As Thunder fans know well, the existence of true pass-first point guards is a rarity these days. Most players who dominate the ball in college come into the NBA as combo guards and have to learn the point guard game as they go. Sebastian Pruiti looks at a handful of guards that are coming into the draft this year and examines how they do by looking at two factors: 1) hitting the shooter in his shooting pocket; and 2) running a competent pick and roll.
Making the Transition from Lead Guard to Point Guard | NBA Playbook
Since the topic du jour is whether Boston College guard Reggie Jackson is getting consideration (or even promises) from OKC, we're focusing on him here. However, there are some other good point guards that can run an effective offense here too.
A few more comments after the jump.
- If Jackson is on OKC's radar, does this mean that Eric Maynor is off it? In other words, would OKC move Maynor to make room for Jackson? Most of the mock drafts I've seen have Jackson being taken late in the draft. With the Thunder sitting at #24, they may not have to do a thing if they want to take Jackson.
- If Jackson is in the Thunder's blueprint, and if they can take him at #24, does this mean that Maynor could be moved for a higher draft pick for another player? In a weak draft, is giving away a playoff-tested point guard for an unknown quantity a good decision?
- Maynor fits in perfectly with the team now, but there is no question that he is good enough to be running his own team and get paid as a starter in the league in the near future. If and when that happens, the Thunder will probably have to let him go, since Russell Westbrook is their long term solution and will eat up most of their salary cap space for guards. The Thunder may be looking to take another point guard in this draft with the intention of replacing Maynor down the road. In that way, they can continue to keep their back-up point guard on the cheap with a late-round rookie salary. As an added bonus, any rookie will be coming into a very stable operation that gives players time to learn the game, which in turn benefits both the team and the player's value overall.
- It always behooves a team to think about the present, and as Mayberry writes at the Oklahoman, there is too much that Maynor brings to the table right now to make him expendable. He is an integral part of their championship make-up.
- If OKC feels like Jackson may not be there at #24, Pruiti certainly highlights a couple other lesser-known point guards who could also fit the bill, in Shelvin Mack and Ben Hansbrough. Like Maynor, they come from smaller schools and had to prove themselves on the national stage against more acclaimed opponents.
- All that said, in my fantasy world I wish they could keep Maynor on the team for the long term. He's the perfect compliment to his buddy Westbrook. In reality though, I know that they probably won't be able to, especially if they continue to play well and more teams become aware of Maynor's skill set.