NBA Draft's Top 3: Point Guards

With the Denver Nuggets holding the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is taking a look at the top prospects at each position.
by Aaron Lopez

Today’s focus is point guards. The Nuggets are in good hands with Ty Lawson entrenched as the starter, but the backup spot is not as clear.

Nate Robinson is recovering from a torn ACL and holds a player option for 2014-15. Aaron Brooks was excellent for the Nuggets after being acquired from Houston at the trade deadline, but he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Dante Exum

Country: Australia

Age: 18

Height/Weight: 6'6"/227 lbs.

In 1984, the Nuggets selected Cecil Exum out of North Carolina in the ninth round of the NBA Draft. Exum never made it to the NBA, but his son Dante has a bright future in the league.

Dante Exum created a buzz among NBA scouts and executives when he averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds during a four-game stretch of the U-19 World Cup tournament in the Czech Republic last July.

Scouts love his combination of size and speed at the point, but he’s relatively unproven. While most top prospects played at least one year of college or in the top European pro leagues, Exum spent the past year playing at a post-secondary school after graduating from the Australian Institute of Sport.

Exum uses his quickness to get to the basket and is considered a smart, unselfish player. His perimeter shot remains inconsistent and he needs to show that he can adapt to the physical play in the NBA.
Bottom line: Exum is expected to be selected among the top five overall picks.

Bottom line: Exum is expected to be selected among the top five overall picks.

View Prospect Profile: Dante Exum

Marcus Smart

College: Oklahoma State

Age: 20

Height/Weight: 6'3"/227 lbs.

After staying in school for his sophomore season, Smart improved his statistics and, for the most part, maintained his draft stock. He averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals for Oklahoma State in 2013-14, only to see the Cowboys knocked out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.

Scouts love Smart’s size, strength and toughness, but there is some question about his attitude and ability to maintain his composure. He kicked a chair during a game in January and confronted a fan at Texas Tech in February, leading to a three-game suspension.

Smart’s talent should outweigh the question marks on draft night. He is an excellent playmaker who can absorb contact while driving to the basket. With a 6-foot-8 armspan, and good lateral quickness, he is considered a strong perimeter defender who can disrupt passing lanes – as evidenced by his 188 career steals.

Outside shooting remains a concern; Smart went 77-for-295 (.261) from 3-point range during his two college seasons. He also can be turnover-prone, with his attacking style often leading to offensive fouls.

Bottom line: Smart is a consensus top-eight selection.

View Prospect Profile: Marcus Smart

Tyler Ennis

College: Syracuse

Age: 19

Height/Weight: 6'2"/180 lbs.

Though he’s not generating the same buzz as fellow point guards Dante Exum and Marcus Smart, Ennis has been described as the most poised and polished floor general in the draft.

As a freshman at Syracuse, Ennis took over for 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams and averaged 12.9 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds. Scouting reports are filled with adjectives such as cerebral, mature, clever and unselfish.

Like most young players, Ennis still has to prove he can knock down jumpers with consistency. He also lacks size and strength to guard bigger opponents and will have to make the transition from Syracuse’s zone defense to man-to-man.

Bottom line: Ennis is projected as a late-lottery pick and there’s a good chance he will be available when Denver goes on the clock at No. 11.

View Prospect Profile: Tyler Ennis

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