Position Breakdown: Shooting Guards

by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Managing Editor

With just under three weeks remaining until the Cavaliers are (officially) on the clock in the 2014 NBA Draft, Cavs.com continues to break down the prospects. Today, we take a look at some of the top shooting guards in this year’s class.

Among the five players, we’ve got spot-up shooters, international imports, a long, lean youngster and a player from the D-League via the North Carolina Tarheels.

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

Dante Exum6-6, 196 – Born: July 13, 1995 – (East Melbourne, Australia) – School: Australia Institute of Sport – Teams love Exum’s length (6-6 in shoes with an impressive 6-9 ¼ wingspan) and versatility – he can play either backcourt position; moves very well without the ball and is exceptional creating for his teammates but is also effective playing off the ball; exemplary team player with top-notch intangibles, having been described as coachable, grounded, humble, and intelligent; specialty is getting to the basket and drawing and-1’s, using his explosive first step, size and body control to get into the heart of the defense; defensively, uses his length, basketball IQ and quickness allow him to fill passing lanes, where he consistently comes up with steals and loose balls; versatile enough to play either guard position. - Read Full Profile

P.J. Hairston6-5, 228 – Born: December 24, 1992 – (Greensboro, NC) – Team: D-Leauge/Texas Legends – Intriguing prospect who was forced to play out the year in the D-League after being dismissed by North Carolina in December; an effective inside and outside scorer whose sturdy build (nearly 230 pounds with a 6-9 ½ wingspan) as well as 37-inch vertical ensure that he can get to the rim and finish once he does; draws contact and gets to the line, where he’s a very good free throw shooter; NBA-ready body, which allowed him to contribute immediately in D-League; aggressive style of play and a very confident player, although that can work against him at times; has the potential to expand his game as a post-up guard; great finisher in transition; poor defender due to lack of effort, awareness and below-average quickness; doesn’t make a lot of hustle plays, effort sometimes lacking; not a playmaker – one of the worst passers in D-League this season; can score in bunches – led UNC in scoring in 2012-13 with 14.6 ppg and finished fourth in the D-League at 21.8.

Gary Harris6-4, 205 – Born: September 14, 1994 – (Fishers, IN) – College: Michigan State – In two seasons at MSU, Harris was one of the most accomplished players in the Big 10 – first Spartan to win Big 10 Freshman of the Year, was named team MVP in both years, All-Big 10 Defensive Team, Wooden Award finalist; physical player – a former high school wideout who hit the weight room hard between his freshman and sophomore seasons at MSU; concerns about drop-off in production from freshman to sophomore seasons; has an NBA-frame, but lacks ideal height for a shooting guard at the next level – measuring in around 6-4, 210; versatile offensive game and can score from any point on the floor – a lethal catch-and-shoot guy who’s deadly with his feet set, shooting almost 47 percent from beyond the arc in Big Ten play. - Read Full Profile

Zach LaVine6-6, 180 – Born: March 10, 1995 – (Bothell, WA) – College: UCLA – A late-bloomer who wasn’t highly-touted out of high school, the long, lean LaVine garnered plenty of attention in his single season at UCLA; blessed with great length and excellent explosiveness; plays with a flashy style and is highlight reel dunker in transition, one of the most explosive open court dunkers in college hoops; dynamic first step and great quickness in the open floor; has the ability to put up points in bunches with ability to hit shots off screens or the dribble; effortless – albeit unorthodox – jumpshot with NBA 3-point range; needs to work on basketball IQ and feel for the game, not a polished player yet; struggles to finish through contact around the basket; doesn’t turn the ball over much, but doesn’t create much for teammates either; not an impressive defender, needs to get stronger and tougher; would benefit from playing in an up-tempo system at the next level.

Nik Stauskas6-6, 207 – Born: October 7, 1993 – (Mississauga, ON) – College: Michigan – Another member of the Canadian invasion, Stauskas comes into the Draft as one of the best pure shooters whose stock rose from his freshman to sophomore seasons; terrific perimeter shooting ability with improved ability to create his own shot; tough competitor who doesn’t shy from the limelight; picture-perfect shooting stroke – shot 44 percent for career at Michigan; concerns about his athleticism at the next level, lacks physicality and gets moved around easily under the basket; needs to get in better shape, came to camp with 12.1 percent body fat; has had games where he was completely shut down; smart, crafty player who maximizes his athletic ability but not a ton of upside physically; might struggle against more athletic defenders at NBA level; solid ballhandler for a 2-guard, good decision-maker who even ran a little point guard as a sophomore.

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