By: Mike Bonomo and Chinmay Vaidya
With less than a week until the NBA draft, Mike Bonomo’s and Chinmay Vaidya’s prospect rankings continue with the shooting guard position.
Bonomo: Mario Hezonja, Croatia
Vaidya: Mario Hezonja
MB: With D’Angelo Russell listed as a point guard, Hezonja is the clear leader among shooting guards in this draft, and a potential top 5 pick. He has great size at 6’8 and possesses great athleticism that should allow him to thrive in the league. He’s a very good shooter and can score in a variety of ways. He played against top competition in Europe, and unlike Emmanuel Mudiay, has enough tape to entice teams at the top of the board.
CV: At 6’ 8”, Hezonja has the size to play either shooting guard or small forward. His touch is excellent and his overall athletic ability should allow him to attack NBA defenders in a variety of ways. Top teams will definitely look at him as a top prospect, but he may not come over to the NBA immediately.
Bonomo: Devin Booker, Kentucky
Vaidya: Devin Booker
MB: Booker will likely never be a leading scorer on a good team, but should be a very useful player for years. He can fit perfectly into the 3-and-D role that so many teams rely on today. He’s a brilliant jump shooter and will be an average to above average wing defender with a little bit of time.
CV: Booker reminds me of J.J. Redick. He may find himself in the starting lineup as a catch-and-shoot guy or come off the bench as a sixth man. His shooting touch is up there with some of the NBA’s best and his defense will improve over time. Might not be a star on an NBA team, but could definitely be a secondary scorer.
Bonomo: R.J. Hunter, Georgia State
Vaidya: R.J. Hunter
MB: Hunter is a bit of a tough call, but I’m personally high on him. His shooting percentages weren’t great, but that comes partly from being the only scoring threat on his team. Despite the extra attention defenses showed him, he consistently found his own shot, and an ability to hit tough contested jumpers. He’s the typical coach’s kid with a high IQ and tremendous work ethic, which I feel will translate well to the NBA.
CV: His 39.5 percent shooting is a major concern, but Hunter otherwise excelled as the top option on a Georgia State team that made a surprise run in the NCAA tournament. He is not afraid of the moment and can score in a variety of ways. His work ethic should get him minutes, but his percentage will have to improve for him to be a significant contributor.
Bonomo: Rashad Vaughn, UNLV
Vaidya: Rashad Vaughn
MB: One guy that I’m not quite as high on as others is Vaughn. He doesn’t have high-level athleticism, though that didn’t stop him from scoring at the college level. He has a good jump shot with range, but struggles near the rim. He has the ability to be a reliable shooter off the bench, but not much more.
CV: Tough to say what Vaughn can do, but the potential is there for him to be a useful player off the bench. Shooting 43.9 percent from the field isn’t terrible but it shows that Vaughn is a volume scorer and needs to improve his percentage, especially close to the hoop. He’s not exactly a defensive stalwart either and may find it hard to get minutes right away.
Bonomo: Joseph Young, Oregon
Vaidya: Michael Qualls, Arkansas
MB: One of my favorite sleepers in the entire class is Joseph Young. His biggest limitation is that he is not big at all, standing 6’2 but only projecting as a 2 guard. Despite his lack of size he has real ability, which he showed as he took over so many games for Oregon over the last few years. He’s a terrific shooter with good playmaking instincts but just doesn’t have a true position. If a team finds a good role for him he can be a very solid player.
CV: Qualls isn’t exactly a knockdown shooter, but his shot can be honed and developed. It’s going to be his lockdown defense that gives him minutes in the NBA and at 6’ 6”, he can guard either the shooting guard or small forward position. If his shot gets better, he can become a useful 3-and-D player in the league.