In college hoops, the player with the ball is most often the star. When you dominate the ball a lot, you receive a lot of attention and are able flash skills that could maybe lead you to becoming a star at the next level. Often this leads to the role player being slept on when drafting. The oft-forgotten aspect is that role players are the types of players that can transition their college roles directly into a role in the NBA. Maybe a role player doesn’t have the upside of a potential star player, but his chance for success can be higher.
One player who could be a steal in the 2015 NBA Draft is Notre Dame star Pat Connaughton. Here are the reasons Connaughton is such an easily draftable player (we’re thinking he’ll go in the early to middle second round).
1. Shooting – Connaughton’s best skill on the court is his ability to shoot, especially from three. He’s acceptable at pull-up jumpers and can attack a closeout, but Connaughton’s money-maker is his catch and shoot three point shot. He's especially deadly from the wings (Right Wing: 44%, Left Wing: 43%).
Shooting and spacing are the biggest trends in the NBA, and Connaughton’s ability to shoot and have enough size to defend a guard or forward makes him especially interesting.
2. Size and Athleticism – There are a decent amount of players who are good shooters every year, but the question becomes, what kind of player are they outside of their shot? Connaughton started climbing up NBA draft boards after he posted a combine-leading 44” vertical to go along with measuring 6’5” with a 6’9” wingspan. Not only is he a great shooter, he’s a great athlete you can use cutting off the ball and in transition too. His size and leaping ability helped him gobble up 7.2 rebounds a game last season, very good for a wing. His size and athleticism are the extra touch that turns him from just a college shooter into an NBA Draft prospect.
And how about when he dunked all over All-1st Round Kentucky.