Shabazz Napier is no stranger to basketball fans. After an amazing national title run with UCONN in the big dance, Napier is a household name. There are some that are saying he is the most “ready to contribute” point guard in the NBA draft. He has an offense game that is developed and ready, he can defend, and is a champion. But, is he a point guard you want on your favorite NBA team?
Offensively, with the exception of one category, the answer is YES. Napier has a great jump shot that he depends on heavily. Why not, when he can shoot it out of an ISO play, the pick and roll, or catch & shoot situations. Napier has a great ability to use his dribbling and moves to get to the hoop, but has issues finishing at the hoop. (I wonder if being blocked by Amida Brimah so much in practice has caused a mental issue)
Does this sound familiar to Jazz fans? Outside shot… Pick and roll, Champion? To me this is sounding a lot like Trey Burke. Burke was the 9th pick last year. Napier is projected as the 24th pick. Food for thought or sometimes call mini rant… Why would the Jazz not draft a PG with the 5th pick? Burke would be drafted in the 20s if he were in this draft. If there is a PG at 5, that PG would have substantially more upside, athleticism, and overall talent than Burke. *End of Rant*
The big difference between Napier and Burke, is the decision-making. Burke averaged 7 assist to 2 turnovers. He was great at setting up his teammates. Napier is pretty good at passing out of the pick and roll, but makes poor decisions otherwise. He had 5 assists to 3 turnovers per game. That level of bad decision-making is concerning. Napier was a senior last year and that should have shown in a lower turnover rate. This brings out his other flaw, having played 4 years in college, have we already seen what he can be?
To continue to draw the comparison to Burke, Napier has a great handle on the ball. But, he doesn’t have the athletic, explosive step needed to get to the rim in the NBA.
The player that Napier can be in the NBA is Kemba Walker. They had the same college runs with UCONN. They have the same build in physique. But, will Napier become Walker?