The Lakers’ team identity has revolved around several themes. One theme of theirs is pushing the pace to be among the elite teams to get a plethora of offensive possessions. Another theme is their focus and fortitude. They simply don’t give up. While some Laker fans want the best lottery pick possible, others still want to see the team win. It’s possible that a .500 record still gets the Lakers into the lottery. The question is, who will be available when the Lakers draft that late in the 2014 draft?
One answer. Rodney Hood.
Rodney Hood’s name doesn’t come up in lottery discussions. He is constantly overshadowed by his teammate, Jabari Parker. Some statistics deserved to be discussed.
51.5% from the field.
46.8% behind the arc on 4.5 attempts per game.
18.4 points per game on 11.6 attempts per game.
He is a standout shooter, both in spot-up situations and off-the-dribble. While is offensive game revolves around his jumpshot, he has quickness and height to see over NCAA defenders and attack the basket. He attacks the basket relentlessly. While he’s just shooting 5 free throw attempts per game, he is adept to creating shots from 10′ and in, and hitting shots at odd angles under heavy duress. He’s an above average athlete, with a solid first step off-the-dribble and good explosiveness around the hoop. He may not be on par with players like Wesley Johnson or Demar Derozan, but great scorers aren’t always the best athletes.
One thing to consider is how polished his jumpshot is. He can fire behind screens and with a hand in his face, and still hit at a high level.
His midrange game is more advanced than most players at the NCAA level. At the NBA level, it would help if he could adapt a change of direction mid-drive, but he’s able to drop his shoulder and lean into contact without forcing the issue, and still hit at a high rate. He takes an abnormal amount of shots 15′ and in, highly unusual for a player with his jumpshooting prowess. He’s trying to prove he can be an elite wing.
His wingspan is 6’8″, which isn’t that great at the NBA level. NBA wings and a few point guards have wingspans 6’9″ to 7’1″ easily. But, it has never been an issue with him. It doesn’t make him any more turnover prone, and his assist to turnover ratio is 1:1. He could be a more effective player off of pick-and-roll play. He’s clearly comfortable utilizing the screen to free him up for a jumpshot, or get a step on the defender on the way to the hoop. Defensively, he could improve as well. He has solid lateral quickness and plays physically despite the light frame. While he may never be a player that forces a lot of turnovers or blocks shots at the paint, he can be a solid man-defender, but deadly offensive weapon.
More impressively, he’s able to assert his offensive game without detracting from Jabari Parker’s game. Hood would make an excellent #2 or #3 offensive option on a team. With continued development in the weight room and refined skills, he could be a potential All-Star. He’s a name to keep in mind on a team searching for as many answers to come. It helps that he’s a transfer from Mississippi State. He trained for a summer under a regiment by Duke University. His game has exploded since. A best case scenario for him would be some Klay Thompson/Danny Granger hybrid. He’s just that comfortable handling the basketball, shooting under pressure, and being an aggressive, attacking player.
Imagine what he could do with Kobe Bryant in his ear.