With all of these draft picks, does UConn two-time National Champion Shabazz Napier fit the Suns draft class of 2014?
Leader and winner. Those are two of the biggest traits that are mentioned from people that have followed Napier over the course of his career at UConn. His story was well documented during their latest run through the NCAA Tournament. This was the leader and point guard of a program that was dealing with NCAA probation, a coaching change and players transferring out as a result. Napier could have been one of those players, but instead, he elected to stay and lead the result, lead the improbable charge to a Final Four in 2014 that no one saw coming.
But how about Napier as a basketball player and how does he fit in with the Suns? He is one of the most experienced and polished point guards that there is in the draft this year. He might not have the upside that some other younger prospects may have, but with Napier if you draft him, you know what you are getting. That is a player who is very comfortable having the ball in his hands a lot over the course of a game, an above average shooter for someone at his position and can flat score from anywhere on the court. The only season he didn’t average double digit scoring was his freshman year when he was backing-up Kemba Walker but still managed to average just under eight points that season. And aside from scoring, he is a great passer, runs the pick-and-roll game to perfection and has deceiving length for his 6-1 frame which makes him a solid defender as well.
If the Suns elect to find a backup point guard to Dragic and Bledsoe in this draft, this is the type of guy you would want to have on your roster, especially if you are hoping to win right away. I see him making an immediate impact in the NBA and would be a very interesting pick for the Suns with their last pick in the first round.
Career Highlights: Named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, AAC First Team All-Conference and First Team All-American by the AP in 2014. He was also First Team All-Big East as a junior and was part of the All-Rookie Team in the Big East as a freshman.
Strengths: Scoring, Shooting both mid-range and from three, deceiving length for his size and position, ball-handling, passing, perimeter defense, leading a fast break.