The shooting guard position in this year’s class is surprisingly very strong. It is led by someone with superstar potential and then a lot of other players that look like they can be large contributors in the NBA for years to come. The shooting guard had been a weak position for years with only James Harden being the real superstar, but it has made a resurgence. A kind of late bloomer such as Bradley Beal has entered stardom and then young players like Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell and Jaylen Brown will keep the position in good hands for years to come. Maybe one of these next players listed can jump to those ranks one day.
#5 Cameron Thomas, Louisiana State University
Thomas is a scoring guard that does not seem to do much else besides score. Thomas averaged a
ridiculous 23 points per game as a freshman. The caveat is he did this very inefficiently, shooting 40.6% from the field and 32.5% from three. These low numbers are likely due to him being the only real offensive
threat for this years past LSU team.
He has a very solid build at 6’4″ and 210 lbs. Though he did not seem to love putting in full effort on the defensive end, there is some hope that he can become a solid defender in the NBA due to his strength. He most likely projects to be the leader of some team’s bench unit. There is nothing wrong with coming off the bench as we have seen recently, sixth men have become some team’s most important players.
#4 James Bouknight, University of Connecticut
Bouknight is a straight bucket. Scouts are high on him due to his ability to score in very advanced ways for
an NBA prospect. Not a lot of people come into the league with his advanced repertoire. His shooting percentages dipped from his freshman to sophomore seasons when thrust into a large role. Scouts have seen enough of his ability to score to believe that he can do it at the next level though. He is a scorer, no doubt about that, but he cannot seem to do much else.
Bouknight is a 6’5″ guard that a lot of people hoped could see some run at point guard in the NBA. This will likely never happen due to his inability to play make. His role at the next level is likely the microwave-scoring sixth man that has become so popular in today’s NBA. A lot of teams will have one of their better scorers come off the bench in order to torch other team’s second units. A fair comparison for him would be Jordan Clarkson. Neither are the most efficient shooters, but they definitely know how to put the ball in the bucket.
#3 Moses Moody, University of Arkansas
Moody is the type of player that every single NBA should want. 3-and-D players are needed on every roster. They do not need the ball in their hands to be effective on offense and they can guard the opposing team’s best players on the defensive end. Being able to guard the opponent’s team best player is very valuable
because it allows another guard or wing that exerts most of their energy on offense a slight bit of rest while the 3-and-D player takes on the tough assignment. Moody is this type of player exactly.
Moody shot 35.8% from three, but many scouts are sure that number will rise based on his shooting mechanics. He also plays great defense on the other end. What is encouraging about Moody is that while right now he can step in and play the 3-and-D role, there might be more to him than that. He averaged 16.8 points per game, finishing 3rd in scoring amongst all freshmen in Division I. While he mainly scored off of spot-ups and cuts, he started to create different types of shots for himself as the season went on. He was scoring off of straight-line drives and some midrange pull-ups.
Moody will fit on any roster. He seems like a very safe pick for most. Teams will draft him for his current projection but could be pleasantly surprised if he develops an all-around offensive game.
#2 Keon Johnson, University of Tennessee
With Keon Johnson, you are betting on the various flashes he showed during his freshman season. He is far from a complete player. What scouts love is the idea of the player that he could eventually become. In his first year, he will likely be asked to play to his strengths by pressuring the opposing team’s backcourt and
slashing to the rim. He is an incredible athlete who looks like he will be a plus defender right out of the gate.
What is encouraging to scouts is the signs that he can become an a lot more complete player. Down the stretch for Tennessee, Johnson started to be able to create for himself in some situations. Johnson is a strong guard. He started to take advantage of his strength by showing off some moves in the post. It is not certain that he will be able to effectively do is against NBA guards, but it is encouraging to see him make shots for himself in any way.
Johnson will come into the league as a role player but ultimately has an extremely high ceiling. Teams outside the top five should take a chance on him.
#1 Jalen Green, G League Ignite
Jalen Green is a special talent. He took the G League route to be able to get paid while being able to go against professionals versus going up against those the same age as him. Green was able to average 17.9 points per game against a lot of former and eventual NBA players. He has the ability to jump with anybody. He can attack the rim due to his absurd athleticism. A concern that a lot of people had with him was how
inconsistent his three-point shot would be. He was not great from three at 36.5%, but a lot of scouts have a lot of faith in that jumper improving. With his offensive repertoire, if drafted to a team that will feature him immediately, he can become a 20 a night type scorer immediately.
Most prospects are not without weakness though. Green is listed at 6’5″ but is a slender 172 lbs. This would make him one of the lightest players in the league. He needs to bulk up to be able to hold his own defensively and absorb contact when attacking the rim. A lot of scouts also do not love his shot selection. He did show signs of becoming a smarter player this past season, but sometimes he will still fall into his old habits. He will take what people like to call “hero” shots. Shots of absurd difficulty that just are not really necessary. When they go in, it is a highlight, but when it does not, it is very head-scratching.
Green has the potential to lead not only a team in scoring but the whole league. That is how gifted he is at the offensive end. It will be interesting to see how he develops the other facets of his game though.