Very Good Court Vision, Pass First, Creates Shots for Teammates, Crafty

Weaknesses: Average Athleticism, Man-to-Man Defense?

Tyler Ennis will most likely be a late lottery pick, with only Marcus Smart rated higher as a point guard.  Ennis is one of the few pure point guards that knows how to create for others, with a solid drive-and-kick game and a great eye for finding the open man.

However, Ennis is not one-dimensional in that regard.  If teams leave him open, he has a decent stroke and an ability to hit shots inside and out.  Although he is not a great shooter, he is certainly efficient enough to make the other team pay.  And while he is also a better shooter than slasher, he is crafty enough on the dribble to get to the basket as well where he knows how to finish with floaters and layups.

The biggest question mark on Ennis comes mostly from the college he played for.  Syracuse's zone defense is something of legend in college basketball, but with his average athleticism and unproven ability to guard man-to-man, how will he fare in an NBA defense?  Besides that, Ennis has some great qualities to make him a very good prospect for a team in need of a true point guard.


Shabazz Napier, PG

6'1", 180lbs, 22 years old, UCONN

Shabazz_napier_stats_medium

(Click to Enlarge, Stats courtesy of ESPN)

Strengths: Excellent Slasher and Scorer, High Motor, Great Shooter with Deep Range, Great Ball-Handler, Good Defender, Good Rebounder

Weaknesses: Tendency to be Selfish, Streaky, Undersized

Shabazz Napier is one of the best scoring point guards in college.  He can score from anywhere on the court, and he does so very well.  Napier has consistently developed and refined his shot from beyond the arc over his collegiate career, and is now a very efficient three-point shooter on and off the ball.

In addition to his outstanding offensive abilities, Napier is also a hustler on defense and plays with equal energy on both ends of the floor.  And despite his lack of size, he has a knack for finding the ball off the rim and is one of the better rebounding point guards in college as well.

The biggest knock on Napier is that he can be a little selfish at times, neglecting to find his teammates in favor of doing it all himself.  Although he is certainly capable of being a great passer, with his excellent ball-handling and his average of around 5 assists per game, Napier sometimes gets too locked in on taking the game into his own hands instead of trusting his teammates.

Still, with his offensive and defensive abilities, plus his proven track record of being a winner, with two NCAA championships under his belt at UCONN...Napier will be on a lot of teams' short lists this off-season.


Elfrid Payton, PG

6'3", 170lbs, 20 years old, Louisiana Lafayette

Elfrid_payton_stats_medium

(Click to Enlarge, Stats courtesy of ESPN)

Strengths: Good Size and Length, Athletic, Great in Transition, Very Good Defender, Good Ball-Handler, Creates for Self & Others, Good Rebounder

Weaknesses: Not a Good Shooter (even from the line), Turnover Prone

Elfrid Payton may be one of the best kept secrets in college basketball.  He has great size and athleticism for a point guard, he is a natural scorer and playmaker, and he's an excellent defender as well.

One of his biggest strengths is in running the floor and scoring in transition, where his size and speed makes a deadly combination for defenses.  In addition, Payton looks to set up teammates and is unselfish with the ball...especially in half court situations.

However, Payton is still very much a work in progress.  He doesn't have a good shot, and struggles from the free throw line as well as the perimeter.  On the other hand, he has so many other skills and natural talent that he makes for a very promising prospect for a team willing to help him develop his shot.  He still has a great deal of upside and could be one of the best values in the later first round.


Vasilije Micic, PG

6'5", 210lbs, 20 years old, Serbia

Vasilije_micic_stats_medium

(Click to Enlarge, Stats courtesy of DraftExpress)

Strengths: Great Size, Pure PG, Crafty with Ball, Creates for Others, Good Three-Point Shooter, Good Vision, Experienced, Leadership

Weaknesses: Not athletic, Defense, Low Ceiling

Vasilije Micic is an international point guard prospect with a lot of experience, great size, and true point guard ability.  Micic has played very well against fellow European competition, but even fared well against the U.S. last summer, playing effectively even against fellow draftee Marcus Smart in the game.

Where Micic falters, however, is in the athletic department.  Micic is not at all fast or explosive, and is pretty well anchored to the floor. He also struggles to pull up from mid range and knock down shots off the dribble, but is much better at doing so from deep.

Vasilije, like most other international prospects, didn't receive an invitation to the NBA Combine this week, so we will have to wait to see him in action in the Adidas Eurocamp on June 7-9.  But he is the only other prospect that I think could slip into the first round as a late round pick for his leadership, his ability to control the offense, and his three point range.  Plus he could be an option for a draft-and-stash as well.



Next Up

This concludes the point guard preview for the coming NBA Draft Combine. I'll be posting the NBA Draft Combine preview tomorrow with details about the schedule and the participants you can expect to see.

With as many as three first round picks available, the Suns have a lot of choices to make.  Who do you like out of this group, if anyone, and what pick do you think the Suns will use on them?  Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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