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The Top 10 Passers In The 2012 NBA Draft

By 06.18.12
Tony Wroten

Tony Wroten (photo. Rosie Dienhart)

If you already read about this draft’s top shooters then you know Damian Lillard has an uncanny natural scoring ability. Although he’s not a true point guard, Lillard can also get the job done distributing. He’s most effective penetrating the lane and looking for a kick out, but he can also keep you honest by finishing at the rim with creativity. Despite only averaging 4.0 assists at Weber State last season, the ball can be trusted in his hands as evidenced by his 2.3 turnovers and 34.5 minute per game averages. Lillard will likely be the first point guard off the board, so look for him to be taken in the lottery come draft night.

At 6-7, Royce White is far from a point guard. He is, however, one of the better passers in this year’s draft. In his lone year of playing time at Iowa State, the small forward led his team in five categories, averaging 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks. White rebounds well beyond his size and loves to push the break after ripping down a board. From there, his height allows to see over a defense for a pass or attack the rim for two. He’s always aware of where his teammates are on the court and he should create some major matchup problems in the NBA. Look for White to be drafted in the mid-late first round.

Tony Wroten could’ve benefitted from staying for more than just his freshman year at Washington, but still makes for an intriguing play in this thin point guard draft. Standing at 6-5 with a 6-9 wingspan, he already has superior size and strength against most of his would-be point guard matchups. A quick first step gives him easy access to the paint, allowing him to decide whether to dish off to a wing, or penetrate to the basket. Wroten can sometimes be a wild decision maker and only averaged 3.7 assists last season, but he is a skilled passer who often hit his teammates with passes so quick that they didn’t even realize they were open. With a little practice on his stroke (he shot just 16 percent from downtown on 1.6 attempts per game), Wroten has the potential to eventually become a starting point guard in the NBA. Right now he is projected to go in the late first or early second round.

[RELATED: The Top 10 Shooters In The 2012 NBA Draft]

The nation’s leader in assists last year, Scott Machado has come a long way in four years at Iona. As a freshman, he averaged 9.3 points with 4.8 assists while shooting 41 percent from the floor. Now, he’s leaving school after averaging 13.6 points and 9.9 assists on 50 percent shooting from the field. Machado isn’t the best athlete in the world and is a little undersized at 6-1, but he has incredible floor vision, both in the half-court and in transition. His steady improvement throughout college and the overall lack of good passers in this draft will keep Machado on team’s radars, even though he probably won’t be drafted until the mid-late second round.

Was there ever a doubt as to who was going to be number one? We all saw what happened to a loaded North Carolina team when Marshall went down with a fractured wrist during the NCAA Tournament. You can have all the talent in the world, but if there is no floor general to spread the wealth, it’s going to be difficult to win. And a floor general is what you get if you draft Kendall Marshall. While averaging 9.8 assists per game last year, Marshall also exemplified traits that all coaches and GMs love to see. Most importantly, he understands how to control the flow of the game and how to restrict his turnovers. He is known for rewarding teammates who run the floor and has the vision and creativity to make the game look rather effortless. Kendall Marshall is the best passer to come out of college in years and is a lock to be a sound professional wherever he goes.

Does anyone in this class have the potential to become a better playmaker than Marshall?

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TAGSAndrew AlbicyCOLLEGEDAMIAN LILLARDJesse SandersJosep FranchKendall MarshallMarquis TeagueNBA DRAFTRoyce WhiteScott MachadoTomas SantoranskyTony Wroten

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