ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies passes as James Young #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats defends during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Chris Steppig-Pool/Getty Images)
While we await word on whether Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels will forego their senior seasons to play in the NBA, we can take a peek around the tubes to see what the 2014 NBA mock drafts are saying about Shabazz Napier's prospects.
The senior point guard put the Huskies on his back this season and led them to a national title, and with literally nothing left to prove, he's off to the world of professional basketball. Before we get to the make-believe world of mock drafts, here's what an NBA scout said about Napier back in February:
“I think he’s a first-round pick,” the scout told the New Haven Register's David Borges. “First of all, he’s got the ball on a string, great ball control, great understanding of the game. He’s got tremendous confidence, he’s a knockdown shooter from the perimeter. And he’s got a big heart. ...
He understands who to deliver the ball to. When you’ve got a $15 million player, that player gets the ball first. I think (Napier) gets it."
Another scout offered this:
“He’s probably early-to-mid-second round. A guy was asking me about him the other night on the road, saying he couldn’t figure him out. I said, ‘I know what you mean,’ but there’s something you’ve got to put on paper for mental toughness, the ability to take as many key shots. He has a knack for when his team’s on the ropes a little bit, up by three, down by three, things going haywire, he makes that big shot.”
And here are some possible landing spots, according to four prominent mock-draft sites.
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish: 22. Memphis Grizzlies. "The Grizzlies have needed a reliable backup point guard basically forever. Why not select the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player? Napier can handle the ball, create shots, make jumpers and guard his position."
SBNation: 26. Miami Heat. "There's no telling what the Heat will do about Mario Chalmers' pending free agency, but drafting Napier could serve as some insurance. Napier, like Chalmers, improved his draft stock with a championship run in his final college season. Napier can create shots for himself in isolation situations and run pick and rolls."
Bleacher Report: 17. Boston Celtics. "It remains to be seen how much longer Rajon Rondo will be a Celtic, but if Boston does decide to draft a point guard this summer, Connecticut's Shabazz Napier would be a name to watch for. Napier is almost the polar opposite of Rondo, a dynamic scorer with deep range and a soft shooting touch. And although Napier is a superb defender, much like Rondo, his limited size and low assist numbers could be cause for pause."
Draft Express: 28. LA Clippers
NBADraft.net: 12. Orlando Magic