Sunday, December 21, 2008

In the Spotlight: Jonny Flynn

Jonny Flynn
Position: Point Guard
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 180
Hometown: Niagara Falls, NY
College: Syracuse
Class: Sophomore
Age: 10/28/89


  • Great combination of speed and bounce
  • Terrific with the ball in his hands… Once he gets the outlet pass, he’s off... Excels leading the break.
  • Extremely fast end to end – Does a great job changing speeds and turning it into high gear.
  • Composed floor general - Very poised demeanor
  • Good court vision; sees the floor well.
  • Despite being small in stature, he has good strength to fend off contact and finish in traffic
  • Has a toughness and swagger to his game… He really believes in himself
  • Above average 3-point shooter… Great elevation on his jump shot.
  • Plays major minutes and rarely appears tired throughout (*Syracuse plays zone D)
  • Active hands defensively


  • Relies heavily on taking 3’s and really favors straightaway… Needs to develop a mid-range game and expand his shot selection.
  • Listed at 6’0 – probably closer to 5’10
  • In some situations, he’d be better off passing the ball upcourt to create a transition opportunity…At times, he overdribbles, which prevents a fast break chance.
  • Can become more effective in the pick and roll by attacking the basket with greater consistency – as opposed to using the screen and settling for a jump shot.
  • Takes some tough, contested, low-percentage shots.


Jonny Flynn is a confident point guard that does a great job changing speeds and getting into the open court. He knows how to control the tempo of the game and he has NBA range on his jump shot. He’s also the leader of the Syracuse team, as you see his teammates rely on him to set the offense, as a true point guard should.

Now although he’s shown the ability to break down the defense, he relies too much on the deep 3 (straightaway). He’s also listed at 6’0 (translation 5’10), which will present challenges at the next level shooting over taller defenders and finishing around the rim. Luckily for Flynn, he can jump out of the gym, which helps to offset his small stature.

Defensively, Syracuse primarily plays in a zone, so it’s tough to gauge his on the ball defensive abilities. Flynn is very active in the zone and does a good job keeping his feet / hands moving and creating turnovers. He also has the foot speed and quickness to make you believe he can become an NBA level defensive player, but it’s still to be determined.

Overall, Flynn is an intriguing prospect with a lot of upside. He’s a tremendous athlete that should be able to step in and give a team productive minutes right away. At this point, I’d look real close at Flynn in the middle of the 1st round. With his much improved play thus far this season, he has a great opportunity to move up the draft boards.

In the Spotlight: Paul Harris

Paul Harris
Position: Small Forward

Ht: 6-5, Wt: 230
Hometown: Niagara Falls, NY
College: Syracuse
Class: Junior
Age: 10/15/86


  • Strong build… Well defined, very muscular physique
  • Impressive athlete with good combination of power, length and explosion.
  • Great rebounder for his size – attacks the glass. Paul doesn’t wait for the ball to come down, he goes and gets it. He gets himself in good position and explodes to the highest point.
  • Tenacious man to man defender. He plays very physical, in your face, on the ball defense. He has good lateral quickness and moves his feet well.
  • Superb team defender – Rotates well and gets his body in position to help stop penetration. He gives up his body and will take the contact.
  • Plays with high energy – A competitor who wants to win and gives maximum effort every night.
  • Very active on both ends of the court. Offensively, he’s a slasher that will get scrappy buckets – (put backs off glass, cuts in offense)… Moves well off the ball. Defensively, he’s always moving, talking, banging.
  • Plays well when he gets out in transition, filling the wing and finishing on the break.


  • Offensively, Paul’s game is 12 feet and in.
  • Needs to improve his jump shot. He has a high release point, doesn’t get enough ark and the bottom line is that he can’t consistently hit a jump shot.
  • He’s 6’5 but his skills are of someone 6’9, which will limit him at the next level.
  • Struggles creating off the dribble – Needs to expand his game to include beating his man off the dribble and creating scoring opportunities for himself and teammates.


If there’s a loose ball and 10 guys go after it and Paul Harris is one of those 10, he’s coming out with the ball. That epitomizes his game. He’s tenacious, he’s aggressive, he’s a competitor, and he’s willing to give himself up to get the ‘W’.

His greatest strength is his ability to defend. Although Syracuse primarily plays zone, when they do go man, Harris takes on the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best player. He’s able to use his quickness, length and strength to keep his man in front of him. He also has great defensive instincts and understands how to play team defense. He has all the physical attributes to play defense at the NBA level.

Offensively, is where Harris is limited. At 6’5, he plays like a power forward, and lacks the skills of a shooting guard / small forward, which he’ll need at the NBA level. The primary issue is his inability to shoot with consistency. His jumper has been a work in progress since Paul entered college 3 years ago and it still is nowhere near an NBA level.

