NBA Draft 2020: Top 5 Shooting Guards
The first NBA Draft ever held in November features a plethora of interesting talents and faces, and some have more playing time on their resume than others. The two-guard spot includes players with a variety of experience that could make a significant impact at the next level. Let’s take a look at the top five shooting guards in this year’s NBA Draft.
Anthony Edwards, Georgia
The 6-foot-5-inch freshman Edwards should be a top three pick come draft night. His 19.1 points per game during his lone college season was earned through his unique and explosive athletic ability, his silky-smooth jump shot and his height advantage over most at his position.
The powerful guard reminds scouts of a stronger and elevated Victor Oladipo. He can create any shot at will, and his posterizing dunks rattle the rim. He’s become a lethal shooter from downtown with a quick, elbow-in release that is a true thing of beauty.
The three teams at the top of the draft could all use Edwards’s relentless scoring ability. Minnesota could take him in attempt to build a big three with point guard D’Angelo Russell and center Karl-Anthony Towns, while Golden State could move him to small forward to put him alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. If he falls to Charlotte, he could be the centerpiece to a team desperate for a successful rebuild.
Edwards’s only visible weaknesses are occasional poor shot selection, as he shot only 40% from the field at Georgia, and lack of focus on the defensive end. Those are two factors that could easily be corrected in the pro game.
Devin Vassell, Florida State
The 6-foot-7-inch sophomore Vassell is the tallest at his position and arguably the best wing defender in the class. He plays hard on both ends of the floor, and his plus wingspan of nearly seven feet combined with his impressive awareness makes him great off the ball on the defensive end.
While not a volume shooter, he’s good at getting defenders off balance with jab-steps. His release is a bit high and awkward, but his 41% from three in both years at Florida State show he’s got a reliable outside jumper.
Vassell isn’t the most athletic or quick player on the court, but his IQ all over the hardwood is what should solidify him as a lottery pick. His 12.7 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game in his sophomore stint show that he could fit in almost any system.
R.J. Hampton, NZ Breakers (NBL)
The 19-year-old from Dallas, Texas decided to play professionally in Auckland, New Zealand instead of joining a blue blood for a year, and it certainly did not hurt his resume. His offensive skills are off the charts, boasting great handles and dribble-drive moves. He can score in bunches and is also great off the ball on catch-and-shoot opportunities.
While only scoring 8.8 points per game overseas, the 6-foot-5 combo guard has shown his impressive leading abilities, particularly when he nearly led his squad to a comeback after a 21 point deficit in the fourth quarter. Experts see him as a shorter Ben Simmons with a jumper, as his explosiveness to the rim and impressive passes could put him at either the one or two spot in the NBA.
Hampton is thin and light at only 175 pounds and isn’t a great defender yet, but he could erase those question marks if he adds some bulk and muscle at the next level.
Jahmi’us Ramsey, Texas Tech
Jahmi’us Ramsey is one of the shortest shooting guards this year at only 6-foot-4, but that didn’t stop him from putting up 15 points per game in one college season. He possesses a true scoring mentality and usually makes the right play, avoiding poor shot selections. He plays with tremendous energy and is always looking to get to the rim.
His height doesn’t stop him on defense, either. He can guard multiple positions and is a pest on transition opportunities. He doesn’t have too many weaknesses, but the most eye-catching could be his 64% shooting from the charity stripe.
Ramsey should go mid-to-late first round, and he could become a Lou Williams-type of bench player with his vigor and versatile scoring.
Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
Tyrese Maxey is yet another one-and-done player from John Calipari’s Wildcats. While his season was slightly underwhelming, scoring 14 points per game and shooting less than 30% from three, the 6-foot-3 combo guard has a lot of upside. His midrange and floater game is excellent, and he’s a stout defender who can keep up with point guards and hold his own with taller players.
Maxey isn’t afraid to be the man everyone is watching, whether his results are good or bad. He fires at will with confidence from way beyond the arc at times, and if he can hit those shots at a higher clip, he could pull defenders away for great spacing. He likes to have the ball in his hands in close games.
The freshman’s confidence also reminds scouts of a young Lou Williams, and like Ramsey, Maxey should go in the first round after the lottery selections.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.