Young, Sexton headline list of point guards in NBA draft
There’s little question about where to start when looking at the top point guard prospects in the NBA draft: Trae Young and Collin Sexton.
Young was the national leader in both scoring and assists with the Sooners as a freshman, while Sexton provided an aggressive presence at the helm of the Crimson Tide’s attack in his only year at Alabama.
Young is expected to be the first point guard chosen Thursday, while Sexton could join him as a top-10 pick.
Here’s a look at the top prospects:
Young’s scoring and playmaking ability drew comparisons to three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry.
STRENGTHS: The 6-foot-2, 178-pound Young averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists while putting up his share of eye-popping numbers, including four 40-point games and a Division I record-tying 22 assists against Northwestern State. He ranked fourth nationally in 3-pointers per game (3.69) and can score in bunches from anywhere, positioning him to thrive in the NBA’s free-flowing game.
CONCERNS: All the offensive stats were often fairly empty down the stretch as Oklahoma lost 13 of 18 before squeaking into the NCAA Tournament for a first-round loss. Young wasn’t the most efficient scorer; he was in the top four nationally in both overall shots and 3-pointers attempted but the percentages weren’t great (.422 on field goals, .360 on 3s) while he also led the nation with 167 turnovers. He also had the smallest wingspan (6-3) of players at the combine and could stand to get stronger to handle physical pro defenders.
Sexton led Alabama back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.
STRENGTHS: Athleticism – the 6-2, 183-pound freshman has plenty of it. He averaged 19.2 points while shooting nearly 45 percent, offering a quick first step and the aggressive edge needed to get to the rim. He had a solid floor game with 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. And while a similar height to Oklahoma’s Young, Sexton has a bigger wingspan (measuring a bit over 6-7 at the combine).
CONCERNS: Sexton is capable of hitting from outside, such as when he hit six 3-pointers against Auburn and had five other games with at least three made 3s. The trick now is becoming a more consistent threat after making just 34 percent (44 of 131) for the season.
Kentucky’s latest one-and-done talent wasn’t the Wildcats’ top recruit but thrived after becoming a full-time starter in January to make himself a possible lottery selection.
STRENGTHS: He offers good size at the point after checking in at 6-6 at the combine with a nearly 7-foot wingspan. And he improved as the year went on, averaging 16.4 points, 5.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds after becoming the starter. He also shot 40 percent from 3-point range on the year.
CONCERNS: He’ll need to add bulk to a lean 180-pound frame to handle physical play both on the perimeter and driving to the rim.
OTHERS TO WATCH:
– JALEN BRUNSON: The Associated Press national player of the year doesn’t have eye-popping athleticism, but he’s a steady and efficient performer who led Villanova to a second NCAA title in three seasons. The junior is a potential first-round pick.
– JEVON CARTER: West Virginia’s floor leader and two-time Big 12 defensive player of the year could sneak into the first round.
– TREVON DUVAL: After one year at Duke, he is likely a second-round pick with good athleticism (third at the combine in max vertical leap at 41.5 inches) but a suspect outside shot (29 percent on 3s).
– AARON HOLIDAY: The UCLA junior is a first-round prospect and seems next up after the trio at the top. He was the Pac-12’s leading scorer (20.3 points) while averaging 5.8 assists, though he’s a bit undersized (6-1, 187).
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