Overall, Paul does so many things on the court that make him valuable and make him a winner. The problem is that at 6’5 he is going to need to play the 2 in the NBA and with some major holes in his offensive repertoire, he’s not going to be able to stick on a roster. He’s worth a look in the late 2nd round, with hope that he could develop into a lock down defender (ala Bruce Bowen), but unless he can hit the jumper, there wont be an NBA future for him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In the Spotlight: Tyreke Evans (updated)

Tyreke Evans
Position: Point Guard / 2 Guard
Ht: 6-4, Wt: 195
Hometown: Aston, PA
College: Memphis
Class: Freshman
Age: 10/19/89


  • Possesses incredible ball handling skills… Great cross over dribble which he’s equally comfortable going left or right with.
  • Has the ability to freeze his defender with a hard dribble, that he uses to get space for a pull up jumper (if the D sags back) or blow past the defense (if they tighten up).
  • Demonstrates good body control when he gets into the lane.
  • Plays with an attacking style, consistently penetrating to the basket and putting pressure on the opposition.
  • Has a scorer’s mentality, always looking to keep pouring it on. He’s capable of going off for big scoring numbers.
  • Excels when he’s in transition, primarily leading the break, but he’s effective filling the wing as well.
  • Very long arms, active hands defensively.


  • Lacks the athletic ability to get above the rim, or elevate on his jump shot. Tyreke does not have the leaping ability which he’ll need as his game looks to advance to higher levels.
  • Needs to repair his shooting form. It’s ugly, inconsistent and he has a slow release. Tyreke also tends to drift back rather than rising straight up on his jumper.
  • Has to improve playing off the ball. Tyreke is at his best when he is isolated one-on-one, but he really struggles moving without the ball and finding other ways to score / be effective.
  • Laid back demeanor – not the assertive type: i.e. get after the loose balls, give your buddy up to take the charge, etc.
  • Has a tendency to over-dribble when he wants to get to the basket.
  • Needs to get better defensively. He has to get more committed on the defensive side of the ball and improve his foot speed. His on the ball defense is sub par right now.
  • Shot selection is questionable – as he continues to mature he’ll improve the balance between when to create for others vs. when to look for his own shot.


Tyreke is blessed with a ton of skills. He is very advanced with the ball in his hands, he has a wide array of moves, tremendous penetration ability and he knows how to get to the bucket. He’s a natural scorer with a mentality to keep pouring it on, with the capability to go off for big scoring numbers.

With all of his talent and skills, I’d like to see Tyreke be more active on the court… crashing the glass, locking up his defender, pursuing loose balls etc.

Tyreke is also not extremely athletic. He can get to the basket, but he doesn’t elevate at an NBA level. He can use his long arms to get in the passing lanes, but he lacks the lateral quickness to keep his man in front of him. He can get past his defender with his dribbling abilities / moves, but he won’t be blazing past any defenders with his speed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In the Spotlight: Robert Vaden

Robert Vaden
Position: 2-Guard / Small Forward
Ht: 6-5, Wt: 210
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
College: UAB
Class: Senior
Age: 3/3/85


  • Very complete, poised player who does a little bit of everything.
  • Heady player who can fill many roles on the offensive end – play 1, 2, 3
  • Great range on his jump shot
  • Does a great job using screens to get free… can knock it down on a catch-and-shoot, or off the bounce.
  • Crafty player with good court vision… Has the ability to get into the paint and find the open man.
  • Strong build – can hold his own physically
  • Understands how to play team defense - Not the best on the ball defender, but does a great job rotating from the weakside to help out defensively


  • Settles for 3’s way too much rather than taking the ball to the bucket.
  • Not very athletic… Lacks NBA level leaping ability / explosiveness
  • Limited quickness – going to struggle taking his man off the dribble at the next level
  • More of a streak shooter, that could improve his consistency from 3 point range… Robert would benefit from taking some mid-range jumpers to keep the defense honest.
  • Heavily favors dribbling with his right hand… needs to improve his ball handling with his left.
  • Doesn’t have the hang-time to finish consistently in traffic.
  • He’s already 23, so there isn’t going to be much growth in his game (sat out 1 yr to transfer).


Robert is a very complete player, who does everything well, but nothing spectacular. He won’t blow you away with his speed, quickness, or athletic ability, but he has a ton of skills that make him a very efficient player. He has good range, court vision, he hits the glass inside and he has the ability to get hot in a hurry.

On the defensive side of the ball, because Robert has limited lateral quickness, he’s not a terrific on the ball defender. He does however, do a nice job rotating over from the weakside, to play solid team defense.

Robert’s really at his best with the ball in his hands, playing a point forward role, which allows him to make the decisions and control the offensive flow. He’s used to being the best player on whatever team he’s played, which clearly won’t be the case as his game matures to the next level.

In order for Robert to find a niche in the NBA, I’d like to see him become a more consistent jump shooter (right now he’s more of a streak shooter), improve his penetration abilities (work on his left hand dribble), and even improve his on the ball defense.

Right now, Robert’s worth a look in the mid 2nd round, but I think he’ll have trouble sticking, unless a team lacks depth at the 2/3 position.