Keith Appling is a senior point guard from Michigan State. After suffering a wrist injury late last season, he struggled to finish the season well. He did his best by showing up and getting minutes in the last few games for Michigan State, but there was nothing he could do with his injured right hand.
He looks solid in an earlier draft workout held over a month ago.
What Appling brings to the floor is quickness at the point guard position. His offense was prided on his speed. He wasn’t just a point guard that needed the basketball all the time. He also did well off-the-ball. During the last season with Michigan State, he was able to increase his offensive efficiency across the board.
Appling’s usage rate decreased from 23.5% in his junior year to 20.5% his senior season, as Tom Izzo clearly instructed his point guard to play more of a facilitating role. His lower usage allowed him to improve his offensive efficiency, as his TS% rose from a mediocre 52% as a junior to a much more solid 56% as a senior. His 49.5% 2-point percentage and 37% 3-point percentage aren’t anything to write home about, particularly considering his struggles at the free throw line (66%), but this was the most efficient season he’s had since he was a freshman.
From DraftExpress.com: http://www.draftexpress.com#ixzz39TBLFmb2
He brings qualities at the point guard position the Lakers currently lack. Jordan Clarkson and Jeremy Lin can be considered big point guards considering their height and wingspan. They are nearly the size of shooting guards. However, every team needs a speed demon. The Spurs have that in Patty Mills. The Miami Heat have that in Norris Cole. These are guys that can change the complexion of the game with their speed and quickness. They can play a more uptempo game and hit perimeter shots from the field.
This is Keith Appling’s role at the NBA level.
He had a tremendous game against Julius Randle’s Kentucky Wildcat team. While Randle was handling the Michigan State frontline, it was Appling keeping momentum in Michigan State’s favor. He finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals.
Appling’s confidence got shaken up towards the end of his senior season. His injuries prevented him from doing what he wanted on the floor. He struggled to dribble. He struggled to pass. He struggled to shoot. It wasn’t the defense affecting him. It was his health.
However, when he is a confident player on the floor, he is able to make plays on the floor that shock the crowd.
Sometimes a player needs a mental boost before they reveal their talent, especially after injury. Derrick Rose needed two seasons. Kobe Bryant overcame a lot within himself in the past year of recovery. A shot at training camp as a Laker can do that for Appling.
Perhaps the NBA is in his future afterward.