NBA Draft's Top 3: Shooting 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 shooting guards. Veteran Randy Foye is the incumbent starter next to point guard Ty Lawson, and Evan Fournier made strides as a backup. Coach Brian Shaw would like to manage Foye’s minutes better next season, so that could create an opportunity for someone else.

Shooting guard is a demanding position, requiring shooting, playmaking and defense. If the Nuggets go that route in the draft, they have the luxury of bringing a rookie along slowly.

Gary Harris

College: Michigan State

Age: 19

Height/Weight: 6'4"/210 lbs.

The term “two-way” player comes up a lot when discussing Harris, who is one of only three players in Michigan State history to score at least career 1,000 points in just two seasons.

Harris averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals as a sophomore last season and impressed scouts with his defensive ability while helping the Spartans reach the Elite Eight.

Described as polished for his age, Harris has excellent shooting range and is an above-average passer who can create off the dribble. The biggest concern could be his height. Harris was measured at 6-2.5 without shoes at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

With his size and quickness, Harris could slide over to point guard if needed. He has been working with well-known trainer Joe Abunassar to sharpen his ball-handling skills.

Bottom line: Harris is projected anywhere from No. 9 to No. 15, so it’s hard to say where he will land on draft night.

View Prospect Profile: Gary Harris

Nik Stauskas

College: Michigan

Age: 20

Height/Weight: 6'6"/207 lbs.

For teams seeking a pure shooter, Stauskas could be the ticket. In two seasons at Michigan, he shot .441 from 3-point range and averaged 17.5 points as a sophomore.

After Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. left for the NBA, Stauskas made a big leap last season. He improved his scoring average by more than six points and more than doubling his assist total despite only a modest increase in playing time.

Despite taking more than half his shots from 3-point range, Stauskas got to the free-throw line at an impressive rate in 2013-14. He went 168-for-204 (.824) last season after attempting 87 foul shots as a freshman.

Defense and rebounding are two areas of concern. Stauskas has the length to guard the wing but will be tested by quicker players in the NBA.

Bottom line: Stauskas is widely considered one of the top shooters available and is projected to be taken in the 10 to 14 range.

View Prospect Profile: Nik Stauskas

James Young

College: Kentucky

Age: 18

Height/Weight: 6'6"/215 lbs.

Young was part of Kentucky’s remarkable freshman class that led the Wildcats to the 2014 NCAA title game. Showing that he wasn’t overwhelmed by the moment, he scored 20 points in the final against Connecticut.

With a quick release and the ability shoot while coming off screens or off the dribble, Young has the potential to become an elite scorer in the NBA. His consistency needs to improve at the next level after going 82-for-235 from beyond the arc at Kentucky.

Young also needs to prove that he can be a capable one-on-one defender. Quickness and athleticism remain question marks. However, his 7-foot armspan gives him the opportunity to disrupt passing lanes and contest shots on the perimeter.

Bottom line: Mock drafts have Young all over the map, with most projecting him to land somewhere in the middle of the first round.

View Prospect Profile: James Young

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