9. Emmanuel Mudiay (Final Big: 5th, Drafted: 7th)
A number of intelligent people think highly of Mudiay, as he has great tools and legitimate PG skills. But he still has a long road to go to become a good NBA player, and it starts with his shooting. Combining SL, PS, China, and high school all-star games he has shot 28% (22/79) from 3 and 58% (55/95) FT. It’s hard to project his shot confidently from a mish mash of small samples, but it looks bad.
There’s a short list of PG’s since 2000 who have been successful with a FT% < 70%: it’s mostly a bunch of Rondo seasons and a smattering of young Baron Davis and Tony Parker before they graduated to consistent 70%+ shooting. This is for good reason– a point guard that runs frequent pick and rolls is inevitably going to pull up for jumpers and floaters, and an inability to convert will tank his efficiency. Even Rondo was a respectable 40% career shooter from 16-23 feet. If Mudiay doesn’t learn to shoot, the rest of his game needs to be pristine to become a good starting PG
In PS + SL, Mudiay’s rebounds, steals, and blocks totals were all decent but unspectacular. He was given a large role offensively and permitted to take his lumps, and lumpy it was. He barely posted more assists (50) than TOVs (44) and his scoring was hyper-inefficient. There is clear room for improvement as he trims the fat, but there sure is lots of fat to trim. While he has potential on defense, he doesn’t have the best fundamentals and it’s unlikely that he becomes lockdown while shouldering such a big offensive load. And even though he’s athletic, he’s not on Westbrook, Wall, or Rose’s level of explosiveness. Perhaps his handle, passing, vision, and tools are enough to muster a respectable career as a non-shooting PG, but I don’t see how he is amazing enough to buck historical trends and become anything near a star without learning to shoot.
He is young enough to have a chance of developing into a respectable shooter, and this is largely where all of his upside lies. But he will almost certainly never become an above average shooter. Even if progression slightly below average shooting is guaranteed, he still has a long way to go to develop the rest of his game into a star. I see his upside as John Wall-ish, and a number of things need to go right for this to be achieved. It’s a good upside, but it’s not great and it’s dragged down by a boatload of bust equity.