No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 8, 2014
Despite LeBron James’ hearty endorsement UConn’s shifty point guard Shabazz Napier won’t be the first point guard swiped up by a franchise in need of a floor leader. That will fall to the younger, and more physically imposing guards Tyler Ennis, Dante Exum out of Australia and Marcus Smart.
We presumed Napier’s efforts in pursuit of earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors would vault him into the middle of the first round, but that may not be the case. Some scouting services have Napier rated as low as the fifth-best point guard. Napier is up to No. 26 on Chad Ford's Top 100 and NBA Draft.net envisions an intriguing scenario in which he links up with Wondertwin Kemba Walker in Charlotte at No. 24. Meanwhile, Draft Express isn't getting caught up in the hoopla and still ranks Napeir as the 55th overall prospect.
In fact, according to ESPN’s mock Napier may not have improved his stock barely enough to rise into the first round of June’s draft.
Napier snuck into the First Round of the @ESPN Mock Draft when we weren't looking. Now #28 pick.
— Stu Jackson (@StuJackson32) April 8, 2014
That’s not a promising outlook for Napier though. Currently, Napier’s stock is riding a post-championship bump similar to the one presidential candidates experience after their party conventions. Once that surge disappears, scouts may re-examine his flaws, including his three turnovers a game and diminutive size. Napier is listed as 6-1 on UConn's site, but has reportedly shrank to as low as 5-11 if you listen to pro scouts, who appear to have digital measuring tapes in their brains.
But hey, if James’ voice is hoarse from yelling at Kansas’ 2008 national championship hero Mario Chalmers, Napier could make an intriguing addition at the bottom of the first for Miami. Napier may not have the upside as the NBA’s more appealing point guard prospects, but athleticism is often underrated at the point guard position. With Napier, you can at least know that he understands the nuisances of the position, sees the entire floor and has the savviness of a floor leader. Outside of Ennis, most of the top point guards in this draft have a ton of potential; but with Napier, what you see is what you get..