Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty

2014 NBA Draft Prospect Evaluation: Shabazz Napier

(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty)

We continue our coverage of college prospects for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft which is set to take place on June 26th, 2014. This week we take a look at UConn Star, Shabazz Napier.

Shabazz Napier (21 years old, Senior PG, University of Connecticut via Roxbury, Massachusetts)

Raining3s’ 2014 NBA Draft Evaluation: Shabazz Napier

 

(Photo: http://thesportsjunkies.sportsblog.com/tag/Jr.)
(Photo: http://thesportsjunkies.sportsblog.com/tag/Jr.)

Physical tools:

At barely over 6 feet and a featherweight 175 pounds, Napier isn’t exactly imposing.  His body-type doesn’t suggest any league success, but he is in rare air where it doesn’t really matter.

 

YouTube Highlights:

Athletic ability:

Average. Napier is very quick in a straight line, and always keeps his head up and his eyes at the basket when he’s driving. He can absorb contact surprisingly well for a guy his size and can sell it as well, which is important.

Playmaking ability:

Best in the draft. Napier won a championship at the helm of UCONN. With his on-time passes, he turned perennial underachiever DeAndre Daniels into a force to be reckoned with. His court-vision is unmatched in this draft.

Overall passing:

His passing around the perimeter, pick-and-roll, everything, they’re all excellent. He seems to know where his four other guys will be always. He can tend to shot-hunt at times and forget his teammates, however. This won’t be a problem in the NBA because he’ll have legitimate pros to pass the ball to.

 

Outside shooting ability:

Very good. Shot over 40% and seems to actually shoot a higher percentage when he’s guarded. His shot seems to be a bit of a heft, and his release isn’t quite as fast as you’d like it to be, but that can be worked around.

Ability to get own shot:

Above average. Step-backs, pump-fakes, spins, they’re all in Shabazz’s arsenal, and he knows exactly when to use them. Some of his more technical moves appear slow so he’ll need to really work on tightening up some of his more bread-and-butter moves when he makes the jump.

Defense:

Not particularly noteworthy either way. Most of his steals are from the passing lanes, not from picking pockets. When called upon, he can hang with bigger, more aggressive guards (see Scottie Wilbiken).

Basketball IQ and intangibles:

This is the Chris Paul-type of this draft. Napier isn’t going to physically dominate NBA talent at the 1 and 2, but he will play with enough heart and intensity to make up for his physical limitations. Plus, he’ll throw some behind the back passes during transition that are absolutely mind-boggling.

Projected draft position:

18-20

Projected position in the NBA:

PG/SG

Comparable NBA player:

Monta Ellis, but Mavs Monta Ellis, not GSW Monta Ellis.

 

– Evan Mielke (draft evaluation)

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Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom