Position Breakdown: Point Guards

by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Managing Editor

We’re less than a week away from the 2014 NBA Draft, and Cavs.com continues to break down some of this June’s top prospects.

Today, we look at some of this June’s top point guards – including a Championship-winning senior, a cerebral Canadian freshman, a long and lean sophomore from Cincy, a fast-riser from a smaller school and rugged star who returned for his second season.

With that in mind, here’s what the scouts have said about some of the top point men in this year’s Draft …

Semaj Christon6-3, 186 – Born: November 1, 1992 – (Cincinnati, OH) – College: Xavier – Christon has excellent physical traits for a PG prospect, with a 6-6 wingspan and a frame that should fill out as a pro; he’s a slasher who has no problem getting to the rim – where he’s good at drawing fouls and finishing; he can blow by opponents with his speed but needs to improve his handle at the next level; despite aggressive style of play, not turnover-prone and still developing his true point guard instincts; he has a great first step and changes directions deftly; his weakness on the offensive end is his shooting, an area in which he lacks confidence and one that opponents will dare him to prove in the NBA; Christon is a guy who could make a career on the defensive end – where he’s able to defend either guard position; he showed good growth between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Xavier.

Tyler Ennis6-2, 180 – Born: August 24, 1994 – (Brampton, ON) – College: Syracuse – Another member of the recent Canadian Invasion, Ennis is an extremely intelligent and unselfish PG, a cagey floor general and fantastic decision-maker who plays the game under total control; Ennis has a very good first step, although he’s not seen as an explosive athlete; he’s very efficient in the pick-and-roll and a reliable outside shooter who can drive with either hand; he has great vision in transition and likes to push the ball ahead; Ennis is an aggressive defender with a 6-5 wingspan that makes him disruptive on that end of the floor; while he’s not an elite defender, he does get a lot steals – leading all Division I freshman last season; after playing in the Syracuse zone, he’ll have an adjustment period defensively at the NBA level; had some of his biggest games against Orangemen’s toughest opponents.

Shabazz Napier6-0, 175 – Born: July 14, 1991 – (Groton, MA) – College: UConn – Napier, who enters the Draft fresh off winning the National Championship with UConn, is a polished scorer from any spot on the floor – and outstanding three-point shooter and overall shot-creator; he’s a very good passer and ball-handler who has a knack for making big plays and turning his game up against big-time foes; he excels in the pick-and-roll game with a diverse game on the offensive end; field goal percentage and three-point percentage rose dramatically over four years at UConn; his game evolved over his career – Napier became more of a playmaker and less of a scorer as a senior; he’s a fearless player brimming with confidence; he’s a great finisher in transition and a solid free throw shooter; doesn’t have elite athleticism or length; he’s an very good rebounder from the PG position, Napier averaged 5.8 boards per game as a senior.

Elfrid Payton6-4, 185 – Born: February 22, 1994 – (Gretna, LA) – College: Louisiana-LaFayette – Payton’s been one of the Draft’s late-risers over the last couple weeks after dazzling teams in stellar workouts against other top PG prospects; he’s a superb defensive player with ideal point guard size – he was named 2013-14 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year; he’s an excellent penetrator and scorer going to the basket, has great speed, length (6-7 wingspan) and lateral quickness; Payton shows very good court vision and playmaking ability; he’s a very good rebounder and excels in transition; deadly first step and lethal crossover help him get to the basket almost at will – he was second in the nation in free throw attempts this season; he racks up a ton of steals – setting a school record with 197, averaging almost 2.4 per game in his two seasons with the Cajuns; he turned up his game against better competition; still, he needs to add muscle to his wiry frame and work on his jumper – he’s not a factor from beyond the arc and needs work at the stripe.

Marcus Smart6-3, 227 – Born: March 6, 1994 – (Flower Mound, TX) – College: Oklahoma State – After being viewed as a top 5 pick last year, Smart returned for his sophomore season at Stillwater and went through some ups and downs; for starters, teams love his physical attributes – he’s built like an NFL free safety and often plays the game like one; he has a relentless motor and competitive fire; he’s an excellent rebounding PG and he loves to use his big body to post up smaller guards; excellent strength and length (his wingspan measured at 6-9 ¼ at the Combine) allows him to guard several positions; he’s an instinctive player who averaged almost three steals per game in two years at OSU; Smart is a natural leader with a nasty competitive streak that coaches covet; an aggressive player whose competitive fire has also gotten him in trouble – with a pair of incidents this year that didn’t help his Draft stock; even with blemishes, Smart still figures to be the first pure point to come off the board on Thursday night. Read Full Profile

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