A lot of hype has surrounded Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Jabari Parker. It is possible that the lottery ping-pong ball doesn’t fall into Laker favor. If it doesn’t, who is available to provide a punch on both ends of the floor from the wing position?
Rodney Hood of Duke University.
Rodney Hood is a legit 6’8″ SG/SF prospect from Duke University. He was a transfer student from Mississippi St., and spent a summer getting stronger while refining his jumpshot. While player comparisons give fans an idea of a player’s style of play, Hood doesn’t play with a familiarity of other NBA players. He shoots 51% from the field, 45% behind the arc, with a textbook left-handed jumpshot that would make NBA coaches proud. He’s able to hit 3-point shots off-the-dribble and under catch-and-shoot situations, even with a defender in his face. The last time we’ve seen any kind of that 3-point ability, was with Kobe Bryant under duress with the clock winding down.
With a 6’8″ wingspan and 6’8″ height, his wingspan may be perceived as lacking. However, he has perimeter guard-skills that minimize the lack of length, and he shoots 55% within 2-point range. Athletically, he has a solid first step and good speed down the floor. He may not be able to keep up with the elite athletes of the floor such as LeBron James, but even Kevin Durant ranked 60th in athletic testing during his draft class. What he lacks in elite athletic abilities, he makes up for in pure intensity. Offensively, he is ultra-aggressive, looking to attack the basket and relentlessly taking shots from 10′ and in, hitting through contact. While his specialty is perimeter shooting, he looks to make himself a multi-dimensional player on offense, effective from midrange with a pull-up shot, able to drive and dish, and finish at the basket through contact.
A short video of his offensive play can be found on this link.
Defensively, he uses good lateral footspeed to keep up athletically. Strength will be an issue at the NBA level, and while he has gotten stronger the past year through his off-season regiment, additional strength wouldn’t hurt. His frame may look narrow, but his strength is underrated, similar to how Tayshaun Prince, Kevin Garnett, and Reggie Miller were able to withstand NBA contact without severe injury and punishment. He has good intensity when he’s interested, and has the potential to be a solid defender at the NBA level. He may not be the type to block shots or force turnovers, but he won’t be caught out of position, gambling on defense, and putting the rest of the team at risk.
Ball-handling could use some refinement, but he is more than just a straight-line driver attacking the basket. He uses screens well, but also uses a crossover dribble to gain a half-step on his defender before going all the way to the painted area. His moves are simple and efficient. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the league respects the threat of his jumpshot. He’ll be able to get past defenders easier once their draw tighter to him.
He’s a self-made player of good character, and while Laker fans are aware of Klay Thompson, it wouldn’t hurt to find another self-made wing player with a quick release that is able to attack the basket. Did you watch the Duke vs. Syracuse game? Jabari Parker fouled out. He was the go-to-guy who attacked the basket and tried to win the game with a dunk. While the no-call remains questionable, isn’t that the guy you want to finish games? The guy who attacks the hoop against Syracuse’s vaunted zone defense and end with a dunk?
It wouldn’t hurt.