In a quest to find more depth at point guard, a prospect that could makes sense for the Los Angeles Lakers in this year’s draft is smooth-shooting guard Nico Mannion.
The University of Arizona product is considered a fringe, first-round talent by most NBA draft analysts because of his ability to run a team from the point guard position and put the ball through the hoop from deep.
Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated ranks Mannion at No. 32 on his list of the top 80 prospects in this year’s draft.
Position: Point guard
Strengths: Mannion averaged 14 points and 5.3 assists a game in his freshman and only season for the Wildcats. His 39.7 shooting percentage from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range is concerning as he moves to the NBA.
However, at 19 years old, there’s a lot of room for improvement for a prospect like Mannion. I like his ability to play fast, pushing the ball up quicky in transition and create plays for others on the floor.
Also, Mannion has good bounce and should continue to get better as a finisher on the break.
Weaknesses: Mannion’s 2.6 turnovers a game at Arizona is a little high for a player that runs the team from the point guard spot, so his decision making could be better. And Mannion could finish a little more consistently at the rim.
However, he’s got a solid shooting stroke, so I feel like his shooting percentages will improve once he’s on a NBA team and getting shots up on a consistent basis, day-in and day out.
Bottom line: Mannion offers decent size, athleticism and shooting ability as a point guard who could also slide over and provide some minutes at the two-guard spot. With his physical tools and ability to anticipate in the passing lanes, Mannion also should grow as a defender at the next level.