NBA Comparison: Gordon Hayward/Klay Thompson
Strengths: High basketball IQ and 3-point specialist … Good feel for the game and makes smart plays … Sharpshooter who’s shooting release and form is mechanically sound … Silky-smooth and lighting quick release with a soft touch … Has good balance and accuracy on his shot and releases the ball at its highest point … Nice body control when shooting jumpers and driving/finishing at the rim … Efficient shooter from the 3-point line (shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers) … Great floor spacer … Terrific scoring instincts … Can hit big shots … Possesses a deadly step-back jumper … Makes shots from the corners and at the top of the key … Strong free throw shooter (shoots north of 80 percent) … Can hit mid-range jumpers (shooting 52 percent on 2-pointers) … Tremendous range … Ability to catch-and-shoot and make shots off the dribble … Efficient shooter off pick-and-rolls and while coming off screens … Takes good shots … High-volume shooter and scorer … A crafty and instinctual playmaker who can distribute to his teammates … Willing to make the extra pass around the perimeter … Unselfish player and wants to get his teammates involved … Decent ball skills and the ability to drive with either hand … Makes up for his lack of speed with good ball fakes, jab steps and hesitation dribbles … Comfortable with attacking closeouts … Uses screens well to drive the ball … Does not turn the ball over at a high rate … Can finish at the rim with powerful dunks and adjust to finish at the basket … An underrated athlete with surprising leaping ability … Elevates well off the floor … Has a decent crossover … Moves well without the ball and makes timely cuts … Can run the floor well in transition (sees the floor, makes good passes and can score) … Effectively uses baseline screens to free himself up for shots … When his shot is not falling, he shows up in other areas of the game whether it’s rebounding or defending … At 6-foot-6, 206, he has good strength and size for a two-guard at the next level and resembles a prototypical high-volume NBA long range specialist … He’s capable of using one or two dribbles and pulling up from 15-18 feet…Can defend and contain players on the perimeter by using his lateral movement … Smart defender, gives good effort and puts pressure on the ball … Is rarely out of position on defense … Uses his hands well to come up with steals and disrupts shots … Exhibits good closeout speed … Overall, he’s confident and tough player with a high motor …
Weaknesses: Lack of an explosive first step makes it dificult to keep defenders from crowding him … Not an amazing run/jump athlete or physical specimen … Has a small body frame (wingspan) considering his height … Gets to the rim and foul line sporadically … Average ball-handler … Has not shown great instincts passing out of dribble penetration … Lacks the strength needed to defend quicker and more athletic players’ dribble penetration through contact … Needs to get stronger … Unable to fight well over the top of screens … Puts his body on the driver as they get inside the arc, resulting in foul trouble … Could be a bit more aggressive (but controlled) on the defensive end … He’s not long, as his wingspan is an underwhelming 6’6 ¼ … Lacks the length to effectively contest shots in the perimeter … Does not have the highest vertical (35.5 inches) … Needs to improve his foot speed … Low steal and block rates … Does not rebound as well as he should for his size … Struggles to score on half-court drives … Very unlikely to penetrate or even seek to penetrate all the way to the rim if the defense is pressuring him with the basketball … Needs to work on his left hand … Gets thrown off his game when opponents get physical with him … Does not create much separation off the bounce … Sometimes fades away on his pull-up jumpers … Takes contested shots off the dribble … Will have to continue to round out his game so that he can develop into a more complete player at the next level …
Notes: Measured 6’5 (in shoes) 186 lbs, with a 6’6.5 wingspan at the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy … Measured 6’6 (in shoes) 194 lbs with a 6’7 wingspan at the 2013 Kevin Durant Skills Academy … Booker has played the role of 3-point specialist on a high-powered Kentucky Wildcat team featuring size, athleticism, depth at all positions, and a host of future NBA players … Arguably Kentucky’s most important perimeter player, it’s safe to say that the freshman is a part of the Wildcats long list of players who could be playing at the NBA level as early as next season … Booker is Kentucky’s second-leading scorer (current average of 10.5 points per game) and 3-point shooter (40 percent). During conference play, he led the Wildcats in scoring at 12.0 points per game. The 6-foot-6, 206-pound, Mississippi native is as confident as they come on the basketball court. In a nutshell, he’s a quality shooter and scorer with a great understanding of the game and how to get his looks despite not being an elite-level athlete. By season’s end, the freshman shooting guard was selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Wayman Tisdale Award, annually given by the United States Writers Basketball Association to the top freshman in college basketball. His game is often compared to NBA All-Star and Golden State Warriors forward Klay Thompson.
Tajh Jenkins 3/24/15
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