2020 Draft Position Preview: Guards
Breaking Down the Backcourt with Draft Day On the Way
On November 18, the NBA takes its next step in the process of returning to normalcy when the 2020 Draft goes down virtually in Bristol, CT.
Nothing about this Draft – like nothing about 2020 itself – is normal. Workouts and interviews will be a challenge. The incoming class didn’t have the NCAA Tournament to build its resume. And there won’t be the big night in New York where kids and their families finally get to take the stage, shake the commissioner’s hand and get the team’s lid that validates a lifelong dream.
Plus, it’s in November.
But when the following backcourt gems finally take the hardwood, all that won’t matter – and they’ll have to earn their nightly stripes against the game’s best guards. The Cavaliers, of course, have gone with a guard as their top pick in back-to-back Drafts.
As Cavs.com’s Draft coverage continues, here’s a look at some of the top guards among the incoming class – featuring a tough, two-guy player, a consistent, do-it-all sophomore, a lefty combo-guard from France, a sturdily-built scoring machine and a kid who’s already had a TV show and signature shoe.
LaMELO BALL – 6-8, 180 – Born: August 22, 2001 – (Los Angeles, CA) – SPIRE Institute/ Illawarra Hawks – has already spent most of his teens in the spotlight. The experienced 6-8 guard – who’s already played professionally in Lithuania and Australia; former five-star recruit who began prep career at Chino Hills, ended at SPIRE Institute in Geneva; excellent size for his position; very effective – and a strong finisher – with either hand; will need to improve on the defensive end at the next level – tends to roam or gamble looking for run-outs; instinctive, like his brother, has an intuitive feel for the game; will need work on shooting mechanics – shot below 40 percent from the floor last year; can flourish both in the halfcourt and in transition; compliments the talent around him; supremely confident; can get his shot anywhere in the halfcourt; for all his fame, eagerly gets his teammates involved; can impact the game without scoring; great length, but needs to add muscle to his wiry frame; shot selection can be questionable; one of the Draft’s youngest players with huge upside and could very well be the top overall pick.
ANTHONY EDWARDS – 6-5, 225 – Born: August 5, 2001 – (Atlanta, GA) – College: Georgia – last year’s SEC Freshman of the Year led incoming class in scoring at 19.1ppg, including four-game stretch averaging 30.7ppg against top national competition; nicknamed “Ant-Man” by his dad as a toddler; has the potential to be a true difference-maker as a pro; at 6-5, 225, solidly-built two-sport athlete who also excelled on the gridiron plays downhill, can get to the rim at will; not much of a mid-range game; plays with passion; has the body, elite athleticism and tenacity to be elite defender at next level; skilled ballhandler with either hand, but will need to improve playmaking at the pro level to be considered a combo guard; one of the Draft’s youngest players; has an explosive first step; will need to polish his shot from long-range – shot just 29 percent from deep; prolific scoring didn’t translate to wins for Georgia – finished 16-16 overall, 5-13 in the conference; a coveted scoring machine who should be able to step right in and help a team at the top of this year’s Lottery.
TYRESE HALIBURTON – 6-5, 185 – Born: February 29, 2000 – (Oshkosh, WI) – College: Iowa State – a pure point guard with very good size – 6-5 with long arms; had his sophomore season cut short by a wrist injury; an outstanding passer, posted one of college hoops’ best assist-to-turnover ratios; will need to add muscle to thin frame in hopes of playing multiple positions at the next level; shot above 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from long-range in two seasons at Iowa State – playing behind current Nuggets guard Monte Morris as a freshman; very well-rounded game; a strong, willing defender – was the only D-I true freshman beside Zion Williamson to tally at least 50 steals and 30 block; has slightly unorthodox shooting motion and not considered a natural scorer despite doubling scoring average from freshman to sophomore seasons; not an explosive, above-the-rim type player; consistent mid-range game; mature player who can step in as team’s lead guard right away.
KILLIAN HAYES – 6-5, 195 – Born: July 27, 2001 – (Lakeland, FL) – France – born in Florida, 19-year-old combo guard grew up in France and developed into one of Europe’s top players; lefty with excellent size – 6-5, 215, with 6-8 wingspan; outstanding basketball IQ; flashy passer with knack for finding open man; stands out in the open court, uses quick hands on defensive end to create one-man fastbreak; could be a pick-and-roll nightmare at the pro level; has been rising up team’s Draft boards; very good court vision; doesn’t have elite handle and sometimes tries to do too much; will need to work on his right hand, can be too left-hand-dominant; strong finisher at the rim, draws fouls at a high rate; can get his shot anywhere in the halfcourt; strong midrange game; lacks some lateral speed on the defensive end but still viewed as a strong two-way player; a young, high-ceiling guard who might have more upside than any backcourt player in this year’s incoming class.
DEVIN VASSELL – 6-7, 200 – Born: August 23, 2000 – (Suwanee, GA) – College: Florida State – tough, two-way athletic guard with great length – 6-7, 7-foot wingspan; explosive leaping ability, finishes strong and with style at the rim; good upside, nearly tripled offensive production from freshman to sophomore season at Florida State; consistent touch from deep – shot better than 40% from three-point range in both years at school; can also slide over to play some 3 if he adds muscle; very unselfish player; will need to add some muscle to wiry 200-pound frame, but still a very good rebounder; improved mid-range game; will need to improve at the free throw line; lacked some offensive consistency, posting too many single-digit scoring games as a sophomore; can struggle to create his own shot; can be a tenacious defender, has a reputation as a dogged competitor; 3-and-D wings are a coveted commodity in today’s league and Vassell, while not super-flashy, fits that role perfectly.