Jaden Ivey erupted in his second college season into an All-American with explosive athleticism and scoring ability.
He’s the headliner among floor leaders entering the NBA draft, while Australian teenager Dyson Daniels is also a lottery prospect after his work in the G League Ignite developmental program for elite prospects.
Here’s a look at some of the top point guards in the June 23 draft:
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Purdue guard is a top-5 prospect with his potential both as a scorer and playmaker.
STRENGTHS: With athleticism to play either guard spot, the 20-year-old Ivey went from a complimentary piece as a freshman (11.1 points per game) to a second-team Associated Press All-American averaging 17.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Ranked as the draft’s No. 4 prospect by ESPN, Ivey has proven the ability to score off the dribble or finish at the rim, whether gliding gracefully through traffic or throwing down with power.
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Notably, his improved shooting helped elevate his game beyond highlight-reel moments. Ivey shot 46% from the field (up from 39.9% as a freshman) from the field and 35.8% from behind the arc (up from 25.8%) last season. That included going from having eight games with at least two made 3s as a freshman to 21 such games last year.
CONCERNS: Ivey has the tools to develop into a quality defender but needs more consistency there. Offensively, he had a tendency at times to play out of control with his aggressive edge, making him prone to turnovers (2.6 per game, close to his 3.1-assist average) and forced shots.
The 19-year-old bypassed the college ranks to play for Ignite, bringing size and versatility to the pro ranks.
STRENGTHS: The 6-7, 195-pound Daniels has the size to play and defend multiple positions, particularly as a point guard who added another inch and roughly 20 pounds of strength to his frame in the past year.
Ranked No. 6 by ESPN, Daniels has a nearly 6-11 wingspan and posted the fastest time (2.81 seconds) of any player tested at the NBA scouting combine in the shuttle run, which measures agility and ability to change direction. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.9 assists for Ignite.
“For me, playing the point guard position and being 6-7 is really beneficial to me,” Daniels said in an interview with the AP in late March. “I'm able to go play down in the low post, play with the ball in my hands off pick and rolls and stuff like that. It was a big focus for me putting on size and weight this year.”
CONCERNS: Daniels' outside shot is still developing. He made 13 of 51 (25.5%) 3-pointers in 14 games with Ignite.
TYTY WASHINGTON JR.
Kentucky’s latest one-and-done player is a first-round prospect with his playmaking ability.
STRENGTHS: The 6-4, 196-pound freshman showed quickness and versatility at both guard spots. That included time at the point for injured Sahvir Wheeler and setting a single-game school record with 17 assists in a January win against Georgia.
Ranked No. 17 by ESPN, Washington was second on the team in scoring (12.5 points) while shooting 45% and averaging 3.9 assists. He also committed more than two turnovers in just six of 31 games.
CONCERNS: The outside shot must improve after making just 36 3-pointers and shooting 35% from behind the arc. Durability also became an issue as he missed three games because of injury and twice failed to hit double figures in the final four games, including going 2 for 10 in the stunning upset loss to No. 15 seed St. Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
OTHERS TO WATCH
— KENNEDY CHANDLER: The 6-0, 172-pound Tennessee freshman is a first-round prospect with speed and the defensive skills to rank among the nation’s best in steals (2.2). ESPN’s No. 19 draft prospect also shot 38% from 3-point range, including 17 of 30 (56.7%) over seven games in March, and had the best max vertical leap (41.5 inches) of any player measured at the NBA scouting combine.
— DALEN TERRY: The 6-7 sophomore brought size and defense to the Arizona backcourt as a potential first-round prospect while taking a leading role late in the season due to teammate Kerr Kriisa’s ankle injury.
— ANDREW NEMBHARD: The 6-5 senior was a starter in Gonzaga's run to the 2021 NCAA title game, then averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 assists last season while improving his 3-point shooting (38.3%). Nembhard could be a late first-round pick.
AP Sports Writers Gary B. Graves in Louisville, Kentucky; and Michael Marot in Indianapolis; contributed to this report.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
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